Mary and the Art of Prayer

The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought

Rachel Fulton Brown

Columbia University Press

Mary and the Art of Prayer

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Pub Date: November 2017

ISBN: 9780231181686

656 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $75.00£62.95

Pub Date: November 2017

ISBN: 9780231543712

656 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $74.99£62.95

Mary and the Art of Prayer

The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought

Rachel Fulton Brown

Columbia University Press

Would you like to learn to pray like a medieval Christian? In Mary and the Art of Prayer, Rachel Fulton Brown traces the history of the medieval practice of praisingMary through the complex of prayers known as the Hours of the Virgin. More than just a work of comprehensive historical scholarship, the book asks readers to immerse themselves in the experience of believing in and praying to Mary. Mary and the Art of Prayer crosses the boundaries that modern scholars typically place between observation and experience, between the world of provable facts and the world of imagination, suggesting what it would have been like for medieval Christians to encounter Mary in prayer.

Mary and the Art of Prayer opens with a history of the devotion of the Hours or “Little Office” of the Virgin. It then guides readers in the practice of saying this Office, including its invitatory (Ave Maria), antiphons, psalms, lessons, and prayers. The book works on several levels at once. It provides a new methodology for thinking about devotion and prayer; a new appreciation of the scope of and audience for the Hours of the Virgin; a new understanding of how Mary functions theologically and devotionally; and a new reading of sources not previously taken into account. A courageous and moving work, it will transform our ideas of what scholarship is and what it can accomplish.
One of the most beautiful, well argued, and exciting pieces of Marian scholarship that I have read. Sarah Jane Boss, director of the Centre for Marian Studies
Deliberately (and often delightfully) provocative, Rachel Fulton Brown’s book takes on Hilda Graef’s classic Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion (1963−65) as its sparring partner. Fulton Brown highlights thirteenth-century Mariological writings that Graef treats only briefly and dismissively: Conrad of Saxony’s Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis, Richard of Saint-Laurent’s De Laudibus Sanctae Mariae, and the famous Mariale Super Missus Est (until 1952, attributed to Albert the Great). Countering Graef’s criticisms of these works as “questionable,” “popular,” “unhealthy,” and manifesting “signs of decadence,” Fulton Brown endeavors mightily to recover them as reflective of the theological vitality of an age deeply inspired by the Wisdom tradition of the Bible and by the prayer life of the faithful.—Ann W. Astell, University of Notre Dame blurb
Mary & the Art of Prayer brings medieval Marian devotions before the readers’ eyes and elucidates the profound meanings in and spiritual preparations for serving the Virgin--Holy Wisdom, Queen of Heaven, and Container of creation--through observance of her Hours. Rachel Fulton Brown’s historical imagination is informed by brilliant scholarship, and her evocative prose rests easily beside citations of beauteous psalms. Georgiana Donavin, author of Scribit Mater: Mary and the Language Arts in the Literature of Medieval England
List of illustrations
List of tables
Acknowledgments
Notes to the Reader
Invitatory
1. The Hours of the Virgin
2. Ave Maria
3. Antiphon and Psalm
4. Lesson and Response
5. Prayer
Compline: Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda and the Mystical City of God
Appendix: Handlist of Manuscripts and Printed Editions of Richard of Saint-Laurent’s De laudibus beatae Mariae virginis libri XII
Notes
Bibliography
Index of Scriptural Citations
Index of Manuscripts Cited
General Index

About the Author

Rachel Fulton Brown is associate professor of history at the University of Chicago. She is the author of From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800–1200 (2002) and coeditor of History in the Comic Mode: Medieval Communities and the Matter of Person (2007), both from Columbia University Press.