Synopses & Reviews
Join Jon Sweeney as he delves into the mystery, history and imagination surrounding the life and legends of the Virgin Mary. Strange Heaven explores the many meanings of her life and their importance for the rest of human history. Sweeney searches for Mary in the four gospels, the non-canonical Gnostic gospels, the Qur?an, medieval and Renaissance art, mystical writings of figures such as Beatrice of Nazareth and Anne Catherine Emmerich, the teachings of Bernard of Clairvaux, Martin Luther and various little-known mystics, contemporary novels and art, and throughout twenty centuries of the Christian imagination. The result is a satisfying feast of information and lore. But more importantly, Strange Heaven offers a glimpse into how the Incarnation placed Mary at the center of salvation history, a role that at once benefits all of us and models what is possible in a relationship with God.
Richly detailed, carefully researched, and imbued with spiritual sensitivity, this study of Mary, the mother of Jesus, delves into the mystery and history surrounding her life and legend. Sweeney includes a wealth of information about the sightings, life, and stories of the Virgin Mary, and explores the many meanings of the blessed mother's life and the celebration of her legacy throughout the ages and around the world. Strange Heaven explores:
- The Virgin Mary and the Gospels
- Mary, the mother of Jesus in the Epistles of St. Paul
- The Blessed Mother in the Gnostic Gospels
- Difficult Dogma, Including the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception
- Feasts, Titles and Spiritual Practices of the Virgin Mary
Praise for Strange Heaven
"A rich resource of information, insights and beauty . . . Both critical and reverential, Sweeney offers tribute to a young woman of courage who became Mother of the Lord and then herself an icon for unending prayers of intercession, consolation and thanksgiving."
- Bishop Frederick Borsch, Professor of New Testament and Chair of Anglican Studies, Lutheran Theological Seminary
"It is incumbent upon us to meditate on the mystery of the feminine, a mystery embodied so powerfully in Mary, a mystery articulated so eloquently in the pages of this book."
- Prof. Ron Miller, author, The Gospel of Thomas: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice
"Reminds us that the powerful love of Mother Mary is not a theory, but a very real presence in our lives."
- August Gold, senior minister of the Sacred Center for Spiritual Living in New York City; author, Where Does God Live? and Will God Forgive Me?
"Hugely yet concisely informative, Strange Heaven is an elegantly presented overview of the Mother of God's role in the lives of churches, theologians, saints, artists, mythologists and lay devotees."
- Jonathan Montaldo, former Director of the Thomas Merton Center; editor, Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton
Visit Jon Sweeney's blog at www.jonmsweeney.wordpress.com.