no, no you didn’t identify mary’s great grandmother


The Ortenberg Altarpiece c1410-20 Centre panel: Virgin and Child surrounded by Saints, Anne, Elizabeth, Mary Cleophae, Mary Salome, Agnes (with Lamb) Barbara (with Castle) Dorothy (with Roses) Ismeria. Children are Christ's cousins. St Servatius, Ismeria © Image Asset Management Ltd. / SuperStock

You have got to be absolutely kidding me.

Jim West has the story of Discovery’s article about the supposed grandmother of Mary.

At one point, the Discovery article says:

“Mary herself is mentioned very little in the Bible,” added Lawless, a lecturer in history at the University of Limerick. “The huge Marian cult that has evolved over centuries has very few scriptural sources.”

Simply because something is mentioned very little doesn’t mean you get to make things up to fill in the gaps.

Check out the post if you need a laugh/cry.

Here’s Jim’s take:

Oh boy… this headline takes the prize for most rambunctiously unsupported historically – JESUS’ GREAT GRANDMOTHER IDENTIFIED. What? When? Where? How? (Why?????) The great grandmother of Jesus was a woman named Ismeria, according to Florentine medieval manuscripts analyzed by a historian. The legend of St. Ismeria, presented in the current Journal of Medieval History, sheds light on both the Biblical Virgin Mary’s family and also on religious an … Read More

via Zwinglius Redivivus

5 Responses

  1. What’s really sad is people watching that will believe it, the very same people that believe Noah’s Ark was found and that a man lived in a fish. Does “hell in a hand basket” ring any bells? That’s where the “faithful” are taking this country.

  2. Dr. Cargill.

    Yesterday yesterday carried an article by Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News about new research on the medieval legend of St Ismeria. The article referenced a paper by Dr Catherine Lawless from the University of Limerick that examines the story of Ismeria contained in 14th and 15th century manuscripts from Florence, Italy.

    The article was published by under the headline “Medieval work reveals Jesus’ great grandmother” and by Discovery News under the headline “Jesus’ great grandmother identified”. In it, Viegas states that “The legend of St. Ismeria, presented in the current Journal of Medieval History, sheds light on both the Biblical Virgin Mary’s family and also on religious and cultural values of 14th-century Florence.”

    The plain implication of the article is that Dr Lawless’ work tells us something meaningful about real people and events in first century Palestine. The idea that those kinds of conclusions can be derived from a legend written (I believe) some 1400 miles away and 1300 years later, apparently absent any corpus of corroborating evidence, struck me as a little hard to swallow.

    So I did what Jennifer Viegas apparently didn’t: I emailed Catherine Lawless and asked her directly if the way Viegas has characterized her paper actually represents her real views about the significance of the manuscripts she studied.

    Her response: it doesn’t. Specifically, the manuscripts “tell us nothing at all about 1st century Palestine, but quite a lot about what Florentine beliefs and religious practices in the fourteenth century.”

    Which is what I suspected. The conclusion? Accuracy in reporting appears to be less important to Discovery News than headlines that satisfy their need to provide exposure for their advertisers, including Craftsman, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Shell, GE & Nissan.


  3. Well, that says it all….. MSNBC, not one of the most credible, objective news agencies around.

  4. […] West (Zwinglious Redivivus) and Robert Cargill (XKV8R) are quick to call to account the dilettantes who think they have identified Mary’s […]

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