Martha and Mary Re-Imagined: A.S. Byatt and Others

The traditional interpretation of the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) represents the sisters as embodying respectively the active life and the contemplative life and sees the narrative as establishing the superiority of the contemplative life. In A. S. Byatt’s A Whistling Woman two major ch...

Full description

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Published in:Christianity & literature
Main Author: Sturrock, June
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Check availability: HBZ Gateway
Journals Online & Print:
Drawer...
Published: [2016]
In:Christianity & literature
Year: 2016, Volume: 65, Issue: 4, Pages: 473-489
Further subjects:B Meister Eckhart
B Martha and Mary
B BYATT, A. S. (Antonia Susan), 1936-
B SINGLE mothers
B RELIGIOUS literature History & criticism
B WHISTLING Woman, A (Book)
B Velázquez
B Conduct of life
B Teresa of Avila
B A. S. Byatt
Online Access: doi
Description
Summary:The traditional interpretation of the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) represents the sisters as embodying respectively the active life and the contemplative life and sees the narrative as establishing the superiority of the contemplative life. In A. S. Byatt’s A Whistling Woman two major characters, a priest and a cult leader, repeatedly use this traditional contrast to represent their different concepts of their roles in the religious life. The narrative context, however, implies a questioning of such a simplistic traditional usage. Byatt’s revisionary approach to the biblical narrative is even more apparent in Possession and her short story “Christ in the House of Martha and Mary,” both of which reject the binaries and hierarchies of the conventional view. Byatt’s approach resembles that of Velázquez, on whose early painting, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, her own story is based. More surprisingly, it resembles the treatment of the story by such Christian mystics as Meister Eckhart and Teresa of Avila. All in their different ways silently discard the traditional interpretation of this narrative.
ISSN:2056-5666
Contains:Enthalten in: Christianity & literature
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1177/0148333116637056