This 335 page dissertation presents an original work organizing the Latin theologians' principal interpretations of the Blessed Virgin Mary's presence and actions at the wedding feast, which reveals their perception of the significance and enduring meaning of her role there and her relationship with her Divine Son and his Church.
Chapter one outlines the purpose, scope, structure, and method, including the fundamentals of Patristic exegesis, the Latin translations of the Bible, and St. John's Gospel. Chapter two provides an overview of the early Latin Church, focusing on the Theological and Christological insights that became conciliar proclamations and the foundation for Marian Doctrines.
Five chapters follow with the writings of twenty-eight theologians who wrote about the Blessed Virgin Mary in thirty-seven different homilies, commentaries, doctrinal treatises, exhortations or other works. They were the leaders of the Church: saints, fathers, doctors and pastoral theologians including a pope, bishops, abbots, teachers, monks, friars, and Jesuits. The chapters are arranged according to periods: Patristic (4th and 5th centuries), Early Middle Ages (6th to
11th centuries), Golden Age of Mary (12th century), Scholastic (13th century), and Late Middle Ages (14th to 17th centuries). Each chapter describes the context within which the theologians carried out their roles in promoting the faith by preaching, teaching, strengthening the Church, and combating heresies. Included is a section on the development of Marian Doctrine according to councils, papal documents, or the influence of religious orders and Scholasticism. The
theologians are introduced by biographical sketches of their education, religious order, ecclesial position, and literary contribution to the Church. Their writings are quoted in Latin and English (including translations of Latin works never before found in English); biblical exegesis is analyzed, and commentaries are categorized into themes at the end of each chapter.
The final section summarizes two predominate themes: the prerogatives of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her person and action at the wedding feast and in the Church. Even though the primary focus was on the mother of Jesus in John 2:1-5, what was found were continuing and significant references to the prerogatives of the Virgin Mary that flow from the divine maternity woven into the work of each theologian. This was not a development of doctrine, but an affirmation that the Marian Doctrine found in Sacred Scripture and proclaimed by the councils was part of the writing during the entire period studied. The development of doctrine was found in the verse by verse analysis of the commentaries. The role of the Blessed Virgin was understood in relationship to Christology, Ecclesiology, and Soteriology throughout the period.