The Struggle for Ultimate Womanhood in
Routledge – 1996 – 216 pages
Hail Mary? examines the sexist and misogynist themes that underlie the socially constructed religious imagery of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Maurice Hamington explores the sources for three prominent Marian images: Mary as the "the blessed Virgin," Mary, the "Mediatrix"; and Mary, "the second Eve." Hamington critiques these images for the valorization of sexist forces with the Catholic Church that serve to maintain systems of oppression against women. In challenging dominant, religious representations of Mary, Hamington surveys a variety of emerging reinterpretations of Mary. He then provides a framework for further study of "non-alienating" images of Mary.
"This fascinating analysis of the many images of Mary illuminates ideological struggles within Catholicism. An important contribution to feminist thought." -- Barrie Thorne, Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
"Hamington has written such a fascinating book that I had to put my pen down lest I underline everything." -- National Catholic Reporter …this work reads well and is worth one's time and effort. It provides an interesting approach to Mary- a provocative work reminding Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians that, despite attempts to crown Mary either literally or metaphorically, diamonds are certainly not this woman's best friend. Michael Whalen, Diocese of Wilmington
"A good overview of feminist problems with promises of Mary in contemporary Catholicism." -- WATERwheel Vol. 9, No. 4, 1996
"Harrington's book is an excellent discussion of both the development of Marian imagery and its critique by feminist theology … This analysis of Mary is a splendid vehicle for the discussion of the Catholic Church's understanding of women." -- Church History
Maurice Hamington, Oregon State University