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[[File:Cult_of_the_Virgin_Mary.jpg|thumbnail|300px|left|<I>The Cult of the Virgin Mary</I> by Michael Carroll]]<I>The Cult of the Virgin Mary</I> by Michael Carroll investigates the historical, sociological, and psychological origins of Marian devotion. He argues that Marian devotion is a unique phenomenon because it is based on the adulation of an asexual mother, that it has explicit historical origins in fifth-century Rome, and it is more common in certain geographical regions than others due to specific ecological and psychological factors. Carroll defines Marian devotion as an immensely popular cult that is often neglected by scholars, even those seeking to explain the division between Catholics and Protestants or explore the sociology of cults like Scientology. In order to uncover the origins of such a powerful popular movement, Carroll investigates the aspects of Marian devotion that make it exceptional in history, and claims that this process will lead to a more complete understanding of early Christianity and the greater human experience.
Carroll contextualizes his approach within both historical and psychological treatments of Marian devotion. The work of historian Guy Swanson connected Marian devotion to agricultural societies with certain political systems, while the structuralist approach of Edmund Leach revealed links between an emphasis on the intercessory role of Mary and patronage, a social organization that concentrates the power in the hands of a few inaccessible rulers. Carroll also uses Carl Jung’s theories of a mother archetype that exists within the human unconscious and manifests itself as goddess worship and Marian devotion. For the purposes of this paper, Carroll’s analysis provides a useful foil for Blackbourn’s cultural approach to the apparitions at Marpingen and Sperber’s social approach to nineteenth-century German Catholicism because it focuses on origins of Marian devotion that are completely independent of nineteenth-century German experiences.
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==Related DailyHistory.org Articles==
*[[James Welch’s Fools Crow]]
*[[David Blackbourn's Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in a Nineteenth-Century German Village]]