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Response to Review no. 820

I am very grateful to Donna Spivey Ellington for her thoughtful review of Mother of God. It is a pleasure to have one’s work considered by a scholar who has spent so much time thinking and writing about change in attitudes to Mary in the late medieval/early modern period, in her From Sacred Body to Angelic Soul: Understanding Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe.(1) Donna Ellington is right to point to several directions I was unable to explore fully in Mother of God. In doing so she has touched upon one of the great frustrations of studying a subject over the longue durĂ©e, as other scholars have noted in vastly differing historical projects. There was also the additional challenge of trying to encompass a variety of ‘Christianities’, and from the 15th century a growing global dimension of ideas and practises around the Virgin Mary. 

Donna Spivey Ellington’s comments reminded me too what a useful and illuminating conduit the figure of the Virgin Mary is in any attempt to understand European intellectual and cultural production, as well as social relations, especially those which touch upon family life, and which are inflected by gender. This also means that future projects may seek to explore avenues only glimpsed in Mother of God, and fill in some of the gaps it has left open. I look forward to learning from such future research, and am sure that those undertaking it will find the material and the questions involved challenging and enthralling, just as I did.