Beyond the Gospels: Creating a Visual Identity for the Virgin Mary in Late Antique Egypt

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Dr. Sabrina Higgins (Simon Fraser University, B.C.) presents on the Virgin Mary, an enigmatic Biblical figure who rises from relative unimportance in the canonical gospels to become one of the most prominent figures in Christianity. Her paper explores the intersection of apocryphal gospels and long-standing traditions of mother goddesses in the early development of the visual culture of the cult of Mary. It uses Egypt as a case study to highlight the role of the apocrypha within the Marian iconography that develops after the fifth century.