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Date of Award

8-8-1997

Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology

Department

School of Theology • Seminary

First Advisor

Maxwell Johnson

Abstract

From age to age the focus of the Feast of the Annunciation has changed, according to the different methods of inquiry, perception, and the demands of the theology or devotion applied to it. Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Annunciation during the fourth Sunday in Advent in Series B of the lectionary and also on March 25. In the Early Church, however, no specific day was marked for a feast of the Blessed Virgin's conception of Jesus the Christ. In part one of this paper, the history of the feast, the development of the liturgical texts used in venerating the feast, and the theological dogma concerning the Virgin Mary's role in humanity, salvation history, and the paschal mystery are explored. The second part of the paper endeavors to explore how the event of the Annunciation could affect lay piety outside the regular celebration of the feast by examining two plays, the Annunciation and Joseph's Return, from the English N-Town and Towneley cycles.

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