Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crushing the head of the serpent

Trampling the serpent

After astute reader and Sydney Eye blogger Julie commented that Mary was actually stepping on a serpent in Friday's post, I had to go back to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and see for myself. In the bright afternoon light, Mary is clearly claiming victory over this snake.

Many statues of Mary show her treading on the serpent's head. These depictions are based on a mistranslation, in an early manuscript, of Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." (For a more complete explanation, see the Internet Question Box.)

I feel a bit funny now about entitling that post "Heaven under our feet." Maybe some convoluted logic can make that title work, but I'm no longer thinking about the pleasure of going barefoot. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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