From the jacket cover: “Who was Mary? Lesley Hazleton’s highly acclaimed biography draws on history, anthropology, psychology, and ancient texts to re-envision this iconic figure as a real woman. Beginning with a dark-skinned girl barely out of adolescence when she gives birth, Hazleton illuminates the many facets of Mary’s existence: peasant villager, wise woman and healer, activist, mother, teacher and yes, virgin, though in a sense we have long forgotten. She follows her through the worst any mother can experience—the excruciating death of her child—and then looks at how she transforms grief into wisdom, disaster into renewal. The Mary who emerges is neither demystified not diminished. On the contrary, it is her very humanity that makes this such a powerful and universal story, one in which women everywhere will recognize themselves.”
Remarkably, in Mary, Lesley Hazleton navigates her way through difficult religious and theological waters to produce a work that can be read with acceptance and understanding by all but the most dogmatic reader—whether deeply religious, deeply non-religious, or anywhere in between. She writes with a gentle sensitivity, and yet with an intellectual maturity and a calm balance that makes her treatment of even such challenging topics as the virgin birth accessible and insightful for people of all persuasions.