N.T. Wright Wrong About the Dormition of Mary

It should be made known that the Roman Catholic Church acknowledges the Eastern Orthodox Church as truly orthodox for a reason. This is because, contrary to common non-Catholic misconceptions, the beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Church (primarily in regard to mysticism), do not conflict with what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in regard to mysticism. One of these things that is agreed upon by the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox is the Dormition of Mary (in the Eastern Orthodox tradition) and the Assumption of Mary (in the Roman Catholic tradition). What does N.T. Wright, a New Testament scholar out of Oxford and former Bishop of Durham say about the Dormition vs. Assumption of Mary?

Though attempts are made to align the ‘dormition’ of Mary (her ‘falling asleep’, i.e. her death) with her ‘assumption’, the two are in fact significantly different. The Orthodox say Mary died, and that her body is resting and will eventually be rejoined with her soul; the Romans say she didn’t die, and that both her body and soul are already in heaven.

(Wright, “Rethinking Tradition”)

Where is the source that N.T. Wright gives for this? Where does he make appeals to trying to understand what the Dormition of Mary or the Assumption of Mary are? Where does he address Pope Pius XII’s comments on the Assumption of Mary? And if he does not, then why doesn’t he? There should at least be some sort of statement in the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions affirming that the Assumption of Mary and the Dormition of Mary are in fact different. But why is there no addressing where this information is coming from in N.T. Wright’s writing? Is he referring to a Protestant scholar or is he referring to a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox scholar on this issue? I don’t really know where he’s getting his information from. It appears the article from his webpage is in another source so it’s possible he’s made the reference there, I don’t know.

Are the Assumption of Mary or Dormition of Mary really that fundamentally different? In truth, N.T. Wright’s assertion on the difference between the two is actually stretching the truth a bit too much. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Mary was in fact resurrected just like her Son. And if N.T. Wright wanted to research into Pope Pius XII’s statement on the Assumption of Mary, he would see that Pius XII also argues that Mary in fact did die.

The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos recalls the physical glorification of Mary as she shares in the resurrection life of her Son, Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. When, at her death (or falling asleep, that is, dormition), Jesus Christ received her body and soul into heaven, He in a way gave all humanity a preview of the transfiguration that awaits all of us in the Kingdom to come.

(Fotopoulou Sophia, “The Dormition of Theotokos”)

And of course, Pope Pius XII’s statement on the Assumption of Mary.

These words are found in this volume: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.” … Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.”


They are so different from each other that both the Dormition of Mary and the Assumption of Mary are eerily similar. Wait a second…


About newenglandsun

A student. Male. Passionate. Easily offended. Child-like wonderer. Growing in faith, messing up daily.
This entry was posted in Catholicism, Mariology. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to N.T. Wright Wrong About the Dormition of Mary

  1. james jordan says:

    Oh brother. Yeah, Mary is an imortal deity for us all to pray to, like Cybell and Diana, or Semarimus, or perhaps Ashera. That’s why the title “Queen of Heaven” used for Ashera in ancient times which Jeremiah complains about in his prophecy is applied to her. Give me a break. Its idolatry and we all know it.

    • Your recent comments are laughable. If we can be called kings and priests according to Rev. 1:5-6, then Mary can be called Queen. Eating now, I’ll answer your other posts afterward.

      • james jordan says:

        We’re kings and priests over ourselves. So Mary can only be queen over herself, not over heaven nor over us.

      • Quite anarchist of you.

        Mary is the Mother of God (unless you reject the deity of Christ which would put you outside the historic faith). The Mother of a King is a Queen. Jesus is the King of Heaven, Mary is the Queen. As you mentioned, the passage in Jeremiah was referring to Asherah who was a fertility of goddess. Meaning she had lots of sex and was not an image of sexual purity. Unlike Mary who was sinless and followed and obeyed God every day. She was worthy to be received up into Heaven before the rest of us. Our prayers to her reflect the work that which God has done through her.

        “Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

        Revelation 6:10 – they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (RSV Catholic Edition)

        As we can see, the Saints are always willing to pray for us if we so ask them to.

      • james jordan says:

        Lol. Believe whatever idolatrous fairytales you want. It is a free country.

      • A) It’s not idolatry.
        B) It’s not a fairy tale.

        I guess you don’t believe Jesus is God which is what the historic faith has always believed, then.

        Do yourself a favor and check out some Jaroslav Pelikan.

      • “If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead. If anyone should assert that He passed through the Virgin as through a channel, and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her (divinely, because without the intervention of a man; humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation), he is in like manner godless.”
        Gregory Nazianzen, Letters Division I, “To Cledonius the Priest Against Apollinarius. (Ep. CI.)”

        And I think you saw my post about Augustine in which it was demonstrated that Augustine in fact did believe in the sinlessness of Mary, right?

      • james jordan says:

        Its idolatry and Augustine was a heresy-arch.

      • Simply just repeating that it’s idolatry doesn’t make it idolatry. Mary was the sinless Mother of God and is the Queen of Heaven. She is an example to all of us as to what Christ can do in each of us if we surrender to his calling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s