This is a good and accurate point, Peter. I'm not sure, however, that it is a strong factor in the development of Christian devotion to Mary as "Queen of Heaven" or even "Queen" in general. My reasoning is this (and I thank you for spurring me to this research). The term "queen" doesn't seem to be used in the Hebrew Bible in reference to anyone in the kingdoms of Israel or Judah. It is not used of any of the kings' wives, nor is it used of the queen mother, despite the translation. The term translated "queen mother" is gebira, which is literally the "Lady" (or, in this context, perhaps the "Great Lady"). "Queen" (malkah) is used of foreign women (e.g., the Queen of Sheba and the like), but even when queen mother Athaliah murders her grandchildren and usurps the throne of Judah (2 Kings 11) she is called "reigning woman" (moleket), not "queen" (malkah). The ancient Greek translation too avoids using basilissa of Israelite women. The Latin Vulgate's usage seems not so consistent; I find regina in 2 Kings 10:13 but not in 1 Kings 15:13. (I have not checked all the possible references.) Since the theologians of the centuries when Marian devotion was developing would have used either the Greek or the Latin as their biblical texts, I doubt that those versions could have supported an attribution to Mary of the title "Queen" in
the sense of Judean gebira. The cult of Mary as Queen, I suspect (though here I'm way out of my depth in terms of the history of theology), develops in the context of late Roman and Byzantine monarchy, when, I believe, queens exercised pretty significant political power.
From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thu, March 11, 2010 6:59:06 AM
Subject: Eliot aand theVirgin Mary.
It is useful to remember that in the Jewish Kingdom,
the person crowned as Queen was the mother of the King,
not the wife. Given the strong focus on David as a type of
Christ then, it is natural that Christ's mother is the Queen of Heaven.