- According to medieval manuscripts, the great-grandmother of Jesus was St. Ismeria.
- The legend of St. Ismeria emphasizes sanctity earned by a life of penitence as opposed to blood martyrdom.
- St. Ismeria likely served as a role model for older women during the 14th and 15th centuries.
The great-grandmother of Jesus was a woman named Ismeria, according to Florentine medieval manuscripts analyzed by a historian.
The legend of St. Ismeria, presented in the current Journal of Medieval History, sheds light on both the Biblical Virgin Mary's family and also on religious and cultural values of 14th-century Florence.
"I don't think any other woman is mentioned" as Mary's grandmother in the Bible, Catherine Lawless, author of the paper, told Discovery News. "Mary's patrilineal lineage is the only one given."
"Mary herself is mentioned very little in the Bible," added Lawless, a lecturer in history at the University of Limerick. "The huge Marian cult that has evolved over centuries has very few scriptural sources."