The article has three parts. First, I sketch debates concerning the origins, function, and history of religions context of the Lukan birth narrative and its canticles. Second, I outline the urban–rural conflict between patricians/aristocrats and plebleians in Rome as narrated by Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Dionysius’s Greek terminology is identical to the vocabulary of Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1, including the contrasts between the proud rich and the hungry humble. I then glance at Carol Wilson’s recent model of how poor persons scratched out a living in the Roman Empire and how changes in their circumstances would drive them below subsistence level. Dionysius’s narrative and Wilson’s model correspond to an amazing degree. Given this economic interpretation of the Magnificat, I record how contemporary corporations’ investments in Mexico deprive farmers of their land and living, generating migration through poverty, a significant parallel to Dionysius’s narrative, Wilson’s model, and the Magnificat.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.