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Mad Mary: A Bad Girl from Magdala, Transformed at His Appearing Paperback – August 20, 2002

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Higgs fans have wondered why Mary Magdalene, an obvious choice as a bad girl of the first order, didn't appear in Higgs's popular Bad Girls of the Bible and Really Bad Girls of the Bible. She warrants an entire book to herself, says Higgs one reason being that Mary Magdalene turns out not to have been a bad girl at all, but one who has gotten "two thousand years of bad press." Higgs offers painstaking biblical exegesis to demonstrate how Mary Magdalene has been "myth-understood." For example, Higgs shows that there's no biblical evidence that Mary was a prostitute, and claims that she was probably old enough to be Jesus' mother. (She was most likely older, since when she is listed with Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene's name appears first in almost every instance.) She was a woman of independent means, supporting Jesus' ministry with her financial generosity. She was not the woman who anointed Jesus' feet with oil (that was yet another Mary, Mary of Bethany). Finally, and most importantly, she was the person Jesus appeared to first after his Resurrection and entrusted with the news of his appearing. Although biblical scholars have long rejected the idea of Mary Magdalene as a scarlet harlot, few books have offered these ideas to the hoi polloi; Higgs, with her conversational style and characteristic humor, is the perfect author to popularize such scholarship. While Jesus no doubt redeemed Mary Magdalene's soul, Higgs has nobly rehabilitated her reputation.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

?Here?s the truth, sister: Mary Magdalene has been knocking at the door of my heart for three years.
?She got squeezed out of Bad Girls of the Bible when I realized I needed more time to research her complex story. Then she was dropped from the roster for Really Bad Girls of the Bible because Tamar and Bathsheba took up more than their allotted pages. (Pushy, huh?) Now I know the real reason why Mary M waited so patiently in the wings: She deserves a book all her own!
?Come meet the genuine Mary Magdalene of the Bible?not the scarlet-draped legend?and follow her one-of-a-kind story of deliverance and dedication, despair and declaration. Like my previous Bad Girls books, Mad Mary begins with the fictional journey of Mary Margaret Delaney, a bad woman?or was it madwoman??adrift in contemporary Chicago, desperate for someone to save her from herself.

?Once Mary Delaney?s story has prepared our hearts for learning, we?ll leave the Windy City and go verse by verse through Mary of Magdala?s ancient biblical tale, tossing aside modern misconceptions as we embrace the real Mary M.
?Prepare to be amazed by this eye-opening sister who was transformed twice when You-Know-Who showed up and spoke her name. Oh, Mary!?
? Liz Curtis Higgs

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (August 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578566967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578566969
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,241,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Liz Curtis Higgs admits, "My goal is simple: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon!"

Her latest release, It's Good to Be Queen, encourages readers to become as bold, gracious, and wise as the queen of Sheba, who journeyed across the desert to test the mind and heart of King Solomon.

In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books and videos, Liz breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous--and intriguing--women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God's grace anew.

Liz also offers a twenty-first century take on the book of Ruth in The Girl's Still Got It, dishing out meat and milk, substance and style, in a highly readable, always entertaining, and deeply personal journey.

And you'll find a heartwarming Bible study wrapped inside a beautiful gift book with The Women of Christmas. Verse by verse, Liz unwraps the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, who each welcome the Christ child into the world in a marvelous and miraculous way.

Liz's award-winning historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Dinah, Ruth, and Naomi to eighteenth-century Scotland, also invite readers to view these familiar biblical characters in a new light.

According to Publishers Weekly, "Higgs is a stickler for period authenticity." To that end, Liz has traveled sixteen times to Scotland, the setting for her novels, and has filled her shelves with nearly one thousand resource books about Scottish history and culture.

Also a gifted professional speaker, Liz has presented more than 1,700 inspirational programs for audiences in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries. When the National Speakers Association honored her with the Council of Peers Award for Excellence, Liz became one of only 35 women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame.

On the personal side, Liz is married to Bill Higgs, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking and writing office. Liz and Bill enjoy their old Kentucky home, a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville, and are the proud (and relieved) parents of two college grads.

"I have three abiding passions: encouraging my sisters in Christ, exploring the stories of women in the Bible, and writing novels set in Scotland of old. When I'm not traveling, speaking, or spinning a story, I connect with readers online, take copious photos, read historical novels, watch period films, and immerse myself in research--the more books, the merrier. I'm a lame housekeeper, a marginal cook, and a mediocre gardener, but home is still my favorite place to land."

Visit Liz's Web site:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Soozie4Him VINE VOICE on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps you have read Liz Curtis Higgs' books "Bad Girls of the Bible" and "Really Bad Girls of the Bible". Each book tells the story of those notorious women of the Bible whose stories exemplify God's grace. In these books, Liz writes a contemporary short story dealing with these women.
In the preface of this book, she said that in thinking about what women to put in her two previous books, she realized that Mary Magdalene needed a book all to herself!
The first half of the book is a fictional account about Mary Margaret Delaney, a contemporary "type" of Mary Magdalene. This part of the book alone is reason enough to buy the book! The writing is fabulous, and the story really draws you in.
But there is an excellent study that takes up the last half of the book. You will enjoy joining Liz with your Bible open, to better understand this woman that we THINK we know all about, but really don't! Liz quickly dispels any pre-conceived notions we have about Mary M's background. I'll let you read it for yourself to find out the details!
Great food for thought! Study questions at the end of each chapter make this book a WONDERFUL one to study with your small group!
Please check out my other reviews of Christian books (and Christian music)!
May God bless you in your study of His Word!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sara on August 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading Liz Curtis Higg's previous works, "Bad Girls of the Bible" and "Really Bad Girls of the Bible," I, too, was left wondering why she left out the "baddest" girl of the them all, Mary Magdalene. Well, this book more than made up for the omission. And it turns out, Mary wasn't that bad at all--she wasn't a prostitute like most people believe, she wasn't the one who annointed Jesus' feet, and she was never in love with Jesus. The only bad thing that happened to her was that she was possessed by demons (and haven't we all been at some point in our lives?...just kidding). Misinterpretation of her story by a patriarchal medieval Catholic Church is what gave her the bad reputation. Thank God Liz came along to set things straight! She explores who Mary Magdalene REALLY was through careful study of her appearances in the New Testament. (And as always, Liz makes Bible study accessible to everyone, even those who have never touched a Bible in their lives.) If anything, Mary Magdalene was a powerful and influential woman in her day--she was independently wealthy, she wasn't married at the time so she was free to follow Jesus as she chose, and Jesus Himself placed great importance upon her within his circle of followers. In fact, it was she (and none of the other (male) disciples) whom He chose to appear to first and foremost after His resurrection. That's got to say something about the woman herself!
What I love most about Liz's books is that she tells us how God EMPOWERS women. After living though so many centuries of the Christian church being run by men and limiting women's involvment, many have come to see as Christianity being "anti-woman." But according to Liz, this is not true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michele on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have really enjoyed Liz Curtis Higgs' Scottish historical series, so thought I'd give one of her earlier, non-fiction books a try. I don't know exactly what I was expecting -- some new insight into Mary Magdalene, I suppose -- but overall I was disappointed.

Although Higgs doesn't lack for writing skill, it was the tone of the book that put me off more than anything. The first two-thirds of the book is called "The Story", where she translates the story of Mary Magdalene into a modern-day setting (even translating the Biblical characters' names into modern versions). It was a good idea -- Mary is a severely depressed woman driven to near madness by loneliness and grief over her divorce and her daughter's suicide, who exhibits many of the traits we typically connect with the mentally deranged: poor hygiene, filthy living conditions including numerous cats, etc. And there were some passages, namely those dealing with the inner thoughts and feelings of Mary and Jake (her pastor who is the modern-day version of Jesus) when each is alone, that were thoughtful and well-done. However, the majority of "The Story" dealt with Jake and the members of his fledgling inner-city church, and was comprised of their interactions and conversations, and these were the parts that rankled. Every conversation was filled with teasing and wisecracks -- one of Jake's congregants even talks back to him while he's preaching. And one old man, who doesn't feel Mary belongs in their church (and who was obviously supposed to be a modern-day embodiment of the Biblical Pharisees), is so openly hostile that I found it overdone to the point of ridiculousness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on October 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a scholarly book about Mary Magdalene, you're probably better off reading Margaret Starbird or Jane Schaberg. But if you want a well written story about the life of Mary, then this book is for you. Higgs is a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction, and sometimes she blurs the lines. Her previous books on Bad Girls in the Bible were just a prelude to this one book on Mary, which is actually two books in one - the first half is a fictional story and the second half is the factional stone. I say "factional" rather than non-fiction because Higgs is very liberal in her interpretation of the gospels and rarely does she address alternate theories.

Higgs' discussion of Mary Magdalene assumes that Mary is not Mary from Bethany, yet there are a great many reasons to assume she is, and Higgs ignores most of these issues in her zeal to isolate Mary M as only the woman from whom 7 demons are exorcized. Yet in focusing exclusively on this aspect of Mary's story, Higgs seems oblivious to the meaning of the 7 demons within 1st Century jewish context. Moreover, she takes the easy road by assuming that Magdalene refers to the fact that Mary came from Magadan, when it makes more sense that Magdalene derived from Migdal (tower) and referred to the fact that Mary was the "tower", which, as Margaret Starbird points out, is equivalent to saying "Mary the Great". Jesus' disciples all had nicknames (Peter was called Rocky, John and James were the Brothers of Thunder, Judas was the Daggerman, Simon was the Zealot, etc.) None of these nicknames referred to places but to personality characteristics, so "Mary the Great" is in keeping with Jesus' nicknaming stragey, and "Mary from Magadan" is not.

Don't let these criticisms stop you from reading this book. It is a quick read, quite funny in parts, and generally stays true to the gospels. It is informative up to a point. I recommend it, with some cautions.
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