With the popularity of The Da Vinci Code, Mary Magdalene has become the "it girl" of biblical studies. Bard professor of religion Chilton (Rabbi Jesus; Rabbi Paul) adds another volume to the already groaning shelves of books on the enigmatic woman. As Chilton admits, the gospels contain very little explicit information about her, but he uses what fragments are there to imaginatively reconstruct her life and world. Mary's hometown, Magdala, was a wealthy Roman outpost, but contrary to legend, there is no indication that she was affluent. In fact, as Chilton points out, she came to Jesus in the garb of the poor; she was likely demon-possessed; and she was an outcast from her community. Drawing from the gospels (especially Luke 8), Gnostic writings and later Christian legends, Chilton shows the ways in which the Christian traditions have maligned Mary. Far from being simply the prostitute of legend, Chilton argues, Mary of Magdala offers us the spiritual gifts of dissolving evil (exorcism), providing unguents for sickness and sin (anointing) and understanding the truth of Resurrection (vision). While Chilton's rather stilted book is mostly speculative and offers little new information, it offers a satisfactory survey of attitudes toward Mary from the Middle Ages to today. (Nov.)
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The success of The Da Vinci Code (2003) has focused renewed attention on Mary Magdalene. Chilton, a writer experienced in biblical history, is among the latest to focus on the woman called "the apostle to the apostles." Chilton, who has previously written about Rabbi Jesus (2000) and Rabbi Paul (2004), says his goal is to use the texts but to get behind them. In Chilton's book on Paul, his own writings could be used as source material, but here Chilton has less to go on, forcing him to rely on speculation, sometimes almost ridiculously so. In reference to Mary's anointing of Jesus with her hair, for example, he writes, "Given the elegant gesture with her hair, it is more likely she pursued the proscribed profession of a hairdresser." Still, he does a good job of explaining Mary Magdalene's role in the male hierarchy and the symbol she has become in her own right.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Some good research and history. Unfortunately, entirely feckless as a presumed new "movement" The true movement of Jesus and Mary would have required each and all,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roberta/Mary
This is a scholarly, interesting presentation of Mary Magdalene in Jesus' life, but especially in the ministry of the Apostles and other disciples. Read morePublished 8 months ago by BookPath
Dr, Bruce Chilton strips away two millennia of fable and fantasy to bring to life one of the most important and least understood leaders of the early Christian church. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Marya R. Dodd
The writing is very good but the author had to stretch his reference materials quite a bit to get the story to hang together. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lawrence F. Pinson
but it wasn't what I hoped. I bought the book after seeing an interview with the author that led me to feel I might learn something about this fascinating lady. Read morePublished 17 months ago by John Bennett
This a good reference book because it covers a lot of aspects of Mary Magdalene. I will be using it in conjunction with others in a paper I am preparing.Published 19 months ago by Violet J. Berry
Throughout this entire book, the author referred to Jesus as Rabbi Jesus. I am a Christian woman, and Jesus is the son of God, not a Rabbi. Read morePublished on February 25, 2012 by Vicki Hoard
As a woman in the healing profession I found this book to be a gem: perhaps the most important book I've read in my life. Read morePublished on February 10, 2008 by Joan Amazon
Chilton illustrates to what extent MM acted as one of Jesus' disciples, how exorcism, annointing, and visions were valued, and how she was integral both as witness and herald of... Read morePublished on July 25, 2006 by AMuse