From Publishers Weekly
The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, a second-century gospel that was discovered in the 19th century and not published until 1955, shows Mary to be the apostle (yes, apostle) to whom Jesus revealed deep theological insights. King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School and author of What Is Gnosticism?, argues that the Gospel prefers inner spiritual knowledge to exterior forms such as the law and that it reveals some of the gender conflicts and spiritual divisions of the early Christian movement. King places translations of two extant fragments of the Gospel of Mary side by side, so readers can see the slight differences that appear in the originals. (Because approximately 10 pages of the Gospel are still lost, scholars believe we only have about half of its original material.) In the brief text, the male apostles are afraid and despondent after Jesus' post-resurrection departure, so Mary tries to cheer them by revealing some of the esoteric teachings that Jesus imparted to her alone. But the teachings cause discord, as Peter and others refuse to believe that Jesus would have given such "strange ideas" to a woman. ("Did he choose her over us?" a petulant Peter asks.) The bulk of King's book takes up various issues raised by the text-questions about the Son of Man, law, women's authority, visionary experiences and the body. This is a serious scholarly study with the apparatus of an academic book, including Coptic facsimiles of the papyrus, and Coptic and Greek phrases sprinkled throughout the text.
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This is a rich, rewarding, and eyeopening review of how the only gospel written in the name of a woman can reveal the depth and diversity of the early Christian community. Strongly recommended ... --Library Journal
Best faith books of 2003 ... accessible and fascinating ... This book will have special appeal to those interested in history and whose devotion to the New Testament has them searching for a deeper understanding of the origins of Christian scripture. --St. Louis Post Dispatch
Karen King s Gospel of Mary of Magdala is a book that many readers are waiting for a complete translation of the Gospel of Mary together with a lucidly written, marvelously informative discussion of where it comes from and what it means. --Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University