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299 of 307 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THe apostle to the apostles
Even in the canonical gospels Mary from Magdala was a remarkable woman. She followed Jesus, witnessed the crucifixion, saw the empty tomb and was one of the first, if not the very first person, the risen Christ appeared to. In Karen King's translation of the Gospel of Mary, she is no less remarkable.
Incomplete, brief and based on three fragments from the 5th and...
Published on December 30, 2003 by R. BULL

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62 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Theological Approach to the Gospel of Mary of Magdala
It is refreshing to see Karen King dispose of the church's habitual doctrine, incidentally without foundation or evidence from any of the gospels, that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. It is illuminating to appreciate also, from the actual gospel of Mary, that she was one of the most highly respected teachers in the original ministry of Jesus. However, King interprets...
Published on January 15, 2006 by Ms. Brenda Crowther


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299 of 307 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THe apostle to the apostles, December 30, 2003
By 
R. BULL "a reader" (Kansas City, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
Even in the canonical gospels Mary from Magdala was a remarkable woman. She followed Jesus, witnessed the crucifixion, saw the empty tomb and was one of the first, if not the very first person, the risen Christ appeared to. In Karen King's translation of the Gospel of Mary, she is no less remarkable.
Incomplete, brief and based on three fragments from the 5th and 3rd centuries the Gospel of Mary reveals what Andrew refers to as "strange ideas." In a dialogue first between the risen Savior and disciples, and then between the disciples themselves about a vision of Jesus and teachings revealed to Mary alone ideas are presented that are unique to this gospel although there are clearly echoes of these ideas in other sacred writings. For example, there is a distinction made between the material body and the soul with the true self defined as the soul alone. Sin exists only when the soul is distracted by passions of the body and therefore is estranged from spiritual concerns. The familiar, "seek and you will find" is interpreted as the need to seek inwardly to discover the spiritual that is within us all.
The teachings from Mary's vision of Christ are disputed by Andrew and denied by Peter who says he does not believe that Christ would tell a woman what he did not reveal to men. Levi confronts Andrew and Peter affirming that Mary is spiritually mature and as worthy as anyone. Levi then heeds the direction given by Jesus to go and teach the word.
Ms. King discusses the changing role of women in the early church and the gradual establishment of the canonical gospel. Perhaps most interesting of all, she emphasizes the variety and diversity of early church writings and beliefs reminding us that our religious heritage is much more unsettled and unsettling than out view from the present looking backwards may suggest.
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212 of 219 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse of Early Christianity, November 19, 2003
By 
William M. Linden (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
Karen L. King has written a groundbreaking book about the Gospel of Mary (of Magdala), a manuscript which was discovered in the dry sands of Egypt. King's study gives us glimpses of early Christianity which she believes was far more diverse than we had ever before imagined.
The Gospel of Mary (of Magdala) was written in the 2nd Century and purports to be a conversation between the resurrected Jesus, Peter, Andrew, Levi and Mary. Each of these people, of course, was an historical figure, but their roles in the Gospel of Mary not only includes what has been remembered of the historical people, but also the positions they have come to represent in the 2nd Century Christian Church. Of prime importance is the role of women in the leadership of the Christian Church. According to King, the historical Mary of Magdala probably was an eminent leader in the early Church and the role she plays in the book is an advocate of women's leadership. Peter is opposed to her and Andrew supports him. Levi plays a peace-making role and Mary is shown to understand the teachings of Jesus more than all of the other Apostles. After Jesus departs the scene in the book's dialogue, Mary steps into his place to comfort and encourage the others demonstrating that she is the most outstanding Disciple of all.
King takes a fleeting look at other newly-discovered manuscripts of Christian origins, giving the reader a kaleidoscope view of how much the early Christian communities had different theologies, all of which stemmed from the life the teachings of the Historical Jesus.
Karen King is an excellent scholar and I highly recommend her book, The Gospel of Mary (of Magdala). It is an education.
William M. Linden
Houston, Texas
BillLindenTX@aol.com
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Gospel of Mary" challenges our view of early Christianity, April 18, 2005
This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
Karen L. King is a Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University Divinity School. In "The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle," she turns her attention to deciphering the importance of this early piece of Christian literature. The Gospel of Mary was written early in the second century A.D. but then "disappeared for over fifteen hundred years until a single, fragmentary copy . . . came to light in the late nineteenth century." Additional fragments were discovered in 1917 and 1983. The first six pages and an additional four pages from the middle of the gospel are missing. The few pages that have been found provide a very different picture of early Christianity than that which has come down to us through the established canon. King's purpose in publishing this work is not to undermine the tradition of scripture, but rather to provide a better understanding of the forces at work that helped shape early Christianity.

The entire gospel takes place after the resurrection of Jesus. He has appeared to the disciples one last time, instructing them regarding the nature of sin. Jesus tells them that sin comes from people not recognizing their true spiritual nature and instead focusing on the things of this world. After this final teaching, he directs them to go out and preach his word, and then he departs. The disciples are left, but instead of rushing out to preach, they fear for their lives. Mary Magdalene is the only one who remains steadfast and she seeks to comfort the others. Peter asks her to share any of Jesus' teaching that she alone might possess. Mary relates a vision that she had in which Jesus described the soul's departure from this world and the powers that would attempt to stop it from ascending to its final resting place. As she finishes her account, her testimony is attacked by Peter and Andrew. Peter declares that Jesus would not have given such information to a woman and that he would not have chosen her over the male disciples. Andrew questions the teaching because it appears "strange." Levi ultimately comes to her defense.

King offers a comparative study of the "Gospel of Mary." She looks at the other gospel writings, the letters of Paul, and other early Christian writings that have come to light. She also delves into the cultural framework of the day. She discusses the sources that the writer of "The Gospel of Mary" may have had at his or her disposal and the questions that the writer may have been trying to answer. In light of the male-dominated Church that has existed for most of the past two millennia, an interesting facet is the position of women as leaders. "By supporting Mary, the 'Gospel of Mary' makes it clear that leadership is to be based upon spiritual achievement rather than on having a male body."

It is also interesting to note that in a time before the Nicene Creed existed, the gospel was associated with Mary in order to claim apostolic authority for its teachings, much as the other gospel literature of the first and second centuries came to be ascribed to apostles or their followers."

"The Gospel of Mary" is interesting reading. It gives the reader a better impression of early Christianity as a fluid organism in development. These were people truly struggling to understand the Lord's teachings and how best to carry out his directives. The Church of today has much more in common with early Christianity than we might expect.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "The Spiritual Woman Newsletter ([...]) and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004)
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit out of a hat, June 25, 2005
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This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
How did Karen King pull a riveting 200 page rabbit out of an ancient, several page long hat? The good news that it was no trick. This gospel and King's commentary are substantial.

I have a special place in my heart for scholars who can reach me at my level: not by dumbing down their message but by lifting me up via gifted explanation. Karen King is indeed gifted.

That gift consists not just of knowledge and communication skills, but of a deep honesty that keeps her open and, it seems, a deep humanity that enables her to reach out to scholars and laypeople alike. Although the role of women is necessarily a vital part of "The Gospel of Mary" and of this book, as a male reader I felt totally included. The author of "The Gospel of Mary" and Karen King both speak to all of us. It is difficult not to feel proud of Mary (and King) and distressed that so many men have failed to extend the same inclusiveness to women.

Before being lost, "The Gospel of Mary" was circulated for several centuries: hopefully now it and King's "Gospel of Mary of Magdala" will be known for many more. As King translated from this gospel: "Anyone with two ears capable of hearing should listen!"
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121 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Readable, November 25, 2003
By 
Peter Kenney (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
THE GOSPEL OF MARY OF MAGDALA is a scholarly work written in a very readable style. One of the main benefits of reading this book is the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of the many different competing ideas which flourished during the early years of Christianity. The Gospel of Mary represents one viewpoint which just happened to lose favor in the long run. Anyone interested in topics such as women's leadership in the church or the authority of apostolic tradition will surely enjoy Karen L. King's latest publication.
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95 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly work should not be confused with a work of faith, February 28, 2004
This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
Reviewers who downgrade this scholarly work have confused their beliefs with an impartial evaluation of the merit of this book.
The scholarship here allows us to have a glimpse of the early Christian era separate and apart from the politics--and power--established by the Church.
To say that the Bible in its current form fell from heaven is to preach ignorance, and anyone who wants to know the truth about Jesus and his message will embrace this and other scholarly works if they love the truth.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally an eye opener, July 5, 2006
This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
I love reading this book as it shows the mindset of christianity in its early stages. It is interesting after reading several gospels the irenias declared as heriesies you have to ask who qualified him to choose what gospels were right for the rest of us and which were not. Overall this book rocks and is very informative. If you as a christian who just likes to go to church and are not interested in where christianinty was then you will not like this book as it clearly goes against the version we grew up to believe is true. However if you want to know what the compitition was and a fresh glimplse in what the roman church tried to surpress in the few decades after the beath if Jesus then this book will be very intriging. I appoligize for my spelling.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So who was Mary anyway?, April 13, 2004
By 
pdenney (Matawan, NJ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
WOW! This book will open the eyes of those who are willing to consider Mary Magdalene in ways other than the ways orthodox tradition has portrayed her. If you're looking to broaden your ideas of the role of Mary during post crucifixion times, this is the book for you. Karen L. King provides examples from scripture and texts from early Christianity to back up her statements. It's easy reading, yet thought provoking.
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62 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Theological Approach to the Gospel of Mary of Magdala, January 15, 2006
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This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
It is refreshing to see Karen King dispose of the church's habitual doctrine, incidentally without foundation or evidence from any of the gospels, that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. It is illuminating to appreciate also, from the actual gospel of Mary, that she was one of the most highly respected teachers in the original ministry of Jesus. However, King interprets the gospel of Mary theologically and this may not suit all tastes. Although there is a strong element of the mystical in her writing, it does not encompass too much the psychospiritual aspect of Christianity. Theology seems to be Karen King's main force, and this weight in the text makes it difficult to finish (unusual for me) as I felt she closed many loop holes with theology without considering wider psychological impacts. I come from a Jungian frame personally, so feel inclined to buy another version of the Gospel which interprets it differently. It's a very thorough book and would recommend it for that.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Dissertation on Mary of Magdala, March 8, 2010
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This review is from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Paperback)
Jesus Christ In His Own WordsThe Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle
By Karen L. King

Get out your dictionary as Professor King turns the eight pages of the Gospel of Mary into 190 with words such as: interlocutor, eschatological, exegetical, tendentiously, anachronistically, hegemonic, and many more. It's an education and she certainly is an educator!

This extraordinarily comprehensive book allows us every insight not only to the three incomplete and parallel gospels of Mary Magdalene, but of the historical and philosophical context in which they were written.
Professor King introduces us to three separate discoveries of gospels attesting to the revelations of Jesus to his most enlightened follower, Mary of Magdala; discoveries that took place in northern Egypt.

No date or circumstance is given surrounding the discoveries of the Oxyrynchus manuscripts, yet it is astounding that ancient texts, in different languages, hundreds of miles and hundreds of years apart tell the same story; Mary Magdalene was the one truly enlightened by Jesus and chosen to guide the others.
King gives us a detailed history of the early movements of Judeo-Christianity and its offshoots, of the influence of the Greek philosophers Plato and the Stoics. Curiously, there is no mention of the Cynics, a 500BC Hellinistic cult, that foreswore materialism, and lived in the streets, without shoes or worldly goods. And more curiously still is the absence of any of the persecutions of the early Christians at the hands of the Romans.
The misogynistic attitudes of Paul, Plato, Tertullian, and the disciples as they relate to the "place" of women at this time in history is appalling to the modern mind, i.e., (Paul) "Women must remain silent and subordinate." (Plato) "Cowardly and unrighteous men will return to this world as women." But why should we be shocked? This is still common in the Middle-East and in practices closer to home. What's shocking is that this belief system is the foundations of a dogma spread in the modern world to 2.1 billion Christians. King clearly sets forth misconceptions of the role of female spiritual leadership as a "product of jealousy and deep misunderstanding of the Savior's intentions."
Throughout several chapters King compares the Gospel of Mary to all other known Christian texts: the New Testament Gospels, Thomas, Philip, the Pistis Sophia. Many of these share commonalities with one another, but the Gospel of Mary is entirely unique in composition. The Gospel of Mary's interpretation of Son of Man is never to Jesus but to the true Child of Humanity within each and every one of us. Gender is relative only to the world of matter, which will cease. There is no value seen in punishment or suffering, nor is there any notion of hell, and God is referred to only as The Good.
The greatest atrocity of the Catholic Church against the woman who was Jesus' companion was the edict of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) stating that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute. In a 1969 footnote in ecclesiastical history, the Vatican apologized.
A detailed and thorough account of Mary Magdalene. This is the ultimate guide to the woman Jesus chose above the others.

By Elizabeth Wallace author & illustrator of Jesus Christ In His Own Words:
a Compilation of the Canonical and Gnostic Gospels.Jesus Christ In His Own Words
JesusChristinHisownwords(dot)com
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The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle
The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle by Karen L. King (Paperback - January 1, 2003)
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