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The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle Paperback – January 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Readers who may be put off by Kurt's June 20 review indicating that the subject of this book, The Gospel of Mary Magdala, has been shown to be a fake should be advised that Kurt... Read morePublished 21 days ago by S. Mitchell
In June 2016, evidence has come to light that the parchment that this book is based on is probably a fake. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kurt
Interesting look at one of the most prominent Bible personas/Published 1 month ago by Carla L Crosby
One of my favorite books. I can see how the early Romans would not want us to know the truth about Mary. Even back then women weren't highly regarded. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Goldie