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The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity Paperback – September 14, 2010
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“A spiritual masterpiece, and by far the wisest and most profound book ever written on Mary Magdalene.”—Andrew Harvey, author of Son of Man and Hope: A Guide to Sacred Action
“A remarkable invitation into the origins and wisdom of Christianity, through the apostolic witness of Mary Magdalene. Expect a challenge, perhaps more than you ’re ready for. This book should change something, as it invites you to deepen your capacity for love, through the witness of Jesus ’s beloved disciple.”—The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schiori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
“It takes courage, intelligence, maturity, but mostly Christian intuitive wisdom to write a book such as this. Cynthia Bourgeault succeeds grandly!”—Richard Rohr, OFM, author of The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See
“Pastor, scholar, mystic . . . Cynthia Bourgeault is all of these, but never before has she combined them so compellingly and persuasively, and—dare one say it?—so efficaciously as here in this work that lives so close to the center of her own being.”—Phillis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why
“Bourgeault masterfully takes the best of tradition, history, and recent scholarship, sums it up with clarity, and then respectfully and artfully flings open new doors of insight, wisdom, and possibility. She offers completely unique and stirring insights about Mary Magdalene.”—Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction
“This is not simply another book on Mary Magdalene along the lines of Dan Brown or the Holy Blood/Holy Grail authors. Yes, Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopal priest, is making an argument about the relationship between Magdalene and Jesus, an argument that is certainly controversial, and in lesser hands has been badly distorted. However, Bourgeault does it in a way that is grounded both spiritually and academically.”—Parabola
About the Author
Cynthia Bourgeault, PhD, is an Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader. She is the author of several books, including Chanting the Psalms and Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.
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Top customer reviews
My major objection to the book is it's extensive reliance on Phillip's gospel, a collection of disconnected gnostic writings thrown together largely by writers in the Valentinian tradition of theology. (Read about this theology and about Valentinus for yourself, and then make up your mind about how much validity to accord this offbeat tradition.) I feel that Phillip's gospel is given undeserved credence by various writers who want to buttress their view of Jesus and Mary being lovers.
However, Bourgeault has written a liberating book that helps advance the role of the feminine into current Christian thinking - which too often tends to be under the shadow of centuries of patriarchal domination. She argues convincingly about how the synoptic gospels and the book of Acts maximize the role of males as the only twelve "apostles", at the expense of Mary Magdalene and the other committed women in Jesus's entourage. (I for one, have never figured out the difference between an apostle, a disciple, and a committed follower of Jesus.)
Finally, she encourages and challenges us to a more expansive vision of our capacity for love, one that enables us to bring out our self at best.
Rev. Stephen G. Prichard