Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

There's Something About Mary....Magdalene

After 2000 years, Mary Magdalene is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

(This painting by Leonardo Da Vinci turned Mary Magdalene into a holy pin-up)

Ripped off, slandered, and marginalized by the orthodox, now newly discovered and published texts, the historical-critical method of biblical research, and renewed interest in spirituality has elevated her status considerably.

U.S. News and World Report features a cover story this week that isn't half-bad regarding the diversity of Christianities in the early decades after Jesus. Mary M. was revered in many of the other Christian communities as the one who knew and understood Jesus more than the other apostles.

There are a plethora of websites devoted to Mary Magdalene such as this one that celebrates "the mysteries of the woman that knew the all."

In January, I am going to lead the adult class on the person of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. You can read the Gospel here.

Jesus and His Kingdom of Nobodies is the title of a sermon I preached recently on the Gospel of Mary.

Three books I recommend include:

The Gospel of Mary of Magdala. This is an excellent historical work by Harvard Professor, Karen King. It is readable and includes a new translation by the Fellows of the Jesus Seminar (The Scholars' Version).

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. This is a spiritual/devotional work by Jean-Yves Leloup. He provides a translation that is easy to understand and touches the nuances and beauty of this work.

Secrets of Mary Magdalene
. Edited by Dan Burstein and Arne J. De Keijzer, this book is a collection of articles and essays regarding the person and myth of Mary Magdalene. Contributors include Elaine Pagels, Tori Amos, Karen King, Anna Quindlen Marvin Meyer, Bart Ehrman, Margaret Starbird, and many others who offer glimpses of Mary from a number of perspectives.

To explore Mary and the Gospel of Mary further check out Beliefnet, PBS, The Catholic Encyclopedia, The Gnostic Society, or just Google her name and explore!


  1. I guess I have a basic question, do you think is gospel? Just a question, since it is not really mentioned in your sermon?

    I read the portions you have in the link and I must say, it is quite different from what is the other gospels - actually mentions some of the ideas - and elaborates on others. It is definitely Gnostic, that's for sure, 'not that there's anything wrong with that' (Seinfeld)

    My opinion of this book, and some of the other Gnostic books, is they are elaborations on original texts they had around them - seems to me they added in ideas about matter and knowledge into it. I can't say they destroy the faith, in fact they don't whatsoever, in that they don't teach weird ethics outside of the current faith (morally). Just chiming in here.

  2. Hi! Welcome and thanks for chiming in. Do I think this is Gospel? Sure. I think it is good news. I don't think Mary wrote it. But that is not such a big deal. I understand most mainstream scholarship doesn't think that any of the apostles wrote any of the gospels. The names were later attributed to them. This Gospel was attributed to Mary.

    As I understand it, there were many competing groups and the group that identified with Mary thought about Jesus in this way. Some folks think that Mary's type of Christianity was earlier than that of the proto-orthodox. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy suggest that.

    That doesn't matter much to me, but it does to some others. I agree with you that they don't destroy the faith. Just different.