The Gospel Of Mary Of Magdala

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Lost for more than fifteen hundred years, the Gospel of Mary is the only existing early Christian gospel written in the name of a woman. Karen L. King tells the story of the recovery of this remarkable gospel and offers a new translation. This brief narrative presents a radical interpretation of Jesus' teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge. It rejects his suffering and death as a path to eternal life and exposes the view that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute for what it is a piece of theological fiction. The Gospel of May of Magdala offers a fascinating glimpse into the conflicts and controversies that shaped earliest Christianity.

Includes complete photos of the Berlin Codex, Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3525, and the Rylands Papyrus

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Editorial Reviews

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. (Nov.) Forecast: The unexpected popularity of the novel The Da Vinci Code has boosted sales of various religion books that deal with the Gnostic gospels-Elaine Pagels's bestseller Beyond Belief and different translations of the Gospel of Thomas. The Da Vinci effect may well work its esoteric magic here, even though this is clearly not a book for the dilettante. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
King (ecclesiastical history, Harvard Divinity Sch.) is one of the foremost interpreters of gnosticism for the contemporary lay audience and author of the outstanding introduction What Is Gnosticism? Here she translates, interprets, and provides historical context for the fifth-century Coptic manuscript of this gospel, whose central voice is Mary Magdalene. The author demonstrates that this gospel, composed around the early part of the second century and similar to other noncanonical gnostic or heretical writings, exemplifies the diversity of Christian understandings of Jesus' mission before the establishment of a male-dominated orthodox position in the time of Constantine. The Gospel of Mary presents an alternative view of Jesus as bringer of salvation through spiritual knowledge rather than through atonement on the cross. Mary of Magdala is portrayed here as the first to see the spiritual (not physical) risen Christ. The legend that she was a prostitute was an invention of the later authorities, who transformed the image of the most prominent early female believer from apostle to repentant whore. 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 for all libraries.-William P. Collins, Library of Congress Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780944344583
  • Publisher: Polebridge Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 119,760
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations & Sigla
Pt. I The Gospel of Mary
1 Introduction 3
2 Translation & Text 13
3 Gospel, Revelation, Dialogue 29
Pt. II The Savior's Teaching in the Gospel of Mary
4 The Body & the World 37
5 Sin, Judgment, & Law 49
6 The Son of Man 59
7 Vision & Mind 63
8 The Rise of the Soul 69
9 Controversy over Mary's Teaching 83
Pt. III The Gospel of Mary in Early Christianity
10 The Jesus Tradition 93
11 Paul 119
12 The Gospel of John 129
13 The Apostles 135
14 The History of Christianity 155
Notes 191
Terms & Sources 213
Works Cited 216
Index of Citations 227
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2005

    Highly Readable

    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 reading Karen L. King's provocative publication.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2006

    A new look

    This raises all new questions much like the gospel of Judas showing the other disciples to be childish and self absorbed. A good book showing how things looked from another perspective, it's now wonder why it was left out of the bible. In all of the other books of the bible any counting of people did not include women and children, showing in fact that women were not considered to be worth much, much like women in the middle east today.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2005

    A True inspriation into the other story

    This is truly a wonderful work of an insight to who Mary Magdeliene was, the second closes person to the greatest man on the face of the earth. It gives us the same meaning to the gospels and lets in the facts that women along with men will be as equal in the KIngdom of Heaven. A clear picture of a more meaningful knowledge of what the master,Jesus, was saying to all of us, with Mary leading the way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    A brilliant analysis

    King begins the study with her translation of the Berlin Codex and compares it to copies of the gospel found elsewhere. She places the document in its historical context magnificently, arguing that while the gospel should not be identified as "gnostic", it promotes Christ's teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge and denies the orthodox view that only males can pass on this knowledge. More important, King points out that this is one of several texts that demonstrate the wide range of Christian belief systems prior to establishment of the cannon and orthodoxy in the 4th century.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

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