The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity

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Overview

Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity—yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian ...

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The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity

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Overview

Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity—yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian contemplative tradition. What emerges is a radical view of Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s most important disciple, the one he considered to understand his teaching best. That teaching was characterized by a nondualistic approach to the world and by a deep understanding of the value of the feminine. Cynthia shows how an understanding of Mary Magdalene can revitalize contemporary Christianity, how Christians and others can, through her, find their way to Jesus’s original teachings and apply them to their modern lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590304952
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 162,644
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part 1 Mary Magdalene as Apostle

1 Mary Magdalene in the Canonical Gospels 3

2 The Woman with the Alabaster Jar 17

3 The "Gnostic" Gospels 30

4 The Gospel of Mary Magdalene 43

5 Dying and Rising 57

6 Winners and Losers 74

Part 2 Mary Magdalene as Beloved

7 Reclaiming the Path of Romantic Love 85

8 The Great Identity Theft 98

9 The Path of Conscious Love 111

10 The Bridal Chamber 126

11 Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the Bridal Chamber 139

12 Substituted Love 148

Part 3 Mary Magdalene as Unitive Wisdom

13 First Apostle 163

14 The Alchemical Feminine 169

15 Anointing and Anointed 181

16 Why France? 191

17 The Wisdom Mary Magdalene 206

Appendix 1 Mary Magdalene and the Song of Songs 221

Appendix 2 The Anointing according to John 233

Appendix 3 The Passion of Mary Magdalene 241

Notes 243

Index 275

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intuitive, Inspired, Meaningful

    THE MEANING OF MARY MAGDALENE is a profound and definite cut above all the other Magdalene tomes currently on the bookshelves. This powerful book puts the beauty of Mary Magdalene's message and the energy of divine love into an entirely new perspective. Rather than hypothesizing and rehashing clichéd and useless questions, Cynthia Bourgeault gets to the core and true essence of Mary Magdalene's loving presence. The Meaning Of Mary Magdalene is intuitively accurate and incredible. Beyond hype, beyond cliché, and above the asking of all those questions that don't really matter (such as the bloodline issue), The Meaning Of Mary Magdalene truly captures the essence and energy of Miriamne and the beloved relationship we can still feel vibrating through our very core--if we allow that spiritual download to energize and enlighten us. It's a relief to finally read an inspired author who truly understands. Thank you, Cynthia, for such a beautiful and clarifying work.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Informative Book!

    I'd also like to recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score" by R.A. Clark. It's revealing look at the power of forgiveness. If you ever felt trapped by anger, guilt, resentment and/or pain, then this book is for you.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    This is a book I could not put down. I was afraid, before reading it, that it might be another Dan Brown take on Mary Magdalene, but that is not the case at all. The author has done lots of research and makes a really plausible case for the beauty and necessity of the feminine as well as the masculine in the realization of our human potential. Well worth the read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 31, 2014

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    Posted May 8, 2012

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    Posted November 16, 2013

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