The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene: A Novel

Overview

"An assured tour de force of passion. The power with which it reclaims spiritual and sexual strength for women cannot be ignored."—Time Out London
In the parched soil of Provence, a fifth gospel has been discovered: Mary Magdalene's account of Jesus' teachings and her vital relationship with him. It is a book of revelation, for it unveils a new Christianity, one that embraces the female equally with the male and acknowledges-and celebrates-the spirituality of women. It is also a passionate story of love and loss,...

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Overview

"An assured tour de force of passion. The power with which it reclaims spiritual and sexual strength for women cannot be ignored."—Time Out London
In the parched soil of Provence, a fifth gospel has been discovered: Mary Magdalene's account of Jesus' teachings and her vital relationship with him. It is a book of revelation, for it unveils a new Christianity, one that embraces the female equally with the male and acknowledges-and celebrates-the spirituality of women. It is also a passionate story of love and loss, of separation and rebirth, centered on the Magdalene as the wellspring of womanhood.
In this dramatic tale Michele Roberts offers a brilliant and moving vision of Jesus that is also startlingly modern in its conclusions. Perhaps most importantly, it confirms her stature as one of the most talented and exciting writers of her generation.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A controversial early novel by a noted British writer, published in the U.S. for the first time, imagines a fifth and feminist gospel, written by Jesus' lover, Mary Magdalene. The author of 11 novels, Roberts (Reader, I Married Him, 2006, etc.) has frequently explored the subjects of women and spirituality. This book, first published in the U.K. as The Wild Girl in 1984, proposes a more gender-balanced version of Christianity. Mary herself is a combination of Mary of Bethany (sister to Martha and Lazarus) and Magdalene the sinner. In Roberts' imagination, she is still a prostitute, but also a visionary given to mystical dreams, spontaneous songs and speeches, in a society in which women are second-class citizens. She meets Jesus when Lazarus brings him home and quickly becomes "the companion of the Saviour," i.e. his lover and one of the key women in his group of disciples. After a year of traveling and preaching, the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the arrest, trial and crucifixion, it is Mary who sees the risen Christ first and hears the messages for his followers. But Simon Peter-the repressed celibate antithesis to Mary's earthy inclusiveness-rejects her upholding of male and female integration and union as so much women's talk. Only when 11 male disciples see Him does the mission to preach the new faith begin, under Simon Peter's leadership, with an all-male priesthood that excludes Mary's egalitarianism. She, Martha, the Lord's mother and a woman named Salome plan their own mission but find themselves shipwrecked near Massilia (Marseilles), where Mary gives birth to her daughter Deborah, then finishes the book. Passionate, sensual, politically fervent and oddly compelling.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933648569
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michle Roberts is the author of eleven novels, including Daughters of the House, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize and winner of the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and Reader, I Married Him and The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene. She lives in England.

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