Marvin Meyer is one of the leading experts on the secret gospels—Gospel of Thomas, Secret Gospel of Mark, and others—who has changed forever how we read the canonical gospels and understand early Christianity. In this new collection of his work, Meyer looks at these revolutionary texts in original and illuminating ways.
He writes, for example, about the naked youths in the villa of the Mysteries. On the walls of a villa in Pompeii, a famous mural depicts a naked male reading from a scroll, a look of wonder on his face. A naked youth again appears in the Gospel of Mark, abandoning his garment and fleeing naked when apprehended during Jesus' arrest. A similar youth appears in the Secret Gospel of Mark. These youths, Meyer proposes, serve as an image of religious initiation, candidates for the mysteries of Dionysus or of Christ.
This is one of the many aspects of the secret gospels that Meyer examines with expert insight and creativity. Topics range from gender and infancy stories to discipleship and the relationship of the Gospel of Thomas to Islamic literature. Meyer's spellbinding readings of these materials offer fresh understandings of the canonical gospels.
Marvin Meyer is Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies, and Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Chapman University, Orange, California. He is author of The Secret Teachings of Jesus: Four Gnostic Gospels and The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, and co-editor of Jesus Then and Now (Trinity Press International).