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Collected together for the first time are the original Gospel of Mary, one of the "Gnostic Gospels," and three other secret texts that reveal the significant role Mary Magdalene played in Jesus' inner circle of disciples.
This is a new translation of the Gospel of Mary, as well as Meyer's translations of significant portions of other Gnostic gospels and texts in which Mary Magdalene plays a major part, including the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Thomas, Dialogues with the Saviour, and Pistis Sophia. Also included are the passages in the New Testament Gospels that feature Mary Magdalene, and they can now be read in a whole new light. Cumulatively, these texts reveal a vibrant oral tradition in which Mary Magdalene is not only a follower of Jesus but his companion and closest disciple.
The book will include lively historical introduction by Meyer, and an interpretive essay by Karen King at Harvard Divinity School, the foremost expert on the Gospel of Mary, whose translation and commentary on the Gospel of Mary is being published by an academic press in October '03.
One of the foremost scholars on Gnosticism now explores the fascinating and often misinterpreted woman known as Mary Magdalene. Following the recent whirl of interest in Mary Magdalene that was generated by The Da Vinci Code, Marvin Meyer (The Ancient Mysteries) delves into the earliest texts available to reveal a disciple of great spiritual maturity who was extremely influential in the survival of Christianity. Although he is doubtful of the grand conspiracies laid out in The Da Vinci Code, Meyers does believe that it was institutionalized sexism that caused Mary to be deliberately "marginalized" as a prostitute in the New Testament. "The portrait of Mary in literature and art as a reformed whore is impressive, but it is mistaken in terms of historical accuracy and literary interpretation," he asserts. "...It was not until the late sixth century that Po! pe Gregory the Great formally identified Mary Magdalene with the prostitute of Luke 7, and the identification stuck." In fact, Meyer claims that there is no convincing documentation to link Mary with the unnamed prostitute who washes Jesus' feet with her tears. Using his scholarly authority as well as extensive research supplied by Esther A. De Boer, Ph.D. (Mary Magdalene: Beyond the Myth), he helps Mary emerge from the shadows of Orthodox Church and gain her rightful place as the highly influential disciple and apostle of Jesus. He believes that Mary had a physical love relationship with Jesus, and was probably the mysterious "beloved" disciple that is mentioned in the Gospel of John. Furthermore, he believes that Jesus may have seen Mary as the most spiritually evolved disciple. Much of the book includes quotes and interpretations of the earliest literary sources available, including the recently discovered Gospel of Mary (written in the second century), as well as the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Peter, Thomas, and Phillip. --Gail Hudson
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