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The Gospel of Mary of Magdala

by Karen L. King

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391254,355 (3.67)3
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 Mary of Magdala offers a glimpse into the conflicts and controversies that shaped earliest Christianity.… (more)
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This was a very satisfying book; it told me much of what I wanted to know about The Gospel of Mary.

The book is organized into three sections. The first recounts the discovery and subsequent history of the documents (a Coptic version estimated to be about 40% complete, and 2 Greek fragments) with a new translation by King, overlapping portions shown side by side. The second section discusses the interpretation and meaning of the gospel itself, and the last part compares it to other early Christian works and attempts to show its place in the history and development of Christianity.

Ms King is exceedingly knowledgable, but the book reads like a series of college lectures to students who know little of the subject matter (and since she is a Harvard professor, perhaps they are!). She draws original conclusions and expresses opinions, but she clearly explains her bases and reasoning, and cites and explains differing theories. The only lingering question I have is how her translation differs from those made by others.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in gnosticism or early Christianity. ( )
1 vote ivyd | Nov 8, 2009 |
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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 Mary of Magdala offers a glimpse into the conflicts and controversies that shaped earliest Christianity.

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