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    Default Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene?


    Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene?


    So many legends, apocryphal stories and layers of myth have accrued to the figure of Mary Magdalene that the only honest answer is that we can’t really be sure. She certainly existed, and it is now accepted that she was a major apostle in Jesus’s group of disciples.

    The issue for readers is that the author of The Da Vinci Code presents Mary Magdalene as the wife of Jesus, the mother of his children, and the progenitor of the subsequent royal Davidic bloodline. This is what we have to accept at least for the duration of reading the book, or else we lose the author’s purpose. For comprehensive details concerning this popular hypothesis, readers might care to consult other sources - for instance, genealogist Laurence Gardner’s Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Lynn Picknett’s Mary Magdalene, Barbara Thiering’s Jesus the Man, Margaret Starbird’s The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, and Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail..

    Although detractors of this theory point to its relatively recent appearance in the vast literature relating to Jesus and his relationship with Mary Magdalene, there have, in fact, been similar speculations over the centuries, including by some highly respected religious figures, Martin Luther among them.

    The theory was given additional substance (and, it must be admitted, increased opportunity for some imaginative theorising) as old parchments and scrolls have been uncovered in their centuries-old hiding-places. There are documents in the possession of both Church and layman establishments that have not yet been released, possibly because they have not yet been decrypted. It is almost certain that many more will be found, and that together these are likely to help clarify the picture one way or the other.

    What is now known quite definitely is that Mary Magdalene was a woman of substance, a loyal supporter and follower of Jesus and, it is now thought, very likely his most important and most-loved apostle. It was to her that he revealed himself when he re-appeared after his crucifixion, and it was she whom he asked to reveal his living presence to the other apostles.

    ‘Mary of Bethany’ anointed the head of Jesus with spikenard in the house of Lazarus (Simon Zelotes) in Bethany. (See Matthew 26:6-7 and Mark14:3.) Spikenard is an ancient and very costly aromatic ointment that was used only on special occasions, including in ritual observances between those to be committed to each other in marriage. In John 11:1-3 we are told that the same woman anointed the feet of Jesus later, using spikenard that filled the house with its perfume. Luke (7:37-38) reports that a woman anointed the feet of Jesus with ointment and then wiped them with her long hair, and John (11:1-2) tells us that this woman was Mary.

    Laurence Gardner points out in Bloodline of the Holy Grail that Mary had performed this same ritual three months after the wedding feast at Cana which had taken place “two and a half years earlier”.

    He notes that on both occasions Jesus was seated at table like the king in The Song of Solomon: “While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” (The Song of Solomon, 1:12) Gardner relates Mary’s act of devotion to an ancient rite concerning the preparation of the bridegroom’s table by the bride and says that using spikenard was specific to the ritual of both the First and Second Marriage ceremonies. In keeping with Messianic tradition, only the wife of Jesus, he says, would have been permitted to perform these ceremonies of sacred anointment. (pp. 86-87)

    We are on firmer ground regarding the identity of Mary than we are concerning the later role she played. The ‘Mary of Bethany’ label seems to have resulted from the fact that Martha and Mary are referred to as ‘sisters’ in the house of Lazarus of Bethany (whose real name was Simon Zelotes), but this was a titular term rather like that applied to nuns of a religious order and does not indicate that they were blood relations. Mary’s actual name was Sister Miriam Magdala… or Mary of Magdala; that is, Mary Magdalene.

    It is of significance that in some ascetic and spiritually devout Jewish groups of the Qumran period, ‘Miriam’ (or ‘Mary’) was a title of some distinction as it indicated that the bearer was the leader of the women in her particular group and also took part in the formal ministry along with the male leaders, the ‘Moses’ figures.

    Genealogist Laurence Gardner states that Mary Magdalene’s father was the Chief Priest, Syrus the Jairus, and therefore second only to the High Priest. The Jairus Priest, he says, had been a hereditary position from the time of King David and was handed down only through the descendants of Jair. (See Numbers 32:41)

    Mary Magdalene would have been a fitting marriage partner for Jesus, who was heir to the royal line of David, for she was descended through her mother from the royal house of Israel, the Hasmonaean royal line, and a daughter of the tribe of Benjamin to which Israel’s first anointed king, Saul, had also belonged.

    The tribes of Benjamin and Judah had been supportive of each other from early tribal times, and if there were indeed a joining of the two royal lines by marriage it would have been seen by many Jews as a positive and healing factor at a time when there was much dissension among them, as well as a pervasive hopelessness owing to the seemingly all-powerful overlordship of Rome.

    The figure of Mary Magdalene that is emerging from the bewildering mixture of fact, legend and religious tinkering is a far cry from the now officially rejected Biblical myth of the reformed prostitute.

    Scribes of the Roman Church embroidered on the New Testament description of Mary Magdalene as a “sinner”, ignoring the fact that this merely referred to the celibate almah state to which she was obliged to adhere at a particular time in terms of her religious culture. A plausible theory is that the male-dominated Church manipulated the term to impugn Mary Magdalene’s character by describing her as a harlot, and this was reinforced in the sixth century by Pope Gregory I’s inaccurate proclamation that Mary was a reformed prostitute. Even here, though, one cannot be sure of the facts, as author, Sharan Newman, among others, claims that Gregory’s words have, in turn, been misinterpreted and that he did not intend that Mary Magdalene should be labelled a prostitute. His words nonetheless had exactly that effect.

    If the intention to label Mary Magdalene as a harlot was never there, one wonders why, in 1969, the Vatican issued its rather low-key retraction. This should have removed seventeen centuries of calumny from Mary Magdalene’s name, but largely did not do so. It is known that retractions typically receive much less publicity than did the original untrue statements and so continue to be believed by the public at large. And so it is with the accusations against the character of Mary Magdalene.

    Mary Magdalene is increasingly seen as one of the major feminist icons of our time. Books about her proliferate, and some of the stories that exalt her in this new role are probably as exaggerated as those that earlier diminished her.

    In some places, especially in France, to which she might have fled after the Crucifixion, adulation of “the Magdalen” has become a thriving industry.

    Are we ever likely ever to know the real Mary Magdalene? At this stage, it seems unlikely. But as more historical material from her own time becomes available, we will be able to form a picture that will be closer to the flesh-and-blood woman whom Jesus undoubtedly loved, whether as wife or as devoted follower and friend.

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    Default The Real Mary Magdalene

    For 1,500 years, Christians regarded the woman so close to Jesus as a reformed prostitute. Now, evidence suggests this may have been part of a devious smear campaign by the early church to remove women from the clergy.

    It is believed that Mary Magdalene traveled with and provided for Jesus and his followers.

    Was Mariamne Mary Magdalene? Mary "the Master"



    A behind-the-scenes discussion with Simcha Jacobovici, maker of the documentary movie The Lost Tomb of Jesus. The film director explains the importance of Mary Magdalene in The Acts of Philip, her true name Mariamne, how this form of her name is recognized by bible scholars and her role as healer and master.

    See the movie on Discovery Channel and Vision TV. The Lost Tomb of Jesus takes you on a journey through time back to the life of Jesus, Mary Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Join Simcha Jacobovici as he unravels one of the oldest mysteries of the Christian religion, the quest for the tomb of Jesus. A tomb is found but with other bone boxes inside. Once deciphered, we learn that this might be the tomb of the Holy Family. With compelling scientific proof and tests, the mystery is solved -- but with monumental discoveries that could change Christianity.

    This captivating movie is produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and co-produced by James Cameron. The book, The Jesus Family Tomb, is co-written by Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino. It is published by HarperCollins. The book and the movie will be interesting to those who love the bible, spirituality, religious symbols, archaeology, history, the da vinci code, the Holy Land and, above all, a good adventure! A behind-the-scenes discussion with Simcha Jacobovici, maker of the documentary movie The Lost Tomb of Jesus. The film director explains the importance of Mary Magdalene in The Acts of Philip, her true name Mariamne, how this form of her name is recognized by bible scholars and her role as healer and master.

    See the movie on Discovery Channel and Vision TV. The Lost Tomb of Jesus takes you on a journey through time back to the life of Jesus, Mary Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Join Simcha Jacobovici as he unravels one of the oldest mysteries of the Christian religion, the quest for the tomb of Jesus. A tomb is found but with other bone boxes inside. Once deciphered, we learn that this might be the tomb of the Holy Family. With compelling scientific proof and tests, the mystery is solved -- but with monumental discoveries that could change Christianity. This captivating movie is produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and co-produced by James Cameron. The book, The Jesus Family Tomb, is co-written by Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino. It is published by HarperCollins. The book and the movie will be interesting to those who love the bible, spirituality, religious symbols, archaeology, history, the da vinci code, the Holy Land and, above all, a good adventure!

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    Default Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene? - Part 2

    The Jesus Wife Papyrus Part 1


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    Default Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene? - Part 3

    The Jesus Wife Papyrus Part 2


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    Default Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene?

    The Gospel of Mary of Magdala:
    Jesus and the First Woman Apostle


    by Karen L. King

    Excerpt from: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle

    Early Christianity & the Gospel of Mary

    Few people today are acquainted with the Gospel of Mary. Written early in the second century CE, it disappeared for over fifteen hundred years until a single, fragmentary copy in Coptic translation came to light in the late nineteenth century. Although details of the discovery itself are obscure, we do know that the fifth-century manuscript in which it was inscribed was purchased in Cairo by Carl Reinhardt and brought to Berlin in 1896. Two additional fragments in Greek have come to light in the twentieth century. Yet still no complete copy of the Gospel of Mary is known. Fewer than eight pages of the ancient papyrus text survive, which means that about half of the Gospel of Mary is lost to us, perhaps forever.


    The Gospel of Mary of Magdala:
    Jesus and the First Woman Apostle
    by Karen King
    This is the best authoritative edition
    available, and includes a superb
    commentary by Karen King.

    Yet these scant pages provide an intriguing glimpse into a kind of Christianity lost for almost fifteen hundred years. This astonishingly brief narrative presents a radical interpretation of Jesus' teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge; it rejects his suffering and death as the path to eternal life; it exposes the erroneous view that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute for what it is-a piece of theological fiction; it presents the most straightforward and convincing argument in any early Christian writing for the legitimacy of women's leadership; it offers a sharp critique of illegitimate power and a utopian vision of spiritual perfection; it challenges our rather romantic views about the harmony and unanimity of the first Christians; and it asks us to rethink the basis for church authority. All written in the name of a woman.

    The story of the Gospel of Mary is a simple one. Since the first six pages are lost, the gospel opens in the middle of a scene portraying a discussion between the Savior and his disciples set after the resurrection. The Savior is answering their questions about the end of the material world and the nature of sin. He teaches them that at present all things, whether material or spiritual, are interwoven with each other. In the end, that will not be so. Each nature will return to its own root, its own original state and destiny. But meanwhile, the nature of sin is tied to the nature of life this mixed world. People sin because they do not recognize their own spiritual nature and, instead, love the lower nature that deceives them and leads to disease and death. Salvation is achieved by discovering within oneself the true spiritual nature of humanity and overcoming the deceptive entrapments of the bodily passions and the world. The Savior concludes this teaching with a warning against those who would delude the disciples into following some heroic leader or a set of rules and laws. Instead they are to seek the child of true Humanity within themselves and gain inward peace. After commissioning them to go forth and preach the gospel, the Savior departs.

    But the disciples do not go out joyfully to preach the gospel; instead controversy erupts. All the disciples except Mary have failed to comprehend the Savior's teaching Rather than seek peace within, they are distraught, frightened that if they follow his commission to preach the gospel, they might share his agonizing fate. Mary steps in and comforts them and, at Peter's, relates teaching unknown to them that she had received from the Savior in a vision. The Savior had explained to her the nature of prophecy and the rise of the soul to its final rest, describing how to win the battle against the wicked, illegitimate Powers that seek to keep the soul entrapped in the world and ignorant of its true spiritual nature.

    But as she finishes her account, two of the disciples quite unexpectedly challenge her. Andrew objects that her teaching is strange and he refuses to believe that it came from the Savior. Peter goes fur­t her, denying that Jesus would ever have given this kind of advanced teaching to a woman, or that Jesus could possibly have preferred her to them. Apparently when he asked her to speak, Peter had not expected such elevated teaching, and now he questions her character, implying that she has lied about having received special teaching in order to increase her stature among the disciples. Severely taken aback, Mary begins to cry at Peter's accusation. Levi comes quickly to her defense, pointing out to Peter that he is a notorious hothead and now he is treating Mary as though she were the enemy. We should be ashamed of ourselves, he admonishes them all; instead of arguing among ourselves, we should go out and preach the gospel as the Savior commanded us.

    The story ends here, but the controversy is far from resolved. Andrew and Peter at least, and likely the other fearful disciples as well, have not understood the Savior's teaching and are offended by Jesus' apparent preference of a woman over them. Their limited understanding and false pride make it impossible for them to comprehend the truth of the Savior's teaching. The reader must both wonder and worry what kind of gospel such proud and ignorant disciples will preach.

    How are we to understand this story? It is at once reminiscent of the New Testament gospels and yet clearly different from them. The gospel's characters-the Savior, Mary, Peter, Andrew, and Levi-are familiar to those acquainted with the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So, too, is the theological language of gospel and kingdom, as well as such sayings of Jesus as "Those who seek will find" or "Anyone with two ears should listen." And the New Testament gospels and Acts repeatedly mention the appearance of Jesus to his disciples after the resurrection. Yet it is also clear that the story of the Gospel of Mary differs in significant respects. For example, after Jesus commissions the disciples they do not go out joyfully to preach the gospel, as they do in Matthew; instead they weep, fearing for their lives. Some of the teachings also seem shocking coming from Jesus, especially his assertion that there is no such thing as sin. Modern re ad­ers may well find themselves sympathizing with Andrew's assessment that "these teachings are strange ideas."

    The Gospel of Mary was written when Christianity, still in its nascent stages, was made up of communities widely dispersed around the Eastern Mediterranean, communities which were often relatively iso­la ted from one other and probably each small enough to meet in someone's home without attracting too much notice. Although writings appeared early-especially letters addressing the concerns of local churches, collections containing Jesus' sayings, and narratives interpreting his death and resurrection—oral practices dominated the lives of early Christians. Preaching, teaching, and rituals of table fellowship and baptism were the core of the Christian experience? What written documents they had served at most as supplemental guides to preaching and practice. Nor can we assume that the various churches all possessed the same documents; after all, these are the people who wrote the first Christian literature. Christoph Markschies suggests that we have lost 85% of Christian literature from the first two centuries–and that includes only the literature we know about. Surely there must be even more, for the discovery of texts like the Gospel of Mary came as a complete surprise. We have to be careful that we don't suppose it is possible to reconstruct the whole of early Christian history and practice out of the few surviving texts that remain. Our picture will always be partial—not only because so much is lost, but because early Christian practices were so little tied to durable writing.

    Partly as a consequence of their independent development and differing situations, these churches sometimes diverged widely in their perspectives on essential elements of Christian belief and practice. Such basic issues as the content and meaning of Jesus' teachings, the nature of salvation, the value of prophetic authority, and the roles of women and slaves came under intense debate. Early Christians proposed and experimented with competing visions of ideal community.

    It is important to remember, too, that these first Christians had no New Testament, no Nicene Creed or Apostles Creed, no commonly established church order or chain of authority, no church buildings, and indeed no single understanding of Jesus. All of the elements we might consider to be essential to define Christianity did not yet exist. Far from being starting points, the Nicene creed and the New Testament were the end products of these debates and disputes; they represent the distillation of experience and experimentation—and not a small amount of strife and struggle.

    All early Christian literature bears traces of these controversies. The earliest surviving documents of Christianity, the letters of Paul show that considerable difference of opinion existed about such issues as circumcision and the Jewish food laws or the relative value of spiritual gifts. These and other such contentious issues as whether the resurrection was physical or spiritual were stimulating theological conversations and causing rifts within and among Christian groups. By the time of the Gospel of Mary, these discussions were becoming increasingly nuanced and more polarized.

    History, as we know, is written by the winners. In the case of early Christianity, this has meant that many voices in these debates were silenced through repression or neglect. The Gospel of Mary, along with other newly discovered works from the earliest Christian period, increases our knowledge of the enormous diversity and dynamic character of the processes by which Christianity was shaped. The goal of this volume is to let twenty-first-century readers hear one of those voices—not in order to drown out the voices of canon and tradition, but in order that they might be heard with the greater clarity that comes with a broadened historical perspective. Whether or not the message of the Gospel of Mary should be embraced is a matter readers will decide for themselves.


    Discovery and Publication

    Where did the Gospel of Mary come from?

    Over a hundred years ago, in January of 1896, a seemingly insignificant event took place on the antiquities market in Cairo. A manuscript dealer, whose name history has forgotten, offered a papyrus book for sale to a German scholar named Dr. Carl Reinhardt.? It eventually became clear that the book was a fifth-century CE papyrus codex, written in the Coptic language (see Box 1). Unbeknownst to either of them, it contained the Gospel of Mary along with three other previously unknown works, the Apocryphon of John, the Sophia of Jesus Christ, and the Act of Peter. This seemingly small event turned out to be of enormous significance.

    Dr. Reinhardt could tell that the book was ancient, but he knew nothing more about the find than that the dealer was from Achmim in central. The dealer told him that a peasant had found the book in a niche of a wall, but that is impossible. The book's excellent condition, except for several pages missing from the Gospel of Mary, makes it entirely unlikely that it had spent the last fifteen hundred years unnoticed in a wall niche. No book could have survived so long in the open air. It may be that the peasant or the dealer had come by it illegally and, hence, was evasive about the actual location of the find. Or it may have been only recently placed in the wall and accidentally found there. In any case, we still don't know anything specific about where it lay hidden all those centuries, although the first editor, Carl Schmidt, assumed that it had to have been found in the graveyards of Achmim or in the area surrounding the city.

    Dr. Reinhardt purchased the book and took it to Berlin, where it was placed in the Egyptian Museum with the official title and catalogue number of Codex Berolinensis 8502. There it came into the hands of the Egyptologist Can Schmidt, who set about producing a critical edition and German translation of what is now generally referred to as the Berlin Codex

    From the beginning, the publication was plagued by difficulties. First of all, there is the problem of the missing pages. The first six pages, plus four additional pages from the middle of the work, are missing. This means that over half of the Gospel of Mary is completely lost. What happened to these pages? Carl Schmidt thought they must have been stolen or destroyed by whoever found the book. The man itself was found protected inside its original leather and papyrus cover but by the time it reached Carl Schmidt in Berlin, the order of the pages had been The considerably jumbled. It took Schmidt some time to realize that the book was nearly intact and must therefore have been found uninjured. In an uncharitable and perhaps even rancorous comment, Schmidt attributed the disorder of the pages to "greedy Arabs" who must also have either stolen or destroyed the missing pages, but to this day nothing is known about their fate. We can only hope that they lie protected somewhere and will one day resurface.

    By 1912 Schmidt's edition was ready for publication and was sent to the Prießchen Press in Leipzig. But alas! The printer was nearing completion of the final sheets when a burst water pipe destroyed the entire edition. Soon thereafter Europe plunged into World War I. During the war and its aftermath, Schmidt was unable to go to Leipzig and salvage anything from the mess himself, but he did manage to resurrect the project. This time, however, his work was thwarted by his own mortality. His death on April 17, 1938, caused further delay while the edition was retrieved from his estate and sent to press. At this point, another scholar was needed to see its publication through, a task that ultimately fell to Walter Till in 1941.

    In the meantime, in 1917 a small third-century Greek fragment of the Gospel of Mary had been found in Egypt (Papyrus Rylands 463). Being parallel to part of the Coptic text, it added no new passages to the Gospel of Mary, but it did provide a few variants and additional evidence about the work's early date and its composition in Greek. Till incorporated this new evidence into his edition, and by 1943, the edition was again ready to go to press. But now World War II made publication impossible.

    By the time the war was over, news had reached Berlin of a major manuscript discovery in Egypt near the village of Nag Hammadi. As chance would have it, copies of two of the other texts found within the Berlin Codex along with the Gospel of Mary (Apocryphon of John and Sophia of Jesus Christ) appeared among the new manuscripts. No new copies of Gospel of Mary were found at Nag Hammadi, but publication was delayed yet again as Till waited for information about the new manuscripts so that he could incorporate this new evidence into his edition of the Berlin Codex. But the wheels of scholarship grind slowly, and finally in exasperation, Till gave up. He confides to his readers:

    In the course of the twelve years during which I have labored over the texts, I often made repeated changes here and there, and that will probably continue to be the case. But at some point a man must find the courage to let the manuscript leave one's hand, even if one is convinced that there is much that is still imperfect. That is unavoidable with all human endeavors.

    At last in 1955, the first printed edition of the text of the Gospel of Mary finally appeared with a German translation.

    Till was right, of course; scholars continue to make changes and add to the record. Of foremost importance was the discovery of yet another early third-century Greek fragment of the Gospel of Mary(Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3525), which was published in 1983. With the addition of this fragment, we now have portions of three copies of the Gospel of Mary dating from antiquity: two Greek manuscripts from the early third century (P. Rylands 463 and P. Oxyrhynchus 3525) and one in Coptic from the fifth century (Codex Berolinensis 8525).

    Because it is unusual for several copies from such early dates to have survived, the attestation of the Gospel of Mary as an early Christian work is unusually strong. Most early Christian literature that we know about has survived because the texts were copied and then recopied as the materials on which they were written wore out. In antiquity it was not necessary to burn books one wanted to suppress (although this was occasionally done); if they weren't recopied, they disappeared through neglect. As far as we know, the Gospel of Mary was never recopied after the fifth century; it may have been that the Gospel of Mary was actively suppressed, but it is also possible that it simply dropped out of circulation. Either way, whether its loss resulted from animosity or neglect, the recovery of the Gospel of Mary, in however fragmentary condition, is due in equal measure to phenomenal serendipity and extraordinary good fortune.



    Dr. King's outline of the surviving manuscript fragments:

    The Coptic Language

    Although the Gospel of Mary was originally composed in Greek, most of it survives only in Coptic translation. Coptic is the last stage of the Egyptian language and is still in liturgical use by Egyptian Christians, called Copts. The oldest known Egyptian language was written in hieroglyphs, always on stone or some other durable material. In addition, Egyptians also wrote on papyrus, and for this they used a different script called hieratic, employed almost solely for writing sacred literature. A third script, called demotic, was developed for everyday transactions like letter-writing and book-keeping. Each of these scripts is very cumbersome, utilizing different characters or signs to represent whole syllables, not just individual sounds as in English. Sometime during the late Roman period, probably around the second century CE, scribes started writing the Egyptian language in primarily Greek letters, but adding a few from demotic Egyptian. This process made writing Egyptian much simpler and more efficient. Since Coptic script was used almost exclusively by Christians in Egypt, we can assume that Egyptian Christians were the ones who translated and preserved the Gospel of Mary.

    The Berlin Codex

    The book Reinhardt bought in Cairo in 1896 turned out to be a fifth-century papyrus codex. Papyrus was the most common writing material of the day, but codices, the precursor of our book form, had come into use only a couple of centuries earlier, primarily among Christians. The codex was made by cutting papyrus rolls into sheets, which then were stacked in a single pile, usually made up of at least 38 sheets. Folding the pile in half and sewing the sheets together produced a book of about 152 pages, which was finally placed inside a leather cover. The Gospel of Mary is a short work, taking up only the first 18% pages of a codex that itself is relatively small in size, having leaves that measure on average only about 12.7 cm long and 10.5 cm wide.

    Papyrus Rylands 463 (PRyl)

    This Greek fragment of the Gospel of Mary was acquired by the Rylands Library in Manchester, England, in 1917, and published in 1938 by C. H. Roberts. Like POxy 3525, it was found at Oxyrhynchus in northern Egypt, and dates to the early third century CE. It is a fragment from a codex—it has writing on both sides of the papyrus leaf—and exhibits a very clear literary script. It measures 8.7 cm wide by 10 cm long, although most fibers measure only 8.5. cm. The front of the fragment contains the conclusion of Mary's revelation and the beginning of the disciples' dispute over her teaching. After a short gap, the dispute continues on the other side of the fragment and ends with Levi leaving to announce the good news (GMary 9:29­10:4; 10:6-14). (See photos, pp. 1 and 35.)

    Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3525 (ΡOxy)

    This tiny and severely damaged papyrus fragment of the Gospel of Mary in Greek was found during excavations of the town of Oxyrhynchus, along the Nile in lower (northern) Egypt. Published in 1983 by P. J. Parsons, it is now housed in the Ashmolean Library at Oxford. It dates to the early third century CE. The fragment has writing on only one side, indicating that it came from a roll, not a codex (book). Because it was written in a cursive Greek script usually reserved for such documentary papyri as business documents and letters rather than literary texts, Parsons suggested that it was the work of an amateur. What remains is a very fragmentary fragment indeed. It contains approximately twenty lines of writing, none of them complete. The papyrus measures 11.7 cm long and is 11.4 cm at its widest point, but the top half is only about 4 cm wide. The restoration is based largely on the parallel Coptic text. It contains the Savior's farewell, Mary's comforting of the other disciples, Peter's request to Mary to teach, and the beginning of her vision (GMary 4:11-7:3).

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    Default Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene?

    Who framed Mary Magdalene?

    As a new film about her life emerges, scholars are arguing for Mary Magdalene to be deemed a prominent leader of the early church. Sarah MacDonald on this much maligned character


    Misunderstood: Mary Magdalene, seen here in a 1635 painting by Guido Reni,
    was airbrushed out of the picture from the beginnings of Christianity

    March 11 2018 2:30 AM

    For many, in the context of the #MeToo campaign's efforts to empower women, a new Mary Magdalene biopic for release this week is a must see. Those tempted to dismiss the film as a swords-and-sandals biblical epic lose sight of its radical portrayal of a strong, independent female challenging social and religious norms in the Holy Land in the first century AD. But it is also likely to provoke a knee-jerk reaction among conservative Christians determined to do down any tampering with Christianity's founding story.

    A pity, because this is a film which could generate an important debate over why the woman, who was Jesus's most faithful follower and remained with him as he died, while the other apostles fled, and was the first witness to his resurrection, was airbrushed out of the picture from the very beginnings of Christianity.

    She is, according to the film's director, Garth Davis, one of the most "misunderstood spiritual figures in history".

    Mary Magdalene's character was traduced by Pope Gregory the Great in 591 when he declared her a prostitute, albeit a repentant one. That papal misreading of the gospel narrative and conflation of different Marys, including the one who washed Jesus's feet with her tears, into 'Mary Magdalene the prostitute' became an established myth, with artists down the centuries drawn by the dramatic potential of the sensual temptress.

    As Pope Gregory so eloquently put it: "It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts..."

    Epithets variously referred to her as 'penitent Mary' and 'great sinner'. This misconception about Mary Magdalene was somewhat corrected in 2016 when the Vatican finally conceded that as the first messenger of the resurrected Jesus, she was the 'Apostle to the Apostles'.
    According to Irish academic Dr Sharon Tighe-Mooney, author of What About Me? Women and the Catholic Church' (Mercier 2018) which was launched on International Women's Day, the epithet 'Apostle to the Apostles' interprets Mary Magdalene's role as simply to tell the apostles what she had witnessed, thereby downplaying the significance of her witnessing Jesus's death and resurrection.

    "This is because her role as witness, a major feature of priestly succession, would undermine the Church's position on the exclusion of women from the ministry. If Mary Magdalene is indeed an apostle, and the leader of Jesus's women followers, as she has the requisite apostolic attributes, the nature of the male-only priesthood would have to be reconsidered."

    In an article titled 'Who Framed Mary Magdalene?', Heidi Schlumpf, former editor at US Catholic, noted that since scripture scholars have "debunked" the myth that Mary Magdalene and the infamous repentant sinner who wiped Jesus's feet with her tears are one and the same woman, "word is trickling down that Mary Magdalene's penitent prostitute label was a misnomer. Instead, her true biblical portrait is being resurrected, and this 'apostle to the apostles' is finally taking her rightful place in history as a beloved disciple of Jesus and a prominent early church leader."

    Among those trying to "right a 2,000-year-old wrong" is Christine Schenk, executive director of FutureChurch, a US-based church reform organisation. She believes reclaiming Mary Magdalene's reputation as an early church leader has implications for women's leadership in the Catholic church today, including the ordination of women.

    The director and crew behind the new biopic hope Mary Magdalene will turn the tables on the received narrative and tell the story of Jesus from a female perspective. The film's aim, as the actor Tahar Rahim, who plays Judas, succinctly puts it, is to help people realise "it's not Mary the prostitute, it's Mary the disciple".

    The film recounts how Mary of Magdala, an independent young woman - still unmarried despite being in her early 20s - leaves her family and small fishing village on the northwest bank of the Sea of Galilee to join a new movement, led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth.
    Rooney Mara, who plays Mary Magdalene in the film, explains: "We first meet Mary while she's living in Magdala with her family and she is very different to everyone in her family. They are pushing her to get married and have children, as she's already considered old, and to do what a woman is expected to do.


    'Forgiven for her sexual sins'

    "She feels very connected to God in a way that she can't really understand and that she wants to explore more. So, when Jesus comes along, he's the first person who understands what she's feeling. She's brave enough to leave her family behind and follow him."

    One of the most dramatic scenes in the film depicts an exorcism carried out on Mary before she leaves Magdala at the behest of her family. Director Garth Davis explains: "They can't understand Mary's personality or her choices - they just see it as a demon."

    In Dr Sharon Tighe-Mooney's opinion: "It is significant that Mary Magdalene is not attached to any man, which is most unusual for a woman of her time.

    "As a result, she became a particular target for early Church writers who speculated about her identity and role in the Bible. A woman forgiven for her sexual sins by a benevolent Jesus was a much easier character for the male hierarchy to deal with than a woman in whom Jesus placed the important mission of witnessing his death and resurrection."

    So, what do we know about Mary Magdalene? In her film role, Mara follows in the footsteps of Barbara Hershey, who played Mary Magdalene in Martin Scorsese's 1988 adaptation of The Last Temptation of Christ. Setting aside the film's controversial denouement in which Jesus, in a dream sequence, is spirited from the cross to marry and father children with Mary Magdalene; the film depicts her as a prostitute, whom he saves from a mob threatening to stone her. Mel Gibson's 2004 The Passion of the Christ featured Monica Bellucci in the role of Mary Magdalene.

    The idea for the film was sparked when Davis learned about ancient fragments in Coptic and Greek from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. That got the production team thinking about how Mary Magdalene had been marginalised for centuries. "We wanted to restore her to her rightful place at the centre of the Jesus story, as a key apostle. Mary recognises that the 'kingdom' ... needs to start within ourselves.

    "Our spirit lies within, and it sits in the same place as love and kindness. Mary's message is as revolutionary today as it has ever been," producer Emile Sherman explained.

    In her book, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity, Rev Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopalian priest, seeks to reclaim Mary Magdalene's legitimate role as a teacher and apostle. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, she highlights, is the only existing early Christian gospel written in the name of a woman. "Mary Magdalene earns her place among the apostles because of all Jesus's students, she is the one who best catches the full unitive meaning of his teachings and is best able to 'walk the talk'."

    Mary of Magdala is mentioned 12 times in the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, making her the second most mentioned woman after the Virgin Mary. Luke's gospel recounts how she accompanied Jesus on his journeys (Luke 8:1-3) "The Twelve accompanied Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and maladies: Mary called the Magdalene, from whom seven devils had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who were assisting them out of their means."

    But most of the references to her are found in the crucifixion and resurrection narratives. Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion (Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:56 and John 19:25). In St John's gospel she is recorded as the first witness to see the risen Lord (20:1-18).
    She goes to the tomb alone, sees that the stone has been rolled away, and runs to get Peter. Professor Karen L King of Harvard's Divinity School in her book The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle explains that no complete Gospel of Mary Magdalene is known to exist.


    St Peter's ire

    Fewer than eight pages of the ancient papyrus text survive, which means that about half of the gospel is missing, perhaps lost forever. The significance of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene is, Professor King believes, its argument for the legitimacy of women's leadership; it shows that Mary Magdalene received revelations from Jesus, and that St Peter wasn't very happy about that because she was a woman.

    The new film shows this conflict over Mary's role among the disciples over her emotional, intellectual and spiritual intimacy with Jesus. Peter believed that Jesus would lead people to a new world order, whereas Mary puts the focus on the need to change oneself from within in order to bring change to the world at large.

    Opposition to Mary Magdalene's leadership within the early Christian community in time gave way to a male-dominated, hierarchical model of leadership. In tandem with this development of Christianity, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene got lost and a pope began to teach that the woman, who was second only to the Virgin Mary in terms of gospel appearances, became a whore. Is it mere coincidence?

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    The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene
    (The Gospel of Mary)


    Chapter 4

    (Pages 1 to 6 of the manuscript, containing chapters 1 - 3, are lost. The extant text starts on page 7...)
    . . . Will matter then be destroyed or not?
    22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
    23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
    24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
    25) Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?
    26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
    27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
    28) Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.
    29) He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.
    30) Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from something contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
    31) That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.
    32) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
    33) When the Blessed One had said this, He greeted them all,saying, Peace be with you. Receive my peace unto yourselves.
    34) Beware that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son of Man is within you.
    35) Follow after Him!
    36) Those who seek Him will find Him.
    37) Go then and preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
    38) Do not lay down any rules beyond what I appointed you, and do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.
    39) When He said this He departed.

    Chapter 5


    1) But they were grieved. They wept greatly, saying, How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare Him, how will they spare us?
    2) Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.
    3) But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into Men.
    4) When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Savior.
    5) Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman.
    6) Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.
    7) Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.
    8) And she began to speak to them these words: I, she said, I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision. He answered and said to me,
    9) Blessed are you that you did not waver at the sight of Me. For where the mind is there is the treasure.
    10) I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?
    11) The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision and it is [...]
    (pages 11 - 14 are missing from the manuscript)

    Chapter 8:


    . . . it.
    10) And desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?
    11) The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me.
    12) When it said this, it (the soul) went away rejoicing greatly.
    13) Again it came to the third power, which is called ignorance.
    14) The power questioned the soul, saying, Where are you going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are bound; do not judge!
    15) And the soul said, Why do you judge me, although I have not judged?
    16) I was bound, though I have not bound.
    17) I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly things and the heavenly.
    18) When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms.
    19) The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath.
    20) They asked the soul, Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?
    21) The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome,
    22) and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.
    23) In a aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient.
    24) From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.

    Chapter 9


    1) When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.
    2) But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.
    3) Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things.
    4) He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?
    5) Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?
    6) Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.
    7) Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.
    8) But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well.
    9) That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said.
    10) And when they heard this they began to go forth to proclaim and to preach.

    The Gospel of Mary


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    The Real Mary Magdalene


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    Default Re: Who Was The Real Mary Magdalene?

    The Mary Magdalene Conspiracy (Secrets of the Cross Documentary) | Timeline



    Without Mary Magdalene's vision of a risen Jesus there may never have been a Christianity. But why do the gospels say almost nothing about her?
    Controversial and compelling, Secrets Of The Cross pushes aside centuries of tradition to expose fascinating secrets at the heart of the Christian story.

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