The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity

The Meaning of Mary Magdalene The Meaning of Mary Magdalene Shambhala

Cynthia Bourgeault
Shambhala Publications, 2010

Bourgeault introduces her readers to the most intriguing woman in the Bible, Mary Magdalene. She examines Mary's relationship with Jesus, her role in the gospels, and her significance for Christianity.

With the author's usual depth of exploration, she places Mary within the mystical tradition as a female wisdom figure who spans both Testaments, is the spiritual bride of Jesus and his most teachable and beloved disciple. Bourgeault takes us on a path of discovery which will change forever how we view our Christian faith.

Here is an excerpt:

"Once the conflation of Mary Magdalene with the unnamed sinful woman of Luke's gospel has been gently disentangled, the more gnarly question remains: how about Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany? If the woman who performed the anointing ceremony has been traditionally remembered as Mary Magdalene--except in the Gospel of John, where she is specifically identified as Mary of Bethany--could the solution to this puzzle lie in the fact that the two Marys are actually the same person?  In virtually all the details of the Holy Week narrative John goes his own way, introducing significant variations to the meaning and sequencing of key events; and among the many mysteries of John, none offers more fertile ground for speculation than the prominent role ascribed to this puzzling threesome (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus) who are pointedly singled out as occupying a special category as Jesus's 'friends.'  What's the message here?  Is this in fact some sort of code language to describe Jesus's inlaws, a familial relationship created through marriage?" (p.23)

"It takes courage, intelligence, maturity, but mostly an intuitive wisdom to write a book such as this. Cynthia Bourgeault succeeds grandly!" -Richard Rohr, OFM

"A remarkable invitation into the origins and wisdom of Christianity, through the apostolic witness of Mary Magdalene. Expect a challenge, perhaps more than you're ready for. This book should change something, as it invites you to deepen your capacity for love, through the witness of Jesus' beloved disciple." -The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schiori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church



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