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Re: [XTalk] Mary Magdalene In Context

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  • Jim West
    ... some of the Gnostic literature is a clue that something was up with her when it came to the orthodox gospels. However, I am not certain it says much
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2003
      At 02:01 PM 12/29/03 -0500, you wrote:

      >First of all, the fact that Mary Magdalene is more positively mentioned in
      some of the Gnostic literature is a clue that something was up with her when
      it came to the "orthodox" gospels. However, I am not certain it says much
      more than that. We need to recall that Gnostic Christianity, too, had an
      agenda, one which was just as much in charge of the shaping of its own
      literature as was emergent Catholicism of its literature. It would be
      wrong, I believe, to assume that the Gnostic literature automatically gives
      us a more accurate view of Mary Magdalene herself or of any potential
      relationship she may have had with Jesus. It is a starting point, to be
      sure, but not much more than this.
      >

      I agree with all of this except the last sentence. Our understanding of
      Mary isn't the issue of the Gnostic literature; its claim to be the
      authentic faith is. Mary is, in the gnostic texts, nothing more than a
      literary device intended, it seems, to contradict the "orthodox" (whatever
      that means) stream. In other words, Mary is a tool. She is a means by
      which the gnostics can say the mainstream is wrong. She is used, she is
      manipulated, she is controlled- by the gnostic writers. In short, the
      notion that the mainstream church painted Mary in dark colors to further the
      patriarchal system has its counterpoint in gnostic circles. Either way, she
      remains either a victim of orthodox dismissal or gnostic manipulation. This
      is not much of a starting point for coming to terms with what she actually
      was. (I will leave aside the ongoing effort by many to aggrandize her with
      the same motives that moved the gnostics- i.e., to thumb their noses at the
      patriarchal hierarchy of the Church and to use her to do so).

      Best

      Jim

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Dr Jim West
      Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
      http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
      http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com --- Biblical Theology Weblog

      Bad exegesis is no less worse than bad conduct.
      Tertullian, On Purity
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