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Re: Mary Magdalene In Context

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  • sdavies0
    Robert Davis 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
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 31, 2003
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      Robert Davis 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."

      I'm not sure we can conclude that. Everything I've seen
      recently has been making the assumption that texts from the late
      second or third centuries, G. Philip, G. Mary, are more or less of
      equivalent value with the first century orthodox gospels. We on
      Crosstalk2 know this isn't so, of course. Still, I think it does not
      chronologically follow that a literary trope found in Philip and G.
      Mary allows us to make inferences as to what was up in texts written
      a century or more earlier.

      On the other hand, I tend to think that G Thomas 114 was added in
      the late second or third century because it fits that trope period.
      (How's that for a new usage?) Maybe I'm wrong and one can use
      GTh 114 as evidence for the first century relevance of GPhilip and
      GMary. But, heck, shouldn't this be argued out by somebody?

      And: "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."

      As the term is used nowadays, "Gnostic Christianity" covers
      just about everything that isn't nailed down solid orthodox.
      That's one reason so many wish the term would just go away. But it
      won't. I think the best analogy for Gnosticism then is New Age now.
      And if we look either into the NH Library or on the Barnes and Noble
      New Age bookshelves we find all kinds of stuff. With the good
      Orthodox Christian stuff all carefully put on other bookshelves.

      And: "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."

      That's for sure. But even according to the Orthodox Scriptures we
      have Mary as a woman with insanity in her recent past who sees a
      gardener and thinks it is her deceased friend. That doesn't add
      up to a whole lot to me.

      And: ``However, it is the contextual issue that interests me
      here-- How does narrowing the historical and literary question to
      this single context ["The Palestinian Context"] help us or hinder us
      from constructing a more accurate view of Mary Magdalene--or, for
      that matter, other members of the early `Jesus family?'"

      I don't think we have anything like enough information to speak
      about The Palestinian Context of anything except, perhaps, military
      and political affairs. What do we have besides Josephus and the Word
      of God? Using the latter to deduce the Palestinian Context of things
      in it, such as Mary Magdalene, seems to beg the question. And the
      former is irrelevant, I'd say, to questions about the
      relationships between Galilean working-class itinerants.

      Hopelessly,
      Steve Davies
      http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.htm
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