Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Mary Magdalene as Jesus' Wife in the Gospel of Philip

Expand Messages
  • John C. Poirier
    There were some complaints when I posted about *The Da Vinci Code* a few weeks ago. But there was also a suggestion that we could talk about Mary Magdalene in
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 13, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      There were some complaints when I posted about *The Da Vinci Code* a few
      weeks ago. But there was also a suggestion that we could talk about Mary
      Magdalene in the early sources. Well, the *Gospel of Philip* isn't that
      early (late 2nd-early 3rd century), but I do have something worthwhile to
      report about it from my recent preparations to teach on *The Da Vinci Code*.

      Bart Ehrman, Darrell Bock, and Carl Olson/Sandra Meisel all make the mistake
      of saying that the *Gospel of Philip* does not claim that Mary Magdalene was
      Jesus' wife. Their mistake consists of concentrating solely upon the
      meaning of the word *koinonos*, a word they discuss because it is mentioned
      in Dan Brown's novel. What none of these scholars mention, however, is that
      the *Gospel of Philip* also refers to Mary Magdalene as Jesus' *hotre*, a
      Coptic term which more strongly denotes marriage (as it literally means
      something along the lines of "yoke-partner"), and they also ignore the
      structure of the argument used in the *Gospel of Philip*, which makes the
      point that (someone named) "Mary" is Jesus' mother, sister, and wife.

      How could Erhman, Bock, and Olson/Meisel all make such a big mistake? I
      suggest that part of the reason is that they probably all rushed their
      research, due to the need to be timely with their rebuttals.

      Of course, the need to make Mary Magdalene Jesus' wife arises from the
      Gnostics' desire to make their figurehead apostle as close to "the Savior"
      as possible.

      John C. Poirier
      Middletown, Ohio
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      ... that the *Gospel of Philip* also refers to Mary Magdalene as Jesus *hotre*, a Coptic term which more strongly denotes marriage (as it literally means
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 13, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        John C. Poirier wrote:

        >>What none of these scholars mention, however, is
        that the *Gospel of Philip* also refers to Mary
        Magdalene as Jesus' *hotre*, a Coptic term which more
        strongly denotes marriage (as it literally means
        something along the lines of "yoke-partner"), and they
        also ignore the structure of the argument used in the
        *Gospel of Philip*, which makes the point that
        (someone named) "Mary" is Jesus' mother, sister, and
        wife.<<

        I've looked at Crum, 726a, 2WT(E)R [Sahidic], 2WTRE
        [Subachmimic], which gives a variety of additional
        meanings under the intransitive meaning of "be joined,
        doubled," including one for Pcod 46 NET2. [=
        NET2WT(E)? NET2WTRE?] with the meaning of "in
        fellowship of marriage," and I'm assuming that this is
        a nominalized relative clause meaning "those who are
        joined," which is interpreted in its context to mean
        "those who are joined [in fellowship of marriage]."
        You'd need to take a look at the source to see why the
        expression is taken in this way.

        I presume that Crum is one of the lexicons that you
        looked at. Do other lexicons provide additional
        support for "wife"?

        Crum 726b gives 2ATRE [Sahidic, Subachmimic] with
        "twin" as a main meaning. I wonder if the Gospel of
        Philip might be interpreted in this way -- not that
        Mary is physically the twin of Jesus but in a
        spiritual sense. Don't Gnostics sometimes emphasize
        spiritual twinship? (Though I cannot specify a source
        from memory.)

        For the convenience of those lacking a desktop copy of
        Crum, here's an online copy:

        http://www.metalog.org/files/crum/726.gif

        Jeffery Hodges

        University Degrees:

        Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
        (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
        M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
        B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

        Email Address:

        jefferyhodges@...

        Blog:

        http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

        Office Address:

        Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Department of English Language and Literature
        Korea University
        136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
        Seoul
        South Korea

        Home Address:

        Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Sehan Apt. 102-2302
        Sinnae-dong 795
        Jungrang-gu
        Seoul 131-770
        South Korea
      • Mike Grondin
        ... Having reviewed the responses to this note, it still seems to me that the interpretation of hwtre as wife in GPh is entirely too strong. For one thing,
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 16, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          --- John Poirier wrote:
          > Bart Ehrman, Darrell Bock, and Carl Olson/Sandra Meisel all make
          > the mistake of saying that the *Gospel of Philip* does not claim
          > that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife. Their mistake consists of
          > concentrating solely upon the meaning of the word *koinonos*, a
          > word they discuss because it is mentioned in Dan Brown's novel.
          > What none of these scholars mention, however, is that the
          > *Gospel of Philip* also refers to Mary Magdalene as Jesus'
          > *hotre*, a Coptic term which more strongly denotes marriage
          > (as it literally means something along the lines of "yoke-
          > partner"), and they also ignore the structure of the argument
          > used in the *Gospel of Philip*, which makes the point that
          > (someone named) "Mary" is Jesus' mother, sister, and wife.

          Having reviewed the responses to this note, it still seems to me
          that the interpretation of 'hwtre' as 'wife' in GPh is entirely
          too strong. For one thing, the reference in Crum to "fellowship
          of marriage" is rather marginal; in his English Index, he lists
          two words under 'wife', neither of which is 'hwtre'. Nor does he
          list 'hwtre' under 'marriage'. In Lambdin's entry for 'hwtre' in
          Intro to Sahidic Coptic, neither 'wife' nor 'marriage' appears.

          Internally, GPh refers to MM in two places. The passage that
          Brown uses, but not cited here, seems more determinative. In it
          (63:32-64:09), MM is again referred to as the Savior's 'koinwnos',
          but there it's stated that he loved her more than all the other
          disciples, and "used to kiss her often on her mouth". The
          apparently-resentful disciples ask "Why do you love her more
          than all of us?" - a question which Brown seems to think
          supports his view, but which I suggest, makes no sense if, in
          addition to being considered a disciple by the author of GPh,
          was also thought to be his wife. If there is a possibility up
          to this point of a hint at some secret relationship (as Brown
          seems to think), the "Savior's" answer (which Brown doesn't
          quote) dispels that, since it indicates that the Savior's
          fondness for MM is spiritually-based. MM is more spiritually
          advanced than the other disciples - a theme also evident in the
          Gospel of Mary.

          Seems clear that GPh wanted to play on the elevated status that
          MM had in the canonical gospels. 'Sister' wouldn't do, because
          that could be any female disciple, if not merely biological.
          'Yoke-partner', as you suggested at one point, seems the best
          choice. More than a sister, less than (or better than?) a wife.

          Regards,
          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.