Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mary Madeleine: La Traviata or Jesus' Disciple?

La Gioconda by Leonardo Da Vinci

Mary Magdalene is often portrayed as La Traviata (this rumour was addressed in The 3 Maries), because being so she becomes a symbol of redemption.
But some Nag Hammadi Scriptures seem to describe a much different Magdalena we have grown accustomed to: one of the most prominent disciples of Yeshua, who asked many informed questions and understood [perhaps the reason why Jesus, when resurrected, appeared before her first].

I could understand why Christian Institutions, before the discovery and study of such texts, would not make an effort to reform the New Testament: perhaps because it is more comfortable to leave it as it is, lest the Codices force drastic changes (both dogmatic and structural).
I like Apocryphal texts, because they offer us another perspective of the Religious Play and its Personages. For example, if we take a peek at a very interesting excerpt of the, ant-nibbled (indicated by the [...]), Gospel of Philip:

«As for the Wisdom who is called "the barren," she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples [...]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”»

What is the meaning of this text – which part is to be taken literally and which part deserves a deep exegesis? Did Jesus have an intimate relationship with Miriam Magdala and, if so, why is it so difficult to perceive Yeshua, a Jew (who followed the Torah, which clearly states that it is not good for a man to be alone), as an individual with human desires?

I am also enjoying the Gospel of Mary because it shows us that despite having had the honour to learn from Yeshua, some male apostles returned to the human vicious nature upon their Master’s demise:

«But Andrew answered and said (..) “I at least do not believe that the Saviour said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.”
Peter answered (..) “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?” 
Levi answered (..) “Peter you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Saviour made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Saviour knows her very well. 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 Saviour said”.»

Apocryphal texts are like Mona Lisa: they look at us with a smirk in their face, as if mocking us for our inability to see beyond the apparent reality. They mock at our ability to swallow consensus truths. They smirk while telling us “Question everything; doubt everything; for doubts lead you to the Truth!”

10 comments:

  1. Have you studied much of the Bible's New Testament source scholarship? I have a number of works on it that I reference, such as a translators guide that includes a list of all known manuscripts and their variants... Checking with the earlier church writers, these extra gospels weren't known until the third century and were rejected with serious consideration.

    I presume Jesus had hormones, yet at the same time I believe he kept them in check just as he would any other desire. Part of being the perfect sacrifice.

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  2. Max, I never thought that Magdalena was a whore: men tend to call women (who are extremely intelligent and strong and who have the guts to confront them) whores...we all know that. Magdalena was a woman who chose to be one of Jesus' disciples - wait, doesn't this mean that there were thus 13 disciples and not 12? And where was Magda at during the last meal; was her presence obliterated by the jealous male disciples?
    As for a possible relationship with Jesus: they may have had a sexual relationship, yes (like you said he was Jewish and we must have a beloved one); but I also think he was more focused on his task and boy what a task he had. It is not easy to fullfil that prophesy.
    As for the Gospel of Mary: yeah, it shows us that the apostles (many of them Saints) were as rotten as any other human being, despite their encounter with Jesus (The Enlightened).

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  3. Hi Max,

    I think the point of all texts, religious and otherwise is to get us to the point of thinking of possibilities, outcomes, labels, where we all fit into the grand scheme and where and what are our judgements based. I believe we should question some things, others we know inherently, but in the end we all wind up on the path to knowingness.

    Knowing Cheers!

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  4. Hey Max,

    How are you sweetie? I hope all is well. I'm doing great and so are the twins. :)

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Kisses and hugs.

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  5. Indeed Max, we all love to live in a goody-goody make believe world...Even if we take science too, scientists doesn't want to go beyond the doctrines of Darwin about life. Few years back I was reading an article where an anthropologist has found a ape fossil dating back to six million years back, but in no time, regular anthropologists trashed it without even trying to research about it, as it challenged the time frame given in the Darwinian theory about evolution of life....So in any sphere of life if the continuum is challenged, everybody will laugh at you, mock you and make a outcast, still someday it just catches a mass imagination, but which happens in very rare cases especially in case of religions, stated orthodox views always prevails, come what may!

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  6. Hey Looney :D!

    I understand why the texts may have been rejected; and I wander about the quality of the so-called "much consideration": did they conclude that including those texts in the NT would force significant changes (in the Church) or did they conclude that it was best to ignore their existence?

    LOL yes, I am sure Jesus had hormones as well; but I am not that sure that he controlled them. However, I do believe that he was focused upon the mission at hand.

    Looney, thank you ever so much for your input :D.

    Cheers

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  7. Hi Ana :D!

    I also think Magdalena was a very strong woman. There are several explanations to why she was perceived as a prostitute (one of them was: Magdala was a place known for its fornication practices; but I don't see it as being valid).

    Indeed, once concluded she was a disciple we must reprogramme ourselves and say that there were 13 disciples - but since 13 is a "bad" number in the West...I don't know. However, if we come to think about it 14 people at the last meal would change the tragic mood of the event.

    The apostles were mere humans, true.

    Ana, thank you so so much for your input :D.

    Cheers

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  8. Hello Lady A :D!

    I agree with you, my sista!

    Darling, thank you ever so much for your input :D.

    Knowing Cheers

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  9. Hi Liza :D!

    How're you? I am doing fine, thank you :D.
    Awwee, am I ever so glad to hear that? They must be big by now!

    I did have a great weekend, thanks. I hope you are having an excellent week, so far :D.

    My dear friend, thank you so much for your visit - I appreciate it :D.

    Cheers

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  10. Hey Kalyan :D!

    "Even if we take science too, scientists doesn't want to go beyond the doctrines of Darwin about life."

    So true.

    "Few years back I was reading an article where an anthropologist has found a ape fossil dating back to six million years back, but in no time, regular anthropologists trashed it without even trying to research about it, as it challenged the time frame given in the Darwinian theory about evolution of life"

    Oh yes, I read that one too. And more recently I read another article discussing the discovery of a human (belonging to the Australopithecus species)presenting similar features to those of the modern man which clearly disputed Darwinism - humans may not have evolved from apes after all; and most anthropologists do not seem happy either.

    "So in any sphere of life if the continuum is challenged, everybody will laugh at you, mock you and make a outcast, still someday it just catches a mass imagination, but which happens in very rare cases especially in case of religions, stated orthodox views always prevails, come what may!"

    I hear you!

    Kalyan, thank you ever so much for your input, man :D!

    Cheerio

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