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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Thursday, June 23, 2005
RELIGIOUS ENTRY: PART I * THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE *
My blog entry about religion is not to preach something that has already been inside the hearts of men, of religious beliefs and religious convictions. I have no intention to distort any persons convictions about his faith and belief, especially in scriptural matters that has been read and preached by Christian churches for a long time. This entry on this blog of mine, is for educational purposes only and for my own readings, that I have entered into my blogspot. I have no credentials or am I a professor of religious or biblical studies. Mine is reading for my own consumption and understanding ---- thus this entry of the Gospel of Mary, that can't be found in any christian bible.

To avoid long narrative, I abstracted the synopsis of the Gospel on how it was presented from the book that I have read and still reading.


*** Introduction ***:
To those familiar with the cannonical New Testament stories of Jesus, much will seem familiar in the Gospel of Mary. Some of the words and most fo the characters evoke memories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In other matters, the reader may well agree with Andrew's complaint that Mary's teachings are strange. Strange to us, perhaps. But in the first and second centuries, they were firmly embedded in Christian debates about the meaning of Jesus teaching, the roles of women, and how to attain salvation. The Gospel of Mary reproduces the contours of those deabtes, most especially in the contention among the disciples themselves about whether Mary Magdalene's teaching is valid and true. Moreover, the gospel's interpretation of early traditions about Jesus shows some of the fluidity and some of the passion with which such matters were engaged.

*** Story ***
As text opens, the Savior is engaged in dialogue with his disciples, answering questions thay have about the end of the world and the nature of sin. The Savior teaches them that salvation is achieved by seeking the true spiritual nature of humanity within oneself and overcoming the ntrapping material nature of the body and the world. He wanrns them against those who would lead them astray by telling them to follow some heroic leader or a set of fules and laws. After commissioning them to go forth and preach the gospel, he (Jesus) departs.

At the Savior's departure, a controversy erupts. All the disciples except Mary Magdalene and Levi have failed to comprehend the Savior's teachings. Rather than seek peace within, they are distressed at their leader's absence and worried about their own deaths. When Mary tries to comfort them and give them further instruction, Andrew and Peter turn on her. Mary has recounted to them a vision she had in which the Savior described to her how to win the battle against the Power of the world that seek to keep the soul imprisoned in the body and ignorant of its spiritual nature. But their false pride, awakened because Jesus seems to have rpeferred a woman to them, makes it impossible for Andrew and Peter to comprehend the truth of her teaching. When the gospel conclueds, the controversy is far from resolved. Peter, Andrew and all the others have not understood the Savior's teaching. The reader must wonder what kind of good news such proud and ignorant men will announce.

*** The debate over who can speak for Jesus ***
Mary Magdalene's vision of the Savior in the Gospel of Mary probably reflects the same tradition known to John 20:16-18. Yet Andrew's obection to Mary's teaching in the Gospel of Mary raises a core problem much debated in early Christian circles: how can the validity of such teaching be determined? For Andrew, Mary's words did not seem to conform to the Savior's teaching that he knew and which he was using as a standard for the truth. But Mary's teaching concords perfectly with that given by the Savior himself in the first part of the text. The Gospel of Mary clearly affirms the truth and authority of Mary's teaching and thus implicitly affirms the validity of visionary revelations.

The Gospel of Mary cleary doubts the value of Andrew and Peter's witness, at the same time that it identifies the true apostolic witness with Mary Magdalene and Levi. The reliability of apostolic testimony was cleary a problematic issue.

*** The Role of Women ***
The preeminence of Mary Magdalene gives one example of the leadership roles of women in early Christianity, roles that came to be increasingly challenged. The Coptic version of this gospel in particular opposes this challenge in a forceful way. Peter was willing to admit that the Savior loved Mary "more that other women", but he balks at the idea what the Savior may have preferred her, a woman, to the male disciples. The issue is not simply one of sentimentality, however. At the Savior's departure, Mary takes oves his role. She comforts the distressed disciples, turns their hearts toward thoughts about the Savior's words, snd gives thems special teaching that will allow them to overcome the sin of the world. In every way, the text affirms that her leadership of the other disciples is based superior spiritual understanding. Peter, however, cannot see past the superficial sexual differentiation of the flesh to Mary's true spiritual power. He again shows his ignorance of the Savior's true teaching, while the Gospel of Mary unreservedly supports the leadership of spiritually adsvanced women.

*** Theological Outlook ***
In the end, the Gospel of Mary communicates a vision that the world ism passing away, not toward a new creation or a new world order, but toward the dissolution of an illusory chaos of suffering, death, and illegitimate domination. The Savior has come so that eadch soul might discover its own true spiritual nature, its "root" in the Good, and return to the place of eternal; rest beyng the constraints of time, matter and false morality.

Toward the end of the second century, many of the views found in the Gospel og Mary came under sharp attack. Condemned by later Christians as heresy, these strands of early Christian theology receded from view. The rediscovery of the Gospel of Mary restores a fragment of this heritage from early Christian history and theology.

*** The Rediscovery of the Gospel of Mary ***
Unlike the cannonical gospels, each of which is attested by hundreds of manuscripts, no complete copy of the Gospel of Mary exists. Indeed, for centuries, the Gospel of Mary remained completely unknown. Only three fragmentary manuscripts are known to have survived into the modern period, two third centruy Greek fragments (P. Rylands 463 and P. Oxyrhynchus 3525) published in 1938 and 1983, and a longer fifth century Coptic translation (Berolinensis Gnosticus 8052,I) published in 1955.

*** State of the Text ***
The two earlier and shorter fragments are written in the original language of the Gospel pf Mary, Greek. The most complete manuscript of the text, however, is the translation tino Coptic (the form of native Egyptian language written during the Roman period). But even this more complete text is fragmentary. Six pages of the manuscript are missing at the beginning and four more in the middle. In all, perhaps half of the total text is still lost.

THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAY ARGUABLY HAVE BEEN WRITTEN SOMETIMEIN THE LATE FIRST OR EARLY SECOND CENTURIES.


(abstracted from THE COMPLETE GOSPELS by Robert J.Miller)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:55 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At 5:36 AM, Blogger Crew Koos said…

    This is just great !!

    If you want more, check out:

    http://www.crewkoos.blogspot.com

     
  • At 3:41 AM, Blogger infraternam meam said…

    crew koos, tks for the visit. i came to see ur spot..sorry i can't understand french bu my younger son does, unfotunately he does no live withme anymore.

     
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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