The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault (2010)
Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity—yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian contemplative tradition. What emerges is a radical view of Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s most important disciple, the one he considered to understand his teaching best. That teaching was characterized by a nondualistic approach to the world and by a deep understanding of the value of the feminine. Cynthia shows how an understanding of Mary Magdalene can revitalize contemporary Christianity, how Christians and others can, through her, find their way to Jesus’s original teachings and apply them to their modern lives.
“It is light bursting over the waters beneath a heavy clouded sky– it is a woman speaking out into the clear air after the heart’s years of secret conversing–it is, as David Whyte once said; The opening of eyes long closed–deep seeing into the true image at the core and resolving back to our origin. I sense an energetic symbiosis of your mind and hers until I am not sure who is speaking and that is the amazing anamnesis you have achieved. The book is magnificent; another writing to live on- to love through”
~ Rev. Robert Pynn, poet and Dean Emeritus of the Anglican Cathedral, Calgary, Alberta
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