|Mary Magdalene by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, c. 1860|
First, I must say I was annoyed that the authors greatly emphasize Miryam's sinfulness, making her a notorious whore, known to sleep with lots of men. She lusts after the first man who "slept" with her and, along the way, keeps company with a Roman centurion. This is not who she was. Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9 say Jesus cast "seven demons" out of Mary, a concept which is usually associated with healing from illness, not forgiveness of sins. Yet Mary Magdalene "became" a prostitute in 591 when Pope Gregory the Great identified an unnamed woman as Mary Magdalene. According to the Bible, Mary was a devoted follower of Jesus and the first one sent to share the good news about Jesus. The Gospel of Mary paints a very different picture of this person, showing (as in the Bible) that Jesus trusted her to share his message. The woman in this novel is a very different sort of person. I can't say I much liked this version of the story.
This is one of the books I read for the World Religion Challenge (January 1 to December 31, 2010). It's easy reading and, if you don't mind Miryam acting like an idiot about men, it isn't a bad tale. It's just that I don't like it when people make up stories about women for the shock value, especially when women already get a bum rap from too many Christians all the time. Rated: 6 of 10, above average.