Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Jerusalem Scrolls ~ by Bodie and Brock Thoene, 2001

Mary Magdalene by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, c. 1860
The Jerusalem Scrolls is a novel by Bodie and Brock Thoene that I picked up and put down several times, all because it's the fourth book in a series.  Finally, I took a chance and read it, and it turns out it really has nothing to do with the series.  There's a bit at the beginning (and even less at the end) trying to tie this volume to the series, but it's really a novel about Miryam of Magdala (Mary Magdalene) that a character in the series of book just happens to read.

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.

1 comment:

Helen's Book Blog said...

I think I would get annoyed by the treatment of Miryam; have we not gotten over making women look like total sluts/idiots/etc for entertainment.

Anyway, I am really glad you're joining this challenge!