Restores to the forefront of the Christian tradition the importance of the divine feminine
• The first complete English-language translation of the original Coptic Gospel of Mary, with line-by-line commentary
• Reveals the eminence of the divine feminine in Christian thought
• Offers a new perspective on the life of one of the most controversial figures in the Western spiritual tradition
Perhaps no figure in biblical scholarship has been the subject of more controversy and debate than Mary Magdalene. Also known as Miriam of Magdala, Mary Magdalene was considered by the apostle John to be the founder of Christianity because she was the first witness to the Resurrection. In most theological studies she has been depicted as a reformed prostitute, the redeemed sinner who exemplifies Christ's mercy. Today's reader can ponder her role in the gospels of Philip, Thomas, Peter, and Bartholomew--the collection of what have come to be known as the Gnostic gospels rejected by the early Christian church. Mary's own gospel is among these, but until now it has remained unknown to the public at large.
Orthodox theologian Jean-Yves Leloup's translation of the Gospel of Mary from the Coptic and his thorough and profound commentary on this text are presented here for the first time in English. The gospel text and the spiritual exegesis of Leloup together reveal unique teachings that emphasize the eminence of the divine feminine and an abiding love of nature over the dualistic and ascetic interpretations of Christianity presented elsewhere. What emerges from this important source text and commentary is a renewal of the sacred feminine in the Western spiritual tradition and a new vision for Christian thought and faith throughout the world.
Jean-Yves Leloup is a theologian and founder of the Institute of Other Civilization Studies and the International College of Therapists. His books include Jesus and Judas, The Sacred Embrace of Jesus and Mary, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel of Thomas. He lives in France.
Jacob Needleman is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and the author of many books, including The Essential Marcus Aurelius, Why Can't We Be Good?, The American Soul, The Wisdom of Love, Time and the Soul, The Heart of Philosophy, Lost Christianity, and Money and the Meaning of Life.
"The Gospel of Mary, taken with the inspired commentary by Jean-Yves Leloup, can help toward making the teaching of Jesus once again alive."
— Jacob Needleman, author of Lost Christianity and The American Soul
"Leloup's commentary presents a scholarly translation with an inspirational and passionate interpretation. . . . Going beyond the gospels to the laws of the Torah and the philosophical writings of Kant, the author at once discovers the truer meanings of an ancient text and a message as important today as it was two millennia ago."
— Steven Sora, author of The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar
"Readers will welcome this perceptive translation of the Gnostic 'Gospel of Mary' and the insightful commentary by scholar-mystic Jean-Yves Leloup. The journey of the soul and other profound and subtle teachings of Jesus and his beloved Miriam will enlighten modern seekers."
— Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar
"One welcomes this solid telling of the story and meaning of a neglected text at the root of Christian wisdom, and of a neglected figure who had a special relationship both with the historical Jesus in his lifetime and with the Christ spirit after the death of Jesus."
— Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing
" . . . the Magdalene's gospel might be embraced by contemporary seekers, both Christian and non-Christian."
— Patricia Monaghan, Booklist American Library Association, April 2002
"There are some fascinating glimpses at gender politics between the earliest followers of Jesus and the enigmatic personage of Mary Magdalene. Christians have come to think of her (with no basis in biblical fact) as the repentant prostitute, while to his followers she was the one Jesus loved 'differently from other women.'"
— KJ, Napra ReView, May/June 2002
"He sets the record straight and provides ample commentary on where the historical records went astray."
— New Women New Church, Summer 2003, Vol.26 No.2
"I love this gospel . . . it speaks such truth as the Church desperately needs in these times."
— John Gilbert, Ph.D., Gnostic News, December 2003
"The commentary by Professor LeLoup is beautifully done. He is indeed a scholar of the earth Church."
— John Gilbert, The Temple of Gnostic Yoga, December 2003
"Powerful, almost Taoist in range, this is an important book and should be read by anyone interested in Mary Magdalene or the early Church."
— Pamela Crossland, TCM Reviews