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The Gospel of Mary Magdalene [Paperback]

Jean-Yves Leloup
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Mar 2002
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions Bear and Company; 1st U.S. Ed edition (28 Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892819111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892819119
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


There are some fascinating glimpses at gender politics between the earliest followers of Jesus and the enigmatic personage of Mary Magdalene. -- KJ, Napra ReView, May/June 2002

About the Author

Jean-Yves Leloup is the founder of the Institute of Other Civilization Studies and the International College of Therapists. His other books include "Absurdity and Grace, Lack and Fullness," and a commentary on the Gospel of Thomas. He lives in France.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "For It Is Within You" 9 Jun 2004
It is always interesting to look at the scriptures which were rejected by the early church leaders. In this instance it seems that two of the more threatening elements are probably the special emphasis placed on the Presence to be discovered and allowed to grow within us as well as the central position accorded to Mary Magdalene.
The format of the text is done in a highly readable style. You don't have to be an academic to understand it. The commentary is particularly good. The author highlights both the unique aspects of this gospel and also its similarities to the four canonical Gospels. Anyone interested in learning more about Mary Magdalene and the development of early Christianity will enjoy reading THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, if somewhat heavy read 7 Feb 2006
Part of the fascination for this book comes from the fact that it is one of those (many) gospels that didn't make it into the canon of (only) four that we've come to know. The other is, of course (in the days of Dan Brown and teh Da Vinci code), that it has to do with Mary Magdalene. However, those seeking some enlightenment on the relationship between Jesus and Mary in the tone of gossip magazines, be warned - this book is not for you.
The book is in fact highly complex, which is small wonder as the text of the gospel itself is very short and then only fragmentary. Leloups tries to explain the message of the fragment, and does this admirably well, including diagrams. At times I had the feeling that he was using the text only as point of departure for his own religous musings, which is why I deducted one star. Also, the diagrams were not always clear and often I was not too sure what Leloups was trying to get at.
Apart from these slight criticisms, the gospel of Mary Magdalene paints a very interesting and wholly different view of Christianity, a view which will sound strange to most Christian ears. This is both a tribute to the force of Jesus' message and an indication of all that Christianity has left behind in the course of its development.
Surprisingly, the book has the original koptic text facing a prose translation. While I don't pretend to even be able to understand the koptic, this does give the reader a certain feeling of authority over the text and adds to the authenticity - a nice touch that.
Despite its difficulties this is a book well worth reading if you are interested in early Christian texts, what Christianity might have been and the books that didn't make it into the canon.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seemed preachy 25 Oct 2007
By calmly
Given the relative neglect of Mary Magdalene by the orthodox Church, her role for the Cathars, and given that this gospel's text intrigues me, a helpful commentary of this Gospel would be welcome.

It's not this one: the commentary is mostly LeLoup's advice, not particularly gnostic and not focused so much on this gospel. There seems to be little attention to any relevant conditions of the times when the Gospel was written. At times the commentary sounds like pop psychology. I'm afraid I didn't learn anything from Leloup's commentary.

Fortunely, an outstanding commentary on the Gospel of Mary exists: "The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the Woman Apostle" by Karen King of Harvard Divinity School.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very special book 26 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I adore anything about this particular historical figure and this book didn't disappoint. Extraordinary writings - I can highly recommend.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i liked this 19 Aug 2006
By mikey
I think the people buying the book now,many of them will have read the davinci code and want to look further into the subject(maybe not). Fans of the davinci code's style shouldnt expect this to be too similar.It isn't an easy "find the secrets of the church" kinda book. this book is quite intense, this book goes heavily into the subject of Mary Magdalene and her role within christianity... and it does it very well. I like the commentary, infact the commentary is what makes the book, because this isn't just a general tranlation;you can get hold of the actual "gospel of mary magdalene" quite easily on the internet if you have a look. The important thing about this book is its commentary because i think it is what makes it stand out, it goes heavily into the possibilities of the text..and does it very well i think.

One thing i liked about it was that as i read further, i noticed it seemed to go deeper and deeper into the subject, but still managed to keep a feeling of sanity,unlike a lot of modern spiritual books. It also opened my eyes up to a different side of christianity, one that seemed to make a bit more sense to me, and lacked the mundane i relate to the christianity i have been accustomed to.

Overall... buy it if your interested in the subject,, even if you hate it. you could give it to someone who may benefit from it :)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enlightened 20 Aug 2006
By simo
This gosple reveals an insight into the true gender politics within the early christian church, in this gosple Mary is a companion to Christ and a chief disciple, she is very different form the Mary portrayed in the canonical Gosples of today, it is interesting to read how Mary also faces discimination from her fellow disciples who reject her understaning of Christs word. Mary also gives an insight into the early Jesus and offers a totally different perspective than that being offered by the modern day church on spirituality and its true meaning. I highly recomend this Gosple its very thought provoking. Maybe thats the reason why it was ommitted by the early church fathers !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare experience
This is one of the Nag-Hammadi gnostic gospels which casts a whole new light on the beginnings of Christianity and its place in the spiritual history of mankind. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nikolai77
5.0 out of 5 stars Leloup? Excellent.
This is a Christian gnostic gospel. Leloup gives an excellent interpretation - perhaps laboured at times but he's thorough. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Wildfire
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Magdalen
The friend to whom I sent this was delighted.She will lend me the book,and then I can comment.I can only say htta my friend received it swiftly and is pleased.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. S. A. Charlewood
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book was absolutely amazing. The interpretation which accompanies this highly spiritual text provides a fantastig insight both from the theological and psychological point of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by stella
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Jean Yves Le Loup
Although it is a short Gospel it provides the feminine a place of profound status that has been lost from the Bible. Read more
Published on 16 May 2010 by N. Moss
3.0 out of 5 stars The secret remains unmoved - Thank goodness.
Given the extraordinary hype and semi-delerious corpus of literature generated by the Gospel of Mary Magdalene (some of it entering the stratospheric realms), this is a fairly... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2009 by J. G. Knebel
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Insight
This book presents an interesting journey of discovery. If you are Christian & never questioned why women are valued less then men in most religions, then let this be the first... Read more
Published on 28 July 2009 by Mr. E. Holness
1.0 out of 5 stars What a load of tosh!!!
Gospel??? Pure fiction an distortion. Talking about taking out of context. The absence of any attempt at highlighting the 'true words' to extricate fantasy makes the whole book... Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2007 by K. L. Diong
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt communion between Jesus and Magdalene
This is a book that you will not wish to lend to your friends, because it is one that will not be returned. Read more
Published on 3 Dec 2007 by Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant-excellent link to Course in Miracles, Gary Renard etc
I am thorougthly enjoying this book and can sincerely recommend it to anyone who is insterested in the spiritual quest.
Published on 29 Aug 2006 by Dr. Mary F. Hunt
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