The Thirteenth Disciple, The Life of Mary Magdalene - Gordon Thomas
A most learned presentation of ideas regarding the importance of Mary Magdalene in the Scriptures, The Thirteenth Disciple, offers an erudite approach to be enjoyed from the comfort of one's armchair. Gordon Thomas espouses the concept that Mary Magdalene as the thirteenth disciple brings intuition and a depth of spirituality into Christianity that cannot be found within the patriarchal church - both in those times and today. Mary Magdalene represents the ultimate change in status from the wanton who becomes a saint.
Whether she exists in one person or as some believe her to be, an amalgam of unrelated episodes dealing with women in earlier Judaic tradition, the Christ persona treats her with respect and His attitude toward women comes across in accepting them as persons in their own right, to be treated as equals and allowed a place at His side. As the fallen woman, Christ first revealed Himself to her following the crucifixion. This highlighted the importance that repentance came not only from renouncing sin, but by turning to God. Her life serves as a parable of the best of Christian reality.
Thomas brings the characters within the last days of Christ in physical form to life in this most interesting thesis about the role of faith in life, choice, and working toward a future - despite social reluctance to accept the role of women. He fleshes out the presence of Mary Magdalene with astute evaluations derived from knowledge of the time period. With the life span being approximately 40 years, Mary Magdalene must have been a relatively young prostitute. Her complexion would most probably have been olive in color with brown eyes as she came from Galilee. The wealth attributed to her also implies that she must have been attractive to be successful in her work arena. Her personality reveals a woman with a strong will, determination, possessed of considerable insight, and yielding an indomitable faith.
The work reminds us that forgiveness is the ultimate loving and that Mary Magdalene taught the disciples of Christ the meaning of faith. Patriarchy does not have God on its side as evidenced in the New Testament which promulgates salvation though love and redemption. It is clear that this major player of the period has great importance today. Within the Christian faith, women have been subtly denigrated for almost two thousand years. And yet, Christ chose a woman, this woman, whose salvation epitomized the deepest tenets of Christianity. "She provides every woman a chance to liberate herself from the constraints man continues to impose on the feminine role in Christian worship. The woman of Magdala could have asked for no more, or wished for no less."