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The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,661 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
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 spiritu
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Inner Traditions (first published 1997)
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Uniquely fascinating. This book not only presents the known text of the Gospel of Mary, but then the book follows with a discussion of the text, offering commentary line by line.

The known text of the Gospel of Mary is missing many pages right in the middle of the gospel, so I (as well as many scholars, I am sure) am left wishing and wondering I knew what the missing text was. Hopefully some day someone will find another copy of this somewhere, and the missing test can become known.

The text avail
Mar 29, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: meditation
I was surprised by this book. The Gospel is very short, but included some very interesting things to contemplate. In a crude fashion, my take-aways include:
- It directly takes on a woman's role in the culture and the challenges the disciple had with Jesus' relationship to Mary. It was interesting to contemplate her as spiritual equal to the disciples and even a leader. JYL brought her to life for me in a way that made it quite real what her challenges were. Peter and Andrew in particular find
Oct 21, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing
I was transfixed by the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Jean Yves-Leloup has provided the reader with a beautiful esoteric interpetation of the words of Mary Magdalene. In the remaining pages left from this gospel, she reveals to the apostles' the words of Jesus and their deeper meaning. The fact that his words are delivered by a female, causes Peter some misgivings, but is eventually accepted as truth by the apostles' as the words resonate with power. Jean Yves-Leloup has given a line by line comment ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Jill added it
Just as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John weren't written by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, Mary Magdalene didn't write this gospel herself. It's impossible to know if someone wrote it down as Mary was speaking or if her words were repeated from follower to follower orally and if so, we can't know how many people it passed through before being written down. According to The Gnostic Society, there is evidence that this gospel was originally written in Greek and translated to Coptic and was widely circul ...more
Feb 28, 2009 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
After reading the Gnostic Gospels, which referred to this text, I appreciate getting a firsthand look at the Gospel of Mary. I also found the commentary by Leloup to be very interesting and helpful in interpreting and analyzing the teachings mentioned both in this gospel and in the traditional, institutionally-accepted gospels.

If I take away anything from this text, it will be a markedly different perspective of Christ's teachings. It introduced to me a new way of looking at both the "law" and t
Aug 01, 2007 Adrian rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the curious / mystics
well before The DaVince Code pandamonium
there was this book making its way through
readers' hands.
my fascination with Mary Magdalene began of
a Catholic upbringing. then when i began listening
to Tori Amos i was sucked into much of her music
BECAUSE she dealt with subject matter i hold close
and miss Mary Magdalene was no different. but through
her songs i started hearing the story.. the possibility
that she & Jesus were a thing
(something i had seen hinted at in the play JESUS

"Then Andrew began to speak, and said to his brothers:
“Tell me, what do you think of these things she has been telling us?
As for me, I do not believe
that the Teacher would speak like this.
These ideas are too different from those we have known.”
And Peter added:
“How is it possible that the Teacher talked
in this manner, with a woman,
about secrets of which we ourselves are ignorant?
Must we change our customs,
and listen to this woman? "

Todd Settimo
Apr 13, 2010 Todd Settimo rated it it was amazing
This was one of those pivotal books for me; great translation and commentary. One 'mystical aha!' after another. The non-dual aspects of gnostic philosophy shine through.
Feb 25, 2017 Trina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
I found this book to be an interesting read and the interpretation provided was fascinating. After reading this I felt the divine feminine was at last revealed after having been buried. Having been raised in Christianity I always felt like "religion" left out the sacredness of the divine feminine which never made sense to me. From my experience, women are the more "in touch" with the spiritual and esoteric. I don't believe that this gospel or any of the gospels that were left out of the King Jam ...more
Mar 07, 2017 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Though much of this book is missing, it nevertheless reveals the high regard that Jesus had for Mary Magdalene.
Feb 04, 2014 Rama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-testament, bible
The apostle Mary Magdalene; the gospel from the perspectives of a female disciple

The gospel of Mary Magdalene discovered in Egypt in 1896 is a Gnostic gospel like the gospel of Thomas, which was also found in Egypt at Nag Hammadi in 1949. The Gnostic gospels of Nag Hammadi include; the secret book of James, the gospel of Thomas, the book of Thomas and secret book of John. They teach on acquiring knowledge and spiritual development to reach salvation. This is contrary to the message of canonical
Dec 19, 2015 Martin rated it it was amazing
I’ll say that this is my favorite of the Gnostic gospels, alongside that of Thomas (and the fragment, “Thunder, Perfect Mind” which is kickass). This book is a terrific examination, much like a Bible study book, in that it goes through the teaching line by line and often compares or incorporates it with other canonical and non-canonical gospels. This gospel exists because Jesus has told Mary her to convey to his other apostles what he had not taught them. Peter, as related elsewhere, has issues ...more
Aug 16, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing
I've never read a book anywhere at all similar to this one, which possibly says more about my general lack of exposure to philosophy than it does about Leloup's uniqueness. But Leloup is a deep, deep thinker and not only did he translate the Sahidic Coptic of the manuscript into French (the English translation from the French is by Joseph Rowe), but he interpreted and commented on the text. He sees the manuscript as describing a world view quite unlike that found in most of the New Testament, or ...more
Gregg Jones
Sep 11, 2016 Gregg Jones rated it really liked it
Mary Magdalene -

As we are told, Jesus was sent to earth for two purposes. 1) As Messiah, he was to rescue the Jewish Israelites as for told in the Old Testament. 2) Experience the life of humanity from birth to death. I believe this.

What is this gospel? It was discovered, in Egypt over a century ago. When? Some say about 100 CE some go as far as 300 CE. It was written in Greek. This is the same age for all the Bible's gospels.

In the bible, Jesus lived and set the benchmark on how we are to l
Apr 26, 2009 Lisse rated it it was ok
I have been interested in Mary Magdalene for a few years now...ever since the DaVinci Code came out in full force. I went to a workshop on her in 2003 that dealt with her gospel in a little more easy to understand way than this book did. I want to give this book a higher score, but it's just not one that I would go back and reread. There are parts of it that I thought were awesome and I want to hold onto, but a lot of it was difficult for me to read - very intellectual (so I don't know what that ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing
The gospel itself is very short in length. The words and what Jesus tells us through Magdalene are powerful, however.
There is comentary on each line from the gospel. This comentary makes up appoximately two thirds of the book. With statements quoted from Jesus Christ, this book needs the comentary. The simple statements that Magdalene repeats from Jesus (Jesus has died and risen already)have not been printed elsewhere in the standard bibles but are an echo of His previous teachings. Here is the
This book surely presents many concepts within the Gospel, but the heavy philosophical and metaphysical ideas can be a bit tiring. I did enjoy some of the commentary made by Leloup and that he drew on some connections between this gospel and understanding some concepts in the canonical four gospels. As an introductory book to what the Gospel of Mary Magdelene says, I may not recommend this one in particular (though, I don't know how many are out there); but, for some introductory concepts into t ...more
Fred Kohn
Jul 16, 2015 Fred Kohn rated it liked it
The reader should be warned that this is not so much a scholarly work as an inspirational interpretation. As such it is very good. One should be careful about relying too much on the specifics in the commentary– for example the Greek word diabolos has nothing to do with division. I enjoyed the translation very much, but because of the lack of academic reliability of the commentary, I felt obliged to compare it to Willis Barnstone's translation, since I trust him more as a translator. I was delig ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Sonic rated it really liked it
Deep heady stuff, that demands much from both one's intellectual as well as emotional intelligence. LeLoup's commentary takes us to the realms of high philosophy with (of course) Gnostic ideas, but as I said, it presents a challenge to more than just the brain, it challenges one's whole being.
... As the best Gnostic ideas should. :)

So, I could only give 4 stars because of my lack of understanding, but this is my failing, not the author's.

(Needleman's introduction is brilliant.)

Perhaps I need to
Feb 06, 2015 David rated it liked it
I would have appreciated more context for the texts rather than philosophical musing as to the deeper meaning, and some attempts to tie to other traditions and popular beliefs. I am interested in the Gnostic Gospels as a subject, being that they can help shed more light on the early church beliefs and practices. The text itself is quite small, so there is a fair amount of repetition in the book. It was interesting enough to stick with it and complete in a single day, but it was not as moving or ...more
Robert Aguirre lessard
Nov 18, 2013 Robert Aguirre lessard rated it really liked it
The gospel itself is very short - preceded by a long - way too long - introduction where the reader is inundated by how literary critics were so moved by this gospel. Well thank you for the fluff, I want pork & beans! And the gospel delivers! Quite well. It is moving and insightful. It is written after the crucifixion and is more a woman's (one in particular) personal interpretation of Jesus' message.
Aug 24, 2009 Julia rated it it was amazing
Deeply spiritual, contemplative and meditative reading.
It may be beneficial to be read with a spiritual partner, but either way, one should read prayerfully and in solitude contemplate its wisdom.
There were times when I thought this is just out of my realm of understanding but then picked it up again and allowed myself to just try to percieve the revelations. I hope even a little understanding sinks in.
Apr 30, 2013 DoubleM rated it it was amazing
Great book for a person who thinks for her/himself. As someone once said: "We must remember the Bible was written by MEN who thought the world was flat." This book and The Gospel of Thomas are just a couple of books that makes one sit up, take notice, and re-think all the things that have been passed down from the ancients. Or as Richard Bach says at the end of ILLUSIONS: "Everything in this book may be wrong." We just don't know; and I keep searching for my own beliefs, not someone else's.
Isaac George
May 06, 2012 Isaac George rated it liked it
I've read the books that Margaret Starbird penned from the late 1980's and 90's concerning Mary Magdalene, and although her research (along with the famous "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by British researcher Henry Lincoln) formed the backbone of "The Divinci Code" by Dan Brown, it is this labour of love by Jean-Yves Leloup that is the definitive work about Magdalene. Also worthy of mention is "The Magdalene Manuscript" via Tom Kenyon.

Read it!!
Deb Crockett
Apr 11, 2015 Deb Crockett rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It took a while to read it though because I read all of the commentary and interpretative notes. I was sad that through the years,several pages of the gospel turned up missing. Maybe one day they will all be found. I absolutely believe in the divine feminine, even more so after reading this book.
Jan 13, 2011 Liz rated it liked it
Interesting ideas. Hard to follow some of the philosophical concepts due to jargon, but that's to be expected.

We had a good discussion about this at discussion group. Always nice to get some more info about important women in the Bible. Would like to find some Mormon commentary on this and the Pitis Sophia. Anyone?
Πάνος Τουρλής
Μία από τις πολλές γυναίκες-ακολούθους που ευεργετήθηκαν από τον Ιησού; Πόρνη που μετανόησε στο σπίτι του Φαρισαίου; Ή μήπως ο νεανικός έρωτας του Ιησού; Το πραγματικό πρόσωπο της Μαρίας Μαγδαληνής της Δυσης, των Ευαγγελίων, της ζωγραφικής, της υμνογραφίας και της ποίησης αποκαλύπτεται... Και απέχει πολύ από αυτό που μας έχει παρουσιάσει ως σήμερα.
Dec 29, 2008 Zachery rated it really liked it
Leloup's interpretation and commentary is invaluable in conveying this gospel clearly as well as making it relevent to a modern reader. He is honest in pointing out areas of the text which are missing and open to interpretation, including mis-interpretation. I am a fan of every Leloup book I have read.
Alice De Dominicis
Dec 09, 2013 Alice De Dominicis rated it really liked it
Very insightful. I was curious to read because I wanted to learn what Mary taught and how she was viewed by others around her. I was impressed to learn that Mary was not only an equal to the apostles, but a figure they looked up to. Her special relationship with Jesus is depicted through her words as she teaches his words, subtly different from the apostles yet very powerful.
Aug 31, 2010 Z rated it it was ok
The translation was not as good as it could have been. I would have liked some helpful footnotes about the choices made in translation. And the explanatory notes/interpretations were clearly slanted in one direction. That passage from the Gospel of Philip about the whole kissing on the lips was quoted as being Full of Meaning, but there’s a debate about that, too, that wasn’t touched on at all.
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