Last week, this series began as I outlined the Book of Thomas and its ancient text of Gnosticism. Martin Luther intended to return to the original faith of Jesus for the Christian Bible; therefore, he accepted only those Old Testament books originally written in Hebrew. So many gospels were excluded from the modern Bible. Today, I will tell of another example called the Gospel of Mary…
The Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896 in Cairo, became a passionate debate because the narrator of the book is not clear, according to biblical scholars. Was it the Virgin Mary or Mary Magdalene? Ten pages of difficult text were missing from the gospel, including the first six pages. One can assume we will never know who authored this lost book. Upon reviewing much of the text, however, strong signs point out that Mary Magdalene may have written the passages.
A section of the book, still intact, depicted a scene after the resurrection and Jesus appeared to the disciples. “Mary,” the first to see Him, was given a secret teaching through a vision, and she shared it with the disciples. Skeptical of her profound knowledge, they mocked her, especially Peter and Andrew. Why would Christ tell a woman such a private message?
Here is an excerpt of this conversation from the Gospel of Mary:
(Mary) said, “I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, ‘Lord, I saw you today in a vision.’” He answered and said to me: “Blessed are you, that you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is the treasure.” I said to him, “So now, Lord, does a person who sees a vision see it through the soul or through the spirit?”
Mary claimed Jesus taught her that the inner self is composed of soul, spirit/mind, and a third mind between the two, which sees a vision. Then the text breaks off, and the next four pages are missing. When the script picks up again, Mary is describing what happens immediately after death. She proclaims the soul will have an intense conversation with four powers who will try to hinder the ascension to heaven: darkness, desire, ignorance, and the excitement of death.
The Gospel of Mary reveals many details about Mary’s relationship (or lack thereof) with Jesus’s disciples. Regardless of its exact author, it drives home the idea that it’s our human striving for the things contrary to nature that cause sin. Other points said by Jesus in the disregarded book speak of the unjust persecution of Jews, the passion of jealousy, and the divine right to our roots within God’s realm.
Again, as in the Book of Thomas, those who made the ultimate decisions of which books would go into the modern Bible felt the Gospel of Mary was of a Gnostic nature. Why? It was gnostic because women were not to be heard in biblical days – it was against religious standards. Mary, regardless of which one authored the book, had deep insight into Jesus. If we search back into the Bible, Jesus often sought her advice before the disciples. Wouldn’t this make her Gospel a bearer of prophecy?
I found this book to follow along with most Bible passages. It enlightens the character of Christ and His view of living in peace. I believe our modern Bible could benefit from Mary’s profound book. To end this blog, I want to share a passage in the Gospel of Mary with you, which is Jesus’ promise of peace:
“Acquire my peace within yourselves! Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, ‘Look over here!’ or ‘Look over there!’ Those who search for it will find it”
Want to receive these blogs in your email? Click HERE to subscribe today!