Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Book Review ~ Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene by Bart D. Ehrman

Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene The Followers of Jesus In History and Legend

Ehrman explains how the stories made up about Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene give us insight into what the people of that period were thinking.

Ehrman explains how anything supposedly written by Peter is highly suspect as Peter was an illiterate fisherman.  Explores the stories concerning Simon Peter's "contest" with Simon Magus. Tells how Peter supposedly refused to heal his own daughter who was paralyzed to keep her a virgin. And explores the myth of Peter's martyrdom, he was supposedly crucified upside down because he preached sexual abstinence even for married people.

Paul was well educated and spoke Greek. Doubtful he spoke Hebrew/Aramaic.  The letters Paul wrote are at odds with what was written about him in Acts. The views in Acts that women were to stay home and have babies are not Paul's. Supposedly beheaded by Nero, and his blood was replaced with "milk". Paul was a figure of controversy even in his own time.

Mary Magdalene the most interesting from my point of view. Little is know about her and she is only mentioned in the four Gospels of the New Testament 13 times, although she is often confused with other Mary's (Mary of Bethany for example) and unnamed women in the Bible. In The Golden Legend she is a reformed sex offender who can work miracles. In The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown she is Jesus' secret wife and the mother of his child. In Jesus Christ Superstar she was sexually attracted to Jesus and possibly intimate with him. The Last Temptation of Christ had Jesus imagining an alternate life with Mary Magdalene as his wife while he was being crucified. While in the Bible she is only on the fringes of the group of Jesus and his disciples along with other women. In fact all we know about her from the Bible is that demons were cast out of her and that she was the first to see the empty tomb, and that she was the one who proclaimed that "Jesus Was Risen", making her the first apostle. More then likely she was illiterate. There are no surviving text written by Mary or claiming to be written by Mary. The Gospel of Mary is a book about her written years after her death.

Ehrman explains things in an easy to understand way and has written an interesting book about Peter, Paul & Mary Magdalene.

1 comment:

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