The Gospel of Mary
From the Gnostic Gospels (fragments)
“……..Will matter then be utterly destroyed or not?”
The Saviour replied, “Every nature, every modelled form, every creature, exists and with each other. They will dissolve again in their own proper root. For the nature of matter is dissolved into what belongs to it`s nature. Anyone with two ears able to hear should listen!”
Then Peter said to him, “You have been explaining every topic to us; tell us one other thing. What is the sin of the world?”
The Saviour replied, “There is no such thing as sin; rather you yourselves are what produces sin when you act in accordance with the nature of adultery, which is called `sin.` For this reason, the Good came among you, pursuing the good which belongs to every nature. It will set it within it`s root.”
Then he continued. He said, “This is why you get sick and die: because you love what deceives you. Anyone who thinks should consider these matters! Matter gave birth to a passion which has no Image because it derives from what is contrary to nature. A disturbing confusion then occurred in the whole body. That is why I told you , ` Become content at heart, while also remaining discontent and disobedient; indeed become contented and agreeable only in the presence of the other Image of nature.` Anyone with two ears capable of hearing should listen!”
When the Blessed One had said these things, he greeted them all. “Peace be with you!” he said. “Acquire my peace within yourselves!
“Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, `Look over here!` or `Look over there!` For the child of true Humanity exists within you. Follow it! Those who search for it will find it.
“Go then, preach the good news about the Realm. Do not lay down any rule beyond what I determined for you, nor promulgate law like the law giver, or else you might be dominated by it.”
After he said these things he departed from them.
But they were distressed and wept greatly. “How are we going to go out to the rest of the world to announce the good news about the Realm of the child of true Humanity?” they said. “If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?”
Then Mary stood up. She greeted them all, addressing her brothers and sisters, “Do not weep and be distressed nor let your hearts be irresolute. For his grace will be with you all and shelter you. Rather we should praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us true Human beings..”
When Mary had said these things, she turned their heart towards the Good, and they began to debate about the words of the Saviour.
Peter said to Mary, “Sister, we know that the Saviour loved you more than all other women. Tell us the words of the Saviour that you remember, the things which you know that we don`t because we haven`t heard them.”
Mary responded, “I will teach you about what is hidden from you.” And she began to speak these words to them.
She said. “I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him `Lord, I saw you today in a vision.`
He answered me, `How wonderful you are for not wavering at seeing 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 with the soul or with the spirit?`
The saviour answered, `A person does not see with the soul or with the spirit. Rather the mind, which exists between these two, sees the vision and that is what………….`
At this point a large part of the Gospel has been lost, but continues in a fragmentary form. Possibly written in the late second century, it shows that at this point in Christian development women still appeared to play a key role in the implementation of the sect`s philosophy; Mary Magdalene`s name has been given to a Gospel which places her, and by association, women, at the centre of Christian debate. With the emperor Constantine`s conversion to Christianity and it`s becoming the state religion of the Roman empire, Christianity quickly begins to ape imperial court etiquette, appearance and more importantly, attitudes. While Rome had a long tradition of strong willed women behind the imperial throne, outwardly, the rulers of the Imperium presented a strong, dominantly male persona to the world; there was no official position of power for women. The Christian Church quickly realised that continued imperial favouritism depended upon removing all presence of female influence from it`s ethos, and a narrowing down of the disparate elements contained within the myriad number of Gospels swashing around. There was just too much intellectual debate contained within these Gospels for comfort; Christianity needed to conform, to rationalize it`s philosophical operation and cut out the `dead wood`and present a single, `official` message to it`s public.
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene was an obvious target for extraction from the official cannon: she was a woman; more horrifically, she was a woman Jesus thought more highly of, and was closer to than any other (this was sexually very suspect territory), plus, it showed women (with Christ`s apparent blessing) in the seriously uncomfortable position of being major movers and shakers in the spreading of his words. Not only was there the taint of Mary possibly having sex with Jesus, but of being equal to the great man`s Disciples, which as the Gospel of Mary shows, even Peter was not averse to asking Mary for her pearls of wisdom. So along with all female influence, she had to go. And so in a sustained campaign to vilify her reputation, not only her name, but the character of her entire sex was blackened, with men being left as the official torch bearers of Jesus. A misogynistic empire had corrupted the original ideals of a religious sect based upon equality, by turning it into a mirror image of itself. Along with all of the other so called Gnostic Gospels, Mary Magdalene`s literary contribution was consigned to the religious dustbin of history.
We have to thank a few monks from the Late Roman empire for burying so many of these forgotten Gospels for safe keeping in the dry deserts of Egypt. Powerful Christian bishops were on the doctrinal rampage and demanded orthodoxy on pain of severe punishment, so monasteries sympathetic to the old texts simply went out into the hot sands and hid them in the hope of saving their treasures for intellectually happier and more open times. The burial of the Gospels was a major act of faith in itself. The New Testament we now know is the product of rigorous intellectual thought control by a religious Big Brother establishment: it contains the `official` books of Christianity; the ones deemed sanitized enough to tow the party line of a revolutionary Jesus of universal peace and love, but shorn of anything too hard for intellectual digestion or fantastical – some even contain Jesus confronting dragons. And women are put firmly on the back burner where they still languish today.
The Gospel of Mary is left to us only in fragmentary form, but enough pieces have now been found from various places to assume that it was in general circulation as a popular well known product, so the fact that she has come down to us as a reformed prostitute saved by Jesus is great testimony to the successful character assassination instigated by the post-Constantine church. The girl`s good name had not only never recovered, but had been airbrushed out of history until her words were rediscovered by 19th century Bible hunters sifting their way through ancient Coptic monasteries in Egypt for hidden biblical treasures.
Even today Mary is mostly thought of as a reformed prostitute rather than as a great woman possessing impressive intellectual powers, and the right hand of Jesus. Her Gospel, even as a fragment, shows us a strong willed, respected, intelligent and highly influential individual who ran foul of later intellectual church corruption which successfully removed her from the front page of early Christian development; but at least now she has a fighting chance to put her reputation back at the forefront of the picture where she belongs. Hail Mary.
“When the soul had brought the third power to naught, it went upward and saw the fourth Power. It had seven forms. The first form is darkness; the second is desire; the third is ignorance; the fourth is zeal for death; the fifth is the realm of the flesh; the sixth is the foolish wisdom of the flesh; the seventh is the wisdom of the wrathful person. These are the seven Powers of Wrath.”
~~ The Gospel of Mary ~~