The Crucifixion of Mary Magdalene: The Historical Tradition of the First Apostle and the Ancient Church’s campaign to Suppress It
By Richard Hooper, M.Div.
Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ most faithful disciple and first apostle of Christianity
From the earliest days of Christianity, Mary Magdalene has been the subject of controversy, rumor and innuendo. Yet the historical Mary was neither a prostitute nor the wife of Jesus. The canonical Gospels are clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful disciple. She witnessed his crucifixion after all the male disciples had fled in fear. Shortly after Jesus died, Mary had a powerful experience of the living Jesus and, as a consequence, became the first apostle of Christianity. The Gnostic Gospels further claim that Mary was a leader, teacher, visionary, and especially favored by Jesus because of her holiness.
Pope Gregory the Great… and scandalizing Mary
But while it was the sixth century Pope, Gregory the Great, who scandalized Mary by reinventing her as a penitent sinner, the patriarchs of orthodoxy had been taking measure to conceal the truth about Mary Magdalene since the beginning of Christianity itself. Why did the Church find Mary so dangerous? The Crucifixion of Mary Magdalene answers this question through a careful study of Christian origins and a detailed analysis of all of the canonical, apocryphal and Gnostic Gospels in which Mary Magdalene appears—including The Gospel According to Mary.
What Readers are Saying about The Crucifixion of Mary Magdalene:
“Timely, insightful, accessible correction to the DaVinci Code.”
“Richard Hooper brilliantly writes a thorough overview of what is known about Mary Magdalene, complete with extensive references to the original extensive references to the original documents, a “glossary” of names, terms and sources, and an extensive subject index.
rigorous attention to detail and
accuracy, Hooper presents the beauty, vision, and leadership of Mary
as apostle, restoring her to her rightful place at Jesus’ side
and, in the process, returning to us the divine feminine in
Christianity prior to Mary’s erasure and corruption by patriarchy.
“ Hooper shows us with great depth and sensitivity Mary’s spiritual maturity and wisdom as a teacher in her own right, while providing a sense of the essence of Mary’s relationship with Jesus. The style and presentation is quite accessible and a good read. Still, his critical attention to detail and cultural/comparative contexts speaks, as well, to the scholar of Christianity, World Religions, and women’s studies. For me, as a cultural anthropologist, his thorough attention to relevant contexts is one of the book’s strongest points. For example, he addresses some of the commonalities between early Christianity and Hinduism, shared as the basis of all Mystery Religions and traditions of ancient wisdom.
“While humorous, outspoken, even radical in his interpretation, Richard Hooper’s work is theoretically and substantively consistent with that of the most prominent scholars in the field. It is a must-read by the lay person and scholar alike interested in the life of Mary Magdalene. The book was a powerful one for me, personally, as well as academically, as Hooper returned to me the Jesus of my childhood, who did not discriminate on the basis of class or gender, but preached only love.” —Deborah L. Neff, Ph.D.
“This is a well written and thought provoking book . . . Hooper offers a well written and well documented discussion of early Christianity and the possible role of Mary Magdalene as an early leader of an alternate movement. He dissects the canonical Gospels and the apocryphal literature from a structural and textual point of view, and offers some interesting interpretations for many of the unusual passages.
Hooper believes that there is some
evidence to suggest that first century Christian sects were devoted
to women’s issues and had women leaders.
He gleans his evidence from several sources, and
attempts to put together a picture of this sect which, over time,
disappeared not only in fact, but also in memory.
It’s a reasonable theory and
Hooper has more than enough evidence to put forth the case.”
—Dr. James Gardner
“This book is an excellent resource of information about the many faces of Mary Magdalene. Written with expertise, Richard Hooper’s insightful analysis is a solid contribution to the dialogue on Mary that is rapidly attracting the attention of mainstream theologians. History, religion, spirituality and mysticism are equally represented.” —Robert W. Graff, Ph.D.
“Richard Hooper has laid open the seminal roots of patriarchy through his scholarly restoration of Mary Magdalene’s rightful place in history. The implication of Richard’s conclusions are huge and outrageously accurate—women have inspired the faith of men!
“But beyond the restoration of the original character of Mary Magdalene, Richard uncovers the essence of her teachings and exposes the essential realm of feminine divinity within spirituality. I am so grateful for his contribution.” —Susan Rangitsch, Ed.D.
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