The developing role assigned to Mary Magdalene which we examined in the previous chapter is of course part of a much larger development in the history of Christianity: making saints more prominent or visible within its conceptual scheme (and with relics and miracles part of that scheme, 'visible' seems a particularly apt description). So what I want to do now is examine more closely the significance of that wider, post-biblical development, though not simply for its own sake. The expanded, composite figure of Mary Magdalene was only one way in which the attempt was made imaginatively to appropriate the relevance of Christ for the believer's own life. In effect, she functioned by allowing believers to place themselves in Jesus' own story, and experience their responses from within. The reader, as it were, became part of the narrative. A more common strategy, however, was to seek to identify Christ's continuing impact in the present, and that is where post-biblical saints were of particular relevance, as they helped demonstrate that conformity to the narrative or example of Christ's life remained a real possibility for the believer's own day. Those sympathetic to narrative theology often write as though discipleship were essentially a matter of direct imitation, of conforming the narrative of our lives to the structure underlying that of Christ's; we are told, for instance, that 'the story of Jesus is the story of each one of us'. 1 But what I hope to illustrate is the
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Publication information: Book title: Discipleship and Imagination: Christian Tradition and Truth. Contributors: David Brown - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 62.
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