Mary Magdalene and Many Others: Women Who Followed Jesus

Mary Magdalene and Many Others: Women Who Followed Jesus

Mary Magdalene and Many Others: Women Who Followed Jesus

Mary Magdalene and Many Others: Women Who Followed Jesus

Synopsis

Seeking "to discover whether Jesus' message of liberation had a word to say to me as a woman", Carla Ricci found the key in Luke 8:1-3, which mentions the women with Jesus at the outset of his public activity in Galilee, listed after the Twelve. This, she discovered, is a text the (male) exegetes have systematically ignored for 1900 years. She found a group of women who unswervingly followed Jesus - the only ones, when the male apostles and disciples fled - from Galilee to Jerusalem, through his passion and death, to be the messengers of the resurrection. In all lists of women with Jesus, Mary Magdalene is placed first. She is one woman whom it has been impossible to ignore. And what has commentary made of her? A prostitute, by falsely associating her with the "sinful woman" of the previous episode in Luke. Ricci examines how and why this happened, in a fascinating inquiry into history and culture. So this is an inquiry into the real nature of Jesus' relationship with women, shown to be truly radical in the,context of his time - and truly liberative. It rediscovers Mary Magdalene, and the "many others" who deserve to be remembered with her, as an essential component of the original "Jesus movement" and the early church.

Excerpt

It is a late September afternoon. The rays of the sun are still catching the tops of the trees. The leaves fluttering in a light breeze throw back diminishing shades of colour. Here I am with the typescript of this book in my hand, trying to work out what I am thinking. I have so long been aware of a host of deep inner feelings, but it is not easy to bring them clearly to the surface of consciousness. It involves a long, steady, silent wait, weighed down with fatigue, nourished by patience. I intended to write this introductory note in the morning, but now I know that only at this stage of the day, when I feel somehow in sympathy with my surroundings, will I be able to express in words the unease I feel when someone who knows about the book asks if it is finished. My instinct is No, it is not finished. Perhaps I will be able to say that it is published, but not that it is finished. And yet unless I find a way to accept this end, it will not be published either. The course of life is also the course of death. A noise makes me raise my head toward the sky, which is now tinged by the sunset: a flock of birds, migrating to warmer lands, crosses the blue vault; their wings beat in gentle harmony as they depart.

I too must depart, let go, die … and find a way to do so in harmony, with a flutter of light wings. The leaves letting go of the branches find it, so does the day as the light gently fades. Yes, perhaps this is the right moment, at the end of the day and the end of summer. Autumn is a time for harvesting fruits, and also a time for sowing. It is time for me, too, to do what my father and mother did; all through their lives they entrusted seeds to the ground at this season. The time has also come for me somehow to live the words of the gospel: “unless a grain of wheat dies …” (John 12:24), and entrust myself to this death-life.

All these reactions in an attempt to communicate what I am feeling may seem excessive, but the process of this research has been with me for a long time: ten years, during which the interaction between life and study has branched out and become interwoven . . .

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