Time to take a break for just a minute from posting stale, old content to turn instead to more recent happenings. Mark Goodacre, whose NT Gateway and NT Blog have always been such valuable resources, tweeted yesterday about a book on Bloomsbury that will be out soon called Rediscovering the Marys: Maria, Mariamne, Miriam, edited by Mary Ann Beavis and Ally Kateusz.
This interdisciplinary volume of text and art offers new insights into various unsolved mysteries associated with Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Miriam the sister of Moses. Mariamic traditions are often interconnected, as seen in the portrayal of these women as community leaders, prophets, apostles and priests. These traditions also are often inter-religious, echoing themes back to Miriam in the Hebrew Bible as well as forward to Maryam in the Qur’an. The chapters explore questions such as: which biblical Mary did the author of the Gospel of Mary intend to portray-Magdalene, Mother, or neither?
The “which Mary” question has fascinated me deeply for years, and was in fact my primary interest before I had to put my MM work on the back burner. In 2002 a book edited by F. Stanley Jones published by the Society for Biblical Literature called WHICH MARY? The Marys of Early Christian Tradition, contributors teased apart many pieces of the same question that the new Bloomsbury book will explore. In WHICH MARY?, Stephen Shoemaker’s essay “A Case of Mistaken Identity? Naming the Gnostic Mary” was of particular interest; the Mary in The Gospel of Mary is never named as Mary Magdalene, but is commonly believed to be her. There are many other Marian mentions throughout the Gnostic body of literature, some of them with epithets and some without. (Incidentally, this book also has pieces by Antti Marjanen, Karen King, and Ann Graham Brock, all of whom I’ve always held in high esteem in this field.)
The questions around the name and the identity of the Marys represent a really juicy problem (or set of problems), and I love puzzling through it. Although I’m not an academic, I do pay close attention, and I have some longstanding questions that I’ve not seen answered yet by the scholars producing this work. I look forward to reading this new volume for a window into the latest thinking.
Rediscovering the Marys will be released by Bloomsbury on July 25, 2019.