Friday, April 06, 2007

Not (much) about Mary Magdalene (alas!)

was on the History Channel last night. Its a production of CTVC--a UK independent production company specialising in the impact of social, religious and ethical issues.

It was a pleasure to see and hear Prof. Pheme Perkins of Boston College who reads Greek and Coptic texts and who has written several books including one on Gnostic Revelation Dialogues in the Nag Hammadi Library along with Susan Haskins whose work on Mary Magdalene in Christian art is well known. While Esther de Boer and Ramon Jusino were featured prominently, their ideas about Mary Magdalene as the author of the Fourth Gospel were not assessed.

I received an email from CTVC in 2005 about the program and I'm pretty sure I referred them to the article by Prof. Schneiders, 'Because of the Woman's Testimony . . .': Reexamining the Issue of Authorship in the Fourth Gospel." New Testament Studies 44 (1998) 513-535) on the identity of the Beloved Disciple in John as:-

a textual paradigm derived from and realized in the leading figures in the Johannine School, some of whom were disciples of the pre-Easter Jesus, and refracted in the text through such characters as Nathanael, the Samaritan Woman, the Royal Official, the Man Born Blind, Martha and Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, and Thomas the Twin. The most significant of these figures is certainly Mary Magdalene who is the witness to and proclaimer of the paschal mystery.

If this argument had appeared on the web, and been thoroughly digested, would Prof. Schneiders be on the program discussing the authorship of the Fourth Gospel? If so, then the focus of the program would be changed. As it is, I'm not entirely sure who the intended audience of the program is.

The program examines the ideas of Esther de Boer and Raymon Jusino that Mary Magdalene is the Beloved Disciple in John's Gospel and the Beloved Disciple "himself."

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