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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? Why did some writers depict Mary of Nazareth as a priest? Were extracanonical scriptures featuring Mary more influential than the canonical gospels on the depiction of Maryam in the Qur'an? Contributors dig deep into literature, iconography, and archaeology to offer cutting edge research under three overarching topics. The first section examines the question of which Mary? and illustrates how some ancient authors (and contemporary scholars) may have conflated the biblical Marys. The second section focuses on Mary of Nazareth, and includes research related to the portrayal of Mary the Mother of Jesus as a Eucharistic priest. The final section, Recovering Receptions of Mary in Art, Archeology, and Literature, explores how artists and authors have engaged with one or more of the Marys, from the early Christian era through to medieval and modern times.
Mark 4.11-12, the 'parable theory' passage, has probably been commented upon more often than any other section of Mark's Gospel. The saying has usually been interpreted as an authentic utterance of Jesus, which was subsequently misunderstood and misinterpreted by early Christians - including the evangelist Mark. The precise meaning of the mystery logion in the ministry of Jesus is notoriously elusive, since we have no information about the context in which it was spoken, or about the audience to which it was addressed. Much more, however, can be known about the interpretative context of the logion in Mark, since it is surrounded by passages that seem to echo the mystery saying. This study examines the complex web of literary relationships between Mark 4.11-12 and the Gospel as a whole. Dr Beavis's fresh interpretation is unusual in that she undertakes to interpret the Gospel of Mark, as far as possible, from the point of view of its 'historical' readers/audience. Chapters 1 and 2 of the book attempt to describe the 'community' for which the Gospel was written, and in the rest of the book, this socio-cultural setting is used to investigate the meaning of the mystery saying for the original readers/hearers of Mark.
This study of the historical Jesus focuses on the context of ancient Utopian thought and Utopian communities. It covers the Essene community and Philo's discussion of the Therapeutae, and argues that only ancient Utopian thought accounts for the lack of explicit political messages in Jesus' message of the kingdom of God. The book examines ancient Utopias, biblical Utopias, ideal communities in early Judaism and Jesus's preaching of the kingdom of God in Utopian context. It also provides a dramatic new context for understanding Jesus.