Via Media

Via Media

Like a train wreck

I read this book on the trip out east today – it’s Mary Magdalene: A Biography by Bruce Chilton. It’s from Doubleday, due out on November 1.

It’s whack!

Chilton, a scholar and Episcopal priest, is the author of Rabbi Jesus and Rabbi Paul, neither of which I’ve read. I may have to, though, because this one was so entertaining, I’m sure that the other books hold more good times, as well.

First, the good points:

Chilton mentions DVC (also published by Doubleday) and dismisses that particular trail of non-history. He also very firmly corrects those who would use and misuse the gnostic writings, especially the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary for their own ends, picking and choosing.


But that’s about it. Because, you see, for a man who scores others for picking and choosing , well…takes one to know one, I guess.

I don’t have time to do a lengthy analysis of Chilton’s interpretive framework, if there is one. Let’s just say that many of his conclusions are…odd.

Why did Jesus send out the twelve apostles to preach, heal and exorcise in his name? Because Herod Antipas had just executed John the B, and was presumably after Jesus as well. He sent out 12 men of his own age who could be mistaken for him as….decoys. I kid you not. Which explains why there were no female…apostles.

What was Jesus up to in Bethany a few days before he was arrested? He was gathering a large group of men – to charge the Temple and challenge Caiphas.


Mary Magdalene (oh yes…her) was important in the Christian movement because she was the primary teacher and practitioner of exorcism, anointing and ecstatic visioning.  There’s more, and the way he presents it is interesting and, I think, important to understand because it echos a lot of sentiments that are coursing out there, particularly in mainline Protestant and even in some RC circles – that any understanding of the Resurrection that includes any element of physicality is akin to mere "resusciation," a late development, and runs counter to what Paul said (and, in Chilton’s schema, what Mary Magdalene experienced.)….

It’s odd.

Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.

Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to ...

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But ...

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and ...

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No? about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling ...

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every ...

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.