Sunday, March 29, 2009

FInding Religion

Mary Called Magdalene by Margaret George

I opened this book knowing nothing, either historical or proposed, about Mary Magdalene. I tried to keep it that way (avoiding wikipedia as much as possible) until I finished. I favor historical fiction and, generally, I like to get the complete story the author is trying to tell before determining what was "historical" and what was "fiction".

My overall feeling while reading the novel was that the author was glossing. Despite being 600+ pages long, I never truly felt connected to the characters or the message of the book. After learning that the early and personal details of Mary's life are pretty much unknown, I feel like that is the likely explanation.

Once Jesus officially enters the picture (and cures Mary of her demons), my confusion deepens. With little biblical knowledge besides a few memorized passages (sorry mom), it was like the message and life of Jesus were being presented to me for the first time. and I didn't get it. besides all the miraculous healing, I wasn't feeling that he was saying anything so profound to the disciples that they should abandon their lives and join him.

The author's handling of the story post-crucifixion made sense to me. she makes it seem very reasonable that, because Jesus' comments were subtle, each of the disciples "heard" him differently. time passed. and then they finally realized (1) he wasn't returning immediately and (2) lots of people wanted to know what he said, etc. and so they better start writing it all down or run themselves ragged trying to get the word to everyone interested. different writings were transmitted with differing success levels ultimately shaping Christianity.

Ultimately, this is probably my least favorite read by this author. but still, well-written enough to make me want to pick up the Bible and learn more.


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