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Ad-dressing the Mary Condition (Part Two)

March 5, 2013

Before you begin this essay, I would suggest that you read Part One. I began with Philo, and ended with Mary, a misunderstood servant of God. In this essay, I would like to examine her person.


A look at the name Mary.

In Behind the Names, the etymology and history of first names, we have:

Usual English form of Maria, which was the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam) and Μαρια (Maria) – the spellings are interchangeable – which were from the Hebrew name מִרְיָם (Miryam). The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including “sea of bitterness”, “rebelliousness”, and “wished for child”. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry “beloved” or mr “love”.
Mary of Magdala was said to be of Egypt, and looking up the name Magdala , I found some relevant information on Wikipedia.
Magdala (Aramaic: מגדלא / Magdala, meaning “elegant”, “great”, or “tower” (viz. “great place”); Hebrew: מגדל / Migdal, meaning “tower”; Arabic: قرية المجدل / Qariyat al-Majdal) is the name of at least two places in ancient Israel mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and one place that may be mentioned in the Christian New TestamentMagdala was also a high stronghold in Ethiopia that was taken on April 13, 1868, by Sir Robert Napier, created Baron Napier of Magdala.

And, of course, Magdala was known as an active fishing village. Somewhere in my readings, I read Magdala was know as “village of fishes”.

Now, let’s consider for a moment that the Mary in The Gospel of Mary (Nag Hammadi Scriptures) is the same Mary as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Before any Religious start snorting and stomping their feet, Mary of Magdala was not a prostitute, and those “demons” mentioned in the the Gospels are Spiritual Language for something, which I will get into later in this essay.

While Jesus was hanging on that cross, he said:

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19. 25-27

Note: part of the Egyptian meaning on the name Mary is “beloved”, like John, the beloved of Jesus. Also, the name John means God has given, gift of God.

For the name Mary, we are looking at sea of bitterness, rebelliousness, and wished for child. We are looking at three understandings on Magdala: elegant, great and tower. And, we have three MarysAnother important understanding in name usage would be where the text refers to one of the Marys as his mother’s sister. And Jesus refers to John as Mary’s son, and she his mother. There is also a very important understanding in the words: And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home ( Note: The words of Jesus at the Last Supper: Take, eat; this is my body. Also, from that hour has special significance in the life of one reborn. No one knows the day and the hour) And, of course, John was to remain, for Jesus said to Peter:

Jesus saith until him, “If I will that he tarry til I come, what is that to thee, follow thou me.” John 21.22

There are a lot of signs here that bring us to a significant theological discussion on the nature of Mary. God’s Word is replete with symbolism, and in it, wisdom abounds, along with the very necessary elements for understanding virtue, an active in wisdom, like prophesy is active in God and man, continuous.

Also, The Gospel of Mary with the Greek Gospel of Mary in the gnostic texts demonstrates a Mary who is sister and companion to Jesus, as well as a significant disciple. She is so much a significant disciple, the disciples ask why Jesus loves her more than them. These fragmentary copies, three, to be exact, have been found in Egypt, and involve Mysteries that add to this marvel of there being only one Mary. Spiritual Language is of the Essence.

If you have read this Gospel and Greek Gospel attributed to Mary, you see that Mary is instrumental in getting the disciples of the Christ out and into their calling. They ask her what Jesus has imparted to her, and she shares what Andrew and Peter view as strange ideas, but Levi comes to her aid and puts Peter in his place. He says:

“Peter, you have always been a wrathful person. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. For if the Savior made her worthy, who are you then for your part to reject her? Assuredly the Savior’s knowledge of her is completely reliable. That is why he loved her more than us.

“Rather, we should be ashamed. We should clothe ourselves with the perfect human, acquire it for ourselves as he commanded us, and announce the good news, not laying down any other rule or law that differs from what the Savior said.”

After [he said these] things, they started going out [to] teach and to preach. The Nag Hammadi Scriptures

I find Levi’s reprimand poignant, very much of a pungent flavor. As an orthodox spiritual, we believe there are no coincidences.

To continue on the personhood of Mary, we need to step away from her as poster child of Religion – that lily white, immaculate, sinless, goddess of institution, and see her as catalyst, prophet: an agent of truth. To explore this idea of catalyst, we look at the Wedding at Cana. It is here that we see the Mary Connection.

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: John 2.1

In John 1.1, we have … In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

At the wedding, Mary tells Jesus that the guests have no wine (John 2). Jesus then performs what many theologians consider His first miracle. It is clear that Mary served as catalyst in this Parable, and I find the words of the father of the groom superb. He says:

John 2, beginning with 9 … When the master  of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

You have kept the good wine until now!

Continued …

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