I'm still a spiritual person, and I believe there is some form of divinity out there -but the restrictions and specificity of the Bible were far too suspect for me to continue subscribing to them. This is why I have embraced neo paganism, and am finally settling on Druidry.
Spirituality, and even sometimes Christianity, can be a beautiful thing. Truth, however, is more important to me and if I'm being honest with myself then I can't believe something that's obviously been constructed by men in order to control society. I find it especially disturbing that women have been not only removed from the immediate presence of Christ in the scriptures, but traditionally scorned by his followers and their teachings ever since.
I'm resigned to keep my opinions to myself around most Christians, but I honestly feel that it's foolish and destructive to buy into something that is so obviously deceitful and misogynistic.
Today, we know of roughly two dozen ancient gospels. (There are certainly many more) The ones which were rejected tended to fall into a few major categories: "Wisdom gospels," such as the Gospel of Thomas, which are essentially collections of Jesus sayings, were rejected both for lack of narrative and because their emphasis was rather personal rather than on the social fabric of the Church. Mystical gospels (many of which are often called "Gnostic Gospels," for rather complicated but boring reasons; they aren't actually Gnostic) tended to emphasize the miraculous powers which come with holiness, and these got excluded as part of the larger struggle for political power between urban and rural elites.*
A common theme in many of the Gnostic gospels is the various other disciples of Jesus. A number of them, for example, refer to Mary Magdalene as one of his disciples, and shall we say strongly hint that she was his wife. (Which would have been perfectly consistent with the norms of the day; most men married, and being married was a near-requirement for rabbis)
So the existence of an ancient manuscript mentioning the wife of Jesus isn't actually unusual in the larger scope of gospels. It doesn't mean anything in particular about its truth: remember that the oldest gospel (Thomas) was written 30 years after Jesus' death, and many of the later ones (such as John) were written over a century after that.
As with any historical text, the only thing you can really trust about it is that it had a writer who had an audience in mind, and you can learn a lot about how that writer saw the world and believed that his audience did as well. (Which is just as true for all of the other gospels!) There was definitely a strain of belief in Egypt around the second century that Jesus had a wife who was also a disciple, and this was almost certainly identified with Mary Magdalene.
So if you see this story, it's not earth-shakingly revolutionary, but it is an interesting further piece in the puzzle of how religious belief (and the associated social movements) evolved in the first few centuries CE in Europe. Which is a pretty fascinating topic.
* If you want to know the story: starting around the 3rd century, as centralized Roman political power started to fall apart, local elites became more important power centers. The church became the political structure which unified them. In the cities, the leading power figure was the bishop, with his various priests, churches, etc. (Especially in the earlier days, this didn't mean so much that being the bishop made you powerful as that if you were powerful, you likely became the bishop.) In the countryside, where there weren't enough centralized people to form formal hierarchies of that scale, power instead tended to congregate around local holy men, whose authority derived from their general reputation for holiness. This tradition really started in Egypt, which was the breadbasket of the Empire and which had a very long history of holy men living in deserts, and this evolved into monastic orders. Bishops and monks proceeded to fight over power for the next thousand years.
A key issue which came up early on is what's called the "Arian Heresy." From a very technical perspective, the Arian controversy was over whether Jesus and God are of the "same substance" or "similar substance." You wouldn't think that an issue this subtle would lead to Empire-spanning riots and the near collapse of government, but it did. The real issue was this: if Jesus and God are of the "same substance," then Jesus' appointment of Peter as his successor (as the canonical gospels tell us) is a direct divine appointment, which means that priests have divinely granted power and are therefore different from monks, who don't. That means that an argument for the same substance is really an argument for urban power, often centralized in Rome, and an argument for different substance (which came to be known as the Arian Heresy, after a council of bishops decided that this was wrong) was an argument for rural power and specifically for power in Egypt. And that was something people would get very upset about.
And this is why the canonical gospels -- chosen by bishops, mind you -- are so pro-priest and pro-a certain notion of the divinity of Jesus.
If you want to know more about this early power struggle, I recommend Peter Brown's The Cult of the Saints (http://www.amazon.com/The-Cult-Saints-Christianity-Religions/dp/0226076229).
If you want to know more about the Gospels, these two Wikipedia articles are a good place to start:
If you want to actually read some of them, this is a good compendium and translation:
Just thought I'd share this giveaway with my folks here, since it's for a $100 gift card and it's pretty easy to enter.
And Who Doesn't Love Gift Cards?
Spring has arrived, and when the snow melts we all have to look out at our yards and acknowledge just how much stuff we put off doing "until next year". We thought maybe it would help if we gave everyone a chance to win a $100 gift card from stores -just to get you started.
We're even giving a second-runner-up prize - one $50 gift card for ! We're not saying you have to spend it on hedge clippers, but... what we don't know won't hurt us, right?
Click here to enter!
~ Henry David Thoreau
How often do you stop what you're doing to blog because something has inspired you?
...like tulip buds and roadkill. I took a nice long bike ride this weekend, and saw these two robins smashed in the street just inches apart. I wonder if they were fighting over a scrap of food or something?
Also spotted a fox (who hid quickly) while ingressing this past week, and my tulips are just about ready to split open!
So this past Tuesday I hit the elliptical at work (15 minutes), took a walk at lunch to hack some portals, and then walked about five laps around the block (portal farm) later that night. Since then I have been slackin'.
Tonight I must get sweaty (giggity)!
So I'm not singling out Marathon here -they just happen to be the station closest to my house. The oil industry in general can charge what it likes, and the guys at the top can cry "profitability" all they like -but we see the profits they're making, and the wages we're making.
"Fueling The American Spirit" is an outrageous marketing slogan -considering I just paid over $20 for FIVE gallons of gas. When I was in high school, working at McDonald's for $4.19 an hour, I could fill my gas tank for $20.
3.78541 litres in a US gallon, £1.299 a litre or 2.19 US Dollar = $8.29 per US gallon for fuel in the UK.
We have the added bonus of paying a tax on a tax as well - fuel already has "fuel duty" on it and we have to pay VAT on the whole amount. At least we have good healthcare... until this right wing government finishes privatising it and selling it to their party donors.
Rant rant rant :(
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I'm also working on a Fantasy novel, but that's a story for another day...
- Northern Illinois UniversityB.A. Journalism, 2004 - 2012At N.I.U. I studied: Broadcast Journalism, New Media, Public Relations/Marketing and International News/media.
- Rockford CollegeEnglish Literature, 2002 - 2004I took classes in English Lit, Middle English Lit, Anthropology and Philosophy.
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