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The Meaning of Mary Magdalene

Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)
Non-member price: $29.22
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Publisher's Summary

Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity - yet, if you look in the Bible, you'll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what's there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian contemplative tradition. What emerges is a radical view of Mary Magdalene as Jesus' most important disciple, the one he considered to understand his teaching best. That teaching was characterized by a nondualistic approach to the world and by a deep understanding of the value of the feminine. Cynthia shows how an understanding of Mary Magdalene can revitalize contemporary Christianity, how Christians and others can, through her, find their way to Jesus' original teachings and apply them to their modern lives.

©2010 Cynthia Bourgeault (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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A model for heart centred living and loving

I thoroughly enjoyed this description of Mary Magdalene, the speculation of the nature of her relationship with Jesus and the 'project' of their love - of opening the heart and living with love at the centre of all that they did. Cynthia Bourgeault gives a compelling alternative reading of Jesus' mission which I find very appealing and something to aspire to. This breathes life into the events around biblical times and shows me how I can incorporate this wisdom into my own life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Fr. Ed Jansen
  • 02-11-2015

Forever Changed

Where does The Meaning of Mary Magdalene rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I can honestly say it is at the top of the list.

What did you like best about this story?

It was written by someone who has lived, studied and contemplated the topic for many, many years. The idea of the church being formed by "male, celibate monastics" caused a major shift in my perspective. This combination resonated with me as a major cause of movement away from the Beginning Church.

Which scene was your favorite?

I have celebrated the Mass for many years and today, it was different for me; it was different as a result of Cynthia's presentation of what "This is my Body" means. I am forever changed and eternally grateful....and I get it!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This Is My Body is not what you think

Any additional comments?

This book is for those who are open to a new way of looking at Christ, women, Mary M and the Church. If you're a conservative Roman Catholic or Evangelical, I suspect you won't like her or this book unless the Holy Spirit is drawing you into a deeper love relationship with God. I caution the reader, though. Hold onto your hat. She will say things that might shake you up; she may say things that might upset you. But hang in there. LISTEN to what she says, take it in, pray about it. I confess I was ready, at one point, to put the book down and not pick it up. Truly. But today, after the 2nd reading of it, I deeply sense she is a modern day prophet worthy of your time to read or listen to what she has to say.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • idlewilder
  • 03-01-2016

Very interesting, indeed

This book has opened my eyes a little more than they were before. It has peaked my interest too. I wish to learn more. I will learn more unless my heart breaks or something before I do.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jana Stew
  • 18-04-2019

A lovely book

This is among a rare few books I did not want to end. Much transmitted and offered to contemplate and then to live. Thank you.

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  • Casey
  • 19-10-2018

Words insufficient to express my gratitude to the author...

...for bringing Mary Magdalene back to us in this 21st century and showing us the beauty and power of her silent reach into our times.

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  • Calyban
  • 21-04-2018

Another Audible Book Ruined by the Narrator

Where does Audible find their narrators? This one starts out by mispronouncing the word apostolic for the first two chapters. She finally gets it right. Audible, of course, doesn’t bother to re-record the beginning. But that’s pretty minor compared with the narrator’s supremely annoying and distracting melodramatic reading style. She seems to be trying to make a serious work of theology into a trash bodice-ripper. Ugh! Audible, please fire whoever hired this narrator.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • swordofgryffindor
  • 19-12-2017

Well written, poorly narrated.

As usual, Bourgeault has written a thought provoking and well-crafted argument. I found this book challenging, frustrating, enlightening and an overall good "read"

This audiobook has one major drawback, though, which is narrator Gabra Zackman's reading of the material, which I find is not true to the spirit of Bourgerault's writing. Zackman's tone frequently adds a layer of snarkiness or "gotchya"-style provocative flare that the material does not warrant. I noticed this because I have read Bourgealts other books and heard her speak publicly about materials I have read and her own delivery of her work is markedly absent any flavor of that condescending "oh-I-went-there-because-I-like-pushing-the-boundaries" nonsense you pick up on in Zackman's reading (not to mention the fact that Zackman mispronounces the terminology at times).

This critique holds true of Zackman's reading of "The Heart of Centering Prayer" as well, which I read and a friend of mine listened too. Our experiences of that book were completely different as a result.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • mary
  • 27-05-2016

Great Book.

Anyone who ever wondered about Mary Magdalene should read this book. For that matter anyone interested in true spirituality should read this book. There is great insight to a lot of my questions.

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  • Julie S.
  • 14-08-2015

Thought Provoking

I'm just venturing into the Wisdom Jesus theology, and this book had been so helpful.
Coming out of the Fundamentalist Christian movement left me feeling like I'd been bamboozled. This author presents the historical Mary Magdalene in a completely legitimate way. There's nothing about believing in this account that takes away from who Christ claimed to be. In fact, the addition of this information about Mary allows Christ to be more beautiful to me.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim Simpson
  • 01-02-2019

Pretty silly

got this because I have always loves knowledge of anything surrounding Jesus. but. after just a few paragraphs of the Mary book. my thoughts were how can anyone buy into this I mean peter asking about what is matter? and the whole soul journey aounds like Dante's inferno or something. whats worth rhe author is buying into it completely.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jackie St. Hilaire
  • 08-05-2018

"Love is the ground into which you live, move and

Cynthia Bourgeault does an excellent job in giving us something to ponder on the relationship of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

Gifted scholar, Episcopal priest and contemplative, Cynthia gives us a history of some of the newly discovered books written by Jesus' disciples, Thomas, Peter, Phillip ( books discovered in 1945 in Egypt) & Mary Magdalene. "The Gospel of Mary" was discovered in the late 1800's in Germany.

In reading "The Gospel of Mary" one is impelled to acknowledge that there was indeed a special relationship between Mary and Jesus. When you love someone deeply, you can choose to reveal yourself or stay within yourself. If both relinquish their "ego", a deep friendship can
turn into a mystical union and possibly a physical union. You can't separate yourself into different kinds of love, it's all one bundle.

Whether Mary and Jesus were married is in the "eye of the beholder". Only one who has experienced this kind of relationship can come to this understanding.

Cynthia, brings to the forefront the anointing of Jesus by Mary Magdalene and encourages us to look deeper into the heart, the meaning and reason for such an act of love. This symbol of transforming love par excellence. Pure creativity-connection-alignment in the realm of the unseen. Two human lovers into one union soul. The heart of Christianity.

Mary Magdalene is a full member of Jesus inner circle. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-04-2019

Magical insight

Truth spoke to my heart and my knowing through every page. A life changing book that brought so many things together for me. Thank you Cynthia

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  • RoseHill
  • 10-02-2019

A Book Whose Time Has Come

Written with heart, intellectual vigour, courage and trust in the reader to be touched by its ramifications.