Goodreads Synopsis: A gospel, as ancient and authentic as any of the gospels that the Christian bible contains, was buried deep in the Egyptian desert after an edict was sent out in the 4th century to have all copies of it destroyed. Fortunately, some rebel monks were wise enough to refuse-and thanks to their disobedience and spiritual bravery, we have several manuscripts of the only gospel that was written in the name of a woman: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
Mary’s gospel reveals a radical love that sits at the heart of the Christian story. Her gospel says that we are not sinful; we are not to feel ashamed or unworthy for being human. In fact, our purpose is to be fully human, to be a “true human being”- that is, a person who has remembered that, yes, we are a messy, limited ego, and we are also a limitless soul.
And all we need to do is to turn inward (again and again); to meditate, like Mary Magdalene, in the way her gospel directs us, so that we can see past the ego of our own little lives to what’s more real, and lasting, and infinite, and already here, within. With searing clarity, Watterson explains how and why Mary Magdalene came to be portrayed as the penitent prostitute and relates a more historically and theologically accurate depiction of who Mary was within the early Christ movement. And she shares how this discovery of Mary’s gospel has allowed her to practice, and to experience, a love that never ends, a love that transforms everything.
Oh, where to even begin on this book? I only have two pages of all my thoughts and notes to try and condense into this review. I should start with why I decided to read this, after all, I am pretty outspokenly atheist, semi-pagan, and generally critical of Christianity. I picked up Meggan Watterson’s book mainly out of curiosity, I saw the book floating around my Goodreads and thought: “hey, why not?”
Watterson’s book is a mess, to say the least. A shocking lack of references, very little content from the actual gospel of Mary Magdalene, and too much blog-post type memoir/sermon-like writing. Going into this book you think you’ll learn something about this “new” gospel, instead, you mostly end up learning about a woman who is oddly obsessed with Christianity despite saying that she’s not Christian (and then going back on her own story) and despite disliking most everything Christianity teaches. Did I learn anything about Mary’s gospel? Well yes, but not from Watterson’s book. At one point I put the book down in frustration and turned to the almighty Google, where I learned much more interesting things like the fact that scholars can’t even agree on which Biblical Mary is the supposed author of this gospel. A point that Watterson curiously neglects to mention.
Meggan Watterson spends 226 pages trying to convince the reader that we are all inherently good, and that sin doesn’t mean what the Christian church has said it means. Which is all well and good, only she’s also trying to convince us that this is Christianity, only a type of Christianity that is “forgotten.” I’d much rather she start a new church and go from there, instead of trying to rebrand the old church. Because where is her proof? Oh, my bad her proof is her feelings. Watterson speaks with such authority on the subject of a gospel she barely even goes into, you would think that she would have something more backing her word up. But then maybe I thought this text was supposed to be educational rather than just a personal spiritual journey. Which if you enjoy that type of book, this is for you! But don’t be duped like I was.
Honestly, who am I to say her translation of Christianity is wrong. It’s all mythology, and at the end of the day maybe she’s getting some stuff right. To be fair, I haven’t done the years of theological study that she has done. But I can say is: I dislike her memoir meanderings, her inability to keep her own story straight. Her blog-like sermons that should have been edited more before going into book form. And I hate her stupid kitschy chapter titles. For example “same-sex divine feminine Noah’s ark” and “the yoni of the mountain.” I emphatically hate the way white people use the word yoni.
So there’s my one rant/bad review for the week, hopefully for the whole month. The rest of the reading I’ve been doing has been so inspiring! I gave Mary Magdalene Revealed 1 star on Goodreads.
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