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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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Profile Image for Fr. Ed Jansen
  • Fr. Ed Jansen
  • 02-11-15

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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • idlewilder
  • 03-01-16

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie S.
  • 14-08-15

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 5 people found this review helpful

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  • swordofgryffindor
  • 19-12-17

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.

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  • Mirna Ramos-Diaz
  • 20-11-17

A gift for the journey into becoming fully human!

Dr. Bourgeault depth & breath of knowledge & wisdom renewed my soul & provided hope & nourishment for the journey. Blessings to her & to all who read it!

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  • Mary
  • 07-09-17

Mind blowing

What would it have felt like if I had grown up in a religious tradition that celebrated women and sex? That taught me that women have been leaders and teachers in spirituality and Christianity? How would I have thought about sex if I was taught it could be a spiritually transformative act?

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  • Colleen OLeary
  • 01-04-17

My new favorite book

I cannot fully articulate how much I needed to hear this. I had previously read the book on my own, but hearing it gave it a deeper resonance. It felt less like something I was *studying* & more something that I was *learning*. This book/audiobook has made an enormous difference in the way I now relate to the faith I was raised in & have practiced all of my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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  • Jennifer
  • 30-08-16

Mary Magdalene Apostle of the Apostles

I read this book in 2014 when it was first published. I have to admit I'm a fan of Cynthia Bourgeault, her insight, and knowledge are encouraging. Mary Magdalene is presented as a woman at the heart of Jesus' ministry and treated as one of his apostles not just a camp follower.

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  • mary
  • 27-05-16

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.