Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 3 April 2024

Laudable Practice The Critic This vision glorious
“Let us allow the glory of Easter to touch our daily lives”

Anglican Communion News Service Primates from across the Anglican Communion share their Easter Messages for 2024

Ruth Harley ViaMedia.News Posing a Problem: Not Equal Yet

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Easter Day 2024 – Freud and Christianity

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Kate Keates
Kate Keates
15 days ago

There is a perceptive comment on ViaMedia News in response to Ruth Harley’s piece. It’s worth repeating here, paraphrased and expanded for clarity. The Five Guiding Principles and associated embedding of the unequal treatment of women normalises discrimination, not just against women, but other groups too. I would suggest two conclusions: 1. Even if one believes that there needs to be a settlement for those who cannot accept the ordination of women, because of the corrosive effect the present arrangements must be wrong and need to be replaced. 2. If a similar settlement is made for those who cannot accept… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Kate Keates
Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
15 days ago

Considering the unimaginable devastation and tragedy unfolding for everyone in Israel, Palestine and Gaza and beyond. The Easter message from the Archbishop of Jerusalem is one of incredible understated beauty and hope amidst the tears of suffering. His connection with the agony of Mary of Magdala, is very profound and touching indeed.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
15 days ago

I agree with you. However, one of the ironies of Dr Naoum’s position is that the Jerusalem bishopric (1841) which he now holds grew, at least partly, out of the ardent Christian Zionism of the 7th earl of Shaftesbury and his Claphamite colleagues, who anticipated that the establishment of the see (in concert with the Pietist wing of the Prussian state) would led to a steady stream of converts from Judaism: https://www.cambridge.org/us/universitypress/subjects/religion/church-history/origins-christian-zionism-lord-shaftesbury-and-evangelical-support-jewish-homeland?format=PB&isbn=9781107631960. Yet it is Christian Zionism, especially in the US and perhaps in a somewhat different guise to that of Shaftesbury’s time, which is now widely perceived as being… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Froghole
15 days ago

Some of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strongest allies in the USA are evangelical Christians. Online articles I’ve read online indicate they may be stronger supporters of his policies than the average Jewish American. As long as the dollars keep flowing into Israel (and Netanyahu’s Likud party?) and the political support in the US Congress continues, Netanyahu doesn’t care who the source is. And your mention of 19th Century European Christian political leaders setting up(?)/supporting(?) a bishop in Jerusalem in hopes of converting Jews touches on a sore point with me. There’s an old English saying: S/He who sups with the Devil… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
14 days ago

It is interesting that none of the mainstream press commentary has caught on to this Christian Zionist aspect of possibly explaining excessive and inappropriate US and UK support for Israel. Whilst some people with influence might be actively working towards this goal, I wonder whether many others are simply unconsciously over-sympathetic to the Israeli side due to their Christian heritage. It must raise questions, especially when Biden was caught on an open mic saying he and Netanyahu need to have a ‘come to Jesus meeting’. What did he mean by that comment? In what way does Biden want Netanyahu to… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
14 days ago

The failures of the mainstream ‘legacy’ press over the last few years have been so comprehensive over the last few years, that I have pretty well lost faith in almost all of them: having long closed most of their overseas desks for reasons of cost they very largely spin each others’ news and work themselves into an increasingly furious and dangerous lather which has ominous spillover effects for the formation of foreign, trade and defence policy. These days I am getting much of my news from organs located outside the ‘Western’ bubble. I really don’t think that those living inside… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
14 days ago

Thank you. What news sources would you recommend for that more balanced analysis?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
14 days ago

I would either heavily discount most American and European news outlets as a matter of course and read between the lines, or go straight to AP, Reuters, etc. (Le Monde remains useful for Africa, for example, but should probably be read with Jeune Afrique). And/or I would go to countries which are more circumspect about the ‘West’s’ agenda: that means certain Irish or Spanish newspapers in Europe, or Anglophone papers like Dawn, the Hindu, the South China Morning Post, the Straits Times, the Times of India (though some of these have suffered a significant loss of quality in recent years),… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Froghole
13 days ago

Many thanks for this, Froghole – depressing though it is to see horizons closing in. Even the Times, once known for it’s pragmatic if unprincipled bending before the wind, is under a new editor playing desperately to an increasingly elderly and shrinking base. Let’s see how that works out! You mention South Asian journals as a balance to Western hegemonic thinking. Sadly, Indian broadsheets such as the Times and the Hindu (once described as taking “seriousness to lengths of severity”) have been cowed by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s Hindutva chauvinism. Indeed, I often see more objectivity in Pakistan’s Dawn,… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Allan Sheath
13 days ago

I agree with you and Mr Chesterton. However, every now and again I discover something really excellent for the first time, and I have just come across +972, which is carrying this outstanding (and outstandingly courageous) piece of long-form journalism, which I rather think should become required reading: https://www.972mag.com/lavender-ai-israeli-army-gaza/. Not only because of what it says about the circumstances in Gaza, but the wider moral issue of what we risk becoming as a species as AI (or the wrong kind of AI) intrudes ever more into our lives. It is the sort of revelation which ought to prompt deep reflection,… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Froghole
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Froghole
13 days ago

If I might speak a word in favour of Canadian media, we subscribe to the Globe and Mail (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/) and find it quite good.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Froghole
13 days ago

I now need to qualify some of my remarks above, which have dated badly, because it now appears that the Erez crossing has been re-opened (though it remains to be seen on what basis) in response to US pressure, albeit that some of Biden’s language yesterday was rather equivocal despite the demand for an ‘immediate’ ceasefire. In any event this is much too little and much too late, and is perhaps akin to Wavell’s decision in 1943 to reverse Pinnell’s ‘denial’ policy in Bengal: people starved anyway. However, it will be interesting to see how this plays out within Israel… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Froghole
13 days ago

You obviously have not paid attention to all of the US mainstream press. The Zionist element in US right-wing evangelical Christianity is often commented upon. These are the people who believe the “end-times” are very near and that they can hasten them by creating a dominant Jewish nation in the Holy Land…a nation that will, of course, in their view, be Christianized upon Jesus’ return.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
13 days ago

How bizarre.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
12 days ago

I am surprised that, with all the time you have spent in the US, you have never encountered this version of “Christianity”

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
12 days ago

“a nation that will, of course, in their view, be Christianized upon Jesus’ return.” This is simply language I find bizarre. “Christianization” of a nation? I am a Catholic leaning Anglican, and like a lot of speech from Americans purporting to speak into another culture with “necessary wisdom”, as you do, I find your comments reductionist and flattening. The soi-disant “conservative evangelical” position on this is, like most evangelical things, highly diverse. And has been since the inception of New World religion, of which all Americans share, including yourself. This is the usual “those people over there are all like… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
11 days ago

First of all, I am not speaking of all conservative evangelicals in the USA, only those who have based their support of Israel (such as it is) on their extreme reading of Revelation and belief that we are approaching the “end-times”. Are you unfamiliar with those who view Tim Lahaye’s “Left Behind” as prophetic?

Secondly, as far as “reductionist and flattening,” I take them at their word when they talk of the world-wide conversion of the Jews at the Second Coming.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
11 days ago

“at the Second Coming.” Thank you. “Christianization of a nation” sounded bizarre. As bizarre as the position you were characterizing. Christians down the ages have sought to understand texts like Mark 13 (et passim) and Revelation, as well as much of Jesus’ own teaching. Matthew’s emphasis on Daniel 9 (and its recycling in his Parousia and Crucifixion scene) has Jesus both inaugurate and endure the Judgment of the End Times. The final passage of his Gospel picks up again from Daniel 9. All the classical interpreters through the history of the church have wrestled with these texts, most famously, Joachim… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Pat ONeill
12 days ago

These misguided so called Christian Zionists also believe Pat that Nuclear War is needed to hurry up the return of Jesus, the implications of such warped thinking is very serious, given these people have a lot of political influence in the USA. The Church Leaders of Jerusalem in recent years have brought out a Statement in which they declared So called Christian Zionism to be a Heresy and have made it very clear that these people are not Christians but Heretics. As a Roman Catholic, given the serious political implications of Zionism and given that a lot of Muslims Confuse… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Simon Dawson
14 days ago

Perhaps this will explain the non-religious nature of the phrase “come to Jesus” in American idiom:

come-to-Jesus moment
: a moment of sudden realization, comprehension, or recognition that often precipitates a major change

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/come-to-Jesus%20moment

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Pat ONeill
14 days ago

That’s helpful, thank you, and it matches Froghole’s analysis.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
14 days ago

To try and understand the mind of Joe Biden and his bizarre comment, is the enter a weisse fleck. Who knows what he meant? Does he know? I doubt it.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
14 days ago

I don’t think you know what a ‘come to Jesus’ moment means in American idiom, Simon.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
13 days ago

You are correct, Tim. I didn’t, but I do now.

Two nations divided by a common language indeed.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
13 days ago

Simon, sorry for the overkill, I didn’t stop before I posted to see if anyone else had already made that point. I see now that Pat had already done so. My apologies.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
13 days ago

No apology necessary Tim. I was amused by your comment, and it complemented the other posts. Thank you.

I have gained a huge amount from the trans-Atlantic insights offered by you and Rod Gillis, on this topic and many others.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
13 days ago

And it is not just language that separates those on either side of the great waters. Last summer my wife and I and a grand child were down at Buckingham Palace. Touristas in droves. There were two bobbies. One was directing us not to cross the street when the ‘walk signal’ appeared. “No, not this time I’m afraid”. The other was riding up and down on a bicycle hollering out, “stay off the path, stay off the path.” We soon found out why. A several vehicle motorcade with heavy SUVs and motorcycle cops and what looked like a tactical vehicle… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rod Gillis
12 days ago

The king does not have responsibility to command a nuclear arsenal nor is he under threat of political assassination.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Pat ONeill
12 days ago

no accounting for different senses of humour I reckon.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rod Gillis
12 days ago

Sorry. I didn’t take it as a joke.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
12 days ago

Over the years there have been several attempts to assault, kidnap, or threaten members of the royal family. One attempt was on Charles when he was Prince of Wales, and there were several on Elizabeth II. The threat is not absent. Of course, it does help that guns are difficult to obtain here.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
9 days ago

Successful political assassinations in the British royal family are actually more recent than in the American presidency. I’m referring of course to Lord Mountbatten, August 27th 1979.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
12 days ago

Thanks, Simon!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
9 days ago

On the subject of trans-Atlantic insights, TA readers might be interested in the news that our primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, has just announced her retirement date.


Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
14 days ago

Yes indeed. If we are to apply Occam’s razor to this, we have to end up asking who is using whom, and to what ends. It seems to me that Israel uses the US as insurance, for revenue and as cover for impunity, and that the US uses Israel as a ‘landed aircraft carrier’ through which it can project its power in the Middle East, and so influence the trajectory of energy prices. This is presumably why Biden described Israel as the US’s ‘best investment’ in 1986, and why he chided Begin in 1982 for being insufficiently sanguinary in Lebanon… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Froghole
14 days ago

While USA has long been an ally of Israel, we should not forget Uncle Joe Stalin’s serious contribution to Israel’s survival in 1948. He both ensured that USSR & its allies voted in favour of the UN partition plan, and encouraged vital arms exports from Czechoslovakia (as it then was) to the Israelis in return for good old Yankee Dollars.

Ironically the foundation of Israel soon aroused Stalin’s natural paranoia, causing him to distrust the loyalty of Jews within the Soviet Union, & from late 1948 onwards they became a target for his purges.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
14 days ago

As a student the only easily available book on the subject of the ‘End Times’ was Hal Lindsay’s “Late, Great Planet Earth’ which, knowing no better at the time, seemed quite important. Enlightenment set in when I saw it being displayed in a local bookshop window along with books by better known science fiction authors…… (IVP’s ‘The Jesus Hope’ was a far better book, if anyone still has it.) Apparently David Pawson had some kind of doctrine about Messianic Jews too, which, since his death has been criticised on the internet by both Jews and Christians. Thankfully, not all conservative… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  John Davies
13 days ago

Amen to your last comment.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Froghole
14 days ago

Whereas the current situation is completely the opposite. It is that the Anglican Church is rapidly eroding as Palestinian Christians leave the land of the Holy One because they can no longer bear the persecution, land grabs, lack of water, and the relentless abuse – as in the bombing of the Anglican Hospital in Gaza. They are not Zionists, but Palestinian Christians – as descendants of Jesus – who want to have a home and a place to live, work and worship. Sadly, that is being eroded by Zionism of a more insidious kind. There are war crimes being committed… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
13 days ago

It’s not just the Israeli Jewish extremists who are making life difficult for Palestinian Christians. In the broader Arab region, Muslim groups are also making life difficult for Arab Christians, with the consequence that ancient Christian communities are disappearing.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Froghole
14 days ago

Froghole, why does there need to be a ‘however’? Why can’t we just be thankful for the Christian spirit that is so obvious in Archbishop Naoum’s letter, without any caveat? I honestly don’t see how the views of the people who established the Jerusalem episcopate in 1841 have any relevance at all to his ministry today.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
14 days ago

I think you are right. Thank you. I agree that it was an excellent message, which needed no caveat, and I apologise for that. I was just wanting to make a point – an academic point really – about the long shadow which a certain type of Christian Zionism has cast over the see (and to which Jonathan Jamal refers, poignantly, below). I ought to have expressed myself better.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Froghole
13 days ago

Thanks for your gracious response; I sent my reply and then immediately wondered if I had been overly harsh. You’ve set my mind at rest!

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
15 days ago

I think who ever holds the position of Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Bishop of the Diocese in Jerusalem with the Titular Title of Archbishop, is in an impossible position given the realities of life in the State of Israel. I remember on a Conference in Dunblane in Scotland meeting the late Jean Waddell a past Secretary of Bishop George Appleton who was Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem from 1969 to 1974. She described to me and others, in conversation how Bishop Appleton tried to hold up in his prayers and ministry the Tensions between Arab and Jew, and she said that… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
12 days ago

Re: The Ruth Harley piece and the opening references to racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and sexism. I’ve attached a link to a news story here on an queer inter-faith coalition, founded by a rabbi and which has the goal of fighting hate and misinformation targeting the 2SLGBTQ+ community. They produced a letter one of the signatories of which is our Bishop. “…one faith leader who has added their signature is the Anglican bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Sandra Fyfe. ‘Denouncing hate, especially coming out of a religious context, is really important to me,’ Fyfe said.… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Rod Gillis
12 days ago

What I have found so hard to process recently has been all the hate and bullying coming out of the current religious context. I had been about to comment on Ruth Harley’s article when the thread became focused on Archbishop Naoum’s inspiring Easter message. I was most interested in his reference to Mary Magdalene – and what an example of being ‘not yet equal’ she is, at least after the death of Our Lord.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
12 days ago

I am currently reading Diarmuid O’Murchu’s, Spiritual Paradox : Reflections On A Life of Spiritual Evolution. (link for author). The theme of the book is framed within what the author’s calls his paschal journeys (plural). Chapter five is titled, Beyond Patriarchal Insularism. The author spends several passages talking about Mary Magdalene and the women with her. In one place he writes: “Women hold a treacherous , prophetic space, wherein nothing is secure or sure, but everything is open to empowering possibilities that the guardians of orthodoxy can neither imagine nor entertain.” There are some very solid connections between O’Murchu and… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Rod Gillis
11 days ago

Rod, thank- you for the fascinating link. Given O’Murchu’s background (and the very mention of the word Jesuit in his education ) his is not a book I would normally be drawn to in a bookshop … but I think that is my loss and I’m off shopping tomorrow

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
11 days ago

I picked up O’Murchu’s book as a result of two sources. He was referenced in a book I read recently by another rebellious Irish theologian, Tony Flannery. I had also read O’Murchu’s thoughts on the Eucharist online (see link). O’Murchu’s paradigm shifts are pretty challenging–even more so than Flannery. Good luck!

https://diarmuidomurchu.com/writing/eucharistic-prayers

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
11 days ago

You’re touching on a point which has long interested me, Susanna. Mary Magdalene was the first, prima face witness to the resurrection. Not only was she disbelieved by the apostles, but when Paul sets out his list of credible witnesses, she completely disappears. Presumably I am not alone in thinking she was deliberately edited out – or did she just conveniently slip his memory? Yes, I know a woman’s word was only half as good as a man’s in a Jewish court, but surely we could have expected better from a divinely inspired letter? (Tongue in cheek) Her subsequent treatment… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  John Davies
11 days ago

Peter in Acts (Luke’s Part Two) mentions the big but limited number of people that Jesus appeared to, in order to say that 1000s more wouldn’t add a thing. And that God chose who was necessary. He names no one by name. Mary Magdalene has pride of place in the Gospel accounts (and for what it is worth, “Paul” as you mean it, isn’t later than them, but earlier). She “conveniently slipped” from no memory whatsoever. Go to Marseille and Provence, where from earliest days–so also John Cassian’s recording–she has been revered. I am stunned at how people are concerned… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Anglican Priest
John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 days ago

Some of my comments are very tongue in cheek. As my wife and my church know, I have a rather uncommon sense of humour. Gutthenburg’s press allowed the NT to be duplicated in millions, hence my jest. So how come it wasn’t necessary for Paul to name Mary, while people like James and John were? Funnily enough I was down in Provence last autumn, particularly St Marie sur Mer, where the church dedicated to her ‘voyage’ is. It’s an interesting building. I’ve a pretty rational approach to life and faith, so I’m afraid I can’t accept the stories about her… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  John Davies
11 days ago

It is very interesting, as is how little attention is gets, but I’m not sure that there are many women out here who are surprised, as the writing out of the contribution of women remains an ongoing theme in history . I read a review of Candida Moss’s book ‘God’s Ghostwriters’ just before Easter and she suggests that Paul was the only literate apostle, but he still used people to write for him. She says that most written work was undertaken by slaves – so suggests that what scholars now study has elements of a slaves’ revenge fantasy. If one… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
11 days ago

For a detailed, scholarly but readable exposition about Saint Mary Magdalen can I recommend “the Gospel of Mary of Magdala” by Karen L. King. She explores how’s Mary fits into the wider picture, using both canonical and non-canonical evidence. According to King, in a number of early documents Mary Magdalen is described as a star student/ disciple, among the many disciples gathered around Jesus, both rich and poor, householder and mendicant, male and female. In fact when certain men did not understand the teachings, Jesus recommended they go to Mary for extra tuition. As probably the most prominent woman among… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 days ago

Mary Magdalene has that aura in the south of France from early days, as I have emphasized. But the reformed prostitute part was not a detriment to this aura, but belonged within it. Her wisdom was the wisdom of deep forgiveness. And being chosen by God to be the early witness to the resurrection.

“Jesus recommended they go to Mary for extra tuition.” When was this happening? Sounds like some gnostic addition intended to enhance someone. Non-canonical “evidence”? Not for the church guided by the canon.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 days ago

Anglican Priest. With regard to your final sentence. Are you suggesting that in our attempts to analyse what happened in those important first few decades of the development of the church, the only acceptable documents to use are those texts authorised by the the church and held to be within the traditional canon? Any other texts should be discarded. That may be an acceptable approach for a sermon, but surely it is an unacceptable approach for academic study. And even staying within the canon, what is the scriptural evidence that Mary Magdalen was a shameful women? What actual scriptural texts… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 days ago

I think the project of people like Helmut Koester have been regarded, over time, as of limited value. Except for people wanting to sell books and make a splash. If you have ever read Ireneaus “Against Heresies” you will see something of what the early church had to contend to. And 80% of gnostic literature is extremely anti-woman and anti-body. I have never used the language “shameful woman” and wouldn’t. We are all sinners saved by God’s sacrifice of his only son, who died to give us a new Risen Life in him. Sadly, those notes often disappear in non-canonical… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 days ago

PS–I do not understand the ‘sermon’ versus ‘academic rigor’ cleavage but I fear it says a lot about the quality of the preaching and the presuppositions inhabiting 19th-20th century historiography. The biggest international academic gathering (AAR/SBL) would have perhaps 10% of the sessions looking at the literature of Nag Hammadi and the non-canonical texts. I was on the board of Hermeneia, a high level commenary series, and the publishers would routinely have to remind the editors/authors that certain lines of inquiry are extremely low yield, even as they may indulge the scholarly leisure mind. I will repeat my one point… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 days ago

“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.” I’d not call her “shameful” but “a woman from whom seven demons had come out.” Praise God. “Shameful” is your language. Pope Gregory (591 sermon) identified Mary Magdalene with the Mary of the previous chapter (Luke 7), and the identification became part of the tradition. The reformers challenged this. Because the link was not… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 days ago

I don’t think there is ANY ‘plain simple scripture’ which says she was – indeed, some people think she may have been the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The only reference I recall was in the book, ‘The Easter Enigma’, which was a harmonisation of the four gospels. The writer suggested that Jesus casting the demons out of her was a sort of euphenism – the implication being that she must have been wantonly immoral to get into such a state! Is that ‘guilt by association’, or too literal a reading of a text? John Wimber taught that ‘born again… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 days ago

That’s interesting, father. Thank you. After all, if Jesus redeemed someone from that kind of background and trade, there is no reason why they could not rise to a leadership position in the faith – the late Fred Lemon and several other characters in recent history prove that.

Like you, I’m a bit uneasy with that ‘recommendation’ reference. I’ll accept a lot of ideas – possibly too many – but they have to accord with the canon.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 days ago

Fascinating subject Simon. Here is a link to a little piece on Mary Magdalene in art.

https://artuk.org/discover/stories/saint-or-sinner-how-to-spot-mary-magdalene-in-art

“In an episode of Britain’s Lost Masterpieces first broadcast on BBC Four in early 2021, Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri visited Brighton Museum to investigate a grubby image of Mary Magdalene repenting her sins. The work was found to be by a forgotten master of the Roman Baroque, Francesco Trevisani, but the programme also related how a medieval pope confused the biblical accounts and gave Mary a completely invented personality.”

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
11 days ago

Oh my gosh. Do any research on writing in antiquity. Writing material was wildly expensive. Paul could write ‘in large letters in his own hand’ but only after scribes took dictation and handed him the work to review. Slaves writing things? I’m afraid that is some cultural upside-down idea.

And where is there evidence that Paul decided to eliminate Mary Magdalene? This is the stuff of modern Dan Brown money-makers. In his case, millions upon millions, preying on late modern ignorance and knowingly so.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 days ago

Morning, why be so uncivil?
You’ve no idea what my background is. Candida Moss is no Dan Brown even if you disagree with her conclusions

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
10 days ago

Candida Moss has certainly sought to make a big public splash, and did, when she was first teaching at Notre Dame. Her first big splash book asserted that stories of martyrdom were overblown. Nice tribute to the first Christians who died for their faith — those brave women in Lyon among them.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
10 days ago

I apologise. I have lived in a different academic culture and I mourn its loss. Late modernity has a combination of the theories of the mid-20th century (let’s study all the spurious religious literature and ‘get at the truth by objective science/sciencism’ — an idea thoroughly debunked by the philosophy of history and more robust hermeneutical insight) and the conspiracy instincts that feed blogs and social media. My older Yale colleague in Biblical Studies did not own a computer and he was far more prolific and better researched than 90% of what now passes for scholarship. The quality of mind… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Anglican Priest
10 days ago

Thank-you.
Happy Easter to you too

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
11 days ago

Susanna, I must confess, I had not heard about Candida Moss. So I did some research online. Fascinating! I am especially interested in her views on disability. It is a topic of major interest in my family group. Thanks so much for altering me to this scholar.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rod Gillis
10 days ago

last sentence should read ‘alerting’ me. But, being altered can be a good thing too! lol.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 days ago

Hullo, Susanna Now I’ve never heard of Candida Moss – Candida Ryce, who writes medieval detective srories, yes – but I’m not sure I’d agree with her comments which you quote. Paul was literate, but so too, I suspect were the others. Luke was a doctor, Matthew a civil servant and John, I believe has a very high standard of literate Greek. Paul certainly used professional scribes, particularly as his eyes, and probably his writing were bad (See how large a letter etc’) and one of the scribes certainly adds his own greetings, but personally I can’t swallow her idea… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

PS Sorry to say my brain has gone awol when typing the above. Candace Robb writes the Owen Archer stories.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

Paul wrote in large letters because professional scribes, when taking dictation, wrote in a specialized way, using tiny script to move along briskly, and because writing material is expensive. He would review the manuscript, and then add personal addenda, See my commentary on Colossians. Scribes are not in a position to add personal greetings or edit things — certainly not in the case of Paul’s letters. Manuscript copyists is a different category, but it is amazing how faithful they could be. Hebrew manuscripts also included numerical tallies so as to provide a regulating feature. I am reading a paper in… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
11 days ago

Hey John, patriarchy hurts lots of people, we men included in my experience. It feeds our version of the temptations of Christ. You may be interested in this: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1903&context=leaven “Recognizing that the New Testament text was written according to androcentric presuppositions, Schussler Fiorenza approaches the context of the biblical text affirming the theological principle of inclusiveness within the early church. Inclusiveness in Christianity allows for a greater acceptance of women and an expansion of their roles. Though the text may be silent on the whereabouts of women and their specific roles within the church, Schussler Fiorenza casts New Testament women… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 days ago

Thank you, Rod. Er, what’s ‘androcentric’ mean? I think I can hazard a guess. I certainly believe in a God who declares the principle of inclusive love and value, I just have problems with an organised church culture which says one thing and institutionalises another. And I rather like Mary Magdalene – like Peter she is portrayed as a most human, devoted and loving, warm hearted and impulsive girl. Certainly in far more depth than many of the 12. Oh, dear, patriarchy. That used to be a major issue during my organised charismatic days – I didn’t accept the ‘headship’… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

I’ve just looked at the link, so thanks. Now, somewhere down the years I recall hearing a man speak about this ‘in memory of her’ passage, again stressing that its the only story to appear in all four gospels, and therefore regarded as of great significance. As for not being reflected in our current last supper services, there was a fashion a few years back for washing one another’s feet – don’t know how well that lasted? And that comment about Ruth and Boaz sounds a lot more believable a reading to me than the delicate rendition in most bibles… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

On SimonDawson’s recommendation I found a second hand copy of Karen King’s book about Mary Magdalen and it arrived this morning- thank you Simon. I have not read Candida Moss’s book but she seemed to have considerable academic qualifications and I was genuinely keen to hear the views of anyone with a background in biblical research who might have done so. I remain extremely interested in how Mary Magdalen has been treated/ portrayed down the ages- maybe the book will help. But are the seven devils really a sign of past promiscuity? And therefore a sign of God’s greater forgiveness… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 days ago

I continue to be puzzled about the depiction of Mary Magdalene. 1) She was the woman from whom seven demons were cast out. Surely that is a good thing! I’d welcome the same treatment myself. 2) Some in the tradition assumed that this Mary and the one previously referred to in Luke are the same. But think link is not made explicit. 3) In the places I have mentioned she is held in the highest regard (Vezelay and Sainte-Baume) and was the destination for pilgrims wanted to have the same saving graces given to them, for their past lives (sins… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 days ago

Strict and Particular Baptists of the era of my great great grandfather often invented themselves letters after their names to signify that though they did not hold university degrees ( which they regarded with contempt) they had better qualifications. I think he went by SS, Saved Sinner. I’m not sure you could add it to other qualifications though

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 days ago

Susanna. With regards to the book. It is in two parts. One part is an analysis of the gospel of Mary Magdalen, which as Anglican Priest had pointed out is a gnostic text, which may or may not be of interest to you. But in addition to that, the book has a scholarly analysis of the various texts detailing the history and tradition relating to Mary Magdalen, and how she has been treated by the church over 2000 years. And that analysis is well worth reading whatever ones views on gnosticism. It seems that the prostitute/seven devils stuff was actually… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

John, the link is an old review. I try and recommend only books I’ve actually read. In Memory of Her, an older book now, is probably Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s best known book which is best read in conjunction with her work overall. The best way to understand a thinker’s work, and to evaluate critiques of the same offered by others from the same or a related field, is to read the author herself. I’ve attached a link giving more info about the author for those unfamiliar. She is 85 now I believe. There is a very dynamic cohort of feminist… Read more »

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