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"An assured tour de force of passion. The power with which it reclaims spiritual and sexual strength for women cannot be ignored."―Time Out LondonIn the parched soil of Provence, a fifth gospel has been discovered: Mary Magdalene's account of Jesus' teachings and her vital relationship with him. It is a book of revelation, for it unveils a new Christianity, one that embraces the female equally with the male and acknowledges-and celebrates-the spirituality of women. It is also a passionate story of love and loss, of separation and rebirth, centered on the Magdalene as the wellspring of womanhood.
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Michle Roberts is the author of eleven novels, including Daughters of the House, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize and winner of the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and Reader, I Married Him and The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene. She lives in England.From Publishers Weekly:
Inspired by the Nag Hammadi gospels, Roberts (Reader, I Married Him) has imagined a Gnostic gospel according to Mary Magdalene. Her Mary is a composite of three women mentioned in the biblical gospels, and she tells many of the same stories, albeit from a different perspective, as do the canonical gospel writers. In particular, a number of the miracles recorded in the Bible appear in this novel, and Roberts's intriguing take on these events follows no boring or predictable pattern. The Jesus of this novel is a genial, nonjudgmental sort who preaches inscrutable homilies, and happily keeps company with the excessively abstemious Simon Peter as well some more sexually liberated followers. While Roberts's Jesus and Mary both express some powerful ideas about the feminine aspect of God, the unity of the spiritual and the physical, and the legitimacy of ecstatic, revelatory experience, the novel leaves readers befuddled as to what the alternative Christianity this Jesus preached would look like. Nonetheless, it does succeed to some extent as an exploration of what early Christian feminism may have looked like, and is perhaps strongest and most poignant at those moments when Jesus' closest female companions find themselves subtly but inexorably excluded from leadership in the early church.
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