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Points To Ponder Lesson 10

#1 User is offline   drlmorris 

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:40 AM

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.
Instructor: Master of the Historical Jesus
Founder: The Historical Jesus Project
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#2 User is offline   graham 

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:32 AM

1. It is entirely possible that Jesus chose Mary to receive the 'secrets of the kingdom' because her temperament and previous devotion meant that she would interpret the message purely as it was delivered rather than within any context of male ego or jockeying for position that might have been the case otherwise. Karen King, of Harvard Divinity School, maintains that "it was precisely the traditions of Mary, as a woman, as an exemplary disciple, a witness to the ministry of Jesus, a visionary of the glorified Jesus and someone who was traditionally in contest with Peter", that underline her suitability to be the recipient of the secrets. (Here Karen King believes, in common with the majority of theological opinion, that the Mary in question is Mary Magdalene.) Jesus had previously observed the doubters and deniers amongst the ranks of his followers and may well have felt that his revelation was better entrusted to Mary who had never been part of the tension that could arise amongst them. It may also have been a somewhat mischievous ploy by Jesus to deflate the ego of Peter, puffed up by the promises made to him by Jesus (Matthew 16:17) and maybe even an indication of his regret that he had made such promises. A consequence was that two millennia of human history were massively influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, a vast, dominant, self-aggrandising edifice constructed on the authority of these few unspecific biblical verses; was that really how Jesus intended his message of love and salvation to be enacted? Certainly, whatever the motive, Peter (and Andrew) react as expected and bridle at the notion that Mary might have been chosen in their stead. Levi defends her saying "Surely, the Savious knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us". Whatever the reason for Jesus' choice of Mary, it must be fairly clear why this "gospel" would have been rejected for inclusion in the scriptural canon had it been available to those involved in the process.

2. As suggested in answer one, the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church and the emergence relatively quickly of a supreme pontiff (subsequently pope) appears to sceptics to be based on very flimsy scriptural authority and does not seem to sit very comfortably with the teachings of Jesus which are not in any way concerned with the establishment of a church, with hierarchy and pomp or with power and domination. Of course, Peter himself had no idea as to how the church would develop and early Christian worship was generally simple and unembellished; it was later luminaries such as Cyprian and Jerome who contributed to the elaboration and formality of later worship and liturgy. Much was made of Jesus' charge to Peter in later centuries although there was really no precise 'job specification'. It did, however, provide a scriptural justification (of sorts) for the ever-increasing power and pretensions of the bishops of Rome, although this authority had to be reinforced by the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, councils of the church and their binding decisions and papal decrees. The pontificates of Leo 1 and Gregory I represent important stages in the evolution of papal supremacy seemingly creating an ever-increasing gulf between the teachings of Jesus and the practices later carried out in his name.

3. Although the gospel of Mary has a format similar to that of other texts labelled 'gnostic', (i.e. a revelation discourse ramed by narrative elements), it is all too easy to level a charge of gnosticism at non-canonical texts that purport to date from the early christian period. The struggle between the forces of good and evil is inevitably a feature of these works (as of Christianity itself) and it is the way in which this depicted and the parameters within which the narratives take place, that require careful scrutiny. The gospel of Mary does not seem to provide much evidence of an attempt to reconcile Christianity with the Platonic dualism of matter and spirit, rather its view of nature and opposite nature appear more in line with Jewish, Christian and Stoic beliefs. It is indeed, a radical interpretation of Jesus' teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge which clearly is in greater conformity with the utterances of Jesus than with Christianity as it later emerged and evolved. When Jesus says that he will make Mary 'male', it is surely possible to conclude that his intention was to spell out to Mary the importance of the revelation that she was to hear and to assure her that she was fully qualified to receive it in a society where male dominance was enshrined and the opinions of women were not appreciated in the public domain. The reaction of Peter and Andrew only serves to underline the need for Jesus to endue Mary with the confidence to pass on the details of the revelation with fear or favour.
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#3 User is offline   rev c watson 

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 08:52 AM

I tell my wife all of my secrets and knowledge, and she does the same because we are best friends!


I am assuming that this question is derived from this lessons content. "Do not follow any charismatic leader or set of rigid laws, and doctrine." :pope:


Gnostics felt alienated from the rest of the world, and their belief system was in the spark of the divine was within you. Same way Mary probably felt, and believed from Jesus' teachings to her. :kick:
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#4 User is offline   jdania 

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 08:44 AM

HISTORICAL JESUS LESSON 10 – Dr. L. Morris
POINTS TO PONDER
• Why do you think Jesus chose Mary to reveal the secrets of the “kingdom?”
It could have been for a combination of things. One, to preach equality among men and women. In his time women were a lesser citizen and Jesus had a different view, where men and women were equals. That men and women should have the same rights and were capable of learning, analyzing and delivering the teachings of Jesus. Also, maybe as a teaching of humility to the male disciples.
Another reason could have been, that he noticed Mary’s reasoning, learning capabilities and knowledge were more developed than the other disciples’. She may have had a better understanding of his teachings. One can infer this when you read that Jesus was teaching the disciples that salvation is attained by seeking salvation within oneself, escaping the material world was true liberation and that flesh and blood could not enter the kingdom of heaven. It is written, “None of the disciples with the exception of Mary and Matthew understand his message. Mary tries to comfort them by explaining what Jesus taught to her in private”.

• According the Roman Catholic doctrine, Peter is considered the first Pope. Explain how this has affected Jesus’ original teachings.
Maybe due to Peter’s way of thinking, male, stubborn and chauvinistic, he could have corrupted Jesus’ teachings. He could have molded or accommodated parts of the teachings of Jesus to his way. Jesus had commanded not to follow someone else for enlightenment or to set up rigid rules and doctrines to live by. We know that is what has happened, all the contrary to his teachings. A rigid doctrine has been developed by all the Christian denominations and a hierarchy of clergy within all the churches has been developed. This is all contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Maybe Peter could be blamed for this, but looking back at the times of his life, could Christianity have developed, spread and be established as a “religion”. A new religion needed the backing of the powerful politicians and rulers in order for it to be established. Without it nothing could have happened.
Maybe Jesus did not intend to establish a new religion. I believe Jesus was against the establishment of his time, the Jewish Church and the Roman Empire. He was against these two evils who were oppressing the common people, and in a way he was revolting against them. But he was also trying to establish a “way of life” a “philosophy of life” not a “religion”. Jesus was a Jew and he preached at the synagogues and read the old scriptures. He was against the way the church was run and against the way the scriptures were interpreted. He did not want this to continue and was trying to teach people that they did not need anyone to restrict you, the individual, in your path to enlightenment by laying down strict rules or ceremonies. You can attain enlightenment, salvation or liberation by looking within yourself and by doing good. He was against the tyrannical ways of the hierarchy of the church of his times, and he was against not being able to adapt the laws or rules to the times and needs of the people and society.
Maybe this is why we find, in the Gospel of Mary, Jesus’ sayings:
34) Beware that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son of Man is within you.
38) Do not lay down any rules beyond what I appointed you, and do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.

• In the ancient world women were marginalized. In this gospel, Jesus says that he will make Mary “male.” Since women were considered weak, making one “male” makes the woman whole. This is similar to the Yin and Yang concept in Taoist theology; complete harmony and balance, black and white, male and female. Explain how this might fit into Gnostic theology.
Maybe it wasn’t about making the woman whole. If it was about that, he could have spoken about making Peter or Mathew female and thus making him or them whole. Maybe he was just speaking within the context of his time, society and beliefs. By saying “making Mary male” he would be better understood by his disciples and those who heard his teachings would better “accept” his teaching through the words of Mary.
I can see one could also speculate and make an analogy between this saying and the Ying and Yang, harmony and balance, etc. This would convert the saying Making Mary Male esoteric and thus making it fit into the Gnostic theology.
jdania
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