Mary, Mary, Wherefore Art Thou?

In “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” by Mark Adamo, Jesus is asked to pass judgement on Mary Magdalene as an adulteress.
Being an opera, conflict and theatrics are necessary to the telling of the story. The composer’s fanciful expression has combined biblical characters to provide the drama. The author admits he purposely seeks to unsettle what we take as truth and to question Jesus’ motives. He did enough research to realize that the long held perception of MM as a reformed prostitute is fiction and yet he so portrays her.
This is yet another example of how so many false notions about what is in scripture get started. Jesus Christ Superstar (Webber and Rice) also played on unproven notions about Mary Magdalene. Accepting my human fallibility, I actually enjoyed that musical. But I did so fully aware that it was fiction and replaced traditional views with more contemporary language and allusions. It never purported to be more than a loosely based story built on imaginary interpersonal struggles not discussed in the Bible. It did not build on ideas discounted by the scholarly community.
I, personally, don’t think it is necessary or desirable to treat the Bible as art rather than a lawful guide to living. Is it even wise? Does it present a respectably true picture to those unfamiliar with the Bible? We certainly story-up the humanity of biblical characters in our literature, plays, paintings, etc., but does it help our understanding of the spiritual to fictionalize Bible stories and characters? Doesn’t it tend to put those we want to emulate in the “like us” rather than the “us like them” category?
I don’t necessarily believe that Jesus cannot be shown outside a sacred mode, but I have yet to see an undistorted depiction in a secular setting. Even the “Passion Play” has under gone much elaboration and expansion of what it was originally. People continually get tripped up by the difference between “Jesus” and “the Christ.” Jesus’ story may have dramatic, but it was not theatrical. Until we can make that distinction clearly we need to tread carefully when we enter God’s country.

No where in the Bible does it give evidence or intimation that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, the woman who rubbed oil on Jesus’ feet, or anything other than a disciple of Jesus. An excellent article on this subject can be found at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/magdalene.html

Grand Opera Jesus – Listen Magazine

Advertisements

Aside

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: