Item description for The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts by Frederica Mathewes-Green...
Overview Three ancient texts--a brief prayer to Mary found on a scrap of papyrus in Egypt, "The Gospel of Mary," and "The Annunciation Hymn of Rejoicing"--reveal the life of Mary and her role in the church in a new way.
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Frederica Mathewes-Green is one of today's most respected voices on Orthodoxy in America. She has been interviewed in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and Time, among other publications, and is the author of eight books, including The Illumined Heart: Capture the Vibrant Faith of Early Christians, and The Open Door: Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayers. Visit her at www.fredrica.com
Frederica Mathewes-Green currently resides in Baltimore, in the state of Maryland.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts?
The Lost Gospel of Oprah Sep 21, 2008
Whatever the authenticity of the source documents, the commentary is highly questionable and littered with unsourced allegations and definitions. This is an Oprah book for the sort of people who read vague spiritual drivel about alleged Celtic Christianity and wear Harry Potter jewelry. Read it if you want, of course, but it's an hour of your life you'll never get back.
-- Mack Hall
The Lost Gospel of Mary Jun 21, 2008
The book was very interesting and a good read. I'm not sure how much new information or belief this book gave me. It was good but didn't hit me between the eyes as a book that I would want to read again.
Lost and Found? Dec 29, 2007
Sadly, I must largely concur with the last reviewer. This is a beautiful book in many respects, and the texts have a significant place in Christian mythology (which is not a denigration) and devotion.
I disagree with the last reviewer regarding the overall value of the Protevangelion of James. This ancient text indeed reveals ignorance of Jewish customs; yet, notwithstanding this, many of its images have persisted down the ages and no one should assume that it is all simplicity and naivete. Underneath there is what appears to be substantial Christological awareness, veiled in the simple fictional images of a tale well told. Nothing surprising should be seen in this -- it's a venerable storytelling tradition along the lines of such books as Tobit, Judith, and Jonah.
What is problematic is the sensational suggestion that these texts were ever "lost". It gets attention perhaps from a certain type of readership, but it smacks of false advertising for reasons of making sales. I'm all for making sales, especially when the texts are so well worth making available; but I dislike such disingenuous and misleading packaging.
It was never lost or hidden Dec 5, 2007
It really bothers me when a publisher tries to cash in on the current American penchant for lost or hidden Gospels, when in fact what is being published was always available in any half-decent library. This is the case with the "Lost" Gospel of Mary, aka the Protoevangelium of James. It was never hidden, forbidden or lost. It was not considered Scropture by the Eastern or the Western Church, and it is still not so considered, but it has been the source for legends, art and even for a number of feasts. And its text has always been available if one know where to look (obviously not in Bibles). When I wrote my Dissertation on a Medieval infancy narrative, I had no trouble finding it in English, Spanish and in the original Greek, plus also in Latin. The "Gospel" in question is apocryphal (i.e., not by James, and clearly, from internmal evidence, not by any relative or friend of Mary's, since it shows abysmal ignorance of elementary Jewish customs. However, it is essential dfor understanding much of medieval art. And granted that the commentator shows a good amount of naivete from a historical-critical point of view, she does have some good spiritual insights. The commentatror also tries to present the prayer "To your protection we fly, o Mother of God" as just discovered. In fact, not only has it been in prayer-books from time out of mind, but even the fact that it may be the oldest known prayer to Mary comes from its dicovery in an ancient papyrus -- but hat papyrus was known, and its significance noted, in books I own which date as far back as the early 1950s -- not exactly a "recent" discovery. Again, once we get beyond the claim that the antiquity of this prayer is a just discoverd scoop, some of the commentators insights are valuable. The spiritual comments on the Akathistos Hymn are also insightful, but I would have preferred that the commentator say outright that St. Romanos the Melodist MAY have been its author; there are good arguments for its attribution to St. Romanos, but there are also good arguments against it, and as the jury is still out. Needless to say, the Akathist is such a loveley hymn on its own right, that its attribution to St. Romanos adds no authority to it; if anything, it adds honor to the great Melodist. I give the book two stars for its valuable and beautiful insights; if it wasn't marred by the gratuitously sensationalist claims to "secrecy" or "discovery" (which make it sound like an orthodox answer to thr Da Vinci Code!) I would have given it a rather higher rating. This publisher tends to play this kind of game, and should be discouraged from it.
The Lost Gospel of Mary is a welcome addition to Christian spirituality shelves. Oct 6, 2007
Award-winning author Frederica Mathewes-Green presents The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts, an examination of the theological and cultural questions as well as the historical background offered by three sacred texts. The first is "The Gospel of Mary", a story of the Virgin Mary's life from her conception to the birth of Jesus, written circa AD 150; the second is the oldest known prayer to Mary, found on papyrus in Egypt and dated to the third century; the third is "The Annunciation Hymn", written by the Syrian poet Romanos circa AD 520 and widely considered a classic of Eastern Christian poetry, still sung in Eastern Orthodox churches throughout the modern world today. Combined, the texts offer a wondrous spiritual viewpoint into the mother of the Lord. Written from the perspective of a devout believer, The Lost Gospel of Mary is a welcome addition to Christian spirituality shelves.