Mary Magdalene has been a mystery throughout history. She has been portrayed as a devoted disciple, a prostitute, and even the wife of Jesus Christ. Another mystery has been what her life was like before she encountered Christ? Who were her parents? Did she ever marry? Did she have a child? As with most religious stories, it is a mystery yet Margaret George creates a story for Mary Magdalene in “Mary, Called Magdalene” that finally gives a voice to the fascinating mystery woman.
“Mary, Called Magdalene” explores Mary’s life before she meets Jesus, her time and relationship with Jesus, and her life after Jesus. Mary grew up with a normal childhood in the village of Magdala, but an encounter with an idol changes her life forever when it takes over her and allows Satan to enter her. Mary struggles with her inner demons while married and having a child, but eventually the demons become too powerful for her. Many try to cure and save Mary, but it is a man named Jesus (that she also met in her childhood) that casts the demons out of her and changes her life forever. Mary and others become captivated and drawn to Jesus and he asks that they follow him. Mary makes the heartbreaking decision of leaving behind her disapproving husband and family along with her baby to follow Jesus and spread his world. Jesus and his followers spread his word throughout and he becomes known as The Messiah, but his popularity worry the rulers of Jerusalem. Mary must watch as Jesus is put on trial, tortured, and crucified, but as we all know he rose again to fulfill the sciptures and Mary becomes a teacher of the scriptures, a true disciple of Christ. The novel is the full story of Mary’s life and portrays a woman who was possessed by Satan, had powerful visions, and became a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
George does a wonderful job creating the story of Mary. The novel really shows how she was just a normal person who had extraordinary things happen to her that change her life. It is fascinating to read about how the demons possessed her and Jesus saved her from eternal damnation. Also interesting is how Mary wrestles with her devotion to Jesus and his word and leaving behind her family specifically her daughter. Mary is a complex woman and portrayed beautifully by George.
Also strong is the portrayal of the relationship between Jesus and Mary. It starts out with Mary just being grateful to Jesus for saving her and believing in his word, but eventually she begins to develop feelings for Jesus, complicated feelings that Jesus could not reciprocate. It is clear that Jesus cares for Mary deeply, she may be his favorite disciple, but he cannot let the bonds between a man and a woman come between his mission from his Heavenly Father.
The novel is at its most powerful as George portrays the days leading up to Jesus’s arrest and death. Jesus and his reflection at Gethsemane, The Last Supper, the betrayal of Judas, Jesus before Pilate, and of course, the Crucifixion are so detailed and descriptive you will feel as if you are were there as a disciple of Christ.
Besides the character of Mary, the characters of Jesus, Judas, and John truly shine. Jesus is wise, gentle, and devoted to what his journey will be. Judas is a complex man full of questions, greed, guilt, remorse, and even feelings for Mary. John is also nicely portrayed as the disciple who turns out to be one of the most devoted to Jesus and his works. The only character that really does not get that much of a portrayal is Mary, the mother of Jesus who goes along in the novel either serene or weeping. Readers may expect more from the Mother of God.
“Mary, Called Magdalene” is a fascinating and unique look at what Mary Magdalene possibly could have been. There are no mentions of her being a prostitute or the wife of Christ, but just a woman who was saved by Jesus and became a devoted follower who continued to spread his word. The novel is a rich and detailed look at a woman who started out with an ordinary life, but became part of something so truly special.
To purchase “Mary, Called Magdalene”: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Called-Magdalene-Margaret-George/dp/0142002798
For more information on Margaret George: http://www.margaretgeorge.com/