New Testament: The Case of Mary Magdalene

By Jane Schaberg

Feminist questions about the New Testament are even more sensitive than about the Hebrew Bible. In the kind of comprehensive survey we’re attempting today, a single speaker is going to cover the entire New Testament. You have already heard from Pam Milne about some of the things that have happened to Jane Schaberg because of her scholarly work on the New Testament. Perhaps part of this comes from the provocative nature of some of her titles. One was a book called The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the New Testament Infancy Narratives. I think I may have been responsible for the title of another article, “How Mary Magdalene Became a Whore,” published in Bible Review.

The interesting thing is that this scholarly material—when you really evaluate it, it is indeed scholarly and not a diatribe—often enriches our understanding and appreciation of the biblical text, without destroying or denigrating faith or the text. Instead, it can deepen our understanding and enrich our faith.

Jane Schaberg received her Ph.D. at the place where Phyllis Trible now teaches, Union Theological Seminary in New York. Dr. Schaberg is professor of New Testament at the University of Detroit and has written several books and numerous scholarly articles. She will address us today on one of the most intriguing figures in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene.—H.S.
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