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“Blessed Art Thou Among Women”: The Identity of Mary Through a Gnostic Lens
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

When it comes to the figure of Mary from Christianity, there are certain preconceived notions surrounding her name and meaning which are often based on the canonical texts of the New Testament. Conversely, when this figure is studied through the lens of Gnosticism, new information comes to light which goes against the norms created by the Church. The purpose of this study is to take a fresh look at Mary using the Gnostic texts and research in the field for the purpose of more fully identifying her characteristics when set against a gender perspective. Mary has scarcely the number of textual references in comparison to Jesus but in light of her intrigue as one of few females referenced, it is worth searching for alternate takes on her persona. This research study presents various theories about Mary’s identity, based on early apocrypha to show how they differ within Gnosticism research, giving rise to a debate and illustrating why has this been problematic for her identity as a female. Some researchers propose she is actually a composite identity while others argue she is two separate persons. In order to carry out this research, a qualitative method has been applied in order to answer the question of who Mary is from a Gnostic viewpoint and how this is revealed to be a gender issue. This study has revealed a woman with a strong character who carried out apostolic and priestly duties alongside male counterparts as told in ancient Gnostic texts. Furthermore, these texts were purposefully hidden, left out of the canon of the New Testament and declared heretical. Despite this label, they remain as evidence of a past that is relevant to religious studies. If the identity of Mary has changed shape even slightly from what has been told for centuries, it is worth finding out what these changes are and how religions other than orthodox Christianity tell her story for the advancement of women in religious roles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 34
Keywords [en]
Gnosticism, Mary, Nazareth, Magdalene, Christianity, identity
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-31962OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-31962DiVA, id: diva2:1396110
Subject / course
Religious studies education
Educational program
Upper Secondary Teacher Education Programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-02-27 Created: 2020-02-25 Last updated: 2020-02-27Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf