This painting I discovered in Rome points to one of the most painful aspects of the history of Christianity: the intentional erasure of key figures. To the left of the traditional image of the Madonna and Child, you can see how one figure has been carefully cut out, leaving a gaping void.
I am thrilled by the release of two new books this month. The first is A New New Testament, a book two decades in the making, edited by twenty Biblical scholars that places the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary and the extraordinary poem Thunder, Perfect Mind within the context of the traditional, canonical texts. The second is a carefully researched and poetic translation of the New Testament that restores the Jewishness of Jesus ( in just one of the many important shifts, harking back to the original text of Mark, Jesus is referred to as "Rabbi" rather than "Lord"). This may do much to restore many of the pieces that have been cut out of our shared history. The work has been hailed as potentially as transformative and influential as the King James Bible- I can hardly wait until my copy arrives.
Here is a link to an interview with Willis Barnstone, the eminent scholar and poetic translator of The Restored New Testament: http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R912161000