In this seven week course, we will encounter Mary Magdalene in her many aspects throughout history: apostle, witness, faithful disciple, “fallen woman”, penitent prostitute and teacher of wisdom. Using both canonical and Gnostic Gospels, Medieval French tales, poetry and hundreds of images of art, we'll discover how Mary Magdalene has been a powerful figure of healing throughout the centuries. We will pay particular attention to the Magdalene tradition in France, where legend holds that she arrived in 42 AD to teach and preach, bringing a form of Christianity that emphasized a personal relationship with the divine and a theology that affirmed the dignity and beauty of every human soul. We'll discover how the Magdalenian tradition shines forth from every age, creating the inspiration for both the Troubadours and Pre-Raphaelites, and we will explore the fascinating early Christian texts that have been rediscovered in Egypt and translated in our time, revealing the image of Mary Magdalene as the most courageous, spiritually mature and profoundly insightful disciple of Jesus's inner circle.
Each week will consist of lectures and slideshows, followed by small group discussion, guided journaling and Lectio Divina, an ancient spiritual practice of awakening the imagination.
Week 1: The Apostle to the Apostles: The Biblical Magdalene Week 2: The Boat of Bethany and the Christian Contemplative Tradition in France Week 3: Two Roads Diverge: The Penitent Prostitute and Our Lady of Wisdom Week 4: Black Madonnas and Easter Liturgies Week 5: Troubadours and the Cathars in France Week 6: The Woman Who Knew All and the Recovery of Early Christian Texts of Egypt Week 7: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene