A friend told me that recently, there was a documentary on channel 5 (UK TV) about Mary Magdalen that gave an example of how there are gaps in the manuscripts, meaning that people had to guess what words are missing. It mentioned something about Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene, but the details weren’t there, so some say Jesus had a relationship with her.
What do you thinks of this? If you disagree, please could you state why.
Thanks. I’m trying to defend the Bible against accusations this person is making.
The Bible speaks of giving one another a “holy kiss” which is just part of Jewish worship, kinda of like greeting each other today with a hand shake. Also, I would demand he produce the manuscript for context.
That story isn’t in the Bible; it’s in the Gnostic Gospels.
That’s one more reason why we have an approved canon of Scripture: This was the kind of 3-day-old carp that was doing the rounds way back when…
And one more reason why the Gnostics were declared heretical.
I don’t get UK-TV channel 5 in the US, so I’ll have to make an assumption here. I often have to defend Scripture (and the Church) against things seen on a US channel called “the History Channel”.
I usually point out that other shows on the History Channel have claimed proof of Alien abductions, the Jersey Devil, Atlantis, Telepathy and Abominable Snowmen…
I would suggest to your friend that they turn off the TV and pick up the Bible. Most channels have the same (or less) credibility than another channel we have over here in the colonies… The Cartoon Network…
Well, first of all, this only appears in a single manuscript in Coptic found among the Nag Hammadi library: the so-called Gospel of Philip - named so because Philip is the only apostle explicitly mentioned (we don’t know the original title; this title is a modern-day one), not because it claims Philip is the author. It is believed that the gospel was written between 150 AD and 300 AD. Most scholars hold a 2\3rd century date of composition*. The text was bound in the same codex that contained the better-known Gospel of Thomas. Although this gospel may at first appear similar to Thomas, it is not a sayings gospel (i.e. one which is basically just a compilation of sayings attributed to Jesus), but a collection of gnostic teachings and reflections.
This is the portion in question:
As for the Wisdom who is called “the barren,” she is the mother [of the] angels.
And the companion of the …] Mary Magdalene. … loved] her more than [all] the disciples, [and used to] kiss her [often] on her …] The rest [of the disciples …] They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them,“Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”
Here are some more quotes (here’s the text in full, if you’re interested):
Some said, “Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.” They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman? Mary is the virgin whom no power defiled. She is a great anathema to the Hebrews, who are the apostles and [the] apostolic men. This virgin whom no power defiled … ] the powers defile themselves. And the Lord [would] not have said, “My [Father who is in] heaven” (Mt 16:17) unless [He] had had another father, but he would have said simply “[My father].”
Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection he will not die. As God lives, he would …]
The heavenly man has many more sons than the earthly man. If the sons of Adam are many, although they die how much more the sons of the perfect man, they who do not die but are always begotten. The father makes a son, and the son has not the power to make a son. For he who has been begotten has not the power to beget, but the son gets brothers for himself, not sons. All who are begotten in the world are begotten in a natural way, and the others [are nourished] from [the place] whence they have been born . It is from being promised to the heavenly place that man [receives] nourishment. …] him from the mouth. [And had] the word gone out from that place it would be nourished from the mouth and it would become perfect. For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we also kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another.
There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
“The Father” and “the Son” are single names; “the Holy Spirit” is a double name. For they are everywhere: they are above, they are below; they are in the concealed, they are in the revealed. The Holy Spirit is in the revealed: it is below. It is in the concealed: it is above.
The saints are served by evil powers, for they are blinded by the Holy Spirit into thinking that they are serving an (ordinary) man whenever they do so for the saints. Because of this, a disciple asked the Lord one day for something of this world. He said to him, “Ask your mother, and she will give you of the things which are another’s.”
God is a man-eater. For this reason, men are sacrificed to him. Before men were sacrificed, animals were being sacrificed, since those to whom they were sacrificed were not gods.
Glass decanters and earthenware jugs are both made by means of fire. But if glass decanters break, they are done over, for they came into being through a breath. If earthenware jugs break, however, they are destroyed, for they came into being without breath.
An *** which turns a millstone did a hundred miles walking. When it was loosed, it found that it was still at the same place. There are men who make many journeys, but make no progress towards any destination. When evening came upon them, they saw neither city nor village, neither human artifact nor natural phenomenon, power nor angel. In vain have the wretches labored.
The eucharist is Jesus. For he is called in Syriac “Pharisatha,” which is “the one who is spread out,” for Jesus came to crucify the world.
The Lord went into the dye works of Levi. He took seventy-two different colors and threw them into the vat. He took them out all white. And he said, “Even so has the Son of Man come as a dyer.”
The Gnostic gospels are utter trash, not in that they expose some sort of bizzare hidden truth about Jesus, but because they sound like they were written by 8 year olds. And they’re awkward to read. I was interested at first but they’re not written in any way like the well organized books in the Bible, they’re like, creepy and awkward.
And the verse you are talking about actually isn’t even necessarily in the Gnostic Gospels BECAUSE historians sort of filled in the blanks on areas of missing texts and put “used to kiss her on the mouth” and wierd stuff like that.
In short, the Gnostic gospels were written by strange people (probably pedeophiles) while the Gospels were written by decently educated people who did their homework.
And the Gnostic gospels were often times written like 200 years after Jesus’s death. I’d compare them to the Book of Mormon in that they are no more then strange fan fictions.
The Gospel of Philip, in which this passage occurs, is fairly late (at least second century, more likely third), exists only in a Coptic translation with a lot of gaps in the manuscript (as you note), and probably does not refer to erotic kissing (though that’s not entirely clear). Here’s the whole passage:
As for the Wisdom who is called “the barren,” she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the …] Mary Magdalene. …] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples …]. They said to him “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them,“Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”
Note that the kissing is presented as a sign of special favor shown to Mary above the other disciples, not necessarily as a sign of erotic/romantic love. Kissing, even on the mouth, was a much more general sign of affection in the ancient world than it is today.
According to Bentley Layton, the Gospel of Philip is an anthology of Valentinian Gnostic excerpts–hence the lack of connection between one passage and another.