Screwloose Letters, Vol 2, #1
Picture an ancient scene. A woman is surrounded by a small group of apparent students, to whom she is attempting to clarify a seemingly difficult concept. They are skeptical. Something about her though, compels their attention, keeps them listening. Don't just look at me, she tells them, this poor woman you see before you, but look beyond me, or through me, and you will see the divine One, the Source of us all, the same Source you saw in the face of the seven day old infant, the Source of all life, no less... and he will be revealed to you--the one whom I represent. The words that he has spoken to me, I now deliver to you. It is Yeshua himself! Your vision will shortly be corrected. Pay attention to the one who is in your presence, right in front of your face, and all will be made clear. There is nothing hidden which shall not be revealed. We all know the story, how that our Jesus was long ago crucified and buried, according to the legends of our movement. Yes that's right, Jesus was his name, and we've been told that he was indeed our long sought for messiah, due to be resurrected, any day now, to save us from the Romans. Well I'm here to tell you that he has indeed been raised from the dead, not to save us from the Romans but to save us from ourselves! He is hidden from you now---all you see is me. But listen deeply to his words that I deliver and you too can be resurrected, enjoy a new life, the Kingdom of Heaven, here and now… For there is nothing buried that will not be raised, even your presently dimmed awareness. See those stones over there, the ones you were throwing at me an hour ago? If you remain my students, listening deeply to my words, even those rocks will minister to you. Yes, heaven and earth will melt down in your presence, and you will not look upon death. For has not Jesus said it? The world is not worthy of the man who has found himself..
Meet Mary Migdal. That’s what they called her you see, and it was really more nickname than anything else. Folks in her day didn’t have last names but sometimes acquired adjectival monikers like Magdalene which extended the root idea of a concept such as “tower,” the real meaning of the Hebrew word migdal. And no, it had nothing to do with where she came from, the notorious seaside village of Magdala, just beyond Tiberius, northward on the Sea of Galilee. That’s a mistake. You first heard it here.
Mary the Migdal. Mary the Tower. She was a towering figure in the early Jesus Movement. She would be the first to let you know, for she had been invaded by Jesus himself, her “twin,” her new heavenly husband. Mary was a whore when Jesus found Her, but this is not to be taken literally. She had had seven other “husbands,” (read here “demons) before Jesus had purged her and made her his shaman, made her into a tower of power. She had been the one chosen to witness his “resurrection,” she had seen him and heard this living Jesus, alive now in her. He had words for her, sayings she would later set down, with the help of her secretary John Mark, sayings meant to transform mankind, rescue many from religious delusion, get, you might say, themselves resurrected...
In the beginning, she was no tower. It took a while. Nobody bought into her claim that Jesus had been resurrected through her, not her fellow cultists in the fledgling Jesus Movement who thought her completely mad. No, not even her newfound friend Paul was much impressed. He came to visit at her house in Jerusalem, where she was holed up under the pseudonym of “Cephas,” passing herself off as a male. Seems he’d had his own visions of the resurrected Jesus, which he considered just as valid as hers. He stayed fifteen days, and you can bet they argued a lot. In the end though, he seemed to respect her, and promised not to reveal her true identity, She was for him from this time forward the true Tower of it all, his “Cephas,” the rock, right up until the time he wrote his letter to the Romans. There, in the sixteenth chapter, when it no longer mattered, he lets himself revert to the more familiar Mary. They were both shortly to be martyred in this very town of Rome by the monster Nero, and remembered to the end of time as Peter and Paul. Yes indeed, now you know the answer to the perennial enigma: Peter really did get to Rome, but only insiders knew he was really a woman named Mary. In more recent excavations under the Vatican, hoping to find the remains of the traditional Apostle Peter, they dug up her bones.
They really did.
The above is a teaser. It’s all in the most fascinating (and entertaining) volume I have ever encountered, entitled The Rock and the Tower, by one S. P. Laurie of London, England. Look it up on Amazon. No flaky New Age fantasy, this. Still scoffing? Have a hundred questions? This guy Laurie can answer them all, and convincingly. If you’re sincerely interested in Christian Origins, the real story, you’ll find here the most carefully researched work available today, documented with precision and utter honesty, preeminently readable… AND, at the center of it all is our old friend, the Gospel of Thomas.
You’ll never be the same.