Image courtesy of National Gallery ©
THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE
A new translation by David Curtis, first draft
To download a PDF of the text click here
(Pages 1-6 are missing)
The disciples asked him, "Teach us about the material world. Will it last forever, or is everything impermanent?"
and the Saviour answered: “All that is created, all that is formed, every natural thing, all exist interdependently in and with each other, but each will be dissolved again back to its own roots. For the nature of matter is to dissolve back into its own elements.
Those who have ears, let them hear.”
Peter said to him:
“While you are explaining everything to us, tell us one more thing: What is the sin of the world?”
The Saviour answered: “There is no such thing as sin, you only make it appear when you act according to the habits of your adulterated nature; that is how what you call 'sin' manifests.
This is why the Good has come into your midst, pursuing the good which is in everyone so as to restore it inward to its root.”
Then he continued, saying: “This is what sickens and destroys you; it is because you love what deceives you.
Those who have ears, let them hear. Whoever has a mind, let them understand!
Attachment to matter gives rise to incomparable suffering, because it proceeds from what is contrary to true nature. Then disturbance arises in the whole body.
This is why I taught you to find contentment at the level of the heart. When you are out of balance, find contentment through manifestations of your true nature.
Those who have ears, let them hear.”
When the Blessed One had said these things, he embraced them all and took his leave, saying:
“Peace be with you! Cultivate my peace within yourselves!
Be vigilant, and let no one lead you astray by saying 'Here it is' or 'There it is', for the Son of Man lives within you. Follow him. Those who seek him will find him.
Go then and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom.
Do not lay down any rules other than what I have given you.
Do not establish more laws like the law-maker, or else you too will become constrained by them.”
When he had said these things, he departed from them.
The disciples grieved and mourned terribly, shedding many tears and saying:
“How are we supposed to go out preaching to the rest of the world, proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare him, then how will they spare us?”
Then Mary stood up. She embraced them all, kissing them tenderly and began to speak to her brothers and sisters:
“Do not remain in sorrow, grief, and doubt! For his Grace will be with you all; it will guide you, comfort you, shelter, and protect you.
Rather, let us be thankful and praise his greatness, for he has brought us together and prepared us for this. He has made us fully human.”
Saying these things, Mary turned their hearts inward toward the Good, and they began to meditate on the meaning of the Saviour's words and to discuss his sayings.
Then Peter said to Mary, "Sister, we know that you are greatly loved by the Saviour, more than any other woman. Tell us those words of the Saviour that you remember, the things which you know and we don't, the words we have never heard.”
Mary answered, saying:
“What is hidden from you I shall reveal to you. What is unknown to you and I remember, I will tell you.”
And she began saying to them these words.
She said, “Once I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him:
'Lord, today I see you in a vision.’
He answered me and said:
‘Blessed are you, for the sight of me does not disturb you.
How wonderful you are!
For where the nous* is, there lies the treasure.’
I asked him this: ‘Now tell me Lord, how does a person see such a vision, is it through the soul or through the spirit?’
The Saviour answered : ‘It is neither through the soul nor through the spirit, but through the nous which exists between the two, that is what sees the vision.’ “
*(nous = the eye of the soul, the meeting place between human and divine, God anchored in humanity, humanity touched by God)
Pages 11-14 are missing
And Craving spoke :
“I did not see you going down, but now I see you ascending.
Why are you being deceptive since you belong to me?”
The Soul responded: “I saw you, but you never truly saw me or knew me. You mistook the garments I wore for my true self, so you did not recognize me.” When the Soul had said this, it went away rejoicing greatly.
Again, the Soul came into the hands of the third Authority, which is called Ignorance.
This scrutinised the Soul closely and interrogated it, saying: “Where do you think you're going? You are enslaved by maliciousness, constrained and held prisoner by wicked inclinations. You lack discrimination. Do not judge!”
The Soul said: “Why do you pass judgement on me, even though I myself have not been judgemental? I have been dominated, but I myself have not constrained anyone or anything. I was not recognized, but I myself have recognized this: that everything will pass away, all things composed shall be decomposed, all will be dissolved, both on earth and in heaven.”
Liberated from the third Authority, the Soul continued its ascent, and came face to face with the fourth, which is called Wrath.
This took on seven manifestations. The first was darkness; the second, craving; the third, ignorance, the fourth, the longing for oblivion; the fifth, enslavement to the demands of the body, the sixth was foolish worldly wisdom, the seventh, the hot-tempered certainty of anger.
These formed the sevenfold Authority of Wrath, which interrogated the Soul, demanding: “Where do you come from, murderer? and, where do you think you are going, deserter?”
The Soul responded: “It is what constrained me that has been vanquished, and what surrounded me that has been overcome, my craving has come to an end, and my ignorance has died.
Through a world I was set free from another world; from one design I was liberated through a higher design and from the chains of forgetfulness which exist only for a time.
From this moment onward, now and for all seasons,
I am released into silent restfulness, where time rests in the eternity of time.”
After Mary had said these things, she became silent, as the Saviour had spoken with her up to this point.
But Andrew responded and said to the brothers and sisters:
“Tell me, what do you think about all that she has been telling us?
Say what you will, but I for one do not believe the Saviour said such things!
For these certainly are strange teachings, they seem to be quite different from his thinking.”
After considering these matters, Peter responded with similar concerns.
He questioned the brothers about the Saviour:
“Did he really speak secretly with a woman and not openly so that we all might hear? Are we all going to turn around and listen to her?
Did he really choose her and prefer her to us? Surely, he did not want to show that she is more worthy than we are?”
Then Mary wept. She said to Peter:
"My brother, Peter, what are you thinking?
Do you really believe that I thought all this up by myself in my heart,
or that I am telling lies about the Saviour?"
Levi responded and spoke to Peter:
"Peter, you have always been hot-tempered from the beginning,
and now I see you arguing like that against this woman as if you were her adversary.
Yet if the Saviour deemed her worthy, indeed if he himself has made her worthy, then who are you to despise and reject her?
Surely the Saviour's knowledge of her is completely trustworthy,
That is why he loved her more than us.
Rather, let us be ashamed.
We should clothe ourselves with Divine Humanity. Let us follow his instructions and cultivate it in ourselves.
We should do what we were commanded and proclaim the good news as the Saviour said, not laying down any other rules or laws beyond what he himself has given.
After Levi had said these things, they started going out to teach and to proclaim the gospel…….
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARY
Translation by David Curtis, first draft
This is work-in-progress, and I positively welcome any comments and constructive criticism which may help with editing and preparing the second draft
To download a PDF of the text click here