We Still Don't Know How To Love Her…

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What's the shelf life of Mary Magdelene in a post-repression age? Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this long New Yorker piece about Christendom's favorite harlot and the singer of Jesus Christ Superstar's big hit single. It runs through the competing definitions of the original M&M and finally spits out this conclusion like so many demons from a possessed body:

The young Bible scholars should have all our support, and we should agree with them that the energetic, far-seeing Magdalene of the Gnostic texts is good evidence that the Church should ordain women. But that is not the evidence of the Magdalene's authority on matters of the soul. John's story is the evidence.

I'm not sure that paragraph makes any more sense after reading the whole piece, but the story is a fascinating tour of how a seminal (?) female religious identity has shifted over milennia–and how that transformation is barely getting started.

Whole thing here.

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  1. This stuff is like arguing Kirk vs Picard.

  2. Kirk definitely.

  3. Is it seminal? I would think it was more ovarian.

  4. picard, hands down.

  5. Is that a Donnie Iris ref?

  6. Given the topic, nobody’s gonna vote for Capt. Whatshername, the Katherine Hepburn wannabe?

  7. Neither seminal nor ovarian. Germinal.

  8. Bullshit, everyone knows that The Sisko was best Star Trek franchise captain. For crying-out-loud, the man decked Q!

  9. I thought this thread was going to be about Reason Pillow Girl…

  10. I for one, vote for Capt. Janeway

  11. Given the topic, nobody’s gonna vote for Capt. Whatshername, the Katherine Hepburn wannabe?

    Today’s “Brush With Fame” Moment: One of my colleagues at work is her brother.

  12. Nick, wasn’t “Jesus Christ, Superstar” the big hit from the musical?

    No, AC, it’s a Jesus Christ, Superstar reference (see the song Nick linked to). However, kudos for referring to “Ah, Leah”, which is a great song. Better than “Love is Like a Rock”, certainly.

  13. As far as JC Superstar goes, Judas’ song is by far the best. Especially the Tenacious D cover of it.

  14. And it’s Kirk. Sisko + Picard = Kirk. Anyone who can command Spock’s fanatical loyalty is doing okay. Janeway might’ve been okay if she hadn’t been on Voyager, which was weak. Well, except for Seven Sublime, that is.

    Speaking of things Trekkish, I watched a continuation of the original series on the web last night. It wasn’t too bad, considering that it’s only quasi-professional and not backed by the studio. Anyway, check out Star Trek: New Voyages. Oh, and they have some surprising cameos, too.

  15. Sisko was not a captain, he was a commander. And not of a starship, of a space station. there is a difference

    carry on.

  16. Sisko was not a captain, he was a commander.

    I thought he got a promotion in the second season.

  17. AmyLou, Sisko got promoted. And he flew around in the Defiant a lot. Besides, he was quite cool, even if he wasn’t Kirk (who was a Sisko god–see the tribbles episode). And, most importantly, he was Hawk.

  18. my bad, you’re right. I didn’t recall his promotion – thought he was commander throughout the whole DS9 lifespan.

    amy hangs head in shame – a real trekkie should have known better!

  19. I for one, vote for Capt. Janeway

    Heretic!

  20. Dramatically speaking, Judas was the one of the neatest characters in JC Superstar, and he also sang most of the best songs.

    Come to think of it, Judas even sang a version of the I Don’t Know How to Love Him song too.

    I’m glad the Mary Magdelene character is there, though, because every good story needs at least one hot chick in it. (This is what prevented the original Jonny Quest cartoon from becoming an enduring masterpiece, instead of a sausage-fest with a campy homoerotic undertone.)

    PS: Captain Kirk, you politically correct and French-loving wussies.

  21. “Christendom’s favorite harlot” . There is no evidence Mary Magdelene was a harlot, this is an “Urban Legend”. Most New Testament scholars agree on that.

  22. Judas is pretty clearly the lead role in the musical, and has quite a few awesome songs (“Heaven on Their Minds”?). But I still have to vote for Caiaphas, just because it’s fun to listen to a singer with that deep a bass voice.

  23. But I still have to vote for Caiaphas, just because it’s fun to listen to a singer with that deep a bass voice.

    This brings up the topic of “seriously catchy songs that you don’t want to get stuck in your head so that you catch yourself singing them to yourself while you’re walking around in the grocery store.” Like when you’re trying to pick out some tomatoes in the produce section and find yourself singing “This Jesus must Jesus must Jesus must die …” just under your breath.

    Same thing, if you’re a guy, if you find yourself singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” or Meredith Brooks’ “I’m a Bitch.”

  24. Stevo,
    Random show-tune singing isn’t generally accepted in our culture. Sadly, it’s only you guys getting hurt here – I could rock out with some mean jean valjean right now and the world would be forever changed.

  25. Stevo, I’ve totally done that. Constantly. I’m still in college, and I tend to walk to class singing either Billy Joel, Elton John, or Broadway. Kind of loudly. And conducting the orchestrations with huge gestures.

    I figure I should warn people so they know I’m a freak even without talking to me.

  26. I was in high school when Jesus Christ Superstar came out. I remember thinking, “What a lameass pile of feces on a cold frosty morning this is.”

    Ya know what? It still is. Let’s face it, gang: the only “rock opera” that ever really worked at all was Paradise By The Dashboard Lights

  27. God will get you for that, Jim.

  28. Let’s face it, gang: the only “rock opera” that ever really worked at all was Paradise By The Dashboard Lights…

    …and that was only because of Phil Rizzuto…

  29. God will get you for that, Jim.

    He’ll probably get me for mistaking Magdalene’s song for Donnie Iris.

  30. Stevo, I’ve totally done that. Constantly. I’m still in college, and I tend to walk to class singing either Billy Joel, Elton John, or Broadway. Kind of loudly. And conducting the orchestrations with huge gestures.

    I’m not talking about singing out loud so much as what one sings in public. Like lyrics about killing Jesus. Or, if you’re a guy, muttering, “I’m a bitch, I’m a mother, I’m a child, I’m your lover …”

  31. Yeah, that, too. I remember having JCS blaring on my speakers when our housekeeper, who is deeply religious, was there…she was very confused.

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