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To the Editor:

I want to respond to the article by Charlesworth, "Rebutting Sensational Claims." It is not at all the case that "each of the panelists [on the topic of Mary Magdalene traditions] expressed skepticism concerning the identification of Mariamene with Mary Magdalene of Christian tradition." As one of the three on this panel, I did not express skepticism - quite the opposite. Epigraphers may decide, if they can, exactly how the inscription on this ossuary is to be read, but I hold that it can be read to refer to Mary Magdalene as Mary the Master - and that there is ample support in the canonical materials for such a reading. That is, for the idea that some in this first century CE movement revered her as teacher and leader, a position that is clearly represented in 2-4th century apocryphal documents, as discussed by my colleagues on the panel, April de Conick and Ann Brock. I also argued that the Talpiot tomb may not have been that of Jesus' family or dynasty, but rather that of some persons, including Jesus, important in the early decades of this kingdom of God movement. Such a possibility would entail reassessment of first century and later understandings of resurrection. Some of the scholars at the conference did not attend our panel; some rudely called out before it started that they wanted to see a film (which was shown later) opposing the Jacobovici film; some called out "case closed!" even before our presentations; and the summaries of the conference have not done justice to minority views such as my own. I realize that this is a heated topic that some are hesitant to deal with, and that it is difficult for scholars of different disciplines or perspectives to understand each others' work. But at least we must try.

Jane Schaberg, University of Detroit Mercy

Citation: Jane Schaberg, " Response to Charlesworth," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited Feb 2008]. Online:


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