The title indicates that I'm moving into the second millennium of posts, in other words, this is post #1001. Next week will be the second anniversary of this blog -- making it older than some, younger than most. Essentially it's the perfect outlet for a writer who is juggling myriad responsibilities (i.e. incapable of meeting fixed deadlines but has lots to say!)
Thus, it's nice to point out a professional who can meet deadlines (and has for years) and who can write with faith, deep insight, and bubbling affection for her topics: Frederica Mathewes-Green. She has an interesting book on the horizon with Paraclete Press, The Lost Gospel of Mary. Certainly, authors don't always choose their titles, and she remarks on this one that is pejorative to those who observe the canon as defended by the Church:
I feel ambivalent about the title — kind of lurid, isn’t it! But my point was that there are many, many ancient Christian texts that are fully orthodox; it’s not only a matter of New Testament versus gnostics. Earlier generations of Christians read the same kind of supplemental and devotional works we do today: biographies, commentaries, letters, sermons, debates with non-believers…pretty much anything you would find in a Christian bookstore today. ...These works got “lost” mostly because we forgot them—our “family memory” fades after a few decades or centuries. Contemporary Western Christians have a bad case of spiritual amnesia. So I’m hoping to put a few of the more appealing and worthy works back on the shelf. In this book I present three ancient texts concerning the Virgin Mary, with new translations and verse-by-verse commentary. The first is a “gospel”, or narrative biography, of the Virgin Mary’s birth and early life.
Although the Orthodox are more loose than RC's about many things, she makes it clear that she's not placing this in her own "canon" as something revolutionary (which is what most religious books sales do -- trying to stick it to the hard-nosed Church) but wants to flesh out some ideas on Our Lady, providing a richer backdrop using more sources contemporary with the Early Church. As long as it's read in the proper context, it should be fine.
Her main point is that the fascination in that era was not with the resurrexion, but with the actual Incarnation event and with the notion that a woman could be pregnant with God. She offers a tidbit on her site:
It is hard to see Mary clearly, beneath the conflicting identities she has borne over the centuries. To one era she is the flower of femininity, and to another the champion of feminism; in one age she is the paragon of obedience, and in another the advocate of liberation. Some enthusiasts have been tempted to pile her status so high that it rivals that of her Son. Others, aware that excessive adulation can be dangerous, do their best to ignore her entirely.
Behind all that there is a woman nursing a baby. The child in her arms looks into her eyes. Years later he will look at her from the cross, through a haze of blood and sweat. We do not know, could not comprehend, what went through his mind during those hours of cosmic warfare. But from a moment in the St. John’s account of the Crucifixion we know that, whatever else he thought, he thought about her. He asked his good friend John to take care of her. He wanted John to become a son to her—to love her the way he did.
Should be interesting and I look forward to reading it when available.