Some years ago, I started to write the story of Mary Magdalene. I composed an outline of events, wrote various scenes…and received criticism that my ideas were unrealistic. I set the story aside and went to other things.
I recently discovered that Steve Copeland has beaten me to publication and with a more realistic book. I enjoyed it immensely.
Mary Magdalene: A Woman Who Loved read like a cross between the Gospels of Mark and John and a modern novel. Several subplots wove toward the climax of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. They depicted as much sinking into sin and finding forgiveness and love from the God/Man as they showed His healing the sick and raising the dead. The subplots also followed the machinations of the Pharisees and the rulers of the Temple against this troublesome prophet. In addition, the author had prominent Jewish followers (Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, for example) and Mary herself, searching prophecies to discover that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah.
Two things bothered me, however, about Copeland’s writing. One was his improper use of commas. Consistently, he failed to set proper names and nouns apart when someone spoke to that person. “Thank you for the wine my friend…” was the first example. Moments later, “In any case, enjoy your beloved Israel my friend.” Such a glaring mistake jarred me from reading enjoyment until I could ignore it.
Second, the author called the main character Mary of Magdalene instead of Mary the Magdalene or Mary of Magdala.
On the other hand, his words in describing her release from demon possession moved me deeply. Time and again, he described the profound gratitude and love of those Jesus helped with His healings.
Here’s an excerpt about a paralyzed boy and his parents:
And then her neighbours were near the centre and some men were helping to pull the cart over the ground to where Jesus was waiting. The couple was standing together. He was sober and holding his wife, his unshaven face dark and expressionless. She was holding her hand to her mouth. She looked terrified. At that moment Mary’s heart began to melt as she saw the unmasked hope in these people who dared to bring their son.
Jesus went to the cart. She saw his face. His expression was full of determination and compassion. He placed his hand on the boy’s head and then for a moment lifted his gaze to the watching parents. His face softened into a slight smile and his eyes sparkled with sheer joy as the boy straightened his crooked limbs. The mother gasped and cried out as her husband held her for fear her legs would collapse beneath her.
Jesus took the boy’s hand and helped him to turn towards him. Then the boy sat up and looked directly at his parents. He was stretching out his arms and legs, and making little circles with his hands.
“Come,” Jesus said to them gently, “behold your son.”
The boy’s father lifted him off the cart and stood him on the ground.
He was taller than Mary imagined he would be. He was a little shaky on his legs at first, his thin limbs taking weight for the first time. With his father’s help he began to walk. People were raising their hands in prayer and calling out praises to God.
His mother rushed to her son and lifted him in her arms, tears of pure joy streaming from her face. She hugged him tightly, looking past him to Jesus and nodding her thanks. The boy was almost as tall as her.
Mary wept. She felt both joy and sorrow and she couldn’t explain why. They were walking towards her, slowly, hand in hand with their son who was becoming more and more confident on his new-found legs. Mary moved around to the other side of the tree until they passed. They were laughing, full of love and thankfulness.
I think this is one of those books put out for free that would sell well at a modest cost.