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The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail Paperback – Jun 1 1993

3.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bear & Company (June 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879181037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879181038
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #287,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Margaret Starbird is a seeker after truth. She seeks to recover the long-suppressed, and not infrequently emotionally opposed, feminine side of the Christian story. Hers is an exciting narrative probing regions of thought long neglected. Magdalen, the Great Mary, emerges with new power.” (John Shelby Spong, Episcopal bishop and author of Born of a Woman)

"This fascinating and courageous narrative takes a fresh look at the true meaning of the Holy Grail and the defeminization of the early church, and comes up with some shocking revelations that may change the way one perceives Christianity forever." (Nexus)

"Margaret Starbird's work is of particular interest to me because it fuses the diverse fields of symbolism, mythology, art, heraldry, psychology, and gospel history. Her research opens doors for each of us to further explore the rich iconography of our own spiritual history." (Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code)

"Offers an alternative view of Christianity for women. . . . It cannot be ignored." (Publishers Weekly)

"Provocative and controversial--it will outrage some and give hope to others." (Catholic Women's Network)

"As Starbird says, 'No wonder icons of Mary weep!' " (National Catholic Reporter)

About the Author

MARGARET STARBIRD is the author of The Goddess in the Gospels, Magdalene’s Lost Legacy, and Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile. She lives near Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Did Mary Magdalene have an ecstatic relationship with Christ?
Yes, but you will need to look elsewhere to get in touch it. Seeking to understand their relationship is worth the effort. This book will not help, though. Read this book only for cautionary purposes.
This is not a scholarly book. It tries to do many thing, but fails to penetrate deeply into any. For a better encounter with mystic grail followers, see Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum". Much more challenging, but it will stick with you a lot longer. For the juice on fertility rites, see Joseph Campbell's "The King and the Corpse". To meet Mary herself, see LeLoup's "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene".
Starbird describes Mary Magdalene as a rather inert object of Christ's libidinal passions. Mary never speaks directly in this book. She acts as sublime priestess of matrimonial ritual, but she only acts out the dance others created. She carries/nurtures the seed of Christ, but whatever that involved, StarBird never personalizes. In the end, we are left with something of an argument for divine-right political legitimacy. The patrimony of David is highly exalted here.
Rather than illuminating anything Jesus or Mary Magdalene said while walking this earth, as lovers or otherwise, Starbird shoehorns the couple into the mold of ancient Egyptian and Babylonian magic. Starbird keeps her two lovers silent. It is much easier to keep the revolutionaries under control that way. Starbird is advocating the most conservative of views: Let us return to the rites of the Pharohs, all that was important was known to them. Reports of newer insights are merely mirage.
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Format: Paperback
I find speculative history as interesting as the next person, but the problems with Starbird's work are fatal. For one, she presents a "straw man" church against which to rail. Obviously, the church has had flaws, but Starbird ignores its complexity. Also, she presents a picture of the Cathars that they would not recognize. As a gnostic movement, they rejected the physical and the bodily completely. How such an idea is transformed into liberation for women is mystifying. Ironically, the strongest women of the age were those who embraced the body and affective piety--Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich. Her "evidence" that Jesus married Magdalen is, to say the least, highly creative but hardly comvincing. Most bothersome is the way she has posited herself as an orthodox Catholic who finally saw the light for half a dozen books now. How many times can you lose your virginity? Once seems plenty.
Finally, as interesting as I find these kinds of speculations, I am always somewhat troubled by the elitism. There is always, in any brand of gnosticism, the suggestion that a select few get to know and understand the "real" history, the "real" message, the "real" Jesus. If Starbird is right, billions of Christians have been wrong, and only an impossibly small clique in only a few brief moments have had access to the truth. Of course, she is one of them. As are you, the reader. Does that make you feel special? For all of orthodoz Christianity's problems--and they are legion--at least it insists that the gospel is open to all people, everywhere, and in all ages.
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By A Customer on March 1 2004
Format: Paperback
Despite the ecclesiastical criticisms leveled against them by so-called Christians, Starbird and Sweeney do an excellent job documenting their assertions in this splendid work of historical reconstruction -- scholarship, I might add, that is supported by several other notable authors and historians. This is not merely some insane theory conjured up by someone with an axe to grind against the Vatican.
The authors share several brilliant insights with the reader that are truly inspired and speak to some of those long-unanswerable questions of history. Of course, no one can know the COMPLETE and TRUE story that is the legacy of the Magdalen, but these authors and others like them at least have the courage to make what information they have uncovered available to the masses despite the Church's long history of silence, secrecy, suppression and outright deception.
If you are open minded and looking for those books begging for its pages to be turned...look no further. I just read a copy of Edgar Fouche's 'Alien Rapture,' which also blew me away. Fouche was a Top Secret Black Program 'insider', whose credibility has been verified over and over. Another fun book is Brad Steiger's 'Werewolf.' I also really liked Dan Brown's 'Angels and Demons.' Want to be shocked, check out Dr. Paul Hill's 'Unconventional Flying Objects' which NASA tried to ban.
The tip of the iceberg: Numerous authorities who had noted the errors in the K.J.V. such as William Kilburne (1650's) 20,000 errors, John Wesley (in 1755) 12,000 changes in the New Testament alone, the Revised Version of 1881 consisted of 36,000 errors and on and on. The NIV, RSV and The Living Bible are also replete with thousands of errors. Do some research!
The KJV Bible is the True Word of God! Or is it? Inspired? Or not?
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Format: Paperback
This is a very good book. The author draws heavily on Holy Blood, Holy Grail for her factual data in addition to her own research, but she makes her point more clearly and The Woman With The Alabaster Jar is much more readable. Holy Blood, Holy Grail contains more dense verbiage, and the authors develop their facts and surmises slowly and their themes very carefully, item by item. It gets tedious at times. Not so with Margaret Starbird. She comes right out with it.

The thrust of both books is that Yeshua bar Yosef (better known by his Greek name, Jesus) was married to Miriam of Bethany (better known as Mary Magdalene) and sired a daughter by her. After his crucifizion, Mary moved to Egypt where her child, Sarah, was born, and then to Provence on the Mediterranean coast of France.

The Catholic church tried to stamp out and eradicate the idea that Mary and Jesus were married and had a child because it threatened their orthodox views, and murdered 15,000 people in the Provence area in their effort, who believed the fact that Mary and Jesus had started a bloodline which survives yet. In the Inquisition, many thousands more were killed for the same reason: their "heresy," in the eyes of the church.

The theory is that the organizations known as the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion protected the secret genealogy of the holy bloodline, and the proofs of the sang raal (holy blood, which became known as the Holy Grail).

Starbird and the three authors of Holy Blood, Holy Gail make a plausible case--even a convincing one.

These hypotheses were the background for the recent best-seller, The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, who also drew heavily on Holy Blood, Holy Grail for his fictional mystery.
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