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Woman With The Alabaster Jar Paperback – Jan 18 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: INNER TRADITIONS INTL (Jan. 18 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879181037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879181038
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By K. Martin on July 10 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very insightful and thought-provoking. Not a religious person but I do have my beliefs. A great deal of what Ms. Starbird did in fact make sense. I did read the "Bride in Exile" and found it to be a repeat of this book and not as good.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kenney on Feb. 11 2004
Format: Paperback
In THE WOMAN WITH THE ALABASTER JAR Margaret Starbird pursues further the topic made popular in HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL. Specifically she explores the possibility of a marriage between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene which produces a child after Mary Magdalene manages to escape to the southern coast of France. This legend leads to the Grail heresy which suggests that certain families in southern France can trace their ancestry back to Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Starbird's book is a story about a heresy which keeps popping up throughout history in spite of the best efforts of the church to stamp it out - particularly during the inquisition. The author's reasoning is that if there is so much smoke then there must actually be a fire somewhere. Since the Grail heresy left an impressive legacy in art, song and folklore, Starbird is able to offer us numerous examples of the persistence of the heresy. She does this in great detail covering such subjects as the hidden meanings concealed in tarot cards and their connection to the Grail heresy.
Margaret Starbird is an enthusiastic writer who can tell a great story. She is not composing a work of scholarship but instead is investigating a mystery - the enigma of a legend which gets more intriguing with the passage of time and each new advance in the quest for the historical Jesus.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Menicacci on Jan. 20 2002
Format: Paperback
Margaret Staribird decided to write this book after reading "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail". The reason was that she was upset by the conclusions the three authors drew.
To her great surprise, and intellectual honesty, her conclusions confirmed the above mentioned conclusions.
Besides, this book clearly explains the use of Gnostic symbols as well as the nature of Tarot, to which we look at only as an instrument of divination.
This book was also good for me. I was able to trace down signs of the Grail "heresy" in Florence, my town.
The book would have been perfect if it insisted a little more on the Black Madonna topic.
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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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By Yankee in Texas on June 27 2004
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book. Margaret Starbird obviously dedicated a lot of herself to researching the history and symbolism and also agrees there is no way to prove this hypothesis. Very interesting history in any case. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Mary Magdalene story or in the politics and how it was expressed in art of the period.
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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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