Mary Magdalene in Church and History

The reference article, Mary Magalene (ca. first century CE), was written by Susan de Gaia, and was published in Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions: Faith and Culture Across History, edited by Susan de-Gaia (ABC-CLIO 2019): Vol. 1, pp. 216-221.

It discusses views on Mary Magdalene in the eastern and western Christian churches, her sainthood, and the long-held but erroneous belief within western Christendom that she was a reformed prostitute and how that view was proven wrong and removed from Catholic doctrine.

The article also includes an overview of what are known to be historical truths about Mary Magdalene from original sources in and beyond the Bible, and a brief history of Mary Magdalene in popular culture, art, and folk religion.

Mary Magdalene continues to be a source of inspiration and sacred history for many professed Christians and others.

 

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Miranda Shaw: Women and the feminine in Buddhism

Miranda Shaw has spent many years studying women’s spiritual practices, Goddess traditions, and sacred dance in Indian and Himalayan Buddhism. Her book, Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism, came out in 1994, and has been translated into seven languages. She also wrote Buddhist Goddesses of India, published in 2006, and has written numerous peer reviewed articles. Shaw is currently working on her next book, on the Tantric Buddhist dance tradition in Nepal.

Dr. Shaw contributed five articles to the Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions. These can all be found in the Buddhism section of the encyclopedia:

  • Dance
  • Female Divinities
  • Prajnaparamita
  • Tara
  • Tantra (with Kenneth Lee)

In “Dance,” Shaw provides historical trends and details of women’s roles in Buddhist dance. In one passage, she explains that in the dance,  

“The practitioner adopted the appearance of the deity, meditated on the inner nature of the deity, and channeled the presence of the deity through the dance movements. Because the pantheon included female Buddhas, a woman could don the raiment and ornaments of a female deity and dance, evoking the Goddess within herself and bodying forth the presence of the Goddess through her movements.”

“Dance,” Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions: Faith and Culture across History (de-Gaia, ed.), page 1:107

An example of Tantric dance exist today, Shaw notes, in the Charya Nritya dance found in Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, where it is practiced predominantly by women and girls.

Miranda Shaw, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at University of Richmond.

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Riane Eisler

Riane Eisler

Riane Eisler, J.D., Ph.D., contributed two articles to the Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions:

“Relationship and Social Models in Scripture, Archaeology, and History” – in the Christianity section, and

“Spirituality and Gender in Social Context” – in the Spirituality section

Eisler is author of The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future. New York: Harper & Row, 1988. Her other books include:

Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future, co-authored with Douglas Fry, New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007.

Educating for a Culture of Peace, with Ron Miller. Heineman Press, 2004.

The Power of Partnership: Seven Relationships that will Change Your Life. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002.

Tomorrow’s Children: A Blueprint for Partnership Education in the 21st Century. Boulder, CO: Westview,  2000.

The Partnership Way: New Tools for Living and Learning, with David Loye. San Francisco: Harper, 1990..

Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body. San Francisco: Harper, 1996.

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