Matter and the soul: The bipartite eschatology of the gospel of Mary

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The theme of eschatology is not usually identified by exegetes as particularly emphasized in the Gospel of Mary, though it should be. The two primary teachings, the dialogue between the Saviour and his disciples and Mary’s recollection of her vision, are predominantly eschatological in nature, the former being concerned with the earthly realm and the latter the heavenly. The earthly realm is the created cosmos made of ‘matter’, destined for dissolution owing to its inherent instability, whereas the heavenly is the home of the ‘Soul’, the goal of its perilous post-mortem journey past hostile spiritual powers that seek to bar its way. Despite obvious differences with the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and parallels, there are multiple points of convergence with the eschatological teachings within the canonical gospels. Starting from the Gospel of Mary, this chapter explores connections between eschatological thinking on both sides of the canonical boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnecting Gospels
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide
EditorsFrancis Watson, Sarah Parkhouse
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780198814801
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Cosmos
  • Eschatology
  • Gospel of Mary
  • Matter
  • Protology
  • Soul


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