Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Memory of Esther de Boer

I have just learned of the untimely death of Esther de Boer, at the age of 51. According to the information I received, she died on July 6th, 2010. So I write this with sadness, still in shock that Esther has passed on. But I write to remember her and to recall what we have learned from her work, work which will survive her death.

She was a well-respected Dutch scholar who devoted herself to understanding and writing about Mary Magdalene. Her books include The Gospel of Mary Listening to the Beloved Disciple (1980). Mary Magdalene Beyond the Myth (1997 English translation) and Mary Magdalene Cover-Up: The Sources Behind the Myth (2007).

A summary of her most recent book reads:
Mary Magdalene has always been the subject of both popular and scholarly intrigue. Was she the wife of Jesus, his complete initiate, a Goddess or a priestess? Did the Church dramatically alter her image to deny her importance? These questions have inspired representations of her in art, film and literature, from "Caravaggio" to "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "The Da Vinci Code". The "Mary Magdalene Cover-Up" is the first book to bring the original sources that have informed our current day view of Mary to a wider audience. Esther de Boer has brought together an impressive array of texts from the first century, when Mary Magdalene was alive, to the sixth century, when her image as a penitent sinner was invented. Each text is accompanied by an informed and lively commentary by the author placing it in its historical context. This combination of original texts and commentary enables the reader to draw their own conclusions about this most enigmatic of first-century women.

1 comment:

Boudewijn Koole van Brigdamme said...

Thank you for the memorial as well as the important reference: if you see the contents at Amazon, you understand how insightful Esther ... was. Anyway we still have her work left ...

Boudewijn Koole, Driebergen, Netherlands