Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hills, Julian V.

Second Advisor

Pace, Sharon

Third Advisor

Schmitt, John J.


My interest in the Gospel of Mary began in a course I took from Julian Hills on "Christian Gnosticism," an introduction to the Nag Hammadi Library and the study of Coptic. At the time, I was especially interested in feminist interpretation of the Gos. Mary, especially Karen King's research. The more reading I did, the more I began to disagree with her emphasis on the identity of Mary as Magdalene. Following King's lead, many others have undertaken a study of the Gos. Mary with this assumption. I noted that these studies lacked an interest in the content and overall structure of the text. The title of this study, "Composition and Redaction in the Coptic Gospel of Mary" is a more comprehensive approach. My analysis differs from prior studies in three ways. First, I have set aside the presupposition that Mary is Mary Magdalene. Second, I argue for literary unity of the text and demonstrate a deliberate compositional strategy at work. Third, I make a case for the genre of text as an expanded pronouncement story. This interpretative framework sheds new light on interpretation of the text. The purpose and function of the Gos. Mary is consistent with its form, the pronouncement story. It suggests that the behavior, authority and reliability of the Savior is called into question. The Gos. Mary affirms that the Savior's protection extends even to martyrdom. If this study inspires new directions in Gos. Mary research without Mary Magdalene and Peter as the focus, then I will have accomplished my goal to contribute to and shape further scholarship on the Gos. Mary.



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