PCS 310 – Introduction to Mary Magdalene: A Leader for the First and Twenty-First Centuries

PCS 310 – Introduction to Mary Magdalene: A Leader for the First and Twenty-First Centuries

May 14, 2024 – July 23, 2024 – Zoom meeting every other week


Course Instructor: Dr. Shirley Paulson

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Mary Magdalene: A Leader for the First and Twenty-First Centuries

Christians have imagined Mary Magdalene as the repentant prostitute for well over a thousand years, but now, after the discovery of the Gospel of Mary and other early Christian writings, we know there is not a shred of truth to that. She was also the one person most closely associated with the resurrection of Jesus. Was she actually one of Jesus’s disciples? Or even the first apostle? In our own complex and confusing world of the 21st century, what we learn from Mary can startle us with refreshing spiritual insights. They are profoundly relevant today for men and women who resonate with the teachings and acts of Jesus.

Learning the Inspiration and Controversies Surrounding Mary Magdalene


  • Who was Mary?
  • Why is the Gospel of Mary so valuable?
  • How shall we understand Mary’s most important teachings?
  • What were the controversies and why do they matter?
  • How does Mary relate to the Bible?
  • What could Mary’s life and teachings mean to us today?


Mary Magdalene deserves to be better known and understood. As we unshackle her story from the myth created by early patriarchal Christian leaders, we will discover a powerful and influential leader among the early Christ people.


Course Instructor: Shirley Paulson, PhD.

Shirley Paulson is the principal producer of Early Christian Texts: The Bible and Beyond. This website features her blog, Zoom discussions, and podcasts highlighting the work of other scholars. Shirley’s academic work focuses on early Christian writings, especially those relating to healing practices and theology. Her book is Illuminating the Secret Revelation of John: Catching the Light,(Cascade Books, 2022), and she contributed to a chapter in Westar’s After Jesus Before Christianity (HarperOne 2021). She currently serves on the Westar Institute’s Board of Directors and writes for its Fourth R magazine. Prior to this work, Shirley served as the first Head of Ecumenical Affairs for the global headquarters of the Christian Science Church and served on the Board of the North American Academy of Ecumenists. 


Meeting Dates and Times

This course is designed to maximize our time together in discussion and learning from each other. Please finish watching all of the video lectures for each section before we meet together by Zoom. Each section also includes some kind of writing activity. Please give yourself the time to engage in these activities, because all of this preparation will enhance our conversations when we’re together.


The dates for Zoom classes are May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, and July 23.


Time: 7pm – 8 pm Eastern every other week.


Zoom classes schedule: If you have to miss one of the meetings, all of the class discussions will be recorded and archived.



Section 1: May 1