Re: Gnostic gospels

Do you really want an answer to the question posed in “Little Free Libraries” (Dec. 4) about “Why Mary Magdalene’s account was omitted from the Bible”?

If that question is sincere, then Elaine Pagels’ book on the Gnostic Gospels is probably the wrong place to find an answer for it. Mary Magdalene’s gospel was one of several gnostic volumes not included in the canon of scripture for multiple reasons. This is emphatically not a matter of some sandal-shod patriarchy trying to silence women, but a simple bow to historical fact.

For openers, the gnostic writings surfaced years (sometimes centuries) after the canonical books were already widely used in the liturgy of the church, and the gnostic writings came with bogus authorship claims that early Christians recognized as false. As if those two things were not disqualifying enough, the gnostic writings did and do not play well with what had already been written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter and Paul.

For example, the gospel attributed to Mary Magdalene alleges that teaching revealed to her trumps teaching the Jesus revealed to his male disciples. It also claims that suffering is illusory and that the material (physical) world is corrupt, which fits perfectly with gnostic belief but makes no sense to Christians convinced that God became Man. As Thomas Aquinashe of the superlative gift for pithy theological statementswould later explain, “grace builds on nature.” Gnostics never understood that argument, but invoking the name Mary of Magdala as a talisman does not make false assertions true.

Patrick O’HanniganMorrisville

Re: Hofmann Forest

The conduct of the N.C. State faculty in the Hofmann Forest contract has shamed me as an alumnus and disgusted me as a Marine. Backroom deals with development agencies, disregarding of student and faculty opinion, specifically many of whom are experts in their fields, not recusing trustees with conflicts of interest: These acts are conduct unbecoming a student, let alone an entire administration.

Sgt. Christopher MinguezChugiak, Alaska