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Teacher's Comment :

Cho Eunhae - Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Mary



Cho Eunhae began history class at KMLA as a student without much knowledge in the subject and over time developed keen interest in history. After having read the Da Vinci Code, she wanted to explore why Mary Magdalen had such a tainted reputation; she approached me with that question in the spring of 2004. I told her about the compilation history of the bible, recommended her to look into the apokrypha. This conversation formed the start of what developed into her research project. The first step was bibliographic research; she found a number of titles of books offered by booksellers, and I helped her select the more promising ones.
In a project covering about a year, Eunhae studied the early history of the church (prior to the Council of Nicaea 325 A.D.) and later theological studies dealing with the reputation of Mary Magdalen. She was not satisfied with English translations of sources available to her, but came to me asking for the precise meaning of primary source texts in Latin.
In the end, Eunhae handed in a 61 page research paper, the longest I have received since we encourage our students at KMLA to write research papers. She worked independently on her topic; during the year she wrote on it we discussed her topic perhaps 7 or 8 times. She tried to get to the primary sources, in English translation or, with my help, in the Latin original.
In a topic like this, a high school student, without access to an academic research library, without command of the languages of the Eastern Mediterranean of the first centuries A.D. and without guidance of a scholar who is an expert in the field, can not be expected to be on the cutting edge of historical science. Eunhae's paper is a compilation of the findings of researchers in this area. Her paper may therefore be regarded as of the level of an oversized university seminar presentation paper. Her paper deals with what, from a Korean perspective, has to be described as a rather exotic field, an area Eunhae had to spend considerable time and effort to familiarize herself with.


December 22nd 2005

Alexander Ganse



Cho Eunhae Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Mary