A Review of
Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus:
Prostitution and Religious Obedience in the Bible
Hardback: Drawn & Quarterly, 2016.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Jon M. Sweeney
I can’t imagine how this graphic novel of biblical stories is going to sell a lot of copies. Sex and violence are common in this genre, but not so much serious biblical criticism, and pages 173-270 here are all afterword, notes, and bibliography, in which author/artist Chester Brown recounts (in the same tiny, hand-drawn type of the comics themselves) his indebtedness to scholars like John Dominic Crossan and Yoram Hazony, and makes learned references to works as ideologically divergent as Strong’s Concordance and Lynn Bauman’s translation of The Gospel of Thomas. Chester Brown is what one might call an independent scholar. He says he was led to this subject because of a passion for sex-workers’ rights.
Brown is a Canadian by birth. He grew up in Quebec and now lives in Toronto. He’s 55 years old and has been writing comics since Ed the Happy Clown in the early ‘80s. After that strange work, which garnered him a sort of underground following, he began writing autobiographical comics, and that’s continued to this day. I wrote a bit about this trend (not about Brown, but others) in one of my recent review articles in America magazine.