Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene.

Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code begins with the murder of a curator by a monk who is sent to find the legendary Holy Grail, a fabled vessel often theorized to be the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. However, Brown puts a new spin on the Holy Grail--a mere cup it is not, rather a vile that contains the blood of Jesus. The importance, if not readily apparent, is that with a vile of blood, Jesus’ ancestry could be mapped--that is if testing of blood that is some 2000 years old could produce viable data. What's more, it could prove or disprove the theory that His bloodline still endures (it has been theorized that He had a child with Mary Magdalene)--a concept, if true, would have unsung ramifications in the Catholic church.

So, who was Mary Magdalene and why is she so central to the story of Jesus Christ.

Mary Magdalene was born in Magdala, a fishing village on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. She is believed to have had flaming red hair and, although never proven, she is said to have been a whore. Many have argued that such a label was given to her by the church to hide the true nature of her relationship with Jesus.

What's more, scholars have long thought Mary Magdalene was defamed because of her threat to the male controlled church. The fact that she was the first to speak to the risen Christ and the fact that she was the one to inform the other male Apostles speaks volumes of her importance -- she was the Apostle to the Apostles. Moreover, she is thought to have had a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus and was seen as a rival to Apostle Peter for leadership of the early church.

In his book, Brown suggests that she still had one more hold on Jesus--as his wife. A notion that some say is belittling to both Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Some argue that Jesus wasn’t conventional in any other sense, so why would he feel the need to be married? Others say that relegating Mary Magdalene to the role of wife and thereby reducing her only importance to a sexual connection with Jesus, is like saying Hillary Rodham Clinton is only important because she’s married to Bill Clinton. [I, for one, would never compare Jesus and Mary Magdalene to Bill and Hillary--doing so seems almost sacrilegious, no?]

For all the hoopla and conspiracy theories, this remains true of Mary Magdalene:

  • she did exist;
  • she was a follower of Jesus;
  • she was at His side when He was crucified; and
  • she has a Gospel.


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