Saturday, March 04, 2006

The evolving Mary Magdalene

Redeemed sinner, prostitute, wife of Jesus? Mary Magdalene's image has gone through myriad incarnations over the centuries, and this Lenten season she's drawing new attention thanks to the upcoming movie version of "The Da Vinci Code," a slew of books and Internet arguments. But those looking for a salacious side to the biblical figure will be disappointed: Serious religious scholars agree characterizations that stray from faithful disciple and witness to the Resurrection are bogus. Despite stage and screen portrayals, they say, the sinful Mary is a matter of mistaken identity. The chief culprit was Pope Gregory the Great, who preached a sermon in A.D. 591 calling Mary a notorious prostitute who repented after encountering Jesus Christ. The "Da Vinci" yarn says Christians conspired to conceal the Jesus-Mary marriage and the royal French bloodline their offspring established. But there's no evidence Jesus ever married Mary — or anyone else — and we know other first century Jewish holy men remained celibate. [More]


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