Mary Magdalene: the
This website is devoted to Mary Magdalene, companion of Christ and his closest disciple – called apostola apostolorum, or ‘apostle to the apostles’, by the early Church. It was in AD591 that Pope Gregory erroneously suggested Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, a slander not withdrawn until 1969, when the Roman Catholic church finally admitted there was no textural evidence anywhere to support the claim.
On the contrary, some scholars, including Elaine Pagels and Karen King, now believe Mary Magdalene was a leader of the early Church. Some people have put forward the idea that Mary might be the unidentified ‘beloved disciple’ referred to in the Gospel of John, while others even claim that she and Jesus were husband and wife.
The many references to Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Thomas and the other so-called ‘gnostic’ gospels found at Nag Hammadi in 1946 show that she was certainly one of Christ’s leading disciples. There are even fragments of a gospel in her name. In the Pistis Sophia, her name is mentioned 150 times – compare that with just 13 times in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John combined.
We welcome contributions to the debate about this hugely influential figure, and her rightful place in the Christian story. Anyone who would like to send information or comment for possible inclusion should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Left: The Tour Magdala at Rennes-le-Château in southern France. Was the priest of this church in possession of a sensational secret about Mary Magdalene?
The next Da Vinci Code?
The Last Scion by Richard Reed
The Last Scion by Richard Reed is a fast-paced novel set against the backdrop of the mysterious hilltop village of Rennes-le-Château in southern France.
This Da Vinci Code-style thriller blends fact with fiction as it pieces together the legends of Mary Magdalene fleeing Palestine after the Crucifixion for what was then the Roman province of Gaul.
Did the companion of the Lord end her days in France? And if so, what secrets did she take with her to her grave?
Reed solves the riddle of the enigmatic 19th century priest of Rennes, Bérenger Saunière, who turned his church into a shrine dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Why did he suddenly come into such astonishing wealth? Was he blackmailing the Church over some earth-shattering secret?
In a final twist to this page-turner, Reed makes a revelation that could transform the Christian church – particularly the role of women.
‘Proof’ Jesus was married
A newly discovered ancient papyrus appears to suggest that Jesus and Mary were actually man and wife.
The fragment, written in Egyptian Coptic and dating back to the 4th century AD, supports the theory popularised in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and Reed's The Last Scion (see below).
Passages in the Gnostic Gospels discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945 have suggested both that Mary was one of Jesus' key disciples, and that they enjoyed a close relationship.
However, this is the first time an ancient text actually quotes Jesus as using the word 'wife' about Mary.
The papyrus has been authenticated by Professor Karen King, professor of divinity at Harvard University, an expert on the early Christian Church. See News.