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 It was in AD591 that Pope Gregory erroneously suggested Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, a slander not withdrawn until 1969, when the Catholic church finally admitted there was no textural evidence anywhere to support the claim.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 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,compared with just 13 times in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John combined.
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 picks up where Mary Magdalene the movie leaves off, and 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 an 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. See News.
Rooney Mara brings Mary to life in new biopic
A dramatic new film on the life of Mary Magdalene is set to take the cinemas by storm this Easter.
Starring Rooney Mara as Mary and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus, the film aims to tell the real story of the woman who was Christ’s closest disciple.
Made by See-Saw Films, makers of the Oscar-winning period drama, The King’s Speech, Mary Magdalene is directed by Garth Davis, who was director of the Oscar-nominated film Lion, also featuring Rooney Mara.
The film has been praised for giving an authentic and human portrait of one of the most misunderstood – and maligned – figures in Christianity.
Depicting Mary as a young woman in the fishing village of Magdala, on the shores of Lake Galilee, we see her yearning for a greater meaning to her life, and drawn to join the followers of the charismatic teacher, Jesus. As news of the controversial group spreads and more people are drawn to follow Jesus’ inspirational message, Mary’s spiritual journey places her at the heart of a story that will lead to the capital city of Jerusalem, where she must confront the reality of Jesus’ destiny and her own place within it.
Noticeably absent from the movie is any reference to Mary being a prostitute – a claim for which there is no basis in the Bible, but the result of a mistaken interpretation by a Pope in centuries past, and not revoked by the Vatican until the 1960s.
“There’s no evidence in the Bible that Mary was a prostitute,” said Iain Canning, who produced the film with Emile Sherman, his partner at See-Saw Films. “We wanted to set the record straight – and about time.
“I think so often in film-making, women are defined by their sexual relationship with a man and we decided that we were absolutely clear that wasn’t the case here.”
Leading West End reviewer Baz Bamigboye, writing in the Daily Mail, says Mary Magdalene is a “fascinating, invigorating movie”.
“A lot of it is down to Mara’s passionate performance,” he writes. “The breakthrough, I think, is to ground the characters as ordinary, yet extraordinary, people – as well as the decision not to depict Mary as a woman of loose morals.”·
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