Her feast (yes! Feast! ) is this coming Friday, so I thought what I would do over the week in this space is offer big chunks of my now out-of-print book on her. The whole thing is available for download here, in a pdf version.
Remember, that the book was written in the context of the Da Vinci Code fever, so I pay particular attention to the gnostic writings that Brown and others whose work he used depended on for their claims.
Feel free to use this in any way you like – even copy the pdf to use in a parish study or discussion group in the upcoming year. There are discussion/reflection questions at the end of each chapter. So. Chapter 1:
Before the legends, myths, and speculation, and even before the best-selling novels, there was something else: the Gospels.The figure of Mary Magdalene has inspired a wealth of art, devotion, and charitable works throughout Christian history, but if we want to really understand her, we have to open the Gospels, because all we really know for sure is right there.The evidence seems, at first glance, frustratingly slim: an introduction in Luke, and then Mary’s presence at the cross and at the empty tomb mentioned in all four Gospels. Not much to go on, it seems.But in the context, the situation isn’t as bad as it appears. After all, no one besides Jesus is described in any detail in the Gospels, and even the portrait of Jesus, as evocative as it is, omits details that we moderns are programmed to think are important. Perhaps, given the context, the Gospels tell us more about Mary Magdalene than we think.