GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Magdalene: Holy whore?

leave a comment »


Priestess, demoniac, redhead harlot, secret wife of Jesus: Perhaps no one in the Bible has suffered as many image makeovers as Mary Magdalene. But how to make sense of the tons of ink, paint and celluloid about her?

A one-site answer: Magdalene.org. Created by Lesa Bellevie in July 1998, the site gives quick answers, detailed information and some fun facts.

A long FAQ file deals with the “gossip”-type questions. You know, like whether Magdalene was a prostitute, as movies and sermons have often branded her. Or whether she married Jesus and had a child, as The Da Vinci Code says. Or if she had long, red hair, as a lot of European paintings depict her.

Magdalene.org lays out the various arguments for Mary’s identities: leading apostle, cult priestess, mother of European royalty, a healed demoniac who supported Jesus’ ministry. But you don’t have to take their word for it. In a true reader service, Bellevie adds the actual much-argued texts — including the gospels of Philip and Mary. For biblical passages, she gives links to the Blue Letter Bible, a handy online edition of the King James Version.

But Bellevie’s own articles aren’t bulletproof. In one, she questions the authorship of the Gospel According to John, saying only that the early church father Irenaeus “believed he recalled hearing in his childhood that it had been written by the apostle John.” She doesn’t add that another church father, Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna, was a disciple of John — and Polycarp said the gospel was written by that apostle.

There’s a section on Mary in Renaissance-era paintings, but they’re small and fuzzy. And some of the links are either broken or have never been filled.

Better is the pop culture stuff. Did you know she was once played in a movie by June Carter, the wife of Johnny Cash? Or that she’s a lithe, scantily-clad superheroine in a comic series? Or that she’s the subject of a song by Tori Amos — who has long, red hair?

Advertisements

Written by Jim Davis

September 3, 2008 at 4:02 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: