By RICHARD N. OSTLINGWith all the hype surrounding The Da Vinci Code, the movie version due out late Spring, and now a lawsuit charging theft of the plot from an earlier book, it is refreshing to see an article that deals with matters of fact.
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 28, 2006; 2:08 PM
"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...."
Richad Ostling attempts here to separate what is known about Mary Magdalene, and what is speculation.
Much of what we know about Mary Magdalene comes from Luke 8 and the resurrection accounts. She is first named in Luke as one of several women who accompanied the disciples and supported them financially. Immediately preceding the account in Luke 8 about the women is the story of a woman who approached Jesus while he was visiting the house of Simon, a Pharisee. Simon says to himself that if Jesus were truly a prophet he would know what kind of woman this was. (Luke 7:36-50)
Many people assume that this woman was Mary of Magdala, but she is not named here, nor is the nature of her sin. Mary IS named in the beginning of chapter 8 as one of those who supported the ministry of Jesus and the Twelve. She is described as one who had 7 demons.
In the 6th century A.D. Pope Gregory the Great preached a sermon relating how Mary Magdalene, a notorious prostitute, repented after meeting Jesus. Ostling makes considerable sense when he points out that this came from a mistaken identification of the woman who encountered Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee with Mary Magdalene whom we meet for the first time in Luke 8:1-3.
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