Mary Magdalene and The Da Vinci Code: Separating Fact from Fiction
CINCINNATISay the name "Mary Magdalene" and many
people are quick to label her either a prophet or a prostitute. Mystery has
always shrouded this brave, blessed, allegedly brazen woman of God. Today,
interest in Mary Magdalene has grown. Author Dan Browns bestseller The Da
Vinci Code has whetted peoples appetites for information about this
remarkable and often misunderstood woman. Mary Magdalene, mistakenly regarded
as a fallen woman, is now rising to new heights in popularity.
The controversy surrounding Mary Magdalene, her place in Christianity and the focus
generated from Dan Browns wildly popular novel are all featured in the July
issue of St. Anthony Messenger, entitled "Cracking The Da Vinci Code:
Theologian Elizabeth Johnson on Mary Magdalene." Assistant Editor Carol Ann
Morrow interviews Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., a professor of theology
at Fordham University, on the subject of Mary Magdalene and how her legacy has
shifted through the ages. After June 21, the article will be posted at: AmericanCatholic.org.
A lot of mystery and myth surround St. Mary Magdalene, a.k.a. Miriam of Magdala. Some see her a
hooker-made-good. One thing we know for sure: She was a woman of faith and
bravery. She was also a witness to the Resurrection, not to mention a role
model for women in the Church.
"Mary Magdalene is a founding mother of the Church," Professor Johnson says. "She ministered to
Jesus during his own ministry, sharing things with him, was one of his
followers in Galilee. She was a faithful disciple during the last hours of his
Although The Da Vinci Code combines a good deal of fiction with morsels of fact,
it is, nevertheless, a novel. Claims such as Mary Magdalene being the wife of
Jesus and mother to his children have aroused controversy. Professor Johnson
isnt offended by them. Although she gives no credibility to the theory that
Mary Magdalene was Jesus bride, she still sees The Da Vinci Code as an
aid in bolstering interest in this often under-appreciated woman. Publicity,
however questionable, is still publicity.
"The novel has focused all this attention on the issues around Mary Magdalene. Shes
been on the cover of Newsweek and Time. What a service to get
everybodys attention and say, Theres a real story here!"
Mary Magdalene, one of the first feminists in recorded history, was a living
testament to the value and importance of women in todays male-dominated
"In the past, who women are has largely been defined
by men," Professor Johnson says. "And womens voices have not been allowed to
be part of the definition. Women today are reclaiming the right to identify
granted to reprint this release.