Iâ€™m always amazed at the contortions New Testament scholars go into in an attempt to avoid seeing and stating the obvious.Â The CNN â€œspecialâ€ segment about Mary Magdalene aired tonight. One scholar (Dr. Nicola Denzey Lewis) declared twice that â€œground zeroâ€ for the idea that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus was the Gospel of Philip, which states that Mary was the â€œcompanionâ€ or â€œconsortâ€ of Jesus and that he kissed her often on herâ€¦. (sadly the location is missing, but we are told that the apostles were jealous of Maryâ€¦.because Jesus loved her more than all the rest of themâ€¦.
If she had read my â€œWoman with the Alabaster Jar,â€ published in 1992 and cited by Dan Brown in The DaVinci Codeâ€), Dr.Lewis would have known that for many of us â€œground zeroâ€ is the canonical
Gospel of John which names the woman who anointed Christ at the banquet at Bethany (Mary) and dried his feet with her hair and follows the passion narrative all the way to the sacred reunion of the Sacred King and his Bride at the tomb on Easter morning.Â This has nothing to do with the (2nd or 3rd century) Gospel of Philip. All four canonical Gospels mention the anointing of Jesus by a woman and three place this event in Holy Weekâ€”followed closely by the Passion of the Christ and his resurrection. This liturgical sequence is reminiscent, even a reenactment of ancient rites of â€œhieros gamesâ€ indigenous to the Near Eastâ€”where the Sacred King is anointed and united in marriage with a royal priestess/princess and later sacrificed, mutilated, executed and entombed.
After three days his Bride/consort returns to the tomb to mourn him and finds him resurrected. These ancient rites go back to neolithic times and are repeated in the Gospel narratives, where Mary and Jesus embody the archetypal Bride and Bridegroom â€œin the fleshâ€â€”.
In the CNN segment, the question was raised: What happened to Mary Magdalene?Â Back in the 1980â€™s when I was researching everything I could find about Mary Magdalene, it struck me that in spite of her importance in the final chapters of the Gospelsâ€”beginning with the anointing scene and ending with the reunion with Jesus at the tomb (â€œDonâ€™t keep clinging to meâ€)â€”Mary totally disappears from the story, never mentioned in the epistles or in the Book of Acts of the Apostles.Â What happened to her? The mother of Jesus and other female disciples show up in Acts and elsewhere.Â Only Mary, Martha and Lazarus are totally missing, except for later legends that try to
fill in the gaps, placing them in Gaul around AD 42â€¦. But why did they leave?
One afternoon in 1988, I sat down at my computer and wrote a storyâ€”which is now the fictional opening â€œPrologueâ€ in my â€œAlabaster Jarâ€ bookâ€”explaining how we came to lose the Beloved of Jesus for two millennia.Â Sensing danger to the wife of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, the â€œcustodian of the Grail,â€ came to her on Easter in the evening and convinced her to flee with him to a place of safetyâ€¦which would only have been necessary if she were possibly pregnant withâ€”or the mother ofâ€”a child of Jesus.Â Protecting the royal family would have been a top priority of the friends and followers of Jesus, the Davidic Messiah of prophecy.
Imagine herâ€”meditate on herâ€”over these coming days, riding on a donkey across the Sinai under the protection of Joseph of Arimatheaâ€”â€œdefiled and defamedâ€ seeking refuge in a foreign land, fulfilling the prophecy of the â€œMagdal-ederâ€ from Micah 4:8-11.
In memory of her,
Magdalene, Bride in Exileâ€