Sabbatical Blog

...chronicling some of my projects and learnings during this time apart from parish ministry

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Da Vinci's Mary Magdaline

II was asked on Tuesday if I'd be willing to speak to a reporter working on a big special on the Da Vinci Code and said sure...but one never called. I learned a long time ago to have a prepared speech for reporters to give no matter what silly question they asked, so, since I won't be quoted in the Journal, here are my sound bites and answers to the questions I thought I might get:

Did you read the book?

Sure did! Great Fiction. Couldn't put it down. Very entertaining piece of FICTION.

What do you think of his assertion that Jesus and Mary were married?

That Jesus, like virtually every Jewish male of his day, was probably married is not something that shocks Unitarian Universalists (though I think it more likely that he married a local girl at age 17 and that she had died, probably in childbirth, by the time he began his ministry some 15 years later.) That the church as an institution would have had its own philosophical and doctrinal reasons for suppressing this doesn't surprise UU's either. But Brown did just what he accuses the church of doing, which is truncating what we know of Mary Magdalene to fit a worldview. In the church's case, the world view is anti-sex. In Brown's, the world view is "women as vessel of man's seed." What we know of Mary Magdalene is that she was not a prostitute (he got that right) and that she was a RELIGIOUS LEADER in the early church, one of the first apostles. That's why she is an important and interesting figure. Brown truncates what we know from Biblical and extra-biblical sources --Mary Magdalene’s power and vision, and concentrates, not even on her personal relationship with Jesus, but on her womb. She's promoted from prostitute to vessel of Jesus' seed. And that's pretty disappointing.

Why do you think some religious people are boycotting the movie and do you approve of that?

I approve 100% of people spending their money in accordance with their values and urging others to do the same. And I do understand why some people are offended by this movie. Not only does it shock traditional religious sensibilities, it fictionally accuses the church of lack of integrity and murderous corruption.

Are you going to see the movie?

Not until it gets to the dollar theater

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