Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Monday, April 03, 2006

On Mary Magdalene...

Our first daughter is named after her (though with the French spelling). She knows this, but she doesn't know much more than that. Why? Let's just say I have a soft spot for a reformed prostitute and leave it at that, eh?

This recent spate of speculation about her and her relationship with Jesus has had me intrigued, sort of. It hit after I'd started to truly embrace my faith, so the whole "divine feminine" and "embodiment of the Goddess" malarkey made me wary. I really liked Debra Messing's portrayal; the tension felt very big brother-little sister and not at all sexual. I imagine that being more authentic anyway.

When the likes of
Amy Welborn comes out with a book dedicated to her, I'm more likely to pick it up. Which I did. And, despite having a husband, three small children, a home, two cats, a dog, and no automatic dishwasher, I read it in four days. It's only 141 pages, to be sure, but still...

It is typical Amy Welborn, which is to say this: it's very thoroughly researched without being inaccessibly scholarly. It's clear and incisive without being simplistic. It's more refined and fine-tuned than her blog, but that's the nature of books versus blogs.

Oh, and she demolishes Brown. From authentic medieval history of Mary Magdalen to the legends surrounding her to real research into the Holy Grail, she mops the floor with him. She keeps a tight rein on her ire for him and his ilk (Starbird, etc.); after all, she's no
Kathy Shaidle. but you can feel it in certain parts: "[Brown's] theory fails on a couple of levels. First, there's no evidence to support it. That would seem like a fairly daunting obstacle."

Her contempt is clearly meant for them, though, and not their audience. It's like a dose of smelling salts for the sincere but confused Christian, wondering if they missed something. She limits the book to Mary Magdalene and Dan Brown without going into a whole Where Dan Brown Went Wrong diatribe, though I'll bet that was tempting.

Dale asked me what I'd learned from it just as I was finishing, and it was plenty. And I enjoyed myself, too. In the words of Mark Shea: Go. Read.


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