Mary Magdalene is a ... representative and symbolic person, who has been part of the tradition since the very beginning. It’s like having a photograph in which one of the major images has been airbrushed out and now we’re seeing that the image has been there from the beginning, and belongs as part of the tradition we know.
-- Elaine Pagels
The companion of the [savior] is Mary Magdalene. The [savior loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and he] kissed her often on her [mouth]. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval.
The other [disciples] . . . said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?”
The Savior answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her? If a blind person and one who can see are both in darkness, they are the same. When the light comes, one who can see will see the light, and the blind person will stay in darkness.”
— The Gospel of Philip
Myths of the Great Goddess teach compassion for all living beings. There you come to appreciate the real sanctity of the earth itself, because it is the body of the Goddess .
– Joseph Campbell
If a heavenly father, why not a heavenly mother?
–Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Across time, Mary went from being an important disciple whose superior status depended on the confidence of Jesus himself had invested in her, to a repentant whore whose status depended on the erotic charge of her history and the misery of her stricken conscience. . . . from one that challenged men’s misogynist assumptions to one that confirmed them.
“She is a role model for women’s apostleship, leadership, courage, fidelity, power – and just the most extraordinarily important role that you would never have thought 25 years ago that she would have had.”
“She’s a connector between all the parts of our lives, between all aspects of our beings, and maybe in her absence she’s more present than when she is physically in front of us.”
“To me, Mary Magdalene isn’t a Goddess. She’s not a figure of such profound holiness that she’s unapproachable. She’s more like a sister. She had good times and bad times and she found what she was looking for. That’s my Mary Magdalene.”
The individual had flowing red hair, delicate folded hands, and the hint of a bosom. It was, without doubt . . . female . . . Sophie could not take her eyes from the woman beside Christ. The Last Supper is supposed to be thirteen men. Who is this woman? . . . “Everyone misses it,” Teabing said. “Our preconceived notions of this scene are so powerful that our mind blocks out the incongruity and overrides our eyes.”
—Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code
“There is something about Mary Magdalene as a repentant prostitute which allows painters and artists to keep the voluptuousness and sensuality within the Christian tradition by making it repentant.”
“No other biblical figure—including Judas and perhaps even Jesus—has had such a vivid and bizarre post-biblical life in the human imagination, in legend, and in art.”
– Jane Schaberg
“I don’t know how to love him . . . He’s just a man, and I’ve had so many men before . . . I want him so. I love him so.”
—Tim Rice, “Jesus Christ, Superstar”
“We are as close together as a bride and groom / We ate the food, we drank the wine / Everybody having a good time / Except you / You were talking about the end of the world.
--U2, “Until the End of the World”
“Purring, Mary Magdalene hugged the man, [and] kept his body glued to hers . . . Beloved wife, I never knew the world was so beautiful or the flesh so holy. It too is a daughter of God, a graceful sister of the soul. I never knew that the joys of the body were not sinful.”
“If Jesus could entrust a woman to proclaim the greatest news of all, the Good News, why can women not preach homily in a Catholic Church today?”