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10.31.2003

Heresy 

ABC is going to show a news item on Monday suggesting that Mary Magdalene was Jesus's wife, based upon claims that appear in the novel "The Da Vinci Code".

Can somebody remind me what the textual evidence (from the Bible or from any other contemporary text) is for this claim? Accusing the early church fathers of being a chauvinistic patriarchy and using that as justification for the hypothesis that Jesus's marriage is the subject of a massive cover-up is not textual evidence.

I'll provide a bit of evidence that Mary Magdalene was not Jesus's wife: In John 20:13-16, Mary Magdalene visits Jesus's tomb after the crucifixion and meets the risen Jesus, but she does not recognize him at first:



And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).



This anecdote is not recorded in the other three gospels, but neither is it contradicted; there's a lot of material in John's gospel that also does not appear in the synoptic gospels.

Note that Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus at first. This is completely different from the disciples' initial reaction to Jesus, as recorded in Luke 24:33-43:



And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon." They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. While they were telling these things, (6) He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be to you." But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.



When the disciples first see the risen Jesus, they clearly recognize him; they just think they're seeing a vision or a ghost. We are forced to conclude that Mary Magdalene wasn't as familiar with the physical person of Jesus as were the disciples, casting doubt on the theory that Mary and Jesus were married.

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