Random Thoughts About The Davinci Code

I've been watching documentaries which attempt to clarify the issue of whether or not Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

Its truly fascinating to watch the two sides of the issue degenerate into "did not" and "did too". Truth is a causualty.

Personally, although I'm a seriously Southern Baptist Christian, it mostly fascinates me as an academic historian.

For example, the author of the Davinci Code (who advocates the idea that Jesus was married to Mary) bases his opinion on a manuscript discovered in Egypt in the 1940's. He'll claim point blank that it says "Jesus kissed Mary on the mouth often". The only problem is that if you look at the actual manuscript there's a big gaping hole where the word "mouth" would be. In fact, Jesus could have been kissing her ANYWHERE often (hand, forehead, etc). Admittedly, the gnostic gospels are suspect in their authenticity. However, even they don't offer indications that Jesus was married to Mary. Pushed on the point, the author of the Davinci Code finally admitted "well, there's no one piece of evidence that proves it, I just have a feeling". Yeah. Thats the way to develop a historical theory.

Perhaps this captured my thoughts this morning because I'm appalled at the sexism inherent in both school of thoughts. Religious leaders tend to go with the thought that "Mary couldn't be important, because she's a woman" and proponents of the married theory tend to go with the thought that "Mary was historically important, and for a woman to be important it must be because she was the wife of someone important". Both school of thought ignore the possibility that Mary was important because of who she was (a good Christian) instead of what she was (a woman).

Another point that I found telling is the assumption that the mention of the holy "Grail family" indicates Jesus had a direct line of descendants (thus had to be married). Why? Why couldn't it refer to Jesus' half-brothers and half-sisters (ie Mary and Joeseph's children)? Even being half-related to Christ would have been mind-boggling, and dangerous. Those are people that would need protection.

Oddly enough, I don't fault early church leaders (200-400ad) for trying to consolidate the several denominations. Nor do I fault them for choosing to preserve the gospels that were definitely accurate and abandoning the ones that were controversial. I believe they were simply men doing the best they could in a difficult situation. I don't believe they were infallible any more than my minister is perfect. Did they make some mistakes? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We do know that prior to that time period that there were women-leaders of churches and after that time period there weren't. Was it a correction of flawed church policy and philosophy, or was it the introduction of the flaw? Or was it replacing one flaw with another one?

There's really no way to know for sure this side of Heaven. I know which way I think, and I know which other ways those around me think. I don't hold them in less esteem because they disagree with me. They tend to err on the side of caution and I tend to err on the side of compassion. Maybe we're both wrong. Maybe we're both right.

This I know for sure: Its a bad idea to judge people because of their gender. The Bible says (paraphrased) "you can recognize them by the fruits of their labor". THAT'S how we should evaluate people.

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