Thoughts on the 2018 film “Mary Magdalene”

First, let me say this: I loved this movie, and I know I am in the minority. Unlike most film reviewers, I was not bothered by the slow pacing, the wide open spaces in the dialogue, nor the glances loaded with meaning. Also, unlike most audience members, I was not turned off by the “feminist” interpretation (more on that later), nor the non-literal presentation of the Gospel story, because this is a film that asks us to stop clinging to traditional—and often non-textual—readings of Mary Magdalene. Contrary to some reviews, this movie is not based more on Gnostic texts than the Gospels, but it does weave some bright, challenging extra-canonical threads into what has become a comfortingly familiar orthodox fabric. Read more

Was Mary Magdalene an apostle?

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Tuesday 17 January 2006

There seems to be some question about whether or not Mary Magdalene really qualifies as an apostle of Christ. During the Middle Ages she was called apostola apostolorum, which, as far as I know, can be translated in two ways: “apostle TO the apostles,” and “apostle OF the apostles.” This might seem like a minor distinction, but to many people, the “devil is in the details,” as they say. Before we look at apostola apostolorum, though, it might be constructive to discuss what it takes to be an apostle in the first place.

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A primordial religious impulse

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Monday 30 January 2006

My weekend in New York with the scholars I mentioned in a post from last week went very well. We all (except Margaret Starbird, who was not present) contributed to a documentary film, which I will be happy to post about once some details are settled about what it will be called, etc. In the meantime, the experience has provided enough blogging material to keep me busy for months. I’d like to start by sharing a point that Elaine Pagels and I discussed briefly, but were unfortunately unable to flesh out because the moderator moved the topic to another area. Read more

Old Syriac Sinaiticus

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Sunday 15 January 2006

According to Allen Dwight Callahan, in his book A Love Supreme: A History Of The Johannine Tradition, and to Raymond Brown, in his commentary The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI (Anchor Bible Series, Vol. 29), the Old Syriac Codex Sinaiticus is missing the name “Magdalene” in two places: John 20:1 and 20:18. Elsewhere, such as in the work of Stephen Shoemaker, the only noted absence of the epithet in the Sinatic MS is in John 20:18. Read more

Movie review: Mary Magdalene (Close to Jesus – Mary Magdalene)

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Saturday 24 December 2005:

 Mary Magdalene (2000), the United States release of the Italian made-for-television film Gli amici di Gesù – Maria Maddalena, was not a run-of-the-mill Mary Magdalene movie. Usually movies about Mary Magdalene fall into two categories: those about Jesus in which she happens to appear, usually as repentant prostitute, and pious retellings of Mary’s racy life that end with her finding Jesus, salvation, and peace. Although the film currently under review is absolutely at home in the latter category, it doesn’t come across as pretentious and superficial as others have. Read more

Mary(s) as orant

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Sunday 18 December 2005:

I spent much of last night sorting through crucifixion, deposition, and entombment images at the Web Gallery of Art. A number of weeks ago I came across a reference in Walter Lowrie’s book, Art in the Early Church to a figure called an orant. This is a figure, usually female, who stands in a very specific attitude of prayer in Christian art; her arms out to her sides, slightly bent, her hands held with palms forward.

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DVC in Newsweek

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Thursday 22 December 2005

The Da Vinci Code is featured in this week’s issue of Newsweek. The article revolves around how those involved with the film feel about the story as well as their roles in the movie. Some interesting tidbits about the business of DVC are revealed, such as how the film rights were captured by Sony, how the actors and directors came to be involved, and how sets were handled on location. (The real Mona Lisa, relegated to a storage closet!?) Read more