My roots are showing…

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Friday 16 December 2005

Jeremy over at Fantastic Planet posted a moving, insightful observation to his blog yesterday, about the practice of looking down on others, whose perspectives we do not value, as ignorant (“You Ignorant Bastard”). The primary example he cites is Richard Dawkins, a biologist and author of several titles including The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins, in making his case for atheism, treats those who are theists as naive, self-deluded “bumpkins,” as Jeremy put it. Read more

Coptic papyri codices discovered in Egypt

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Wednesday 30 November 2005

This exciting news is something I picked up from Terje Bergesen’s blog.

Coptic Trove
by Nevine El-Aref

In Al-Gurna where several excavation missions are probing for more Ancient Egyptian treasures under the sand, a team from the Polish Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology has stumbled on a major Coptic trove buried under the remains of a sixth-century monastery located in front of a Middle Kingdom tomb.

This was reported by Al-Ahram Weekly On-line (Cairo) back in February. Read more

Elaine Pagels interview

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Tuesday 29 November 2005:

This article was posted today on the Minnesota Women’s Press website:

There’s Something About Mary
by Elizabeth Noll

[Elaine Pagels]: The Christian movement has always been diverse. That it was diverse in the beginning is very clear. It’s still diverse. I think that what that says is that if you’re going to participate in it at all, you make choices about what you participate in. What kind of groups, what kind of understanding. You have a wide range of choices. I do make choices about those things, quite consciously, and I think that most people are aware that they’re making choices about that.

This is a pretty good article, about Mary Magdalene in the Gnostic tradition. It addresses some very basic questions about Mary Magdalene and brings up a couple of points that I’d like to call out.

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Religion books for Dummies and Idiots

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Tuesday 29 November 2005:

The following article, from The Dallas Morning News, was posted today at

‘Dummies’ and ‘Idiot’s religion books prove smart bet for publishers
by Sam Hodges

My editor at Alpha Books, Randy Ladenheim-Gil, was interviewed for the piece.

This was the absolute best part of the article:

Father Trigilio is just as pleased to be a Dummies author. He’s at work with two others on a Dummies book about Pope John Paul II, to be released near the first anniversary of his death, April 2, 2006.

For anyone who has lingering concerns about pairing “dummies” and “idiots” with sacred subjects, the priest says: Get over it. He notes that in First Corinthians, St. Paul favorably uses the term “fools for Christ.”

“The actual word in the Greek, if you translate it literally, means ‘morons,’ ” Father Trigilio said. “Nobody gets bent out of shape that St. Paul is calling them a moron.”

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Umberto Eco has been naughty

Archived from The Magdalene Review: Monday 28 November 2005

This is an excerpt from an opinion piece posted today on The Sunday Telegraph opinion page:

God isn’t big enough for some people

by Umberto Eco

G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

The “death of God”, or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church — from strange pagan cults and sects to the silly, sub-Christian superstitions of The Da Vinci Code.

It is amazing how many people take that book literally, and think it is true. Admittedly, Dan Brown, its author, has created a legion of zealous followers who believe that Jesus wasn’t crucified: he married Mary Magdalene, became the King of France, and started his own version of the order of Freemasons. Many of the people who now go to the Louvre are there only to look at the Mona Lisa, solely and simply because it is at the centre of Dan Brown’s book.

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My personal manifesto

In late 2005, I felt a need to write a personal manifesto to address concerns I had about attitudes taken within the Mary Magdalene “community” (which I loosely define as anyone who has a strong interest in MM and is vocal about it). After seven years of communicating with people all across the spectrum of perspectives, and after so many questions about where I stood, the manifesto was my best attempt to answer.

Now, twelve years later, I’ve taken a look at it with fresh eyes and have found that it is still an accurate representation of my personal stance.

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Meet your host…

Archived from The Magdalene Review on Sunday 27 November 2005

Who the heck am I, and what gives me the idea that I’m qualified to blog about Mary Magdalene, anyway?

My name is Lesa Bellevie. I’m the founder of, and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mary Magdalene. Yes, the title is part of the real Idiot’s Guide series, I didn’t rip it off. (Believe it or not, this is a common question.) I’ve been researching Mary Magdalene since 1997, when I first discovered that nothing in the Gospels says she was a prostitute. A software test engineer by trade, I naturally turned to the Internet to see what I could dig up, which, in 1997, was not much. I decided to start my own website to gather all of the information I was able to find about Mary Magdalene and just to see what would come of it. It’s been a fulfilling project and has led to other opportunities that allow me to explore my avocation as an amateur historian. Read more

Why start a Mary Magdalene blog?

Archived post from The Magdalene Review: Saturday 26 November 2005

In March, 2005, John Allemang, of The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper, had this to say about my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mary Magdalene:

“The author of the Idiots volume on Mary Magdalene, Lesa Bellevie, also runs the website Yet the amount of detail the Bible supplies about Mary Magdalene could almost be written on the head of a pin. So you have to admire the sheer opportunism of a publishing company that can offer a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Jesus’ favourite female follower, which explores ‘who she might have been.'”

I don’t hold a grudge, John, I promise, even though I know no one had access to an advance copy of the book. The reason I’ve included these comments is because it reflects the increasingly common belief that before The Da Vinci Code came along, there was nothing to say about Mary Magdalene. I have one thing I’d like to say in response:

Dan Brown didn’t invent Mary Magdalene.

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The Magdalene Blog

When I discovered in 1997 that Mary Magdalene was never identified in the Bible as a prostitute, I was so intrigued that I started a journey that would take me to places I’d never imagined. I started the website in 1998 to collect everything I was learning, and reached out to the very few authors I could find who had written about her. I didn’t imagine that anyone else would share my rather singular interest, but to my surprise, there was a burgeoning community with diverse ideas all hungry for more information as well. I started the [magdalene-list] Yahoo Groups email list (which still exists in some form), and got online conversations about Mary Magdalene rolling. 

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