COLUMBIA pictures is set to make a fortune from the
film version of Dan Brown’s book, Da Vinci Code.
This production will introduce the masses to the
theory that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife. The subject already has its own
major website magdalene.org which sits alongside thousands of lesser
ones seeking to popularise this view.
Rome’s ‘dark secret’
The hero in Brown’s novel, the Da Vinci Code, is
a Harvard Professor called Robert Langdon. According to the story, the Vatican
and Opus Dei are seeking to silence Langdon because he is trying to expose how
the Roman Church has, for centuries, been trying to conceal the bloodline from
Jesus by his wife Mary Magdalene. The title, the Da Vinci Code, derives
from the belief that Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper reveals, in coded
form, that Leonardo knew Rome’s dark secret.
In the novel, Professor Langdon seeks help from one
Sir Leigh Teabing. Teabing is clearly an anagram of Leigh and Baigent and
Teabing’s fictitious physical characteristics resemble the third author of The
Holy Blood and Holy Grail, Lincoln.
In the Da Vinci Code, Teabing introduces his
heroes to The Holy Blood and Holy Grail saying, “this caused quite a
stir in the 1980s . . . their fundamental premise is sound ... they finally
brought the idea of Christ’s bloodline into the mainstream”.
According to the Da Vinci Code plot, the
Church, “perpetuated [Mary Magdalene’s] image as a whore and buried evidence of
Christ’s marriage to her;” thereby defusing any potential claims that Christ
had a surviving bloodline and was a mortal prophet.
Ludicrous and repulsive
This whole theory is so ludicrous and repulsive that
it seems hardly worth bothering with. However the attack has recently gained
impetus from a new book, The Magdalene Legacy, which appeals to a more
intellectual section of the public and is selling well. It claims to move the
Mary Magdalene theory on to “extraordinary new levels”.
Although the Vatican no longer has the power to seize
every copy of Da Vinci Code and burn it, or place it on an Index of
Forbidden Books, or punish its readers in the Inquisition, Rome has
nevertheless acted. First came a priestly campaign to dissuade Roman Catholics
from reading it, which had little success. Then in March 2005 an “official”
rebuttal was announced. This was to be penned by seventy‑year‑old
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Archbishop of Genoa. But since then everything
has gone the task too exhausting, or the Vatican are going to engineer a
surprise launch to coincide with the release of the film in May, or whether
Rome has simply developed cold feet, remains to be seen.
Why people can believe it
What gives credibility to the Da Vinci Code in
the eyes of ordinary people is that they know full well that Rome does cover
things up and hide them. What is more, they immediately recognise the
familiar, ugly tension between Rome’s two images of womanhood ‑ on the
one hand the pure, unrealisable ideal of perfection, personified in the Virgin
Mary, and, on the other hand, Rome’s (imaginary) despicable, debased harlot,
Mary Magdalene, who represents ordinary womanhood which at best is barely redeemable.
The papyrus and the ant
The amazing thing is that this whole Mary Magdalene
edifice is really balanced upon an obscure ancient papyrus peppered with ant
holes. This states, “And the companion of the [ant hole] Mary Magdalene
[ant hole] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her
often on her [ant hole). The rest of the disciples [ant hole].
They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Saviour
answered and said to them, ‘Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man
and one who sees are both together in darkness they are no different from one
another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who
is blind will remain in darkness’.” The question of who might have kissed Mary
Magdalene is tantalising Mary Magdalene fans. But they will never get the
answer they crave because an ant has chewed a hole just at the most crucial
point in the manuscript!
In the next issue we shall discover, DV, how this
awful mess arose and why Rome, although bearing considerable responsibility for
it, has much more to gain than money.