Summary: As we saw in our first session, The Da Vinci Code challenges almost every tenet of the Christian faith. It claims the Bible is not the inspired Word of God, but rather a collection of books which suited the political goals of the emperor Constantine and
Truth and Error in the Da Vinci Code
Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Sacred Feminine
This message contains excerpts from the book
Truth and Error in the Da Vinci Code
by Mark L. Strauss
You may order this book at DaVinciCodeErrors.com
As we saw in our first session, The Da Vinci Code challenges almost every tenet of the Christian faith. It claims the Bible is not the inspired Word of God, but rather a collection of books which suited the political goals of the emperor Constantine and the church hierarchy. Jesus was not the Son of God, but a mere mortal who was deified by the church for its own purposes. Perhaps the most provocative claim, however, is that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and that they bore a child whose descendants are alive today.
Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene a pair?
The main “evidence” The Da Vinci Code gives for the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is the assertion that it would have been unthinkable for a Jewish man of Jesus Day to remain single. The Harvard Ph.D., Robert Langdon, asserts that “the social decorum during that time virtually forbid a Jewish man to be unmarried.” (DVC, p. 245).
A moment’s consideration will confirm that it is fallacious to argue that since men of Jesus’ day were usually married, therefore Jesus must have been married. Consider the statement, “Most British prime ministers are men; therefore Margaret Thatcher is a man.” This is clearly a false syllogism. Although Jewish men of Jesus’ day were usually married, there were many exceptions. The Essenes of the Dead Sea Scroll community at Qumran remained single. John the Baptist, the forerunner or the Messiah, was single. The apostle Paul was single (1 Cor. 7:7; 1 Cor. 9:5-6). In both Judaism and Christianity, singleness and celibacy were esteemed as a means of complete devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-33; Luke 2:36-37).
The Gospels confirm Jesus’ singleness in a variety of ways. Jesus said the Son of Man had no place to lay his head (Matt. 8:20; Luke 9:58). If he had a wife, he surely would have provided a home for her. From the cross, Jesus commended his mother to the care of John, but he does not assign any care for a wife – even though Mary Magdalene was present! (John 6:25-27). Most significantly, there is no hint of any sexual relationship between Jesus and the women who supported him. Jesus’ opponents mustered every accusation they could against him, including blasphemy, demon possession, drunkenness, and association with sinners (Mark 2:7, 16; 3:22; 14:64; Matt. 11:19). If there were any such scandalous rumors, his enemies would surely have raised them against him.
Dan Brown seems to believe that if you say something forcefully enough, people will believe it. In the book Teabing emphatically asserts that “... the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the historical record. …I shan’t bore you with the countless references to Jesus and Magdalene’s union” (DVC, p. 245, 247; emphasis mine).
In reality, there is not a shred ancient evidence that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and nobody even suggested it until the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, appeared in the 1980s! In short, the reason Teabing “shan’t bore” them with the “countless” references to Jesus’ marriage is because there aren’t any!
But doesn’t Jesus kiss Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Philip?
“Aha!” the Da Vinci devotee will say at this point, “I know for a fact that the Gospel of Philip shows Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene. The passage, quoted in The Da Vinci Code, reads
And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” (DVC, p. 246; quoting from the Gospel of Philip 63.33-64.4)
This passage is certainly surprising and startling for Christians. Jesus and Mary kissing! What’s going on here?
First, the Gospel of Philip was composed in the 3rd century AD, hundreds of years after Jesus lived. No scholars – even those sympathetic to Gnosticism – consider this passage to reflect an authentic story about Jesus. It is rather an expression of Gnostic theology placed on the lips of Mary and other disciples.
Second, in any case, the passage does not depict a marital relationship between Jesus and Mary. The Coptic word for companion used here does not mean “wife,” but may refer to any number of relationships. It is best rendered here as “spiritual sister”. Elsewhere in the Gnostic literature Jesus addresses Mary as his spiritual “sister.” (Dialogue of the Savior 132.26). The normal Greek word for “wife” is gune¯.