Was the DaVinci Code correct?

This one was too fun to resist. We ran across a discussion in the Ehrman blog about whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married or lovers. This was the major premise in the best-selling novel The DaVinci Code.

  • What’s the reference that started this debate? The passage in question comes from one of those texts found in 1945 in a place in Egypt called Nag Hammadi (it’s different from the Dead Sea scrolls). The text is called the Gospel of Philip. It’s a difficult text to read because a lot of it is mystical and poetic. Plus there are gaps in the scroll which cannot be deciphered. But here’s the verse that was cited in the Dan Brown book:  And the companion of the {{gap in the manuscript}} Mary Magdalene. {{gap in the manuscript}} her more than {{gap}} the disciples {{gap}} kiss her {{gap}} on her {{gap in the manuscript!}}.
  • A little language challenge. Also in Philip, there is another verse that says, “There were three who always walked with the lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion.  His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.” The DaVinci Code mistakenly says that the Aramaic word used in that text means ‘spouse.’ The problem with that logic is that Philip was written in an Egyptian language called Coptic. Oops. In Coptic it literally just means ‘companion.’ 
  • What did the author really mean? The evidence from the text is inconclusive. But at a minimum it indicates that Jesus favored Mary Magdalene more than the other disciples … married or not. Ya think that caused some consternation among those other 12 men who were already arguing about which of them would get to sit next to Jesus in heaven?

There’s more. We’ll continue next week.

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