BAR 34:02, Mar/Apr 2008
The Controversial Mary
Mary Magdalene Understood
Jane Schaberg with Melanie Johnson-Debaufre
(New York and London: Continuum, 2006), 176 pp., $12.95 (paperback)
This is a shorter, more popular version of Schaberg’s Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha, and the Christian Testament.1 The detailed scholarly discussion is replaced with a question-answer format. The earlier volume engaged with Virginia Woolf; the later one more nearly with Dan Brown.
Yet both versions reflect an eloquent combination of personal investment and historical investigation and both compellingly detail the Magdalene’s depiction as penitent, whore, apostle, lover, etc., from Holy Writ all the way to Hollywood, reflecting a culture’s assessment of sexuality and gender.