Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Mary Magdalene - The Raw deal!
I recently read Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code! I can hear some of you laughing! Yes its two years since the novel was out and has ruffled many feathers. I got to read it only now. I was indeed intrigued by this novels take on Mary Magdalene. I am no stranger to theology and I was aware of this Magdalene mystery for many years. But this novel made me (waste!) spend more time reading about this issue. The claim about Mary Magdalene being the favorite disciple of Jesus Christ if not his wife seems to shake the male chauvinism inherent in the Christian Church. Worse its blasphemy! since it suggests that the Christ was more human than many would want to believe. So was the woman who should have been venerated as 'The most prominent Christian Apostle', reduced to being called a whore? I believe the Church's version of Magdalene story is flawed and that there was indeed suppression of Women's role in early Church. (I mean no disrespect to Church Historians here!) The Early Fathers of the church may have had reasons to hide Jesus Christ's biological descendants (through his marriage to Mary Magdalene) and also to make the Church, a pure male bastion. It could be plain politics between St. Peter and Mary Magdalene or all this might have been necessary to sustain and propagate Christianity. Besides this whole issue regarding Mary Magdalene's history is not new. Martin Luther believed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Even with my little reading, I can find numerous arguments in support of this theory. By subscribing to this theory, a Christian would not lose his faith! To put things in perspective, I am not a Christian. I am an Indian and a Hindu (Why this matters? - India has had no problems with accepting a Feminine God). So I have absolutely no problems in dismissing all divine qualities attributed to Jesus Christ! For that matter I don't accept any one born in this Earth since its creation has ever had divine qualities!! Not Rama, Krishna or Prophet Muhammad or Buddha. In the case of Rama and Krishna, anyone who understands Hinduism even to a small extent, will not have much trouble in accepting that they are fictional characters! By accepting Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, Mahavira, Guru Nanak and the numerous Hindu and Jewish saints as human, we are not denigrating them. Infact by suggesting God's hand in their understanding of him and the world, we are doing serious injustice to their achievements. And Finally, I admit that there is essentially some amount of metaphorism involved in all religions. Anything about the religion has to be either Fact or Faith. Intelligence favors the first and preaching favors the latter. This battle may go on for ever! (PS. I expect I will spend more time on this in the future. You may want to read my article on Hinduism written sometime in 2000 Understanding Hinduism )