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The Quest for Mary Magdalene    by Michael Haag order for
Quest for Mary Magdalene
by Michael Haag
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

In The Quest for Mary Magdalene, historian Michael Haag looks at what we know about one of the more mysterious and controversial figures of the New Testament.

As the author explains, over the centuries Mary Magdalene's legacy has taken on a life of its own. She has been presented as a penitent whore, a wealthy woman, an adulteress, and even Christ's wife. Haag's goal is to sift through the myth and reveal what is actually known about this woman who has captured the imaginations of so many laymen as well as a handful of scholars.

One of the overriding questions the book tries to answer as it traces the perception of Mary Magdalene today is why the church has recast this person as a fallen woman.

As the reader will quickly discover, the canonical gospels reveal little about this enigmatic woman. With the exception of a passing reference in Luke, Mary Magdalene is absent from all of them until the crucifixion. Of course, most curiously, she is also the only witness of the crucifixion, Christ's burial and the resurrection.

Although wildly popular works like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and films such as Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ have piqued the public's curiosity and fanned the flames of controversy about this Biblical figure, there's not a lot of concrete information that will help dispel some of the mystery about her life.

As the author explains in the book's introduction, 'Mary Magdalene is a larger figure than any text, larger than the Bible or the Church; she has taken on a life of her own. In medieval times she was called 'the light-bearer', recalling her gnostic epithet 'inheritor of light' in her search for the truth. She is the mediator of the divine mystery and she has remained a potent and mysterious figure ever since.'

This entertaining and well illustrated volume not only follows Mary Magdalene through the centuries and explores how she has been reinterpreted for every age, but it also examines what she herself reveals about women, men and the divine.

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