Gospel Of Mary

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The Gospel of Mary has been promoted in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This is a Gnostic Gospel of the second century. A key point of Brown’s proposed theory is found in the Gospel of Mary. This has to do with Jesus’ favoritism toward her. The text seems to reflect a conflict where Peter was challenging the role of Mary as a recipient of a special revelation from Jesus. Mary was distraught about Peter’s challenge. The implication here is that Jesus knew Mary well enough to consider her worthy to be the recipient of special revelation.

The term "gnostic" derives from "gnosis," which means "knowledge" in Greek. The Gnostics believed that they were privy to a secret knowledge about the divine, hence the name. The Gnostic gospels, then, concern themselves with the way to achieve divine knowledge, which is through completely human means. The early church declared these writings uninspired, and thus, did not canonize them into the Holy Bible. Because they were written so far after Jesus’ life, and because they disagree with the accepted inspired Scriptures, these writings should not be considered biblical.

The main passage that Brown uses as support actually comes from one of these Gnostic writings (Gospel of Philip 63:32-64:10). This text describes Mary Magdalene as a “companion” of Jesus. History tells us that this text from the Gospel of Philip, as well as other Gnostic texts, was composed in the second half of the third century. This is a full two hundred years after the life of Jesus. (The four Christian gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- were written and being circulated within the first 90 years of the time of Christ.) The passage that Brown uses as his premise has many missing elements.

Note that although the Gospel of Mary is not considered to be inspired, Brown interprets the text with his own twists. In fact, there was no mention of Jesus being married to Mary or of them having an intimate relationship. This text simply says that Jesus appeared to her alone. This is not against the Holy Bible’s story of Jesus revealing Himself to Mary after His resurrection. Where Brown escapes fact is when he begins filling in words randomly, all the while having the reader believe them to be true, verifiable fact.

The Gospel of Mary, because only one copy was recovered, will likely never be a complete and historically verifiable document. The canonized Scriptures are based on multiple copies passed down through the generations and discovered in various locations. If we offer up the Gospel of Mary to be anything other than literary fiction, historians would require there to be factual evidence to support such a claim, not only the opinion of Dan Brown, a fiction novel writer.

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