Saturday, 27 September 2014

Mary Magdalene - Companion of Jesus, Goddess, Whore and Icon

Detail of Noli Me Tangere by Fra Angelico.

From the Bible to the Gnostics, the Cathars and mystics, this quest for Mary Magdalene pursues the history and the legends of one of the most remarkable figures in Western culture - apostle to the apostles, goddess and whore, companion of Jesus, and icon of womanhood.

The Quest for Mary Magdalene by Michael Haag will be published by Profile Books, London, in March 2016.

Mary Magdalene is a figure larger than any text, larger than the Bible or the Church.  She has been portrayed as a penitent whore, a wealthy woman, Christ's wife, an adulteress, a symbol of the frailty of women and an object of veneration.  And to this day she remains a potent and mysterious figure. 

In the manner of a quest, this book follows Mary Magdalene through the centuries, exploring how she has been reinterpreted for every age, and examining what she reveals about man and the divine.  It follows her from the New Testament to the Gnostic gospels where she is extolled as the chief disciple of Christ, through the early Church's reimagining of her as a fallen woman, to the Renaissance artists for whom she became a symbol of compassion, sensuality and humanity and up to the present day, where we see Mary Magdalene as a symbol of a new and powerful femininity.