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Gospel of Mary, The

Early-third-century Gnostic writing; Coptic text found in 1945 at Nag Hammadi; the two small extant fragments are translations of earlier Greek texts; words and phrases are missing. Neopaganists have heavily quoted lines from these few fragments as proof that Mary Magdalene was "the favored disciple"; however, although this document is frequently called Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the text never clearly indicates which Mary is the central character—she could be any of the seven New Testament disciples named "Mary."

One line says that Jesus "loved [Mary] more" than the other disciples, a statement The Da Vinci Code uses to imply that Mary had experienced a sexual relationship with him (247-48). In context, however, the disciples are arguing about the possibility that Jesus may have granted Mary a greater knowledge of his teachings than given to them. Although they eventually seem to accept her words about Jesus, Gospel of Mary still maintains a negative view of women; at one point she declares, "Let us praise Christ's greatness! He has prepared us all by making us men."

Dan Brown also implies that Gospel of Mary is "a gospel... in Magdalene's words" (247). The document's style, however, indicates that it was most likely written a century or more after the death of Mary Magdalene. No early Christian writer considered this document to have any authority for believers or any place among the canonical Scriptures. See Gnosticism; Mary Magdalene; Nag Hammadi.

Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.

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