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From The Book

The Secrets of Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalen, by Pietro Perugino, a student of Leonardo

Secrets of Mary Magdalene gathers world-class experts from different faiths, backgrounds, and perspectives. Through this prism, learn how our new understanding of Mary is changing our thinking about religion, spirituality, gender, and even the history of western civilization itself.

A sampling of our contributors includes: Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman, Marvin Meyer, Tori Amos, , Kathleen McGowan, Anna Quindlen, Margaret Starbird, Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Karen King, Philip Jenkins, Bruce Chilton, Dan Burstein, Arne J. de Keijzer and Deirdre Good.

The quest for understanding the life and meaning of Mary Magdalene has been an obsession for scholars, artists, literary figures, and theologians for two centuries. The Roman Catholic church branded her as a harlot early on; modern scholars such as Elaine Pagels, Karen King, Marvin Meyer and many others represented in The Secrets of Mary Magdalene have shown us she was a much a more complex, interesting, and important figure key to the development of early Christianity.

Artists from Fra Angelico to Leonardo da Vinci and from El Greco to Pablo Picasso have painted her as reformed sinner, mourner, patron saint, and even as religious pin-up. The book includes 16 full-color reproductions to illustrate these varied interpretations of her image.

Literary figures like Nikos Katzanzakis, novelists such as Ki Longfellow, Laurence Gardner and Kathleen McGowan, and popular composers from U2 and Tori Amos to Andrew Lloyd Weber have all celebrated Mary Magdalene in their own way.

All of these cultural and religious strains are explored in The Secrets of Mary Magdalene. Together, they occupy a profound cultural space at the multi-dimensional intersection of:

  • The new interest in gnosticism and other ancient beliefs
  • The new search for the oftentimes repressed feminine traditions at the heart of ancient pagan religions and their applications to the modern world
  • The search for new spiritual identity in contemporary times
  • New appraisals of the role of sex and sexuality in history and how it is interpreted for today
  • The re-assertion of the central role of the feminine within Christianity and other faiths and denominations--both theologically and organizationally
  • Trends like the new interest in Kabbalah, Wicca, alchemy, the occult, and new age lifestyles.