cover image Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile

Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile

Margaret Starbird, . . Bear & Co., $20 (182pp) ISBN 978-1-59143-054-4

Capitalizing on the success of her bestseller The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (which was plugged in The Da Vinci Code ), Starbird revisits the Mary Magdalene myth, hoping to separate truth from fiction, and from all-out fallacy. In an effort to reclaim Mary as the exiled Bride, and to reassert belief in the ultimate sacred union of Mary and Jesus, of "God incarnate in flesh, both male and female," she provides a suggestive if somewhat muddled argument. One of the most intriguing stories comes via a second-century prayer rug that seems to support the Grail legend in which the exiled family (namely Mary, her sister and possibly a daughter of Jesus) escaped from Palestine in a tiny boat. Explorations of Sarah the Egyptian, the Merovingian fish as well as Isis reveal logical connections to various Mary stories. Moreover, references to artistic depictions of the Magdalene illustrate the historic symbolism long associated not only with Mary but with Christianity itself. After 30 years of studying the Magdalene stories, no one can fault the author's dedication. Unfortunately, she is distractingly unsure of her audience, and few outside academia will find this as captivating a read as it could have been. The book includes an hour-long audio CD of the author's presentation on the sacred intimacy between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. (Nov.)