‘Read your Scripture’

Jesus was a «controversial subject» from the outset, as were the Gospels, since some accept them as being the result of divine inspiration, others as the work of humans, others as depositions of faith. Still others see them as verifiable – and verified – sources of information on events about which very little information has been provided either by Greek or Jewish historians. The discrepancies between the Gospels, even where they describe the same events or person, call for skepticism, at least among historians who are not in a position to accept things on blind faith. It is no coincidence that a number of legends grew up around Mary Magdalene, legends that have endured and provided inspiration for many artists and writers around the world, led perhaps by the «metaphysical» Flemish Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck. Information relating to her, at least in the Gospels, does not make her identity clear. After all, there were many women referred to as Mary among Christ’s followers. From early on, some researchers identified Mary, from the humble village of Magdala in Galilee, as the sinful woman who washed Jesus’s feet with myrrh, others as the sister of Lazarus. There is no certainty. People who not only feel but also think can do little more than obey the command to «Read your Scripture» to remove any doubt. Light fiction whose primary goals are populist provocation and profit is not worth an inquisitional ban or the censorship of writers or journalists. When the Christian Church, both East and West, declares books such as «The Da Vinci Code» a threat, it is virtually saying it does not trust its own teachings – that it does not trust the truth. But it seems there is no place for such simple ideas when «holy wrath» prevails.