The Quest for Mary Magdalene
“From the point of view of what became in the fourth century the established Church, the need to construct and defend its hierarchy meant controlling Mary Magdalene…She was too close to Jesus; she knew too much. And unlike Mary the mother of Jesus, there was nothing passive about Mary Magdalene.”
Michael Haag’s The Quest for Mary Magdalene asks many questions but does not provide clear answers. However, that is not the point of this book. Instead of guiding the reader to some definite conclusion, Haag follows Mary Magdalene through time and interpretations looking for the motives for her transformation from the close companion of Jesus who was with him from his early days of healing and teaching through his crucifixion and beyond as witness to his resurrection. Circumventing the Church by directly witnessing the empty tomb, she does not require them to act as mediator. She is a threat to the establishment.
This work gathers a number of resources and seeks to provide not answers, but questions we must wrestle with ourselves. Who was Mary Magdalene and what were the motives of the church for transforming her from the independent radical woman who was the friend of Jesus into the whore of her later personification? What does this transformation mean to the modern church and to modern women as well?