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Our readers asked:

Did Mary Magdalene marry Jesus?

Joe Paprocki Answers:

Dan Brown created quite a stir with his book The Da Vinci Code and the resulting movie in which he purports that the Church has been covering up the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (as well as their offspring) in order to crush the “feminine divine.” Brown proposes that the basis for all of this is found in what he refers to as “numerous references” to Jesus and Mary Magdalene in apocryphal writings, particularly the apocryphal Gospel of Mary (Magdalene), which he claims the Church has been suppressing for centuries. In reality, there are very few references to Jesus and Mary Magdalene in these writings, all of which can easily be found on the Internet and in libraries. More importantly, none of the references to Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the apocryphal gospels state that they were married. Brown suggests that the following passage from the Gospel of Mary (in which Peter addresses Mary Magdalene) is enough to conclude that Jesus and Mary were married:

“Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them” (5:5-6).

That’s not very convincing! So what’s Dan Brown up to? He’s a creator of fiction! His novels and movies are a source of entertainment and he entertains primarily by loosely mixing fiction with fact. The Gospels make no mention of Jesus’ marital state but there is, in fact, no mention of a wife while mention is made of his father, mother, and “siblings.”

The Gospels do tell us that Mary Magdalene (and other women) accompanied Jesus on his journeys and that she provided financial assistance as well (Luke 8:1-3). She is also noted as being at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40) and at an encounter with the Risen Christ (John 20:1-18) She is not to be confused with the prostitute who bathed and anointed Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50. So, in conclusion, there is no indication from the Gospels or from the non-canonical (apocryphal) gospels that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. When no evidence or hard facts exist, that’s when conspiracy theories thrive and Dan Brown has capitalized on the lack of evidence of a marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene to propose just that. Just remember: he’s in the entertainment business!

The Author : Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Dr Ian Poole

    It is unfortunate that the story of this remarkable woman in buried under layers of nonsense. Dan Brown’s book, based upon the ‘Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ may be a best seller, but it is fiction. I have done much research, starting with Jusino’s suggestion that she wrote the fourth gospel. However, I have carried the threads much, much further, and the complete, logical, story is far more interesting. This important woman was one of the founders of the church, and deserves better than to be considered just Jesus’ little wife! They could not marry as she was his niece! It is a remarkable story: please see fourthgospel.co.uk for details. Regards to you all, Ian

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