SECRETS OF THE CROSS : MARY MAGDALENE
1 x 60 mins - Five / National Geographic
CTVC - 2008
A fresh look at one of the great mystery figures of history - Mary Magdalene. Her vision of a risen Jesus is the spark that ignites the flame of Christianity. Turning the Jesus Movement from a minor Jewish sect into a new world faith. Without her there may never even have been a Christianity.
Yet strangely, rather than celebrate her as a founder of the faith, the gospels say almost nothing about her, the early Christian church even going so far as to brand her a whore. Since then she’s been constantly reinvented in Western art and literature, most recently in the Da Vinci Code as the wife of Jesus and mother of his child.
So who was she? In this programme we drew together what little we know about her from the gospels and contrasted that with new evidence from the so called “lost gospels” discovered during the last century. Add to that expert appraisal of what the role of women might have been in one of the Jewish rebel sects of the time and we come up with a new understanding of Mary Magdalene’s place in Christianity. Do all the conspiracy theories hide an even greater truth? Of Mary Magdalene as the leader of the early church or was Christianity based on a simple misunderstanding?
This was great fun to make (thank you CTVC) and for someone who has no religious conviction at all I really enjoyed finding out more about the formation of the early church and how that helped shape a mystery that has lasted 2000 years. Thanks also to actress, Lucy Shaljian, who really brought the character alive. Incidentally, the girl in the church in the second clip wasn’t a actress at all but just a member of the public who arrived while we were filming. The light fell perfectly on her as she prayed. When I checked her release form her name was Magdalena - spooky.