Friday, July 22, 2005

Maria Magdalena

Today is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. As I reflect on the meaning of this day, I can't help but recall how this special saint has been used to push forth so many misconceptions about church history. It seems "Da Vinci" mania is all the rage these days, but it didn't start there (understandably, since Dan Brown got a lot of his ideas from previous works, most particularly Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent and friends). Marcellino D'Ambrosio sends over some useful articles:
- Art historian Elizabeth Lev explains why Dan Brown's assertion that it is Mary, not John, who is seated next to Christ in Leonardo da Vinci's famous Last Supper is silly to anyone who knows basic art history.

- Catholic author Amy Welborn (also of the Open Book blog) explains why it is important for Catholics to educate themselves about church history and why Dan Brown's mischaracterizations shouldn't be taken lightly.
Considering that more than a few Catholics base their understandings about the Catholic Church from books like "The Da Vinci Code" as well as the mainstream media alone, I can understand the significance. Personally, I am thankful for the many resources we have available where we can study the writings of the early church (both before and after Constantine). One such resource is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. I can't count the number of hours I have spent reading this tome over the years.

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