Mary Magdalene is a larger figure than any text, larger than the Bible or the Church; she has taken on a life of her own. She has been portrayed as a penitent whore, a wealthy woman, Christ's wife, an adulteress, a symbol of the frailty of women and an object of veneration. And, to this day, she remains a potent and mysterious figure. In the manner of a quest, this book follows Mary Magdalene through the centuries, explores how she has been reinterpreted for every age, and examines what she herself reveals about woman and man and the divine. It seeks the real Mary Magdalene in the New Testament and in the Gnostic gospels where she is extolled as the chief disciple of Christ. It investigates how and why the Church recast her as a fallen woman, it traces her story through the Renaissance when she became a goddess of beauty and love, and it looks at Mary Magdalene as the feminist icon she has become today.
An illuminating and controversial exploration of Mary Magdalene, from the New Testament to the The Da Vinci Code
Haag's lively book asks questions that continue to excite our curiosity ... Haag achieves an admirable clarity of thought and cohesion in his account ... a great read The Times [A] fascinating exploration ... Haag teases out the literary and historical evidence to suggest an interpretation of Mary's role and character that is radically at odds with the received wisdom. -- Simon Griffith Mail on Sunday [A] well-researched and page-turning history ... a narrative as clue-rich as a thriller -- Bee Wilson Sunday Times Haag - by dint of a heady combination of pure zest, great imagination and refreshing irreverence (even, to be honest, sheer willpower) - drags Mary Magdalene, kicking and screaming, into the very heart of the Biblical narrative. He still leaves elbow room for God and Jesus (of course), but Mary, in his cunning and capable hands, becomes an all-powerful, all-singing and all-dancing Goddess of Light, a second Isis: 'the watchtower, the lighthouse, the beacon'. Spectator A well-researched and well-argued exploration of the myth of the Magdalene ... beautifully illustrated -- David V Barrett Fortean Times Mirroring the title and scope of Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Haag pushes back legend and myth to uncover the real Mary Magdalene ... an exceptional overview of how she has been viewed by various cultures through the ages ... A thought-provoking re-examination of a misunderstood heroine of the Bible. Kirkus Praise for The Tragedy of the Templars: 'Haag is a romantic pluralist, with an instinctive taste for the esoteric, the independent and the defeated; and a corresponding distrust of victors and orthodoxies. TLS Praise for The Templars: History and Myth 'Here at long last is a history of the Knights Templar - and their secrets - that you can believe in. Scotsman
Michael Haag has written widely on the Egyptian, Classical and Medieval worlds. He is author of a dozen books, notably Alexandria: City of Memory, a definitive study of Cavafy, Forster and Lawrence Durrell in the city, and of The Templars: History and Myth. Originally from New York City, he lives in London.