13. Gnostic Beliefs About Mary Magdalene Are Misrepresented
In The Da Vinci Code, the Gnostic gospels take center stage as if they are an accurate historical rendering of the events surrounding the life of Jesus and the formation of the early church. From these accounts comes Dan Brown’s weaving of the story of Mary Magdalene, who was supposedly married to Jesus and who, after His crucifixion, gave birth to a daughter, Sarah. However, these ideas are a misrepresentation of the Mary Magdalene that is depicted in the Gnostic gospels.
For example, Leigh Teabing, the famous and eccentric scholar of the novel, quoted a passage from the Gnostic gospel of Philip that uses the term “companion” to refer to Mary Magdalene’s marital relationship with Jesus. However, Gnostic scholars firmly attest that the original word for “companion,” “koinonos,” does not necessarily refer to anything other than friendship or companionship. It can refer to a lover but is more often used to refer to a community or fellowship of like-minded people.
To make the error more complete, consider that Leigh Teabing insists on an Aramaic reading of the term, whereas the Gnostic gospels were translated from Greek into Coptic. Aramaic doesn’t even figure into the picture unless one were to translate backward from Greek into Aramaic retroactively. But doing so invites problems that no serious scholar is willing to entertain.