All writers of books about Mary Magdalene are invited to have their books reviewed here. Use the "Contacter Auteur" box to send a message directly to Val Wineyard.
The Church of Mary Magdalene, The Sacred Feminine and the Treasure of Rennes-le-Château by Jean Markale
The book says on the backcover; The small church of Mary Magdalene in the remote village of Rennes-le-Château in southern France may well hold the key to the proof of Mary Magdalene's marriage to Jesus and the bloodline they founded. Amazing.
The author is well-known in France, as he comes from Brittany and has written many books about the Celtic history and legends. Thus he looks at Rennes-le-Château and its region with a rather different eye, and his chapters include much unknown history about the priest Bérenger Saunière and the Roman Church of that time, which he finds . . . well, his religion is NOT Roman Catholic!
The book is translated by Jon Graham and was published in the United States in 2004 by Inner Traditions International.
Jaap has written several books in his native Dutch tongue, but this is his first to be published in English. I enjoyed every word of this deceptively simply-told tale - a parable of the spiritual life. Jamie lived 2,000 years ago and he knew Mary Magdalene.
Living in the Roman Empire, Jamie cried out against the way slaves were treated, and had to flee for his life. He was rescued from bandits by a twelve-year-old girl who became his best friend. He came home to Rennes-le-Chateau country and fell rapturously in love.
Here's part of my review on the back cover;
One of the most moving books you will ever read. You will love the adventures of the adorable Jamie, so young, so passionate, so innocent, so kind, so human. I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Sometimes I laughed, sometimes I cried with Jamie, but I never stopped reading.
When I finally looked up from the book I was quite surprised to find myself in an ordinary room.
The book is for sale in the bookshops of Rennes-le-Chateau and Rennes-les-Bains. It has already been re-printed twice and will shortly be available in England and Holland, in Dutch. Jaap has published many other books in Holland with his Dutch publisher, they know his book will be popular there.
Meanwhile "Jamie" is being translated into French. That's good going, in three languages in two years!
You can also buy your copy (it costs 10€) directly from Jaap. Click here. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his telephone number is 00 334 68 74 25 16
1993 The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, by Margaret Starbird, Bear and Company,
This book is now a classic, and the first to research the links between Mary Magdalene, the Holy Grail and the Knights Templars, not to mention, a possible bloodline; Mary Magdalene, says Margaret Starbird, was pregnant when she came to France after the Crucifixion. Margaret Starbird was a sincere Catholic scholar - she herself was amazed by what she found out and it is her work that has introduced the idea of the sacred feminine to millions of people around the world.
Since then she had writen many other books and you can see them on her web-site, www.margaretstarbird.net
2005 The Magdalene Legacy, sub-title, The Jesus and Mary Bloodline Conspiracy, Lawrence Gardner, Element Books, ISBN 0 00 720084 6 (paperback) 0 00 720397 7
Lawrence Gardner is a Holy Grail expert and his story ranges over Mary's identity, her secret marriage to Jesus, the suppression of her bloodline by the Roman Church, what happened to her children, why she was so beloved by the Knights Templar, and the relationship between Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. Not all of this book convinces me but it is a mammoth and riveting work. Not long before he died, Lawrence Gardener issued a statement in New Dawn magazine no 91 of all the updates that never went into his book, mainly to do with the famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci.
2001 The Marian Conspiracy, Graham Phillips, first published by Sidgwick and Jackson, Pan Books, ISBN 0 330 37202 5
Graham Phillips decided to explore his theory that the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, was connected with the Holy Grail. He visited the Vatican and the Holy Land, ending in Angelsey. This book reads like a novel and we feel we are beside Graham as he travels, making amazing discoveries along the way. We see the Holy Land through his eyes, Jerusalem, Jesus's birthplace, Ephesus in Turkey; and England of the first century. It is an historical fact Christianity began in the west of Great Britain as early as 37AD . . .
2006 The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (first published in 1991) by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, Arrow Books, ISBN 9780099257035
Not only do we have the lucid style of two co-writers of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" here, but they were involved, especially Michael Baignent, in unravelling and exposing the suppression of the discoveries in the scrolls by the Roman Church. The scrolls were discovered at Qumran, a fortress/community on the shores of the Dead Sea in Palestine.
Also involved in this story is Robert Eisenman, the American archeologist and Early Christianity expert, who campaigned for years within the archeological community for more open-ness on the content of the scrolls.
If you wish to see for yourself the actual contents of the scrolls, you can do so in another book co-authored by Robert Eisenman. It is 1992 The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, Element Books, ISBN 1-85230-368-9
1979 The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, Random House, New York,
The Gnostic Gospels were found in Egypt, actual bound books as opposed to scrolls, hidden in an earthernware jar one metre high. A dolium, in technical terms. The scrolls had been hidden there in the fourth century by monks from a nearby monastery, when Constantine Christianity declared that all "heretical" writings should be destroyed.
Due to prompt action by the Egyptian government, the discovered books were all gathered together and made available for scholars. Elaine Pagels was a leading professor of Early Christianity in the United States. Her book was masterly, for example, she saw that because Gnostic teachings were about inner experience, rather than rules and regulations, a church with leaders was impossible to organise; hence the emerging Constantine church, especially with an army to back it up, were able to control believers, persecute them for heresy, and create a Church that was universal. The contents of the books? Breathtaking. Thomas, Jesus' disciple who wrote down the teachings of Jesus; the transforming power of individual coming to God; women priests; baptism and total forgiveness of sins . . . the personalities of the writers came through, so clear and honest hundreds of years later. What about this? "God could not have been a jealous God, because if there was only one God, who could he be jealous of?"
1995 Jesus and his World, an Archeological and Cultural Dictionary, by John J. Rousseau and Rami Arav, SCM Press Ltd, ISBN 0-334-02626-1
I found this book very moving. For example, the sandals on the cover could have been worn by Jesus himself.
Two archeologists, one Christian and one Jewish, put together archeological material from the Holy Land in the first century in alphabetical order. Under each subject heading, they discussed the importance of the findings, the scriptural references relating to them, general information, archeological data, the implications for Jesus research, and a Bibliography of books and reports studied. This simple concept brings the life of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, in the first century stunningly to life.
The book is easy to use because of the aphabetical listing, well-illustrated with photographs and drawings. Just look up what interests you; for example, under "Ointments, perfumes" you will find much about Mary Magdalene anointing Jesus and, surprisingly, a link with the Essenes. If you want to visualise the events of Easter Sunday morning, look up Golgotha.
The book is incredibly readable; one imagines a teacher beside you, pointing out everything about the everyday life of Mary, Jesus and the disciples. It is THE book, above all others, that has helped me the most with historical research into Mary Magdalene.
Recommended books in French for the really dedicated researcher.
The Carte Archeologique de Gaule, known as CAG to French historians. There's at least one volume for every department so you can look up any village or town that interests you to find out what Roman and other remains have been found there.
Le Patrimoine Religieux - Histoire en Pays de Sault by Les Amis de Pays de Sault. There was a cult to Mary Magdalene in the Pays de Sault, a region where lived the last of the Cathars.