Da Vinci's Code

Professor Christopher Witcombe, Art History


CONTENTS & SCHEDULE RESOURCES

Mary Magdalen: Life, Legend, and Cult

READING & RESEARCH

The Cult of Mary Magdalen

REQUIRED READING
Susan Haskins
Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor, 1993
pages 98-133

Mary Magdalen in the Golden Legend

REQUIRED READING
Susan Haskins
Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor, 1993
pages 222-228

    PARTIAL TEXT AND DESCRIPTION: Life of Mary Magdalen
    from the Aurea Legenda (13th century) by Jacopo di Voragine

    COMPLETE TEXT: Here followeth the life of S. Mary Magdalene
    (text through Medieval Sourcebook) The Golden Legend (Aurea Legenda). Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, 1275. Englished by William Caxton, 1483

    RECOMMENDED READING
    Jacobus de Voragine (c. 1229-1298)
    The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, 2 vols. 1993
    SWEET BRIAR LIBRARY: BX 4654 .J334 1993

Life and Legend in Art

REQUIRED READING
Susan Haskins
Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor, 1993
pages 192-222; 229-316

    Mary Magdalen's life and legend my be divided into the following phases. The primary source for her life is Jacobus de Voragine's 13th-century account in the Aurea Legenda.

    THE PAGES IN THIS SECTION ARE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    Early Life
    ILLUSTRATED EXCERPT FROM: The Life of Mary Magdalen, Aurea Legenda (13th century) by Jacopo di Voragine

    Later Life in Provence
    ILLUSTRATED EXCERPT FROM: The Life of Mary Magdalen, Aurea Legenda (13th century) by Jacopo di Voragine

    Mary Magdalen in the Middle Ages
    ILLUSTRATED EXCERPT FROM: The Life of Mary Magdalen, Aurea Legenda (13th century) by Jacopo di Voragine

    As the perfect image of woman for a misogynist society, but perhaps also for reasons that may, unconsciously at least, have to do with her ancient associations, Mary Magdalen rose in prominence and in the later Middle Ages, beginning in the 12th century, there developed a widespread cult of Mary Magdalen, which at its height in the 14th century rivalled that of the Virgin.

    Her feast day, July 22, was listed in all Roman Catholic missals, an Office of Saint Mary Magdalen was included in the Roman Breviary, liturgies and hymns were composed in her honour, religious orders and churches were founded in her name.

    All this attention, however, was focused not so much on her significance as the "apostle of the apostles," the true bearer of Christ's wisdom and first witness to his resurrection, but on her fictional life, especially that as recounted by Jacobus de Voragine in the Golden Legend in which she was extolled chiefly as an exemplary penitent.

    In the 15th century, however, she begins to appear more frequently as a fashionably dressed young woman, though no doubt in the eye of the period, also as a seductress, a Renaissance femme fatale (see Mary Magdalen in Renaissance and Later Art

Further Reading
both scholarly and populist


Margaret George
Mary, called Magdalen, 2002
SWEET BRIAR LIBRARY
PS 3557 .E49 M36 2002


Thomas Gordon
The Thirteenth Disciple: The Life of Mary Magdalene, 2001


Esther De Boer
Mary Magdalene: Beyond the Myth, 1997


CONTENTS & SCHEDULE RESOURCES