Mary Magdalene

I’d like to share with you how the character of Mary Magdalene developed in Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail. This inside look at the writing process is only available to my blog family and not the public at large, so don’t tell.

My writing partner, SusanH, is a progressive Christian. In addition to all of the other talents she brings to the critique process, this particular gift has helped keep my irreligious sarcasm in balance (the original manuscript was so heavy-handed I can’t even read it any more).

She’s had no fundamental (no pun intended) problem with the Jesus story retelling so far, other than his (my?) tendency to poke fun at lawyers (her son is one–one of her few blind spots. 99% of lawyers continue to give that other 1% a bad reputation). But she–let’s see, what is the technical term–went ballistic at my treatment of Mary Magdalene.

In the original Grail Story: Part IX, Mary Magdalene was the woman taken in adultery. Seemed OK to me–it’s not like I made her out to be a slut or anything like that. But I obviously touched a nerve.

“I don’t know what to say. Or rather, I’m having a visceral reaction that I can’t exactly explain.”

Mary M was treated badly by the “holy fathers” during the middle ages. She was identified as the woman taken in adultery (just as I did) and depicted thereafter as a repentant sinner. Modern scholarship has thoroughly debunked that. But my returning Mary M back to her earlier role–that was just too much!

That left me with this quandary. I could:

A) accept SusanH’s not necessarily logical reactions, ignore artistic integrity, and rewrite Mary M’s character, or

B) live with a pissed-off writing partner for the indefinite future.

Obviously, A was the correct answer. And thus we have the brief but critical appearance of Sarah of Magdala, Mary’s sister.

Mary MagdaleneThe Magdalene, by George Romney
(18th century English portrait artist)


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