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Posted on Friday, May 26 - 2006

" The plot of The Da Vinci Code  turns on the revelation of a "sacred feminine" core to Christianity — a secret supposedly so shocking that it might overturn the Catholic Church. The story line is well known: Jesus married Mary Magdalene and intended for her to succeed..."

The Da Vinci Code - Poster

The plot of The Da Vinci Code  turns on the revelation of a "sacred feminine" core to Christianity — a secret supposedly so shocking that it might overturn the Catholic Church. The story line is well known: Jesus married Mary Magdalene and intended for her to succeed him as leader of his church; she was pregnant when he was crucified; their child, Sarah, was first in a bloodline that continues to this day.Powerful churchmen connive and kill to deny women their rightful place in the church. And after a thriller-killer cross-continental chase, the heroine is declared "the last living descendant of JesusChrist."But how much punch does the Code's woman-power premise have? Is there really a feminine aspect to God? A theology that's been sub rosa, hidden for centuries beneath the feminine symbol of the rose, the flower reminiscent of a blossoming womb? Author Dan Brown says one reason his book is popular with women is because it confirms their sense that Christianity has kept women in secondary roles to downplay or disguise the feminine aspect of God, maintain male religious authority and stamp out rival beliefs, such as goddess cults. Our world today is based on "outdated male philosophy," Brown said recently on New Hampshire Public Radio.

So he countered with a heroine whose very name, Sophie, means wisdom. It's a salute to Gnosticism (gnosis is Greek for knowledge), afirst-century sect some claim was more feminine-friendly. That makes some critics and scholars sputtering mad. "God does not have a feminine aspect. He doesn't have a masculine aspect. He doesn't have a body," says Barbara Nicolosi, a former nun who founded and directs Act One, which trains Christian screenwriters to work in Hollywood. "I'll give it a hearing that the church has discounted or devalued the contributions of women in the past," she says, "but the church is always of its time. Looking back through a 21st-century lens is wrong." And yet, says the Rev. James Martin, he is constantly asked why the church "is hiding proof that Christ had sex." Martin waxes sarcastic at celebrating Mary Magdalene "just because she's Ms. Jesus, known by her womb, not by herbrains, as the mother of Sara......


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