The Greatest Love Story Never Told

MARY MAGDALENE—The Greatest Love Story Never Told is a combination of fact and fiction in a historical reconstruction based on the Biblical record, the writings of the Jewish historian of that period, Josephus, later traditions and my imagination and experience as a journalist and Bible teacher. It encompasses the historical period AD 12 to AD 50 in Israel, or Palestine as the Romans described it at that time, and the launching of what later became Christianity.

The story begins with Mary as a Jewish teenage virgin daughter of a noted Jewish rabbi falling in love with Marcellus, an aristocratic and ambitious Roman military commander through an unexpected encounter at a Roman crucifixion. A series of incidents in the next several days precipitates a decision to marry Marcellus and, as a consequence, accept expulsion from family, community and religion.

Within a year she is pregnant, Marcellus is ordered back to Rome for military service in Britain where he is killed in battle against the Scots. Mary loses her child and declared to be sterile, and in despair she consults a sorceress friend, Deborah, who initiates her into the realm of the supernatural. Because of her greater intellectual ability Mary becomes influential in Palestine’s military and social circles, involving the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman governor Pilate, in the increasing political crises of Roman occupation, Herodian scheming and Jewish revolts.

From Pilate Mary learns she has inherited the wealthy estate of Marcellus in Rome and she visits with Deborah, her sorceress friend, stopping over in Ephesus on the way, a centre of Asiatic supernaturalism. On their return to Palestine they learn of the emergence of two Jewish prophets for the first time in four hundred years, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, and contemptuously dismiss reports of miracles. But eventually Mary learns to her surprise that Deborah has become one of the followers of Jesus, as does her brother Lazarus and sister Martha who, as a consequence seek her to restore the breach of family relations.

While participating in the miraculous feeding of the five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish, and the physical contact with the hands of Jesus, she becomes suddenly conscious at the physical level she is experiencing the same excitement she had known from her contact with Marcellus. The revelation produces a night of mental and spiritual anguish as she battles with the problem of her sexual desire for union with Jesus and her spiritual love for him as the Son of God. She breaks away from the women followers to return to Jerusalem, conscious that the next visit of Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast in a few months is the time he has told his followers he will be put to death.

Following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Mary becomes a companion of the mother of Jesus, and an associate with John the apostle, in response to Jesus’ dying request from the cross that John look after his mother. The resurrection and subsequent ascension of Jesus to heaven precipitates a political and religious crisis in Palestine as the Jewish religious leaders launch a purge of the Messianic believers of Jesus and appoint a noted rabbi Paul of Tarsus to carry out the arrests. This inevitably leads to a confrontation between Paul of Tarsus and Mary the Magdalene, from which he has to withdraw because she too, like Paul, has Roman citizenship.
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 Copyright © 2011 George Patterson
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