She is perhaps best known in history as a prostitute. But was she ever a prostitute? Did Jesus simply forgive her, and did she simply repent and change her ways--to illustrate traditional Christian principles about sin, forgiveness, penance, and redemption? Or was she not a prostitute at all, but a wealthy financial patron and supporter of the Jesus movement who was later declared by Pope Gregory in the sixth century to be identical to a different Mary in the gospels who was, indeed, a prostitute? And when Pope Gregory conflated three different Marys in the gospels into one, did he do this deliberately to brand Mary Magdalene with the stigma of prostitution?
Was it an honest mistake of interpretation in a dark age when few original documents were in hand and biblical language was a mélange of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin? Did the church need to simplify and codify the Gospels and to play up the themes of sin, penance, and redemption? Or was it a far more Machiavellian stratagem (a millennium before Machiavelli) to ruin Mary Magdalenes reputation in history and, by doing so, destroy the last vestiges of the influences of pagan goddess cults and the sacred feminine on early Christianity, to undermine the role of women in the church and bury the more humanistic side of Christian faith?
Did it go even further? When Pope Gregory placed the scarlet letter of prostitution on Mary Magdalene--who would remain officially a reformed prostitute for the next fourteen centuries--was it the beginning of the great cover-up to deny the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and, ultimately, the royal, sacred bloodline of their offspring?