Who wrote the Gospel of Philip? Jesus was in a relationship with Mary Magdalene.

Similar to the gospel of Thomas, the gospel of Philip is a collection of sayings, supposedly of Jesus. The gospel of Philip focuses a great deal on the “sacrament of marriage” as a “sacred mystery.” The gospel of Philip does not claim to have been written by Jesus’ disciple Philip. It is titled “The gospel according to Philip” due to Philip being the only disciple of Jesus who is named in the gospel (73:8).

The most complete manuscript of the gospel of Philip was discovered in the Nag Hammadi library in Egypt in 1945. It is written in the Coptic language and is dated to approximately the 4th century A.D. The gospel of Philip is a Gnostic gospel, presenting a Gnostic viewpoint of Jesus and His teachings.

While there are a few verses in the gospel of Philip that resemble the four biblical Gospels, a reading of the gospel of Philip will reveal many irreconcilable differences and a completely different message regarding who Jesus was and what He came to do.

Of most interest in the gospel of Philip is what it has to say about Jesus’ relationship with Mary Magdalene. In his popular book The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown points to the gospel of Philip as evidence of Jesus’ marriage / relationship with Mary Magdalene.

However, the gospel of Philip nowhere states that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. It does not even state that Jesus was romantically involved with Mary.

The one section that deals with this issue is heavily damaged, with several portions unreadable. Here is what the gospel of Philip states, with “…” representing missing portions: “and the companion of the … Mary Magdalene … more than … the disciples … kiss her … on her … the rest of the disciples … they said to him … why do you love her more than all of us?”

Even if we assume that Jesus was kissing Mary Magdalene, the text does not imply anything other than a friendly relationship. A single man kissing a single woman on the cheek, while rare in that culture, is by no means indicative of a romantic relationship.

Whatever the case, even if the gospel of Philip explicitly stated that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that would not make the idea true. The gospel of Philip was not written by the Apostle Philip or anyone who had ever met Jesus. The original writing of the gospel of Philip is dated to the 3rd century A.D. at the earliest, at least 200 years after Jesus’ death. The only value in studying the gospel of Philip is in learning what heresies existed in the early centuries of the Christian church.

Mary Magdalene was a woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons (Luke 8:2). The name Magdalene likely indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers.

Mary Magdalene has been associated with the "woman in the city who was a sinner" (Luke 7:37) who washed Jesus' feet, but there is no scriptural basis for this. The city of Magdala did have a reputation for prostitution. This information, coupled with the fact that Luke first mentions Mary Magdalene immediately following his account of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50), has led some to equate the two women.

But there is no scriptural evidence to support this idea. Mary Magdalene is nowhere identified as a prostitute or as a sinful woman, despite popular portrayals of her as such.

Mary Magdalene is also often associated with the woman whom Jesus saved from stoning after she had been taken in adultery (John 8:1-11). But again this is an association with no evidence.

The movie “The Passion of the Christ” made this connection. This view is possible, but not likely and certainly not taught in the Bible.

Mary Magdalene witnessed most of the events surrounding the crucifixion. She was present at the mock trial of Jesus; she heard Pontius Pilate pronounce the death sentence; and she saw Jesus beaten and humiliated by the crowd. She was one of the women who stood near Jesus during the crucifixion to try to comfort Him. The earliest witness to the resurrection of Jesus, she was sent by Jesus to tell the others (John 20:11-18). Although this is the last mention of her in the Bible, she was probably among the women who gathered with the apostles to await the promised coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14).

The recent fiction novel “The DaVinci Code” makes the claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Some of the non-biblical early Christian writings (considered heresy by the early Christians) hint at a special relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. However, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The Bible does not even hint at such an idea.

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© Tony - W.A.M