The Church of Mary Magdalene
Jean Markale
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Buy *The Church of Mary Magdalene: The Sacred Feminine and the Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau* online

The Church of Mary Magdalene: The Sacred Feminine and the Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau
Jean Markale
Inner Traditions International
311 pages
June 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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For The DaVinci Code readers looking to find any revelations about the secret treasure buried somewhere at Rennes-le-Chateau, disappointment lurks ahead in The Church of Mary Magdalene: The Sacred Feminine and the Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau by Jean Markale. This book, although surely interesting and filled with compelling details about the mysterious region in the South of France, does not deliver the goods. What it does deliver is a fascinating account of the life of the man who many believe found the treasure and died with its location still his secret, Abbe Beranger Sauniere, the new priest in the tiny village of Rennes-le-Chateau in 1885.

As many devotees of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and other such books about the Jesus-Mary Magdalene lineage will attest, Abbe Sauniere was a mystery in and of himself: a smalltown priest who suddenly became quite wealthy and influential after rumors of a treasure found during his initial renovations of the ramshackle village church. Suddenly, the town of Rennes-le-Chateau became surrounded in a shroud of mystery, and word spread of alleged documents that revealed a secret so profound it would totally change the shape of human history, a secret involving none other than Jesus himself. There were also rumors that the treasure was the lost booty of the Cathars, or possible the gold pillaged from Dephi, or even the treasure of the lost city of Jerusalem that was under the protection of the Knights Templar.

But the theory of secret documents containing an explosive secret about Jesus hold the most sway over the growing legions of “treasure-seekers,” many of whom got turned on to the legend via Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code.

The Church of Mary Magdalene traces the history of the alleged documents and the potentially explosive secrets they contained, and even offers some photos of the key players and the town itself. But because the book focuses so much on Sauniere and other key players in the legend, we never really get a strong feel for exactly what the documents might have contained, or where they originated from. Instead, the author, as many before him, hints at the possibilities while providing no evidence one way or the other that his theories are correct. At times, the author even comes across as a bit arrogant, accusing other writers of sensationalizing the alleged secret, yet offering no proof of their claims being any more sensational than his own.

Regardless, for anyone intrigued by the entire “conspiracy” or mystery of the Jesus-Mary Magdalene royal bloodline, and the potential secret documents that could possibly prove Jesus and Mary had children who survived through the Merovingian bloodline and continue to even this day, this book is another great addition to your bookshelf. There is plenty of great history that will make you certain to want to visit Rennes-le-Chateau for yourself, and wonderfully descriptive passages about the people, places and things involved in this mind-boggling mystery. I enjoyed the book, and drank up the mood and atmosphere it creates around the tiny rural village that sits high atop a mesa-like hill. I especially enjoyed the highly detailed descriptions of the church itself, and the associated architecture and paintings that all play a key role in shaping this spectacular legend, including the many buildings and art devoted to the enigmatic Mary Magdalene, who is proving in this, and many other current books, to have been a much bigger player in the shaping of Christianity than anyone ever imagined.

But don’t come looking for the final word on what that mystery is.

That, my friends, remains a mystery…for now.

© 2004 by Marie D. Jones for

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