Hot on the heels of these declarations Teabing shows Sophie another passage from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene which he uses to emphasise Jesus' special relationship with Mary and Peter's jealousy.

Once again Dan Brown is sloppy with his description of the documents. Teabing states that this revelation given to Mary was before Jesus' death and resurrection. In reality it takes place after his resurrection.

More importantly, the section read by Sophie, which appears in The Da Vinci Code as an unbroken section, is actually a selective rendering of the actual text.

Below is a comparison of Brown's quotation and the fuller text as listed in Darrell Bock's book.

Dan Brown

Darrell Bock

And Peter said, 'Did the Saviour really speak with a woman without our knowledge? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?'

And Levi answered, 'Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like an adversary. If the Saviour made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Saviour knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us.' (58:333)

But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, "Say what you (wish to) say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas." Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the Savior: "Did He really speak with a woman without our knowledge and not openly? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?" Then Mary wept and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?" Levi answered and said to Peter, "Peter, you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior know her very well. That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said." (Bock 2004, 25-26)

The full text indicates that Mary had received a special revelation from the Lord. Peter questions whether this would actually be the case. She is not claiming control of the Church. Notice also that her special status is not founded on her marital relationship with Jesus but upon being made worthy by him.

On top of that it is intriguing to note the reference to the 'perfect Man'. While Brown presents the early Gnostics as feminists this was not necessarily the case. For more information on this selective view of Gnosticism see Darrell Bock's book.

There are other problems with the story of Mary according to Dan Brown.

For example, if, as he suggests, references to Mary in the early records of Jesus' life were so troubling (58.329) it boggles the mind that she could be mentioned so regularly in the Constantinian Bible.

In the New Testament Gospels (supposedly commissioned by Constantine) Mary is presented as a disciple of Jesus who had experienced his healing touch and who supported him out of her own means. She was present at the cross and was the first to see the resurrected Lord.

How can it be that these references, especially her role as a key witness to the resurrection, failed to get edited out by Constantine and his team of editors?

Another is the supposed smear campaign that associated her with the prostitute in Luke 7:36-50.

The first time this was mentioned was by Pope Gregory the Great in the year 591 AD. His sermon makes it evident that he was not seeking to defame Mary but to elevate her as an example of repentance (Olson & Miesel 2004, 78-86)

Finally, we need to recognise that even if Jesus had been marriage this would not collapse the Church.

Jesus was fully human, as discussed above, and did all the things that humans do - slept, ate, drank, got angry, etc. The reason the church doesn't teach his marriage to Mary Magdalene is because there is no evidence for such a union.

There is only one thing that would spell disaster for Christianity and which is the topic of our last section.