Mary Magdalene is a larger figure than any text, larger than the Bible or the Church; she has taken on a life of her own. She has been portrayed as a penitent whore, a wealthy woman, Christ's wife, an adulteress, a symbol of the frailty of women and an object of veneration. And, to this day, she remains a potent and mysterious figure. In the manner of a quest, this book follows Mary Magdalene through the centuries, explores how she has been reinterpreted for every age, and examines what she herself reveals about woman and man and the divine. It seeks the real Mary Magdalene in the New Testament and in the Gnostic gospels where she is extolled as the chief disciple of Christ. It investigates how and why the Church recast her as a fallen woman, it traces her story through the Renaissance when she became a goddess of beauty and love, and it looks at Mary Magdalene as the feminist icon she has become today.