Case Number 06192: Small Claims Court

ABC NEWS PRESENTS: JESUS, MARY, AND DA VINCI

Koch Vision // 2004 // 43 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // February 16th, 2005

The Charge

Discover the truth behind the mystery.

The Case

Coming in on the wake of the buzz generated by Dan Brown's bestselling tome, The Da Vinci Code, ABC News presented a show focusing on the potential mystery of the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. Since that book, a great number of shows have investigated this potential situation. Because no hard facts exist to support this claim either way, I will be using such modifiers as "potential," "maybe," and "supposedly" and will be sprinkling in an inordinate number of "if"s throughout this review.

What claim? Are you one of the hundred people that haven't read Brown's book? Well don't feel bad; I'm with you. I've been curious to ride the wave of popularity and pick up the book -- or at least borrow it -- but I've not gotten around to it. Of course it's been inevitable to learn the big secret of the book, which is what everyone has been talking about. What are we talking about? The big brouhaha is that it's posited that Mary Magdalene was more than a prostitute. It's speculated that she may have been the wife of Jesus and even bore him a child.

Wow, where did that come from? Growing up Catholic and going to Catholic school, this never came up in class. In fact, all that was ever muttered about her was that she was a repentant prostitute, saved by Jesus. But Brown's book posits that there was much more to the woman, and this ABC Special tries to see if Brown knows what he's talking about.

As I just said and as ABC reiterates on many occasions, there is no solid proof for this claim. There is a lot of subjective contemplation and interpretation of lines in the Bible. What we can say with certainty is that Mary was not a prostitute. Anything else is left for the investigative scholars.

So how does the maestro Leonardo Da Vinci fit into this religious enigma? It is postulated that he was one of many leaders over time of a group known as the Priory of Sion. This group, purportedly, was created by Mary or friends of Mary, and they've known the truth of her place with Jesus -- that she was not only his wife but possibly an apostle too. The Priory of Sion has never written down this truth, but they pass it down from generation to generation, guarding and forever preserving the truth.

With Da Vinci "in the know" on this secret yet not able to tell anyone, it's posited that he left clues, very subtle clues, in many of his works. The most famous of these clues is supposedly included in his "The Last Supper."

This ABC News Special does a nice job of talking about Mary and following various connections from Da Vinci to the Priory of Sion to the Gnostic Gospels. Though they can never prove anything, host Elizabeth Vargas presents a well-balanced look at those who believe and those who say it's impossible. My only quibble with the special is that Da Vinci plays such a minor role. He's used as a springboard from which to investigate Mary's life. This is not a bad thing; it allows a more thorough look at the mystery, but the show can't be especially thorough in just 43 minutes.

I did find this topic quite fascinating, and I'm even more tempted to read Brown's book. In fact, I think I'm even tempted to find a non-fiction book or two on the topic. A good historical mystery is always fun to wrap your brain around. Jesus, Mary, and Da Vinci is a well-done television special, but it merely scratches the surface of a fascinating and deep topic. It will give you a taste and a little background on something possibly worthy of more investigation on your part.

The DVD is nothing special, and I can tell you up front that it is worthy of neither a purchase nor a rental. If you can get it from your local library for free, then you can go ahead and spend an hour with it. The full-frame transfer is very weak, several steps below your typical TV-to-DVD release, with washed-out colors and a fine haze. The Dolby 2.0 audio allows you to easily hear what everyone has to say, yet it does fluctuate at times. Included is a quick bonus item, "The Search for Mary" (9 minutes). This appears to have been a segment on either 20/20 or Primetime Live -- I cannot ascertain which -- though you'll never forget it's from ABC as they left the watermark in the bottom right corner. The special is about Mary, the mother of Christ, and not Mary Magdalene. It too is a nice overview about a woman who gets minimal mention in the Bible.

Case adjourned.

Review content copyright © 2005 Eric Profancik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Koch Vision
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 43 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* "The Search for Mary"

Accomplices
* Official Site
http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=84590&page=1