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  1. Fellows' Publications | IASH
  2. Fellows' Publications
  3. Lawyers and Their Books at the Dawn of the Scottish Enlightenment
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I am most thankful to my wife Angela, whose tireless support has helped bring this work to fruition, and to my son James for his continued encouragement. My express gratitude is similarly due to my literary agent Andrew Lownie, publicity agent Jennifer Solignac, foreign rights agent Scarlett Nunn, website manager Karen Lyster, technical advisor Tony Skiens, and business manager Colin Gitsham. Special thanks also to commissioning editor Katy Carrington, the directors and staff of Thorsons and HarperCollins Publishers, and the book's editor Matthew Cory.

Particular recognition is due to HRH Prince Michael of Albany for affording privileged access to Household archives, while my respects are conveyed to the late Chevaliers David Roy Stewart and Jack Robertson, whose research was of such value to this project. As always, I thank Sir Peter Robson for creating the inspired allegorical paintings that accompany my writings, while also acknowledging composer Jaz Coleman and artist Andrew Jones for their collaboration in the Magdalene Oratorio. Appreciation is also due to Candance Gosch of Living Element Pictures for adapting my work for cinema production.

Since this book is very much a synthesis of interrelated subject matter, I am greatly beholden to those specialist authors whose individual scholarship in their respective fields has facilitated the coverage of specific aspects. Their personal expertise and pre-eminent published works have been invaluable. Finally, I must convey my gratitude to all those readers who have followed and encouraged my work over the years, especially those who have written to me with so many useful comments and contributions.

In this context, the marital status of Jesus was detailed and, contrary to orthodox teaching, his wife Mary Magdalene was brought to the fore as a woman of considerable status.

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The revelation led to shocked newspaper headlines in America, a national press serialization of the book in Britain's Daily Mail, and very quick entry into the best selling book charts. As a result, Bloodline of the Holy Grail became something of a worldwide institution, with a large number of foreign language translations and a variety of subsequent English language editions.

Having commenced as a book that rocked the establishment, Bloodline gradually settled into a more mainstream classification. It gained me a Author of the Year nomination from Hatchard's of London and the Dillons Bookstores chain, and began to appear in college libraries, with its genealogical charts used for coursework. From the outset, my media appearances with priests, bishops and other religious leaders were reassuringly amicable, and I discovered why when on television in with a Dominican friar. He summed up the situation by explaining to the programme host, 'Laurence Gardner comes to this subject as a matter of history and documented record.

The Church comes to it as a matter of belief and faith. Do not confuse the two; they are different things. In this regard, I was commissioned to write the libretto for a gnostic oratorio based on Bloodline of the Holy Grail. In recent times, the subject of Mary Magdalene and her nuptial relationship with Jesus has reappeared in a new format - that of an internationally bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code by American author Dan Brown. Consequently, I have received an extraordinary number of requests to expand on some of the information contained in Bloodline of the Holy Grail.

By virtue of Dan Brown's novel, there is now a widespread interest in the pictorial depictions of Mary Magdalene and, since fine art conservation was my field of professional occupation before becoming an author, I have therefore compiled The Magdalene Legacy with Renaissance artwork as its primary focus. This book is not intended to support or challenge The Da Vinci Code, but to take up some of its more controversial aspects, and to comment on them where appropriate.

Dan Brown's engaging novel is a work of fiction, and should be regarded as such.

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  • However, it does include certain historical facts, and introduces some themes that are relevant to the Bloodline story. As with all the works in this Grail-related series, The Magdalene Legacy has been designed as a stand-alone edition, and it is in no way necessary to have read any of the other books first. Laurence Gardner Exeter xx Saint or Sinner?

    Ostensibly this was because one of the biblical references classifies her as 'a sinner'. But in the very next Gospel verse, Mary is said to have been a woman of substance and one of Jesus' personal sponsors. Later in the Gospel accounts, Mary Magdalene is seen as a close companion of Jesus' mother, accompanying her at the Crucifixion. Prior to that it is stated that Jesus loved Mary.

    Did the bishops really believe that a female sinner must necessarily be a whore, or was this simply an excuse related to something else they preferred to conceal? Mary's position is in many ways unique in that, despite her apparent supportive role in the Christian story, she emerges as one of its primary figures. As stated in some of the Gospels that were excluded from the New Testament, Mary Magdalene was 'the woman who knew the all' of Jesus. She was the one whom 'Christ loved more than all the disciples', and she was the apostle' endowed with knowledge, vision and insight far exceeding Peter's'.

    Restoration My first personal close encounter with Mary Magdalene occurred in the s.

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    I was then running a picture restoration studio, and was a conservation consultant for the Fine Art Trade Guild in London. A painting entitled Penitent Magdalene came in for cleaning and repair an 18th-century Italian work from the Bologna school of Franceschini Marcantonio.

    As part of a picture preservation course I was running at the time, I wrote up the details of this particular restoration in the Guild Journal. But, at that stage, my interests were in the physical aspects of the restoration procedure, rather than in the subject matter of the painting. It was not until later, when I was inspecting photographs of the completed work, that I began to wonder about certain features of the image itself.

    The Magdalene was portrayed with jewellery and a mirror, and yet was entitled Penitent Magdalene, which seemed rather incongruous.

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    Holding her hair with one hand, and a pearl earring with the other, she looked content enough, and there was nothing to convey that she was in any way repentant. So, why the title? What I discovered, on checking the painting's provenance, was that its documented title, Penitent Magdalene, was rather more a genre classification than a title given to it by the artist.

    To him, it had simply been a stylized portrait of Mary Magdalene. Genre categories are common in the world of pictorial art since, although artists often signed or personalized their paintings, they did not normally write titles on them. Romantic titles were generally attributed later by owners, galleries and dealers - titles which the artists would perhaps never have known in their lifetimes. The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, is a good example.

    We shall return later to this fascinating Renaissance masterpiece. Another more recent example is James AM Whistler's painting, entitled by him Arrangement in Grey and Black, but which since his death has become commonly dubbed Whistler's Mother. Paintings of Jesus fall into a series of familiar categories, and not too often outside them. They begin with 'The Nativity', which subdivides into such themes as 'Adoration of the Shepherds' and' Adoration of the Magi'.

    Lawyers and Their Books at the Dawn of the Scottish Enlightenment

    Then there are depictions of Jesus' 'Presentation in the Temple', followed by various other high-point scenes throughout his ministry to the Crucifixion, Resurrection and subsequent Ascension. But such paintings are still firmly based on Gospel tradition: 'I am the light of the world' John and 'I am the true vine' John The great majority of Christine depictions are related to recognizable Gospel events, but with Mary Magdalene the scenario is different.

    Many of the popular subject areas depicting her have nothing whatever to do with any events related in the New Testament, and among these is the enigmatic 'Penitent' classification. She is, in fact, one of the most depicted of all classical figures. There are numerous portrayals of her at the cross and at the tomb, with a favoured scene of Magdalene and Jesus being the Noli me tangere 'Do not cling to me' drama from John In these scenes, she is generally alone at a dressing table, or in the solitude of a wilderness grotto.

    The recurring props of these scenes include a mirror, a candle, jewellery, a skull and a book. Jewellery and mirrors were made popular during the 17th-century baroque era and the Italian school of Luca Giordano. They were introduced to symbolize Mary's renouncement of earthly vanities. In opposition to vanity, the candle and book represent the importance of light and knowledge, and the skull see plate 2 is synonymous with the inevitability of death.

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    The most favoured and constant item in Magdalene artwork - the object that makes her personally distinctive, especially when seen in the company of other women - is an ointment jar. Mark explains that when Mary Magdalene arrived with others at Jesus' tomb, they 'brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him', but the jar does not relate to that scene in particular. It is essentially pertinent to the most poignant of all events, when Mary anointed the head and feet of Jesus at the house of Simon in Bethany, shortly before the Crucifixion.

    Despite all historical convention, and notwithstanding popular tradition from the earliest times, the Church of Rome long maintained that Mary Magdalene, the sinner, was not the same person as the Mary who performed the anointing.

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    They insisted that Jesus would never have been anointed by a sinner. There were, however, two different anointings. These will be referenced in due course but, to counter that particular clerical opinion for the time being, the first anointing Luke is clearly stated to have been performed by the' sinner' at the house of Simon the Pharisee.

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    When dealing with the second anointing of Jesus at the house of Simon the leper, John stipulates just as emphatically that it was done by the same woman as before. Simon the Pharisee and Simon the leper were one and the same, but, more importantly, so were Mary the sinner and Mary of Bethany.