The Woman with the Alabaster Jar : Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, Paperback

The Woman with the Alabaster Jar : Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


Margaret Starbird's theological beliefs were profoundly shaken when she read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book that dared to suggest that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalen and that their descendants carried on his holy bloodline in Western Europe. Shocked by such heresy, this Roman Catholic scholar set out to refute it, but instead found new and compelling evidence for the existence of the bride of Jesus--the same enigmatic woman who anointed him with precious unguent from her "alabaster jar." In this provocative book, Starbird draws her conclusions from an extensive study of history, heraldry, symbolism, medieval art, mythology, psychology, and the Bible itself. The Woman with the Alabaster Jar is a quest for the forgotten feminine--in the hope that its return will help restore a healthy balance to planet Earth.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages, colour illustrations
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions Bear and Company
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: The historical Jesus
  • ISBN: 9781879181038



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Disappointing. Focused on the role of Magdalene in art, song, stories, and symbolism, and not in factual history. Seemed like Starbird was stretching on too many of the points she was trying to make.

Review by

When Margaret Starbird read the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail she was infuriated by it and decided to do some of her own research to refute it. However she found herself caught up in the story and with her own variant on it. Unfortunately some of the sources she found weren't particualarly historical or accurate and some of her leaps of faith are a bit overdone.To my mind sometimes a flower is just a flower. There are many examples of artisans finding particular shapes and colours that just appealed to them, and I'm sure they could have done in their sleep to fill in backgrounds. I stitch myself and I find myself being attracted to some of the same imagery over and over, sometimes I look deeper for the meaning but sometimes that pattern just plain appeals to me. I'm sure it was the same with some of the papermakers that Starbird mentions in the book. There may have been some who had meaning but there may have been others who just picked a shape because it was easy, well known, had a relationship with their master or just plain appealed to them.And this is the main flaw of the book. Just because an image has certain meanings to certain people does not mean that everyone imbues it with that meaning. Just because certain people or peoples imbue certain items with certain meanings does not mean that all people do the same. It may be that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and some of the arguments for are quite compelling (the fact that non-married men were a rarity and that this would have been mentioned in the Bible is one of many); but we may never know the truth. The truth at the moment is that Christianity has ignored the female and the feminine for a long time and this is begining to be something they may not be able to ignore for much longer.This book gained a few points for making me think but lost some for it's slightly rigid view of the feminine and the masculine. Some of the flights of literary fancy are a little overwritten, but her heart is in the right place.

Review by

According to the blurb, Margaret Starbird was a Catholic scholar when she read Holy Blood, Holy Grail and was moved to repudiate the book. Instead, she found more evidence that Jesus Christ may have been married to Mary Magdalen. This book exams that belief through the artists, mythologies, traditions and symbolism of various eras. Starbird believes that Mary Magdalen typifies the ‘forgotten feminine’ in the Bible which focuses on not only a father figure God, but that aspect of Jesus that is victor, ruler, Lord of the Universe and seated at God’s right hand. Starbird says that this version of Jesus clearly echos a male divinity in the tradition of such gods as Egypt’s Ra, Greece’s Apollo, Rome’s Jupiter and Persia’s Zoroaster and Mithras. The Jesus of the Gospels, however, is a Lord of wisdom, gentleness and compassion.

Review by

Best book I've read on Mary Magdalene.

Review by

I am temporarily abandoning this book halfway through; I have to bow to my reading phases but I know that soon enough I will again be obsessed by the Holy Grail and will pick this back up.

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