I don't have time to do this topic justice ... but the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie, the uproar over copyright of the book and an upsurge in interest in the Gnostic gospels piqued my interest in who Joan Acocella, in her article in a recent New Yorker calls "The Saintly Sinner."
A concluding paragraph in Acocella's article describes the Magdalene after she found Jesus in the tomb; I found it very moving:
"This scene is the New Testament’s most powerful statement about the confrontation with death, about losing forever the thing you love. The setting is beautiful: the green garden, the morning light, the angels. Then we hear the cruel words: “Don’t touch me.”
He was there; he had called her name; she had reached out to embrace him. Now she must stand back, let him go, and make her way alone."
Mary Magdalene, Mantegna