I just read with interest Chris Wiemer's post on the Jesus Tomb stuff. One thing he mentioned concerned the Acts of Philip:
[The filmmakers] spent more time dealing with Mariamene, which they assumed could be contracted into Mariamne. They then apparently made the connection to Mary Magdalene, since in the Acts of Philip, Philip has a sister named Mariamne, and apparently (since I don’t think the Acts have yet been translated into English, at least according to Harvard Magazine and Harvard University Gazette) this Mariamne is Mary Magdalene. However, the connection itself isn’t solid-proof. Instead the discoverer of the manuscript, François Bovon, doesn’t claim, as far as I can tell from sources, that this is definitely Mary Magdalene, but that only it is possible for her to be identified with Mary Magdalene. Not having the text in my hand, I cannot say one way or another.
Now I'm curious. Everyone says that the name is found in the Acts of Philip, but nobody discusses the character of that text, its contents, or anything about it—as if the simple existence of the name in the text is all that matters and the nature, character and contents of the text means nothing.
I'd figured there was a text and transcription readily available. But after reading Chris' post, I guess it isn't. [Update: The translation is found in M.R. James' NT Apocrypha (amazon.com) and is available online. h/t Danny Zacharias, but see below for more] So I checked my copy of Schneemelcher's NT Apocrypha, vol. 2 (amazon.com) (here's vol. 1 (amazon.com) if you're interested). There are a few pages on contents (vol 2. pp. 468-473, sect. 12.1 Acta Philippi), but no translation. And the description is of a text in shambles. Some interesting excerpts below:
... we may conclude with a high degree of probability that the version of the Acta Philippi which has come down to us originated in encratite circles in Asia Minor somewhere about the middle of the 4th century. Since this version is however an artificial conglomeration of very diverse and sometimes contradictory material, the question of the authorship and origin of individual parts remains open. (p. 469)
So, in other words, folks think the text was composed/assembled in the middle of the 4th century ... 300+ years after Jesus' death and resurrection. No connection with Mary Magdalene is discussed. However, the next paragraph continues:
The report included at the beginning of the eighth act, about the division of the world among the apostles and the sending of Philip together with Bartholomew and Mariamne to the 'city of the serpent' forms a clear brak after the preceding first seven acts, and signals the beginning of the 'Acta Philippi in Heirapolis' with the appended martyrdom (cc. 94-148: Aa II/2, 36-90). This part is without doubt the most important—in terms of volume also—and oldest section of the Acta Philippi, and is conspicuous both for its stylistic unity and also for its depth of thought—in contrast to the episodes of the first seven acts, which are often intermixed without continuity, full of adventures and poor in ideas. (p. 469).
If Philip is in Heirapolis, then we're dealing with Philip the apostle, right? The one Papias mentions (see here, sect. IV)? So what is the connection of Mary Magdalene with Philip the apostle? None that I am aware of. Here's more on Mariamne in in Acts of Philip:
The fact that not all of the elements of this old tradition found their way into the 'Acta philippi in Heriapolis'—e.g. there is not a word about Philip's daughters, and instead the apostle is given his 'sister' Mariamne as a companion—and that (against this tradition) a martyrdom embellished with rich symbolism and profound trains of through was already added signals the relationship of our present Acts to the five older Acts of the Manichean corpus, although we cannot always demonstrate a direct dependence upon them. (p. 470).
There's more, this on parallels with other apocryphal literature:
Moreover, from act 8 of our present Πράξεις 'Mariamne', who is assigned to the apostle as sister and companion, plays a role similar to that to Thecla at the side of Paul..
The dialogue between Mariamne and Nicanora, in which the two women are described as 'twin sisters, daughters of the same mother' (c. 115, Aa II/2, 45.15-46.13) could, in A. Orbe's opinion contain an esoteric interpreatation fo the Heilgeschichte according tot he Valentinian myth with clear analogies to the Acts of Thomas. (p. 470)
So, some see parallels of Philip & Mariamne to Paul & Thecla. And there's also this bit about Mariamne's twin sister.(?) I'm unaware of Mary Madgalene having a twin sister, or of her being sister to the apostle Philip. There's nothing in Schneemelcher at all about Mary Magdalene even being potentially associated with the Mariamne of the Acts of Philip.
Another book I have to hand that discusses the Acts of Philip is Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature (amazon.com) by Moreschini and Norelli. Their treatment is much less detailed than that inside of the Schneemelcher volumes. However, they do say this:
The section comprising 8-15 and the martyrdom brings Philip the apostle on the scene again. He, along with his sister Maryanne and Bartholemew, is a missionary in the city of Ofiorime, which the manuscripts identify with Hierapolis in Phrygia. (vol 2, p 222)
Here, the name translated "Maryanne" has to be that of Mariamne. Again, no comparison of any sort with Mary Magdalene. Magdalene isn't mentioned at all. Heck, "Mary" isn't even mentioned.
So, how do the filmmakers make the connection? If their methodology is sound, then perhaps we can conclude today that this "Maryanne" foreshadows the "Maryanne" of Gilligan's Island? The logic is the same—find a matching name and go with it. You heard it here first, folks.
I can only imagine what the Discovery Channel will drag out next Easter ...
Update (2007-03-07): Chris Weimer (Thoughts on Antiquity) writes in a comment regarding versions of the Acts of Philip:
The Acts of Philip you found online were an older, fragmentary version. François Bovon found a complete manuscript just a couple of years ago, and that version has not been translated yet. You were looking at a translation from 1924, well before the discovery.
I knew M.R. James was from 1924, and I figured based on references to Bovon in both Schneemelcher and Moreschini & Norelli that there was a new MS find. I was about to write an update, and then Chris commented clearing everyting up. Thanks, Chris, for putting the dots together for us!
Update (2007-03-13): Stephen Pfann weighs in with a full re-examination of the so-called Mary Magdalene ossuary. His conclusion: No dice. Check out his paper Mary Magdalene is Now Missing: A Corrected Reading of Rahmani Ossuary 701.