- Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross, mourning for the dead Christ
East: Myrrhbearer and Equal of the Apostles
Both: Apostle to the Apostles
Born Date Of Birth: unknown possibly around early 1st century AD
Place Of Birth: unknown
Died Date Of Death: unkown possibly mid to late 1st century AD
Place Of Death: unkown possibly Ephesus, Asia Minor or Marseilles
Honored in Eastern Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
other Protestant churches
Feast July 22 Attributes red egg (symbol of the resurrection); embracing the feet of Christ after the Resurrection Patronage apothecaries; Atrani, Italy; Casamicciola Terme, Ischia; contemplative life; converts; glove makers; hairdressers; penitent sinners; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; women
Mary Magdalene (original Greek Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή) was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons",
Mary Magdalene is considered by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers.
- 1 Name
- 2 Sources
- 3 Religious views
- 4 Speculations
- 5 Buried at Iona
- 6 Relationship with Jesus
- 7 In historical fiction
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Consistently in the four Gospels, Mary Magdalene seems to be distinguished from other women named Mary by adding "Magdalene" (η Μαγδαληνή) to her name. Traditionally, this has been interpreted to mean that she was from Magdala, a town thought to have been on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. says that she was actually "called Magdalene." In Hebrew מגדל Migdal means "tower", "fortress"; in Aramaic, "Magdala" means "tower" or "elevated, great, magnificent".
Mary Magdalene's given name Μαρία (Maria) is usually regarded as a Latin form of Μαριὰμ (Mariam), which is the Greek variant used in Septuagint for Miriam, the Hebrew name for Moses' sister. The name had become very popular during Jesus' time due to its connections to the ruling Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties.
Primary sources about Mary Magdalene can be divided into canonical texts that are collected into the Christian New Testament and apocryphal texts that were left out from the Bible, being judged as heretical during the development of the New Testament canon. These apocryphal sources are usually dated from the end of the 1st to the early 4th century, all possibly written well after Mary's death.
The four Gospels included in the New Testament have little to say about Mary Magdalene. With a single exception in the Gospel of Luke, there is no mention of her in the Gospels before the crucifixion.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out—and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
According to demons". Some contemporary scholars contend this concept means healing from illness. Some scholars regard the reference in Mark as a late addition, and the reference is possibly based on the Gospel of Luke.and , Jesus cleansed her of "seven
It is at the time of the crucifixion and resurrection that Mary Magdalene comes to the fore in the gospels. Uniquely among the followers of Jesus, she is specified by name (though not consistently by any one gospel) as a witness to three key events: Jesus' crucifixion, his burial, and the discovery of his tomb to be empty. , Matthew 27:56 and mention Mary Magdalene as a witness to crucifixion, along with various other women. Luke does not name any witnesses, but mentions "women who had followed him from Galilee" standing at a distance.
In Mark, Matthew, and John, Mary Magdalene is first witness to the Resurrection. John 20:16 and both straightforwardly say that Jesus' first post-resurrection appearance was to Mary Magdalene alone. New Testament scholar Frank Stagg points out that Mary's role as a witness is unusual because women at that time were not considered credible witnesses in legal proceedings. Because of this, and because of extra-biblical traditions about her subsequent missionary activity in spreading the Gospel, she is known by the title, "Equal of the Apostles". In Matthew 28:9, Mary Magdalene is with the other women returning from the empty tomb when they all see the first appearance of Jesus. In the resurrection is announced to the women at the tomb by "two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning" who suddenly appeared next to them.
The first actual appearance by Jesus that Luke mentions is later that day, when Cleopas and an unnamed disciple walked with a fellow traveler they later realized was Jesus. Acts of the Apostles, and her fate remains undocumented.describes the same appearance as happening after the private appearance to Mary Magdalene. The gospels of Mark and Luke record that the rest of the disciples did not believe Mary's report of what she saw, and neither Mary Magdalene nor any of the other women are mentioned by name in Paul's catalog of appearances at . Instead, Paul writes that Jesus "appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve". Indeed, after her disbelieved first report of a resurrection vision, Mary Magdalene disappears from the New Testament. She is not mentioned in the
The Gospel of John
Among the women who are specifically named in the New Testament of the Bible, Mary Magdalene’s name is one of the most frequently found. In, the author names three women in sequence: “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.” In the Gospel of Mark, the author lists a group of women three times, and each time, Mary Magdalene’s name appears first. Finally, in the Gospel of Luke, the author enumerates the women who went to the tomb of Jesus, writing that, “It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them,” which once again place Mary Magdalene at the head of the list. According to Carla Ricci, “The place she [Mary Magdalene] occupied in the list cannot be considered fortuitous,” because over and over Mary Magdalene’s name is placed at the head of specifically named women, indicating her importance. The significance of this is further strengthened when one examines the lists of the named apostles. In Luke, the author writes that Jesus “took Peter, John and James.” According to Ricci, because Peter occupies the first position in the list, that place can be considered the position of highest importance. As a result, it can be argued that Mary Magdalene must have held a very central position among the followers of Jesus, whether as disciple or in some other capacity.
Pope Gregory the Great's homily on Luke's gospel dated 14 September 591 first suggested that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute: "She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? ... It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts."(homily XXXIII)
This identification of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute was followed by many writers and artists until the 20th century. Even today it is promulgated by some secular and occasional Christian groups. It is reflected in Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's novel The Last Temptation of Christ, in José Saramago's The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Jean-Claude La Marre's Color of the Cross and Hal Hartley's The Book of Life.
It was because of this association of Mary as a prostitute that she became the patroness of "wayward women", and "Magdalene houses" became established to help save women from prostitution.
The identification of Mary Mary Magdalene as prostitute and adulteress is perpetuated by much Western medieval Christian art. In many such depictions, Mary Magdalene is shown as having long hair which she wears down over her shoulders, while other women follow contemporary standards of propriety by hiding their hair beneath headdresses or kerchiefs. The Magdalene's hair may be rendered as red, while the other women of the New Testament in these same depictions ordinarily have dark hair beneath a scarf. This disparity between depictions of women can be seen in works such as the Crucifixion paintings by the Meister des Marienlebens.
There are depictions of her also showing us how various artists viewed her and Jesus' relationship. According to Robert Kiely, "no figure in the Christian Pantheon except Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and John the Baptist has inspired, provoked, or confounded the imagination of painters more than the Magdalene." Paintings can offer a deep insight as to what popular culture believed about an individual at a certain point in history. See Fra Angelico’s painting Noli me tangere.
New Testament Apocrypha and Gnostic texts
In apocryphal texts, she is portrayed as a visionary and leader of the early movement who was loved by Jesus more than the other disciples. Several Gnostic gospels, such as the Gospel of Mary, written in the early 2nd century, see Mary as the special disciple of Jesus who has a deeper understanding of his teachings and is asked to impart this to the other disciples.
Several Gnostic writings, usually dated to 2nd and 3rd centuries, paint a drastically different picture of Mary Magdalene from that of the canonical Gospels.
In Gnostic writings Mary Magdalene is seen as one of the most important of Jesus' disciples whom he loved more than the others. The Gnostic Gospel of Philip names Mary Magdalene as Jesus' companion. Gnostic writings describe tensions and jealousy between Mary Magdalene and other disciples, especially Peter.
Gospel of Mary
In her introduction in The Complete Gospels, Karen King names the manuscripts available for the Gospel of Mary. She writes that only three fragmentary manuscripts are known to have survived into the modern period, two 3rd-century fragments (P. Rylands 463 and P. Oxyrhynchus 3525) published in 1938 and 1983, and a longer 5th-century Coptic translation (Berolinensis Gnosticus 8052,1) published in 1955.
The Gospel of Mary exalts Mary Magdalene over the male disciples of Jesus. The Gospel of Mary provides important information about the role of women in the early church. It is usually dated to about the same period as that of the Gospel of Philip. The Gospel was first discovered in 1896. The Gospel is missing six pages from the beginning and four in the middle.
The identity of "Mary" appearing as the main character in this Gospel is sometimes disputed, but she is generally regarded to be Mary Magdalene. The Gospel of Mary presents her as one of the disciples, says she has seen a private vision from the resurrected Jesus and describes it to other disciples.
Peter said to Mary, "Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them." Mary answered and said, "What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you." And she began to speak to them these words: "I, she said, I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision."
Almost all of Mary's vision is within the lost pages.
When Mary had said these things, she fell silent, since it was up to this point that the Savior had spoken to her.
Mary is then confronted by Andrew and Peter, who do not take for granted what she says, because she is a woman:
"Did he then speak secretly with a woman, in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?" Then Mary grieved and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart or that I am lying concerning the Savior?"
However, Mary is defended by Levi:
"But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely the Savior knew her very well. For this reason he loved her more than us."
The repeated reference in the Gnostic texts of Mary as being loved by Jesus more than the others has been seen as supporting the theory that the Beloved Disciple in the canonical Gospel of John was originally Mary Magdalene, before a later redactor made changes in the Gospel.
Gospel of Philip
Gospel of Philip, dating from the 2nd or 3rd century, survives in part among the texts found in Nag Hammadi in 1945. In a manner very similar to , the Gospel of Philip presents Mary Magdalene among Jesus' female entourage, adding that she was his koinônos, a Greek word variously translated in contemporary versions as partner, associate, comrade, companion.
There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
Others' irritation from the love and affection presented by Jesus to Mary Magdalene is claimed in the apocryphal Gospel of Philip. The text is badly fragmented, and speculated but unreliable additions are shown in brackets:
And the companion of [the saviour was Mar]y Ma[gda]lene. [Christ loved] M[ary] more than [all] the disci[ples, and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth]. The rest of [the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval]. They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her?"
Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of Thomas, usually dated to the late 1st or early 2nd century, was also among the finds in the Nag Hammadi library in 1945. It has two short references to a "Mary", generally regarded as Mary Magdalene. The latter of the two describes the sentiment towards female members of the early Gnostics:
Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
When the Gospel of Thomas was written, people commonly assumed that men were superior to women, much as humans were superior to animals. While it is surprising today to think that many believed back then that a woman would have to become male to enter the kingdom of heaven, it was an attitude consistent with the historical context.
The manuscript gives 114 "secret teachings" of Jesus. Mary is mentioned briefly in saying 21. Here, Mary asks Jesus, "Whom are your disciples like?" Jesus responds, "They are like children who have settled in a field which is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, 'Let us have back our field.' They (will) undress in their presence in order to let them have back their field and to give it back to them." Following this, Jesus continues his explanation with a parable about the owner of a house and a thief, ending with the common rhetoric, "Whoever has ears to hear let him hear."
Pistis Sophia, possibly dating as early as the 2nd century, is the best surviving of the Gnostic writings. Pistis Sophia presents a long dialog with Jesus in the form of his answers to questions from his disciples. Of the 64 questions, 39 are presented by a woman who is referred to as Mary or Mary Magdalene. Jesus says of Mary:
"Mary, thou blessed one, whom I will perfect in all mysteries of those of the height, discourse in openness, thou, whose heart is raised to the kingdom of heaven more than all thy brethren."
Eastern Orthodox tradition
The Eastern Orthodox Church maintains that Mary Magdalene, distinguished from Mary of Bethany and the "sinful woman", had been a virtuous woman all her life, even before her conversion. They have never celebrated her as a penitent. This view finds expression both in her written life (βίος or vita) and in the liturgical service in her honor that is included in the Menaion and performed on her annual feast-day. There is a tradition that Mary Magdalene led so chaste a life that the devil thought she might be the one who was to bear Christ into the world, and for that reason he sent the seven demons to trouble her.
Mary Magdalene is honored as one of the first witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, and received a special commission from him to tell the Apostles of his resurrection.
According to Eastern traditions, she retired to Ephesus with the Theotokos (Mary, the Mother of God) and there she died. (This previous statement appears to be a conflation of Turkish local traditions about St. John and the Virgin Mary House of the Virgin Mary). Her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved.
Apostle of the Apostles
Mary Magdalene is referred to as "the apostle to the apostles" from the 10th century. From the 12th century Abbot Hugh of Semur (died 1109), Peter Abelard (died 1142), and Geoffrey of Vendome (died 1132) all referred to Mary Magdalene as the sinner who merited the title apostolarum apostola, with the title becoming commonplace during the 12th and 13th centuries.
Bart D. Ehrman referred to a work by an early anonymous Christian writer (perhaps Hippolytus, a Christian leader in Rome around 200 AD) who in a commentary on the Old Testament book Song of Songs, wrote that Jesus first appeared to the women at the tomb. He instructed them to go and tell his disciples that he was risen from the dead. Then he appeared to his disciples and "upbraided them for not believing the women's report," referring to the women as apostles. Ehrman quotes the writer: "Christ showed himself to the (male) apostles and said to them, 'It is I who appeared to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as apostles.'" Ehrman concludes from this that Mary and the others could therefore be thought of as "apostles sent to the apostles," a title that Mary Magdalene herself came to bear in the Middle Ages (Latin: apostola apostolorum). Erhman further cites and Matthew 28:11 as evidence for his proposition.
Darrell Bock also takes the view that Mary Magdalene was not singled out, but was part of a group of women who shared the honour, that for Hippolytus "she was one of a few apostles", stating the term did not originate with Hippolytus.
According to Harvard theologian Karen King, Mary Magdalene was a prominent disciple and leader of one wing of the early Christian movement that promoted women's leadership. King cites references in the Gospel of John that the risen Jesus gives Mary special teaching and commissions her as an "Apostle to the Apostles." Mary is the first to announce the resurrection and to fulfill the role of an Apostle─someone sent by Jesus with a special message or commission, to spread the gospel ("good news") and to lead the early church. The first message she was given was to announce to Peter and the others that "He is risen!"( ) Although the term is not specifically used of her in the New Testament, Eastern Christianity refers to her as "Equal to the Apostles"), and later traditions name her as "the apostle to the apostles." King writes that the strength of this literary tradition makes it possible to suggest that historically Mary was a prophetic visionary and leader within one sector of the early Christian movement after the death of Jesus.
Asbury Theological Seminary Bible scholar Ben Witherington III confirms the New Testament account of Mary Magdalene as historical: "Mary was an important early disciple and witness for Jesus." He continues, "There is absolutely no early historical evidence that Mary's relationship with Jesus was anything other than that of a disciple to her Master teacher."
In his apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem ("On the dignity and vocation of women", part 67-69) dated 15 August 1988, Pope John Paul II dealt with the Easter events in relation to the women being present at the tomb after the Resurrection, in a section entitled 'First Witness of the Resurrection': "The women are the first at the tomb. They are the first to find it empty. They are the first to hear "He is not here. He has risen, as he said." (Mt 28:6). They are the first to embrace his feet (cf. Mt 28:9), They are also the first to be called to announce this truth to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:1-10, Lk 24:8-11). The Gospel of John (cf. also Mk 16:9) emphasizes the special role of Mary Magdalene. She is the first to meet the Risen Christ. [...] Hence she came to be called "the apostle of the Apostles". Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness of the Risen Christ, and for this reason she was also the first to bear witness to him before the Apostles. This event, in a sense, crowns all that has been said previously about Christ entrusting divine truths to women as well as men."
Roman Catholic tradition
How a cult of Mary Magdalene first arose in Provence has been summed up by Victor Saxer in the collection of essays in La Magdaleine, VIIIe – XIIIe siècle and by Katherine Ludwig Jansen, drawing on popular devotions, sermon literature and iconology. In Provence, Mary is said to have spent her last days alone in the wilderness, fasting and engaging in acts of penitential self-discipline, behavior that was rewarded with experiences of ecstatic union with the divine. Depictions of her last days became enormously popular in preaching and art.
Mary Magdalene's relics were first venerated at the abbey of Vézelay in Burgundy. Jacobus de Voragine gives the common account of the transfer of the relics of Mary Magdalene from her sepulchre in the oratory of Saint Maximin at Aix-en-Provence to the newly founded abbey of Vézelay; the transportation of the relics is entered as undertaken in 771 by the founder of the abbey, identified as Gerard, duke of Burgundy. The earliest mention of this episode is the notice of the chronicler Sigebert of Gembloux (died 1112), who asserts that the relics were removed to Vézelay through fear of the Saracens. There is no record of their further removal to the other St-Maximin; a casket of relics associated with Magdalene remains at Vézelay.
Afterwards, since September 9, 1279, the purported body of Mary Magdalene was also venerated at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Provence. This cult attracted such throngs of pilgrims that the earlier shrine was rebuilt as the great Basilica from the mid-13th century, one of the finest Gothic churches in the south of France.
The competition between the Cluniac Benedictines of Vézelay and the Dominicans of Saint-Maxime occasioned a rash of miraculous literature supporting the one or the other site. Jacobus de Voragine, compiling his Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend) before the competition arose, characterized Mary Magdalene as the emblem of penitence, washing the feet of Jesus with her copious tears (although it is now believed that Mary of Bethany was the woman known for washing or anointing the feet of Jesus) protectress of pilgrims to Jerusalem, daily lifting by angels at the meal hour in her fasting retreat and many other miraculous happenings in the genre of Romance, ending with her death in the oratory of Saint Maximin, all disingenuously claimed to have been drawn from the histories of Hegesippus and of Josephus.
The French tradition of Saint Lazare of Bethany is that Mary, her brother Lazarus, and Maximinus, one of the Seventy Disciples and some companions, expelled by persecutions from the Holy Land, traversed the Mediterranean in a frail boat with neither rudder nor mast and landed at the place called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer near Arles. Mary Magdalene came to Marseille and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalene is said to have retired to a cave on a hill by Marseille, La Sainte-Baume ("holy cave." baumo in Provençal), where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of Saint Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin.
During the Counter Reformation and Baroque periods (late 16th and 17th centuries), the cult of Mary Magdalene saw a great, new popularity as the Catholic Church publicized her as an attractive, persusasive model of repentance and reform, in keeping with the goals of the reform Council of Trent (1545–63). Numerous works of art and theater featuring the tearful penitent Magdalene appeared in the 17th century. As part of this new attention to the cult of the Magdalene, in 1600, her relics were placed in a sarcophagus commissioned by Pope Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate reliquary. The relics and free-standing images were scattered and destroyed at the Revolution. In 1814, the church of La Sainte-Baume, also wrecked during the Revolution, was restored. In 1822, the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there and has been the centre of many pilgrimages.
The traditional Roman Catholic feast day dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene celebrated her position as a penitent. The Magdalene became a symbol of repentance for the vanities of the world to various sects. In 1969, the Catholic Church allegedly admitted what critics had been saying for centuries: Magdalene's standard image as a reformed prostitute is not supported by the text of the Bible. They reportedly have revised the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar, and now neither of those documents mention Mary Magdalene as a repentant sinner of ill repute. St. Mary Magdalene was the patron of Magdalen College, Oxford, and Magdalene College, Cambridge (both colleges pronounce her name as "maudlin"). In contrast, her name was also used for the Magdalen Asylum, institutions for "fallen women".
Protestant traditionFile:Magdalene egg.jpg
Protestants honor her as a highly respected apostle, disciple and friend of Jesus. Anglican and Lutheran Christians revere her as a saint and some call upon her for intercession. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America honors Mary Magdalene, Apostle on July 22 as a Lesser Festival. Most Protestant Christians do not consider that Mary Magdalene was an apostle at all. They point out that it is Protestant Christianity's most ardent critics who try to propagate that assumption, along with strange—and in their eyes blasphemous—theories that Mary Magdalene had relations with Jesus. Those Protestant denominations that do not believe in the authority of women over men insist that the Bible clearly identifies the Apostles, and they were all men. Most Protestants see Mary Magdalene as a very dedicated follower, or disciple of Jesus, but not as an Apostle.
Easter Egg tradition
For centuries, it has been the custom of many Christians to share dyed and painted eggs, particularly on Easter Sunday. The eggs represent new life, and Christ bursting forth from the tomb. Among Eastern Orthodox Christians (including Albanian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Lebanese, Macedonian, Russian, Romanian, Serbian and Ukrainian) this sharing is accompanied by the proclamation "Christ is risen!" (in Greek "Christos anesti",Serbian:"Христос Вoскрeсе!", Armenian:"Քրիստոս յառեաւ ի մեռելոց",Albanian:"Krishti U Ngjall!") and the response "Truly He is risen!" (in Greek - "Alithos anesti",Serbian:" Вaистина Воскресе", Albanian:"Vertet U Ngjall!").
One tradition[which?][when?] concerning Mary Magdalene says that, following the death and resurrection of Jesus, she used her position to gain an invitation to a banquet given by Emperor Tiberius. When she met him, she held a plain egg in her hand and exclaimed, "Christ is risen!" Caesar laughed, and said that Christ rising from the dead was as likely as the egg in her hand turning red while she held it. Before he finished speaking, the egg in her hand turned a bright red, and she continued proclaiming the Gospel to the entire imperial house.
Another version of this story can be found in popular belief, mostly in Greece. It is believed that after the Crucifixion, Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary put a basket full of eggs at the foot of the cross. There, the eggs were painted red by the blood of the Christ. Then, Mary Magdalene brought them to Tiberius Caesar (see above).
There are many references to Mary Magdalene in the sacred writings of the Bahá'í Faith, where she enjoys an exalted status as a heroine of faith and the "archetypal woman of all cycles". `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, said that she was "the channel of confirmation" to Jesus' disciples, a "heroine" who "re-established the faith of the apostles" and was "a light of nearness in his kingdom." `Abdu'l-Bahá also wrote that "her reality is ever shining from the horizon of Christ," "her face is shining and beaming forth on the horizon of the universe forevermore" and that "her candle is, in the assemblage of the world, lighted till eternity." `Abdu'l-Bahá considered her to be the supreme example of how women are completely equal with men in the sight of God and can at times even exceed men in holiness and greatness. Indeed he claimed that she surpassed all the men of her time, and that "crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance" were upon her head.
The Bahá'í writings also expand upon the scarce references to her life in the canonical Gospels, with a wide array of extra-canonical stories about her and sayings which are not recorded in any other extant historical sources. `Abdu'l-Bahá claimed that Mary travelled to Rome and spoke before the Emperor Tiberius, which is presumably why Pilate was later recalled to Rome for his cruel treatment of the Jews (a tradition also attested to in the Eastern Orthodox Church). According to the memoirs of Juliet Thompson, `Abdu'l-Bahá also compared Mary to Juliet, one of his most devoted followers, claiming that she even physically resembled her and that Mary Magdalene was Juliet Thompson's "correspondence in heaven."
Bahá'ís have noted parallels between Mary Magdalene and the Babí heroine-poetess Tahirih. The two are compared in many respects, with Mary Magdalene often being viewed as a Christian antecedent of the latter, while Tahirih in her own right could be described as the spiritual return of the Magdalene; especially given their common, shared attributes of "knowledge, steadfastness, courage, virtue and will power", in addition to their importance within the religious movements of Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith as female leaders.
The name Mary occurs numerous times in the New Testament. There are several people named Mary in the Gospels. There also are several unnamed women who seem to share characteristics with Mary Magdalene. At different times in history, Mary Magdalene has been confused or misidentified with almost every woman in the four Gospels, except the mother of Jesus. "The idea that this Mary was 'the woman who was a sinner,' or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless."
"Beloved Disciple" in the Gospel of John
A group of scholars, the most familiar of whom is Elaine Pagels, have suggested that for one early group of Christians Mary Magdalene was a leader of the early Church. These scholars have even suggested that Mary might even be the unidentified "Beloved Disciple" to whom the Gospel of John is ascribed.
Raymond E. Brown suggests that to make this claim and maintain consistency with scriptures, Mary's separate existence in the two common scenes with the Beloved Disciple
Anne Graham Lotz summarized this reading of the texts in 2003. She demonstrated that an early Christian writing portrays authority as being represented in Mary Magdalene or in the church community structure.
Identification as Mary of Bethany
In Roman Catholic tradition, Mary of Bethany is identified as Mary Magdalene, while in Eastern Orthodox and Protestant traditions they are considered separate persons. "Mary of Bethany" itself is an anachronism, as she is just referred to as "Mary" both in and the Gospel of John.
The identification is mainly based on the Gospel of John. The Mary appearing in Bethany is introduced inonly by her first name, as if her identity was self-evident. Jesus seems to know her family well
The Gnostic texts commonly refer to Mary Magdalene as Mary.
Betrothed to John the Evangelist
The monk and historian Domenico Cavalca (c. 1270-1342), citing Jerome, suggested that Mary Magdalene was betrothed to St John the Evangelist: "I like to think that the Magdalene was the spouse of John, not affirming it... I am glad and blythe that St Jerome should say so." 
The Dominican monk Jacobus de Voragine in his Golden Legend reported the legend that Mary Magdalene was betrothed to St John the Evangelist, who left his bride at the altar to follow Jesus, dismissing it as a "false and frivolous tale".
In 1449 King René d'Anjou gave to Angers Cathedral the amphora from Cana in which Jesus changed water to wine, acquiring it from the nuns of Marseilles, who told him that Mary Magdalene had brought it with her from Judea, relating to the legend where she was the jilted bride at the wedding following John the Evangelist received his calling from Jesus.
A virgin after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Ambrose (De virginitate 3,14; 4,15) and John Chrysostom (Matthew, Homily 88) have suggested that Mary Magdalene was a virgin after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Buried at Iona
Relationship with Jesus
The Gospel of Philip depicts Mary as Jesus' koinonos, a Greek term indicating a "close friend" or "companion". Mary Magdalene is mentioned as one of three Marys "who always walked with the Lord" and as his companion (Philip 59.6-11). The work also says that Lord loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often (63.34-36). The closeness described in these writings depicts Mary Magdalene, representing the Gnostics, as understanding Jesus and his teaching while the other disciples, representing the Church, did not. Kripal writes that "the historical sources are simply too contradictory and simultaneously too silent" to make absolute declarations regarding Jesus' sexuality. On the other hand, author John Dickson argues that it was common in early Christianity to kiss a fellow believer by way of greeting,
Mary Magdalene appears with more frequency than other women in the canonical Gospels and is shown as being a close follower of Jesus. Mary's presence at the Crucifixion and Jesus' tomb, while hardly conclusive, is at least consistent with the role of grieving wife and widow. There are also passages indicating that Mary of Bethany was behaving as a Jewish wife, for example in waiting to be summoned when Jesus arrived at Lazarus’ tomb. This would be resolved if Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were one and the same character (see below).
Proponents of a companionship with Jesus argue that it would have been unthinkable for an adult, unmarried Jew to travel about teaching as a rabbi. However, in Jesus' time the Jewish religion was very diverse and the role of the rabbi was not yet well defined. It was not until after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70 that Rabbinic Judaism became dominant and the role of the rabbi made uniform in Jewish communities.
The 13th-century Cistercian monk and chronicler Peter of Vaux de Cernay claimed it was part of Catharist belief that the earthly Jesus Christ had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, described as his concubine. Quote: "Further, in their secret meetings they said that the Christ who was born in the earthly and visible Bethlehem and crucified at Jerusalem was 'evil', and that Mary Magdalene was his concubine – and that she was the woman taken in adultery who is referred to in the Scriptures; the 'good' Christ, they said, neither ate nor drank nor assumed the true flesh and was never in this world, except spiritually in the body of Paul. I have used the term 'the earthly and visible Bethlehem' because the heretics believed there is a different and invisible earth in which – according to some of them – the 'good' Christ was born and crucified." 
A document, possibly written by Ermengaud of Béziers, undated and anonymous and attached to his Treatise against Heretics, makes a similar statement. Quote: "Also they [the Cathars] teach in their secret meetings that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Christ. She was the Samaritan woman to whom He said, 'Call thy husband.' She was the woman taken into adultery, whom Christ set free lest the Jews stone her, and she was with Him in three places, in the temple, at the well, and in the garden. After the Resurrection, He appeared first to her." 
In historical fiction
Edgar Saltus's historical fiction novel Mary Magdalene: A Chronicle (1891) depicts her as a heroine living in a castle at Magdala, who moves to Rome becoming the "toast of the tetrarchy", telling John The Baptist she will "drink pearls... sup on peacock's tongues." 
- Magdalen Society of Philadelphia forced labour society
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- Saint Sarah
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- ^ "Saint Mary Magdalen". New Catholic Dictionary. 1910. http://saints.sqpn.com/ncd05121.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- ^ a b Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή in Matt 27:56; 27:61; 28:1; ; ; ; ( replaces "η" with "τη" because of the case change). says "Μαρία ... η Μαγδαληνή" and says "η Μαγδαληνή Μαρία." , 20:1 and 20:18 all say "Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή."
- ^ a b "Saint Mary Magdalene." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. read online.
- ^ Saint Mary Magdalene. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/367559/Saint-Mary-Magdalene
- ^ It is contested if some of the other persons named Mary, such as Mary of Bethany, are actually Mary Magdalene as well.
- ^ a b See Marvin Meyer, with Esther A. de Boer, The Gospels of Mary: The Secret Traditions of Mary Magdalene the Companion of Jesus (Harper San Francisco) 2004;Esther de Boer provides an overview of the source texts excerpted in an essay "Should we all turn and listen to her?': Mary Magdalene in the spotlight." pp.74-96.
- ^ John 20:11 and John 20:16.
- ^ Mariam, The Magdalen, and The Mother Deirdre Good, editor Indiana University Press 601 North Morton Street, Bloomington, IN 47404-3797. Pages 9-10.
- ^ Jackson, Wayne. "Demons: Ancient Superstition or Historical Reality?" Apologetics Press: Reason & Revelation. April 1998 - 18:25-31. Web. 26 March 2010.
- ^ May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977.
- ^ Stagg, Evelyn and Frank. Woman in the World of Jesus. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978. ISBN 0-664-24195-6
- ^ "Mary & Martha: Friends of Jesus." <http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/jesusandwomen/>
- ^ Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalen: The Essential History, page 96 (Pimlico, 2003). ISBN 1-8459-5004-6
- ^ Williams, Mary Alice. "Mary Magdalene." PBS: Religion and Ethics. November 21, 2003. Episode no. 712. Web: 22 December 2009>
- ^ Lester, Meera. "Mary Magdalene." Netplaces. Women of the Bible. Women Disciples and Followers of Christ. Mary Magdalene. 8/22/2011. <http://www.netplaces.com/women-of-the-bible/women-disciples-and-followers-of-christ/mary-magdalene.htm>
- ^ John Trigilio, Jr., Kenneth Brighenti, Saints For Dummies, pages 52-53 (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2010). ISBN 978-0-470-53358-1
- ^ a b King, Karen L. "Women In Ancient Christianity: The New Discoveries." Frontline: The First Christians. Web: 2 November 2009.
- ^ a b "Gospel of Mary." Early Christian Writings.
- ^ a b c d De Boer, Esther A., The Gospel of Mary Listening to the Beloved Disciple. London: Continuum, 2006 (2005).
- ^ Compare with .
- ^ I. Miller, Robert J. (Robert Joseph). The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version. Polebridge Press, 1992, p. 365.
- ^ a b c The Old and New Testament and Gnostic contexts and the text are discussed by Robert M. Grant, "The Mystery of Marriage in the Gospel of Philip." Vigiliae Christianae 15.3 (September 1961:129-140).
- ^ Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Koinonos". The New Testament Greek Lexicon". searchgodsword.org
- ^ This confusing reference is already in the original manuscript. It is not clear, if the text refers to Jesus' or his mother's sister, or whether the intention is to say something else.
- ^ a b Meyer, Marvin (2004). The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060655815.
- ^ a b Ehrman, Bart. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0
- ^ a b Hurtak, J.J. and D.E. (1999) Pistis Sophia: Text and Commentary complete text with commentary.
- ^ Darrell L. Bock, Breaking The Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, page 143 (Nelson Books, 2004). ISBN 0-7852-6046-3
- ^ Jane Schaberg, The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha and The Christian Testament, page 88 (New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc., 2002). ISBN 0-8264-1645-4
- ^ Ehrman, Bart. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend, page 253 (Oxford University Press, USA. 2006). ISBN 0-19-530013-0
- ^ Darrell L. Bock, Breaking The Da Vinci Code., pages 143-144.
- ^ a b King, Karen I. "Women in Ancient Christianity: the New Discoveries." Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Frontline: From Jesus to Christ—The First Christians. Online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/women.html. Accessed 01–11–2008.
- ^ Witherington, Ben III. "Mary, Mary, Extraordinary," beliefnet.com
- ^ William Thomas Kessler, Peter as The First Witness of The Risen Lord: An Historical and Theological Investigation, page 198 (Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1995). ISBN 88-7652-785-0
- ^ Gregory of Tours, De miraculis, I, xxx.
- ^ Saxer, La culte de Marie Magdalene en occident (1959).
- ^ Ecole française de Rome, (1992).
- ^ Jansen 2000.
- ^ See Franco Mormando, "Virtual Death in the Middle Ages: The Apotheosis of Mary Magdalene in Popular Preaching," in Death and Dying in the Middle Ages, ed. Edelgard DuBruck and Barbara I. Gusick, New York, Peter Lang, 1999, pp. 257-74.
- ^ "the Abbey of Vesoul" in William Caxton's translation.
- ^ Medieval Sourcebook: The Golden Legend: Volume IV.
- ^ , ,
- ^ See Franco Mormando, "Teaching the Faithful to Fly: Mary Magdalene and Peter in Baroque Italy" in Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque Image, Chestnut Hill, MA, McMullen Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 107-135.
- ^ Mclaughlin, Lisa and David Van Biema. "Mary Magdalene Saint or Sinner?" timeonline.com, August 11, 2003. Accessed 7 June 2009
- ^ Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2006, p. 57
- ^ Abernethy and Beaty, The Folklore of Texan Cultures, Denton University of North Texas Press, 2000, p. 261.
- ^ Juliet Thompson, I, Mary Magdalene, Foreword
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 420
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í World Faith - `Abdu'l-Bahá Section, p. 385
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá in London, p. 105
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 50
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, pp. 39-40
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá Vol.2, p. 467
- ^ Mazal, Peter (2003-10-21). "Selected Topics of Comparison in Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith". bahai-library.org. http://bahai-library.com/mazal_comparison_christianity_bahai&chapter=2. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
- ^ Easton, M.G. "Mary." The Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 1897
- ^ Brown, Raymond E. 1970. "The Gospel According to John (xiii-xxi)". New York: Doubleday & Co. Pages 922, 955.
- ^ Pope, H. (1910). St. Mary Magdalen, in The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- ^ Note also that it is Mary Magdalene, among with other women, in who goes to Jesus' grave to anoint him.
- ^ "The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene." Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments; The Gnostic Society of America. 
- ^ Katherine Ludwig Jansen, The Making of The Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion In The Later Middle Ages, page 151, footnote 20 (Princeton University Press, 2000). ISBN 0-691-08987-6. Citing Cavalca, Vita, 329; Life, 2-3.
- ^ Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: The Life of Mary Magdalene
- ^ Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend, Volume 1, 382
- ^ Katherine Ludwig Jansen, citing Jacques Levron, Le bon roi René (Paris: Arthaud, 1972).
- ^ Fiona MacLeod, writing as "F.M.", The Divine Adventure: Iona: By Sundown Shores. Studies in spiritual history. (London: Chapman and Hall, 1900)
- ^ Jeffrey John Kripal, The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion, p. 52 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007). ISBN 0226453804 ISBN 0226453812
- ^ The Christ Files: How Historians Know What They Know About Jesus, John Dickson, p. 95 (Sydney South: Blue Bottle Books, 2006). ISBN 1921137541
- ^ "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." Discovery Channel, 2007. Quoted by Don Sausa, The Jesus Tomb. Vision Press, 2007. ISBN 0978834690
- ^ Cresswell P A, "Jesus the terrorist." O Books, 2010. pp 173-76
- ^ Tim Wallace-Murphy, Marilyn Hopkins, Custodians of Truth: The Continuance of Rex Deus, pages 70-71 (Red Wheel/Weiser LLC., 2005). ISBN 1-57863-323-0
- ^ Rubenstein, Jeffrey L. Rabbinic stories. Paulist Pres 2002. ISBN 0809140241
- ^ W.A. Sibly, M.D. Sibly, The History of the Albigensian Crusade: Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay's "Historia Albigensis" (Boydell, 1998). ISBN 0851156584."
- ^ http://www.ccg.org/english/s/b8.html
- ^ Anne Bradford Townsend, The Cathars of Languedoc as heretics: From the Perspectives of Five Contemporary Scholars, page 147 (UMI Microform, ProQuest, 2008). PhD Dissertation 
- ^ Walter L. Wakefield, Austin P. Evans, Heresies of the High Middle Ages: Translated with Notes, page 234 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991). ISBN 0-231-02743-5. The authors speculate on page 230 that this could have been the source used by Peter of Vaux de Cernay.
- ^ Robert Kiefer Webb, Richard J. Helmstadter (editors), Religion and Irreligion in Victorian Society: Essays in Honor of R.K. Webb, page 119 (London: Routledge, 1991). ISBN 0-415-07625-0
- ^ Edgar Saltus, Mary Magdalene: A Chronicle (New York, Belford company, 1891). Available from Open Library .
- Acocella, Joan. "The Saintly Sinner: The Two-Thousand-Year Obsession with Mary Magdalene." The New Yorker, February 13 & 20, 2006, p. 140–49. Prompted by controversy surrounding Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.
- Brock, Ann Graham. Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003. ISBN 0674009665. Discusses issues of apostolic authority in the gospels and the Gospel of Peter the competition between Peter and Mary, especially in chapter 7, "The Replacement of Mary Magdalene: A Strategy for Eliminating the Competition."
- Burstein, Dan, and Arne J. De Keijzer. Secrets of Mary Magdalene. New York: CDS Books, 2006. ISBN 1593152051.
- Jansen, Katherine Ludwig. The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000. ISBN 0691058504.
- Kripal, Jeffrey John. (2007), The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226453804 ISBN 0226453812.
- Pearson, Birger A. "Did Jesus Marry?." Bible Review, Spring 2005, pp 32–39 & 47. Discussion of complete texts.
- Picknett, Lynn, and Clive Prince. The Templar Revelation. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. ISBN 0593038703. Presents a hypothesis that Mary Magdalene was a priestess who was Jesus' partner in a sacred marriage.
- Shoemaker, Stephen J. "Rethinking the ‘Gnostic Mary’: Mary of Nazareth and Mary of Magdala in Early Christian Tradition." in Journal of Early Christian Studies, 9 (2001) pp 555–595.
- Thiering, Barbara. Jesus the Man: Decoding the Real Story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. New York: Simon & Schulster (Atria Books), 2006. ISBN 1416541381.
- Wellborn, Amy. De-coding Mary Magdalene: Truth, Legend, and Lies. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2006. ISBN 1592762093. A straightforward accounting of what is well-known of Mary Magdalene.
- "Saint Mary Magdalene." Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
- The Life of St. Mary Magdalene: Saint of the Christian Church
- St Mary Magdalene, Catholic Encyclopaedia 1911
- Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene
- St Mary Magdalen and the case for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church
- Legends of Mary Magdalene
- The Pesher Technique: The Marriage of Jesus by Barbara Thiering
- Miriam/Myriam M'Gadola: Mary Magdalene
- Articles and more than 40 Paintings
- Early Christian Writings: Gospel of Mary
- Gospel of Mary Magdalene
- Saint Mary Magdalene at the Open Directory Project
- Showing inaccuracy of The Da Vinci Code in respect to Mary Magdalene
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Look at other dictionaries:
Mary Magdalene — n. MAGDALENE (sense 2) … English World dictionary
Mary Magdalene — noun sinful woman Jesus healed of evil spirits; she became a follower of Jesus (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑St. Mary Magdalene, ↑Mary Magdalen, ↑St. Mary Magdalen • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sinner, ↑evildoer, ↑saint … Useful english dictionary
Mary Magdalene — noun A female disciple of Jesus. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre … Wiktionary
Mary Magdalene — Mary of Magdala, whom Jesus healed of possession by devils, Luke 8:2: traditionally identified with the repentant woman whom Jesus forgave. Luke 7:37 50. * * * … Universalium
Mary Magdalene — Mary Mag|da|le|ne, Saint in the New Testament of the Bible, a woman who Jesus cured. She attended Jesus s ↑crucifixion and was the first person to see him when he returned to life after his death. She is usually thought to be the same woman as… … Dictionary of contemporary English
Mary Magdalene — noun Etymology: Late Latin Magdalene, from Greek Magdalēnē a woman who was healed of evil spirits by Jesus and who saw the risen Christ near his sepulchre … New Collegiate Dictionary
Mary Magdalene — (first century) Disciple and Saint. Mary is mentioned in luke’s Gospel as someone from whom seven devils had been exorcised. She witnessed Jesus’s death on the cross and she was the first to discover that his tomb was empty on Easter… … Who’s Who in Christianity
Mary Magdalene — Mar′y Mag′dalene n. rel Mary of Magdala: traditionally identified with the repentant woman whom Jesus forgave. Luke 7:37–50 … From formal English to slang
Mary Magdalene — /mɛəri ˈmægdəlin/ (say mairree magduhleen) noun Mary of Magdala, mentioned in Luke 8:2, and traditionally identified with the repentant woman in Luke 7:37–50 … Australian English dictionary
Mary Magdalene, St. — … Useful english dictionary