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Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala (original Greek Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή, Heb., Miriam) is described, both in the canonical New Testament and in the New Testament apocrypha, as one of the most important women in the movement of Jesus. Mary was one of women who accompanied Jesus during his travels, following him to the end. According to all four Gospels in the Christian New Testament, she was the first to witness his resurrection.

Mary Magdalene is referred to in early Christian writings as "the apostle to the apostles." 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.King, Karen L. "Women In Ancient Christianity: The New Discoveries." Frontline: The First Christians. Web: 2 Nov 2009. /> Lot of speculations both in antiquity and in modern times have emerged regarding Mary, including claims that she was Jesus' wife or even a prostitute.

Mary Magdalene is considered by the Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. She is also commemorated by the Lutheran Church with a festival on the same day. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers which is the second Sunday after Pascha (Easter). Protestant Christians honor her as an apostle of Jesus.


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 Magdalamarker, a town thought to have been on the western shore of the Sea of Galileemarker. says that she was actually "called Magdalene." In Aramaic, "magdala" means "tower" or "elevated, great, magnificent".

In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene is also referred to simply as "Mary" at least twice.

Gnostic writings use either Mary or Mary Magdalene, or even just Magdalene.


Primary sources about Mary Magdalene can be divided into canonical texts that are collected into the Christian New Testament and to apocryphal texts that were left out from the Bible, being judged as heretical during the development of the New Testament canon. These sources are usually dated earliest to the end of the 1st and latest to the early 4th century, all possibly written well after Mary's death.

New Testament

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. says:

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.

The same reference to "seven demons" is made later in . However, this part of the Gospel of Mark is generally regarded as a late addition, and the reference is possibly based on the Gospel of Luke.

,   and   mention Mary Magdalene as a witness to crucifixion, along with various others women. Luke does not name any witnesses, but mentions "women who had followed him from Galilea" standing at a distance. No motivation for her to follow Jesus to the end is given.

 and   give her name as a witness to Jesus' actual burial. Again, Luke mentions only unnamed "women". In contrast to the synoptic Gospels, John does not mention anyone from Jesus' inner circle to have witnessed his burial.

All Gospels unanimously mention Mary Magdalene to have found Jesus' tomb as empty, either with some other women or alone. Gospels give various accounts if she told about the empty tomb to the disciples or not.

After resurrection, and mention Jesus to have appeared first to Mary Magdalene, privately. No reason for this is given. Again, Mark's reference is from the final part of his Gospel which is regarded as a late addition, here possibly taking its information from John.

Following this, Mary Magdalene disappears from the New Testament. She is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, and her fate remains undocumented.

Gospel of John and Gospel of Luke also mention a "Mary" appearing in Bethany, who may or may not have been the same person as Mary Magdalene. Traditionally, these occurrences of a Mary are grouped together as a separate person Mary of Bethany.

New Testament Apocrypha

Several Gnostic writings, usually dated to 2nd and 3rd centuries, have a drastically different view of Mary Magdalene than the canonical Gospels. Gnosticism was a Christian movement that was declared heretical 388, resulting in persecution, suppression and almost total destruction of their heritage, that survives today mostly in fragmented manuscripts.

In Gnostic writings, Mary Magdalene is seen as one of the most important, if not the most important disciple whom Jesus loved more than the others. The Gnostic Gospel of Philip even names Mary Magdalene as Jesus' companion. Writings also describe tensions and jealousy between Mary Magdalene and other disciples, especially Peter.

Pistis Sophia

Pistis Sophia, possibly dating as early as the 2nd century, is the best surviving of the Gnostic writings. Unlike most of the Gnostic texts, its existence was never forgotten. Pistis Sophia presents a long dialog with Jesus in the form of questions made by his disciples and him giving the answers. 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."

There is also a short reference to a person named "Martha" among the disciples, possibly the same person who is named as the sister of Mary of Bethany.

Gospel of Philip

Gospel of Philip, dating from the 2nd or 3rd century, survives in part among the texts found in Nag Hammadimarker in 1945. In a manner very similar to , Gospel presents Mary Magdalene among Jesus' female entourage, adding that she was his companion (koinônos):

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 and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.

Others' irritation from the love and affection presented by Jesus to Mary Magdalene is made evident (the text is badly fragmented, speculated additions are included 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 Mary

Gospel of Mary is usually dated to about the same period than 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.De Boer, Esther A., The Gospel of Mary Listening to the Beloved Disciple. London: Continuum, 2006 (2005).

The identity of "Mary" appearing as the main character in the Gospel is sometimes disputed, but she is generally regarded to be Mary Magdalene. In the Gospel, Mary, presented here as one of the disciples, 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."

Unfortunately, almost all of Mary's vision is within the lost pages. Mary is then confronted by Andrew and Peter, who do not want to take it 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?"

Mary is however 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 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 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.Meyer, Marvin (2004). The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060655815. It has two short references to a "Mary", generally regarded as Mary Magdalene. The latter of the two describes the sentinent towards female members of the early church:

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.

Mary Magdalene as viewed by Churches

Eastern Orthodox

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. 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. Mary's role as a witness is interesting due to the fact women at that time could not be witnesses in legal proceedings. Because of this, and because of her subsequent missionary activity in spreading the Gospel, she is known by the title, "Equal of the Apostles". She is often depicted on icons bearing a vessel of ointment, not because of the anointing by the "sinful woman", but because she was among those women who brought ointments to the tomb of Jesusmarker. For this reason, she is called a Myrrhbearer.

According to Eastern traditions, she retired to Ephesusmarker 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 [3292] [3293] of the Virgin Mary). Her relics were transferred to Constantinoplemarker in 886 and are there preserved.

Roman Catholic

Gregory of Tours, writing in Toursmarker in the sixth century, supports the tradition that she retired to Ephesus, with no mention of any connection to Gaul.

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.

Mary Magdalene's relics were first venerated at the abbey of Vézelaymarker 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-Provencemarker to the newly founded abbey of Vézelaymarker; 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 body of Mary Magdalene was also venerated at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baumemarker, Provence. This cult attracted such throngs of pilgrims that the earlier shrine was rebuilt as the great Basilica from the mid-thirteenth century, one of the finest Gothic churches in the south of Francemarker.

The competition between the Cluniacmarker 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 known 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 Mediterraneanmarker in a frail boat with neither rudder nor mast and landed at the place called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mermarker near Arlesmarker. 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-Baumemarker ("holy cave." baumo in Provencal), 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.

In 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a Dominican convent at La Sainte-Baume, the shrine was found intact, with an explanatory inscription stating why the relics had been hidden.

In 1600, the 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.

Mary as a penitent

The traditional Roman Catholic feast day dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene celebrated her position as a penitent. 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 revised the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar, and now there is no mention in either of Mary Magdalene as previously being a sinner. However, if true, this is only circumstancial evidence, since the Catholic Church has made no official statement on the matter.

The Magdalene became a symbol of repentance for the vanities of the world to various sects. St. Mary Magdalene was the patron of Magdalen College, Oxfordmarker, and Magdalene College, Cambridgemarker (both pronounced "maudlin"). In contrast, her name was also used for the Magdalen Asylum, institutions for "fallen women".

In the Eastern Orthodox churches, Mary Magdalene is not celebrated as a penitent, but rather as a woman who lived a virtuous life even before her conversion.

Protestant views

Although Anglican Christians revere her as a saint, other Protestants honor her as a highly respected apostle, disciple and friend of Jesus. Veneration of saints is not usually practiced by Protestant denominations.

Mary had been looked upon as a great sinner, but Christ knew the circumstances that had shaped her life.
(…) It was He who had lifted her from despair and ruin.
Seven times she had heard His rebuke of the demons that controlled her heart and mind.
Nonetheless, Mary of Magdala is recorded as having stood beside the cross, and followed Him to the sepulcher. Mary was first at the tomb after His resurrection. It was Mary who first proclaimed a risen Saviour.

Mary Magdalene is not the "sinful woman" depicted in . It has similarities with another story of Jesus being anointed by Mary of Bethany near the end of his ministry and is often confused with it.

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 Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian, Russian, Romanian, Serbian and Ukrainian) this sharing is accompanied by the proclamation "Christ is risen!" (in Greek "Christos anesti") and the response "Truly He is risen!"(in Greek - "Alithos anesti").

One tradition 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).


"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 and maybe even is the unidentified "Beloved Disciple", to whom the Fourth Gospel commonly called Gospel of John is ascribed.

Ramon K. Jusino, an internet writer, offers an explanation of this view, based on the textual researches of Raymond E. Brown. In order to make this claim and maintain consistency with scriptures, the theory is suggested that Mary's separate existence in the two common scenes with the Beloved Disciple ( and ) were later modifications, hastily done to authorize the gospel in the late 2nd century. Both scenes have inconsistencies both internally and in reference to the synoptic Gospels, possibly coming from rough editing to make Mary Magdalene and the Beloved Disciple appear as different persons.

It has also been claimed that the inexplicable final chapter of the Gospel, with Peter catching 153 fish while the Beloved Disciple and Jesus exchange words is actually a hidden reference to Mary Magdalene, her original epithet "η Μαγδαληνή" (h Magdalhnh) bearing the number 153 in Greek gematria.

Ann Graham Brock 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.

Relationship with Jesus

A few modernist writers have come forward with claims that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus. These writers cite Gnostic writings to support their argument. Extrabiblical sources like the apocryphal Gospel of Philip depict Mary Magdalene as being closer to Jesus than any other disciple.

That apocryphal Gospel 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, the historian John Dickson argues that it was common in early Christianity to kiss a fellow believer by way of greeting, and as such kissing would have no romantic connotations.

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. Some interpret that since Jesus refused physical contact with Mary Magdalene after his death and resurrection, as reported in , that would speak against the marriage theory.

Proponents of a married status of 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 idea that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus was popularized by books like The Jesus Scroll (1972), Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982), The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991), The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (1993), Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed (1996), The Da Vinci Code (2003), and Jesus the Man (2006); and by films like Bloodline (2008).

Mary Magdalene, the Apostle

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 (though, in Eastern Christianity she is referred to as "Equal to the Apostles"). Later tradition, however, names 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 Seminarymarker 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."

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 in only by her first name, as if her identity was self-evident. Jesus seems to know her family well and is described visiting them several times. In , Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume and wipes his feet with her own hair, to which Jesus says that it was intended "she should save this perfume for the day of my burial". Following this, Mary of Bethany inexplicably disappears from the narrative, while the earlier unmentioned Mary Magdalene emerges without introduction at Jesus' crucifixion, finding later his tomb empty and being the first to be visited by him after the resurrection. Furthermore, also Mary Magdalene is referred to as "Mary" in the scenes certainly involving her.

To be noted also is the fact that in the Gnostic texts, Mary Magdalene seems to be commonly referred to as Mary.

Identification as a prostitute

Since the late 6th century, Mary Magdalene has been identified in Western Christian Tradition as an adulteress and repentant prostitute. Pope Gregory the Great made a speech in 591 where he seemed to combine the actions of three women mentioned in the New Testament and also identified an unnamed woman as Mary Magdalene. It was not until 1969 that the Vatican issued a quiet retraction.

The casting of Mary Magdalene as prostitute is based on the identification of a Mary living in Bethany as the same person as Mary Magdalene. Furthermore, in , Mary of Bethany is said to be the same person who "poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair". This again can be interpreted as a chronologically misplaced reference to , in which Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus' feet and dries them with her hair, or to , in which "a woman in that town who lived a sinful life" anoints Jesus' feet and wipes them dry with her hair. In the Gospel of John, there is nothing about Mary's sins, and the event itself is otherwise totally different than the event in the Gospel of Luke. To complicate the matter, and have their own versions of the superficially same occurrence, having elements from both John and Luke.

Jeffrey Kripal, a religion scholar, wrote, "Migdalmarker or Magdalamarker (meaning "tower" in Hebrew and Aramaic respectively) was a fishing town known, or so the legend goes, for its possibly punning connection to hairdressers (medgaddlela) and women of questionable reputation." Gregory identified Mary as a peccatrix, a sinful woman, using her as a model for the repentant sinner, not a meretrix, a prostitute. Gregory also identified Mary with the adulteress brought before Jesus (as recounted in the Pericope Adulterae, concurring with 3rd and 4th century Church fathers that had already considered the sinful woman's sin as "being unchaste.") Gregory's identification and the consideration of the woman's sin as sexual later probably gave rise to the image of Mary as a prostitute.

"Kreuzigung" by Meister des Marienlebens.

This impression of Mary 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.

This image of Mary as a prostitute was followed by many writers and artists until the 20th century. Even today the identification of Mary Magdalene as the adulteress is prolonged by various Christian and secular groups today. 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 and Hal Hartley's The Book of Life.

Cultural references

In film and literature

In music


See also


  1. Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή in ; ; ; ; ; ; replaces "η" with "τη" because of the case change). says "Μαρία ... η Μαγδαληνή" and says "η Μαγδαληνή Μαρία." ; and all say "Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή."
  2. Miriam was the Jewish prophetess of the Old Testament (see ).
  3. "Mary Magdalene—Apostle and Friend of Jesus." Jesus and Courageous Women. August 8, 2009
  4. Galli, Mike. "Mary Magdalene." 2005.
  5. King, Karen L. The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle. Polebridge Press, 2006. ISBN 0-944344-58-5
  6. It is contested if some of the other persons named Mary, like Mary of Bethany, are actually Mary Magdalene as well.
  7. 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.
  8. and .
  9. May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977.
  10. , and
  11. , and
  12. and
  13. Hurtak, J.J. and D.E. (1999) Pistis Sophia: Text and Commentary complete text with commentary.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
  16. Compare with .
  17. Stagg, Evelyn and Frank. Woman in the World of Jesus. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978.
  18. Gregory of Tours, De miraculis, I, xxx.
  19. Saxer, La culte de Marie Magdalene en occident (1959).
  20. Ecole française de Rome, (1992).
  21. Jansen 2000.
  22. "the Abbey of Vesoul" in William Caxton's translation.
  23. Medieval Sourcebook: The Golden Legend: Volume IV.
  24. , ,
  25. Mclaughlin, Lisa and David Van Biema. "Mary Magdalene Saint or Sinner?" Time, Aug. 11, 2003. Online:,9171,1005391,00.html Accessed 7 Jun 2009
  26. Filteau, Jerry, "Scholars seek to correct Christian tradition, fiction of Mary Magdalene", Catholic Online, May 2 2006.
  27. Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, ed. 1898, chapter 62, p. 567-568
  28. Wilson, Ralph F. "Anointing by a Sinful Woman (Luke 7:36-50)." Aug. 8. 2009:
  29. ; ; and
  30. Abernethy and Beaty, The Folklore of Texan Cultures, Denton University of North Texas Press, 2000, p. 261.
  31. "Mary Magdalene, author of the Fourth Gospel?", 1998, on-line.
  32. Brown, Raymond E. 1970. "The Gospel According to John (xiii-xxi)". New York: Doubleday & Co. Pages 922, 955.
  33. "Mary Magdalene: The Illuminator", p. 61. William Henry Adventures Unlimited Press
  34. The Christ Files, John Dickson, p. 95
  35. "The Last Tomb of Jesus." Discovery Channel, 2007. Quoted by Don Sausa, The Jesus Tomb. Vision Press, 2007. ISBN 0978834690
  36. See Noli me tangere.
  37. Rubenstein, Jeffrey L. Rabbinic stories. Paulist Pres 2002. ISBN 0809140241
  38. King, Karen I. "Women in Ancient Christianity: the New Discoveries." Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Frontline: From Jesus to Christ—The First Christians. Online: Accessed 01–11–2008.
  39. Witherington, Ben III. "Mary, Mary, Extraordinary,"
  40. Pope, H. (1910). St. Mary Magdalen, in The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  41. and
  42. Note also that it is Mary Magdalene, among with other women, in who goes to Jesus' grave to anoint her.
  43. and
  44. Kripal, 2007, p. 52.


  • 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 Pressmarker, 2000. ISBN 0691058504.
  • 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.

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