St. Mary Magdalene

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Explicit references to Mary Magdalene

Matthew 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Matthew 27:61 But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.
Matthew 28:1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
Mark 15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.
Mark 16:1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Mark 16:9 When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.
Luke 8:1-3
1 Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve

2 and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

3 Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Luke 24:10 The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles.
John 19:25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
John 20:1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
John 20:18 Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.
  • All four gospels mention that Mary Magdalene witnessed Jesus' death on the Cross.
  • All four gospels have at least one story of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb, alone or with others, early on the morning of the first day of the week (Sunday).
  • In the first ending of Mark (16:1-8) and in Luke, Mary and the other women only see one or two men dressed in white (later called angels in Luke); they do not see Jesus (!). Paul also does not list Mary among the witnesses of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:5-8).
  • In Matthew, the whole group of women see a flying angel first and then see Jesus afterward.
  • In the second ending of Mark (16:9-20) and in the first ending of John (20), Mary is alone when she sees Jesus.
  • In the first ending of Mark (16:1-8), Mary and the other women remain silent about seeing the man dressed in white. In all of the other stories, she and the other women tell what they saw at the tomb.

Mary of Bethany


Luke 10:38-42

38 As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.

39 She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.

40 Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

41 The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.

42 There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

This pair of sisters has traditionally been identified with Martha and Mary of Bethany in John's gospel. The identification seems reasonable to me on the basis of the dialogue between Martha and Jesus in the two gospels--it sounds to me like the same woman speaking in both cases.


There are two stories about Mary of Bethany in John:

  • The raising of her brother, Lazarus, from the dead (Jn 11:1-44).]
  • The anointing of Jesus: "Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil" (Jn 12:3).

A repentant woman (or two?)

Luke tells the story of a woman known to be a sinner who bathed Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair (7:36-50). Jesus declares her sins forgiven (7:47-48) and concludes, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (7:50).

Washing Jesus' feet and drying them with her hair resembles the actions of Mary of Bethany in John 12:3. In Matthew 26:7 and Mark 14:3, a woman anoints Jesus' head with "an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil." This anointing with costly perfumed oil is in Bethany, which gives these stories two points of contact with John's story, but the anointing takes place in the house of Simon the leper, not in the house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

Matthew and Mark say of the woman who anointed Jesus' head with oil: "Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her" (Mt 26:7 and Mk 14:9).

Are Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany the same woman?

The Roman Catholic tradition identifies Mary of Bethany and Luke's repentant sinner with Mary Magdalene.

The argument is fully detailed in the Catholic Encyclopedia."

The Eastern tradition treats them as three distinct women.

There is no dogma on this point. Catholics may weigh the evidence and decide for themselves how to interpret the stories.

Was Mary Magdalene the woman caught in adultery?

Unlike the preceding passages, there are virtually no points of contact between the stories about Mary Magdalene and the story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 7:53-8:11). One might imagine a sequence of events that would weave all of these stories into one, but there is nothing in the text that requires doing so. Neither is there anything in the text, per se, that would prohibit one from conflating all of the stories into one.

I am personally inclined to treat them all as separate stories, but I do not hold this opinion dogmatically.

Did Jesus marry Mary Magdalene?

[X] To me, it is just OBVIOUS that God Incarnate would not form a union with Mary Magdalene in secret, but just because it seems OBVIOUS to me, it does not follow that it will be obvious to everybody else. By the second and third century, some people obviously found it believable, so it is not surprising that some people still find it believable today. I suppose one big difference between us is that they think Jesus is "just a man," and so, like all other men, would want the fulfillment of marriage. ...

Knowing a negative like this is very difficult.

How do we know Jesus wasn't gay?

How do we know Jesus wasn't married to the Beloved Disciple?

How do we know Jesus didn't travel to India?

How do we know Jesus wasn't an Egyptian magician?

"Apostle to the Apostles"

Reflections on the novel, Divine:

You don't have to be an apostle to preach Jesus. The story may be anti-clerical but not it is not anti-apostolic. He sent Mary to the apostles because they were central to His plans.
You don't have to be an apostle to love Jesus. Mary is not deprived in any way by not being an apostle. She is not diminished.
I like the fact that the novel begins with the protagonist preaching abstinence. I like the fact that she preaches Jesus as true God and true man. These are Catholic propositions. I like the fact that she has celibate evangelists.
The woman and the man love each other very much, but do not marry. They put Jesus first.
I don't like the pastor hugging her the way he did. It seemed romantic and erotic to me, not innocent.