In line with Church doctrine Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. She had been also known as Mary of Bethany and employed spikenard when anointing the feet of Jesus Christ. She was subsequently converted and expended the remainder of her lifetime repentant. The Church modified their opinion of Mary Magdalene in 1969, but they still like to get people to think otherwise. Who had been the real Mary Magdalene? What is her real identity and why did the gospel writers change her story?
It has been said many times that the portrayal of Mary Magdalene within the New testament by the gospel writers is actually doubtful to say the least. Unlike the other women within the Bible, she is referred to only by name and not, for example, ‘Mary Magdalene the wife of John’ or ‘sister of James’. She is simply ‘Mary Magdalene’. This makes her unique. Mary Magdalene always appears top of any record about the followers of Christ, aside from the Virgin Mary. Groups considered as heretics by the Church her in a special, almost fanatical, reverence – why? What did they know that the actual gospel authors didn’t?
We are able to search the gospels for the answers to her high standing, yet will find no hints. It is only after the crucifixion, when she anoints Jesus’ lifeless body with spikenard, when she is first mentioned by name (apart from a brief appearance within Luke). The New International Edition of the Holy bible quotes Luke (8:1-3) which says that Mary Magdalene was one of the women following Christ from town to town.
Clearly then, a number of Jesus’ disciples were women. This is against the Church teachings and what’s more the women didn’t have to depend on their men for cash. What makes this particular ‘financial independence’ even more interesting, is that it shows that Jesus and his followers had been more than comfortable living off of the immoral earnings of a prostitute! Either she and the other women had been working hard, or they were from a prosperous family.
Carla Ricci, in her book Mary Magdalene and many others (1994) suggests something more important is being highlighted in the brief reference to her in Luke, ‘Going through the indexes to whole stacks of exegetical and theological writings held in the Pontifical Biblical Institute showed me that these verses were almost left out.’ She continues, ‘little has been written, specifically and purposely, on Luke 8:1-3.’ Is this omission simply a general disrespect for female followers of Christ – a kind of bigotry – or is it particularly directed at her for some other reason?
Bearing in mind exactly how central she is to the entire Jesus saga, it’s very strange that if the verses of Luke ended up being completely left out, then there’d have hardly been mention of her name whatsoever in the entire New testament. The marginalisation of the role of Mary is odd, plus it appears to have backfired as her role continues to demand attention.
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