Scriptures of Mary Magdalene are available to us inside and outside of the Bible. The New Testament itself contain many stories about extraordinary women and one of these legends is about Mary Magdalene who received a very prominent role in the four canonical Gospels, especially in the last days of Jesus. The time of Mary was built around a very patriarchal society, in which women were mainly pushed to the outline of the social structure. Females in the New Testament were also shown in leading roles in their congregations but that was quite rare. One woman in particular and the nowadays very famous Mary Magdalene. Not to be mistaken by Mary the mother of Jesus, who funnily enough has got her own dedicated Gospel, the Infancy Gospel of James. Mary was one of these women in the New Testament but we got other examples, too. For example, The prophet Anna in the Gospel of Luke (1:1-2:4) or the prophet Juniain in Pauls’s letters to the Romans (16:7).
Mary Magdalene is after Jesus’ mother Mary the properly second most known woman and the most fascinating female character in the entire Bible. Her story is full of mystery. Mary Magdalene is often to be thought of, as one of Jesus’ female followers and/or his wife. She could have been the sister of Martha and Lazarus or just a fictional person. We will dive deeper into the Mary Magdalene story from a different source to let you make your own decision based on the information I had at my disposal. She is appearing in all of the canonical gospels which is remarkable in the sense that 5 out of the 12 apostles are not mentioned in all of them! Scholars, in general, agree she was a historic figure. That said, if a group of people agree to something doesn’t make it real. We know the name Mary or Maria (Μαρία) in greek, was a very common name at that time in ancient Palestine.
Scriptures Of Mary Magdalene in orthodox Christianity
Who Is Mary Magdalene In The Bible?
Mary Magdalene appears 12 times in the New Testament possibly in earlier times she played an even more important role in orthodox Christianity but as manuscripts of the 1 – 3 century a rare this can only be placed as speculation but scholars have good reasons to think that this was the case. Let´s look at the 4 canonical Gospels to see where Mary Magdalene is mentioned. Please be aware that we don’t know who the authors of the Gospel are. They were written long after the apostles could have lived. I am sticking with the common naming of the Gospel for convenience sake.
Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Mark
The gospel of Mark is widely recognised by scholars to be the first Gospel to be composed. In Marks’s gospel, Mary is introduced quite late, she is one of the witnesses of Jesus’ crucification.
The crucifixion in Mark
The composer of Mark writes that some women were looking at Jesus from a distance only two are mentioned by name this was Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses in greek (Joseph).
The Burial in Mark
Also in Mark 15:4, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses also witnessed where Jesus’ body was buried.
The Resurrection in Mark
The following Sunday Mary Magdalene and the women visit the tomb. They were surprised that the big stone which covered the entrance to the grave was rolled away and in the sepulchre, a young man in white ropes spoke to them and told them that Jesus has risen and the women are living because the women were so afraid they haven’t told anyone what they have seen. This is the end of Mark.
A quick note:
There is a longer second version of Mark. Scholars are in agreement that the longer version was written later and comes from a different author. This writer must have known Luke and possibly was aware of Matthew, too. He added to the ending that Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene first. He is even saying he encountered, the one (Mary) who he healed from the 7 demons. This is something Luke-specific and will be looked at it later in more detail.
Mary Magdalene In the Gospel of Matthew
Scholars generally agree that Matthew is written after Mark and shortly before Luke. Matthew and also Luke are obviously coping from Mark, this can be determined by linguistic analysis.
Mary Magdalene appears in Matthew in the same spots as it did in Mark because Mark is Matthews’s source of writing and the creator of Matthew’s Gospel didn’t want to make big changes. He even corrects him in some ways and corrects Marks Greek. Matthew adds “only” one big event… but let’s see what happens in Matthew.
The crucifixion in Matthew
In Matthew 26:55-56, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee were the woman who witnessed Jesus’ death from far away.
The Burial in Matthew
In Matthew 27:61, both Marys were opposite the grave.
The Resurrection in Matthew
Matthews’s resurrection account is almost identical to Mark’s one but here the writer adds:
When Mary returned to Jesus’ tomb, suddenly an earthquake appeared and they saw an angel coming down from heaven who rolled the stone back and sat on it. The angels are described as powerful, and the woman and the guards of the tomb were scared. The angel told the women that they don’t need to be afraid and they will see Jesus in Galilee, as he had apprised them before, now they should go and tell the other disciples that he has risen from the dead. Before they could tell anybody about what they have experienced, Jesus appeared to them and greeted them. They fall to their knees and Jesus told them that they don’t need to be timid and they will meet with him in Galilee and now they should tell them what they have seen.
Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Luke
The creator of the Gospel of Luke also used Mark and parts of Matthew and maybe a lost saying Gospel called Q (Q coming from the German word “Quelle” meaning source). Many Scholars think that this lost Gospel was used by Luke and Matthew in addition to Mark’s account to mix mash and create their own work. Keep in mind that this hypothesis has no found proof to underline the claim. We have no actual evidence for a Q-text. It is more likely that Luke and Matthew are making things up, which falls in line with how religious schools made history as the atheist scholar Dr Richard Carrier argues.
Some intellectuals suggested that the scriptwriter of Luke is actually a woman because of the extraordinary often appearance of women and their role in the scripts. Giving them more power and influence. In Luke, we see that the wordsmith of the Gospel is more likely to correct Mark to drive his/her own agenda.
In the Gospel of Luke, Mary is introduced earlier into the spiel. The character of Mary has been placed carefully at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke to give her more significance, while in Mark and Matthew she is placed at the end to fill the role of the witness. The scribbler of Luke let Jesus walk through cities and towns to proclaim the kingdom of god and with him were his 12 disciples. They meet some women who were possessed by some “wicked” spirits.
Mary Magdalene was set free from 7 demons by Jesus
Mary Magdalene is among the women who are influenced by nasty fiends. Luke is writing: Mary was cured from 7 demons by Jesus. Two other women who were with Mary – called Joanna and Susanna – provide the Jesus group, out of gratitude with food, drinks and accommodation maybe even with money as the text is only mentioning resources, we can only speculate what it meant. It seems Mary had a very important position among the women who seemed to be wealthy to be able to support them.
The crucifixion in Luke
Luke is following Mark but at the crucifixion. Luke is not mentioning the name of the women (in contrast to Mark) at the crucifixion event who were witnesses of his death. Luke 23:49
The Burial in Luke
In Luke 23:55 the women followed the men who buried Jesus corpus and they knew the location of the tomb.
The Resurrection in Luke
The writer of Luke – like the author of Matthew – was not satisfied with the ending in Mark’s Gospel and added more text to it to give the narrative more sense.
Luke describes the day and time of his resurrection event. He/She writes: They (the women) found the grave open and also the stone was rolled away. When the women were in the sepulchre, they encountered two men and the women were perplexed and afraid, of course. The two male beings told them that they should remember what their “lord” has told them prior. He (Jesus) has foreseen that he will be handed over to the authorities, be crucified and then on the 3rd day he will arise from the dead. After hearing what the two gentlemen expressed, the woman could remember what Jesus said to them and they rushed and informed the disciples. Peter sprinted to the grave and found the tomb empty. He was amazed by this and accepted that because the shrine was empty the resurrection must have happened, too.
In Luke, Jesus appeared first to Peter and then to the other apostles. This contradicts the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus first appeared to Mary. Possibly there were two (maybe more) different traditions circulating and Luke wasn’t aware of it or he preferred to go with this one.
Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of John
The Gospel of John tells a different narrative from the synoptic Gospels but in the passion story, there are some overlaps.
Mary Magdalene is part of the crucifixion in John but also Mary the mother of Jesus and an unnamed beloved disciple, commonly attributed to John. The Gospel of John is dated around the year 100 and is the youngest of the 4 Gospels in the New Testament. This Gospel cant is written by John, he would be long dead.
The crucification in John
Mary Magdalene was part of a group of women in John, too, but in John, there is Jesus’ mother (he doesn’t name her) and his mother sister, Mary wife of Clopas and Jesus’ beloved disciple John.
The Burial in John
Unlike the other Gospels in John, Mary Magdalene is not part of the burial.
The Resurrection in John
In the scriptures of John, Mary Magdalene is discovering the empty tomb on her own. She is not part of a group of women. In the gospel of John, the anonymous beloved disciple came to the grave first after him Simon Peter and they went in together and saw only the white linen which covered Jesus’ body there. Both men going away. Only Mary Magdalene stayed looked again into the shrine and saw two angels she asked where her lord is and a men behind her (who was Jesus) asked her why she is crying and Mary (not knowing it was Jesus) replied they took my master away. Jesus said: Mary! Then she cried out loud: Rabbouni – which means teacher in Hebrew. After realising that it was Jesus and after Jesus announced he has not gone to their god yet, she told the Apostles.
Where Is Mary Magdalene In The Bible?
There is no clear answer because although she is mentioned in several places in the New Testament, most notably in the Gospel of Luke she is also mentioned in John’s gospel and the Book of Acts (scholars are convinced that the author of Luke and acts are the same person), her story and role are not always clear. Most scholars think she probably played a significant role in the early church but was later forgotten or deliberately left out. Some argue she is mentioned more because of her connection to Jesus than because of her importance. I have listed the mentions in the Gospels of Mary Magdalene down below.
Mentions of Mary in the Gospel of Mark
- The short ending of Mark 16:8
- The long ending of Mark 16:9 (this is another author than the original writer of Mark)
Mark has a long and short ending depends which version you read. Mary does only appear at the end of Marks’ Gospel.
Mentions of Mary in the Gospel of Matthew
Mentions Mary in the Gospel of Luke
Mentions Mary in the Gospel of John
Was Martha and Mary Magdalene the same person in John’s Gospel?
To illustrate how complex the investigation of early Christian writings is I have included a video of experts discussing if Martha was added to the Gospel of John at a later time. Martha is supposed to be the sister of Maria Magdalene. An expert on the figure of Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth Schrader was interviewed to discuss if Martha and Mary Magdalene were originally one single person.
Scripture Of Mary Magdalene in Gnostic Christianity
Gnostic Christianity is different to modern Christianity which has been the only Christianity not going extinct mainly because it became the state religion under the Roman emperor Constantine in the 3rd century AD. It differs that Gnostics believed the kingdom of god will be reached through knowledge (gnosis). We have a couple of mentions, mainly because of the Nag Hammadi library. In the main documents which we have from Gnostic Christianity – it is presumed that the writers speak about Mary Magdala.
She is mentioned in the following scripts:
- The Gospel of Thomas
- The Gospel of Philip
- The dialogue with the Saviour
- Pestis Sophia
- And the Gospel of Mary
Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Mary gained a lot of attraction in recent times, mainly because of the movie the Da Vinci code in which Tom Thanks played professor Robert Langdon a symbologist from Harvard University. The Da Vinci Code even proposed the possibility that Mary and Jesus were husband and wife but what is this text really about?
The Gospel of Mary is claiming that Mary Magdalene has secret visions and conversations with Jesus Christ that no other human or even apostle was able to receive from him. We have a similar “secret knowledge” story also in the Gospel of Judas, in which Judas is Jesus’ favourite, this is typical for Gnostic writings which claim to have mysterious, unknown information about the truth of Jesus and his teachings. In either case, these stories are not found in any other part of the New Testament.
The evidence for this gospel is very weak, and some scholars think it was created to promote Mary Magdalene’s veneration. Nevertheless, it is interesting to have different Gnostic texts to have a better blueprint of how different Christian groups thought about what would have happened when Jesus was preaching the kingdom of heaven and fulfilled the prophecy of being the Messiah.
When was the Gospel of Mary written?
Most Scholars think that the Gospel of Mary was written in the 2nd century AD and 3 small papyrus fragments composed in Greek were found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt unfortunately these scrapes of papyrus don’t provide us with new information.
In which language is the Gospel of Mary written?
It was first composed in ancient Greek but the copy of the Gospel of Mary is written in Coptic. The common language at that time was in ancient Egypt.
Who is the author of the Gospel of Mary?
It is written by Gnostic believers who followed their own tradition and school of thought.
Gospel of Mary Magdalene pDF
We don’t have the complete Gospel of Mary, pages 1–6 and 11-14 are missing. The entire Gospel of Mary which we possess is less than 8 pages in length.
What is the Gospel of Mary about?
The Gospel of Mary contains clear elements of Gnostic beliefs in it, like the soul, needs to ascend through the four levels of the cosmos and be questioned by the four powers and knowledge is the thing which let get the soul through the four powers to gain salvation. Does this remind you of something? Does it not sound like Greek mythology?
Comparison with Greek mythology
Yes, like the dead who need to pay Charon (the boatsman) to guide them over the river Styx which divides the world of the living from the dead. They need to pay him an “obelus” to the skipper so that he will do his job, otherwise, they have to run around for one hundred years then they can finally pass to the world of the dead. Usually, two coins are put on the eyes of the fatality, as it is a traditional part of the funeral ceremony.
We can see similarities between the bargee Charon and the knowledge or gnosis of the Gnostic Christians, being the key to “paradise”. Similarly the voyage over a river as a barrier in Greek mythology and the 4 powers and the 4 levels being the barriers for the Gnostics. Where they only differ is how they pass to the other side.
The Gospel of Mary is anti-feminine
Another typical Gnostic characteristic mirrors the zeitgeist in which we see a very masculine-dominated time. Women couldn’t go to heaven only men could because they were superior beings. We find expressions of such a view in Mary (7,9): “Jesus prepared us and made us into men” or also in the Gospel of Thomas. It says in Thomas 114: Women must make themselves male in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel of Thomas is also mentioning Mary, who is a leader of her congregation. Scholars presume it is Mary Magdalene, this can’t be confirmed because Mary was a very common name at this time.
other Gnostic findings let us understand the Gospel of Mary
Most writings we have comes from a find called the Nag Hammadi library where we discovered many Gnostic writings it lets us see the text and scholars can compare them to see where they distinguish and where they show the same characteristics.
Where was the Gospel of Mary found?
Interestingly the Gospel of Mary wasn’t found at Nag Hammadi it comes from a text known as the Berlin Codex, found in 1896 by the German scholar Carl Reinhardt in Akhmim, Egypt. Reinhard brought it to Berlin, therefore the name, the Berlin Codex or Akhmim Codex. It contained not only the Gospel of Mary but also the Apocryphon of John, the Sophia of Jesus Christ (copies of both of them were also found at Nag Hammadi) and the Act of Peter. The Berlin Codex wasn’t even published until the year 1955.
What is the context in the Gospel of Mary?
The Gospel of Mary is written from the perspective of Maria (Mary) Magadla. She is the one who Jesus selected to reveal the Gnosis (knowledge) to the keys of heaven. After Jesus supposedly had died. Mary was the one who gave the disciples comfort after Jesus’ death because all were in grief. She reminded them how great the saviour was. Peter is pointing praised Mary with the words, Jesus loved you more than any other female. This manifested the role in the story that she had a special kind of relationship with Jesus.
Mary’s vision of Jesus
Mary is telling the disciples of the vision she had and that Jesus appeared and spoke to her. In the vision, Jesus expressed his gratitude, that she recognised him and was open to receive him. Mary asked him, how the saviour can see visions through the soul and the spirit. Jesus answered, that he can not see the soul or the spirit but the mind which is between them he can see visions. Unfortunately, pages 11 – 14 are missing from the copy we have found.
Andrew and Peter doubt Mary’s vision
After telling the apostles about her encounter with Jesus, Andrew doubts her and Peter confirms the doubt of her meeting with the arisen saviour. Peter seemed to be jealous that Mary received the vision and Jesus included her more than the other disciples when he was still alive. This is confirmed by Levi, that Jesus loved her more than the others and she was his favourite among the followers of Jesus.
Scriptures Of Mary Magdalene the Summary
Early Christianity had many theological, diverse branches in its beginning, possibly much more we don’t know of today. Over time the teachings changed because of ideological differences, errors with coping text or the scribe wanting to fill gaps from other copies. Mary Magdalene could have been an apostle of Jesus and a leader in her congregation. Indicators of this theory can be seen in the canon itself and the writings of Gnostic groups. It seems that the patriarch steams inside the orthodox church could have changed this. We know that the bible documents were manually copied before Johannes Gutenberg invented the print, mostly from unprofessionals and later on from professionals, all of them made some errors, one way or the other. The content they didn’t like or didn’t fit with their ideology. We don’t know if Mary Magdalene, the disciples or even Jesus ever existed, to say who Mary Magdalene was, nobody, really nobody can say. Either way, it is a very fascinating story to engage with as Christianity had a strong influence on western culture.
Scriptures Of Mary Magdalene the FAQ
Yes, according to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus healed Mary Magdalene from 7 demons.
There is no one answer to this question as the story of Mary Magdalene can be found in several different places in the Bible. Her story is mentioned in both the Gospel of Luke and John’s gospel, but her role and importance are unclear. Most scholars think she probably played a significant role in the early church but was later forgotten or deliberately left out.
There are a few possible reasons for this. One theory is that it was left out because it contradicted the biblical account of Jesus’s life and resurrection. Others say that early Christians didn’t believe in female prophets and thought that Mary Magdalene had gone to heaven after death.
She lived with St. John in Ephesus and also died in the west of Turkey (eastern tradition).
In the Gospel of Mark, we know that Pontius Pilate gave the body of Jesus to his friend Joseph of Arimathaea who was a friend of Jesus, too. The synoptic Gospel claim that a group of woman followed the corpus of the dead Jesus to his tomb.
According to the Gospel of Luke. Jesus supposedly met Mary during his ministry through Galilee.
Pope Gregory claimed after the destruction of the Roman empire that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were the same people. This was just an assumption and western society carried this supposition over the centuries. It was never part of the eastern church.