The writers of the New Testament gospels introduce most of the characters in the stories to their audiences. For example, the reader of Mark is told that James is the son of Zebedee, his brother's name is John, and Zebedee and his sons are fishermen (Mark 1:1920). The Gospel of Luke reports that Levi was a tax collector who was called by Jesus to be a disciple (Luke 5:2732). The presumption is that these writers expect that some of the members of their audience will not know or recognize these people. These people need an introduction. This paper will look at how Mary Magdalene is treated in these texts and explore why she might have been treated differently than most of the other disciples.
[...] She is the only woman who is never referred to by her relationship to a man, who is consistently referred to by her place of origin, and who, like Peter, appears to need no introduction to any of the four gospel communities. She is Mary Magdalene, or Mary the woman of Magdala. Mary Magdalene is the only woman who appears at the cross and the tomb in every New Testament gospel and the only one who is given the same name in each gospel. [...]
[...] The question of why Mary Magdalene was so well-known in the early Jesus movement that she needed no introduction requires further study to reclaim a missing part of early Christian history. Bibliography Charlesworth, James H., The Beloved Disciple: Whose Witness Validates the Gospel of John? Balley Forge: Trinity Press International de Boer, Ester A., The Gospel of Mary: Beyond a Gnostic and a Biblical Mary Magdalene. London, Continuum Justino, Ramon K., “Mary Magdalene: Author of the Fourth Gospel?” from http://www.BelovedDisciple.org King, Karen L., trans., “Papyrus Berolinensis 8502.1 in Karen L. [...]
[...] There is no question, then, that Mary Magdalene was well known as one of the companions of Jesus, as one of the disciples who traveled with him, but what was their relationship? Aside from the intimacy of their post- resurrection meeting in John and the descriptions of ministering in the first three gospels, there is little information in the New Testament about the nature of their relationship. Apocryphal texts give additional information, and several claim that she was not only a close companion but the one Jesus loved best in a spiritual sense, and perhaps more. [...]
[...] Neither Mary nor Martha seems to need an introduction to the Johannine community, but both women are introduced in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:38). Susanna, Mary, and Martha, like Salome, appear to have been better known in one community than in others. The use of these women's names without referring to their connection to a man is also notable. Many first-century women were referred to in connection to their male relatives, and this is true of several women named in various gospels: Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses (Mark 15:40), the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27: Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza (Luke and Mary, wife Clopas (or Mary of Clopas in some translations; John 19:25). [...]
[...] Mary Magdalene is portrayed in this gospel as a close companion of Jesus who always traveled with him and other members of his family; his partner in some endeavor, personal, spiritual, or both; the disciple who received more spiritual transmission from him than any of the other disciples; and a woman who was the subject of some jealousy from the other disciples as a result of this favored status. Whether she was also the wife of Jesus remains unknown. The jealousy of the others comes up again in the Gospel of Mary where Peter asks Mary to tell them a story about the Savior because Jesus had loved her more than all the women. [...]
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