Who Really was Mary Magdalene?

Not only is Mary Magdalene an important woman in the Bible, but she is also a saint, and probably the most misunderstood Biblical figure in history. For centuries, Mary Magdalene’s name has been linked to numerous theories, stories, and interpretations of the Gospels. Was she really a prostitute? Was she romantically involved with Jesus? Or was Mary Magdalene just a devoted apostle?

She’s not the sinner people think she is

Mary Magdalene is likely the most misunderstood Biblical figure. One of the main misconceptions about Mary Magdalene is that she was a sex worker, who repented and then started following Jesus.

She’s not the sinner people think she is

Indeed, the Gospel of Luke mentions a prostitute who washes Jesus’ feet with her hair. But nowhere is it mentioned the name of this woman. And certainly there is no link in the Bible between her and Mary Magdalene.

She’s not the sinner people think she is

So where does this idea comes from? Well, blame Pope Gregory. Back in the 6th century, he said that the prostitute, Mary Magdalene, and Mary (Lazarus’ sister) were all the same person.

She’s not the sinner people think she is

Except they’re not. It was not until 1969 that the Catholic Church admitted the mistake. Nonetheless, the damage was done, as the idea that Mary Magdalene was a sex worker had become cemented throughout the centuries.

Strong independent woman

Who was Mary Magdalene, then? It’s believed she came from a fishing village. Mary Magdalene was pretty independent for Biblical times, and it has been suggested that she had money and a high social status.

Mary Magdalene is consistent throughout the Gospels

The Gospels have slightly different versions of the same people and events, but Mary Magdalene’s presence remains fairly consistent throughout them all.

Mary Magdalene is consistent throughout the Gospels

Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke confirm that  Mary Magdalene started following Jesus after he cast seven demons out of her.

Mary Magdalene is consistent throughout the Gospels

All four Gospels state that Mary Magdalene was present in pretty key moment of Jesus’ life (and death), including his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

Mary Magdalene is consistent throughout the Gospels

And if all of this wasn’t enough, Mary Magdalene was actually the first disciple to see Jesus when he resurrected, and hence is called in some Christian traditions the “apostle to the apostles.”

Gospel of Mary

The Gospel of Mary was discovered by a German scholar in Cairo, Egypt, in 1896. Scholars estimate that this non-canonical text was written sometime in the 2nd century or earlier.

The Gospel of Mary have been interpreted as a Gnostic text, as it follows the same writing style.

Did Mary Magdalene and Jesus get married and have children?

This is one of the most popular (and controversial) theories, which has gained a lot of popularity thanks to books such as Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code.’

The speculation started based on a 6th-century document called ‘The Story of Joseph and Aseneth,’ which Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson (who translated the text) claim is about Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Did Mary Magdalene and Jesus get married and have children?

Jacobovici and Wilson went on to publish a book named ‘The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene.’ No church supports this theory.

Is Mary Magdalene in ‘The Last Supper’?

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘The Last Supper’ has led many to speculate whether or not John the apostle, sitting next to Jesus, was in fact Mary Magdalene.

The long hair and feminine facial features has led to this theory. What do you think?

Mary Magdalene is often portrayed covered in hair

Remember the prostitute Mary Magdalene was mistaken for? Well, she washed Jesus’ feet and then dried them with her long hair. This is why we often find Mary Magdalene depicted with very long hair.

But there is also another version. Mary Magdalene isolated herself in the wilderness after Jesus died and resurrected, and her hair grew long during this period. Except this too was also the story of another Mary—St. Mary of Egypt. Yes, the Church did get all Marys mixed up.

Move to France

Another story says that Mary Magdalene ended up on a boat with other Christians. They were supposed to be pushed into the sea to die, but divine intervention had them reach France safe and sound.

Mary Magdalene and others went on to spread the Gospel, until she got old and went to live in seclusion in a cave, where she ended up dying. Charles II eventually found some bones there in  1279, which are believed to belong to Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene’s relics

The bones were then given to Dominican monks,  who adorned her skull with gold and put it on display. The skull can be found in a basilica at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in southern France.

The Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches have two stories that connect Mary Magdalene with Easter eggs.

One story says that Mary Magdalene was carrying a basket of hard boiled eggs when she visited Jesus’ tomb. When he appeared to her after resurrecting, the eggs changed color.

The other story is about Mary Magdalene going to to Rome and seeing Emperor Tiberius. Everyone visiting the emperor was supposed to bring him something, so she brought an egg.

Mary Magdalene proceeded to explain that Jesus resurrected, to which the emperor replied that what she was saying would be just as impossible as an egg changing color. This is when the egg turned red.

Her name is associated with an organization

Mary Magdalene’s name was associated with Magdalene Laundries (also known as asylums), which were present in England, Ireland, and the US. These were supposedly safe spaces for sex workers and women who became pregnant out of wedlock, etc.

1 thought on “Who Really was Mary Magdalene?

  1. Paula Price

    Why do we question who Mary Magdalene was?? What does the bible say about her?? It is not important to know who she was. She was a sinner saved by grace!.. Do you know who Jesus is?? That is the only name that is required to obtain salvation!! We put our focus on the wrong people and things.! Whoever she was ,she was forgiven and accepted by Jesus. That is all we need to know of her. It is not important to know anymore of her than what scripture tells us. Everything we need to know about anyone is told to us through God’s word. We know she was not married to Jesus!!! Does the bible say Jesus was married with children??? As believers, we are to be obedient to word of God and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. He is our only hope of salvation!! Get to know him, tell the world about him, not Mary Magdalene!! Knowing her does not get us into heaven…Our salvation is depended on knowing who Jesus is, not Mary Magdalene or anyone else !! Everything we need to know is in God’s word. Our opinions, or thoughts, our words are not important or needed. It is only the word of God that we should be repeating. If you want to quote someone, quote His!!! When we want answers to biblical questions, go to the one who knows and wrote it. We should follow Jesus’s example and leadership. He only spoke and said and did what his father told him. Only what our father say do! It is not our will, but God’s will to be said and done! Every thing else is incompotant, irrelevant, and unimportant!


Leave a Reply