Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Sacred Prostitute" - Mary Magdalene

Jules Joseph Lefebvre: "Mary Magdalene in the Cave" 1876

While working on something about birds, Mothman and the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) I found this: SACRED PROSTITUTE Mary Magdalene: Was She or Wasn’t She?, which I found very interesting. It's from a site called Sexual Fables.
Over the last 30 years, many scholars, both male and female, secular and religious, have complained that much has been left out of the Gospels (“Good stories”) by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John... and Paul. The gospel writers stand accused of patriarchal values because they left out the saucy details. The scholars have asked a series of provocative questions: what exactly was Jesus’ relationship with Mary Magdalene? Was their relationship sexual? Wasn’t it normal for young Jewish men to be married by the time Jesus and the disciples were preaching in the Galilee? If so, why there is no mention of their wives? Was Mary Magdalene, in fact, the leading apostle? Was she married to Jesus? . . .

Above all, was Mary ever a prostitute and, if she was, what was the nature of her special mystique that she has incited all these scholarly reinventions? Was she from someplace else altogether, like Egypt? Was she black? Has the true story been suppressed?

Well, that last question is certainly THE question, as we know.

Lots of interesting things on the site, including threads to follow that lead to yet other interesting things . . .


Lesley said...

I think it would be pretty unlikely that Jesus would marry someone who was not Jewish. That is the kind of thing that always get mentioned in the bible, a Jew marrying a non-Jew. Even now many Jews won't marry non-Jews, but it was a far bigger deal back then. It would especially be so for a religious teacher.

On the other hand being married to a Jew wouldn't be a big deal at all. It could be there is no conspiracy and those who wrote about Jesus just thought it was a given that he was married given his position and therefore didn't mention it. It would be far more unusual for him to not be wed.

I don't believe there is any evidence that Mary was a prostitute, but you never know.

DJ Dual Core said...

In The Gnostic Gospels Elaine Pagels (
writes quite a bit about the gender and political issues surrounding the conflict between gnosticism and Orthodox Christianity during the time that the Biblical cannon was being established. I have not read the entire book but she makes a compelling case for Orthodox leaders in the second and third century having a motive to cast Mary Magdalene (and other women who knew Jesus) in certain ways.

Predictably, the leaders of the Orthodox church were very effective in marginalizing the relatively egalitarian gnostics. Gnostic writings and practices of the time were much less focussed on social control/morality. Rather, many gnostic groups considered all believers "priests" and had gender equality within their rituals.

The writings that supported these practices were the same ones that gave more voice to the experiences of the Mary's than those that made it into the cannon.

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...