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Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene, according to the Bible, travelled with Jesus as one of his followers. She came from a town called Magdala, 120 miles north of Jerusalem. She is said to have witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Within the four Gospels she is named at least twelve times. This is more than most of the apostles. Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic Church, however, was regarded in Western Christianity as a repentant prostitute or loose woman, though this accusation was not found in any of the four canonical gospels. It is possible that the description of Magdala as a place of fornication is the origin of the idea that arose in western Christianity that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

The Gospel of Philip says that the Jesus loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often. Truth be told, the historical sources are simply too contradictory and simultaneously too silent to make absolute declarations regarding Jesus’ sexuality. Bart Ehrman says that historical evidence tells us nothing at all about Jesus’ sexuality—certainly nothing to indicate that Jesus and Mary had a sexual relationship of any kind.

This leads researchers to wonder – was Mary Magdalene in one-way or unrequited love with Jesus? The Book of Martyrs (book I am reading right now, is really great!) says that when Jesus was crucified Mary wept at his feet, poured wine on his feet and rubbed it in with her hair! In my blog “Limerence”, I have shed light on this specific domain of love in a scientific manner which is considered as a subjective and enthusiastic condition of being attached to or even fixated on someone. It is normally experienced unintentionally and portrays a powerful urge for unrequited love to be reciprocated. Tennov believes that “sexual attraction is an essential component of limerence … the limerent is a potential sex partner”. While we can only discuss Mary Magdalene and never be sure about her actual status in Jesus’ life, researchers have seen possibilities of limerence in her regarding Christ.

unrequited love 9 July 16

The Jewish literature says (like an unrequited lover) Mary Magdalene loved Jesus as her Lord, her friend, but Jesus loved her as his favourite disciple, however, the Bible described her as the most important and influential person in Jesus’ life other than God. As I have mentioned in my blog “Understanding Unrequited Love”, such selfless dedication in unrequited love has existed in the society since time immemorial and has been a subject of uncountable stories, movies, songs and books. Some lovers find it easier to maintain platonic friendship with their loved ones for the fear of losing them if the actual feeling is revealed, as the object of unrequited love is often a close friend or acquaintance. Could this be the case with Mary Magdalene too?

In 1945 at Nag Hammadi, in southern Egypt, two men came across a sealed ceramic jar. Inside, they discovered a hoard of ancient papyrus books. Although they never received as much public attention as the Dead Sea Scrolls, these actually turned out to be much more important for writing the history of early Christianity. They are a cache of Christian texts. As most ancient Christian texts have been lost, this discovery was exceptional. They tend to concentrate on things that one doesn’t read about in the Bible.

Mary Magdalene is known to be a dedicated and ‘beloved’ disciple of Christ. Wikipedia says The Gospel of Philip describes Mary’s relation to Jesus by Coptic variants which refer to the literal pairing of men and women in marriage and sexual intercourse, but also metaphorically, refer to a spiritual partnership. So was she in love with him, without Jesus knowing about it? Was Mary Magdalene in unrequited love?

Actually who was Mary Magdalene? We will never know for sure about Mary Magdalene’s actual relationship with Jesus. One of the documents discovered at Nag Hammadi is Gospel of Philip, in which Mary Magdalene is a key figure. It has been the cause of one of the most controversial claims ever made about her. It mentions that Jesus loved her more than all the disciples. When the other disciples asked him why he did not love all of them like her, this is what Jesus said:

“Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”

I have randomly picked this information from sources available to me. If you have information to share, please leave it in the comments section and I will add it in my future blogs.

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6 years ago

I’m glad I came across your blog. And I like this insight! How timely that I came across it during Lent!

I’ve always wondered if Mary Magdalene had a thing for Jesus…I know she was one of his closest disciples, and wanted to take care of him after his death.

But reading parts of John’s Gospel made me wonder if Jesus was silently in love with Mary of Bethany, Martha and Lazarus’ sister. I kept envisioning this holy love triangle between Jesus and the two Marys.

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