Who was Mary Magdalene? This question has been asked many times before. A Pope in the Middle Ages claimed She was a prostitute.1 This slur still lingers around after more than 1,000 years. More recently, Mary Magdalene has become a cult figure as there is a lot of mystery surrounding Her. She may have been the most important person in Jesus’ life. According to the Gospels, She witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross after the male disciples have fled. And She was the first to see the resurrected Jesus.
There has been speculation as to whether or not She was Jesus’ wife. Jesus is referred to as the Bridegroom in every Gospel (Mark 2:19-20, Matthew 9:15, Luke 5:34, John 3:29). After the Crucifixion, Mary Magdalene went out to wash and anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1). This was the duty of the family, most notably the wife. The official position of the Church is that Jesus was, and still is, married to the Church.
A few Gospels that are not recognised by the Church tell us more about Her. The Gospel of Philip names Her as Jesus’ companion2 and mentions that Jesus loved Her more than the other disciples and kissed Her often.3 The Gospel of Mary notes that Jesus loved her more than the other women.4
To understand the following paragraphs, you may read the following:
The Gospel of John states that Jesus had an intimate and loving relationship with God. He seemed to have known God personally and believed that he had eternal life and already existed at the beginning of the world. A central theme in Christianity is that God is love. So, how could Jesus know God personally?
Jesus may have believed that Mary Magdalene was the reincarnation of Eve and that he was the reincarnation of Adam, and that Adam was the son of Eve. That makes more sense than the rib story. Mary Magdalene may have married Jesus after convincing him that he was Her eternal husband from Creation until the End of Times.
The Gospels tell us little about Mary Magdalene. According to Luke, She was one of the women who travelled with Jesus and supported him financially. We also learn that Jesus had cured these women of illness and demonic possession. Of Mary Magdalene, Luke writes that seven demons had troubled Her (Luke 8:1-3). Because some apocryphal gospels tell more about Her, scribes may have reduced Her role.
After the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene rises to prominence in the canonical gospels. She was present at the crucifixion, and She may have been the first to see the resurrected Jesus. She may have taken up a leadership role as soon as Jesus was gone, for instance, by promoting the rumour that Jesus had risen until others saw him too and became convinced that She was right.
If Mary Magdalene was God, then the corruption in the Gospels must be significant as there is nothing in them to suggest this. Biblical scholars indeed think that the Gospels are unreliable historical sources. But the corruption may already have begun with the tale about Eve and Adam. It is not only a myth, but authors of the Hebrew Bible may also have altered it. So, could Eve have been a goddess and the mother of Adam?
Latest revision: 7 April 2022
Featured image: Christ with Mary Magdalene, West Nave, Kilmore Church, Isle of Mull made by Stephen Adam. B. Galbraith. Victorian Web.
1. Who was Mary Magdalene? James Carrol (2006). Smithsonian. [link]
2. Gospel of Philip: There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
3. Gospel of Philip: And the companion of the saviour was Mary Magdalene. Christ loved Mary more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Saviour answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her?”
4. Gospel of Mary: Peter said to Mary, “Sister we know that the Saviour loved you more than the rest of woman. Tell us the words of the Saviour which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them”. Mary answered and said, “What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you”. And she began to speak to them these words: “I”, she said, “I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision”.