Facts about Mary Magdalene

Born: ?
Died: c. 63
Birthplace: ?
Best known as: The closest female disciple of Jesus of Nazareth

     

Mary Magdalene Biography

Mary Magdalene is one of several women who followed and “provided for” Jesus of Nazareth during his traveling ministry, according to Christian scriptures.

Mary Magdalene is also variously portrayed in other ancient texts, medieval legends and modern interpretations as a reformed prostitute, a rich person, a disciple with special gifts and authority, and a model of feminism.

“Magdalene” means “of Magdala,” a fishing village (modern-day Migdal) on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Brief direct references to Mary Magdalene in the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, indicate her importance. She is among the women present at Jesus’ execution who later discover his empty tomb, and is the first person to whom he appears after his resurrection.

Some Christians also identify her with unnamed women elsewhere in the Gospels, such as the “sinner” who anoints him with costly oil, or one caught in adultery whom he saves from stoning. Mary Magdalene is not the mother of Jesus — that’s a different Mary.

Extra credit

She is sometimes called simply “the Magdalene”… The Bible does not say she was a prostitute. All it mentions of her past is that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her… A 2003 novel and 2006 movie, The Da Vinci Code, popularized a theory that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, had children with her, and thus has descendants — and that the church over the centuries has suppressed this truth… Basilicas in Vezelay and Saint-Maximin, France, both claim to house her remains… Mary Magdalene was played by Rooney Mara in the 2018 feature film Mary Magdalene. She was also played by Yvonne Elliman in the original 1971 Broadway cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, the musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.


     

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