Mary of Magdala

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Medieval writers did seem to be invested in the idea that all women are sinful, and many used their depictions of Mary Magdalene to explore and cement this idea. However, they were also very interested in her movement from sin to sainthood, because this conversion made her the ideal role model for other fallen women.

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In the various medieval legends, Mary Magdalene converts to Christianity, leaves her life of sin behind and follows God in a life of spiritual perfection, from preaching to contemplation. Her conversion is all the more spectacular because her sin prior to that conversion was so great. In this way, Mary acts as the bridge between the Madonna and the whore, offering an aspirational model for sinful Christian women everywhere. Written records certainly suggest that various writers and thinkers treated Mary Magdalene in this way.

She teaches what we sinners ought to do […] with bitter laments and tears, having cast off all human shame she sought forgiveness. The English mystic Margery Kempe c—c , who was famous for her visions of Christ which resulted in overwhelming fits of crying, frequently used Mary Magdalene as a role model. Before deciding to dedicate her life to God and take a vow of chastity, Margery had been a married woman — so she could not emulate the virginal mother of God.

However, in Mary Magdalene she could find aspiration. In the figure of Mary Magdalene, both the cardinal and the mystic find hope that they have the power to choose a holier path, and that their sins — whether they are everyday misdemeanours or something much more serious — can be forgiven.

These are the words which Jesus speaks to Mary Magdalene in the Gospel, when she mistakes him for the gardener. She is mourning his death but her tears quickly turn to pure joy when she realises who she is actually speaking to. And her tears give another clue as to why medieval writers were invested in the idea of Mary as a reformed sinner. Affective piety was a devotional craze which was often targeted at women.

St. Mary Magdala Spiritual Center

By focusing on the human nature of Christ, as well as his divinity, medieval Christians could feel more of an emotional connection with him, and thus deepen their piety. Passion meditations not only described events from the life and death of Christ but, crucially, they also encouraged readers to imagine themselves present at the scene. This might be as a bystander, a witness to the suffering of Christ. But it might also be as an active participant.

Readers were sometimes urged to run up to Christ and wipe his brow to relieve his suffering, or to kneel at the cross with the other faithful mourners. And because Mary is a sinner, she provides a human and relatable model as well as an emotional one. She was someone who, according to the medieval legends, had sinned but who was still favoured by Christ. When it came to encouraging affective piety and participation in Passion meditation, then, Mary Magdalene was the perfect role model. So, while the medieval legends of Mary Magdalene are certainly misogynistic hinging as they do on the idea that all women have a proclivity to sexual sin , they can also be seen in a more progressive light.

Mary was an ordinary woman who had managed to find spiritual greatness, who had battled the sin that was inherent within her and won.

'Mary Magdalene was the church'

She gave sinners everywhere hope for forgiveness. While the Western Christian Church portrayed her as a repentant sinner for centuries, newer research has disputed this interpretation, and the discovery of the Gnostic Gospels, including the Gospel of Mary, describes Mary as a reflective, wise spiritualist favored by Jesus.

She is believed to have been of Jewish descent, though her culture and manners were that of a Gentile.

Mary Magdalene () - IMDb

However, over the centuries, Western Christian doctrine, Renaissance art and literature and modern media have depicted Mary as a prostitute, love interest of Christ and even his wife. The notion of Mary Magdalene as a repentant sinner became the generally accepted view in Western Christianity as a result of a homily delivered by Pope Gregory I in However, Mary as repentant sinner became solidified in Western medieval theology, with its emphasis on penitence, and flourished in Europe over the next fourteen hundred years.

Western medieval and Renaissance Christian art usually depicted Mary dressed extravagantly, even suggestively, in stark contrast to the more modestly dressed women of the time. In some paintings, she is shown in the nude most notably by the artist Titian , discretely covered by long blond hair. Beginning in , fragmentary manuscripts known as the Gnostic Gospels were discovered by theologians and archaeologists.

The Gospel of Mary, believed to have been written in the 3rd century, reveals a Mary Magdalene who had a special relationship with Jesus and possessed a deeper understanding of his teachings.

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This has been interpreted to mean their relationship was intimate. Mary Magdalene was not a poor prostitute on the street. She was likely a wealthy woman of influence who was helping support Jesus in his ministry in the Galilee area and beyond. How did she get so much money?

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Where did she acquire her wealth? In the Jewish culture you either acquired it from your husband maybe he passed away and she was a widow or from your father perhaps she inherited from her father as well. In Luke chapter 8, we see Mary mentioned with a few other women.

This is a speculation.

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  4. A sinful woman who is in need of restoration and Jesus offers that to her. And in the end what she once used for vice she now uses for virtue, she uses it to praise and to glorify her lord. So we see this transformation that takes place.

    Who was Mary Magdalene?

    Is Mary of Magdala the same as Mary of Bethany? The western church through history for years has associated them as one and the same person. In our beautiful Duc In Altum, where we have columns dedicated to different women of faith we have one for Mary of Bethany and for Mary of Magdala… just in case! She becomes the first one to witness him after his resurrection and becomes as tradition has said the apostles to the apostles.

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