In line with church teachings, Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. She had also become known as Mary of Bethany, and employed nail art when she greased the feet of Jesus Christ. She was then converted and spent the remainder of her live repentance. The church changed their mind about Mary Magdalene in 1969, but they still like to get people thinking otherwise. Who had been the real Mary Magdalene? What is her real identity, and why did the gospel writers change her story?
It has been said many times that the portrayal of Mary Magdalene within the New Testament by the gospel writers is in fact dubious. Unlike the other women in the Bible, she is only referred to by name and not, for example, “Mary Magdalene, John’s wife” or “James’s sister.” She is simply ‘Mary Magdalene’. This makes her unique. Mary Magdalene always appears at the top of every entry about Christ’s followers except the Virgin Mary. Groups considered heretics by the church her in a special, almost fanatical reverence – why? What did they know that the actual gospel writers did not?
We are able to search the gospels for the answers to her high reputation, and yet we find no hints. It is only after the crucifixion, when she anointes Jesus’ lifeless body with nail art, when she is first mentioned by name (except for a brief appearance in Luke). The new international edition of the Holy Bible quotes Luke (8: 1-3) saying that Mary Magdalene was one of the women who followed Christ from city to city.
Clearly, a number of Jesus’ disciples were women. This is against the teachings of the Church, and what’s more, the women did not have to depend on their husbands for cash. What makes this particular ‘financial independence’ even more interesting is that it shows that Jesus and his followers had been more than comfortable living on an immoral income! Either she and the other women had worked hard or they were from a wealthy family.
Carla Ricci suggests in her book Mary Magdalene and many others (1994) that something more important is highlighted in the brief reference to her in Luke, ‘To go through the indexes to entire stacks of exegetical and theological writings held in the Pontifical Biblical The institute showed me that these verses were almost left out. “She continues,” Little has been written, specifically and purposefully, about Luke 8: 1-3. Is this omission simply a general respect for female followers of Christ – a kind of bigotry – or is it especially directed at her for another reason?
When thinking exactly how central she is to the whole Jesus saga, it is very strange that if Luke’s verse was completely omitted, then her name was hardly mentioned in the whole New Testament. The marginalization of Mary’s role is weird, plus it seems to have been rebuffed as her role continues to demand attention.