ReimundBieringer & Isabelle Vanden Hove Mary Magdalene in the Four Gospels
1. Mary Magdalene together with the other women at Jesus’ cross (15: 40-41)
Mark 15:40-41 • "There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
A smaller group of women: who “used to follow” (ἠκολούθουν) him and used to provide (διηκόνουν) for him when he was in Galilee” Bigger group of women: who “had come up(συναναβᾶσαι) with him to Jerusalem”
ακολούθει • “To be called” • “To follow” • “To be a disciple”
To walk behind someone To follow: Theological meaning: • self denial (8:34) • Everything one owns ( 10:21,28-29) and everyone one loves (10:29) is be left behind. • Taking up one’s cross, as Jesus did In Mark : to be a disciple
Mark 10:28 “ look, we have left everything and followed you” ---- (Munro) • Mark 10:32 “ They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.” (De Boer)
διακονεώ • Often used in the context of organising and preparing the daily food. • Basic meaning: To wait at table To be of service, to serve To take care of To care for one’s livelihood
Arguments in favor of calling the Markan Mary Magdalene a disciple • Theologically, however, it is more important to follow Jesus and to serve him than to be called a disciple.
2. Mary Magdalene’s presence at Jesus’ burial and the discovery of the empty tomb (15:47-16:8)
At Jesus’ burial (15:47) • “… and Mary Magdalene and Mary of Joses were looking on where it was laid.” (15:47)
At the empty tomb (16:1-8) • “And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary of James and salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” and looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” and they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.”
θεωρεω • “To observe something with sustained attention” Eye-witnesses Jesus’ death and of his burial, his resurrection
Mary Magdalene is the first follower in Mark’s Gospel who observes and witnesses the core of the Christian Faith. • With her own eyes she witnesses Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Her witnessing of his resurrection is mediated through the empty tomb and the young man who interprets it.
“ tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you” (Mk 16:7) ---- receive a mission from Jesus • At the end of the Gospel the author introduces women with the characteristics of disciples.
Conclusion • Mary Magdalene together with some women mentioned by name used to follow and serve Jesus in Galilee and all the way to Jerusalem. • “ following” and “serving” comes very close to what he means by discipleship. • At the end of the Gospel, Mary Magdalene becomes the main figure. She is present at Jesus’ crucifixion, his burial and the discovery of the empty tomb.
Conclusion • She is always mentioned first among the women, she is depicted as the first and most important witness of the decisive moments at the end of Jesus’ life: his death, his burial and his disappearance from the tomb.
II. Matthean Mary magdalene: care giver messenger of the resurrection
The crucifixion ( 27: 55-56) • The burial ( 27:61) • The discovery of the empty tomb and a resurrection appearance (28:1-10)
1. Mary Magdalene among Many Women at the Cross (Matt 27:55-56) “Many Women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the motehr of the sons of Zebedee.”
In Matthew all the women without distinction followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him. • Finite verb“ἠκολούθησαν” with conjunctive participle “ διακονοῦσαι”: “ who started following him from Galilee, continuously serving him/providing him. • Geographic meaning of “accompanying” someone on a journey • In Matthew 27:55 “διακονεω” has the meaning “ to look after” or “ to take care of” Care-giver
2. Mary Magdalene Guards the Tomb (Matt 27:61) “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.”
Matt 27:61 the women were “sitting opposite the tomb” • Mark 15:47: they “were seeing where the body was laid”
“sitting” • “An act of mourning” • “Guard the tomb”
τηρεω---- “ to guard” “ to keep watch over someone” • the soldiers are presented as “sitting”, in the same way as Mary Magdalene and the other woman in 27:61
“ Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earth quake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. They go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” so they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “ Hail!” and they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” ……
“ tell his disciples: ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him” (28:7) ---- not only have to report a meeting in Galilee as in Mark, but also the resurrection. • She is the first to whom the risen Christ appears
“messengers” • Although the women have seen the risen Christ personally, they are depicted mainly as messengers, with the task of handing on to the male disciples the importance message of the resurrection of Jesus and an appearance.
conclusion • The women are not followers in the theological sense, but accompany Jesus to Jerusalem to care for him. • They do not witness the place where the body of Jesus is laid but rather keep watch over the tomb. • They do not enter the empty tomb because they are addressed by the angel outside the tomb. • He nevertheless subtly diminishes the role of the women and depicts them merely as the messengers who are charged to announce the important message of the resurrection to the male disciples and to inform them about the meeting with Christ in Galilee.
1. Mary Magdalene from whom Seven Demons had Gone out (Luke 8:2-3) • “as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Johanna, the wife of Heord’ steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources
2 groups ---- “ some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities” ----- “ many others” both groups “provided for them out of their resources” (8:3)
Mary Magdalene as belonging to a group of women “who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities--- seven demons had gone out from her. • Provide for them out of their resources
2. Anonymous women at the cross (Luke 23:49) and burial (23:55-56) • Lk23:49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. • Lk23:55-56 the women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.
“the women who had followed him from Galilee,” • Lk 8:2-3 “as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Johanna, the wife of Heord’ steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”
Geographic meaning LK 23:49 συνακολουθοῦσαι: (having followed) συνακολουθεω:original verb (literally : “to follow along with” ) LK 5:11; 9:61; 14;27 Following as a disciple ακολούθεω
ὁρῶσαι (watching ) ---feminine form of the participle, makes it clear that only the women, and not the acquaintances, were watching. • Original verb (ὁραῶ) ---- “to perceive by the eye, catch sight of, notice,” “to experience a condition or event, experience, witness,” and “to be mentally or spiritually perceptive, perceive.”
Lk 23:55 • “They saw the tomb and how his body was laid” • ἐθεάσαντο---- inspecting or checking out
summary • Luke does not give the names of the particular women who were present at these moments. • Luke makes sure that the women are not seen as disciples, but he does not take away the significance of their “seeing” the crucifixion and the burial.
3. Many Women Going up to the tomb (Lk 24:1-12, 22-24) • Lk 24:1-12: “but on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men said to them, “why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not her, but has risen.” remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” and they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering at what had happened.”
22-24 • More over, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.”
Reason for going to the tomb---- anointing • After their return from the tomb, Luke reveal their name. • MaryMagdalene is named first, while the anonymous women are mentioned last.
Comparison of the three synoptic about Empty tomb • 1. the angle/men do not tell the women not to be alarmed/afraid. (Mk 16:6 and Mth 28:5) • 2. the two men do not mention the name of Jesus, nor do they refer to his crucifixion, but they designate him as “the living one” (LK: 24:5) • 3. The men do not ask the women to look at the place where Jesus had been laid (Mk:16:6 and Mth 28:6)
When the women went to the tomb, • They did not find the body of Jesus. • They saw a vision of angels who told them that Jesus was alive. • The risen Christ is not reported to have appeared to any woman. (in luke)
Conclusion • Luke has the inclination to submerge her in a group of women, even though he continues to mention her name first in the lists. (8:2-3) • Luke is the only one who mentions Mary Magdalene and some other women during Jesus public ministry in Galilee. • the figure of Mary Magdalene was conflated with the sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet (7:36-50) and with Mary of Bethany and with the adulteress woman of John 7:53-8:11 • Women is not the only eye witness, there are also male witness.
1. Mary Magdalene at the cross (John 19:25-27) • “And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom He loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Women, here is your son.” then he said to the disciple, “here is you mother.” and from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.”
Her name is listed last. • Accompanied by family members of Jesus. • Her importance in the life of Jesus and the early community of Jesus followers. • For John, she is not standing under the cross as witness.