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Noli me tangere, fresco by Fra Angelico

Mary Magdalene
Apostola Apostolorum → Apostle of the Apostles

Let’s focus on a woman, who was put into the background throughout the history by men, although she was the first human who meet the resurrected Jesus, this year. The reasons why this happened are manifold and diverse. One major fact – she was a powerful woman and that was simply impossible at the time she was living!

It is almost universally agreed today that Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman. However, these claims are unfounded. The identity of Mary Magdalene is believed to have been merged with the identity of the unnamed sinner conflating who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50. Mary Magdalene, the anointing sinner of Luke, and Mary of Bethany, who in John 11:1-2 also anoints Jesus’ feet, were long regarded as the same person. Though Mary Magdalene is named in each of the four gospels in the New Testament, none of the clear references to her indicate that she was a prostitute or notable for a sinful way of life, nor link her with Mary of Bethany. Modern scholarship has restored the understanding of Mary of Magdala as an important early Christian leader.[1]

One of the interesting points of the realizings of history in the last years was the fact that her nickname could have another meaning as it was recorded until today. In the four Gospels, Mary Magdalene is nearly always distinguished from other women named Mary by adding “the Magdalene” (→ ἡ Μαγδαληνή) to her name. This has been interpreted to mean “the woman from Magdala”, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Gennesaret. Luke 8:2 says that she was actually “called Magdalene”. In Hebrew → מגדל → Migdal means “tower”, “fortress”; in Aramaic, “Magdala” means “tower” or “elevated, great, magnificent”.[2]

If we follow those findings, we have to change our picture of this woman. Let us connect this with another disciple of Jesus, Simon, who also got an interesting nickname from Jesus → Kepha (Hebrew: כיפא‎) or translated into Greek Πέτρος (→ Petros), which means rock. The conclusion would be that we have two persons as disciples of Jesus who were very close to him in spirit – we can say that they were “protagonists” of his movement – and both can be seen as coequal persons from his point of view.

Similarly, the biblical story of creation with the creation of human[3] → “as male and female he created them” is connected – equal, on the same level, complementing it!
The fact that Jesus had a special relationship to women, we find in other places[4] in the Holy Scripture, too. It seemed important to him to set a counterpart to the common conception of that time of the social situation of men and women. Both – men and women on an equal footing, but equipped with the attributes inherent to proclaim the kingdom of God. He – as a rock, she – as the tower – both symbols of strength, loyalty and steadfastness – that is fundamental to the faith and trust in God.

Jesus knew the anxiety of Simon[5] and the prevailing social image that women represented only a low, but in any case subordinate level. The understanding of the people was not mature yet for God’s will and plan. And that’s why he chose Mary Magdalene – a woman – as the person he wanted to meet first as the Risen One. It was she who had to spread out the good, the causative Christian message as the first witness.

Here the circle is closed to the creation story and reparation of Eve’s fall from grace. Not at least because she is attested in the ancient texts with the following honorary degrees: spiritually fulfilled, grace, pure, all-grace, complete blessed fullness, in abundance of grace, heiress of light empire, above all women of grace, the highest abundance and highest perfection, illuminator, pure light. And so she must be remembered as a tower of strength in religious doubts, even if her further fate is masked due to the lack of biblical or other reliable reports.


Mary Magdalene
a truly strong woman, an apostle of the apostles
the first witness of the resurrection of the Lord.

Teiler1See also the Easter greetings of our General Committee !

[1] Š comp.

[2] Š comp.

[3] Š comp. 1. Mose 1,27

[4] comp. John 4, 6 Š→ the meeting at the fountain of Jacob

[5] → Mt 26,34

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