Re: [John_Lit] Is Mary Magdalene the BD?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Q Bee" <artforms@...>
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Digest Number 890
> On 6/3/04 2:07 PM, "firstname.lastname@example.org"
> <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 13:22:33 -0500
> > From: "fmmccoy" <FMMCCOY@...>
> > Subject: Re: The Curious Incident of the BD On the Night... and John
> Dear Frank,
> I am usually silent on this list since I cannot match the competence of
> of those who post, but I think there are some assumptions being made here.
> So, I will venture to make a few comments.
> I do not see that James is evident as the BD from the material you quote.
> Many people participated in the Last Supper. In fact, the default pronoun
> being 'he' is a practice in all known languages which gives away nothing
> to the gender of the person who is otherwise unknown.
Granted. The evidence falls far short of proving the hypothesis that James
the Just was the BD. Still, it appears to be a strong hypothesis, as
strongly evidenced as two other hypotheses--that the apostle John had been
the BD and that Lazarus had been the BD. Please refer to my post of 15
True, an argument can be made that, despite the usage of words indicating a
masculine status for the BD, it, yet, might be the case that this usage is
not to be taken literally. Still, that Jesus is pictured, in 19:25-27, as
telling his mother that the BD is her son rather than her daughter is, ISTM,
a clear indication that the BD had been a male human being.
> Since Jesus had several brother, IF we are talking about brothers by blood
> rather than affiliation through belief, that has not been made clear
> any doubt.
The case is strong for James having been a kin brother of Jesus.
Mark 6:3 describes Jesus as having a mother, brothers (including James), and
In I Cor. 9:5, Paul speaks of the brothers of the Lord and does so in a
context where he differentiates them from the apostles and from Peter. This
clearly indicates that he is referring to kin brothers of the Lord--for
the apostles and Peter were brothers of Jesus by affiliation through belief.
As for James, both Paul and Josephus state that he was a brother of Jesus.
In the case of Josephus, who was not a Christian, it is, IMO, implausible to
say that, he believed, James had been a brother of Jesus by affiliation
> From OT material we can gather that, although a woman might be put under
> charge of a male head of household, it is more likely, as in the case of
> Naomi and Ruth, that the actual care was given over to a female. Since
> three people are named at the foot of the cross and Mary, Jesus' mother,
> one of them, there are two remaining to consider, Mary wife of Clopas and
> Mary Magdalene. There is no mention of James or John at the foot of the
> cross, only a reference to 'when Jesus say his mother and the disciple
> he loved...'.
> (It is not that likely that the disciple whom he loved is his aunt.)
Certainly, that no males (outisde of four Roman soldiers) are explicitly
listed in 19:23-27as being near the cross is evidence that the BD had been
one of the women listed as being near the cross in this passage.
Since you assume that (1) there are three (rather than four) women listed as
being near the cross in 19:25-27 and as (2) the first of the three women is
the mother of Mary and as (3) you think it unlikely that the BD would have
been the second woman (i.e., the sister of Jesus' mother and, so, his aunt),
it appears that you are leaning towards the hypothesis that the BD is the
third woman, i.e., Mary the Magdalene. This is in accord with the Gospel of
Philip and with the Gospel of Mary: both of which indicate that Jesus had
loved Mary Magdalene more than his male disciples.
However, if the BD was Mary the Magdalene, then why does Mary the Magdalene
appear to be somebody other than the BD in John 20:1-2?
Also, in The Gospel of Mary of Magdala (p. 131), Karen L. King states, "On
the other hand, Mary's status is diminished in the Gospel of John in that
she at first mistakes him for the gardener, and then when she does recognize
his voice, she addresses him as 'Teacher' (Rabboni) indicating a relatively
low standing on the hierarchical scale of Johannine Christological titles.
The exegetical sore point, however, is in Jesus' command that she not hold
him because he has not yet ascended. Usually scholars interpret this
command as indicating that Mary tried to cling to him, not recognizing that
his ascent was necessary for sending the Spirit and salvation. The whole
scene in the Gospel of John works to subordinate Mary's authority as a
resurrection witness to that of the male disciples, especially by limiting
her commision to bear witness only to the other disciples."
If she is correct in thinking that the author of John deliberately
subordinates Mary's authority as a resurrection witness to that of the male
disciples, does not this severely weaken the hypothesis that Mary is the BD?
> As next in line to Jesus, James may have become head of the household, but
> that does not make him the BD. It is more plausible that Jesus' mother
> handed over to his companion to be cared for, but since the companion is
> female and is not a 'legal entity' under Judaism, the nominal head of
> household, James, bears the legal responsibility.
If I understand you correctly, you are arguing that, even though James
might, de jure, have had the responsibility for the care of Jesus' mother,
it is, yet, the case that, de facto, it is more plausible that the
responsibility for the care of Jesus' mother had gone to his companion (by
whom, I assume, you mean Mary Magdalene).
What evidence do you have that, in first century CE Palestine, it would have
been more plausible for the de facto care of Jesus' mother to have gone to a
woman who was not his wife and (apparently) not even a blood relative of his
mother rather to one of his brothers?
1809 N. English Apt. 15
Maplewood, MN USA 55109