Re: [John_Lit] Is Mary the Magdalene the BD?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank McCoy" <silvanus55109@...>
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2004 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Is Mary the Magdalene the BD?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Q Bee" <artforms@...>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Sunday, June 06, 2004 4:50 PM
> Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Digest Number 892
> > Possibly, though, there is yet another option: (1)
the mother of him, (2)the sister of the mother of him,
(3) Mary of Clopas, and (4) Mary of Magdala.
> Well, that's a stretch. Is there really any reason
to think that the linguistics are that far removed
from normal speech? What is the reason for obscuring
the name of this woman and why is it that James is not
simply Jesus' brother by Mary? The argument seems to
presume doctrine that does not aligned to the gospels
themselves. I wonder why Matthew 1:25 would be part
of scripture if there never was any further
relationship between Jesus' parents. They could
hardly be considered married if the marriage is never
consummated. Beyond that, the instances where the
brothers of Jesus are mentioned are too numerable to
bother to list.
One reason for thinking that this is the solution to
the ambiguous language is that it creates the elegant
pattern of two women not named who are sisters
followed by two woman named Mary who are not sisters.
Further, as far as I can tell, this proposed solution
to the ambiguous language in 19:25 is not necessarily
inconsistent with the hypothesis that James not only
is the BD, but a son of Mary as well. In this case,
when Jesus tells the BD, "Behold your mother!", he is
simply telling James to look at his nearby mother--who
is also the mother of Jesus.
> > Indeed, since, according to Mark 6:3, Jesus had a
> > brother named James and a brother named Joses, it
is the case that the mother of Jesus in John 19:25
might be Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses
in Mark 15:40.
> > Why, though, would Mark refer to the mother of
Jesus as the mother of two of his four brothers? The
answer, I suggest, is that this is Mark's subtle way
of saying that both these brothers of Jesus were
standing by Mary. In this case, the BD is most likely
to be either be James or Joses.
> So, are you saying that Mark, the author of 2G, is
the same Mark who is 'possibly' a brother to James and
Joses by another wife of Joseph? If so, why, again,
is there this difficulty in grasping the text in order
to come to this tentative conclusion?
The first sentence should be understood this way,
"Why, though, would Mark refer to the mother of Jesus
as the mother of two of the four brothers of
Jesus rather than as the mother of Jesus?"
> > If, as you suggest, there is linkage between 1:38
> > (where Andrew and an unknown person call Jesus
Rabbi) and 20:16 (where Mary the Magdalene calls Jesus
Rabboni), then the further idea is suggested that the
unknown person in 1:38 is Mary the Magdalene.
> > If Mary the Magdalene had been this unknown
> > then this entails that she had originally been a
disciple of John the Baptist (1:35-37). Indeed, it is
possible that John had one or more women disciples.
For example, in Gnosticism & Early Christianity (p.
90), Robert M. Grant states, "In the Clementine
versions we read that John the Baptist had thirty
disciples, corresponding to the days of the lunar
month, or more accurately 29 1/2, since one was a
woman named Helen or Selene." Here, even though the
woman disciple is said to be Helen or Selene rather
than Mary, it is significant that, it is assumed, John
had been open to the idea of himself having one or
more women disciples. So, it might be worthwhile for
you to do some research to see if there is any another
evidence to support the possibility that John the
Baptist had some women disciples and, beyond that, to
support the possibility that one of them might have
been Mary the Magdalene.
> It is also possible that the name 'Mary' is a title.
Helen, meaning new light or light of dawn could be
the actual name just as Peter is Simon. There is ample
evidence that Jesus encouraged women disciples,
perhaps to a much greater extent than JB. It is also
likely that the '30 disciples' of JB is based on
sacred numbers rather than an actual head count. If
there is one who is known as a female disciple of JB,
what about three = 1 1/2?
I suggest you research this question of whether JB
might have had three female disciples.
In any event, it certainly is the case that the name
'Mary' might be a title for the Magdalene. In Jesus &
the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls (p. 89),
Barbara Thiering (a "fellow" on the Jesus
Seminar--hey, they're not sexist, right?) comments,
"She (i.e., Mary Magdalene) was called Mary as a
title, not a name. The word was a form of 'Miriam',
the name of the sister of Moses. Marys named,
including the mother of Jesus and the Magdalene, had
the title Miriam because they had been given a form of
ministry, that of prophetess, taking part in the
liturgies or orders like the Therapeutae. These
ascetics celebrated the Exodus as a drama of
salvation, with two
choirs, one of men led by a man representing Moses,
the other of women led by a Miriam."
However, as Miriam/Mary was a commonly used name for a
woman in Palestine at the time, it is most likely that
the Magdalene really was named Mary.
Further, even if Mary had been a title of the
Magdalene rather than her real name, it appears
unlikely that her real name had been Helen.
There is an early Christian tradition that Helen had
originally been a prostitute living in Tyre. However,
it is unlikely that the Magdalene had been a
Again, Thiering thinks that Helen(a) is the sister of
the mother of Jesus rather than being the real
identity of Mary the Magdalene. So, she states
(p. 79), "Helena appears under as many pseudonyms as
he (i.e., Simon Magus. She was the Samaritan woman
with whom Jesus conversed; Sapphira; Martha; the
menstuous woman; the Syrophoenician woman; the 'woman
clothed in scarlet and purple'; 'Jezebel'; Salome;
Joanna; 'his mother's sister'."
If Thiering is correct, then 19:25 mentions four
women: (1) the mother of Jesus, (2) Helen(a), the
sister of the mother of Jesus, (3) Mary of Cleopas,
and (4) the Magdalene. So, she states (p. 425), "Lk
24:13-33. 'Cleopas' (v. 18) was James, cf. 'Mary of
Cleopas' as one of the four women at the cross in Jn.
19:25 ('his mother's sister', Helena, and three Marys:
queen mother, queen and princess). Hegesippus (quoted
Eccl. Hist. 3:32, also see 3:11) shows that Cleopas
was a family name, being that of an uncle of Jesus,
brother of Joseph."
It is worthy of note that, here, she identifies the
"Cleopas" of 19:25 as being James. She does so by
premising that Cleopas was a dynastic name: like that
of Herod for the Herodian dynasty and that of Aretas
for the dynasty ruling the Nabatean kingdom--the
implication being that James became the head of his
brother's movement because he was the dynastic
successor to his brother.
In this case, the question arises as to in what sense
this Mary was "of Cleopas." The response of Thiering
(p. 334), is that this Mary "was the woman betrothed
If she is correct, then the question arises as to why,
in 19:25, it is stressed that this Mary had been "of
Cleopas", i.e., had been betrothed to James-Cleopas.
The suggested answer: this James-Cleopas had been at
her side and, so, was the son of the mother of Jesus
(and, hence, the brother of Jesus) to whom Jesus had
turned over the custody of his mother--thereby making
this James-Cleopas, who was a brother of Jesus, the
1809 N. English Apt. 15
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