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The Historical Mary Madgalene

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Historical Mary Madgalene
    Posted: 04-Mar-2012 at 18:14
OK, I copied the dead link and pasted it on search, so I got the essaySmile
http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_mary_magdalene.htm
This is the one you are talking about, right?


Edited by Don Quixote - 04-Mar-2012 at 18:18
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Mar-2012 at 19:28
Originally posted by Don Quixote

It's more like since women were seen only in there traditional role of mothers-wives, they were refused by the society the ability to have spiritual life; having the last was male characteristic, so a woman who dares to be more that what her biology implies was considered an "honorary man". I see the expression "change your woman aspect" like allowing her to behave like a man - have a spiritual life and teach and baptise - /something what only men were allowed to do in the Jewish tradition, women couldn't become rabbis/.

I think Jesus was a feminist of sorts, even in his NT gospels - he doesn't make sexist distinctions, and teaches women as well as men, in fact this is why Christianity became so popular amongst women., Roman women in particular, which is well documented.

I've noticed medieval queens were also masculinised. Both Elizabeth and Mary Stuart were referred to as princes
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Mar-2012 at 19:35
I read the essay and found it very interesting. I'm going to take the liberty to post here a short summary with quotes from it, because it connects the Gnostic texts from 2-3 century with the NT gospels in a really convincing way.

The idea of the essay  can be summarized by this statement:
"...In the rest of the New Testament and in orthodox Christianity of the next few centuries Mary Magdalene has been tacitly relegated to president of Jesus' "ladies' auxiliary." But the situation is strikingly different when we turn to Gnostic Christian documents which were not included in the New Testament, various gospels and related writings of the first few centuries C.E. Suddenly we find Mary Magdalene as a, or even the, prime revealer of the gnosis of Jesus, his closest disciple, and the greatest of the apostles! I will endeavor to show what these two starkly contrasting bodies of evidence have to do with one another and, if possible, with the historical Mary Magdalene. To anticipate, I will suggest that Mary Magdalene did receive visionary revelations and became the apostle of an egalitarian, celibate Christianity which preached spiritual marriage with Christ. I will suggest that other currents of earliest Christianity reacted to her radical gospel by minimizing and distorting her role in the ministry of Jesus and the early Christian community, and that her apostolic role was preserved in Gnostic circles and their sacred texts...."
Mary Magdalene: Gnostic Apostle? by Robert M. Price

The essay used various NT, Gnostic, philosophical, etc sources, and the author doesn't have any problem with using the said Gnostic gospels as historical evidence together with the other sources we have. He included some sources I didn't write here about, like Philo and the "Dialog of the Savior" /2-3 cent. AD/; and followed the differences between the NT gospels to make sense of them and explain the patten they fall in. This was a very valuable POV for me, because I'm used to opposing the NT and Gnostic gospel, while actually they can be fitted together in very plausible pattern.

It follows the reducing of the role of Mary from John to Mathew to Luke, connects them to the stages in the Gnostic gospels, adds an interesting recourse on Mark; then back to John, ending with I Corinthians 15. The line of development becomes very clear - from accepting of Mary as a apostle to completely denying it that omitting her from the picture.

"...
Mary was remembered as a prominent figure by all segments of the Christian movement but in orthodox circles her claims were ignored and the reasons for her obvious prominence were forgotten. ..." Ibid.
Then he follows the story about the 7 demons as villifying her in order to reject her claim as an apostle and discredit her - from which the final blow is accusing his in being a prostitute.

The essay end with:
"...
I have tried to show how the second and third century Gnostic texts depicting Mary Magdalene as preeminent among apostles and opposed by Peter are later stages of a trajectory that can be traced plausibly back into the New Testament documents. With the paradigm furnished by the noncanonical texts, several puzzling canonical texts seem to make new sense as reflecting polemics against claims for Mary's apostleship. If such claims and such polemics go so far back (e.g., the I Cor. 15 list), they would seem to stem from the lifetime of the historical Mary Magdalene herself. Both canonical and noncanonical traditions seem to preserve the memory that Mary claimed a privileged disciple relationship with Jesus both before and after the resurrection, that she received unique revelations after the resurrection, and that these revelations included female equality with males based on the transcendence of sexuality in a spiritual union with Christ. Whether she taught more specifically Gnostic ideas known to us from the later systems is unknown, but her ideas were embraced by early Christian circles which eventually formed part of Gnostic Christianity in whose traditions and texts the memory of her apostleship was kept alive, just as the memory of Peter's apostolic leadership was preserved in orthodox Christianity ...."

He said on couple of places that Mary was too important to be ignored, and too many traditions, oral etc, mentioned her, so the way to take her claim from her was done in steps, in 7 stages, after which came the 7 devils and the prostitution accusation. Again we have 7s; and this line of thought made me think that the 7 devils story mat well be a later interpolation,/ maybe based on something, or not all/, a part of the campaign against her, and not a real evidence about her life and personality.

Anyway, the essay is very interesting, thank you for linking it here, SidneySmile.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Mar-2012 at 19:53
Originally posted by Nick1986
I've noticed medieval queens were also masculinised. Both Elizabeth and Mary Stuart were referred to as princes
[/QUOTE




Good point, I didn't think about that. Elizabeth was particularly meticulous in that, in all speeches I read from her she refe


Good point, I didn't think about that. Elizabeth was particularly meticulous in that, in all speeches I read from her she refers to herself as "a prince"; like Hatshepsut styled herself "pharaoh". This is still done in gendered languages, like in Bulgarian, that has gender for every word  /"uchitel" - is male teacher, but "uchitelka" is female one/ women who have important political or juridical position are called by the male form of the word; for example,  a female "Minister" /something like a boss of a state department/ of say, "Ministry of Education" would be "Minister", not "Ministersha" /which means "female Minister", but is used for the wive of the minister, not a female minister/; or a female judge would be called "Sudia" which is "male judge", not "sudiika" which is the proper word for "female judge". This effect is more stark than in English, since English is normally not gendered.


Edited by Don Quixote - 04-Mar-2012 at 19:58
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2012 at 06:58
Thanks for summarising the essay, Don Quixote.
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  Quote History Student X Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2012 at 15:30
It is interesting that the first person that Jesus revealed Himself to was a woman after He was ressurected.  Surely one of the apostles would have been a clear choice, but it shows to His divinity and mercy that it was a woman whose morality was in question at the time.  She is an important figure in Christianity and her life is of interest.  Her choises in life and her role as a prostitute in her time are very relavent to the events that her later life would reveal.  She is a great historical figure and should be respected for her part in religious history.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2012 at 15:47
She wasn't a prostitute, none of the NT gospels state that, this was a later interpolation, whether by an honest mistake on Pope Gregory the Great, or by an organized campaign to soil her reputation and take the apostleship from her. But even the Catholic Church admitted that she was not a prostitute, and corrected this via the Roman Missal
"...In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church corrected the misconception, its Missal, and the Roman Calendar...."
http://www.netplaces.com/women-of-the-bible/women-disciples-and-followers-of-christ/mary-magdalene.htm
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2012 at 19:13
If she wasn't a prostitute or adultress, why did the crowd want to stone her to death (the normal punishment for sexual misconduct)?
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2012 at 19:44
Originally posted by Nick1986

If she wasn't a prostitute or adultress, why did the crowd want to stone her to death (the normal punishment for sexual misconduct)?



Within the New Testament there is no evidence that Mary Magdalene is the same as any of the other unnamed women who appear. Whether it be the woman condemned to be stoned, the woman with the bloody flux, Jairus' daughter, the woman with the alabaster jar, the woman at the well, the bride at the marriage of Cana, etc. Mary Magdalene is never stated or implied as having been a sinner, adulterer, prostitute, etc. It is only the assumption that she was that makes the connection with unnamed characters who are identified as such.

Some biblical commentators felt a need to identify everyone mentioned in the gospels - so they often made connections that were based purely on the assumption that if person X is mentioned in divine scripture, person X must be very important, therefore person X must have a name; but person X isn't named, so we therefore have to identify person X as someone who is named elsewhere.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2012 at 21:05
That's right, there is no name mentioned in John 8-10, which tells the story about the woman who was condemned to be stoned.
"...
3  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4  they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: Lev. 20.10 · Deut. 22.22-24 but what sayest thou?
6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
..."

Anyway, I was reading "The Magdalene Legacy" by Laurence Gardner, /2005,  HarperCollinsPublishers/ and according to him "Mary" wasn't a proper name in the time Jesus lived in Judea, but something like a nicknames meaning "beloved" that was attached to female names, that's why there are som many Marys in the NT. I'm going to type the quote in it's entirety, so it can be used as reference:

"...In the Gospel era, as in the Greko-Roman culture, "Mary" was no so much a name as a distinction. This is why there were a numbers of Marys associated with Jesus. Although nominally apparent in the New Testaments, the non-canonical Gospel of Phillip makes particular mention of this: "There were three who always walked with the Lord...his sister and his mother and his consort were each a Mary". The name was a conventual style of the era, and is still used by many nuns in convemts today, placed before their baptismal names to Sister Mary Louse, sister Mary Theresa and the like. Mark 6:3, for example, is generally presented with Jesus as the "son of Mary", but when correctly translated is reads "son of the Mary". ..." pg. 8.

I got interested in this detail in Mark 6:3, so I decided to check it out, and see is this is really so, using my archmeasly Greek. Here, Mark 6:3:
"...οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν τέκτων, υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. ..."  http://www.greekbible.com/index.php

Which is KJV is translated as:
"...
3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him...." 
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A55%2CMark+6%3A3&version=KJV

The translation of the beginning of the sentence, word for word:
οὐχ - adverb for "ou" - not
οὗτός - this one
ἐστιν - is

τέκτων, - the carpenter, "the builder with wood"/literally/
υἱὸς - the son
τῆς - the - this is the full article in Greek
Μαρίας - Maria

καὶ - and 
ἀδελφὸς - brother
Ἰακώβου - of Jacob;  in genetive case - Iakob=ou for genetive
καὶ - and 
Ἰωσῆτος
- of Joses - Ioset+os for genetive

first I thought that maybe the full article in Greek goes in front of all names, but in the case of the brothers there is no "the" in front of the name; nor my Ancient  Greek textbook "An introduction to Greek" by Henry Crosby, 1928, mentions the use or the definite article in front of personal names. So, unless someone with better Greek comes around and explains this detail I'll consider L. Gardner's theory as a possibility.



Edited by Don Quixote - 06-Mar-2012 at 21:10
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2012 at 21:47
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
I truly do love that part.Wink
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 19:20
Sounds like many in the crowd had already enjoyed her services before they tried to stone her. Hypocrisy and bigotry concealed by religious fundamentalism is probably as old as organised religion itself
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 19:28
It seems to me that the woman in the story wasn't a prostitute pr se, because there were professional prostitutes among the Hebrews, and many are mentioned in the OT in one or another context, not always negative; they accusers here said that she was "taken in adultery, in the very act" - it seems like a married woman caught in flagrante delicto with a lover. I suppose that most of the accusers were envious that she got some fun when they didn't - there is no more severe judge than someone who would like to do so, but cannot for one or another reason.

in any case the woman here wasn't Mary Magdalene, just a woman whose name wasn't recorded.


Edited by Don Quixote - 07-Mar-2012 at 19:32
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2012 at 19:19
QUOTE=Don Quixote]
Anyway, I was reading "The Magdalene Legacy" by Laurence Gardner, /2005, HarperCollinsPublishers/ and according to him "Mary" wasn't a proper name in the time Jesus lived in Judea, but something like a nicknames meaning "beloved" that was attached to female names, that's why there are som many Marys in the NT. I'm going to type the quote in it's entirety, so it can be used as reference:"...In the Gospel era, as in the Greko-Roman culture, "Mary" was no so much a name as a distinction. This is why there were a numbers of Marys associated with Jesus. Although nominally apparent in the New Testaments, the non-canonical Gospel of Phillip makes particular mention of this: "There were three who always walked with the Lord...his sister and his mother and his consort were each a Mary". The name was a conventual style of the era, and is still used by many nuns in convemts today, placed before their baptismal names to Sister Mary Louse, sister Mary Theresa and the like. Mark 6:3, for example, is generally presented with Jesus as the "son of Mary", but when correctly translated is reads "son of the Mary [/QUOTE]

I'm going to disagree with Laurence Gardner;
The name Mary may mean "beloved", but everyone's name means something in some language; that doesn't make them all titles or nicknames. If I remember rightly, Gardner says Mary = beloved in the Egyptian language. I don't recall his reasons for thinking Jews in Galilee would be speaking Egyptian. I always took Mary to be a diminutive form of Miriam or Maryam - of which Josephus in his 1st Centuy writings names quite a few.

If Mary is a title, why doesn't the NT distinguish between the different Marys by just giving their other names? Instead it tells you who they were married to, who they were the mother of, or where they came from. But even if they had a second name this would not be uncommon in the NT (Joseph Barsabbas, John Mark, Tabitha Dorcas, etc). The only evidence given for Mary being a title is one passage that says "the Mary". Only one out of the many dozens of references in the NT to ‘Mary’ would suggest a trans-scribal error, rather than a title.

There are also not "so many Marys in the NT". There are only five in the Gospels;
1. Mary the mother of Jesus,
2. Mary of Clophas, the 'sister' of Mary the mother of Jesus
3. Mary the mother of James & Joses,
4. Mary Magdalene,
5. Mary the sister of Martha & Lazarus of Bethany.
With Acts of the Apostles adding another;
6. Mary the mother of Mark
There are more people named Simon, Judas or James in the NT than called Mary. These are not titles either. Nuns use the name Mary as a reference to them being Brides of Christ in their vow of celibacy, and are referring to the Virgin Mary as perceived by the Catholic Church. It has no relevance to the use of that name in the 1st Century. There seems to be no early records that indicate 'Mary' was a title - not in the NT, the Talmud, the Gnostic literature or Greek/Roman sources.

The quote from the Gospel of Phillip just seems another irrelevance to Gardner's argument The full passage reads "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary." There are actually four women listed here, one of whom is unnamed, unless there has been a trans-scribal error.

The Marys are also mentioned in Papias, who wrote in the early 2nd Century AD and knew John the evangelist;
“Mary the mother of the Lord; Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus…; Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee, mother of John the evangelist and James; Mary Magdalene. These four are found in the Gospel…Mary, mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphaeus was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas, either from her father or from the family of the clan, or for some other reason. Mary Salome is called Salome either from her husband or her village. Some affirm that she is the same as Mary of Cleophas, because she had two husbands.”

These three Marys are therefore the “three who walked with the Lord” mentioned in the Gospel of Philip – Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Salome her sister, and Mary Magdalene.

The gospels, too, single out three women as accompanying Jesus, although they make it clear these were not the only women surrounding him. But the gospels give different names for these women, as if they were following a tradition of there being three, but were unsure of the people involved. If they were unsure of the names, but Mary was a title, why not just say they were all called Mary? The names are;
The Gospel of Matthew 27;56 lists “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” Later Matthew mentions Mary Magdalene and the other Mary – implying that he either didn’t know the third woman’s name, or that she wasn’t called Mary.
The Gospel of Mark however does give a third name: 15;40 “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.”
The Gospel of John 19;25 lists “his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Some modern commentators see this as four women, but early tradition and linguistics favour just three. As noted above, Papias connects Mary the wife of Clopas as Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee (which included John the evangelist). This therefore does confirm the idea of three Marys following Jesus.
The Gospel of Luke 24;10 gives ” Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James” In an earlier chapter he lists the women as Mary Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Susanna.

Because we are told there were other women with Jesus, it cannot be assumed that the three listed are all the same three women but with different names. Indeed the 2nd Century gnostic texts “The Sophia of Jesus” and the “First Apocalypse of James” state that Jesus had seven female disciples. No source gives a complete list, but the “First Apocalypse of James” lists Salome, Mariam, Martha and Arsinoe, and the “Pistis Sophia” names Salome, Martha, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. If we add Joanna and Susanna, it seems that Mary was just a name common amongst the female followers, and not a special title given to them.


Edited by Sidney - 08-Mar-2012 at 19:38
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2012 at 20:26
I'll quote the context in which Gardner talks about Egyptian, it's in the same page like the quote I posted:
"...the first think to consider is the community relevance of the Greek name "Mary" /from the Egyptian, Mery, meaning "beloved" and seemingly equivalent to the Hebrew, Miriam/. Similar Egyptian names include Meriamon /Beloved of Amon/ and Merytaten /Beloved of Aten/. other European variations of Mary are Marie and Maria..." Ibid. pg, 8.

It seems that he thinks that the word "Mary" in European as well as in Hebrew may have been an Egyptian word, which is quite possible, since The Hebrews lived next to the Egyptians, no matter if a tribe of theirs had lived in Egypt per se, a or not. In any case, both Hebrew and Ancient Egyptian are Afro-Asiatic languages, Hebrew being Semitic, Egyptian being right now considered either Semitic, or closer to Berber; in any case there would be logical some words to have been borrower from one into another culture and language.

As for the names - it's not a rarity in ancinet societies women not to hav epersonal manes - for eample, in Rome girls weren't given personal names, instead they got the female version of teh name of their fathers - Julia the daughter of Julius, etc. Some of this tradition is preserved in Slavic cultures where the second name of a person is the first name of the father, in male of female gender, depending on if the kid is male or female. Like, "Borisova" is the second name of a woman whose father is "Boris".

Women were invisible for patriachal societies, they were known only by the names of the males around them - fathers and husbands. If Mary of Magdala was married, she would be known by the name of her husband, not by the name of the town she lived in; like the mother of Jesus was known as "Mary wife of Joseph". Women had no value, other than being mothers and daughters, and wives, they were not real persons, that's why they were identified by the males around them.
Peter, Simon, etc, were males, they had value, they had names and personalities, Mary's were females, they didn't have such.

Anyway, I see this as a possibility, and the Greek text supports such interpretation. Now, in the sentence you give "Mary Madgalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of Jesus" Joana is given with her name, but Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus were identified with their town and their male offspring respectively. why? If Mary was their personal names, whey did they have to be identified in other way? Only because there were 2 of them? I suppose this is plausible, but the other interpretation is plausible also.

In Bulgaria, for example, most people use nicknames, not the real names of the people they love. My mother rerely use my name, unless she is angry at me, otherwise she calls me "Agne"/little lamb/. I used to call my son "Slone" /Elephant/ and he to call me "Jiraf"/Giraffe/, now I call him "Face". I call my high school friend "Govedo"/Cattle/, and another one "Chudovisthe" /Monster/, I rarely call a person by his/her name /unless I'm angry with them/. Maybe that's why I consider the possibility Mary to have been a nickname, for cultural reasons, the mechanism of the nicknames is very close to my thinking process. Which opinion, of course, I don't force on anyone.

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2012 at 20:38
Originally posted by Sidney


The quote from the Gospel of Phillip just seems another irrelevance to Gardner's argument The full passage reads "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary." There are actually four women listed here, one of whom is unnamed, unless there has been a trans-scribal error.

Why is that irrelevant? That they were "each a Mary" again puts a undefinite article in front of Mary. something which is not done in English, no one says 'tghis is the John", or "give this to a John"; "a" is used as an article with professions, like "the teacher", "a teacher" etc; the passage doesn't say "they were each named Mary", or "the name of each was Mary", it puts the article in front of a personal name, that is like 3 grade English - I suppose the interpreters weren't ignoramuses and translated it like that for a reason, even though is grammatically not correct. I don't have the original tough to verify it.

Nor do I think the monastic names are irrelevant too - all those nuns were calling themselves Mary for being "brides of Christ" just like supposedly Mary of Magdala was, no matter in physical or spiritual way; in fact this custom likely started with Mary of Magdala, and continued since because of the significance of it's meaning. When I see a strong custom like this going for centuries, I consider that there is something more behind it, that just randomness.
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  Quote Louise C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2012 at 01:54
Elizabeth I liked to emphasise the fact that she had the proper masculine qualities to govern 'the heart and stomach of a man' as she put it.  But she also enjoyed being seen as a desirable woman, she loved wearing magnificent dresses and jewellery, and being surrounded by admiring young men.  She hungered for masculine admiration.
 
For instance, when the Scottish ambassador came to the English court, she subjected him to a long cross-examination about which was the most accomplished and most attractive, her or Mary.  The ambassador's diplomatic skills were taxed to the utmost, as he had to steer a course that did not disparage either queen.


Edited by Louise C - 17-Mar-2012 at 02:06
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2012 at 04:45
Yes, Elisabeth played both parts very well and knew how to dangle herself in front of a male to get what she wanted. She played a capricious and fragile woman with her nobles when it suited her, and used all male and female qualities depending of the position and role she was in the moment in.
Still, in her playing the role of a Prince she entered history as such, and she wasn't the only case like that that was mentioned here.
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2012 at 13:07
I’ll agree to disagree with you on the matter of Laurence Gardner and the Mary as a title issue. I’ll answer your points in the post to explain, and maybe further discoveries or discussion will cause me or you or both of us to change our minds, or maybe not.

Greek ‘Mary’ and Hebrew ‘Miriam’ both derive from the Egyptian ‘Mery’. Mery means ‘beloved’ and might have retained that meaning in the other languages. That still doesn’t make it a title. It is still a personal name that just means ‘beloved', just as Susanna means ‘graceful lily’ and Matthew means ’gift of God ’. As I said before, every name means something in some language. Does Gardner say when it was meant to have been used as a title? Ancient Egypt? But it appears as a common element within the name, not as a separate title. Post Jesus? In which case, the Marys in the NT, as being born before Jesus’ teachings, also only held it as a personal name. That doesn’t rule out the possibility of adopting in adulthood a name that has a special meaning to you – Simon called Peter and Saul called Paul are two examples in the NT – but this was a significant event, and none of the Marys are given any such name changes.

The Roman practise of naming children is more complicated than saying Julia is named after her father Julius and therefore she didn’t have an identity. Julia/Julius was the equivalent of our surnames. It identified the person as a member of the Julii family, and all members of the family would be called either Julius or Julia. Aemilius/Amelia, Antonius/Antonia, Cornelius/Cornelia are other examples. Each person would also be given a personal name to distinguish between the different members of the family, much as we do with forenames. Other names would also be given to distinguish further between individuals. Repeating the same or variants on a name was equal for sons and daughters (the Emperor Tiberius had exactly the same name as his father), and included giving boys a variation of their mother’s names. For instance Anicius Faustus Paulinus (legate of Moesia in 230AD), was named after his father Quintus Anicius Faustus, and his mother Sergia Paullus; Decimus Claudius Drusus (Roman military commander, died 9BC) got his last name from his mother Livia Drusilla.

Handing down a given name through the family doesn’t mean loss of identity. It still occurs today, as you point out, without any sense of it doing so. I also struggle to think of any ancient society where women didn’t have personal names that identified them any less than a man’s personal name would have done.

“Women were invisible in patriarchal societies”. Women lacked power, but they weren’t invisible. The amount of women Jesus met in the NT accounts shows how much they appeared in the public places of his ministry. There are many prominent women in the OT (and some of them did have power – Jezebel, Q of Sheba, Deborah).

But yes, women were usually viewed as objects to possess and rarely had identity outside of the family. Mary of Magdala was probably a wealthy woman, widowed or unmarried. As you point out with the other Marys, if she had a husband she would have been labelled as Mary wife of X. But men were also distinguished by their male family – John and James the sons of Zebedee (also known as John the brother of James, and James the brother of John), James the son of Alphaeus, Judas the son of James, Judas the son of Simon, Jude the brother of James – as well as being given other qualifying nicknames - Simon the Leper, Simon the Zealot. This isn’t denying them a personality, or assuming the name is a title. It is distinguishing between people with the same name, as is done with the Marys.

The Gospel of Philip uses the term ‘a Mary’. Using an article before a name needn’t mean it’s a title, and can still makes sense, specifically when referring to multiples. I’ve referred to “the Marys” a few times in this post, without it meaning a title. If I write “I have four grandsons and each one is a Robert” you know I don’t mean that Robert is a title.

Adopting a new name due to religious conversion/vow has gone on for centuries, among men and women, in many different religions. The choice of ‘Mary’ for nuns is down to her popularity as a saint and idol among Christians, not as a continuation of a title. I do not know when the tradition started, but I need to be shown that is has a long history. There are many Anglo-Saxon and French nuns that I know were not called Mary, and there are also many sister Catherines and sister Theresas.

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2012 at 13:42
I don't see a reason to disagree with you, Sid, since I mentioned Gardners's idea as a possibility, not as an assertion per se, and because I found it interesting, not because I try to sell it as an some ultimate truth - I like playing with possibilities. Thank you for the interesting post, btwSmile

I don't think Gardner was saying that in Ancient Egypt it was being used as a title, just as a name - names traditionally meant things, and giving a name to someone was like putting a spell of him/her, a positive spell - like to be gracious, healthy, beloved-of divinity, etc. As far as I can see he meant that it was a title for the Greek and Jewish culture, at least this is what I got from the quote I posted - something like a nickname.

As for the Roman naming - I specifically read that women in Rome didn't have personal names, only surnames, but I don't remember where, so I cannot cite it. I got a new book on Mary "Mary Magdalen - Myth and Metaphor" by Susan Haskins, and if I find in it something of interest that hadn't been posted here I'll write it
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