Monday, 21 September 2009

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is in all four gospels as a witness at the crucifixion. According to Luke she was a woman from whom ‘seven devils had gone out’; and according to John she was the first to encounter the risen Jesus. Some exegetical traditions have conflated her with one of the other Marys in the gospels—the prostitute who dried Christ’s feet with her hair; and the Mary who bought expensive oils with which to anoint him.

She may not touch Jesus (noli me tangere, he tells her, so very famously) although male disciples are not only encouraged to touch him but to penetrate him with their fingers. Why? Because he expects women to have faith intangibly, whilst men can only believe the tangible? A testament to female credulity, or male stubbornness, neither very flattering to humanity.

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