Mary Magdalene, Maligned Throughout History — Patricia Kirk
Today I’m excited to welcome author Patricia Kirk as she shares insight into the main character of her latest release, Martha’s Sister, Beloved Prodigal.
My biblical novel, Martha’s Sister, Beloved Prodigal required research. Not only did I need to be careful about Biblical information, I wanted a true picture of first-century AD Jews since Jesus came from that group. I had no knowledge of either. As I wrote, many times I found myself interrupting a sentence to look up this or that.
A prominent part of the novel is the foot washing of Jesus by the sinner. When I researched this scene, the name Mary Magdalene popped up over and over. If I search her name, a link goes to the story of the foot washer. But the book of John (11:2) tells us that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, washed Jesus’ feet. They couldn’t be the same person. Mary Magdalene came from Magdala near Galilee. The family of Lazarus lived in Bethany, just two miles from Jerusalem.
So why has Mary of Magdala been so maligned by history?
The period between 30AD and 33AD listed many confusing Marys, including the mother of Jesus; Mary mother of James and Joseph who wanted Jesus to seat her sons on each side of him in heaven; Mary, mother of Zebedee‘s sons–And Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany.
Mary of Magdala and Mary of Bethany worshiped the same God. They inhabited the same world. Maybe they talked when they met.
Jesus healed Mary of Magdala of seven demons. She did not crash Simon the Leper’s party and wash the feet of Jesus. It’s difficult to imagine a demon possessed person as desirable. Who would pay money to spend time with her? The only demon possessed people in the Bible that I remember:
- The man who kept breaking his chains. He frightened people. No worries about sexual sin there.
- The servant girl who followed Peter to tell everyone that Jesus was God. She angered Peter and he cast out her demon, destroying the income of her owners. No sign of sexual sin.
- Jesus healed a man of a blind and mute spirit. Matthew 22:3
- He healed Mary Magdalene of seven demons. Luke 8:2.
Nowhere does it say Mary’s seven demons were sensual. Did she have a deaf and dumb spirit? Did she have an embarrassing flow of blood that continued for years? Was she simply ill?
Do you remember other instances of demon possession in the Bible?
Mary of Magdala supported Jesus financially. Where did she get the money? I don’t believe Jesus would accept ill-gotten money so it didn’t come from prostitution. Did her husband give it to her? Or did it come from a widow’s estate? Why do we imagine her unmarried?
Jesus chose her to find the empty tomb, and then to meet him on the road after his crucifixion–special honors he gave to her. He assigned her to tell the others. He loved her as a faithful servant.
So there you have it–Mary Magdalene as a harlot was fake news circa 30 AD
Patricia Annalee Kirk’s biblical novel, Martha’s Sister, Beloved Prodigal is scheduled for publication July 1, 2017. Readers may click http://makerstouch.typepad.com/sample_copies. to read the first five chapters. Graduated from the University of Kansas in are about one hundred years ago when they still had an art department. Find her records in the school of Architecture but ask me to design a house at your own risk.
Chapter 1: Mary Left
Martha: The day Mary left dawned with sunshine. Light shone on the white leaves and red centers of the lilies and red windflowers in the doorway. My mood lifted with the promise of a pleasant day.
Two days before, we celebrated Mary’s sixteenth birthday. On this day at noon I sent her to the market. Each week, she shopped for the items we didn‘t grow or raise. When she left, she wore a scarf wrapped around her head. Coins hung from the edges to display her availability for betrothal. Despite her beauty, no one asked my husband, Hamel, for permission to take her as his wife.
Five hours later, I paced between the fire pit and the door. I gazed at the street, waiting for her to return, frantic with worry.
Hamel and Lazarus walked through the door together after a long work day. I rushed at them. “Mary went to the market hours ago. She didn’t come home. What can we do?”
Lazarus put his arm across my shoulders. “She met a friend. You know how distracted she gets. Here, Hamel and I will bring her home.”
Hamel nodded and smiled. He took my hand and rubbed it. “Don’t worry. I’m sure we will find her.”
Both men bounded through the door to the street, nearly tripping one another. When they returned, several hours later, neither man had eaten for hours. Anxious to find Mary, they ignored their hunger. Hamel trudged through the entrance, followed by Lazarus. Lines marked my brother’s forehead, brows nearly meeting.
Hamel walked to the table. “No one knows where she went. I’m hungry. Please forgive me. I must eat.”
“Of course. Your food is ready.”
“No one has seen her. It’s dark. I pray she stayed with a friend. Her reputation already suffers.“ Lazarus fought tears. “We’ll rest and try again tomorrow.”
I stared. What does Lazarus mean? What don’t I know about Mary?
“We can’t see. Our torches flicker.” He flashed a painful smile. “I’m sure she will walk through the door at any moment, embarrassed at the concern she caused.”