(See also wiki article Magdala_village
Magdala, Magdalene - Home of Mary Magdalene. See MARY (3).
MARY. - The Greek form of Hebrew Miriam.
MARY: The mother of James & Joses | the sister of Martha | Magdalene | the mother of Jesus | the mother of John Mark | saluted by St Paul.
1. Mary, mother of James and Joses, was one of the company of women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, and who saw the crucifixion from afar (Mt.27.55f). She is spoken of as 'the other Mary' (Mt.27.61, 28.1), as 'the mother of James the younger and of Joses' (Mk.15.40), as 'Mary the mother of Joses' (Mk.15.47), and as 'Mary the mother of James' (Mk.16.1, Lk.24.10). There is a question as to whether this Mary is the same as the one referred to in Jn.19.25 as 'Mary the wife of Clopas.' It is possible that 'James the son of Alphaeus' (Mk.3.18, etc.) is the James who is the son of the above Mary; in which case Alphaeus would have been the husband of this Mary. It is likewise possible that Clopas (in Jn.19.25) is Alphaeus, the same Aramaic possibily underlying both names. (See Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 256; and per contra Schmiedel, EBi, article ' Clopas.')
2. Mary, the sister of Martha, is mentioned twice in the Gospels - (1) as sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His teaching while her sister served (Lk.10.38-42); and (2) as falling at His feet on His arrival to raise Lazarus from the grave (Jn.11.32. See also 11.1, 19, 20, 28, 31, 33, 45). Mary fulfils St. Paul's ideal in her 'undivided devotion to the Lord' (1 Co.7.35). She knows what the 'good portion' is - that 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Mt.4.4). The Fourth Gospel identifies this Mary with the elsewhere unnamed woman who anointed Jesus (Mk.14.3-9, Mt.26.6-13, Lk.7.36-50); but this identification is probably the work of John. Nowhere in the Synoptics is it even implied that the name of the woman was Mary.
3. Mary Magdalene, probably so called as coming from Magdala, also known as Tarichaea, on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. She is first mentioned in Lk.8.2 as one of the women who, having been 'healed of evil spirits and infirmities ... provided for them out of their means.' Seven demons had been cast out of her (cf Mk.16.9), indicating, perhaps, that her affliction had been particularly serious (cf Mt.12.45, Mk.5.9).
A questionable tradition identifies her with the unnamed sinful woman who anointed our Lord (Lk.7.37ff); and she has thus been regarded as the typical reformed 'fallen woman.' But St. Luke, though he placed them consecutively in his narrative, did not identify them; and possession did not necessarily presuppose moral failing in the victim's character.
With the other women she accompanied Jesus on His last journey to Jerusalem; with them she beheld the crucifixion, at first ' from afar,' but afterwards standing by the Cross itself (Mt.27.55f, Jn.19.25); she followed the body to the burial (Mk.15.47), and then returned to prepare spices, resting on the Sabbath. On the first day of the week, while it was yet dark, she visited the sepulchre (Jn.20.1ff). Finding the grave empty, she assumed that the body had been removed, and that she was thus deprived of the opportunity of paying her last tribute of love. She ran at once to Peter and John and said, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.' They all three returned to the tomb, she remaining after the men had left. Weeping, she looked into the sepulchre, and saw two angels guarding the spot where Jesus had lain. To their question, 'Why are you weeping?' she repeated the words she had said to Peter and John. Apparently feeling that someone was standing behind her, she turned, and saw Jesus, but mistook Him for the gardener. The utterance of her name from His lips awoke her to the truth. She cried, 'Rabboni' ('my Master') - and would have clasped His feet. But Jesus forbade her, saying, 'Do not hold me; for I have not yet ascended to the Father.' She must no longer regard Him from a human point of view (2 Co.5.16), but possess Him as a Divine being in spiritual communion. This first appearance of our Lord after His Resurrection (Mk.16.9) conferred a special honour on one whose life of loving ministry had proved the reality and depth of her devotion.
4. Mary, the mother of Jesus.
scripture data | the virgin - place in the church | perpetual virginity.
(1) Scripture data. - The NT gives but little information regarding her. In the Gospels, aside from the references to her in the Infancy Narratives, she is mentioned directly only three times (Jn.2.1-12, Mk.3.31ff and parallels in Matthew and Luke, Jn.19.25ff), and indirectly thrice (Mk.6.3 and parallel in Matthew, Lk.11.27, Jn.6.42). Outside the Gospels she is mentioned only once (Ac.1.14). Thus the references to Mary are scant indeed. In Jn.19.25ff Mary is said to have been one of four women (improbably three) who stood by the cross of Jesus; and it is here that Jesus commends Mary to the 'disciple whom he loved.' She plays in this scene only a passive ro1e. In the references in Jn.2.1-12 Jesus declares His independence of His mother; and in Mk.3.31 and parallels He does the same, declaring that whoever does the will of God is His mother and brother and sister.
It is, therefore, only in the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke that Mary plays an important role in the NT. Neither Mark nor John records Jesus' birth. In Matthew the Lord's birth of a virgin is clearly stated, and it is said that the event took place in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled: 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel' (Mt.1.23). The reference here to birth of a virgin is based on the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT. This translation, which Matthew quotes, refers to a virgin; but the Hebrew text speaks of a 'young woman' (Is.7.14). Elsewhere in his Gospel, however, Matthew assumes that Joseph was Jesus' father - as, for example, in his tracing of Jesus' genealogy (q.v.) back through Joseph (1.16), and in the reference to Jesus as the 'carpenter's son' (13.55).
Luke has only two references to Jesus as born of a virgin, one of which appears to be a gloss. The latter is found in 3.23, being the words 'as was supposed.' The insertion of these words makes the ensuing genealogy irrelevant and meaningless. The other Lucan reference to the Virgin Birth is in the question Mary addresses to the angel, 'How can this be, since I have no husband?' And the angel answers that the Holy Spirit will come upon her (1.34f). Elsewhere, however, Luke speaks of Jesus' 'parents' (2.27) and of Jesus' 'father' (2.33). He also traced Jesus' genealogy back through Joseph (3.23).
The significance of Jesus' birth of a virgin lies in its uniqueness and its predestined character. The understanding of Jesus as a pre-existent being (cf Ph.2.6) points in the same direction, the end of which is to be seen in the Logos Christology of the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is not a proved miracle; it is understandable only by faith.
(2) Place of the Virgin in the Christian Church. - As early as the 4th cent., Epiphanius (c AD 374-377) rebuked heretics, called Collyridians, who worshipped the Virgin; soon thereafter the error found a welcome in the Church, and was heightened at the time of the Nestorian controversy (AD 431). In repudiating the views of Nestorius the Church insisted that our Lord had only one personality, and that Divine; it therefore emphasized the fact that He who was born of the Virgin was very God. It thus became the custom to give Mary the title Theotokos (bearer of God). The emphasis was on the divinity of Christ and not on the nature of Mary. The Church did not at this time call her 'mother of God.' Later the title was applied to her, as her worship increased.
With the worship of Mary arose a belief in her sinlessness. Finally, in the last century, her freedom from all taint of sin, whether original or actual, was officially declared an article of faith in the Roman Church by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception decreed by Pius ix in 1854. In 1950 Pius xii proclaimed the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary - viz. that after Mary's death her body was taken into heaven.
(3) The perpetual Virginity of Mary is an essential dogma of the Roman Catholic and Greek Churches. The main arguments in favour of the dogma are doctrinal. Militating against Mary's perpetual virginity are the references in the Gospels (e.g. Mk.3.32) to Jesus' brothers (see Brothers of the Lord). Epiphanius' view, held by many in the early church, was that these 'brothers' were children of Joseph by a former marriage. Jerome's view was that they were cousins. But the Greek language had a word for 'cousin' (cf Col.4.10), and these brothers in the Gospels are associated with Jesus' mother. A further objection to the dogma is the implication of such passages as 'He knew her not until she had borne a son' (Mt.1.25) and 'She gave birth to her first-born son' (Lk.2.7). Such expressions as these would hardly have been used by writers who assumed Mary's perpetual virginity.
5. Mary, the mother of John Mark (Ac.12.12).
6. Mary, saluted by St. Paul (Ro.16.6).
[Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - B.H.T.]