Yesterday, Margaret Starbird posted to a Magdalene forum about how the accusations of prostitute might have originated. See below. Her second theory is fascinating because it draws on the hierodule (sacred temple prostitute in the ancient world) theory without making Magdalene an actual sacred whore. Margaret also explains why July 22 or 22/7 may have been chosen as Magdalene’s feastday. Most intriguing. It’s my mother-in-law’s birthday, too. Hee hee.
There is no scriptural foundation whatever for the idea that Mary Magdalene was a common prostitute. That “tradition” was derived from two possible sources:
1) her conflation with the woman who anointed Jesus at the banquet (Mary of Bethany in John’s Gospel) whom Luke calls “a sinner from the town” (Luke 7:37). Anointing of the “Bridegroom King” was the privilege of the Bride in ancient cults of the sacred marriage, but by the time the Gospels were written, the pagan ritual was performed by a “consecrated priestess” (“sacred prostitute”). Because of the association with the pagan rites, this “misidentification” became associated with Mary Magdalene.
2) in Judiasm, there is a strong theme of Yahweh’s unconditional love for his “Bride,” the people of Israel, who are not always faithful to him and often “prostitute” themselves before false gods….but God always calls them back and forgives him. He instructs Hosea to marry the prostitute Gomer and take her back when she is unfaithful, as “a sign for My love for My people….”So we have a “leitmotif” of God’s marriage to a “prostitute” throughout Jewish Scripture…. manifested in Christian tradition with the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, who represents her land and people (as in Isaiah 62)… “No longer shall she be called forsaken….”
I think the “prostitute” tradition is a combination of the two
possiblilities outlined above…. Magdalene as “Bride” represents the community/church/people and anoints the King/Messiah in this role. She was never a “prostitute.” I also think that we never would have had that tradition if Luke hadn’t removed the anointing scene away from Bethany and if he hadn’t stated that the woman was “a sinner” and made such a point about her being forgiven for her sins “because she loved much.”–He really
did a job on her (Luke 7).
Her feastday in the Western Church was adopted from the Eastern Orthodox in (I think) the 6th century. I personally think it
is because 22/7 is the ratio used to calculate the area and circumference of circles, a very important formula in sacred geometry and related by association with the “vesica piscis” (her pre-eminent symbol, formed when two circles intersect one another)…()
It’s also exactly one week before the feast day of her sister Martha.
peace and light,