The Mormons / LDS believe in the existence of a Heavenly Mother. It was taught in the 1830’s by their founder Joseph Smith, and is still believed today although they like to keep the doctrine on the down-low so as not to be accused of goddess-worship and / or worshiping the Whore of Babylon or something. They also believe Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children, Joseph Smith once claiming to be a descendant of Jesus. Holy Blood, Holy Grail and the DaVinci Code right there in the 19th Century!
From the Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith’s Teachings, pg. 436; “’Will I know my mother as my mother when I get over on the Other Side?’ asked a little girl. ‘Certainly you will,’ was the instant reply of the Prophet [Joseph Smith]. ‘More than that, you will meet and become acquainted with your eternal Mother, the wife of your Father in Heaven.’
‘And have I then a Mother in Heaven?!’ exclaimed the astonished girl. ‘You assuredly have. How could a Father claim His title unless there were also a Mother to share that parenthood?'”
“Logic and reason would certainly suggest that if we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven. That doctrine rests well with me. However, in light of the instruction we have received from the Lord Himself, I regard it as inappropriate for anyone in the Church to pray to our Mother in Heaven… The fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her. None of us can add to or diminish the glory of whom we have no revealed knowledge” – LDS apostle Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Magazine, November 1991
In the Book of Mormon one of the characters Nephi has a vision of the Tree of Life and it immediately makes him think of Mother Mary. The Asherah Tree and Queen of Heaven connection of Mother Mary cannot be a coincidence. Joseph Smith studied Kabbalah, Freemasonry and the occult, which is very cool. The Tree of Life is the major teaching of Kabbalah.
I looked at this slideshow article with a “you won’t gotcha me!” attitude, I have a Ph.D. in Religion thank you very much. But sure enough, they got me with the second one. I’ve never heard of a certain Japanese sect they describe.
The Vietnamese religion mentioned was also fuzzy for me, but I do recall studying it years ago in comparative religions.
See if they can catch you! http://www.patheos.com/Galleries/Obscure-Religions
Please watch this short, awesome video…and read my reaction below
I got teary-eyed watching that video and I am not even a Jew. What got me emotional was the whole idea of clinging onto your heritage no matter what, while surrounded by murderous hostility. Resisting the cultural assimilation demand to “be exactly like us or DIE!”, is valiant indeed. As is not falling for the insidious, less violent pressure to just give in and conform.
Light of the World
As I always tell my children each year, “Yeshua and Magdalene, Mother Mary and Joseph — they all celebrated Hanukkah every year.” It’s amazing how long the Jewish people have made it in a world surrounded by brutal enemies without being stamped out.
Another inspiring part of the video was the concept of light in the darkness, and each of us having an inner light. As followers of Yeshua the Jewish Sage and Messiah, we also know him as the Light of the World and his birthday also occurs along with Chanukah during the dark time of the year, the Winter Solstice. Our inner light, as mentioned in the video, is also a reflection of the Messiah-Light. We must choose to allow our inner light to shine forth. Otherwise it won’t. Think of songs like “Let your light shine,” and “This Little Light of mine”.
Other ironic-seeming connections that come to mind as I type:
Christos is the Greek word for Messiah (means anointed one) and the earliest followers of Yeshua were called “Little Messiahs” or Little-Christos aka “christians”. The first place that word “christian” was used was in Antioch, Syria. Syrian Christians are very ancient — the Assyrian Christians. Now that city is called Antakya, Turkey because a century or so ago the moslem Turks stole it from the Syrian Christians, burned the entire city-center, chased out the Christian inhabitants, and incorporated Antioch into the country of Turkey. It’s very near the land whose air-space the Russian jet flew over for 17 seconds last week causing the Turks to shoot it down.
Ancient events and ancient peoples do seem to tie into current events more and more these days. Be sure to LET your light shine in the darkness. A little light can move a lot of darkness, goes the saying. Help those around you to keep theirs burning, too. Bring out the best in each other, not the opposite!
Because the present orbit of the planet Venus makes a perfect pentagram around the sun every eight years, the 5-pointed star has long been associated with Venus.
Henry Lincoln’s book The Holy Place shows some amazing diagrams of 5- and 6-pointed star configurations using the alignment of cornerstones of medieval churches in an area of Provence around Rennes-le-chateau that he says were designed as a temple honoring Mary Magdalene (as the Christian incarnation of Venus).
A fascination with Venus and her movements is well documented from pre-historic times by Immanuel Velikovsky in a book called Worlds in Collision. According to Velikovsky, ancient peoples looked to the skies for their “gods”—and associated them with the planets, because the planets’ orbits were not yet “fixed.” He theorized that Venus had an erratic orbit that brought her too close to earth on a “near collision” course on a regular circuit (about 50 years)—causing world-wide havoc: floods, volcanoes, tidal waves, even shifts of the world’s axis. Finally, after a final “close encounter” with the earth, she “bounced” away and was forced into her present orbit which was benign. This theory is borne out to some degree by the mythology of Inanna (associated with Venus). In her earliest myths, Inanna was the goddess of war and destruction, but she later became the goddess of love. Ancient Sumerians who had feared her in the past, suddenly began extolling her beauty and benevolence in their liturgies.
Perhaps it was the association with Venus (“divine feminine”) that prompted Eliphas Levi (the former Catholic priest) to identify the pentagram with evil/Satan? The Catholic Church has a history of negative attitudes toward women. St. Thomas Aquinas (13th c) taught that if a woman conceived a female child it was due to a “defect in the mother or the effect of a humid south wind.” Here’s a quote from St. Jerome (d. 420), who first translated the Bible from Greek into Latin: “Woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness . . . a perilous object.” They are reflecting sentiments from the New Testament epistles of Paul and the author of 2 Timothy marginalizing women in the earliest church: “I do not allow a woman to speak or to have authority over men.” And then, a quote from Tertullian, one of the early Church “fathers” taking us back to Genesis and the “Fall”: “Do you know that each of you women is an Eve? You are the gate of Hell, the temptress of the forbidden tree; you are the first deserter of Divine Law.” Gender bias is as ancient as the Scriptures….
Deborah L Shutek-Jackson, author of the Magdalene Legacy Tarot, writes:
Yes, Margaret, as you have pointed out, gender bias is as old as the scriptures, which is why I believe that Moses took the story of Adam and Eve and twisted it against Eve to satisfy the “God” upon which he conversed with (who was quite a gender biased god, himself) The inference that woman was created as a sidekick for man is biologically incorrect.
We are initially all women at the start of conception. The Y chromosome is not there to directly create the male organs, but rather to affect the creation of specific messengers within the pregnant female. As long as these “messengers” are not blocked from being created in the mother, they will enter the fetus’ bloodstream and recreate the initial beginnings of male genitalia. Once this important task of the mother is complete, the testicles of the now “male” child will continue to produce chemicals via the newly forming genitals which will take over from there. If anything, Man was created for Woman.
It is the Adam and Eve story itself that has cast a great deal of error and misogyny on earth. So my question has always been WHY was the erroneous story written in the first place? Who originated the twisted version and for what purpose?
I do find it very interesting that a very twisted version of the goddess exists in the ancient Egyptian stories of Bast, Sekhemet, and even Het Hert (Hathor), which begin to appear far earlier than the apple in the garden story. Almost a corrupted version of the feminine principle, itself (IMHO)
This image says it all: whether we are Atheist, Religious, White, Black, Straight, Gay, – Our skeletons are all the same! The Pirates with wooden legs are the only “minorities” when ashes come to ashes and dust comes to dust.
This image is like a political cartoon that makes you stop and think during all the controversy today regarding race relations and gay marriage, not to mention the religious wars all over the planet.
Words of wisdom fell like pearls (as usual) out of the Dalai Lama on the desperate need for people of all faiths to work together at this juncture in human history. But not as usual, they were spoken to Glenn Beck. T’was an awesome conversation on interfaith-ism. (I think that needs to be a word, interfaithism)
Glenn Beck told the Dalai Lama about the interfaith work he himself is doing “trying to bring different faiths together without mixing our theology,” in hopes of repairing some of the religious strife ripping the world apart these days.
The Dalai Lama replied the way in which religions hate each other so much “is one of the biggest heartbreaks of his life right now.”
The Buddhist Pope as he’s been called says “we are dividing ourselves. That we’re being so foolish by dividing ourselves when we all will stand together. We all have similar, if not the same goal. Any good religion has the same goal, and that is happiness, love, and peace. And if we can’t unite on that goal as humans — because he said everybody on earth needs to recognize that we’re all equal, that we are all the same. We’re all human. We’re all born, and we all want to be happy. But as he said, there is some troublemakers in that lot as well. And he said many of the troublemakers are highly educated people that are using their position to crush others. He said we’re social animals and yet we’re very self-centered, and those two things don’t match. He said we have to get back to the basics — his words — back to the basics, because this is not good for our future, to be so self-centered, if we have to have each other to lean on. And he counseled that we begin to be friends again. He said friendship comes from trust. Trust comes from caring and serving others.”
Read the entire conversation and see a short video clip of the two here at The Blaze.
A recent claim says the Cathar heretics never existed. You may have heard of them, the Cathars were persecuted (hunted, burned) by the Roman Church in the Dark Ages and had to go underground. Margaret Starbird nicely refutes the claim they never existed (see below). I love her take on it, especially the way she likened the Cathar heretics to the Tea Party “heretics” today!
The Cathars — or “Purist Christians” — did indeed exist. Over 200 of them were burned alive at Montsegur, France in 1244. So uh yeah, I think they existed. The historical record agrees. See Cathars. The cool map above shows their location and dioceses.
Why The Cathars Never Existed, an interview with Dr. Pegg
Published on May 16, 2015 YouTube episode: https://youtu.be/O4-imkYbPWw https://youtu.be/O4-imkYbPWw
The Cathars are known as the greatest heresy of the Middle Ages, perhaps in all of western culture. Yet new scholarship reveals that the Cathars never existed. They were a fabrication and projection of both heresy hunters and romance hunters. We deeply understand one of the greatest historical mistakes in all times, as well as how it forces much of medieval history to be completely rewritten, including that of Christianity…and Gnosticism and Occultism as well.
********Margaret Starbird responds:**************
I listened to this entire interview with Dr. Pegg posted on YouTube. I agree with his assessment that “Catharism” did not exist as an organized religion (with central leadership, foundational documents and doctrines) in the 12-13th centuries. What DID exist were numerous groups of people (like St. Francis of Assisi) who used the Gospels (translated into their own Old French dialect, the Langue doc), to interpret the presence and teachings of Jesus in ways that challenged the rigid hegemony of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The German word for “heresy” is “Ketzerei,” which is suggested a possible source for the word “Catari” (Cathars). But the Latin root (“cathar”) means “pure.” Apparently medieval heretics claimed that their faith was “purer” than that of Rome. St. Bernard of Clarivaux was sent to examine the heretics of southern France and proclaimed that no teachings were more Christian than theirs. My own belief is that these “heretics” (now called “Albigensian” — the general region where they lived—or “Cathars”) were actually Christians who embraced the Gospel of John with its radical message the Christ was present in their daily lives and “walk with the Spirit.” Researchers have always known that the medieval “Cathars” didn’t leave charters and documents. They were living and preaching a “life in the Spirit”—not creating a formal religion.
Also permeating the underground faith of the region was the “great secret” the Jesus and Mary Magdalene were “Beloveds”—attested in a History of the Albigensians written in 1213 by Pier vaux-de-Cerrnay. I have visited the church in Beziers where the “Cathars” and other villagers who sought sanctuary were burned to death when the church was torched on Mary Magdalene’s feast day, 22 July, 1209. Pier Vaux-de-Cernay, a chronicler who wrote about the event in 1213 said that it was Divine Providence to punish the Cathars on that day for their slanderous belief that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were lovers. Other medieval documents assert the “Cathar” belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were husband and wife, and apparently this is one of the reasons the Roman Catholic Church was so eager to suppress them. Of course the annals of the Inquisition would not record this belief of the heretics; why would they want to perpetuate the heresy they are trying to squelch?
As discussed in two of my books, “The Woman with the Alabaster Jar” and “Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile,” the art and artifacts of medieval Europe retain evidence for the heresy of the “Sacred Partnership” of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Dr. Pegg may well be correct in his view that “Catharism” never existed as an organized religion, but the fact that P. aux-de-Cernay’s “History of the Albigensians” was written in 1213 would prove that the heresies of Provence were virulent and brutally suppressed by the Church of Rome. Those heresies were an anti-clerical “grass roots” movement that grew out of the Gospels themselves—encouraged by wandering preachers. In a way they are like the modern “Tea Party” movement— a group of like-minded citizens unite in the belief that the central government in DC (like the Roman Church of the 12th -13c) is hopelessly corrupt and is distorting their “foundation documents” and teachings (the Constitution of the USA today, the Gospels in medieval Europe). The “heretics” in both cases are only loosely connected by certain core beliefs—not in any formal, institutional sense.
I was amused that Dr. Pegg mentioned [the book] The DaVinci Code, since Dan Brown, a novelist writing fiction, borrowed his ideas from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and from two my books (which he mentioned in DVC). I would have liked for De. Pegg to have commented on the massacre at Beziers in 1209 and on the siege at Montsegur and burning of 200+ heretics there in 1244… are they not history and incontrovertible proof that “Cathars” existed and were persecuted into near extinction?
Peace and light,
www.margaretstarbird.net The Woman with the Alabaster Jar
“I would like to ask how to return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion. My background is Christian, but I find that traditional church is missing something. I feel maybe your organization may help me grow spiritually.” — Stuart, Alberta Canada
We received this inquiry the other day via our northernway.org website. I thought some of you might wish to offer Stuart some ideas, advice, point him in the direction of resources you know, etc.
Margaret Starbird answered:
Maybe Stuart could start by reading the Mary Magdalene page on your northernway.org website. That page introduces him to the “Lost Bride” who was once at the heart of the Christian story. Tell him that the first heresy in Christianity was the denial of the Bride….and that in silencing her, the Church fathers silenced women’s voices on the planet for nearly two millennia! Now, in the Year of Our Lord MMxv, we celebrate her return to our consciousness bringing wisdom, compassion, and celebration of life and the gift of our bodies as “vessels”—containers for the Spirit of God. Show him the “marriage window” from Dervaig, Scotland, where Jesus and Mary are “hand-fasted” (clasping right hands, as in the rites of Christian marriage)…. and if he wants more, send him to my website: http://www.margaretstarbird.net
In memory of Her—
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”
The First Step, of course, is bringing the Divine Feminine into your own daily life and daily devotions.
Returning the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion as a whole, is a tall order… and it’s just gonna take a lonnng time… and I’m meaning at least centuries.
What Yeshua once told me was, “Goddess must be elevated for a thousand years.”
He also once indicated that Goddess has to have a different language than the patriarchal religious language.
In Her Spirit we must bring forth different words, a different conceptual matrix rather than just copping-out on Her by carbon-copying the patriarchal language describing the patriarchal God and transferring that to Her.
The Second Step is that we have to be in genuine comm*union* with Her Holy Spirit… so that we are receiving Her Direct Guidance… for She’s the One who will know how to bring about the needed changes.. . She’s the One who can provide us with the phraseology of a variant linguistic and conceptual paradigm. We have to become extensions of Her Living Spirit, womanifestations of Her transformative Spiritual Essence into time. We have to become Her Living Hands, Her Heart & Mind & Spirit — rising like waves of Her Eternal Ocean of Spirit into this time.
The Divine Feminine in Christianity, at this point in time, is mainly represented by Sophia, Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene.
Margaret Starbird’s books on Mary Magdalene are an important resource… relative to the Divine Feminine Bride of Yeshua Christ.
There is some measure of Marian worship in Roman Catholicism… but it’s highly doubtful that it’ll ever be “legitimatized” by the patriarchal stranglehold over that denomination.
When talking about Judaism and Christianity, the most helpful book by way of a Major Resource (that I’m aware of) relative to the Sophia of the Bible is WISDOM’S FEAST: Sophia in Study and Celebration by Susan Cole, Marian Ronan and Hal Taussig. Two of these have been in the Methodist ministry; one is Roman Catholic in background.
Of course you’re gonna get a lot of flack from conservative Christianity… so those seeking to help return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion need to be well-versed in all the segments in the Bible that reinforce the Divine Feminine perspective and Sophia (as the Holy Spirit) specifically. Tho they won’t be of any use to you, relative to conservative theological lock-ins, it is also best to be well-versed in all parts of the ancient Gnostic scriptures that reveal more about Sophia & the Divine Feminine in general.
For example, it is very important to realize that when Yeshua spoke of what we have translated into the English words “the Holy Spirit” that he was always referring to Her with feminine pronouns, not the masculine pronoun as is falsely translated in the Gospel of John, chapters 14 & 16. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach… and the Aramaic word for spirit is rukha (there are variant English spellings of these two words)… both of which are feminine nouns. I think it is also important to know that in “The Gospel of the Hebrews” Jesus actually called the Holy Spirit his Mother! Jerome — who, to my understanding, translated the entire Bible (including the intertestamentary books — which Protestantism expurgated from their Bibles — thus deleting major revelations about Sophia — “Sirach” chapter 24 and “The Wisdom of Solomon”) into the Latin Vulgate also considered “The Gospel of the Hebrews” sufficiently spiritually legitimate that he translated it too! Roman Catholicism did not include “The Gospel of the Hebrews” in their canon — and only quotations from it have survived in some of the Church Fathers’ writings… but maybe a complete copy if it will eventually be discovered and we’ll be able to determine why it was excluded from the canonized scriptures — and (possibly) learn much more therefrom relative to early Christian beliefs and actual further teachings of Yeshua that didn’t survive otherwise.
In the Nag Hammadi Library, works like “The Gospel of Philip”… “Thunder, Perfect Mind”… “Trimorphic Protennoia”… and “The Apocryphon of John” (and others like “The Hypostasis of the Archons” and “Upon The Origin Of The World”) are important resources relative to awareness of Sophia & the Divine Feminine as it existed in the early centuries of Christianity… and the return of neo-Gnostic denominations of Christianity, as they florish across centuries ahead will surely be utilizing these… along with more contemporary revelations of and from the Divine Feminine… for, of course, we’re going to get lots of future texts being written across the centuries forthcoming by many who are “in Her Spirit”.
It’s going to be exciting!
Besides contemporary Gnostic groups (like those of Tau Malachi and Tau Rosamonde Miller) incorporating the Divine Feminine in their services, there are a few contemporary ministers in the mainline Christian denominations who are devoted to the Divine Feminine, too. Foremost, to my knowledge, is “herchurch” (ECLA Lutheran) in San Francisco, California.
I think it also Of Value to read some of what the opposition to the Divine Feminine are writing… so that one is aware of what kind of criticisms / attacks one needs to be equipped to respond to for the sake of the borderline sorts (one is hardly going to convince the “hardliners”).
The only major Christian denomination (that I’m aware of) which recognizes Goddess, is Mormonism — but you’ll hardly find that out from the most of what they’re saying! — for they pretty much “keep Her in the closet”… and (it appears to me) that the voices of the women who want to promote Her are being suppressed by the Mormon patriarchy. One writing friend (who is Mormon) at a local writers group a half a dozen years ago, when I asked him about it, said that Mormons don’t broadcast Her Existence because She’s too holy to them to beget circumstances where unbelievers will be profaning Her. Another Mormon who came to my door about six months ago — when I brought up the subject to him — said that Mormons are condemned to hell for so many of their doctrines, already, that they didn’t want to be adding more fuel to the fires of other denominations condemning them as not being Christians by publicly advocating Goddess, too — for of course that gets labelled as being “paganism” by Christians who condemn the Divine Feminine.
I praise those who are working within the established denominations, trying to “return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion” — but, overall, I believe it’s going to turn out to be a heart-breakingly futile attempt. (I’ll be only happy to be proven mistaken in this assessment! I believe there are several in the ministry who would love to incorporate Her in their services, but are very well aware that they will either lose their positions… or lose most of their congregation — especially the conservative ones who make the larger monetary donations.)
I think, in largest part, those capable of doing so are just going to have to start up their own separate denominations… just like Methodism, Lutheranism, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormonism, Unity & the Jehovah Witnesses all had their own beginnings (or, more anciently, Valentinism, the Sethians, the Barbelites, etc. did) — only these new denominations will totally incorporate the Divine Feminine, eliminating the distortions and still-faulty mythology of many of the ancient Christian Gnostic sects. And they will be bringing forth “The New Wine of Her Spirit”.
I personally have had good experience with the Unity Church, a very metaphysical Christian denomination. They allow Goddess to be mentioned in childrens’ Sunday School — She is not suppressed! Unity Churches are in most cities. — Katia
Margaret says: Although this author, Dr. Margaret Merisante, does not site my work, she could have. I discussed the connection of Mary Magdalene with Isis, the original “Sister-Bride” of a sacrificed Bridegroom-King in my Woman with the Alabaster Jar (published in 1993). I’m not an expert on Egyptian funerary rites, but I recognized the connection of the anointing of the king as an ancient rite from the Hieros games cult in which the marriage union of the “Beloveds” is followed later in the liturgical season by the assault, mutilation, death and burial. This connection of Mary Magdalene with Isis is strong—based on the “Song of Songs” where the fragrance of the “Sister-Bride” spreads around her Bridegroom at the banqueting table. The “Canticle” (Song of Songs) is known to be a a liturgical poem from the cult of Isis and Osiris. The Bridegroom speaks of his beloved as “My sister, my spouse”— which I believe was the epithet given to the wives of Jesus and his apostles, the “sister-wives” Paul mentions in his letter to Corinthians (1: 9-5).
I’m so thrilled that others are finally seeing this connection and are willing to research and affirm that Mary Magdalene is indeed, the “Goddess in the Gospels“.
Our seminary ordains men AND women because we believe becoming ordained as a priest (or other clergy ordination) should be an answer to the Call, not dependent on one’s gender! We also ordain both men and women as minister, rabbi, reverend, chaplain, etc.
A few days ago the Pope in Rome called for equal pay for women worldwide. Women should get the same pay as men, he said. Yet the Pope won’t even HIRE women because they are not allowed to become ordained as a priest or even deacon.
Our seminary does not discriminate in any way, and one of our bishops, Bishop James, wrote:
“So this means that female Roman Catholic Bishops and Cardinals make the same as their male counterparts?”
Father Erik chimed in: “Lol, sharp wit, and a great point +James! Why would one worry about equal *pay* when one is not even recognizing men and women are equal in more basic human rights – specifically in this case, opening the priesthood to *all* human beings. Seems pretty fundamental to me.”
Becoming Ordained — and she’s female!
One of our seminarians, Deacon Angela, who will soon be ordained a woman priest, concurred saying, “I agree. Let’s implement equality at all levels!”
For centuries people have debated whether Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, is the same person as Mary Magdalene. This is called “the conflation of the Marys”. Supposedly Pope Gregory said they were the same woman in a sermon, confusing everyone for centuries thereafter. But no, people thought they were the same woman before his sermon. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes and teaches that Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene are two separate women, but the Catholics said they were the same for over a millennia.
Margaret Starbird asserts they are the same person and indeed the Secret Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of John, and more recently an early 20th century Catholic Encyclopedia(!) imply or state they are indeed the same woman.
Here is a recent post by Margaret Starbird explaining why she believes they are the same woman.
Quoting an article we were discussing on the GoddessChristians forum:
“Mary Ann Beavis explains how the unnamed sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene gradually became identified. This was the teaching of Pope Gregory. The idea that (the conflated Mary’s chief sin was sexual and that she was a prostitute is a later elaboration.
***************Margaret Starbird’s reply;
IMO, this very old and very tired explanation is an error, endlessly perpetuated by people who attempt to separate Mary of Bethany from Mary Magdalene, although for centuries they were honored as a single Mary, the “ointment bearer” at the banquet at Bethany and at the tomb of Christ. The earliest “conflation” of the two women occurs in the Gospel of John, believed to have been written in about 90 A.D., although some scholars attest that the Gospel seems to have strong “eye-witness” elements.
Here’s the account from Luke’s Gospel 7;37-38:
And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,
and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
Remember that an “unnamed woman” had anointed Jesus in Mark 14 (written c. 70) and Matthew 26 (written c. 80), a woman with “an alabaster jar” of pure (precious) perfume (nard) came to Jesus at a banquet and anointed his head….and the apostles complained about the wasted value of the perfume. Jesus this says, “She has done me a favor. She has anointed me in advance for my burial, and wherever this story is told, it will be told in memory of her.” He links this anointing (an ancient rite associated with the messiah and his marriage to the land and people through the action of the “Bride”).
So Luke, writing in about 80-85) retells (and embellishes!) the story of the unnamed woman with the “alabaster jar” —and calls her a sinner! He also takes the story away from Bethany and Holy Week and places it in an unnamed town much earlier in Jesus’ ministry, I believe in an attempt to downplay the importance of the action of the woman who anointed the head of Jesus in the earlier Gospels.
So now we come to the Gospel of John, written a few years after Luke. John is trying to correct Luke’s version of this story. It is most improbable that an anointing of Jesus by a woman happened more than once, since a woman touching a Jewish man in public is an absolute “taboo”—as in NO chance!! All four Gospel authors are dealing with a story that has been “told and retold” in their community for an entire generation about a woman who anointed Jesus at a banquet….probably just shortly before his Crucifixion and probably in Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, an extremely important location in Jewish prophetic tradition. And John’s version is extremely explicit. In John 11:2 and again in 12.3, the author states that “it was Mary who anointed Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.” Clearly this is a detail (outrageous action on the part of Mary, in light of the “taboo”) that occurs in Luke’s Gospel and is repeated here. Then, in chapter 12:3, the author of John’s Gospel repeats the story, in case we missed it the first time:
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at thetable with Him.
Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said,
“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?“
Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
We can see that “John” has taken the original story and has now named the woman with the ointment who anointed Jesus —she is Mary, the sister of Lazarus. And, when Judas complains, Jesus says, “Let her keep it for the day of my burial”! Again, Jesus associates the action with the ancient “heiros games” rites of the sacrificed Bridegroom and his Bride, the woman who anoints the King. Luke’s version is the anomaly. The other three accounts agree that the woman who anointed Jesus was the “ointment bearer” at the banquet and at the tomb. Yet WHICH Mary carries the ointment at the tomb? Invariably, it is the one called “the Magdalene,” an extremely significant title that associates her with the prophecy of the Magdal-eder, crying at the tomb of the deceased King and being sent, defiled and defamed, into foreign exile! “Why are you crying?” the Daughter of Sion/Magdal-eder is asked (Micah 4); the words are repeated at the tomb of Jesus n John 21, again, not once but twice: “Why are you crying?” It is the role of the bereaved Bride to return to the tomb of her beloved and to find him resurrected in the Garden…. Where have we heard this story before?
I believe it’s time to correct the record! The “conflation” of Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene was NOT a later construct based on a sermon by Pope Gregory in 592. It was the original understanding of the community who knew Jesus and Mary, the one whom they gave the title “H Magdalhnh.” For more information, please visit my website article about this title: http://margaretstarbird.net/mary_called_magdalene.html