Mariamne e mara known as the master – Magdalene?

Orthodox Icon of Maria MagdaleneOne of the ossuaries (small caskets) found in the supposedly family tomb of Jesus says:

“in Greek, Mariamne e mara — meaning ‘Mariamne, known as the master.’ “  The Jesus Tomb filmmakers say that means this is Mary Magdalene.

How come we’ve never heard this “known as the master” thing before, if it is supposedly Magdalene’s “real” name?  I’ll admit it’s fascinating since we believe our Magdalene was a teacher of wisdom.  However, Jesus was known as “the master.”  So what the heck are these filmmakers trying to prove or trying to debunk?  Are they saying Jesus wasn’t even the teacher, but Magdalene was the master?

I think this is not Jesus’ family tomb and fraudsters are enjoying trying to foist it on us.

They say in Aramaic “mara” means “master.” Yet the inscription is written in Greek, “Mariamene e Mara.”

Why wasn’t Magdalene put on the box if it was put into so many gospels, canonical and gnostic written around the same time period as the ossuary?

Here’s the excerpt I am referring to above:

The two provocative works suggest that ossuaries once containing the bones of Jesus of Nazareth and his family are now stored in a warehouse belonging to the Israel Antiquity Authority in Bet Shemesh, outside Jerusalem.

Although the evidence contained in the film and book is hardly definitive, it is compelling. Inscribed in Hebrew, Latin or Greek, six boxes — taken from a 2,000-year-old cave discovered in March, 1980, during excavation for a housing project in Talpiyot, south of Jerusalem — bear the names: Yeshua (Jesus) bar Yosef (son of Joseph); Maria (the Latin version of Miriam, which is the English Mary); Matia (the Hebrew equivalent of Matthew, a name common in the lineage of both Mary and Joseph); Yose; (the Gospel of Mark refers to Yose as a brother of Jesus); Yehuda bar Yeshua, or Judah, son of Jesus; and in Greek, Mariamne e mara — meaning ‘Mariamne, known as the master.’
According to Harvard professor Francois Bovon, interviewed in the film, Mariamne was Mary Magdalene’s real name.

The bones once contained in the boxes have long since been reburied, according to Jewish custom — in unmarked graves in Israel.

If the evidence adduced is correct, the bone boxes — and microscopic remains of DNA still contained inside — would constitute the first archaeological evidence of the existence of the Christian saviour and his family.

Tests on mitochondrial DNA obtained from the Jesus and Mariamne boxes and conducted at Lakehead University’s Paleo-DNA laboratory, in Thunder Bay, Ont., show conclusively that the two individuals were not maternally related. According to Dr. Carney Matheson, the lab’s head, this likely means they were related by marriage.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Buried there in this supposedly family tomb of Jesus was a Matia / Matthew.  Matthew was a disciple, never listed as a brother, but since he is buried in this family tomb they now claim he was a family member.  They are stretching to make things fit.

Furthermore,  Judah / Yehuda is inscribed on another casket as bar Yeshua meaning son of Joshua (Jesus).  But the Bible says Jesus had a *brother* named Jude, not a son named Judah (Matt. 13:55.)  We have here alot of common names: Joshua, Mary, Judah and an extra Matia dude, while Joseph and James are missing and the Judah is a son of the Joshua person.  How can we know it was the family of Jesus of Nazareth/Galilee?  If they had said something like “known as the messiah”(!), or itinerate preacher and healer,  or mentioned Joseph of Arimethea whose tomb it supposedly was, maybe we might think it was the family we’re talkin’ about.

Oh, and unlike another article claims (see my blog ) the inscription on the Joshua’s casket doesn’t read Jesus son of Mary, son of Joseph but just Jesus/Joshua son of Joseph.  There is a Maria also present in this family tomb.  They found out Jesus and the one they think is Magdalene are not maternally related but did they find out the Maria one IS maternally related to the Joshua bar Yosef one?  Seems too convenient that the bones found in the caskets are long since re-buried so we’ve only got microscopic DNA samples.  Convenient.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Here’s another article about the Mariamene e mara inscription:

From the site for the Jesus Tomb film:

Mariamene e Mara

Ossuary 80/500: “Mariamene e Mara” – “Mariamne, also called Master”

The ossuary of a Jewish woman who moved in Greek circles.

The ossuary of an elite, a “Mara,” a “Master.”

The “Mara” added at the end of her name, in Aramaic, means “Master”
or “teacher.” It is usually a masculine term, but then, Mariamne was
performing duties usually restricted to men on the authority of Jesus.

Mary Magdalene was likely a woman of means, helping to fund Jesus and
his ministry. The Gospels tell us that the Magdalene, as she is
known, went with Jesus on his fateful journey to Jerusalem, where she
witnessed the Crucifixion. She was the first of the disciples to
discover the empty tomb of Jesus as well as the first to see the
Risen Jesus. She has been called “the apostle of the apostles”
because she was the one to bring the news to the rest of the

To the Greek Orthodoxy, Mary is a Saint, the Holy Myrrh-Bearer and

From such non-canonical Gnostic texts such as The Pistis Sophia and
The Gospel of Philip, we glean that Mariamne/Magdalene was sister to
Philip (one of the twelve original apostles) and Martha; that Jesus
called her “chosen among women”; that she performed miracles and
baptized converts

And that she died at the Jordan River, “near Jerusalem,” not in
France or Ephesus as later tradition suggests.

Mariamne, Mary Magdalene, was indeed a Mara.

* * * * * * * *

The last line is true, and makes me want to believe it, but it just doesn’t “click” that this is our Magdalene.  Some have suggested she could’ve gone to France as the legends all say and then been returned to the family tomb after her death.  But she wasn’t a Jerusalemite.  Magdalene might be from Bethany if she’s also Mary of Bethany, which I believe she is.  Or she might be from Galilee, all the way in the North of Israel, far from Jerusalem.  Mary of Jerusalem, the woman in whose upper room the Passover Last Supper took place, might have been called “a master.”  Her son was Mark, a little boy at the time of the Resurrection who grew up, went to Rome to be with Peter and legend has it, wrote the oldest of the four Gospels, the Gospel of Mark.

And I wonder if Jesus’ own mother, as an incarnation of Sophia could have been called “Master”.  Then the other Mary buried in the Talpiot tomb could be Mary Salome, Jesus’ aunt, or as I suspect, we have the wrong family altogether.

Too many Marys!

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Katia is a consecrated independent sacramental bishop. She directs the online Esoteric Mystery School and Interfaith Theological Seminary. Check it out at

9 thoughts on “Mariamne e mara known as the master – Magdalene?”

  1. You raise some good question about Mariamne. It is nice to see someone actually trying to think critically about this.

    I do read greek. The inscription is in greek and I can tell you that Mara does NOT mean master.

    Mara means master in Aramaic not Greek. Mara in greek is a contraction of the name Martha.

    If the writer of the greek inscription wanted to tell us that Mariamne was a master they would have written.

    Mariamenou ho kurios.

    I’ve actually put together a podcast and article about it at my blog I’d love to know what you think.

  2. This is one of the better outlines on the issue which was also published in Christianity Today and 22 other global publications. [Link deleted March 19, 2013, no longer working]

  3. I read the book, the evidence is at the very least compelling. But my question here is this, when the tomb was first discovered, the thought crossed the minds of all on the team, but they were afraid of ruining their careers because of the controversary. So why now, would any of these renowned (in each their own fields) put their careers on the line now. They must truly believe what they have is authentic. As I stated above, I read the book and they even did statistics to see what the odds would be. They did not even factor into the equation (this would have sky-rocketed the chances in their favor, so in the name of unbias the left it out of the equation despite the impact it would have) that the missing tenth ossuary turned out to be an ossuary inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. They proved this by chemically testing the patina samples on each ossuary and from inside the tomb. The results were incredible. The “James” ossuary had thought to be a fake for years and with this new testing they not only proved it to be authentic but it came from the same tomb as Jesus, Jose, Maria, Mariamne, Mathew and Judah. Not to mention the other 4 ossuary that were unmarked with no inscriptions. God only knows who else was in that tomb. I think they should test the mitochondrial DNA of all ossuaries, including the Maria one, as you said, this can only strengthen their case.

  4. I read the book too and I am glad to see that there are people out there with an open mind like Nancy. If it was possible I personally think we should do as many DNA or whatever other tests are required to get to the bottom of the truth with no fears about the outcome. I would even go to the extent of escavating all those bones which have been reburied all too soon (what was the rush, anyway? they had been resting in a stone box for two thousand years. They should have been left in the boxes where their members of the family had decided to keep them and not put them where the so called jewish tradition choses to dictate!) and given the resorses carry out tests on them all and see what happens. But maybe its a bit too late now? Or maybe not…

  5. Until we get the whole picture complete after more evidence unveils (DNA studies would be great), we do not have theories, we have hypothesis. Here goes my hypothesis:
    I suspect the Discovery team got in wrong in the following:
    1.- Matthew in the ossary is in fact the apostle Levi son of Alpheus (not a brother of virgin Mary) which was one of the 6 brothers (all sons of Mary which raised children of Cleopas and Alpheus in different marriages)
    2.- James in the ossary is in fact a son of Joseph with his first wife (he had three more sons and two daughters), this James was half brother of Jesus, and NOT the well known apostle James which was buried close to the walls of Jerusalem.
    3.- Yose is also a brother of Matthew and the others apostles (Thaddeus, Simon, Matthew, Judah and James the lesser).
    4.- Maria in the ossuary is the name for the wife of Cleopas (she was the mother of half of the apostles).
    5.- Miriam mother of Jesus died elsewhere, maybe Turkey maybe Pakistan…still to determine.
    They got it right in the next

    1.- The Mariamene/Mara ossuary contains the remains of Mary Magdalene, but has her original infancy name as she came from wealthy royalty.
    2.- Judah son of Jesus ossuary is evidently son of Mariamne and Jesus, or else why would she be there in the first place if she is not blood related.
    Two final comments:
    Mary of Cleopas is indeed a relative (not sister, for there would not be two Marys in the
    family)and thats why she has an ossuary there. It seems Joseph and Cleopas were brothers. This makes the 6 apostles cousins of Jesus.
    – Miriam mother of Jesus only had one child. We are not sure who the father was.
    – Mariamene/Mara owned the tomb, her parental family was the only one who could afford such a construction, and they always supported the holy family and the apostles.
    This is a view of a searcher of truth, not of merit, faiths or beliefs.

  6. Dear friends,
    I am a true beleiver in searching for the truth, and i have my spiritual beleifs too. Why were they buried in an unmarked grave? I feel the orthodox chuch are hiding what really happened and that is jesus was just a man with strong beleifs of faith. getting rid of mariamne’s writings because of male dominerance is not a part of beleiving it has and always will be a male domineerig world as we will really never know what truely happened it is what the population beleives so you have a guide, beleive in your heart and soul and you will be guided with goodness

  7. La Evidencia es demaciado coincidente para decir tenemos algo convincente aqui, parece que la iglesia catolica nos oculta la verdad cuando unos de los 10 mandamientos dice que No Mentiras, Bueno Pero este hallazgo arquelogico destruiria la fe cristiana No de ninguna manera me destruiria mi fe la acencion pudo haber sido espiritual sin embargo no podemos dejar pasar esta noticia al enterarnos que la Maestra O Mara Murio Realmente En Jerusalen Y No En Francia como lo han dicho.
    pero sin embargo algunos otros nombres biblicos como Isaac Hubieran Rechazarian La Tumba Como Posible….

    Saludos Maximiliano Paredes

  8. I think that Simcha Jacobovici (the filmmaker) has read too much gnostic apocryphs gospels, mainly the so-called gospels of Philip, Maria and Judas. The idea of Jesus being married is not new (gospel of Philip). Why would Jesus call his son “Judah” ? This would be in honor of Judah, the disciple who betrayed him?.. because according to the gospel of Judah, Judah was supposedly the only one who understood that Jesus would fullfill the prophecy if he was betrayed (wao this sentence is weird). Anyway, behind it all we have the griff of Satan, who always tries to undermine Jesus credibility by suggesting that he was hiding a truth – or not telling the complete truth. Doesn’t remind you anything ? Genesis 3:1 .. Satan to Eve : “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”… as if God was hiding something to her. This is how the devil works. Now he whispers this question : “Are you sure that Jesus has been raised from the dead ? Maybe he had a wife, and a son ? So, maybe he did not told you the whole truth ?” . And this is what gnosticism is all about : hidden knowledge, a few people only are aware of a secret that the rest do not deserve to know because they could not understand. But Jesus came to tell the complete truth about the Kingdom, and gnosticism is the exact opposite of the Truth. The truth can be understood by anyone. “whoever has ears, let them hear. “

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