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Women of the Gospels Caravaggio, Martha and Mary Magdalen, c.1598 (Detroit, Institute of Fine Arts)

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Presentation on theme: "Women of the Gospels Caravaggio, Martha and Mary Magdalen, c.1598 (Detroit, Institute of Fine Arts)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Women of the Gospels Caravaggio, Martha and Mary Magdalen, c.1598 (Detroit, Institute of Fine Arts)

2 Hidden History Scarcity of sources in ancient history –Loss (recent finds: Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi Library) –Question of reliability –Values of recorders: Who/what was considered worth saving?

3 Biblical Women’s History: Victims of Silence and Denial Denial of physical presence –Case in point: feeding the 5,000 –Synagogue service required min. of 10 men Denial of testimony (no validity in Hebrew court of law) Denial of education (“The words of the Torah will be destroyed in the fire sooner than be taught to women”- Talmud)

4 An effort must be made to “uncover traces of a significant women’s presence and examine indicative and revealing pieces of a far wider reality that lies hidden and, like an underground stream, from time to time trickles out of the written texts, then comes up to the surface” (Ricci 23) Looking for Clues

5 Jesus’ Travels

6

7 Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee Luke 8:1-3 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

8 Jesus in Jerusalem Matthew 27:55-56 Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark 15:40-41 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him from Jerusalem.

9 Women at the Crucifixion Matt: Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matt ) Mark: Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. (Mark ) Luke: All his acquaintance including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. (Luke 23.49) John: his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene (John 19.25)

10 Women Witnesses of the Empty Tomb Matt 27:61 Mary Magdalene & the other Mary Mark 16:1-8 Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome Luke 24:1-10 The women were terrified and bowed their facers to the ground... Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them John 20:1-2 Mary Magdalene came to the tomb

11 Women May Be Present But Unmentioned Matthew and Mark speak of women following Jesus in Galilee only in the closing stages of their narratives, but clearly numbers of women were accompanying him all along and supporting his ministry. Why the delay in mentioning women followers? (except in Luke)

12 Androcentric Environment Little interest in presence of women Tendency to ignore them unless exceptional circumstances arise When men are present, women need not be noticed or mentioned. "Saint Mary Magdalene approaching the Sepulchre" Gian Girolamo Savoldo, ca

13 Women’s Witness Becomes Important When? When men are absent. And when where male witnesses absent?

14 The Disappearance of the Disciples Matt. 26:56 “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled” Mark 14:50 “All of them deserted him and fled” The redactors, unable to cite the witness of the male disciples, are forced to mention the women Questions to consider: –....What if the male disciples had stayed for the crucifixion?... –.... Were women at the Last Supper?

15 The Marys Mary, the Mother of God by Louis Glanzman Mary Magdalene by Louis Glanzman Mary by Louis Glanzman

16 Mary Magdalene Original home? –Magdala in Galilee Special healing? –Jesus cast out seven demons Present with Jesus in what cases? –Followed Jesus wherever he went (Lk 8:2) –Present at crucifixion (Mrk 15:40; John 19:25) –Observed Jesus’ burial (Mrk 15:47) –Observed resurrected Jesus (Matt. 28:1; Mrk 16:1; Lk 24:10; John 20) Magdalene of the Night Light : Georges de la Tour

17 Mary Magdalene & the “Gardener” Apostola apostolarum? –Garden of Eden restored? Importance of their conversation? –“Who are you looking for?” –“Mary” –“Do not hold to me” Noli Me Tangere by Carravaggio 1625 Discuss:

18 What the Bible Does NOT Say About Mary Magdalene Prostitute Anointed Jesus’ feet Jesus’ wife Fled to Southern France to be continued... Mary Magdalene by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

19 Other Women in the Gospels Henryk Siemiradzki. Christ and the Samaritan Woman

20 Proper Social Convention Unconventionality Peter’s Mother-in-Law Conventional features? –Identified by relationship to male family member –Male family members represent her to Jesus Unconventional features? –Jesus goes to her room and touches her –She “ministers” to Jesus-same verb used when angels “ministered” to him in Mark 1:15 Mark 1:29-34

21 Her problem? –“Unclean” (12 years bleeding disorder) Her violations of social propriety? –Respectable women do not travel unattended by male family member –Respectable women do not touch men outside family How does Jesus supply ALL her needs: –“Daughter” and healing Social Impropriety Propriety and Order The Woman in the Crowd Mark 5: 24b-43 Woman with Hemorrhage by Glanzman

22 Lowly Girl vs. High Priest Mark 14:66-72 Ironies? –High priest rejects truth of Jesus’ divinity –Lowly maid insists on truth of Peter’s discipleship Gerrit van Honthorst The Denial of St. Peter,c Trial? J esus interrogated by high priest in court Who is in lower courtyard? Maid stares at and questions Peter.

23 The Samaritan Woman Culmination of Biblical Meetings at Wells John 4:4-42 How does Jesus transform symbolism of water? –New understanding of marriage, fertility, and life How does Jesus shock the disciples? – Defies conventions of talking to women & interacting w/Samaritans TheSamaritanWomen by Louis Glanzman

24 End of Part I

25 The Marys Mary, the Mother of God by Louis Glanzman Mary Magdalene by Louis Glanzman Mary by Louis Glanzman

26 Mary, the Mother of Jesus Probably of tribe of Levi (cousin Elizabeth- Luke 1:5,36) Engaged to Joseph (tribe of Judah) Home in Nazareth (Galilee); traveled to Bethlehem; escaped to Egypt; returned to Nazareth Scolds Jesus at the temple (Luke 2:48) Asked for help at wedding in Cana (John 2:1- 4) Had other children to care for (Matt 13:55) Tries to take Jesus home (Mark 3:20-31) Stands at foot of cross (John 19:25-27) Was present at Pentecost (Actsd 1:14) Artemesia Gentileschi

27 Mary and Martha Sisters of Lazarus Home? –Bethany, near Jerusalem Martha’s stories? –Complains to Jesus (Luke 10:38-42) –Testimony of faith (John 11:27) Martha by Louis Glanzman Raising of Lazarus by Guercino

28 Mary of Bethany Family? –Sister of Martha and Lazarus Her stories? –Neglected household duties (Luke 10:38-42) –Upset with Jesus when he did not come (John 11:20,28-33) –Anointed Jesus at her home in Bethany (John 12:1-8) Raising of Lazarus, by Guercino c. 1619

29 Mary Anointing Jesus John 12:1-8 Mary of Bethany at home w/Lazarus & Martha Jesus en route to Jerusalem for Passover Costly nard--extravagent love Judas complains Foreshadows death &burial Foreshadows Jesus’ footwashing for disciples (John 13:1-20) “New Commandment” Courtesy Denim & Lace

30 Anonymous Anointings Mark and Matthew Unnamed woman at home of Simon the Leper in Bethany Anoints Jesus’ head Expensive, aromatic oil in alabaster vessel. Disciples complain of waste Luke 7:36-50 Sinful woman of the city anoints Jesus’ feet at home of a Pharisee.

31 Mary Magdalene in the Gnostic Gospels Karen King (Harvard Divinity School): The Gospel of Mary of Magdala Elaine Pagels: The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

32 Nag Hammadi Library Nag Hammadi Library: an earthenware jar, 1945, Egypt 13 leather-bound mss. “codices” of 52 books dating from A.D. (140 A.D. ) Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Philip, etc. Gnostic: Insight, knowledge Early Christian group with different teachings later considered heretical, therefore suppressed Affirmative of women’s role in spiritual community

33 Mary Magdalene in Gnostic Gospels Mary Magdalene: close companion of Jesus Gospel of Philip: Jesus “used to kiss” her often Disciple, evangelist, teacher, mystic (visions) who had esoteric knowledge of Jesus’ teaching MM rivals Peter for leadership of the early church; Peter & Andrew challenge her authority Peter: “Did he [Jesus] really speak to a woman secretly, without our knowledge, and not openly? Are we to turn and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?”

34 Pope Gregory’s Decision She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices?... It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts. What she therefore displayed more scandalously, she was now offering to God in a more praiseworthy manner... She turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance, for as much as she had wrongly held God in contempt.” -- Revoked by Catholic Church in

35 Miscellaneous Marys Mary, mother of James & Joseph (Matthew) or Joses (Mark), witness resurrection, burial, and empty tomb Mary, the mother of the sons of Zebadee, James & John (Matthew 20:20-23; 27:56), asks Jesus to let her sons sit at his right and left hands in heaven. In Mark, the sons ask for themselves. “The other Mary” (Matthew 27:61 & 28:1)--could be one of the Marys above or another one) Mary, the wife of Clopas (John 19:25), stands at the cross.

36 Bibliography Books: Murphey, Cullen. The Word According to Eve, Newsom, Carol A. and Sharon H. Ringe. Women’s Bible Commentary. Ricci, Carla. Mary Magdalene and Many Others. Graphics: “At the Foot of the Cross” The Society of Saint Mary Magdalene. Footwashing: denimandlace.50megs.com/ alabasterbox2.html Glanzman, Louis : Jesus Travels Map: Nag Hammadi Library manuscript: »next page

37 Bib. Cont. “Raising of Lazarus” Detail by Guercino “Saint Mary Magdalene approaching the Sepulchre" by Gian Girolamo Savoldo listenwv/9.html “Deposition from the Cross” and “Noli me tangere” by Corregio and “Martha and Mary Magdalene” by Caravaggio: from Web Gallery of Art


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