Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene?

Here's a quote from the Gospel of Philip -

And the companion of [the Savior is] Mary Magdalene. The [Savior] loved her more than all his disciples, and frequently kissed her on the [mouth]. The rest of [the disciples] [got close to her to ask]. They told him: "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior responded and said: "Why do I not love you as I love her?" (Gospel of Philip 63-64).

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The Bible DOES say Mary was at the last supper. She "wiped their feet". I was initially sort of downplaying this, but a visitor pointed out (below) that this was a task of honor that the host or hostess of a party would do for the guests. You do in fact see this in other literature. So if that was true, then Mary, being the "feet washer", was a person of great importance at this meal. In fact it is sort of like "her meal" that she is laying out for her best friends and her true love. Given that information, it's not unusual to then extrapolate that she might have sat at the table with them ...

This conversation grew as an offshoot of trying to figure out if the person to Jesus' right in the painting is John the apostle, or Mary Magdalene.

From a Visitor -
i haven't seen too much of your site but i stayed for a while with your talk about mary magdalene. though i'm a pagan by heart i have studied the bible quite a bit and could never figure out why people thought mary was a prostitute. anyhow. glad to see it's okay to believe jesus was permitted to have carnal love like the rest of us. i'm a big fan of mary m.

My Answer: As far as it being OK to believe, most churches still do not agree that he DID have carnal love :) This is a theory that Dan Brown floats in his book, but it is not one accepted by most Christians. Most Christians insist that Mary M was a loyal and dutiful helper, but that Jesus loved her platonically, just as he loved his other disciples. Of course, the Gospel of Philip talks about Jesus kissing Mary M a lot, but maybe those were sisterly kisses ;)

From a Visitor -
I'm within the very last chapters of the Da Vinci Code. Being one of my first mystery type novels, I find it intriguing and a great page-turner. However, I am a christian and therfore puzzled by many of the so called "facts" within the text. I read some of the viewer responses on this site and most helped clarify some question I had (thanks). But your personal comment on Mary M washing the disciples feet came across as if you thought it was a grudgy duty. Actually, in those days it was common for someone to wash the feet of those who entered their house or quarters. Jesus himself washed his disciples feet as a sign of love and told them to do it in remebereance of him. So in essence, I believe Mary M was initially given this task as an honor, not to make her lower than the others. :~)

My Answer: You're quite right of course. I was just rewatching Name of the Rose (the new DVD version is EXCELLENT with extra scenes) and they have a scene at the beginning when the Abbott comes down and washes the hands of the arriving monks. He is doing this as a symbolic welcome to his "home" and it is not menial at all. Still, I don't think it was Mary's home that they were entering. Maybe they still were making her the "host" of the evening? Interesting ...

From a Visitor -
I for one have always thought that it was very likely that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife. If I died and came back, the first person I would go to would certainly be my wife. She also seemed to definitely receive some preferential treatment from Jesus during his life. I would also agree with what Dan Brown says in the Da Vinci Code with respect to Jewish tradition and how unusual it would have been for Jesus not to have been married. I don't understand why it is so difficult for Jesus to have been the Son of God and yet to have also been married. Every great prophet in the old testament was (probably) married. You could essentially consider Adam and Eve married even if there was no pompous ceremony to show for it. Noone was there to watch. ;) I would imagine that if indeed Jesus was married to Mary M and especially if they had children, that that fact would have been kept hush hush. Not because of some great conspiracy (who would have known in AD 35 that we'd all care so much) but rather to protect her and her (possible) children from harrassment, either from Roman authorities who had crucified Jesus, the Jewish priests who made it happen, or that day's equivalent of celebrity fans. As it was, Jesus was constantly thronged by people wanting to hear him and be healed by him. What would it be like to be his wife or his kid and be constantly harassed to heal someone when you yourself did not have that power? Thank goodness cameras hadn't been invented or they'd have been constantly running from the Palestinian Paparazzi. :)

My Answer: That's of course a very good point. Christians were certainly persecuted quite a bit, and any children or relatives of Christ would have been used and abused. What we often don't realize today is that back in the days of Jesus, rabbis were married. Most of his disciples were married. There was no "shame" to be married and religious, it was normal. It was in fact highly encouraged. You wanted your spiritual leader to be able to understand the problems you were having in your relationship. Even through the first, second and third century, most of the priests were married. Then came MONEY. And the Council of Nicea in 325. In essence the church didn't want the priests to have kids to then lay claims on the lands and ownings of the father. So they decreed in 325 that once a man became a priest, he could NOT marry. In fact in 352 the Council of Laodicea decreed that women could not be ordained. Meaning that before that point they COULD be ordained and the council wanted to put an end to this.

So it wasn't Jesus or any of his contemporaries who felt that celibacy was important. It was the people 300 years later, who were trying to lock down control on a religion that was growing in income.

From a Visitor -
In the bible, around Jesus's resurection, it says that 'the most beloved disciple ran to the tomb before John.' It never mentions that disciples name. Maybe it was Mary, and this way, everyone would think she was a man and Judas's replacement!

My Answer: We don't have to do ANY trickery with the resurrection. John 20 says VERY clearly that the very first person that Jesus talks to is Mary, because she stays at his tomb while the others leave. There is no question at all that the very first person he chooses to talk to is Mary Magdalene. If you're saying that only TWO people were there, I find it hard to believe that she would go running to Simon Peter and herself. They clearly say "the disciples" (plural) went to their homes while Mary stood crying. You do have to wonder why they didn't mention the other guy's name, but it doesn't seem to be Mary. Didn't Jesus love ALL of his disciples?

Anyway, here is the section. In fact, it almost reads like a romance novel, with the way he turns to her and just speaks her name :) This by the way is from the New International Version of the Bible.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Jesus said to her, "Mary."

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

From a Visitor -
I note that on your site Mary Magdalene is referred to at one point as the lover of Jesus Christ but nowhere do you mention the possibility that she could have been his wife. If they were married would it not make sense that the wedding at Cana was in fact his own wedding which would explain why he was approached when the wine ran out. If he were just a guest at someone else's wedding it would hardly be any of his business that they'd run out of wine. I personally believe that Jesus did not require a vow of chastity but encouraged marriage and family life. He would not deny himself something so basically fundamentally human would he?

I will continue to be fascinated by all aspects of the Grail stories and the possibility that Jesus and Mary have decendants alive today. Perhaps one day we will discover the truth of these hidden documents and even the grave site itself.

My Response -
There are many who support that theory. Jewish Mishnaic Law says "An unmarried man may not be a teacher." Rabbis were supposed to be married, to best help their flock. Many of Jesus' disciples were married. Jesus supported and advocated happy marriages. He had Mary M hanging around with him all the time and kissed her often. Mary was called his most beloved disciple. Why do we assume she was NOT his wife?

At the Wedding in Cana, somehow Jesus is there with his mom and all the apostles. This is the scene for his first, big miracle. Is it likely that they wouldn't even mention who these people were, or anything else? John 2 says (King James version)

".. the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now."

I.e. that the wine that was being served before was just OK, but this new special wine that Jesus had provided was delicious :)

The servants of the house are certainly doing what Jesus and his mom are telling them to do. And it does seem that if Jesus is finally going to flex his "divine muscles" that he would do it for his own wedding - and not as some village event that they don't even bother to mention the hosts of.

You would have to believe that, with Christianity gaining such popularity so quickly, that Mary would have been kept safe. And when she died, her grave must have been much loved by the devoted, even as it was hidden away. So it must be *somewhere*. On the other hand, you would think that for Mozart too - but he died in an unmarked grave. So there is always the possibility that Mary, grief-stricken, simply fled from all around her and vanished into some unknown quadrant of the world - and died there without anyone knowing who she was.

From a Visitor -
Whether or not Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, it is clear that the Bible does NOT state that he was unmarried, or that he had no love life. The four gospels of the Bible simply does not discuss those questions. I agree with Dan Brown that as a Jew of that time, Jesus would be expected to marry. It also seems clear that if a Jewish man of that time had unmarried love affairs with women who were not considered the property of other men (harlots, young widows, women with no family etc.) the man who had sex with them would not be punished or even necessarily criticised. His relationship with such women would simply not be considered anybody's business but his own, as he was not breaking any laws, neither God's laws or his society's laws. (The laws of the Jewish society primarily protected men's right to control the women who were considered their property.) In other words, Jesus and Mary may very well have been married or they might have been lovers, and that may not have been any big deal at the time. It was only about two hundred years later that sexual abstention became a huge virtue in itself, and that is the real reason why most churches insist that a good Christian must believe that Jesus was unmarried, never had sex and certainly had no love affair with Mary Magdalene. (It should be mentioned that Paul, who gave Christianity the kick start without which it may not have survived as a religion, disliked sex and declared himself to be celibate.)

My Response -
Yup I did up a lot of information on women in the church on this site, and most definitely it was in the 300s that edicts started coming down about women not preaching and men not marrying. They all seemed aimed at preventing "kids" in religion, that is, heirs who might demand access to the lands and buildlings their parents had worked on. The church wanted to make sure that when a priest died, they could simply stick in a new priest, and maintain ownership over the land and such.

I personally don't see why it would be a big deal for Jesus to sleep with Mary. We know he was kissing her. He told others to marry and be happy with their wives ...

From a Visitor -
On page 262 in Da Vinci Code Dan Brown mentions the painting of Georges de La Tour - The Penitent Magdalene (displayed at Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.). It shows La Tour's extraordinary technical prowess, a simple scene has been transformed into a divine and mysterious event by the lightening. Mary Magdalene in this painting does look pregnant but most experts dismiss the idea and maintain that in those days healthy and robust women were considered beautiful. While others suggest it is 'spiritual' pregnancy! There are other two paintings I know of which also shows a healthy/pregnant (take your pick) Magdalene. One is "Raising of Lazarus" by Geertgen tot Sint Jans (painted in 1460, now in Louvre) where Magdalene (in green robe) is sitting on her knees infront of Lazarus, but except for her no other female figure looks so healthy/pregnant! Another one is "Braque Family Triptych" by Rogier van der Weyden (painted in 1450, also in Louvre). When closed, it shows a skull and a cross. Open, it displays images of Christ in the centre, and to either side - the Virgin, St John the Evangelist, St John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. In this too Magdalene is healthy and robust/pregnant.

My Response -
Interesting, we'll have to take a look at those! There is now a running discussion of this in the forum, with links to the images, for those who are interested.


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