In this two-hour, in-depth program we will seek to explore all aspects of Mary, to uncover the sources of the myths and innuendo that have surrounded her, as well as the truth – as we know it today.
We will travel to the place of her birth; trace her journey, as can be determined, prior to her meeting Jesus, piecing together their travels, his ministry, and beyond. Was she indeed an Apostle? Is the Gospel of Mary correct? Or the Gospel of Philip who depicted her as Jesus’ koinonos – a Greek term for companion or, potentially, a wife? Why were these gospels feared and many destroyed, never seeing the light of day in the New Testament?
How could one passionate sermon from Pope Gregory in the 6th Century turn the tide against this woman of supposed virtue – tainting her with the inference of prostitute that would be strongly associated with her name for centuries?
Was Peter jealous of the woman to whom Jesus showed so much attention and perhaps affection? The man who would later be Saint is said to have believed many of Jesus’ ideas indeed derived from Mary. He wrote…”Did he then speak secretly with this woman, in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?” (The Nag Hammadi Library).
We will attempt to find answers to these questions and more.
Known by scores as Mary Magdalene, Mary of Megdalah or by her Hebrew name, Miriamne – she has nonetheless tantalized and confounded historians and the faithful alike throughout millennia.
All known references indicate that she most likely hailed from a small village on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. In today’s Israel, it is the lush north bordering Lebanon. Her name derived from the town of her birth, Megdalah (pronounced mig-da-lah) although throughout the years she is said to have traveled extensively – reportedly leaving Judea after the death and resurrection of Jesus – continuing to preach his sermons until her death.
We will analyze customs of the day which argue that bachelorhood was very rare for Jewish males of Jesus’ time, being generally regarded as a transgression of the first divine commandment: “Be fruitful and multiply”. According to this reasoning, it is written, it would have been “unthinkable for an adult, unmarried Jew to travel about teaching as a rabbi”.
Finally, the date of Mary’s death remains a mystery. However, reports strongly suggest she died in Ephesus – and to a lesser degree Asia Minor or Marseilles, France – where many of her icons remain today, particularly in Aix-en-Provence.
We will visit these sites and explore why each holds to the belief that Mary was there, lived her life and died in those places.
We will discuss all of the above with biblical scholars and historians, traveling to the actual locations, to piece together a vibrant picture of one of the most revered women in history – of whom we still know so little. Yet she remains an iconic figure throughout the centuries, her life closely intermingled with the most important man these two centuries have produced.
We hope to shed a shining light on the life of the woman who was, conceivably, the most important person in the life of the Christ.