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Mary “the Master”


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

Oddly, the second “Mary” in the Talpiot tomb was not Latinized like the first. Instead, it was the Greek version of the name. This is the ossuary of a Jewish woman who moved in Greek circles.

It wasn’t until Simcha Jacobovici and his team discovered the secret connection to the Gospel figure of Mary Magdalene that everything snapped into place.

Astonishingly, Mariamne is the name by which the Magdalene has been known throughout history, as found in such non-canonical works as The Acts of Philip. Prominent Harvard scholars Francois Bovon and Karen King point out that not only is Mary Magdalene called “Mariamne” in these texts, Jesus’ mother is called “Maria”—coincidentally the name inscribed on the other “Mary” ossuary.

The Acts of Philip is an excellent source of information about Mary Magdalene: it is a matter of searching for the kernels of truth within the story. The facts appear to be that Mariamne/Magdalene was sister to Philip and Martha; that Jesus called her "chosen among women"; that she healed people and baptized converts; and that she died at the Jordan River, “near Jerusalem.” Stories abound about the burial location of Mary Magdalene, with France, China, and Greece just some of the places that claim her remains (this is fairly typical: Japan has a site trumpeted as the tomb of Jesus). However, all the serious evidence and the earliest traditions tells us Mary Magdalene “returned home” to die—which she reportedly did before the Virgin Mary.

And what of 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.

If this is Mary Magdalene’s ossuary, what is she doing in the Jesus family tomb? Was she part of the family? Was she his wife? If so, the circumstantial evidence was beginning to pile up.

The next step: Hard evidence. DNA.

Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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