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The Theological Mariamene

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.”

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, 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.

In the so-called Gnostic Gospels, Mary Magdalene, sister of the apostle Philip, is a healer, teacher, dragon-slayer and shape-shifter. She is Jesus’ special companion, "chosen among women." She is in spiritual contact with Jesus.

Mary Magdalene plays a very important role in the New Testament. She is healed by Jesus, becomes his disciple, funds his ministry, accompanies him to Jerusalem, witnesses the crucifixion, and is the first to witness the Resurrection.

Within the Church, Mary Magdalene had the misfortune of being blended with other women from the Gospels, an adulteress (or prostitute), and Mary of Bethany, who washed the feet of Jesus. It wasn’t until 1969 that her name was cleared: she was no longer, the Vatican announced, to be thought of as a prostitute. That had been an error.

But the damage was done. Women were kept from leading roles in the Church. Magdalene was, however, to become a major saint, venerated in especially the Greek Orthodox Church and, rather oddly perhaps, in France. Her relics are spread across the globe, with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre housing what is reportedly her hand.


Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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