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Mary Magdalene, St

by Micha F. Lindemans
In the New Testament, Mary Magdalene was a woman from the town of Magdala, near Tiberias. She was there during Jesus' crucifixion and comforted him in his final moments. She also discovered the empty tomb and was a witness to his resurrection. Furthermore, she was there at the beginning of the movement that would become Christianity.

However, she is portrayed quite differently, namely as a prostitute, who is fallen and then redeemed. She is mentioned in each of the four gospels, but not once does it mention that she was a prostitute or a sinner. She became confused with two other women from the Bible: Mary, the sister of Martha and the unnamed sinner from Luke's gospel (7:36-50). Both women washed Jesus' feet with their hair. It was Pope Gregory who, in the 6th century, declared that the three women were the same person. It wasn't until 1969 that the Catholic Church declared that Mary Magdalene was not the penitent sinner. Her reputation, however, still lingers.

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