The New International Encyclopædia/Mary Magdalene
MARY MAGDALENE, măg′dȧ-lēn, or măg′-dȧ-lē′nē̇, or Mary of Magdala. A woman mentioned in the Gospels as a follower of Jesus and, with others, a contributor to His support (Luke viii. 2-3). Her home was doubtless at Magdala (q.v.). She had been cured of demoniacal possession by Jesus and was among His most devoted friends. With the like-minded women she was a witness of the crucifixion (Matt. xxvii. 55, 56; Mark xv. 40-41; Luke xxiii. 48-49) and of the entombment of Jesus (Matt. xxvii. 61 and parallels). The same company came to the tomb on the Sunday morning following the crucifixion, and, finding it open and empty, ran back to the city to inform the disciples (Matt. xxviii. 1-10 and parallels). But Mary appears to have soon returned alone to the tomb, and to her the risen Jesus first appeared (John xx. 1-18; Mark xvi. 9). Her joy on hearing and seeing Him again was excessive, but Jesus would not permit her to touch Him, to show her that the relation between them was now entirely different from what it had been. Nothing more is told of her in the New Testament. The very common identification of her with the ‘woman who was a sinner’ (Luke vii. 36-50) rests on no sure foundation. This idea, the ruling one in art and literature, with its accompanying conception of the word ‘Magdalene,’ has therefore no basis in fact. A late and confused legend represented her as ending her days in Southern France. Consult Mrs. Jameson, Sacred and Legendary Art, vol. ii. (London, 1866); Baring-Gould, In Troubadour Land (London, 1890).