|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
(1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in Scripture (Matthew 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Psalm 132:11; Luke 1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke 1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Joshua 15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; Comp. 1 Samuel 2:1-10). After three months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware (Matthew 1:18-25) of her condition, and took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus (Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who was called Jesus (Matthew 1:21), because he was to save his people from their sins. This was followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matthew 2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened to her. During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz., his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52). Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not again mentioned.
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum (Matthew 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death are unknown.
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his last journey to Jerusalem (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55). They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb. Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she, with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices, that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matthew 28:5). She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living together at this time (John 20:1, 2), and again immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully, weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary" recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala, who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless.
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the good part." Her character also appears in connection with the death of her brother (John 11:20, 31, 33). On the occasion of our Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a leper (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2, 3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault (11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people. (see MARTHA.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little" are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts 4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness (Romans 16:6).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) Marrow.
2. (interj.) See Marry.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
JOSEPH, HUSBAND OF MARY
1. References in New Testament:
(For etymology, etc., of Joseph, see JOSEPH): Joseph, the carpenter (Matthew 13:55), was a "just man" (Matthew 1:19 the King James Version), who belonged to Nazareth (Luke 2:4). He was of Davidic descent (Matthew 1:20 Luke 2:4), the son of Heli (Luke 3:23) or Jacob (Matthew 1:16), the husband of Mary (Matthew 1:16), and the supposed father of Jesus (Matthew 13:55 Luke 3:23; Luke 4:22 John 1:45; John 6:42).
(1) Before the Nativity.
The Gospels of Matthew and Mark alone give any detailed reference to Joseph and the birth of Jesus, and their accounts vary in part. Luke begins with the Annunciation to Mary at Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38). Overwhelmed with the tidings, Mary departed "with haste" "into the hill country,.... into a city of Judah," to seek communion with Elisabeth, with whom she had been coupled in the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:39-55). After abiding with her about three months she returned "unto her own house" (Luke 1:56 the King James Version). The events recorded in Matthew 1:18-24 probably took place in the interval between this return and the birth of Jesus. During Mary's visit to Elisabeth, Joseph had likely remained in Nazareth. The abrupt and probably unexplained departure of his espoused wife for Judah (compare the phrase "with haste"), and her condition on her return, had caused him great mental distress (Matthew 1:18-20). Though his indignation was tempered with mercy, he was minded to put her away "privily," but the visitation of the angel in his sleep relieved him from his dilemma, and he was reconciled to his wife (Matthew 1:24). The narrative is then continued by Luke. While Joseph and Mary still abode in Nazareth, "there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled" (Luke 2:1). "And all went to enroll themselves, every one to his own city" (Luke 2:3). Being of the house and lineage of David, Joseph went up with Mary, who was "great with child," from Galilee, "out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem" (Luke 2:4, 5), and there Jesus was born (Luke 2:7; compare Matthew 2:1).
(2) After the Nativity.
(a) Luke's Account:
The two accounts now diverge considerably. According to Luke, the Holy Family remained for a time at Bethlehem and were there visited by the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). After a sojourn of 40 days for the purification (compare Luke 2:21, 22 Leviticus 12), Joseph departed with his wife for Jerusalem "to present" the infant Jesus "to the Lord" and to offer up sacrifice according to the ancient law (Luke 2:24). There he was present at the prophesying of Simeon and Anna concerning Jesus, and received the blessing of the former (Luke 2:34). After "they had accomplished all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth" (Luke 2:39). Every year, at the Passover, they made this journey to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41). The care and solicitude of Joseph and Mary for the boy Jesus and their grief at His temporary loss aye also recorded (Luke 2:45, 48, 51). There is evidence that, though Mary "kept all these things in her heart," Joseph at least had no understanding then of the Divine nature of the charge committed to his care (Luke 2:50).
(b) Matthew's Account:
But according to Matthew it was from the Wise Men of the East that Jesus received homage at Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-11). There is no further mention of the dedicatory journey to Jerusalem, or of the return to Nazareth. Instead, it is stated that on the departure of the Wise Men from Bethlehem, Joseph was warned in a dream of the impending wrath of Herod, and escaped with his wife and the infant Jesus into Egypt (Matthew 2:13, 14). Upon the death of Herod, an angel appeared to Joseph, and he returned to the land of Israel (Matthew 2:19-21). His original intention was to settle once more in Judea, but on learning that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was ruler there, "he withdrew into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth" (Matthew 2:22, 23).
(c) The Proper Sequence of the Two Narratives:
The narrative of Matthew would thus imply that the Holy Family had no connection with Nazareth previous to their return from Egypt. It has, however, been suggested by Ramsay that Matthew merely reports what was common knowledge, and that Luke, while quite cognizant of this, supplemented it in his own Gospel with details known only to the Holy Family, and in part to the mother alone (compare Sir W. Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 78-79). A comparison of the two Gospel narratives makes it clear that the visitation of the Wise Men fell on a later date than that of the shepherds. The latter took place immediately after the Nativity (compare Luke 2:11, 15, 16, "is born.... this day," "let us now go," "and they came with haste"). On the other hand, when the Wise Men came to Jerusalem, Christ was already born (compare Matthew 2:1). Time was required for this journey to Jerusalem and the consultation of Herod with the chief priests (Matthew 2:4); and during this interval the events recorded in Luke 2:8-39 had taken place. That there was sufficient time for this is attested also by the fact that Herod's decree was directed against children up to two years of age (Matthew 2:16). Thus it was after the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth, and on a further visit to Bethlehem, implied by Matthew but not recorded by Luke, that the infant Jesus received the adoration of the Wise Men. Jesus being born in 6 B.C., this took place in 5 B.C., and as Herod died in 4 B.C., Joseph may have missed only one of the Passovers (compare Luke 2:41) by his flight into Egypt. (For a full discussion, compare Ramsay, op. cit.) As no mention is made of Joseph in the later parts of the Gospels where the Holy Family is referred to (compare Matthew 12:46 Luke 8:19), it is commonly supposed that he died before the commencement of the public ministry of Christ.
If a type is to be sought in the character of Joseph, it is that of a simple, honest, hard-working, God-fearing man, who was possessed of large sympathies and a warm heart. Strict in the observance of Jewish law and custom, he was yet ready when occasion arose to make these subservient to the greater law of the Spirit. Too practical to possess any deep insight into the Divine mysteries or eternal significance of events which came within his knowledge (compare Luke 2:50), he was quick to make answer to what he perceived to be the direct call of God (compare Matthew 1:24). Originally a "just man" (the King James Version), the natural clemency within his heart prevailed over mere justice, and by the promptings of the Holy Spirit that clemency was transferred into a strong and enduring love (compare Matthew 1:24). Joseph is known to us only as a dim figure in the background of the Gospel narratives, yet his whole-hearted reconciliation to Mary, even in the face of possible slanderings by his neighbors, his complete self-sacrifice, when he left all and fled into Egypt to save the infant Jesus, are indicative that he was not unworthy to fulfill the great trust which was imposed upon him by the Eternal Father.
3. References in Apocryphal Literature:
The Gospel of the Infancy according to James, a work composed originally in the 2nd century, but with later additions (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 47-63), gives a detailed account of the marriage of the aged Joseph with Mary, of their journey to Bethlehem, and of the birth of Jesus. A similar gospel, reputed to be by Thomas the philosopher, of later origin and Gnostic tendency (compare Hennecke, 63-73), narrates several fantastic, miraculous happenings in the domestic life of the Holy Family, and the dealings of Joseph with the teachers of the youthful Jesus. Other legends, from Syriac or Egyptian sources, also dealing with the Infancy, in which Joseph figures, are extant. The chief is The History of Joseph the Carpenter (compare Hennecke, Handbuch der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, 95-105). This contains an account of the death and burial of Joseph at the age of 110, and of the entreaties of Mary to Christ to save him. Its aim was to show forth Christ as the Saviour, even at the last hour, and the rightful manner of Christian death. Joseph has received a high place in the Calendar of the Roman Catholic Saints, his feast being celebrated on March 19.
C. M. Kerr
ma'-ri, mar'-i (Maria, Mariam, Greek form of Hebrew miryam):
I. DEFINITION AND QUESTIONS OF IDENTIFICATION
The Name Mary in the New Testament
II. MARY, THE VIRGIN
1. Mary in the Infancy Narratives
2. Mary at Cana
3. Mary and the Career of Jesus
4. Mary at the Cross
5. Mary in the Christian Community
6. Mary in Ecclesiastical Doctrine and Tradition
(a) The Dogma of Her Sinlessness
(b) Dogma of Mary's Perpetual Virginity
(c) Doctrine of Mary's Glorification as the Object of Worship and Her Function as Intercessor
III. MARY MAGDALENE
1. Mary Not the Sinful Woman of Luke 7
2. Mary Not a Nervous Wreck
IV. MARY OF BETHANY
1. Attack upon Luke's Narrative
2. Evidence of Luke Taken Alone
3. Evidence Sifted by Comparison
4. Character of Mary
V. MARY, THE MOTHER OF JAMES AND JOSES
VI. MARY, THE MOTHER OF JOHN MARK
I. Definition and Questions of Identification.
A Hebrew feminine proper name of two persons in the Old Testament (see Exodus 15:20 Numbers 12:1 Micah 6:4 1 Chronicles 4:17) and of a number not certainly determined in the New Testament. The prevalence of the name in New Testament times has been attributed, with no great amount of certainty, to the popularity of Mariamne, the last representative of the Hasmonean family, who was the second wife of Herod I.
The Name Mary in the New Testament:
(1) The name Mary occurs in 51 passages of the New Testament to which the following group of articles is confined (see MIRIAM). Collating all these references we have the following apparent notes of identification:
(a) Mary, the mother of Jesus;
(b) Mary Magdalene;
(c) Mary, the mother of James;
(d) Mary, the mother of Joses;
(e) Mary, the wife of Clopas;
(f) Mary of Bethany;
(g) Mary, the mother of Mark;
(h) Mary of Rome;
(i) the "other" Mary.
(2) A comparison of Matthew 27:56; Matthew 28:1 with Mark 15:47 seems clearly to identify the "other" Mary with Mary the mother of Joses.
(3) Mark 15:40 identifies Mary the mother of James and Mary the mother of Joses (compare Mark 15:47) (see Allen's note on Matthew 27:56).
(4) At this point a special problem of identification arises. Mary, the wife of Clopas, is mentioned as being present at the cross with Mary the mother of Jesus, the latter's sister and Mary of Magdala (John 19:25). In the other notices of the group at the cross, Mary, the mother of James, is mentioned (Matthew 27:56 Mark 15:40). Elsewhere, James is regularly designated "son of Alpheus" (Matthew 10:3 Mark 3:18 Luke 6:15). Since it can hardly be doubted that James, the apostle, and James the Less, the son of Mary, are one and the same person, the conclusion seems inevitable that Mary, the mother of James, is also the wife of Alpheus. Here we might stop and leave the wife of Clopas unidentified, but the fact that the name Alpheus (Alphaios) is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic chalpay, together with the unlikelihood that anyone important enough to be mentioned by John would be omitted by the synoptists and that another Mary, in addition to the three definitely mentioned, could be present and not be mentioned, points to the conclusion that the wife of Clopas is the same person as the wife of Alpheus (see ALPHAEUS). Along with this reasonable conclusion has grown, as an excrescence, another for which there is no basis whatever; namely, that the wife of Clopas was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This would make the apostle James the cousin of Jesus, and, by an extension of the idea, would identify James, the apostle, with James, the "Lord's brother." The available evidence is clearly against both these inferences (see Matthew 13:55 Mark 6:3 Galatians 1:19).
(5) One other possible identification is offered for our consideration. Zahn, in an exceedingly interesting note (New Testament, II, 514), identifies Mary of Rome (Romans 16:6) with the "other" Mary of Matthew. We need not enter into a discussion of the point thus raised, since the identification of a woman of whom we have no details given is of little more than academic interest.
We are left free, however, by the probabilities of the case to confine our attention to the principal individuals who bear the name of Mary. We shall discuss Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary of Magdala; Mary of Bethany; Mary, the mother of James and Joses; Mary, the mother of Mark.
II. Mary, the Virgin.
The biography of the mother of Jesus is gathered about a brief series of episodes which serve to exhibit her leading characteristics in clear light. Two causes have operated to distort and make unreal the very clear and vivid image of Mary left for us in the Gospels. Roman Catholic dogmatic and sentimental exaggeration has well-nigh removed Mary from history (see IMMACULATE CONCEPTION). On the other hand, reaction and overemphasis upon certain features of the Gospel narrative have led some to credit Mary with a negative attitude toward our Lord and His claims, which she assuredly never occupied. It is very important that we should follow the narrative with unprejudiced eyes and give due weight to each successive episode.
Mary appears in the following passages: the Infancy narratives, Matthew 1 and 2; Luke 1 and 2; the wedding at Cana of Galilee, John 2:1-11; the episode of Matthew 12:46 Mark 3:21, 31;; the incident at the cross, John 19:25;; the scene in the upper chamber, Acts 1:14.
1. Mary in the Infancy Narratives:
(1) It is to be noted, first of all, that Mary and her experiences form the narrative core of both Infancy documents. This is contrary to the ordinary opinion, but is unquestionably true. She is obviously the object of special interest to Luke (see Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 76), and there are not wanting indications that Luke's story came from Mary herself. But, while Matthew's account does not exhibit his interest in Mary quite so readily, that he was interested in the pathetic story of the Lord's mother is evident.
Luke tells the story of Mary's inward and deeply personal experiences, her call (1:26), her maidenly fears (1:29, 35), her loyal submission (1:38), her outburst of sacred and unselfish joy (1:39-55). From this anticipatory narrative he passes at once to the Messianic fulfillment.
Matthew tells the story of the outward and, so to say, public experiences of Mary which follow hard upon the former and are in such dramatic contrast with them: the shame and suspicion which fell upon her (1:18); her bitter humiliation (1:19), her ultimate vindication (1:20). Here the two narratives supplement each other by furnishing different details but, as in other instances, converge upon the central fact-the central fact here being Mary herself, her character, her thoughts, her experiences. The point to be emphasized above all others is that we have real biography, although in fragments; in that the same person appears in the inimitable reality of actual characterization, in both parts of the story. This is sufficient guaranty of historicity; for no two imaginary portraits ever agreed unless one copied the other-which is evidently not the case here. More than this, the story is a truly human narrative in which the remarkable character of the events which took place in her life only serves to bring into sharper relief the simple, humble, natural qualities of the subject of them.
(2) One can hardly fail to be impressed, in studying Mary's character with her quietness of spirit; her meditative inwardness of disposition; her admirable self-control; her devout and gracious gift of sacred silence. The canticle (Luke 1:46-55), which at least expresses Luke's conception of her nature, indicates that she is not accustomed to dwell much upon herself (4 lines only call particular attention to herself), and that her mind is saturated with the spirit and phraseology of the Old Testament. The intensely Jewish quality of her piety thus expressed accounts for much that appears anomalous in her subsequent career as depicted in the Gospels.
2. Mary at Cana:
The first episode which demands our attention is the wedding at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). The relationship between Jesus and His mother has almost eclipsed other interests in the chapter. It is to be noted that the idea of wanton interference on the part of Mary and of sharp rebuke on the part of Jesus is to be decisively rejected. The key to the meaning of this episode is to be found in 4 simple items:
(1) in a crisis of need, Mary turns naturally to Jesus as to the one from whom help is to be expected;
(2) she is entirely undisturbed by His reply, whatever its meaning may be;
(3) she prepares the way for the miracle by her authoritative directions to the servants;
(4) Jesus does actually relieve the situation by an exercise of power.
Whether she turned to Jesus with distinctly Messianic expectation, or whether Jesus intended to convey a mild rebuke for her eagerness, it is not necessary for us to inquire, as it is not possible for us to determine. It is enough that her spontaneous appeal to her Son did not result in disappointment, since, in response to her suggestion or, at least, in harmony with it, He "manifested his glory." The incident confirms the Infancy narrative in which Mary's quiet and forceful personality is exhibited.
3. Mary and the Career of Jesus:
In Matthew 12:46 (parallel Mark 3:31-35), we are told that, when His mother and His brethren came seeking Him, Jesus in the well-known remark concerning His true relatives in the kingdom of heaven intended to convey a severe rebuke to His own household for an action which involved both unbelief and presumptuous interference in His great life-work. The explanation of this incident, which involves no such painful implications as have become connected with it in the popular mind, is to be found in Mark's account. He interrupts his narrative of the arrival of the relatives (which belongs in Mark 3:21) by the account of the accusation made by the scribes from Jerusalem that the power of Jesus over demons was due to Beelzebub. This goes a long way toward explaining the anxiety felt by the relatives of Jesus, since the ungoverned enthusiasm of the multitude. which gave Him no chance to rest and seemed to threaten His health, was matched, contrariwise, by the bitter, malignant opposition of the authorities, who would believe any malicious absurdity rather than that His power came from God. The vital point is that the attempt of Mary and her household to get possession of the person of Jesus, in order to induce Him to go into retirement for a time, was not due to captious and interfering unbelief, but to loving anxiety. The words of Jesus have the undoubted ring of conscious authority and express the determination of one who wills the control of his own life-but it is a serious mistake to read into them any faintest accent of satire. It has been well said (Horace Bushnell, Sermons on Living Subject, 30) that Jesus would scarcely make use of the family symbolism to designate the sacred relationships of the kingdom of heaven, while, at the same time, He was depreciating the value and importance of the very relationships which formed the basis of His analogy. The real atmosphere of the incident is very different from this.
4. Mary at the Cross:
To be sure that many have misinterpreted the above incident we need only turn to the exquisitely tender scene at the cross recorded by John (19:25;). This scene, equally beautiful whether one considers the relationship which it discloses as existing between Jesus and His mother, or between Jesus and His well-beloved disciple removes all possible ambiguity which might attach to the preceding incidents, and reveals the true spirit of the Master's home. Jesus could never have spoken as He did from the cross unless He had consistently maintained the position and performed the duties of an eldest son. The tone and quality of the scene could never have been what it is had there not been a steadfast tie of tender love and mutual understanding between Jesus and His mother. Jesus could hand over His sacred charge to the trustworthy keeping of another, because He had faithfully maintained it Himself.
5. Mary in the Christian Community:
The final passage which we need to consider (Acts 1:14) is especially important because in it we discover Mary and her household at home in the midst of the Christian community, engaged with them in prayer. It is also clear that Mary herself and the family, who seemed to be very completely under her influence, whatever may have been their earlier misgivings, never broke with the circle of disciples, and persistently kept within the range of experiences which led at last to full-orbed Christian faith. This makes it sufficiently evident, on the one hand, that the household never shared the feelings of the official class among the Jews; and, on the other, that the family of Jesus passed through the same cycle of experiences which punctuated the careers of the whole body of disciples on the way to faith. The beating of this simple but significant fact upon the historical trustworthiness of the body of incidents just passed in review is evident.
The sum of the matter concerning Mary seems to be this: The mother of Jesus was a typical Jewish believer of the best sort. She was a deeply meditative, but by no means a daring or original thinker. Her inherited Messianic beliefs did not and perhaps could not prepare her for the method of Jesus which involved so much that was new and unexpected. But her heart was true, and from the beginning to the day of Pentecost, she pondered in her heart the meaning of her many puzzling experiences until the light came. The story of her life and of her relationship to Jesus is consistent throughout and touched with manifold unconscious traits of truth. Such a narrative could not have been feigned or fabled.
6. Mary in Ecclesiastical Doctrine and Tradition:
The ecclesiastical treatment of Mary consists largely of legend and dogma, about equally fictitious and unreliable. The legendary accounts, which include the apocryphal gospels, deal, for the most part, with details tails of her parentage and early life; her betrothal and marriage to Joseph; her journey to Bethlehem and the birth of her child. At this point the legendary narratives, in their crass wonder-mongering and indelicate intimacy of detail, are in striking contrast to the chaste reserve of the canonical story, and of evidential value on that account.
There is, in addition, a full-grown legend concerning Mary's later life in the house of John; of her death in which the apostles were miraculously allowed to participate; her bodily translation to heaven; her reception at the hands of Jesus and her glorification in heaven. In this latter series of statements, we have already made the transition from legend to dogma. It is quite clear, from the statements of Roman Catholic writers themselves, that no reliable historical data are to be found among these legendary accounts. The general attitude of modern writers is exhibited in the following sentences (from Wilhelm and Scannel, Manual of Catholic Theology, II, 220, quoted by Mayor, Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, II, 288, note): "Mary's corporeal assumption into heaven is so thoroughly implied in the notion of her personality as given by Bible and dogma, that the church, can dispense with strict historical evidence of the fact." If that is the way one feels, there is very little to say about it. Aside from the quasi-historical dogma of Mary's bodily assumption, the Roman Catholic doctrinal interpretation of her person falls into three parts.
(a) The Dogma of Her Sinlessness:
This is discussed under IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (which see) and need not detain us here.
(b) Dogma of Mary's Perpetual Virginity:
It is evident that this, too, is a doctrine of such a nature that its advocates might, with advantage to their argument, have abstained from the appearance of critical discussion.
Even if all the probabilities of exegesis are violated and the cumulative evidence that Mary had other children done away with; if the expression, "brethren of the Lord" is explained as "foster-brethren," "cousins" or what-not; if Jesus is shown to be not only "first-born" but "only-born" Son (Luke 2:7); if the expression of Matthew 1:25 is interpreted as meaning "up to and beyond" (Pusey, et al.; compare Roman Catholic Dict., 604), it would still be as far as possible from a demonstration of the dogma. That a married woman has no children is no proof of virginity-perpetual or otherwise. That this thought has entered the minds of Roman Catholic apologists although not openly expressed by them, is evidenced by the fact that while certain forms of dealing with the "brethren-of-the-Lord" question make these the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, the favorite doctrine includes the perpetual virginity of Joseph. Just as the idea of the sinlessness of Mary has led to the dogma of the immaculate conception, so the idea of her perpetual virginity demands the ancillary notion of Joseph's. No critical or historical considerations are of any possible use here. It is a matter of dogmatic assumption unmixed with any alloy of factual evidence, and might better be openly made such.
It is evident that a very serious moral issue is raised here. The question is not whether virginity is a higher form of life than marriage. One might be prepared to say that under certain circumstances it is. The point at issue here is very different. If Mary was married to Joseph and Joseph to Mary in appearance only, then they were recreant to each other and to the ordinance of God which made them one. How a Roman Catholic, to whom marriage is a sacrament, can entertain such a notion is an unfathomable mystery. The fact that Mary was miraculously the mother of the Messiah has nothing to do with the question of her privilege and obligation in the holiest of human relationships. Back of this unwholesome dogma are two utterly false ideas: that the marriage relationship is incompatible with holy living, and that Mary is not to be considered a human being under the ordinary obligations of human life.
(c) Doctrine of Mary's Glorification as the Object of Worship and Her Function as Intercessor: With no wish to be polemic toward Roman Catholicism, and, on the contrary, with every desire to be sympathetic, it is very difficult to be patient with the puerilities which disfigure the writings of Roman Catholic dogmaticians in the discussion of this group of doctrines.
(i) Take, for example, the crude literalism involved in the identification of the woman of Revelation 12:1-6 with Mary. Careful exegesis of the passage (especially 12:6), in connection with the context, makes it clear that no hint of Mary's status in heaven is intended. As a matter of fact, Mary, in any literal sense, is not referred to at all. Mary's motherhood along with that of the mother of Moses is very likely the basis of the figure, but the woman of the vision is the church, which is, at once, the mother and the body of her Lord (see Milligan, Expositors' Bible, "Revelation," 196).
Three other arguments are most frequently used to justify the place accorded to Mary in the liturgy.
(ii) Christ's perpetual humanity leads to His perpetual Sonship to Mary. This argument, if it carries any weight at all, in this connection, implies that the glorified Lord Jesus is still subject to His mother. It is, however, clear from the Gospels that the subjection to His parents which continued after the incident in the Temple (Luke 2:51) was gently but firmly laid aside at the outset of the public ministry (see above, II, 2, 3). In all that pertains to His heavenly office, as Lord, Mary's position is one of dependence, not of authority.
(iii) Christ hears her prayers. Here, again, dogmatic assumption is in evidence. That He hears her prayers, even if true in a very special sense, does not, in the least, imply that prayers are to be addressed to her or that she is an intercessor through whom prayers may be addressed to Him.
(iv) Since Mary cared for the body of Christ when He was on earth, naturally His spiritual body would be her special care in heaven. But, on any reasonable hypothesis, Mary was, is, and must remain, a part of that body (see Acts 1:14). Unless she is intrinsically a Divine being, her care for the church cannot involve her universal presence in it and her accessibility to the prayers of her fellow-believers.
To a non-Romanist, the most suggestive fact in the whole controversy is that the statements of cautious apologists in support of the ecclesiastical attitude toward Mary, do not, in the least degree, justify the tone of extravagant adulation which marks the non-polemical devotional literature of the subject (see Dearden, Modern Romanism Examined, 22).
Our conclusion on the whole question is that the literature of Mariolatry belongs, historically, to unauthorized speculation; and, psychologically, to the natural history of asceticism and clerical celibacy.
III. Mary Magdalene
(Maria Magdalene = of "Magdala").-A devoted follower of Jesus who entered the circle of the taught during the Galilean ministry and became prominent during the last days. The noun "Magdala," from which the adjective "Magdalene" is formed, does not occur in the Gospels (the word in Matthew 15:39, is, of course, "Magadan"). The meaning of this obscure reference is well summarized in the following quotations from Plummer (International Critical Commentary, "Luke," 215): " 'Magdala is only the Greek form of mighdol or watch-tower, one of the many places of the name in Palestine' (Tristram, Bible Places, 260); and is probably represented by the squalid group of hovels which now bears the name of Mejdel near the center of the western shore of the lake."
1. Mary not the Sinful Woman of Luke 7:
As she was the first to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus, it is important that we should get a correct view of her position and character. The idea that she was a penitent, drawn from the life of the street, undoubtedly arose, in the first instance, from a misconception of the nature of her malady, together with an altogether impossible identification of her with the woman who was a sinner of the preceding section of the Gospel. It is not to be forgotten that the malady demon-possession, according to New Testament ideas (see DEMON, DEMONOLOGY), had none of the implications of evil temper and malignant disposi-tion popularly associated with "having a devil." The possessed was, by our Lord and the disciples looked upon as diseased, the victim of an alien and evil power, not an accomplice of it. Had this always been understood and kept in mind, the unfortunate identification of Mary with the career of public prostitution would have been much less easy.
According to New Testament usage, in such cases the name would have been withheld (compare Luke 7:37 John 8:3). At the same time the statement that 7 demons had been cast out of Mary means either that the malady was of exceptional severity, possibly involving several relapses (compare Luke 11:26), or that the mode of her divided and haunted consciousness (compare Mark 5:9) suggested the use of the number 7. Even so, she was a healed invalid, not a rescued social derelict.
The identification of Mary with the sinful woman is, of course, impossible for one who follows carefully the course of the narrative with an eye to the transitions. The woman of Luke 7 is carefully covered with the concealing cloak of namelessness. Undoubtedly known by name to the intimate circle of first disciples, it is extremely doubtful whether she was so known to Luke. Her history is definitely closed at 7:50.
The name of Mary is found at the beginning of a totally new section of the Gospel (see Plummer's analysis, op. cit., xxxvii), where the name of Mary is introduced with a single mark of identification, apart from her former residence, which points away from the preceding narrative and is incompatible with it. If the preceding account of the anointing were Mary's introduction into the circle of Christ's followers, she could not be identified by the phrase of Luke. Jesus did not cast a demon out of the sinful woman of Luke 7, and Mary of Magdala is not represented as having anointed the Lord's feet. The two statements cannot be fitted together.
2. Mary Not a Nervous Wreck:
Mary has been misrepresented in another way, scarcely less serious. She was one of the very first witnesses to the resurrection, and her testimony is of sufficient importance to make it worth while for those who antagonize the narrative to discredit her testimony. This is done, on the basis of her mysterious malady, by making her a paranoiac who was in the habit of "seeing things." Renan is the chief offender in this particular, but others have followed his example.
(1) To begin with, it is to be remarked that Mary had been cured of her malady in such a marked way that, henceforth, throughout her life, she was a monument to the healing power of Christ. What He had done for her became almost a part of her name along with the name of her village. It is not to be supposed that a cure so signal would leave her a nervous wreck, weak of will, wavering in judgment, the victim of hysterical tremors and involuntary hallucinations.
(2) There is more than this a priori consideration against such an interpretation of Mary. She was the first at the tomb (Matthew 28:1 Mark 16:1 Luke 24:10). But she was also the last at the cross-she and her companions (Matthew 27:61 Mark 15:40). A glance at the whole brief narrative of her life in the Gospels will interpret this combination of statements. Mary first appears near the beginning of the narrative of the Galilean ministry as one of a group consisting of "many" (Luke 8:3), among them Joanna, wife of Chuzas, Herod's steward, who followed with the Twelve and ministered to them of their substance. Mary then disappears from the text to reappear as one of the self-appointed watchers of the cross, thereafter to join the company of witnesses to the resurrection. The significance of these simple statements for the understanding of Mary's character and position among the followers of Jesus is not far to seek. She came into the circle of believers, marked out from the rest by an exceptional experience of the Lord's healing power. Henceforth, to the very end, with unwearied devotion, with intent and eager willingness, with undaunted courage even in the face of dangers which broke the courage of the chosen Twelve, she followed and served her Lord. It is impossible that such singleness of purpose, such strength of will, and, above all, such courage in danger, should have been exhibited by a weak, hysterical, neurotic incurable. The action of these women of whom Mary was one, in serving their Master's need while in life, and in administering the last rites to His body in death, is characteristic of woman at her best.
IV. Mary of Bethany.
Another devoted follower of Jesus. She was a resident of Bethany (Bethania), and a member of the family consisting of a much-beloved brother, Lazarus, and another sister, Martha, who made a home for Jesus within their own circle whenever He was in the neighborhood.
The one descriptive reference, aside from the above, connected with Mary, has caused no end of perplexity. John (11:2) states that it was this Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. This reference would be entirely satisfied by the narrative of John 12:1, 8, and no difficulty would be suggested, were it not for the fact that Luke (7:36-50) records an anointing of Jesus by a woman, accompanied with the wiping of His feet with her hair. The identification of these two anointings would not occasion any great difficulty, in spite of serious discrepancies as to time, place and other accessories of the action, but for the very serious fact that the woman of Luke 7 is described as a sinner in the dreadful special sense associated with that word in New Testament times. This is so utterly out of harmony with all that we know of Mary and the family at Bethany as to be a well-nigh intolerable hypothesis.
On the other hand, we are confronted with at least one serious difficulty in affirming two anointings. This is well stated by Mayor (Hastings Dictionary Bible, III, 280a): "Is it likely that our Lord would have uttered such a high encomium upon Mary's act if she were only following the example already set by the sinful woman of Galilee; or (taking the other view) if she herself were only repeating under more favorable circumstances the act of loving devotion for which she had already received His commendation?" We shall be compelled to face this difficulty in case we are forced to the conclusion that there were more anointings than one.
1. Attack upon Luke's Narrative:
In the various attempts to solve this problem, or rather group of problems, otherwise than by holding to two anointings, Luke, who stands alone against Mark, Matthew and John, has usually suffered loss of confidence. Mayor (op. cit., 282a) suggests the possibility that the text of Luke has been tampered with, and that originally his narrative contained no reference to anointing. This is a desperate expedient which introduces more difficulties than it solves.
Read Complete Article...
MARY, THE PASSING OF
See APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.
NATIVITY, OF MARY, GOSPEL OF THE
See APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.
PASSING OF MARY, THE
See APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.
Mary (50 Occurrences)
Matthew 1:16 Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 1:20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 1:24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; (See NAS NIV)
Matthew 2:11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 13:55 Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 27:61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 6:3 Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" They were offended at him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 15:40 There were also women watching from afar, among whom were both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where he was laid. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 16:9 Now when he had risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:30 The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, seeing I am a virgin?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:38 Mary said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word." The angel departed from her. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:39 Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:41 It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:46 Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:56 Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:5 to enroll himself with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him as wife, being pregnant. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:16 They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:22 When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (See NIV)
Luke 2:34 and Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:39 When they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. (See NIV)
Luke 8:2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 10:42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them told these things to the apostles. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. The Acts of the Apostles (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:2 It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
John 11:19 Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:20 Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:28 When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, "The Teacher is here, and is calling you." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:29 And Mary, hearing this, got up quickly and went to him. (BBE NIV)
John 11:31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:32 Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 11:45 Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 12:3 Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 19:25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 20:11 But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him, " Rabboni!" which is to say, " Teacher (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 1:14 All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 12:12 Thinking about that, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Romans 16:6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)