Did Mary Magdalen write Mark?

Last week we posited that it might be feasible (albeit a long shot) that the Gospel of Mark was written by a woman. Let’s look at this a little more.

  • Bumbling Disciples. Mark continually casts the 12 disciples as characters who do not understand the teachings of Jesus. All of them even flea at the end when Jesus is arrested, leaving three women to discover the empty tomb.
  • Righteous women. In contrast to the disciples, Mark has several stories where women are the prime exemplars of righteous behavior. Featuring women in a favorable light was very unusual for the time.
    • First, there’s the woman who is healed instantly by touching Jesus’ cloak.
    • Second, there’s the Gentile woman who challenges Jewish tradition (Jews and Gentiles did not usually speak) to ask Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus readily grants the request and then goes into a parable about a dog and crumbs under the table (where does he get these things?).
    • Then there’s the well-known story about the poor woman who put everything she owned (two copper coins) into the treasury of the Temple. Jesus commends her for her actions, while in contrast the disciples exit the Temple talking about how nice the building is (Mark 13:1).
  • Did Mary Magdalene write Mark? Finally, and this is where the speculation gets interesting, there is the story about the woman who anoints Jesus with expensive oil shortly before his trial and crucifixion. This is clearly a symbolic story emphasizing the expectation of Jesus’ return as King. Archaeologist and Biblical scholar James Tabor (Jamestabor.com) argues that this last woman could be Mary Magdalene herself, making a cameo appearance in the gospel as its author — just like Alfred Hitchcock.

Dan Brown has nothing on Three Bullet Thursday.

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