Mary Magdalane: Jesus and his Early Followers | Full Documentary | Biography

Mary Magdalane: Jesus and his Early Followers | Full Documentary | Biography

For nearly 2,000 years, she was believed to be a prostitute who repented and became a disciple of Jesus. But we reveal the truth about Mary that is finally emerging.

NARRATOR: Mary Magdalene. She is one of the most mysterious and misunderstood figures in the Bible.
Remembered as the prostitute who walked with Jesus, she is said to have paid for her years of carnal delight
with decades of isolation and tearful repentance.
Recent archaeological discoveries, however, paint an astonishing new picture of Mary Magdalene as one
of the most important leaders of the early Christian church.
Mary Magdalene was invented in this alternate portrait as a prostitute precisely to counter
this extraordinary strong portrait of her as an early leader and apostolic witness and prophet.
NARRATOR: Now the true story of Mary Magdalene is beginning to emerge.
And it is more amazing than any legend.
[solemn music]
December 1945, Egyptian farmers looking
for fertilizer in a remote field make a startling discovery.
Beneath a boulder buried in soft soil, they find an ancient jar filled with priceless treasures–
papyrus books nearly 2,000 years old.
These are lost gospels written by the first generations of Christians.
Believers hid them, perhaps so they would not be destroyed by other Christians who branded them unorthodox and heretical,
perhaps so they might reveal to future generations their amazing teachings.
These ancient books contain unexpected information about one of Jesus’s closest associates–
Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene was a leader in the early church. She appears to have been the leader of at least one wing
of the early Christian movement. And her leadership was based primarily on prophetic authority. [uplifting music]
NARRATOR: This story of how Mary Magdalene became a prophet and leader begins around the time of the birth of Jesus
in the village for which she is named Magdala.
Magdala was located on the Sea of Galilee in a remote province of the Roman Empire called Judea.
Today nothing remains of Mary’s hometown.
But in antiquity, it was a bustling center of the fish trade.
[solemn music]
The local fisherman’s day began as the sunset.
Heading out to sea, they cast their nets and hauled in their living harvest.
They did not rest when the sun rose. The catch had to be sold. Boats and nets needed constant maintenance and repair.
Living in this Jewish fishing village, Mary’s family very likely had a deep regard
for their religious heritage. Her life would have been marked by the cycle
of the Jewish year– the weekly observance of the Sabbath,
annual fees, such as Passover, in spring, and the Jewish new year in autumn.
I think she was deeply Jewish and in touch with the powerful sources of Jewish tradition.
And I think she must have been also politically dissatisfied with Roman imperialism.
[uplifting music] NARRATOR: Mary’s homeland was under the military control
of the incomparably powerful Roman Empire. [intense music]
But the Jews made poor subjects for Rome. And Mary’s hometown of Magdala was a hotbed of rebel activity.
The Jews view their overlords with hostility and suspicion.
The Romans worshipped pagan gods, imposed heavy taxes, and brutally punish those who oppose their rule.
When Rome found its subjects guilty of sedition, the penalty could be agonizing death by crucifixion.
The authorities sometimes executed dozens of Jews at once, leaving their bodies to rot out
in the open in an attempt to control the populace by terror.
But Mary and her countrymen were fiercely devoted to their way of life. And the brutality of Roman tyrants
did not subdue their spirit.
Yet for many Jews of Mary’s day, the oppression was so overwhelming. It seemed that salvation could come only from heaven.
They spoke of a messiah whom God would send to deliver them.
[suspenseful music] In the synagogues and streets, no details of the saviors
coming were hotly debated.
Some believed he would be a general who would lead a final cosmic battle to destroy this world of injustice
and paved the way for eternal paradise.
Others said the Messiah would appear when the Jews were tired to the desert to fast and pray.
Until then, day to day life in Magdala was simple.
Young girls like Mary learned from their mothers to perform domestic tasks.
They spent many hours a day helping to prepare meals for the family.
They ground meal and baked bread, drew water from the town well, cleaned fish, and bought
provisions from local farmers. [uplifting music]
Life in a fishing village was hard. But evidence suggests that Mary’s family
made a good living. Though some believe she learned the fishing business as a girl,
it is likely that Mary was affluent enough that she did not have to work throughout her life.
What we do know about her from the Gospel of Luke probably meant that she was, I guess we would say, independently
wealthy, that she, in some sense, had resources that would not have required her to work.
NARRATOR: Little else is known about her childhood. As Mary blossomed into a young woman,
her story becomes clouded by a legend that has haunted her for thousands of years–
the belief that she was a prostitute. I think when we say the term prostitute,
it carries with it the notion of profession that someone is actually making their living this way by selling sex.
But in antiquity, it could be a term that could be thrown around the same as whore or adulterous.
It meant anyone who was sexually immoral, meant any kind of sexual unchastity.
Mary Magdalene’s wealth was considered to be a downfall for her because it released her
from having to work. She had too much time on her hands. And idleness led to the devil’s work.
It led to sin. And in Mary Magdalene’s case, it led to the very grave sin of luxuria, that is, an exorbitant sexual appetite.
[solemn music] NARRATOR: The golden legend of a medieval account of the lives
of the saints asserts that her carnal sins were known throughout the region.
[intense music] SPEAKER 1 (VOICEOVER): “She was very rich. And sensuous pleasure keeps company with great wealth.
Renowned as she was for her beauty and her riches, she was no less known for the way she gave her body to pleasure so much so
that her name was forgotten. And she was commonly called the sinner.”
NARRATOR: Some 2,000 years after her death, evidence suggests that this characterization
is a case of mistaken identity compounded by medieval sexism. [uplifting music]
Mary Magdalene was an affluent and pious girl from Galilee.
And yet, she gained notoriety as a promiscuous seductress whose life of physical passion led to years
of grief and repentance. Her reputation for licentiousness
was unchallenged for millennia. Contemporary experts, however, are reconsidering this portrait
of Mary as a prostitute.
It doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. The fact that Mary Magdalene is handed down in the tradition
as a prostitute who has repented and reformed is probably a great injustice to the character that
lies behind this legend. [solemn music] NARRATOR: One reason for her bad reputation
may simply be her common name. Mary was a very, very common name.
Over 50% of the women in Palestine were named either Mary or Salome. [solemn music]
NARRATOR: Early Christians confused Mary Magdalene’s saga with the stories of other biblical Mary’s and even women
whose names were never recorded at all in scripture–
Mary of Bethany– a sister to Lazarus and Martha,
the woman caught in adultery, the anonymous Samaritan
with seven husbands.
In the later tradition, their individuality gets lost. And what emerges is one Mary who has the characteristics
of these several that appear in the gospel traditions.
NARRATOR: The most important biblical tale associated with Mary Magdalene is from the Gospel of Luke.
The story of the sinner in Luke 7 is not the story of Mary Magdalene.
But it is a story that becomes the keystone of the Magdalene legends.
NARRATOR: Luke reports that Jesus was dining at the home of Simon the pharisee.
A prostitute brazenly entered the room and fell before Jesus, weeping inconsolably.
Her tears were so plentiful that she was able to wash his feet with them.
She then dried them with her long, luxurious hair.
Jesus forgave this unnamed woman for her many sins. For centuries, the church declared this anonymous sinner
was Mary Magdalene. The legend is powerful.
And it seems to fill some kind of a need in the Christian psyche, actually, for punishing women
for their sexuality, I think. [solemn music]
NARRATOR: In 1969, the Vatican revised its official position and said that it had been an error to ever say
that Mary was a prostitute or that she was the sinner from Luke.
The historical Mary Magdalene was probably a prosperous and pious young woman from a fishing village.
[cheerful music] Yet, the Bible hints that she was troubled.
[suspenseful music] According to the gospels, the young Mary
was possessed by seven demons.
In the ancient world, people ascribed physical and emotional afflictions to demonic possession.
When it says that Mary Magdalene has seven demons cast out of her, it probably means that she was healed of some kind of illness, such as epilepsy,
or that she was healed of some kind of mental illness that is curable or at least as sporadic,
such as mania or psychosis, that comes and goes.
To describe someone as having an evil spirit is to say they have some kind of obsession or addiction
or physical or psychological condition that’s not understood. And so the answer in the culture is they have an evil spirit.
Some of the stories of demon possession could be people possessed by, what we would call today,
an overwhelming compulsion. We talk about sexual addiction and alcohol addiction and drug
addiction. And those really are spirits of unfreedom.
NARRATOR: Mary’s destiny was about to change with one momentous encounter.
I think it’s quite possible that Mary Magdalene met Jesus the same way the other disciples are described as meeting Jesus,
that she was by the sea, that she was working, and that he came upon her and met her
in a very similar manner. [solemn music]
The most important moment in the life of Mary Magdalene I would think would be her initial encounter with Jesus
because it changed her life. It set her free from whatever it was that oppressed her.
It gave her hope. It transformed her, made her a new woman in a very real sense.
[solemn music] NARRATOR: The Bible does not tell us how old Mary was when
she met Jesus. But it does say that Jesus cast out the demons, healing her
in body and spirit. What’s clear is that in antiquity,
demon possession was a sign of uncleanness, a lack of the Holy Spirit, the opposite of holiness,
if you will, by being unclean. So having these demons cast out was a way
of making Mary holy and pure.
NARRATOR: Renewed and inspired by her encounter with Jesus, Mary came to believe that he was the Messiah.
But joining his followers would be perilous.
The Roman despots who ruled the holy land were suspicious of any of their subjects
who assembled large public gatherings.
They were concerned that the people’s anti-Roman sentiment might boil to the surface.
And public peace could be disrupted. Preachers, such as Jesus and their followers,
were in constant danger of attracting the attention of the foreign oppressors.
Yet, the very risk in joining may have actually increased the Jesus movement’s appeal to Mary’s independent nature.
Following her heart and flaunting tradition, she boldly left the only home she had ever
known to join the growing company of men and women who followed Jesus.
Although the group needed money to feed, clothe, and house dozens of people through the upcoming years of ministry,
Jesus was not concerned. SPEAKER 2 (VOICEOVER): “Do not be anxious
saying what shall we eat, what shall we drink, what shall we wear. Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
And all these things will be given to you as well,” Matthew 6:31.
NARRATOR: These staples were indeed provided. Mary Magdalene had money from her family.
SPEAKER 3 (VOICEOVER): “Mary, called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod Steward Kuza,
and Susanna and many others provided for them out of their resources,” Luke 8:2.
In this culture, Mary and others supporting Jesus meant that they were his patronises.
That is to say that they were in the position of supporting him not in an inferior secondary role.
But he really actually places them in a socially superior position.
NARRATOR: At first, the group stayed in Galilee, visiting the region synagogues and proclaiming
that the kingdom of God was at hand.
As Jesus continued to heal the sick and perform other miracles, the crowds grew ever larger.
When the multitudes grew too numerous for the sanctuaries, Jesus preached in the open air with Mary Magdalene
at his side. She must have been a pretty brassy woman, going around
the country with a man and so forth. I see her as someone who would choose a spiritual teacher who
was very much interested in the spiritual life.
NARRATOR: In the days to follow, Mary Magdalene would take on a stunning and vitally important role
in Jesus’ life, both public and private.
ng] In Mary Magdalene’s fishing village,
people had long prayed for a messiah to come and free them from foreign oppression.
Miraculously, Mary had met a charismatic man whom she believed was that divine Savior.
Jesus had come into her life, healing her of whatever demons plagued her, and earning her steadfast devotion.
Mary Magdalene left the only home she had ever known to travel with him, preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven
to the people of Galilee. During these days of the ministry,
there were times of peace and contemplation when Mary and the other disciples
listened with rapt attention as Jesus taught them alone.
As they came to understand his message, Jesus urged them to spread the word of God.
SPEAKER 4 (VOICEOVER): “These Jesus send out charging them. Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And preach as you go, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Heal the sick. Cleanse lepers. Cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay,” Matthew
10:6. [solemn music]
NARRATOR: Surprisingly, Mary Magdalene was one of the first to preach the message that would become known as Christianity.
I think it’s very possible that Mary Magdalene was teaching or preaching along with the men.
When the men were sent out, the women were sent out.
NARRATOR: Some scholars make a stunning assertion that her evangelical role was of unparalleled importance.
Mary Magdalene may have been a co-prophet with Jesus. She may have been a colleague.
We could think of in terms of a partnership, someone who preached alongside of him, someone who learned
from him, and also someone from whom he learned. [solemn music]
NARRATOR: Though Mary may have been a leader in the community during Jesus’s ministry, she was not exempt from everyday tasks.
Along with the other women, she was responsible for traditional household duties, such as washing the clothes, preparing the lodgings,
and cooking and serving meals. But these apparently mundane chores were actually rich
with meaning. And Mary’s duties were particularly significant.
Table service was a very important activity for the Jesus movement because eating at table
and sharing a meal together was a symbol for the kingdom of God.
She is the only one that said to have served Jesus in this capacity.
NARRATOR: In the ancient papyrus gospels that were uncovered in Egypt after being lost for nearly two millennia,
astonishing new information is revealed about this time of fellowship and ministry.
SPEAKER 5 (VOICEOVER): “Three always walked with the Lord– Mary his mother, her sister, and Magdalene.
And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene,” the gospel of Philip.
NARRATOR: According to the ancient texts, Mary and Jesus developed an especially close bond.
Jesus took her aside for private moments and gave her secret teachings that she alone had the capacity
to understand. The close friendship between them caused resentment among the male disciples.
SPEAKER 6 (VOICEOVER): “They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Savior answered and said to them,
‘Why do I not love you as I love her?'” The gospel of Philip.
NARRATOR: Some scholars make the shocking assertion that Jesus has love for Mary was physical as well as spiritual.
This extraordinary claim may be supported by the rediscovered papyrus texts.
SPEAKER 7 (VOICEOVER): “Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often
on the mouth,” the gospel of Philip.
The gospel of Philip, which is a text that’s corrupt, that is, it has holes in it and gaps in it,
says that Jesus kissed Mary Magdalene often on her blank. It doesn’t say on her what.
But most scholars fill in the word mouth. The kiss in that literature is ambiguous.
It could include a sexual relationship, or it could not. And one scholar emphasizes something
that I think is really important, that it just has to stay ambiguous.
We would love to think that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were lovers. It’s so romantic. But I think it’s unlikely simply because I think it’s unlikely
that Jesus himself was in any kind of sexual relationship. NARRATOR: Most experts flatly reject the possibility.
There’s absolutely no historical or biblical evidence that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were anything other
than very good friends. [uplifting music] NARRATOR: Whether or not there was a romance between them,
Mary was Jesus’ closest companion and his favorite disciple.
Soon she would play a vital role in the most profound mystery of Christianity–
the death and Resurrection of Jesus.
[uplifting music] For three years, Mary Magdalene had been traveling with Jesus.
But Jesus’ public ministry would soon end in agony. And an amazing transformation would have a profound effect
on Mary’s life.
Jesus told Mary and the other disciples that they would leave the Galilee and go to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of Passover.
As they approached the gates of the city, Jesus’ followers began to sing.
The people of the city lined the streets and joined in.
SPEAKER 8 (VOICEOVER): “And those who went before and those who followed cried out, ‘Hosanna, blessed is he who
comes in the name of the Lord,'” Mark 11:9.
NARRATOR: With joy and celebration, Mary Magdalene entered Jerusalem and her lord’s company.
Little did she know what lay ahead. As the week began, Mary and the other women
scurried about the city, preparing a Passover dinner.
Although women are omitted from most depictions of the Last Supper, female disciples
were very likely present. Mary Magdalene would have served Jesus at the holiday meal.
After the religious rituals were fulfilled and the dishes cleared away, some say Mary accompanied Jesus
for prayer and meditation in the nearby garden of Getsemani.
If so, it was the last time they would pray together.
A mob arrived armed with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus.
He went calmly with his captors who turned him over to the despised Roman authorities.
Mary knew the Romans could be merciless and that Jesus might be tortured or even killed.
It must have been a long and horrible day for her full of doubt, terror, tears, and desperate attempts
to find out what was happening to her beloved friend. When she learned that Jesus was to die on the cross,
she must have been utterly devastated. She longed to be by his side throughout the terrible ordeal.
But there was great risk. The Romans would see her devotion to Jesus
and might mark her as a traitor as well. But Mary’s love for Jesus was greater than her fears.
She rushed to Golgotha, where Jesus was being crucified.
Through the long agony of his death, Mary Magdalene remained faithfully by Jesus,
as she had throughout his life.
The gospels tell us that she watched as he was laid in rocky tomb.
It was the eve of the Sabbath. And Jewish law forbade his loved ones to attend his body on that holy day.
But the first moment it was permitted, Mary Magdalene hastened to his burial site to anoint the corpse.
As she approached the tomb at dawn, she discovered that it was open and Jesus’ body was gone.
She believed the grave had been robbed. Wracked with grief, she collapsed in tears.
She did not know that she was about to experience one of the most significant encounters in history.
[uplifting music] SPEAKER 9 (VOICEOVER): “She turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?'” John 20:14.
Even Mary Magdalene, who loved him in John’s account, does not recognize him.
All of these are ways of saying that there is something very different about the risen Jesus from the Jesus
they knew during his historical life and ministry. NARRATOR: Jesus then called Mary by name.
Hearing his voice, she recognized her teacher and beloved friend.
Overcome by emotion, she reached forward to embrace him.
But Jesus gently rebuked her. SPEAKER 10 (VOICEOVER): “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch me because I have not yet ascended
to the Father,'” John 20:17.
If you look at it in the Greek, it’s in the imperfect tense. And it doesn’t say, don’t touch me. It says, don’t keep hanging on to me.
Don’t keep holding onto me. And what John is trying to say in telling the story is that Jesus is saying, you can’t cling to this experience.
I’m present in a new way. I’m present in the community. I’m present through the spirit. I’m in your hearts.
I’m in your midst. NARRATOR: The risen Christ gave Mary Magdalene
a unique responsibility. SPEAKER 11 (VOICEOVER): “Go to my brothers and say to them I am ascending to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
‘I have seen the Lord.’ and she told them that he had said these things to her,” John
20:17. NARRATOR: This is the last time that Mary Magdalene appears
in the Bible. But because Jesus gave her authority to announce his Resurrection to the apostles,
Mary gained a new title among early Christians. Mary Magdalene was call the apostle of the apostles
because she fits to a t what it means to have been an apostle. An apostle is someone who has seen the risen Lord and who
has been sent as an apostolic witness to his Resurrection. [uplifting music]
NARRATOR: In the years after the death and Resurrection of Jesus, some say Mary Magdalene’s life took
a little known and unanticipated turn. She traveled to unexpected far corners of the ancient world
in her special role as apostle and evangelist.
[uplifting music] According to the Bible, Mary Magdalene
had watched as Jesus died on the cross. And soon after, she had encountered the risen Christ.
He had entrusted her with the task of spreading the good news of his Resurrection.
The early Christian gospels recently rediscovered in Egypt reveal that the community of Jesus’ followers
was discouraged and frightened after the death of their Lord. The men feared that if they publicly preached the teachings
of their executed leader, Roman authorities would kill them.
It was Mary Magdalene who inspired the apostles and kept the Jesus movement alive.
Mary Magdalene leads a life of leadership. She becomes a leader. She becomes an encourager of the discouraged and fearful
apostles in several instances. She speaks boldly. She explains visionary experiences that she had had
and secret teachings that were given only to her. NARRATOR: Again, some of the men became jealous and resentful
of her. Peter was her main detractor.
The Gospel of Mary clearly portrays Mary Magdalene as a leader, not only among the other disciples
but of the other disciples. The gospel itself has this very intriguing scene in which Peter
challenges Mary and says surely that the Savior would not have told her things that he didn’t tell to us.
Surely, he would not have loved a woman more than us. And Levi responds basically, yes, he would, and he did.
Mary Magdalene’s role in the church began an argument that has remained passionate from that time to this.
So from the very first century, from the very beginnings, from the earliest literature of the Christian movement, we see women functioning
as leaders and we see that leadership opposed. This is true for every century of the history of Christianity
since, including our own. NARRATOR: The ancient papyrus text due not
reveal Mary Magdalene’s as ultimate fate. But the golden legend, a medieval collection of stories
about the lives of saints, reports that Mary stayed to preach in her homeland for 14 years.
The story continues that she then traveled halfway across the ancient world to Marseilles, a port city in what
would later be the Provence region of France.
Though the golden legend was written more than 1,200 years after Mary’s death, there is other evidence that supports
her presence in France. [solemn music] A church in the French town of Vezelay
maintains that it possesses her earthly remains.
This claim was taken seriously by thousands of medieval pilgrims, who flock there to touch Mary’s tomb
and pray to her for miracles. A legend was created to explain how she made it
to Provence. And that legend stated that after the crucifixion of Christ, after his ascension, his disciples and apostles
were persecuted, Mary Magdalene among them.
She and her family and friends were put into a rudderless boat
and set adrift at sea. Providentially, they washed up in Provence.
NARRATOR: When the castaways finally made it to shore, no one would take them into their home.
Mary Magdalene and her companions found shelter in a pagan temple and, there, watched the locals
gather to worship. Distressed by the spectacle of idolatry,
Mary Magdalene began to preach. SPEAKER 12 (VOICEOVER): “She came forward,
her manner calm and her face serene, and with well-chosen words called them away
from the cult of idols and preach Christ fervently to them,” The Golden Legend.
NARRATOR: Mary had begun to convert the pagans. But it would take patience, perseverance, and help
from heaven to complete the task. If she could convert the rulers of the region,
the rest would follow suit. But the king and queen were skeptical,
challenging Mary Magdalene to prove the power of the new faith. Mary had to provide them with a miracle.
For years, the royal couple had struggled unsuccessfully to conceive an heir to the throne.
They were desperate and so willing to bargain with the foreign evangelist.
SPEAKER 13 (VOICEOVER): “They said to her, ‘We are prepared to do whatever you tell us if you can obtain
a son for us from the God whom you preach.’ The blessed Mary prayed the Lord to deign to grant them a son,”
The Golden Legend. NARRATOR: Mary’s prayer on their behalf was answered.
The queen became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
The little family accepted baptism. And Mary was able to convert the entire region.
But now Mary was finished with her public life. SPEAKER 14 (VOICEOVER): “Wishing to devote herself
to heavenly contemplation, she retired to an empty wilderness and lived unknown for 30 years in a place made ready
by the hands of angels,” The Golden Legend. NARRATOR: In her isolated grotto,
Mary is said to have cast off all earthly things, including her clothing.
Her hair grew long and covered her unclothed body.
She went without food or drink, fasting for 30 years.
SPEAKER 15 (VOICEOVER): “Every day she was carried aloft by angels and with bodily ears heard
the glorious chants of the celestial host. And she was conveyed back to her own place by the same angels
and needed no material nourishment,” The Golden Legend.
Now, it’s never exactly spelled out what she was doing up there in the ether.
But I think that we can safely say that in a certain sense, she was doing as a medieval mystic might do.
She was, in a sense, communing with the divine
and probably receiving a foretaste of the heavenly rewards.
NARRATOR: One day, a Christian hermit saw angels returning Mary to her cave.
In awe and terror, he approached the grotto. And Mary called out.
SPEAKER 16 (VOICEOVER): “She said to him, ‘Because it has been revealed to me by the Lord that I am soon to depart from this world,
please go to the archbishop and take care to inform him that he is to go alone to his church.
And there, he will find me waited upon by angels,'” The Golden Legend.
NARRATOR: The hermit delivered the message. And on the appointed day, the bishop indeed
found Mary Magdalene herself in his church on the brink of death.
There, he performed her last rites. And here was this very, very powerful female Saint coming
to the church to show her obedience to the masculine institutional authority of the church
in the very last hours of her life. NARRATOR: The earthly life of Mary Magdalene, Jesus’
intimate friend and much loved disciple, had finally drawn to a close.
Perhaps the least acknowledged and most important of Jesus’ followers, she left behind a legacy that
has profoundly influenced Christians of every generation and every social class for thousands of years.
She can stand for several unfinished agendas in Christianity– the integration of the sexual
and the spiritual and the question of whether men and women can ever be real partners.
For women, she has been through the centuries an important figure whom we could appeal for legitimacy
for the exercise of speech, for the presence in ministry, for discipleship, for stewardship, and so forth.
This is a woman who knew Jesus in a very close and personal way. And that’s the desire of all Christians
to have this very close and intimate relationship with Jesus. NARRATOR: Leader and evangelist, mystic and prophet,
to this day, Mary Magdalene continues to inspire both veneration and controversy.


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