MARIHAM

The stubborn Mother of God

 

 

Much has been said about her son, but, apart from the primarily teocratic and secular convinience of a growing santification of Mary closely related to the changing needs of the patriarchate, she remains an enigma.. This poorly educated rural woman of the backward insignificant village of Nazareth has made an astonishing journey from a carpenter´s wife to become the Mother of God and, in the last Vatican Concilium, given the status of co-Saviour with her son, if I am not misinformed.

 

Gradually this extraordinary woman, who most probably ended her days in the shadow of the enormous Artemis statue in Ephesos, the cosmopolitan centre and a prominent meltingpot of creeds, ideologies, cultures and people of shifting ethnic origins, and forcibly exiled from her native country a second time, was one of the first members of the Judae-Christian congregations in Jerusalem although without any divine status.

 

Mariham may, however, have been persecuted if not so much for the crucified son, but for leaving her husband´s grave and her homestead and, without permission, stepping out into the public room in a world where a respectable woman did not travel without a husband, a father, a son, a brother or brother in law, an astonishing and deliberate violation of etiquette which only was tolerated  for women paupers, mad women or prostitutes.

 

She most probably enfathomed the Judae Christian belief in the equality of the genders and the prohibition of private possessions, all in a provoking contrast to the Roman and Greek legislation and normative mindset, which governed her native habitat. According to early traditions she followed her mazmer (lunatic, crazed) son although he hardly acknowledged her publically except for at the wedding in Canaan, leaving the children (her own or the children of Joseph) and the homestead which was a greater personal danger than roaming the countryside as one of the many holy men and prophets who had been common since the beginning of time.

 

Maria was virtually a nobody until the third century A.C. when the church fathers had erased all traces of "unorthodox" evangelists such as Mary Magdalene and Thomas and started to hint that the first mentioned was but a common prostitute, which by no means is a scientific truth but point in the direction of deliberate defamation..  

 

Even so, it would probably have made no difference to Jesus of Nazareth. Her prominent position in the first gender equal Judae-Christian congregations and as a preacher seems to have become a threat to the the growing  Nazarene teocrats who suddenly introduced celibacy and reintegrated the Greek and Roman Laws, robbing the woman of her equal status and reinforcing the gender differentiated right to private property until the 1920:s in Europe (still not accomplished) and  a continous political challenge in most parts of the world, except for in egalitarian Hunters and Gatherers societies.

 

Man´s need to be sure to be the genitor of his offspring promoted a stern concept of chaste and obedient women, initially in Nomad cultures with a renaissance in turbulent times in urban and city state contexts, apparently grew paramount by gradually pointing at Maria, declared a virgin when giving birth to Jesus, (this idea has been common in almost every religion or cosmology on a global scale, no matter the time and or the location) as the supreme example and the optimal representative of female virtues for all women to follow as far as reproductional biology would permit.

 

Gods, Greek, Indoarian and Pre Columbian heroes often were born by virgin mothers which gave them a divine status already from the start. My interest is in Mariham, the aramaic speaking woman of no means who dared to challenge a system which easily could have led to her execution, either by her relatives (honor related violence) or must probably the public.

 

The Patrilocal pattern of life was rigid and no women were allowed to go astray or leave their husband´s family grave. The infected discussion regarding the brothers of Christ seems to preoccupy people and, this is a common fact, a cousin could be called a brother and an aunt a mother, as is common on the Horn of Africa today, but we know that the first leaders  of the were allegedly his brothers and that tension may have occurred regarding the legacy between Saint Peter and James, Judas, Joses and Simon, and last, but certainly not least, Maria Magdalena.

 

Jesus´continuous emancipation, if not of his mother per se but of women in general ("All women are my Mother"), the socializing with fallen women in the eyes of his contemporaries and the fact that it is a woman who is the first to witness his resurrection is astonishing taken into account the culture and normative mindset of the events. Truly remarkable, if you know something of what carachterized the region at the time.

 

The Evangelists were all brought up in a strict Patriarchy and it would be truly astonishing if they all lied in consensus about Christ´s apparent will to validate women and to show it publically for everyone to see. We may assume that Christ had far more than twelve apostles (messengers) but probably hundreds and many of them women who´d risked everything to walk beside him and even daring to speak in front of strangers.

 

 

We have to remember that the return to "gender order" is the work of the apostle Paulus, of Greek background and gender ideology, and who demands the woman to be silent in the congregation, which reflects his background and has nothing to do with Jesus teachings.

 

Nor does Jesus lash out at homosexuals or any other particular group except for the men who had greed as their profession. Jesus speaks sparingly of sin, whereas his followers seem totally occupied wih the concept. A pattern of early domination and control is growing but seldom by referring to the actual sayings of Jesus.

 

Where did his perception of a woman stem from? Mayybe from his strongwilled grandmother Anna and his mother Maria, Mariham. His love for his mother becomes obvious on the cross where he tries to comfort her by encouraging her to see his disciple John as her son. He demonstrates for the world to see that he is not only the son of God but also the son of Maria. This ultimate token of figlial love is deeply touching and very human.

 

Whether you conceive Mariham, Miriam, Maria, Mary, as a divine human, or not, you cannot belittle her immense stamina and devotion. Not because of all the adornements and golden crowns in Christian palatial churches but of her bold independency and loyalty to her mazmer son and her preparedness to risk her life, her reputation, her social status in order to follow her conviction and first born son.

 

The idea of a Supreme Being as a woman is commonly spread and Gaia ruled unchallenged until Zeus and Jupiter ursurped her position. The preoccupation with gender is human. To let it rest obviously is divine...

 

This extraorinary "Jiddische Mama", (Yes, the family were Jews and of Jewish faith in case you forget it) confirms that Jesus´teachings were truly radical and a threat to the patriarchal elite and order.

 

So how come we only hear of important male apostles sent out to spread the new realation between a miserable creation and a forgiving God?  First of all, apostle is a Greek word of masculine genus. Secondly to send out women to preach the unacceptable would be anything but wise. They would have been disposed of instantly. Yet, there is reeason to believe that female followers spread the Gospel protected by male adherents. To ignore or even erase them from early written sources may have been intentional and dictated for pragmatic reasons. The gospels developing into a new creed principally grew in the Greek and Roman world where the thought of women leaders was non-existing.

 

How come the gradual emancipation of Mariham to divine status? It can be related to the need of an immaculate women and mother, the ideal of a male dominated world and model for women to follow suit. But that´s another and lengthy story which may be addressed another time...

 

Douglas Modig