APOSTLE: Woman or Man? Maria of Magdala
Man or Woman?
There has been a heated discussion regarding the impact of Maria Magdalena in what became known as Christianity. I do not believe there was an contemporary word for the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, except for Nazarenes by Roman nomenclatura. Judaism was a multifacetted complex mixture of different sects with different names and dogma and did not exclusively consist of Jewish born adherants and had been so for centuries before the birth of Jesus. Jesus cofessed to Judaism although he, like many prophets or holy men, had been in constant squabbles of how the Torah should be understood or implemented.
Greek, as well as all Latin nouns, are genderbased or neutre. Calamities and hardships often are in feminine forms, (catastrophies, illnesses, poverty), whereas nouns with positive connotations mostly are masculine. An apostle (messanger) would be synonyme with a man based on the world order with stern restrictions of the female access to the exterior and to move freely or unaccopanied outside of the homestead.
The Greek word for apostle is a word in masculinum. This does not, as I understand it, mean that the followers were all men. It may even have been the reverse, although to rebel against the old order, to leave the homestead to follow a master and to move freely in the outer room was regarded as offensive and with contempt by society if done by a woman.
The Gospel of Maria of Magdala, which was excluded by the church fathers three centuries A.D. marked the beginning of cultivating the longlasting dogma of Maria Magdalene being a prostitute, which tells us more of the world of the church fathers than the era in which Jesus was active. Maria of Magdala may have been called a whore since she defied the norms of traditional Judaism but there is no support in any known sources that she had been a professional prostitute. Even Jesus´ mother Maria may have been called the same when she abandoned her husband´s tomb in Nazareth to follow her son and to disregard the stern rules of patrilocality. Her rise to imacculation served the purposes of the church and virgin mothers exist in almost every known theistic religion, even if never ever in contact extending from such cultures as the Indu Valley to the Pre-Columbian America, before or after Jesus life.
When the Nazarene movement forcibly spread to Greek and Roman cities the initial gender equality of the early Judae-Christian congregations had to be abandoned and the followers had to adapt to the gender differentiated world in order to be allowed to exist at all, and more important, to be freed from the obligation to worship the Emporers as living gods. In the earliest Judae-Christian time in Jerusalem women and men could preach the gospels publically, private possesion was aborted and the social order coincided with other important parametres parallell to an egalitarian society or culture as still can be found in the social structure of Hunter´s and Gatherer´s cultures in the Amazonas or Melanesia among others.
Paulus, (saint or apostle) born and raised in the Greek world, did not accept that the woman could have her say and imposed much of the Greek profoundly gender differented set of norms which were internalized in the religious movement known to be Christianity which rapidly was forced to escape Jerusalem in all directions.
Priestly celibacy, as obeyed in the Catholic Church, et altri, became dogma centuries later and opposed by the Protestants in the 16th century.
The apostolic standing of Maria Magdalena is still a subject for speculation, and has, to an extent, been scientifically revised. Today she may even be suggested to have been the most prominent apostle by some and this could be perfectly true. She was, as far as we know, not chosen to spread the gospels in the Roman world or the Diaspora for pragmatic reasons. Should Jesus of Nazareth have commanded her to be the pillar she would not have survived for long. It was a man´s world and still is.
When Jesus´mother, Virgin Mary finally dies in Efesos, under the shadow cast by the gigantesque statue of another virgen, Artemis, we are told that Maria of Magdala and the apostle Johannes was by her side. So much more to learn. So much more to reseach..
Just a thought..
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