Apostle to the Apostles

Magdalene Penitent
Donatello
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – Florence

Did you know that Mary Magdalene is mentioned 12 times in the gospels, more than most of the Apostles. She was present at the crucifixion and was the first witness to the Resurrection (John 20 and Mark 16:9). She was the “Apostle to the Apostles”, an honorific that St. Augustine bestowed upon her in the fourth-century, and possibly he was but repeating a moniker already in use.

Mary Magdalene has long been confused with other women in Scripture also named Mary as well as an anonymous women, the unnamed sinner (commonly thought to have been a prostitute) in Luke 7:36-50.¬† In time, the identities of all these women were conflated into one in the person of “Mary Magdalene, the repentant prostitute.” The first written evidence we have of this conflation¬† of Mary Magdalene being a repentant prostitute comes from Ephraim the Syrian in the fourth century. Continue reading