Centre for the Study of Christian Origins

The Mystery of Mary Magdalene


(Helen Bond) Just a small plug for a TV progra.mme tomorrow (Good Friday). Melvyn Bragg, well-known in the UK for ‘thinking persons’ programming, is presenting an hour-long show in search of ‘the real’ Mary Magdalene. Prof Joan Taylor from King’s London has been keeping him on the straight and narrow as historical consulatant, and I think it promises to be a cut above some of the (pretty dire) documentaries that have been made about Mary lately.  Melvyn takes his search to Israel, and meets a number of scholars along the way (including Tom Wright, Joan Taylor, Kate Cooper and myself).

You can catch a glimpse of it here:


and the programme itself airs at 12 noon on BBC1 (and will be available afterwards on iPlayer).

For what it’s worth, my own view of Mary M is that she was probably a wealthy widow (hence her relative independence and the lack of any mention of a husband). I also suspect that she and other female disciples played an important role in getting the message to women, though that’s not something our gospels are particularly interested in telling us. The very fact that her name was remembered at all presumably suggests a greater role in the early Jesus movement than is obvious from the texts . . .