Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Louis A ruprecht, Jr. - Chair


Mary of Magdala: The Evolution of an Image by Rachel Owen Under the Direction of Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr. ABSTRACT In this study, Mary of Magdala will be presented as a cumulative character consisting of multiple layers rather than as a concrete historical figure, for this allows one to see the opaque connections between her divergent textual and traditional (medieval) images. The “historical” Mary does, however, find a place here--she is presented only as a persistent early Christian belief in the veracity of her figure, and as the foundation for both the textual and traditional Mary. In light of this, the textual, the “historical,” and the medieval will be examined as these comprise the materials out of which Mary’s cumulative layers were made--the understanding of one aids in the understanding of another. Ultimately, this study will examine the many layers of Mary’s character in hopes that the contradictions existing between the “historical,” the textual, and the traditional will diminish, thus giving equal consideration to all. INDEX WORDS: Mary of Magdala, Canonical texts, Gnostic texts, Medieval saint, Apostles, Saint Mary Magdalene, Early Christianity


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