From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

MARY. The Gr. form of Heb. Miriam .

1. Mary, mother of James and Joses , was one of the company of women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him, and who beheld from afar the crucifixion (  Matthew 27:56 ); she is spoken of as ‘the other Mary’ (  Matthew 27:61;   Matthew 28:1 ), as ‘the mother of James the little and Joses’ (  Mark 15:40 ), as ‘Mary the [mother] of Joses’ (  Mark 15:47 ), and as ‘Mary the [mother] of James’ (  Mark 16:1 ,   Luke 24:10 ). That she is identical with ‘Mary the [wife] of Clopas’ (  John 19:25 ) is almost, though not absolutely, certain; the uncertainty arising from the fact that as ‘ many women’ (  Matthew 27:55 ) were present, St. John may have mentioned a Mary who was distinct from the Mary mentioned as present by the Synoptists. It is very doubtful whether this ‘ Mary of Clopas ’ was sister to the Virgin Mary. The words of St. John, ‘There were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene,’ are ambiguous; for He may have intended to name four women as present the Virgin’s sister being one, and Mary of Clopas another or only three, the Virgin’s sister being described as ‘Mary of Clopas.’ Certain decision on the point seems impossible. Cf. Brethren of the Lord, ad fin .

2. Mary, the sister of Martha , is mentioned thrice in the Gospels (1) as sitting at the feet of Jesus, while her sister served (  Luke 10:38-42 ); (2) as falling at His feet on His arrival to raise Lazarus from the grave (  John 11:28-32 ); (3) as anointing His feet during the feast at Bethany before the Passion (  Matthew 26:7-15 ,   Mark 14:3-11 ,   John 12:1-8 ). The first and second of these occasions are dealt with in art. Martha, where the character of Mary is also treated of. It remains, therefore, for us only to consider the last.

The accounts of this incident as given in the first two Gospels and by St. John have been thought to disagree both as to where and when the feast was held. As regards the place , the Fourth Gospel mentions Martha as serving, and it has therefore been assumed that the gathering was in her house a fact held to be in contradiction to the statement of Mt. and Mk. that it took place in the house of Simon the leper. But even if St. John’s words do bear this meaning, there is not necessarily any disagreement, for her house might also be known as the house of Simon the leper. Her husband or her father may have been named Simon, and may have been a leper. In fact, we know far too little of the circumstances to be justified in charging the writers with inaccuracy. A careful study of St. John’s statement, however, seems to show that the gathering was not in Martha’s house; for the words ‘Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. So they made a supper there  ; and Martha served,’ imply that the people of Bethany as a whole honoured our Lord, who had shown His power notably by raising their fellow-townsman, with a public feast. At such a feast Lazarus would be one of those that would sit at meat with Him, and Martha assuredly would serve. The reason why they selected the house known as that of Simon the leper cannot be determined; but it may have been simply because it was the most suitable building.

As regards the date of the feast, John distinctly places our Lord’s arrival as ‘six days before the passover,’ and implies that the feast was then held immediately. Mt. and Mk., however, first record the words of our Lord, in which He foretells His betrayal as about to occur ‘after two days,’ and then add their account of the feast in Bethany. If the Fourth Gospel be taken as definitely fixing the date as six days before the Passover, then the Synoptists must have placed their account of the incident later than it really happened. Probably this is what they did; and their reason for so doing is evidently to connect our Lord’s rebuke of Judas (  Matthew 26:13-14 ,   John 12:4 ) with the traitor’s decision to betray Him. With this object in view they place the anointing by Mary immediately before the betrayal, introducing it with a vagueness of language which avoids any definite statement of time (  Matthew 20:6 ‘Now when Jesus was in Bethany’;   Mark 14:3 ‘And while he was in Bethany’). There is really no contradiction in the records, but rather a change in the order of events, of deliberate purpose, by Mt. and Mk. for the purpose of elucidating the treachery of Judas.

Mary’s act of devotion in anointing the head ( Matthew 26:7 ) and feet (  John 12:3 ) of our Lord, and in wiping His feet with her hair, is in perfect keeping with her character as seen in   Luke 10:1-42 and   John 11:1-57 as she sat at His feet as a disciple, and fell at His feet in grief, so now in humble adoration she anoints His feet with the precious ointment, and wipes them with the hair of her head. The act called forth the hypocritical indignation of Judas. But Jesus at once silenced him, accepting the anointing as for His burial, and predicting that wherever His Gospel should he preached, there should her deed of love he remembered.

This act of Mary bears a strong resemblance to that recorded in  Luke 7:36 ff., and so similar is the general picture presented by the two narratives that many have thought them different accounts of the same event. The agreement between the narratives is striking; in both are presented to us acts of love on the part of devoted women; in both the house is said to belong to a ‘Simon’; in both the depth of the devotion is shown by the feet being anointed, and being wiped with the innsened hair. On the other hand, however, many differences are to be noted. The hosts, though both named Simon, are distinct, the one being described as a Pharisee, the other as a leper; the scene is different, for in one case it is laid in Galilee, in the other in Judæa; the women are different, for one is Mary ‘whom Jesus loved,’ the other is an unnamed notorious sinner, such as we cannot suppose Mary ever to have been. The lessons drawn from the incidents by our Lord are different; in the one case He teaches love to God based on His forgiving mercy, in the other He foretells that the deed which Judas had described as ‘waste’ would for all time be an object of universal praise.

It must further be borne in mind that anointing was a usual courtesy; and that not unnaturally two deeply loving women would very probably at different times be impelled to show their devotion by humbly outpouring their precious gifts upon His sacred feet. Very possibly Mary never had heard of the poor sinful woman’s act, occurring as it did probably two years previously and many miles away in Galilee; but even if she had, why should she not act similarly when her heart impelled her to a like act of devotion?

3. Mary Magdalene , probably so called as belonging to Magdala (possibly el-Mejdel , 3 miles north-west of Tiberias), a place not mentioned in NT, as Magadan is the correct reading of   Matthew 15:39 . She is first mentioned in   Luke 8:2 as one of the women who, having been ‘healed of evil spirits and infirmities, … ministered unto them ( i.e . Jesus and the Apostles) of their substance.’ Seven demons had been cast out of her (cf.   Mark 16:9 ) a fact showing her affliction to have been of more than ordinary malignity (cf.   Matthew 12:45 ,   Mark 5:9 ).

An unfortunate tradition identifies her with the unnamed sinful woman who anointed our Lord ( Luke 7:37 ); and she has been thus regarded as the typical reformed ‘fallen woman.’ But St. Luke, though he placed them consecutively in his narrative, did not identify them; and as possession did not necessarily presuppose moral failing in the victim’s character, we need not do so.

With the other women she accompanied Jesus on His last journey to Jerusalem; with them she beheld the crucifixion, at first ‘from afar,’ but afterwards standing by the Cross itself ( Matthew 27:55 ,   John 19:25 ); she followed the body to the burial (  Mark 15:47 ), and then returned to prepare spices, resting on the Sabbath. On the first day of the week, while it was yet dark, she visited the sepulchre (  John 20:1 ff.). Finding the grave empty, she assumed that the body had been removed, and that she was thus deprived of the opportunity of paying her last tribute of love. She ran at once to Peter and John and said, ‘They have taken away the Lord, and we know not where they have laid him.’ They all three returned to the tomb, she remaining after they had left. Weeping she looked into the sepulchre, and saw two angels guarding the spot where Jesus had lain. To their question, ‘Why weepest thou?’ she repeated the words she had said to Peter and John. Apparently feeling that someone was standing behind her, she turned, and saw Jesus, and mistook Him for the gardener. The utterance of her name from His lips awoke her to the truth. She cried, ‘ Rabboni ,’ (‘my Master’) and would have clasped His feet. But Jesus forbade her, saying, ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father.’ She must no longer know Him ‘after the flesh’ (  2 Corinthians 5:16 ), but possess Him in spiritual communion. This, the first appearance of our Lord after His resurrection (  Mark 16:9 ), conferred a special honour on one whose life of loving ministry had proved the reality and depth of her devotion. She has been identified with Mary the sister of Lazarus, but without any grounds.

4. Mary the Virgin

(1) Scripture data

The NT gives but little information regarding her. In the Gospels she is directly mentioned only three times during Christ’s ministry ( John 2:1-25 ,   Mark 3:21;   Mark 3:31 ,   John 19:25 f.), and indirectly twice (  Mark 6:3 ,   Luke 11:27 ). Outside the Gospels she is mentioned only once (  Acts 1:14 ).

The Apocryphal Gospels are full of legendary stories connected with her childhood and after-life. In them we are told that she was miraculously granted to her aged and childless parents, Joachim and Anna; that at the age of three she was dedicated to God at the Temple, where she remained until she was twelve; that during these years she increased in virtue, angels ministering unto her; that at twelve she was betrothed to Joseph, an aged widower, who was selected for her by a miraculous sign. The visit of Gabriel, the journey to Bethlehem, and the Saviour’s birth in a cave are mentioned. It is added that at the moment of the birth of Jesus all nature was stilled; the fowls of the air stopped in their flight, men with uplifted arms drew them not down, dispersing sheep stood still, and kids with their lips to the water refrained from drinking.

The legendary character of the apocryphal records renders them worthless as evidence of the events that centre round the birth of our Lord, and we are therefore confined to the opening chapters of the First and Third Gospels. It has been felt that more evidence than two Gospels can supply might reasonably be expected for such a transcendent miracle. But consideration will show that the evidence could not be essentially greater than it is. For from the nature of the case the circumstances would be known only to Mary and Joseph. Mary must have known; and Joseph must also have known, if he were to continue to act as protector of his espoused wife. Now, the First Gospel narrates the events of the miraculous birth from the point of view of Joseph; while the narrative of the Third Gospel, with its intimate knowledge of the events which it so calmly, delicately, and yet clearly, sets forth, must, in the first instance, have been obtained from the Virgin herself. St. Luke has been proved to be a writer of great historical accuracy, and we may be certain that he admitted nothing within his record of which he had not thoroughly tested the truth: and it is difficult to believe that he would open his Gospel with a statement that he had accurately traced the course of the Gospel history from the first ( Luke 1:3 ), and then immediately proceed to insert untrustworthy information. Indeed, the wide-spread belief of the early Church in the Virgin-birth can be reasonably accounted for only by the occurrence of the fact itself. The date of St. Luke’s Gospel is too early to allow of ideas of a Virgin-birth to pass into the Church from Gentile Christians; while to Jewish Christians the whole idea would be alien. To the Jew maternity, not virginity, was praiseworthy, and to him the thought of Jehovah becoming incarnate would be incredible; in fact, the Virgin-birth, so far from being an invention of Jewish Christians, must have been a severe stumbling-block to them in accepting their new faith.

The angel Gabriel, when sent to announce to Mary that she was to be the mother of our Lord, greeted her with the words, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured,’ or ‘thou that art endued with grace’ ( Luke 1:28 ). (The Rhemish Version, following the Vulgate, renders ‘full of grace’; a translation correct enough if meaning ‘fully endowed with grace,’ but incorrect if meaning ‘fully bestowing grace’ a rendering the Gr. word cannot bear.) With absolute submission she received the announcement, merely replying, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word’ (  Luke 1:38 ). Soon she hastened to her ‘kins-woman’ (  Luke 1:36 ) Elisabeth, who greeted her with inspired utterance (  Luke 1:42-45 ). The Virgin then in reply uttered her noble hymn of exultation. The Magnificat is largely based on the song of Hannah (  1 Samuel 2:1-36 ). Naturally at such a time of deep spiritual emotion she fell back on the OT Scriptures, which she had known since childhood. She remained with Elisabeth until the birth of the Baptist, and then returned to Nazareth. Having accompanied Joseph on his journey to be enrolled at Bethlehem, she was there delivered of her Son. When the forty days of purification were ended, they brought the Child to Jerusalem ‘to present him to the Lord,’ and to offer the necessary sacrifice. Being poor, they offered ‘a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons’ (  Exodus 12:8 ). Then was it that Simeon took the Child in his arms, and, blessing God, uttered his Nunc Dimittis , and foretold to Mary that a sword would yet pierce through her soul: a prophecy fulfilled during the period of her Son’s ministry, and specially by His death. From the Temple they returned to Bethlehem, whence they fled to Egypt from the cruelty of Herod, on whose death they returned, and settled in Nazareth.

We next find the Virgin in Jerusalem, whither she had gone with Jesus, now aged twelve. When she discovered Him in the Temple she remonstrated, saying, ‘Thy father and I have sought thee …’ His reply, ‘I must be in my Father’s house ’ (  Luke 2:48 ), shows that He had begun to feel, and expected His mother to realize, the gulf of Divine parentage that separated Him from all others. It taught her, perhaps for the first time, that her Son felt God to be in an especial sense His Father.

For the next eighteen years our Lord was subject to home-authority at Nazareth. During this time His mother lost the protection of Joseph; for, if he were alive, he certainly would have been mentioned in  John 2:1 ,   Mark 3:31 ,   John 19:25 . Doubtless Joseph’s place in the home was filled in a measure by our Lord; and these must have been years of wonderful peace to the Virgin.

When, however, Jesus once entered upon His ministry, a time of real difficulty to her began. She, with the secret of His birth ever present, must have anticipated for Him a career of Messianic success; whereas He, with the knowledge of His Divine Sonship, was compelled to sever Himself once and for all from her control. We are not, then, surprised to find that each of the three recorded incidents which bring our Lord and the Virgin together during the years of ministry centre round the question of His absolute independence of her authority. Thus His first miracle ( John 2:1-25 ) gave Him an occasion for definitely teaching her that she must no longer impress her will upon Him. His reply, ‘Woman, what have I to do with thee?’ has assuredly no roughness in it (see   John 19:26 ); yet the fact that He does not address her as ‘mother’ can have but one meaning. Again, when the pressure of His ministry leads to His neglect of food, His friends said, ‘He is beside himself (  Mark 3:21 ). ‘His friends’ were His mother and brethren (  Mark 3:31 ); and when their message reached Him through the crowd He stretched forth His hand (  Matthew 12:49 ), and said, ‘Behold my mother and brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother’ words which amount to, ‘I, in working out the world’s redemption, can acknowledge only spiritual relationships.’ Similarly, as He hung on the Cross, and looked down upon His broken-hearted mother, He tenderly provided for her future, and entrusted her to the care of the Apostle of love. Still, even then He was unable to name her as His own mother, but gave her, in the person of St. John, the protection of a son. ‘Woman (not ‘mother’), behold thy son.’ ‘Son, behold thy mother’ (  John 19:26-27 ). Exactly parallel to these is His answer to the exclamation of the unknown woman, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare thee’ ‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it’ (  Luke 11:27 f.).

It is, we think, impossible to exaggerate the bitter trial of these years to the Virgin Mary; but God’s grace kept her throughout submissive, patient, and trustful. And it is a happy thing that the last mention we have of her in the NT is when she is gathered with the infant Church after the Ascension praying in the upper room.

(2) Place of the Virgin in the Christian Church . The position she ought to hold is clear from the NT, and has been well described as follows: ‘So far as St. Mary is portrayed to us in the Scripture she is, as we should have expected, the most tender, the most faithful, humble, patient, and loving woman, but a woman still.’ Certain sections of the Church, however, have not been satisfied with granting her this limited reverence, but have done her the questionable honour of claiming for her the worship of the Church. Epiphanius (a.d. 370) mentions heretics, called Collyridians, who worshipped the Virgin, and he strongly reproves them. But before long the error found too ready a welcome within the Church, and a considerable impulse was given to it at the time of the Nestorian Controversy (a.d. 431). In meeting the error of Nestorius the Church insisted that our Lord had, with His human and Divine natures, but one personality , and that Divine; and therefore it emphasized the fact that He who was born of the Virgin was very God. It thus became customary to give the Virgin the title Theotokos . This title seems to have been specially chosen to emphasize the fact that, by being the mother of our Lord, she brought the incarnate God into life, and, at the same time, to avoid calling her ‘mother of God.’ This latter title would convey ideas of authority and right of control on the part of the parent, and of duty and obedience on the part of the child ideas which were rightly felt to have no place in the relationship between Christ and His mother; therefore it was avoided. It would have been easy for the Church then to call her ‘mother of God,’ but it did not. Notwithstanding this cautious treatment, undue reverence towards her rapidly increased, and ‘mother of God’ became largely applied to her, and her worship gained much ground.

With the worship of the Virgin there gradually arose a belief in her sinlessness . The early Fathers, while claiming for her the perfection of womanhood, state distinctly their belief that she shared in man’s fallen nature and that she had committed actual sin. But Augustine, though not denying her participation in original sin, suggested her freedom through grace from actual transgression. Ultimately her freedom from all taint of sin, whether original or actual, was officially declared an article of faith in the Roman Church by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception decreed by Pius IX. (1854). Similar to this erroneous development was the growth of the belief in the miraculous translation of her body after death. The fanciful legends found in the Apocryphal Gospels regarding her death were readily seized upon as if supplying the requisite evidence; and in due course it became the authoritative doctrine of both the Roman and Greek Churches. The Festival of her Assumption is held on the 15th of August.

(3) The perpetual Virginity of Mary is a matter incapable of proof with the evidence available. With the Church of Rome and the Greek Church it is an essential dogma; but with the other branches of Christendom it is left undefined. In forming a decision on the point many feel the great weight of the undeniable sentiment of the Church for centuries, while others see in this very sentiment an unwholesome view, which overestimated the sanctity of virginity, and depreciated the sanctity of matrimony. From the NT we receive no certain guidance; for the ‘till’ of   Matthew 1:25 is undecisive, as its use shows ( e.g .   Genesis 28:15 ,   Deuteronomy 34:6 ,   1 Samuel 15:35 ,   2 Samuel 6:23 ), while ‘the brethren’ of our Lord may mean either the children of Joseph and Mary, or the children of Joseph by a former marriage, or even the cousins of Jesus. The first of these views is specially associated with the name of Helvidius, the second with that of Epiphanius, the third with that of Jerome. See Brethren of the Lord.

5. Mary, the mother of John Mark (  Acts 12:12 ).

6. Mary , saluted by St. Paul (  Romans 16:6 ).

Charles T. P. Grierson.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

We meet with many of the name of Mary in the New Testament:

·The Virgin Mary.

·Mary, the mother of James and John.

·Mary, the mother of Mark.

·Mary, the wife of Cleophas.

·Mary, called also Salome.

·Mary, a pious woman whom the apostle Paul mentions. ( Romans 16:6)

The word of God has recorded the names of those women as followers of the Lord Jesus, and from the interest they took in what concerned Christ; but with their history farther, excepting the Virgin Mary, and Mary Magdalene, we are not much acquainted. Concerning the Virgin Mary, we are most highly interested to have the clearest apprehension of her person and history, in that part which concerns the incarnation of the Lord Jesus; and therefore, in a work of this

kind, I should consider it most highly deficient, if it were wholly passed over. I mean however, to be very brief upon, it, and only say enough to convey, to that class of readers for whom this Concordance is designed, clear apprehensions in what light the holy Scriptures explain to us the miraculous conception of Mary, and the incarnation of the Lord Jesus. I begin then from that part where the Lord Jesus begins to proclaim to the church, by the spirit of prophecy, the event of his coming. "Wherefore, when he cometh into the world," ( Hebrews 10:5, etc.) "he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me." Now here observe, Christ, by the spirit of prophecy, is speaking of the Father. Let this be marked down as first in the memorandum of this glorious mysterious subject. Then turn to the evangelist Luke, ( Luke 1:35) where we find, at the visit of the angel to Mary, to inform her of the miraculous conception, when Mary expressed her astonishment at the salutation, and modestly intimated the impossibility of the thing, the angel made this remarkable answer: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore, also, that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." Here let it be equally marked down, in strong memorandums of the heart, the part which God the Holy Ghost had in this stupendous work. We see then both the hand of God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost, in their personal offices and characters, engaged in the great undertaking; and that we might not overlook the part which Jesus himself had in it also, as God the Son, we are expressly told: that he took our nature upon him for the purpose of redemption, The words of the Holy Ghost on this point are very strong, and very particular. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." So again—, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." (See  Hebrews 2:14; Heb 2:16) Let this also be put down in the mind, and then sum it up as a lesson in arithmetic. All the persons of the Godhead Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, had their almighty hand in the mysterious work of Christ's incarnation. This premised, we may now go farther, and observe that this body given by the Father, produced by the overshadowing power of the Holy Ghost, and taken by the Son, is to be of the same nature and quality as our nature, sin only excepted; for the more he is like to his redeemed in nature, the more suited he is to be our Mediator. Hence the Scripture saith, that "in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." ( Hebrews 2:17) It is plain then, that he must be man, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. An angel's nature would not have suited the purpose of redemption: it was human nature that had sinned, and broken the divine law; it must be human nature that shall make amends, by obedience and death. The justice of God, though permitting a substitute and surety, will not permit that substitute and surety in any other nature than man. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Hence, therefore, observe the beauty and the order in the divine government, for which the Lord Jesus took not on him the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham.

Let us advance a step farther. We see the blessedness and propriety that the Redeemer should be man, and not an angel;—the next enquiry is, how this manhood shall be united with the GODHEAD in the most suitable and becoming manner, agreeably to the purposes of the divine counsel and will, so as to answer all the great ends of redemption. Certainly the Son of God might have assumed a body such as ours, consisting both of flesh and spirit, and formed, as the first earthly man Adam was, of nothing; but then this would not have been what Scripture saith Christ must be, of "the seed of the woman," and what the promise declared. (See  Genesis 3:15) And beside, the triumph of Christ over hell and the prince of darkness, would not have been as the promise declared it should be—"the seed of the woman to bruise the serpent's head." Hence, therefore, the Redeemer must be born of a woman, must be in all points like to his brethren, sin only excepted, both for the salvation of his people and the destruction of his enemies. But still it may be asked, could not all this have been done in Christ becoming man from the woman, as the woman originally was from the man. For we road that at the creation, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman. ( Genesis 2:21-23) No doubt the Lord God could have done this by the manhood of Christ; and in this case, it might have been said of the second Adam, as the first Adam said to Eve, "this is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." ( Genesis 2:22) But neither could this have been called a birth, nor of the seed of the woman; neither would this have suited the purposes of redemption; for the Scripture saith, that "when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." ( Galatians 4:4-5) And elsewere it is said, "that both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." ( Hebrews 2:11) But had Christ, in his human nature, been produced from the rib of the woman, there would have been no such relationship as there now is; neither, as before remarked, would Christ have been of the seed of the woman, neither born under the law.

We find then, that for Christ to be of the seed of the woman, of the same flesh and blood with those he came to redeem, and to be born under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, he must still come nearer to our nature, and be born as the children are born, only with that distinguishing and vast difference, that though he partakes of our nature, yet it is the sinless infirmities of our nature only. He is, and must be, truly and properly man; as he is, and must be, truly and properly God; being "one with the Father, over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." But in assuming our nature, he will still be "holy, harmless, undefiled separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." ( Hebrews 7:26)

Now, in the accomplishment of this great and mysterious work, the formation of the body of Christ, it is blessed to see how very particular the sacred writers are to describe the (modus operandi) method of the divine working in this purpose. The original promise at the fall was, that Christ should be of the "seed of the woman;" and accordingly we find the prophet, in the after-ages, commissioned by the Holy Ghost to tell the church that "a virgin should conceive, and bear a son." ( Isaiah 7:14) Now observe the expression conceive: not a conception, as in the ordinary way of generation, in our fallen race; for this is by corrupt and sinful creatures; and therefore David very properly saith, "in sin did my mother conceive me." ( Psalms 51:5) But in the instance of the Virgin's conception, this was without the intervention of an human father, and consequently no sin in the conception; neither sin in the seed conceived, because this was by the miraculous impregnation and overshadowing power of the Holy Ghost. And here lie the holiness and blessedness, as well as the power and wisdom, of the almighty work. It was a conception of the Virgin, not a generation. Christ was conceived by the Virgin, not begotten; for it is said, he was made of a woman. And it is not the place or the womb that defiles, but the nature from whom it is begotten or conceived, as in our ordinary nature from Adam all along hath been done. But in the instance of the human nature Of Christ, begotten as it was by the overshadowing power of God the Holy Ghost, Christ is very properly, by way of distinction, called that holy thing, (not that holy person, but thing) to imply a conception without a generation. Here then we see in what view we are to consider the incarnation of the Lord Jesus, and of consequence the person and character of the Virgin Mary.

And it is a most blessed and soul-satisfying view, when opened to our understanding by the Holy Ghost, what the same Almighty Author of his sacred word hath taught us concerning it in the Scriptures of eternal tRuth We now discover the suitability of our dear Redeemer for the great purposes of his mission, and plainly perceive how needful such a priest is for us, "who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." Well might the Lord Jesus, by the spirit of prophecy, declare, as he doth, ( Psalms 139:1-24) (which, I venture to believe, refers principally, if not wholly, to the Lord Jesus Christ) "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest paths of the earth." If, as we have before noticed, and from the authority of Scripture, Christ's body was the Father's gift, ( Hebrews 10:5) and if the Holy Ghost, in his overshadowing power, was the almighty: worker in the dark place of the virgin's womb, here called "the lowest parts of the earth," what blessedness is given to the view of the subject amidst all the mysteriousness of it, and how are we taught to honour, reverence, love, and praise the whole united persons of the GODHEAD for those wonders of redemption by Jesus Christ. "Thanks be unto God, I would say, (will not the reader join my spirit in it?) for his unspeakable gift!" ( 2 Corinthians 9:15)

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]


1. Mary the mother of James the Little and Joses , one of the women who followed Jesus from Galilee, stood beside the cross, watched the burial, and visited the sepulchre on the Resurrection morning ( Matthew 27:55-56 =  Mark 15:40-41,  Matthew 27:61 =  Mark 15:47,  Mark 16:1 =  Matthew 28:1 =  Luke 24:10). From  John 19:25 it appears that she was wife to Clopas. This name is distinct from Cleopas ( Luke 24:18), and is perhaps identical with Alphaens, both representing חַלְפַי. Cf. J. B. Lightfoot, Gal. p. 256. WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] write Ἀλραῖος (see NT , vol. ii. § 408). If this identification be allowed, then (1) James the Little was probably one of the Twelve ( Matthew 10:3 =  Mark 3:18 =  Luke 16:15); (2) he was perhaps brother to Levi (Matthew), the son of Alphaeus. The latter inference is favoured by ( a ) the v.l. Ἰάκωβον for Δευείν in  Mark 2:14; ( b ) the tradition that James, like Matthew, had been a tax-gatherer (Chrysost. in Matth. xxxiii.: δύο τελῶναι, Ματθαῖος καὶ Ἰάκωβος; Euth. Zig.: Ματθαῖος δὲ καὶ Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἀλφαίου, τελῶναι). See artt. Alphaeus and Clopas.

Hegesippus (in Eus. Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 11. 32, iv. 22) mentions a Clopas who was brother to Joseph, our Lord’s foster-father; but there is no evidence that he was identical with this Clopas. Jerome, in support of his theory of ‘the Brethren of Jesus,’ construes Μαριὰμ ἡ τοῦ Κλωτᾶ in  John 19:25 as in opposition to ἡ ἀδελφὴ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ, thus reducing the number of the women by the Cross to three, and making ‘Mary the [wife] of Clopas’ the Virgin’s sister. See J. B. Lightfoot, Gal. p. 255 ff. But (1) it is improbable that two sisters bore the same name, and (2) ‘the sister of his mother’ was apparently Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee (cf.  Mark 15:40 =  Matthew 27:56).

2. Mary Magdalene .—She is first mentioned ( Luke 8:2) as one of a company of women who attended Jesus on His second mission through Galilee in the course of the second year of His ministry. She is distinguished by two significant epithets: (1) ‘the Magdalene,’ i.e. the woman of Magdala ( Mejdel ), a town on the Lake of Galilee, some 3 miles from Capernaum, at the southern end of the Plain of Gennesaret. The modern Mejdel is a miserable village, but the ancient Magdala was a wealthy place, one of three cities, according to the Talmud, whose tribute had to be conveyed in waggons to Jerusalem (cf. Lightfoot on  John 12:3). It had, however, an evil reputation, and was destroyed, according to the same authority, for harlotry, so that ‘Mary the Magdalene’ might be equivalent to ‘Mary the harlot’ (cf. ‘Corinthian Lais’). It is only fair, however, to add that many regard this as very precarious.

(2) ‘From whom seven demons had gone forth.’ In Jewish parlance, immorality was a form of demonic possession,* [Note: Lightfoot on  Luke 8:2. Cf. Jer. Vit. Hil. Erem.: a virgo Dei at Majumas possessed by amoris dœmon.] and, just as the grace of the Holy Spirit is called ‘sevenfold,’† [Note: Od. Clun. Hymn. de S. Mar. Magdal.:

‘Qui septem purgat vitia

Per septiformem gratiam.’] so sevenfold possession might signify complete abandonment to the dominion of unclean passion. Cf.  Matthew 12:45 =  Luke 11:26. It is possible that Mary had been a harlot, that Jesus had rescued her from her life of shame, and that she followed Him out of gratitude. She was one of the devoted women who stood by the cross ( John 19:25,  Matthew 27:56 =  Mark 15:40), watched His burial ( Matthew 27:61 =  Mark 15:47), and came on the Resurrection morning to the sepulehre ( John 20:1 =  Matthew 28:1 =  Mark 16:1 =  Luke 24:10). Finding it empty, she waited beside it weeping, and was rewarded with the first vision of the risen Lord ( John 20:11-18, cf.  Matthew 28:9-10).

3. Mary of Bethany. —She is first introduced by St. Luke ( Luke 10:38-42), who tells how Jesus, probably on His way to the Feast of Tabernacles ( John 7:2;  John 7:10) in the third year of His ministry, reached ‘a certain village,’ and was hospitably received by ‘a certain woman by name Martha,’ who had a sister called Mary. The Feast of Tabernacles was a season of feasting and friendship. ‘They ate the fat and drank the sweet, and sent portions unto them for whom nothing was prepared, and made great mirth’ ( Exodus 23:16,  Leviticus 23:33-44,  Numbers 29:12-38,  Nehemiah 8:9-18). Martha, a good housewife, was busy making ready the festal cheer; but Mary, oblivious of all save the Lord’s presence, seated herself, in the posture of a disciple (cf.  Acts 22:3), at His feet and listened to His discourse. Martha, ‘distracted about much service,’ interposed: ‘Lord, dost thou not care that my sister left me alone to serve? Tell her then to lend me a helping hand.’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ He answered, gently protesting against the sumptuousness of His hostess’s preparations, ‘thou art anxious and troubled about many things, but a few are all we need; or rather,’ He added, ‘only one thing;‡ [Note: אBl, Wh ὀλίγων δέ ἑστιν χρεία ἢ ἑνός.] for it is the good “portion” that Mary chose, one which shall not be taken away from her.’ At that season, when they were all feasting and sending ‘portions,’ Mary was thinking not of the meat that perisheth, but of that which endureth unto eternal life.

St. Luke does not name the village where Martha and Mary dwelt. St. John tells us that it was Bethany, and that they had a brother named Lazarus ( John 11:1-46). Some months later, when Jesus was at the other Bethany beyond Jordan, whither He had retired from Jerusalem to escape the fury of the rulers ( John 10:40; cf.  John 1:28 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885), Lazarus fell sick, and his sisters sent Jesus word. For two days after He heard the news He remained where He was, and only when Lazarus died did He set out. His approach was reported to Martha, apparently the elder sister and mistress of the house; and she went to meet Him and sorrowfully upbraided Him: ‘Lord, hadst thou been here, my brother had not died.’ Assured of His sympathy and help, she returned home and, finding her sister among the mourners, whispered to her that the Teacher had come. Mary arose, and, hurrying to Him, fell at His feet, crying in the very words which Martha had used, the words which had been on their lips all those sorrowful days: ‘Lord, hadst thou been here, my brother had not died.’ Cf. art. Martha.

Mary appears a third time six days before the Passover, when Jesus was entertained in the house of Simon the Leper at Bethany, and she came in during the feast and anointed His feet ( John 12:1-11; cf.  Matthew 26:6-13 =  Mark 14:3-9). See Anointing, I. 2.

Literature.—Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. ii. pp. 23, 388, 652; Hengstenb. on  John 11:1-46; Andrews, Life of our Lord , pp. 281–286; artt. ‘Mary’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible and in Encyc. Bibl.

David Smith.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

the mother of Jesus, and wife of Joseph. She is called by the Jews the daughter of Eli; and by the early Christian writers, the daughter of Joakim and Anna: but Joakim and Eliakim are sometimes interchanged,  2 Chronicles 36:4; and Eli, or Heli, is therefore the abridgment of Eliakim,  Luke 3:23 . She was of the royal race of David, as was also Joseph her husband; and she was also cousin to Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias the priest,  Luke 1:5;  Luke 1:36 . Mary being espoused to Joseph, the Angel Gabriel appeared to her, to announce to her that she should be the mother of the Messiah,  Luke 1:26-27 , &c. To confirm his message, and to show that nothing is impossible to God, he added that her cousin Elizabeth, who was old, and had been hitherto barren, was then in the sixth month of her pregnancy. Mary answered, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word;" and presently she conceived. She set out for Hebron, a city in the mountains of Judah, to visit her cousin Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary, her child, John the Baptist, leaped in her womb; and she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with a loud voice, saying, "Blessed art thou among women,"

&c. Then Mary praised God, saying, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour," &c. Mary continued with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her own house. An edict of Caesar Augustus having decreed, that all subjects of the empire should go to their own cities, to register their names according to their families, Joseph and Mary, who were both of the lineage of David, went to Bethlehem, from whence sprung their family. But while they were here, the time being fulfilled in which Mary was to be delivered, she brought forth her first-born son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in the manger of the stable or cavern whither they had retired, because there was no room in the inn. Angels made this event known to shepherds, who were in the fields near Bethlehem, and these came in the night to Joseph and Mary and saw the child laying in the manger, and paid him their adoration. The presentation of Christ in the temple, the flight into Egypt, the slaughter of the innocents, and other events connected with the birth and infancy of our Lord, are plainly related in the Gospels.

Mary and Joseph went every year to Jerusalem to the passover; and when Jesus was twelve years of age, they took him with them. When they were returning, the youth continued at Jerusalem, without their perceiving it. Three days after, they found him in the temple, sitting among the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. Afterward, he returned with them to Nazareth, and lived in filial submission to them. But his mother laid up all these things in her heart,  Luke 2:51 , &c. The Gospel speaks nothing more of the Virgin Mary till the marriage at Cana of Galilee, at which she was present with her son Jesus. She was at Jerusalem at the last passover our Saviour celebrated there. There she saw all that was transacted; followed him to Calvary; and stood at the foot of his cross with an admirable constancy and courage. Jesus seeing his mother, and his beloved disciple near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold thy son; and to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her home to his own house." No farther particulars of this favoured woman are mentioned, except that she was a witness of Christ's resurrection. A veil is drawn over her character and history; as though with the design to reprove that wretched idolatry of which she was made the subject when Christianity became corrupt and paganized.

2. MARY, the another of John Mark, a disciple of the Apostles. She had a house in Jerusalem, whither, it is thought, the Apostles retired after the ascension of our Lord, and where they received the Holy Ghost. After the imprisonment of St. Peter, the faithful assembled in this house, and were praying there when Peter, delivered by the ministry of an angel, knocked at the door of the house,   Acts 12:12 .

3. MARY, of Cleophas. St. Jerom says, she bore the name of Cleophas, either because of her father, or for some other reason which cannot now be known. Others believe, with greater probability, that she was wife of Cleophas, as our version of the New Testament makes her, by supplying the word wife,   John 19:25 , and mother of James the less, and of Simon, brethren of our Lord. These last mentioned authors take Mary mother of James, and Mary wife of Cleophas, to be the same person,  Matthew 27:56;  Mark 15:40-41;  Luke 24:10;  John 19:25 . St. John gives her the name of Mary of Cleophas; and the other evangelists, the name of Mary, mother of James. Cleophas and Alpheus are the same person; as James, son of Mary, wife of Cleophas, is the same as James, son of Alpheus. It is thought she was the sister of the Virgin Mary, and that she was the mother of James the less, of Joses, of Simon, and of Judas, who in the Gospel are named the brethren of Jesus Christ,  Matthew 13:55;  Matthew 27:56;  Mark 6:3; that is, his cousin-germans. She was an early believer in Jesus Christ, and attended him on his journeys, to minister to him. She was present at the last passover, and at the death of our Saviour she followed him to Calvary; and during his passion she was with the mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross. She was also present at his burial; and on the Friday before had, in union with others, prepared the perfumes to embalm him,  Luke 23:56 . But going to his tomb very early on the Sunday morning, with other women, they there learned from the mouth of an angel, that he was risen; of which they carried the news to the Apostles,  Luke 24:1-5;  Matthew 28:9 . By the way, Jesus appeared to them; and they embraced his feet, worshipping him. This is all we know with certainty concerning Mary, the wife of Cleophas.

4. MARY, sister of Lazarus, who has been preposterously confounded with that female sinner spoken of,   Luke 7:37-39 . She lived with her brother and her sister Martha at Bethany; and Jesus Christ, having a particular affection for this family, often retired to their house with his disciples. Six days before the passover, after having raised Lazarus from the dead, he came to Bethany with his disciples, and was invited to sup with Simon the leper,  John 12:1 , &c;  Matthew 26:6 , &c;  Mark 14:3 , &c. Martha attended at the table, and Lazarus was one of the guests. Upon this occasion, Mary, taking a pound of spikenard, which is the most precious perfume of its kind, poured it upon the head and feet of Jesus. She wiped his feet with her hair, and the whole house was filled with the odour of the perfume. Judas Iscariot murmured at this; but Jesus justified Mary in what she had done, saying, that by this action she had prevented his embalmment, and in a manner had declared his death and burial, which were at hand. From this period the Scriptures make no mention of either Mary or Martha.

5. Mary Magdalene so called, it is probable, from Magdala, a town of Galilee, of which she was a native, or where she had resided during the early part of her life. Out of her, St. Luke tells us, Jesus had cast seven devils,   Luke 8:2 . He informs us, also, in the same place, that Jesus, in company with his Apostles, preached the Gospel from city to city; and that there were several women with them, whom he had delivered from evil spirits, and healed of their infirmities; among whom was this Mary, whom some, without a shadow of proof, have supposed to be the sinful woman spoken of,  Luke 7:37-39; as others have as erroneously imagined her to be Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Mary Magdalene, is mentioned by the evangelists as being one of those women that followed our Saviour to minister to him according to the custom of the Jews. She attended him in the last journey he made from Galilee to Jerusalem, and was at the foot of the cross with the holy virgin,  John 19:25;  Mark 15:47; after which she returned to Jerusalem, to buy and prepare with others certain perfumes, that she might embalm him after the Sabbath was over, which was then about to begin. All the Sabbath day she remained in the city; and the next day, early in the morning, went to the sepulchre along with Mary, the mother of James, and Salome,  Mark 16:1-2;  Luke 24:1-2 . For other particulars respecting her, see also  Matthew 28:1-5;  John 20:11-17 . In Dr. Townley's Essays, there is one of considerable research on Mary Magdalene; and his conclusion is, that it is probable that the woman mentioned by St. Luke, and called in the English translation "a sinner," had formerly been a Heathen; but whether subsequently a proselyte to Judaism or not, is uncertain; and that, having been brought to the knowledge of Christian truth, and having found mercy from the Redeemer, she pressed into Simon's house, and gave the strongest proofs of her gratitude and veneration by anointing the Saviour's feet, bedewing them with her tears, and wiping them with the hairs of her head:—that by a wilful and malicious misrepresentation, the Jews confounded Mary Magdalene with Mary the mother of Jesus, and represented her as an infamous character;—and that, from the blasphemous calumny of the Jews, a stigma of infamy has been affixed to the name of Mary Magdalene, and caused her to be regarded in the false light of a penitent prostitute. There is no doubt but that Mary Magdalene, both in character and circumstances, was a woman of good reputation.

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]


1. Mother of Jesus. Mary seems to have been related to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and wife of the priest Zechariah. Elizabeth was also of a priestly family. If “kinswoman” in  Luke 1:36 is a reference for family line and not a relationship established by marriage, then Mary's family heritage may have been priestly. Luke presented Mary as a person of great faith prepared to be an agent of God in the birth of the Messiah. In later church tradition, two important theological beliefs focus the significance of Mary. One has to do with what is referred to as “divine maternity,” while the other is “virginial conception.” Their scriptural orientation is based on   Luke 1:34 that details Mary's response to the angel's announcement that she would have a son. Mary questioned how this could be since she did not have a husband. The Greek states, “I am not knowing a man.” Some have interpreted the Greek text as making an eternally valid theological statement that her virginity is an on-going state that equals a “perpetual virginity.”   Matthew 1:24-25 (including, [Joseph] “knew her not until she had borne a son”) would seem to challenge the perpetual virginity belief. The Luke text is sufficiently vague as to allow the growth of such doctrine. In contemporary Christianity, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches embrace these doctrines, while most Protestant churches do not. However, in all cases, Mary is a revered character in Christian tradition who is believed to represent goodness, innocence, and profound commitment to the ways of God.

Mary does not play as high a profile in the Gospels as one might expect. The Gospel writers attempted to emphasize Jesus' divine origins at the expense of deemphasizing the importance of His mother. The Gospel of John presents women in an essential place in the public ministry of Jesus, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, functions in such a role. In  John 2:1-11 , Mary's presence at Jesus' first public miracle of changing water to wine at the marriage at Cana underscores, in a profound manner, that Jesus' destiny challenges all norms, including that of immediate family relationships. The recurring Johannine theological theme of Jesus' “hour” being divinely directed is pointedly made by Mary's presence in the episode (compare  Mark 3:31-35;  Luke 11:27-28 ). Mary's presence at the foot of the cross (found only in  John 19:25-27 ) highlights the mother's love.  Acts 1:14 indicates that Mary was present, along with other hero figures of early Christianity, in the upper room scene in Jerusalem.

2. Mary Magdalene. Magdala was an important agricultural, fishing, and trade center of ancient Galilee.  Mark 16:9 and   Luke 8:2 indicate that this Mary, from Magdala, was exorcised of some seven demons. In antiquity, demon possession was an indication of physical or spiritual illness; obviously, Mary Magdalene was quite ill before her encounter with Jesus. Mary eventually became part of an inner circle of supporters of Jesus. She was a witness of His crucifixion (  Mark 15:40;  Matthew 27:56;  John 19:25 ), burial ( Mark 15:47;  Matthew 27:61 ), the empty tomb ( Mark 16:18;  Matthew 28:1-10;  Luke 24:10 ), and she was a witness of Jesus' resurrection ( Mark 16:9;  John 20:1-18 ). A tradition, especially prevalent in western Christianity from about A.D. 500 onward, identified Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman of  Luke 7:36-50 . The text gives no reason for such an association, as the introduction of Mary in  Luke 8:1 is quite removed topically from   Luke 7:36 . To confuse the interpretative tradition further, the sinful woman in the anointing scene of  Luke 7:36-50 is often identified incorrectly with another Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazrus. On all accounts, no evidence exists that the sinful woman of   Luke 7:1 should be identified as Mary.

3. Mary (of Bethany), the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus seem to have been part of an inner circle of Jesus' associates. The Gospel of John places particular emphasis on their select status. Mary from Bethany played a primary role in the episode of Lazarus' resurrection from the dead in  John 11:1 . In  John 12:1 , Mary anointed Jesus' feet with precious oil, thus serving an important confessional function of anticipating Jesus' death. Given the sequence of John's Gospel, Mary is represented as a follower of Jesus who is well acquainted with Jesus' ultimate destiny (compare Judas, the disciple in  John 12:4 , who is not as well informed).

4. Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses and Salome. This Mary would appear to be part of Jesus' following from Galilee who moved with Him during His itinerant public ministry (compare  Mark 15:40-41 ). She witnessed Jesus' crucifixion and was part of the group of women who encountered the empty tomb ( Mark 15:47;  Mark 16:1-8;  Matthew 27:55-56;  Matthew 28:1-8;  Luke 23:56;  Luke 24:1-10 ).

5. Mary, the mother of John Mark. This woman was the owner of the house in Jerusalem where the first followers of Jesus met ( Acts 12:12 ). Her son, John Mark, eventually became a disciple of Paul and Barnabas ( Acts 12:25 ). See John Mark .

6. Mary, the wife of Clopas. She witnessed Jesus' crucifixion ( John 19:25 ) and may be the same character as Mary, the mother of James, Joses, and Salome in the Synoptic Gospels accounts.

7. Mary, from Rome. An individual Paul greeted in  Romans 16:6 . Wayne McCready

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

Six women in the New Testament had the name Mary. The lesser known of these were the mother of John Mark ( Acts 12:12; for details see Mark ), a member of the church in Rome ( Romans 16:6), and a woman who was wife of Clopas and mother of two sons, James and Joseph ( Matthew 27:56;  Mark 15:40;  Mark 15:47;  Mark 16:1;  John 19:25).

This last-named Mary was one of several women from Galilee who helped look after the needs of Jesus and his disciples. They travelled with Jesus around Palestine and were present at his crucifixion. Another in that group was also named Mary. She came from the town of Magdala in Galilee and was known as Mary Magdalene, to distinguish her from the other Marys ( Matthew 27:55-56;  Luke 8:1-3).

Mary Magdalene had become a follower of Jesus early in his ministry, when he had healed her of evil spirits ( Luke 8:2). On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, she and some others, including Mary the mother of James and Joseph, went to anoint the body of Jesus, but found the tomb empty ( Matthew 28:1-5;  John 20:1). She brought Peter and John to the tomb, then, after they had left, met the risen Jesus ( John 20:2-18).

Another Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The three lived at Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, and were close friends of Jesus ( John 11:1;  John 11:5). In the biblical record, Mary and Martha are usually mentioned together. (For further details see Martha .)

The mother of Jesus

By far the most important Mary in New Testament times was the mother of Jesus. She was blessed above all women, for God chose her to be the mother of the Messiah ( Luke 1:28;  Luke 1:32;  Luke 1:42-43).

At the time God revealed this to Mary, she lived in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, where she was engaged to be married to a local carpenter named Joseph. (Concerning the families from which Mary and Joseph came see [[Joseph The Husband Of Mary]] .) God revealed to Mary that, while still a virgin, she would become pregnant. This would come about through the direct creative power of God’s Spirit, so that her son would be unique. Though fully human, he would also be the Son of God ( Luke 1:30-35).

Mary accepted the will of God for her without question ( Luke 1:38). She praised God that he chose her, just an ordinary person from a humble family, to be the means by which he would bring his blessing to the world. Through her baby, God would fulfil the promises given to Abraham and David ( Luke 1:46-56).

For the next three months Mary stayed with her friend and relative, Elizabeth, in Judea. When she returned to Nazareth pregnant, Joseph was deeply troubled, but he too submitted to God’s will after he received a revelation of the divine purposes ( Luke 1:56;  Matthew 1:18-25).

Some months later, Joseph and Mary moved to Bethlehem in Judea for a census, and there the baby was born ( Luke 2:1-7;  Luke 2:19). When Joseph and Mary later took the baby to Jerusalem for certain Jewish ceremonies, Mary learnt a little of what lay ahead. Although her son would be a Saviour, he would also attract bitter opposition, which would in turn cause Mary pain and sorrow ( Luke 2:22-23;  Luke 2:34-35).

Because of the threat of violence from Herod, Joseph sought safety for Mary and the baby Jesus by taking them to Egypt. After Herod’s death the family returned to Palestine and settled in Nazareth ( Matthew 2:13-14;  Matthew 2:19-23).

Joseph and Mary brought Jesus up to be obedient to his parents and to be instructed in the teachings of the Old Testament ( Luke 2:42-46;  Luke 2:51). They did not, however, have a clear understanding of the unique relationship that Jesus had with his heavenly Father ( Luke 2:49). Even when he began his public ministry, Jesus found it necessary to remind his mother that he was to use his divine power solely in accordance with his Father’s will. He would not use it merely to please friends and family ( John 2:3-4).

The children born to Mary and Joseph after Jesus were James, Joseph, Simon, Judas and at least two daughters ( Matthew 13:55-56;  Mark 6:3). When Jesus set out on his public ministry, his brothers did not believe him to be the Messiah. They thought that he was suffering from some sort of religious madness. On one occasion when they expressed their annoyance with him, Mary was with them ( Mark 3:21;  Mark 3:31-35;  John 7:3-5).

Nevertheless, Mary was convinced of her son’s messiahship and remained devoted to him even to the cross ( John 19:25-27). Jesus’ resurrection seems to have changed his brothers, for in the days immediately after his ascension, they along with Mary were among the group of Jerusalem believers who met for fellowship and prayer ( Acts 1:14; cf.  1 Corinthians 15:7).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

In Hebrew Miriam ,

1. "The Mother of Jesus,"  Acts 1:14 . Her amiable and lovely character, and her remarkable history in connection with the wonders relating to the birth of Christ, are recorded in  Matthew 1:1-2:23   Luke 1:1-2:52 . The genealogy of the Savior through her, in the line of David and Abraham, is preserved in  Luke 3:1-38 , to prove that he was born "as concerning the flesh" according to ancient prophecies. After the return from Egypt to Nazareth, she is but five times mentioned in the gospel history: three on the part of Christ,  Matthew 12:46-50   Luke 2:49,50   John 2:4; one when he commended her to the care of John,  John 19:26; and lastly as among the disciples at Jerusalem after his ascension,  Acts 1:14 .

Thenceforth, throughout the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Revelation, no allusions made to her. Manifestly the worship of Mary had not then commenced. The inventions of the Romish church in after-centuries are wholly destitute of foundation in Scripture, and subversive of the gospel. One of these unauthorized inventions is the alleged immaculate conception and spotless holiness of Mary. See  Romans 3:10,23   Galatians 3:22   1 John 1:8; and compare also the reproofs above alluded to, and her own confession of her need of a Savior,  Luke 1:47 . Another unauthorized invention is her alleged virginity after the birth of Jesus,  Matthew 1:25   Luke 2:7 . No case can be found in Scripture where "firstborn son" is used of an only child. In other passages the brethren, sisters, and mother of Christ are mentioned together, apparently as one family,  Matthew 13:55,56; and she was known as the wife of Joseph probably for almost thirty ears,  John 6:42 . To adore her as the "queen of heaven," and the "mother of God," is, in the light of the Bible, blasphemous idolatry; and to pray to her as divine, or even as a mediator with God implies that she possesses the attribute of omnipresence, and degrades the only and sufficient Mediator,  1 Timothy 2:5   Hebrews 4:16 . She was "blessed" or signally favored "among women," as Jael was "blessed above women,"  Judges 5:24   Luke 1:28; but Christ himself declares that a higher blessing belongs to those "that hear the word of God and keep it,"  Luke 11:27,28 .

2. The mother of Mark the Evangelist. She had a house in Jerusalem, where the followers of Jesus were wont to convene. Hither Peter, when delivered from prison by the angel, came and knocked at the gate,  Acts 12:12 . Many such hospitable Christian homes, and places of social prayer, even in troublous times, are forever enshrined in the remembrances of the people of God.

3. The wife of Cleophas, and mother of James the Less and Joses,  Matthew 27:56,61   Luke 24:10   John 19:25 . This last passage leaves it uncertain whether this Mary was sister to Mary our Lord's mother, or not. Some suppose that four persons are there named: Christ's mother, his mother's sister, Mary of Cleaophas, and Salome. See  James 3 . She believed early on Jesus Christ, and accompanied him in some of his journeys, to minister to him, followed him to Calvary, and was with his mother at the foot of his cross. She was also present at his burial, prepared perfumes to embalm him, and was early at his sepulchre on the morning of his resurrection. See Cleophas .

4. The sister of Lazarus, whom our Lord raised from the dead. Her character presents a beautiful companion-picture to that of her more active and impulsive sister Martha. Contemplative, confiding, and affectionate, it was like heaven to her to sit at the feet of her adored Teacher and Lord,  Luke 10:39-42 . The character of the two sisters was well contrasted at the supper in Bethany, after the resurrection of Lazarus. No service was too humble for Martha to render, and no offering too costly for Mary to pour out, in honor of their Savior,  John 11:1-57   12:1-8 . This occurrence should not be confounded with that described in  Luke 7:37-50 .

5. The Magdalene, or native of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee. She was foremost among the honorable women of substance who ministered unto Christ and his disciples,  Matthew 28:1-10   Mark 15:47   16:1-10   Luke 24:1-12   John 20:1,2,10-18 . She was especially devoted to Christ, for his mercy in casting out from her seven evil spirits,  Luke 8:23 . She was early at his tomb; and lingering there when the disciples had retired, she was the first to throw herself at the feet of the risen Savior. There is no evidence that she was ever a profligate.

6. A benevolent and useful Christian at Rome, saluted in Paul's epistle,  Romans 16:6 .

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [8]

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is called theotokos by the church because her Son is the one and only Son of God, homoousios (consubstantial) with the Father. In the New Testament Mary is presented as the true Israelite, the model disciple, the woman of faith/faithfulness, and a type of the church.

Mark presents only a rapid sketch or silhouette of the Jewish woman who is the mother of Jesus. In 3:31-35 Jesus acknowledges his mother, brothers, and sisters, but then states that whoever does the will of God is a member of his family. In 6:1-6a Jesus is identified as "the son of Mary, a brother [ adelphos ] of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon, " and he is said to have "sisters." The meaning of adelphos here is disputed. It may mean a blood-brother, a half-brother, or, within the extended family, a male cousin. Likewise the word "sister" ( adelphe [Ἀδελφή]) has been interpreted as a blood-sister, a half-sister, and a female cousin. Since the early church maintained the perpetual virginity of Mary, it could not accept that Jesus had full blood brothers or sisters.

Matthew fills out the silhouette of Mary provided by Mark, but only in terms of the birth and infancy of her Son.

In the genealogy of 1:1-17 there are no less than four women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba), all of whom have irregular marital unions. Nevertheless all served God's messianic plan; so does Mary, whose son was not begotten by Joseph (v. 16).

In 1:18-25 Joseph acknowledges Jesus as his son by claiming him and naming him, so that he is truly "a son of David." Further, Joseph is told and recognizes that Mary conceived her Son in a miraculous way through the direct and unique action of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we have the doctrine of the virginal conception/birth of Jesus.

Luke presents Mary as the perfect disciple of her Son, who is also her Lord.

In the annunciation (1:26-38) Mary is called to unique discipleship. As a virgin she will conceive and bear a son who is "the Son of God."

In 1:39-56 we read of Mary's visit to Elizabeth, of Elizabeth's hymn to Mary, and then of Mary's "Magnificat." Mary is both "the handmaid of the Lord" and "the mother of my Lord, " for her Son is the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world.

Mary is also very much present in chapter 2 as the "mother of my Lord." We read of the birth of Jesus (vv. 6-7), the visit of the shepherds (vv. 8-20), the naming of Jesus and the purification of Mary (vv. 21-40), and (much later) the finding of the boy Jesus in the temple (vv. 41-52).

 Luke 8:19-21 is similar to   Mark 3:31-35 but   Luke 11:27-28 is only found in Luke's Gospel. Here the mother of Jesus is presented as worthy of beatitude, not only because of giving birth to her Son but also because of her faith, obedience, and discipleship.

From the hand of Luke we also learn in  Acts 1:14 that Mary was present with others waiting for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Thus, she is always the faithful disciple.

At the wedding in John 2:1-12Jesus appears to reject his mother's request and then immediately does what she asks! However, she is there as his first disciple to behold his first miraculous sign. Further, she is there also "with his brothers" (v. 12), who (as noted above) may be her sons, Joseph's sons by a previous marriage, or the cousins of Jesus.

 John 19:25-27 presents Mary at the foot of the cross, where Jesus entrusts Mary to John and John to Mary. Here, it may be said, the new fellowship, the new ekklesia [Ἐκκλησία], is born and Mary has a central place within this communion of love. She who gave birth to her Son is there to see him die.

Paul states ( Galatians 4:4 ) that Jesus was born of a woman (who is not named) and because she was a Jewish woman he was circumcised and submitted to the Law. Paul's words here or elsewhere tell us nothing about the nature of his conception.

In  Revelation 12:1-6 we see into heaven and there behold the woman, the dragon, and the woman's child. In verses 7-12 we read of the archangel Michael and the dragon who move from heaven to earth, and then in verses 13-17 of the dragon, the woman, and her child, all of whom are on earth. It would appear that the woman has a primary reference to the people of God, Israel, and the church, with a secondary reference to Mary, mother of the Messiah: she is a "type" of the church.

Mary is a unique woman because she is the mother of the Son of God and also the first Christian disciple. The Catholic Church of East and West has developed its teaching concerning her not only by speaking of her as theotokos but also by speaking of her virginity before birth (virginal conception), at birth (miraculous delivery), and after birth (perpetual virginity). Liberal theology tends to deny all three. Classical Protestantism (Luther, Calvin) accepted all three, but modern biblically based Protestants tend only to accept the first.

Peter Toon

Bibliography . R. E. Brown et al., Mary in the New Testament  ; J. McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament  ; A. J. Tambasco, What Are They Saying about Mary?

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Mary ( Mâ'Ry ). The name of several women in the New Testament. 1. The mother of our Lord. She was, like Joseph, of the tribe of Judah and of the lineage of David.  Psalms 132:11;  Luke 1:32;  Romans 1:3. She was connected by marriage,  Luke 1:36, with Elisabeth, who was of the tribe of Levi and of the lineage of Aaron. She was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth; but before her marriage she became with child by the Holy Ghost, and became the mother of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. She was at Jerusalem with Joseph, at Cana and at Capernaum. '  John 2:12;  Matthew 4:13;  Matthew 13:54-55;  Mark 6:1-4 Lastly she was at the cross, and was there commended to the care of the disciple whom Jesus loved: "Woman, behold thy son." And from that hour John assures us that he took her to his own abode. In the days succeeding the ascension of Christ Mary met with the disciples in the upper room,  Acts 1:14, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit with power. Such is all the authentic history we have of the "blessed among women," taught, as no other woman was, the hard lessons which were to guide her to her Son's eternal kingdom. Some of them were joyful; and some were very grievous; but she learned them thoroughly, fill she loved the Lord Jesus as her Saviour far more than as her  Song of Solomon 2:1-17. The wife of Cleophas, was present at the crucifixion and burial of our Lord,  Matthew 27:56;  Matthew 27:61, was among those who went to embalm him,  Mark 16:1-10, was among the earliest to whom the news of his resurrection was announced,  Luke 24:6;  Luke 24:10, and on her way to the disciples with the intelligence she met her risen Lord and worshipped him.  Matthew 28:1;  Matthew 9:3. The mother of John Mark,  Acts 12:12, and aunt to Barnabas,  Colossians 4:10, a godly woman residing at Jerusalem at whose house the disciples were convened the night Peter was miraculously delivered from prison. 4. The sister of Lazarus and Martha, and a devoted friend and disciple of our Saviour, from whom she received the testimony that she had chosen the good part which should not be taken from her.  Luke 10:41-42. Compared with her sister she appears of a more contemplative turn of mind and more occupied with the "one thing" needful.  John 11:1;  John 12:2. 5. Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Magdala.  Luke 8:2. The general impression that she was an unchaste woman is entirely without foundation. Having been cured of a demoniacal possession by our Saviour, she became his follower,  Luke 8:2-3. and showed her attachment to him to the last. She was at his crucifixion,  John 19:25, and burial,  Mark 15:47, and was among those who had prepared the materials to embalm him,  Mark 16:1, and who first went to the sepulchre after the resurrection; and she was the first to whom the risen Redeemer appeared,  Mark 16:9, and his conversation with her has an interest and pathos unsurpassed in history.  John 20:11 to  John 18:6. A Christian woman in Rome to whom Paul sends his salutation.  Romans 16:6.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [10]

Ma'ry. (A Tear). Mary of Cle'ophas. So in Authorized Version, but accurately "of Clopas," that is, the wife of Clopas (or Alphaeus). She is brought before us for the first time on the day of the crucifixion, standing by the cross.  John 19:25.

In the evening of the same day, we find her sitting desolate at the tomb with Mary Magdalene,  Matthew 27:61;  Mark 15:47, and at the dawn of Easter morning, she was again there with sweet spices, which she had prepared on the Friday night,  Matthew 28:1;  Mark 16:1;  Luke 23:56, and was one of those who had "a vision of angels, which said that he was alive."  Luke 24:23.

She had four sons and at least three daughters. The names of the daughters are unknown to us; those of the sons are, James, Joses, Jude and Simon, two of whom became enrolled among the twelve apostles, See James the Less , and a third, See Simon , may have succeeded his brother in charge of the church of Jerusalem. By many, she is thought to have been the sister of the Virgin Mary.

2. A Roman Christian who is greeted by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans,  Romans 16:6, as having toiled hard for him.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

  • A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness ( Romans 16:6 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Mary'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Morrish Bible Dictionary [12]

    1. Mother of Mark. She is only mentioned as having a house at Jerusalem, in which a meeting for prayer was held when Peter was in prison.   Acts 12:12 .

    2. A Christian at Rome to whom Paul sent greetings: she had bestowed much labour on him and on others.   Romans 16:6 .

    Fausset's Bible Dictionary [13]

    A Roman Christian greeted in  Romans 16:16 as one "who bestowed much labour on you" (so the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts read for "us".) The only Jewish name in the list. Christianity binds all in one brotherhood; a Jewess labors much for the good of Rome, Judah's oppressor.

    Webster's Dictionary [14]

    (1): ( n.) Marrow.

    (2): ( interj.) See Marry.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

    ( Μαρία or Μαριάμ , from the Heb. מַרְיָם Miriam), the name of several females mentioned in the New Test.

    1. The wife of Joseph, and a lineal descendant of David (Matthew i); "the Mother of Jesus" ( Acts 1:14), and "Mary, his Mother" ( Matthew 2:11); in later times generally called the "Virgin Mary" but never so designated in Scripture. Little is known of this highly-favored individual, in whom was fulfilled the first prophecy made to man, that the "seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head" ( Genesis 3:15). As her history was of no consequence to Christianity, it is not given at large. Her genealogy is recorded by Luke (ch. 3), in order to prove the truth of the predictions which had foretold the descent of the Messiah from Adam through Abraham and David, with the design evidently of showing that Christ was of that royal house and lineage (comp. Davidson's Sacred hermeneutics, p. 589 sq.). Eusebius, the early ecclesiastical historian, although unusually lengthy upon "the name Jesus," and the genealogies in Matthew's and Luke's Gospels, throws no new light upon Mary's birth and parentage. The very simplicity of the evangelical record has no doubt been one cause of the abundance of the legendary matter of which she forms the central figure. Imagination had to be called in to supply a craving which authentic narrative did not satisfy. We shall give the account from both these sources somewhat in detail, with a full discussion of many interesting questions incidentally involved in their consideration. (See Mariolatry).

    I. Scriptural Statements.

    1. We are wholly ignorant of the circumstances and occupation of Mary's parents. If, as is most probable, the genealogy given by Luke is that of Mary (Greswell, etc.), her father's name was Heli, which is another form of the name given to her legendary father, Jehoiakim or Joachim. But if Jacob and Heli were the two sons of Matthan or Matthat, and if Joseph, being the son of the younger brother, married his cousin, the daughter of the elder brother (Hervey, Genealogies of our Lord Jesus Christ), her father was Jacob. (See Genealogy Of Our Lord) ). She was, like Joseph, of the tribe of Judah, and of the lineage of David ( Psalms 132:11;  Luke 1:32;  Romans 1:3). What was her relationship to the so-called "sister" named Mary ( John 19:25) is uncertain (see No. 3 below), but she was connected by marriage ( Συγγενής ,  Luke 1:36) with Elisabeth, who wsas of the tribe of Levi and of the lineage of Aaron.

    2. In the autumn of the year which is known as B.C. 7, Mary was living at Nazareth, probably at her parents' house, not having yet been taken by Joseph to his home. She was at this time betrothed to Joseph, and was therefore regarded by the Jewish law and custom as his wife, though he had not yet a husband's rights over her. (See Marriage). At this time the angel Gabriel came to her with a message from God,. and announced to her that she was to be the mother of the long-expected Messiah. He probably bore the form of an ordinary man, like the angels who manifested themselves to Gideon and to Manoah ( Judges 6:13). This would appear both from the expression Εἰσελθών , "he came in," and also from the fact of her being troubled, not at his presence, but at the meaning of his words. Yet one cannot but believe that there was a glory in his features which at once convinced Mary of the true nature of her visitor, entering as he did unannounced, apparently into her secret chamber most probably at the time of her devotions. The scene as well as the salutation is very similar to that recounted in the book of Daniel, "Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong!" ( Daniel 10:18-19). The exact meaning of Κεχαριτωμένη is "thou that hast had bestowed upon thee a free gift of grace." The A.V. rendering of "highly favored" is therefore very exact, and much nearer to the original than the "Gratia Plena" of the Vulgate, on which a huge and wholly unsubstantial edifice has been built by Romanist devotional writers. The next part of the salutation, "The Lord is with thee," would probably have been better translated, "The Lord be with thee." It is the same salutation as that with which the angel accosted Gideoi ( Judges 6:12). "Blessed art thou among women," is nearly the same expression as that used by Ozias to Judith ( Judges 13:18). Gabriel proceeds to instruct Mary that by the operation of the Holy Ghost the everlasting Son of the Father should be born of her; that in him the prophecies relative to David's throne and kingdom should be accomplished; and that his name was to be called Jesus. He further informs her, perhaps as a sign by which she might convince herself that his prediction with regard to herself would come true, that her relative Elisabeth was within three months of being delivered of a child.

    The angel left Mary, and she set off to visit Elisabeth either at Hebron or Juttah (whichever way we understand the Εἰς Τὴν Ὀρεινὴν Εἰς Πόλιν Ι᾿Ούδα ,  Luke 1:39), where the latter lived with her husband Zacharias, about twenty miles to the south of Jerusalem, and therefore at a very considerable distance from Nazareth. Immediately on her entrance into the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and had evidence of the truth of the angel's saying with regard to her cousin. She embodied her feelings of exultation and thankfulness in the hymn known ulnler the name of the Magnificat. Whether this was uttered by immediate inspiration, in reply to Elisabeth's salutation, or composed during her journey from Nazareth, or was written at a later period of her three months' visit at Hebron, does not appear with certainty. The hymn is founded on Hannah's song of thankfulness ( 1 Samuel 2:1-10), and exhibits an intimate knowledge of the Psalms, prophetical writings, and books of Moses, from which sources almost every expression in it is drawn. The most remarkable clause, "From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed," is borrowed from Leah's exclamation on the birth of Asher ( Genesis 30:13). The same sentiment and expression are also found in  Proverbs 31:28;  Malachi 3:12;  James 5:11. In the latter place the word Μακαρίζω is rendered with great exactness "count happy." The notion that there is conveyed in the word any anticipation of her bearing the title of "Blessed" arises solely from ignorance.

    Various opinions have been held as to the purpose of divine Wisdom in causing the Savior to be born of a betrothed rather than a disengaged virgin. It seems eminently seemly and decorous that the mother of the Messiah should have some one to vouch for her virginity, and to act as her protector and the foster-father of her child, and that he should be one who, as heir of the throne of David, would give to his adopted Son the legal rights to the same dignity, while of all persons he was the most interested in resisting the claims of a pretendar. Origen, following Ignatius, thinks it was in order to baffle the cunning of the devil, and keep him in ignorance of the fact of the Lord's advent.

    Mary returned to Nazareth shortly before the birth of John the Baptist, and continued living at her own home. In the course of a few months Joseph became aware that she was with child, and determined on giving her a bill of divorcement, instead of yielding her up to the law to suffer the penalty which he supposed that she had incurred. Being, however, warned and satisfied by an angel who appeared to him in a dream, he took her to his own house. It was soon after this, as it would seem, that Augustus's decree was promulgated, and Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to have their names enrolled in the registers (B.C. 6) by way of preparation for the taxing, which, however, was not completed till several years afterwards (A.D. 6), in the governorship of Quirinus. They reached Bethlehem, and there Mary brought forth the Savior of the world, and humbly laid him in a manger.

    Bethlehem stands on the narrow ridge of a long gray hill running east and west, and its position suggests the difficulty that a crowd of travelers would have in finding shelter within it. As early as the second century, a neighboring cave was fixed upon as the stable where Joseph abode, and where accordingly Christ was born and laid in the manger. The hill-sides are covered with vineyards, and a range of convents occupies the height, and encloses within it the cave of the nativity; but there are grassy slopes adjoining, where the shepherds may have kept watch over their flocks, seen the vision of the angelic hosts, and heard the divine song of "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will towards men." Full of wonder and hope, they sought the lowly sojourn of the Virgin, and there saw with their own eyes what the Lord had made known to them. But while they published abroad and spread the wondrous tale, Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

    3. The circumcision, the adoration of the wise men, and the presentation in the Temple, are rather scenes in the life of Christ than in that of his mother. The presentation in the temple might not take place till forty days after the birth of the child. During this period the mother, according to the law of Moses, was unclean (Leviticus 12). In the present case there could be no necessity for offering the sacrifice and making atonement beyond that of obedience to the Mosaic precept; but already he, and his mother for him, were acting upon the principle of fulfilling all righteousness. The poverty of Mary and Joseph, it may be noted, is shown by their making the offering of the poor. But though tokens of poverty attended her on this occasion, she was met by notes of welcome and hymns of grateful joy by the worthiest and most venerable of Jerusalem. Simeon, we know, was a just and devout man-one who waited for the consolation of Israel, and had revelations from the Holy Ghost; but tradition also says that he was the great rabbi Simeon, the son of Hillel, and father of Gamaliel, in whose days, according to the rabbins, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth took place (Rosenm Ü ller, quoted by Wordsworth). Anna, too, who had spent her long life in daily attendance at the worship of the Temple, was evidently the center of a devout circle, whose minds had been led by the study of Scripture to an expectation of redemption.

    Mary wondered when Simeon took her child into his arms, and received him as the promised salvation of the Lord, the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel; but it was the wonder of joy at the unexpected confirmation of the promise already given to her by the angel. The song of Simeon and the thanksgiving of Anna, like the wonder of the shepherds and the adoration of the magi, only incidentally refer to Mary. One passage alone in Simeon's address is specially directed to her: "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also." The exact purport of these words is doubtful. A common patristic explanation refers them to the pang of unbelief which shot through her bosom on seeing her Son expire on the cross (Tertullian, Origen, Basil, Cyril, etc.). By modern interpreters it is more commonly referred to the pangs of grief' which she experienced on witnessing the sufferings of her Son. In the flight into Egypt, Mary and the babe had the support and protection of Joseph, as well as in their return from thence in the following year, on the death of Herod the Great (B.C. 4). It appears to have been the intention of Joseph to settle at Bethlehem at this time, as his home at Nazareth had been broken up for more than a year; but on finding how Herod's dominions had been disposed of, he changed his mind and returned to his old place of abode, thinking that the child's life would be safer in the tetrarchy of Antipas than in that of Archelaus. It is possible that Joseph might have been himself a native of Bethlehem, and that before this time he had only been a visitor at Nazareth, drawn thither by his betrothal and marriage. In that case, his fear of Archelaus would make him exchange his own native town for that of Mary.

    4. Henceforward, until the beginning of our Lord's ministry i.e. from B.C. 4 to A.D. 25-we may picture Mary to ourselves as living in Nazareth, in a humble sphere of life, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, pondering over the sayings of the angels, of the shepherds, of Simeon, and of those of her Son, as the latter "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" ( Luke 2:52). Two circumstances alone, so far as we know, broke in on the otherwise even flow of the still waters of her life. One of these was the temporary loss of her Son when he remained behind in Jerusalem (A.D. 8); the other was the death of Joseph. The exact date of this last event we cannot determine, but it w-as probably not long after the other. (See Joseph).

    5. From the time at which our Lord's ministry commenced, Mary is withdrawn almost wholly from sight. Four times only, as detailed below, is the veil removed which, surely not without reason, is thrown over her. If to these we add two references to her, the first by her Nazarene fellow- citizens ( Matthew 13:54-55;  Mark 6:13), the second by a woman in the multitude ( Luke 11:27). we have specified every event known to us in her life. It is noticeable that, on every occasion of our Lord's addressing her, or speaking of her, there is a sound of reproof in his words, with the exception of the last words spoken to her from the cross.

    (1.) The marriage at Cana in Galilee (John 2) took place in the few months which intervened between the baptism of Christ and the Passover of the year 26. When Jesus was found by his mother and Joseph in the Temple in the year 8, we find him repudiating the name of "father" as applied to Joseph. " Thy Father and I have sought thee sorrowing." "How is it that ve sought me? Wist ye not that I must be at [not Joseph's and yours, but] my Father's house?" ( Luke 2:48-49). Now, in like manner, at his first miracle, which inaugurates his ministry, he solemnly withdraws himself from the authority of his earthly mother. This is Augustine's explanation of the "What have I to do with thee? my hour is not yet come." It was his humanity, not his divinity, which came from Mary. While, therefore, he was acting in his divine character, he could not acknowledge her, nor does he acknowledge her again until he was hanging on the cross, when, in that nature which he took from her, he was about to submit to death (St. Aug. Conmn. in Joan. Evang. tract 8, vol. 3, p. 1455 [Paris, 1845, edit. Migne]). That the words Τί Ἐμοὶ Καὶ Σοί ;= מה לי יל imply reproof, is certain (comp.  Matthew 8:29;  Mark 1:24; and Sept.,  Judges 11:12;  1 Kings 17:18;  2 Kings 3:13), and such is the patristic explanation of them (see Iren. Adv. Haer. 3:18; Apuld Bibl. Pair. Alax. tom. ii, part ii, p. 293; St. Chrysost. Hom. In Joan. 21). But the reproof is of a gentle kind (Trench. On The Miracles, p. 102 [London, 1856]; Alford, Comm. ad loc.; Wordsworth, Comm. ad loc.). Mary seems to have understood it, and accordingly to have drawn back, desiring the servants to pay attention to her divine Son (Olshausen, Comm. ad loc.). The modern Romanist translation, "What is that to me and to thee?" is not a mistake, because it is a wilful misrepresentation (Douay version; Orsini, Life Of Mary, etc.; see The Catholic Layman, p. 117 [Dublin, 1852]). Lightfoot supposes the marriage to have taken place in the house of Alphaeus, Mary's brother-in-law, as his son Simon is called the Canaanite, or man of Cana. But this term rather describes him as a former Zealot. (See Zelotes).

    It is clear that Mary felt herself to be invested with some authority in the house. Jesus was naturally there as her Son, and the disciples as those whom he had called and adopted as his especial friends. As yet, the Lord had done no miracle; and it has been questioned whether Mary, in drawing his attention to the failure of the wine, meant to invoke his miraculous powers, or merely to submit the fact to his judgment, that he might do what was best under the circumstances either withdrawing from the feast with his disciples, or engaging the attention of the guests by his discourse. The better opinion, however, seems to be that she knew he was about now to enter on his public ministry, and that miracles would be wrought by him in proof of his divine mission; and the early fathers do not scruple to say that a desire to gain Eclat by the powers of her Son was one motive for her wish that he should supply the deficiency of the wine, and that by his reply he meant to condemn this feeling.

    (2.) Capernaum ( John 2:12) and Nazareth ( Matthew 4:13;  Matthew 13:54;  Mark 6:1) appear to have been the residence of Mary for a considerable period. The next time that she is brought before us we find her at Capernaum ( Matthew 12:46;  Mark 3:21;  Mark 3:31;  Luke 8:19). It is the autumn of the year 27-a year and a half after the miracle wrought at the marriage-feast in Cana. The Lord had in the mean time attended two feasts of the Passover, and had twice made a circuit throughout Galilee, teaching and working miracles. His fame had spread, and crowds came pressing round him, so that he had not even time "to eat bread." Mary was still living with her other sons, and with James, Joses Simon, Jude, and their sisters ( Matthew 13:55); and she and they heard of the toils which he was undergoing, and they understood that he was denying himself every relaxation from his labors. Their human affection conquered their faith. They thought that he was killing himself, and, with an indignation arising from love, they exclaimed that he was beside himself, and set off to bring him home either by entreaty or compulsion. He was surrounded by eager crowds, and they could not reach him. They therefore sent a message, begging him to allow them to speak to him.

    This message was handed on from one person in the crowd to another, till at length it was reported aloud to him. Again he reproves; again he refuses to admit any authority on the part of his relatives, or any privilege on account of their relationship. "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" ( Matthew 12:48-49). Compare Theoph. In Marc. 3:32; St. Chrys. Lonz. 44 in Matt.; St. Aug. In Joan. tract x, who all of them point out that the blessedness of Mary consists, not so much in having borne Christ, as in believing on him and in obeying his words (see also Quaest. Et Resp. Ad Orthodox. 136; Ap. St. Just. Mart. in the Bibl. A. Pax Tr. tom. ii, pt. ii, p. 138). This, indeed, is the lesson taught directly by our Lord himself in the next passage in which reference is made to Mary. In the midst or at the completion of one of his addresses on the same occasion, a woman of the multitude, whose soul had been stirred by his words, cried out, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked!" Immediately the Lord replied, "Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it" ( Luke 11:27). He does not either affirm or deny anything with regard to the direct bearing of the woman's exclamation, but passes that by as a thing indifferent, in order to point out in what alone the true blessedness of his mother and of all consists. This is the full force of the Μενοῦνγε with which he commences his reply.

    (3.) The next scene in Mary's life brings us to the foot of the cross. She was standing there with her sister Mary and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women, having no doubt followed her Son as she was able throughout the terrible morning of Good Friday. It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and he was about to give up his spirit. His divine mission was now, as it were, accomplished. While his ministry was in progress he had withdrawn himself from her that he might do his Father's work. But now the hour had come when his human relationship might again be recognized, "Tune enim agnovit," says Augustine, "quando illud quod peperit moriebatur" (St. Aug. In Joan. 9). Standing near the company of the women was the apostle John, and, with almost his last words, Christ commended his mother to the care of him who had borne the name of "the Disciple whom Jesus loved:" "Woman, behold thy Son." "Commendat homo homini hominem," says Augustine. From that hour John assures us that he took her to his own abode. If by "that hour" the evangelist means immediately after the words were spoken, Mary was not present at the last scene of all. The sword had sufficiently pierced her soul, and she was spared the hearing of the last loud cry, and the sight of the bowed head. Ambrose considers the chief purpose of our Lord's words to have been a desire to make manifest the truth that the redemption was his work alone, while he gave human affection to his mother. "Non egebat adjutore ad omniurn redemptionem. Suscepit qnidem matris affectum, sed non quaesivit hominis auxilium" (St. Amb. Expos. Evang. Luc. 10:132). But it is more probable that she continued at the spot till all was over. See Crucifixion

    (4.) A veil is drawn over her sorrow, and over her joy which succeeded that sorrow. Medieval imagination has supposed, but Scripture does not state, that her Son appeared to Mary after his resurrection from the dead. (See, for example, Ludolph of Saxony, Vita Christi [Lyons, 1642], p. 666; and Rupert., De Divinis Officis [Venice, 1751], 7:25, tom. 4, p. 92). Ambrose is considered to be the first writer who suggested the idea, and reference is made to his treatise De Virginitate, 1:3; but it is quite certain that the text has been corrupted, and that it is of Mary Magdalene that he is there speaking. (Comp. his Exposition Of St. Luke, 10:156. See note of the Benedictine edition [Paris, 1790], 2:217.) Another reference is usually given to Anselm. The treatise quoted is not Anselm's, but Eadmer's. (See Eadmer, De Excellentia Mariae, chap. v, appended to Anselm's Works [Paris, 1721 ], p. 138.) Ten appearances are related by the evangelists as having occurred in the forty slays intervening between Easter and Ascension Day, but none to Mary. She was doubtless living at Jerusalem with John, cherished with the tenderness which her tender soul would have specially needed, and which undoubtedly she found pre-eminently in John. We have no record of her presence at the Ascension. Arator, a writer f the 6th century, describes her as being at the time not on the spot, but in Jerusalem (Arat. De Act. post. 1. 50, apud Migne, 68. 95 [Paris, 1848], quoted by Wordsworth, Gk. Test. Com. on the Acts, 1:14). We have no account of her being present at the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. What we do read of her is, that she remained steadfast in prayer in the upper room at Jerusalem with Mary Magdalene and Salome, and those known as the Lord's brothers and the apostles ( Acts 1:14). This is the last view that we have of her. Holy Scripture leaves her engaged in prayer (see Wordsworth, as cited above).

    6. From this point forwards we know nothing of her. It is probable that the rest of her life was spent in Jerusalem with John (see Epiph. Haer. 78). According to one tradition, the beloved disciple would not leave Palestine until she had expired in his arms (see Tholuck, Light From The Cross, vol. 2, Serm. x, p. 234 [Edinb. 1857]); and it is added that she lived and died in the Coenaculum, in what is now the Mosque of the Tomb of David, the traditional chamber of the Last Supper (Stanley, S. and P. ch. 14, p.456). Other traditions make her journey with John to Ephesus, and there die in extreme old age. It was believed by some in the 5th century that she was buried at Ephesus (see Conc. Ephes., Conc. Labb. 3:574 a); by others, in the same century, that she was buried at Gethsenane, and this appears to have been the information given to Marcian and Pulcheria by Juvenal of Jerusalem. As soon as we lose the guidance of Scripture, we have nothing from which we can derive any sure knowledge about her. The darkness in which we are left is in itself most instructive.

    7. The Character of the Virgin Mary is not drawn by any of the evangelists, but some of its lineaments are incidentally manifested in the fragmentary record which is given of her. They are to be found for the most part in Luke's Gospel, whence an attempt has been made, by a curious mixture of the imaginative and rationalistic methods of interpretation, to explain the old legend which tells us that Luke painted the Virgin's portrait (Calmet, Kitto, Migne, Mrs. Jameson). We might have expected greater details from John than from the other evangelists, but in his Gospel we learn nothing of her except what may be gathered from the scene at Cana and at the cross. It is clear from Luke's account, though without any such intimation we might rest assured of the fact, that her youth had been spent in the study of the holy Scriptures, and that she had set before her the example of the holy women of the Old Testament as her model. This would appear from the Magnificat ( Luke 1:46). The same hymn, so far as it emanated from herself, would show no little power of mind as well as warmth of spirit. Her faith and humility exhibit themselves in her immediate surrender of herself to the divine will, though ignorant how that will should be accomplished ( Luke 1:38); her energy and earnestness, her journey from Nazareth to Hebron ( Luke 1:39); her happy thankfulness, in her song of joy ( Luke 1:48); her silent, musing thoughtfulness, in her pondering over the shepherds' visit ( Luke 2:19), and in her keeping her Son's words in her heart ( Luke 2:51), though she could not fully understand their import. Again, her humility is seen in her drawing back, yet without anger, after receiving reproof at Cana, in Galilee ( John 2:5), and in the remarkable manner in which she shuns putting herself forward throughout the whole of her Son's ministry, or after his removal from earth. Once only does she attempt to interfere with her divine Son's freedom of action ( Matthew 12:46;  Mark 3:31;  Luke 8:19); and even here we can hardly blame, for she seems to have been roused, not by arrogance and by a desire to show her authority and relationship, as Chrysostom supposes (Hom. 44 In Matt.), but by a woman's and a mother's feelings of affection and fear for him whom she loved. It was part of that exquisite tenderness which appears throughout to have belonged to her. In a word, so far as Mary is portrayed to us in Scripture, she is, as we should have expected, the most tender, the most faithful, humble, patient, and loving of women, but a woman still. See Niemeyer, Charakt. 1:58.

    II. Christian Legends. These, as might naturally be expected, played an important part in the traditional history of Mary. They began to appear probably in the early part of the 3d century, and were usually published under false names. Of these the apocryphal writings called the Protevangeliumn and the Gospel Of The Birth Of Mary are among the earlier specimens. We give at considerable length their conntents on this head.

    1. The Early Life Of Mary . According to these apocryphal accounts, Joachim and Anna were both of the house of David. The abode of the former was Nazareth, the latter passed her early years at Bethlehem. They lived piously in the sight of God, and faultlessly before man, dividing their substance into three portions, one of which they devoted to the service of the Temple, another to the poor, and the third to their own wants. So twenty years of their lives passed silently away. But at the end of this period Joachim went to Jerusalem with some others of his tribe, to make his usual offering at the Feast of the Dedication. It chanced that Issachar was high-priest (Gospel of Birth of Mary); that Reuben was high-priest (Protevangelion). The high-priest scorned Joachim, and drove him roughly away, asking how he dared to present himself in company with those who had children, while he had none; and he refused to accept his offerings until he should have begotten a child, for the Scripture said, "Cursed is every one who does not beget a man-child in Israel." Joachim was ashamed before his friends and neighbors, and he retired into the wilderness and fixed his tent there, and fasted forty days and forty nights. At the end of this period an angel appeared to him, and told him that his wife should conceive, and should bring forth a daughter, and he should call her name Mary. Anna meantime was much distressed at her husbands's absence, and being reproached by her maid Judith with her barrenness, she was overcome with grief of spirit. In her sadness she went into her garden to walk, dressed in her wedding-dress. She there sat down under a laurel-tree, and looked up and spied among the branches a sparrow's nest, and she bemoaned herself as more miserable than the very birds, for they were fruitful and she was barren; and she prayed that she might have a child, even as Sarai was blessed with Isaac. At this moment two angels appeared to her, and promised her that she should have a child who should be spoken of in all the world. Joachim returned joyfully to his home, and when the time was accomplished Anna brought forth a daughter, and they called her name Mary. Now the child Mary increased in strength day by day, and at nine months of age she walked nine steps. When she was three years old her parents brought her to the Temple, to dedicate her to the Lord. There were fifteen stairs up to the Temple, and, while Joseph and Mary were changing their dress, she walked up them without help; and the high-priest placed her upon the third step of the altar, and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her. Then Mary remained at the Temple until she was twelve (Prot.), fourteen (G. B. M.), years old, ministered to by the angels, an aadvancing in perfection as in vears. At this time the high- priest commanded all the virgins that were in the Temple to return to their homes and to be married. But Mary refused, for she said that she had vowed virginity to the Lord.

    Thus the high-priest was brought into a perplexity, and he had recourse. to God to inquire what he should do. Then a voice from the ark answered him (G. B. M.), an angel spake unto him (Prot.); and they gathered together all the widowers in Israel (Prot.), all the marriageable men of the house of David (G. B. M.), and desired them to bring each man his rod. Among them came Joseph and brought his rod, but he shunned to present it, because he was an old man and had children. Therefore the other rods were presented and no sign occurred. Then it was found that Joseph had not presented his rod; and behold, as soon as he had presented it, a dove came forth from the rod and flew upon the head of Joseph (Prot.); a dove came from heaven and pitched on the rod (G. B. M.). So Joseph, in spite of his reluctance, was compelled to betroth himself to Mary, and he returned to Bethlehem to make preparations for his marriage (G. B. M.); he betook himself to his occupation of building houses (Prot.); while Mary went back to her parents' house in Galilee. Then it chanced that the priests needed a new veil for the Temple, and seven virgins cast lots to make different parts of it; and the lot to spin the true purple fell to Mary. As she went out with a pitcher to draw water, she heard a voice saying to her, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women!" and she looked round with trembling to see whence the voice came; and she laid down the pitcher and went into the house, and took the purple and sat down to work at it. But behold the angel Gabriel stood by her and filled the chamber with prodigious light, and said, "Fear not," etc.

    When Mary had finished the purple, she took it to the high-priest; and, having received his blessing, went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, and returned back again. Then Joseph returned to his home from building houses (Prot.); came into Galilee, to marry the Virgin to whom he was betrothed (G. B. M.), and finding her with child, he resolved to put her away privately; but being warned in a dream, he relinquished his purpose and took her to his house. Then came Annas the scribe to visit Joseph, and he went back and told the priest that Joseph had committed a great crime, for he had privately married the Virgin whom he had received out of the Temple, an d had not made it known to the children of Israel. So the priest sent his servants, and they found that she was with child; and he called them to him, and Joseph denied that the child was his, and the priest made Joseph drink the bitter water of trial ( Numbers 5:18), and sent him to a mountainous place to see what would follow. But Joseph returned in perfect health, so the priest sent them away to their home. Then after three months Joseph put Mary on an ass to go to Bethlehem to be taxed; and as they were going, Mary besought him to take her down, and Joseph took her down and carried her into a cave, and, leaving her there with his sons, he went to seek a midwife. As he went he looked up, and he saw the clouds astonished and all creatures amazed. The fowls stopped in their flight; the working people sat at their food, but did not eat; the sheep stood still; the shepherds' lifted hands became fixed; the kids were touching the water with their mouths, but did not drink. A midwife came down from the mountains, and Joseph took her with him to the cave, and a bright cloud overshadowed the cave, and the cloud became a great light, and when the bright light faded there appeared an infant at the breast of Mary. Then the midwife went out and told Salome that a Virgin had brought forth, and Salome would not believe; and they came back again into the cave, and Salome received satisfaction, but her hand withered away, nor was it restored until, by the command of an angel, she touched the child, whereupon she was straightway cured. See Giles, Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, p. 33- 47 and 66-81 (Lond. 1852); Jones, On the New Testament, vol. 2, ch. 13 and 15 (Oxf. 1827); Thilo, Codex Apocryphus; also Vitae glorississimae Matris Anno peir F. Petrum Doriando, appended to Ludolph of Saxony's Vita Christi (Lyons, 1642); and a most audacious Historia Christi, written in Persian by the Jesuit P. Jerome Xavier, and exposed by Louis de Dieu (Lugd. Bat. 1639).

    Three spots lay claim to be the scene of the Annunciation. Two of these are, as was to be expected, in Nazareth, and one, as every one knows, is in Italy. The Greeks and Latins each claim to be the guardians of the true spot in Palestine; the third claimant is the holy house of Loretto. The Greeks point out the spring of water mentioned in the Protevangelion as confirmatory of their claim. The Latins have engraved on a marble slab in the grotto of their convent in Nazareth the words Verbum hic caro factum est, and point out the pillar which marks the spot where the angel stood; while the head of their Church is irretrievably committed to the wild legend of Loretto. See Stanley, S. and P. ch. 14.

    In the Gospel of the Infancy, which seems to date from the 2d century, innumerable miracles are made to attend on Mary and her Son during their sojourn in Egypt, e.g. Mary looked with pity on a woman who was possessed, and immediately Satan came out of her in the form of a young man, saying, "Woe is me because of thee, Mary, and thy Son!" On another occasion they fell in with two thieves, named Titus and Dumachus; and Titus was gentle and Dumachus was harsh: the Lady Mary therefore promised Titus that God should receive him on his right hand. Accordingly, thirty-three years afterwards, Titus was the penitent thief who was crucified on the right hand, and Dumachus was crucified on the left. These are sufficient as samples. Throughout the book we find Mary associated with her Son, in the strange freaks of power attributed to them, in a way which shows us whence the cultus of Mary took its origin. See Jones, On the New Test. vol. 2 (Oxf. 1827); Giles, Codex Apocryphus; Thilo, Codex Apocryphus.

    2. Mary'S Later Life. The foregoing legends of Mary's childhood may be traced back as far as the third or even the second century. Those of her death are probably of a later date. The chief legend was for a length of time considered to be a veritable history, written by Melito, bishop of Sardis, in the 2d century. It is to be found in the Bibliotheca Maxima (tom. 2, pt. 2, p. 212), entitled Sancti Melitonis Episcopi Sardensis de Transitu Virginis Marice Liber; and there certainly existed a book with this title at the end of the 5th century, which was condemned by Pope Gelasius as apocryphal (Op. Gelas. apud Migne, 59:152). Another form of the same legend has been published at Elberfeld, in 1854, by Maximilian Enger in Arabic. He supposes that it is an Arabic translation from a Syriac original. It was found in the library at Bonn, and is entitled Joannis Apostoli de Transitu Beattae Marice Virginis Liber. It is perhaps the same as that referred to in Assemani (Biblioth. Orient. [Rome, 1725], 3:287), under the name of listoria Dormsitionis et Assumptionis B. Mariae Virginis Joanni Evangeliste falso inscripta. We give the substance of the legend with its main variations.

    When the apostles separated in order to evangelize the world, Mary continued to live with John's parents in their house near the Mount of Olives, and every day she went out to pray at the tomb of Christ, and at Golgotha. But the Jews had placed a watch to prevent prayers being offered at these spots, and the watch went into the city and told the chief priests that Mary came daily to pray. Then the priests commanded the watch to stone her. At this time, however, king Abgarus wrote to Tiberius to desire him to take vengeance on the Jews for slaying Christ. They feared, therefore, to add to his wrath by slaying Mary also, and yet they could not allow her to continue her prayers at Golgotha, because an excitement and tumult was thereby made. Accordingly, they went and spoke softly to her, and she consented to. go and dwell in Bethlehem; and thither she took with her three holy virgins who should attend upon her. In the twenty-second year after the ascension of the Lord, Mary felt her heart burn with an inexpressible longing to be with her Son; and behold an angel appeared to her, and announced to her that her soul should be taken up from her body on the third day, and he placed a palm-branch from paradise in her hands, and desired that it should be carried before her bier. Mary besought that the apostles might be gathered round her before she died, and the angel replied that they should come.

    Then the Holy Spirit caught up John as he was preaching at Ephesus, and Peter as he was offering sacrifice at Rome, and Paul as he was disputing with the Jews near Rome, and Thomas in the extremity of India, and Matthew and James: these were all of the apostles who were still living; then the Holy Spirit awakened the dead, Philip and Andrew, and Luke and Simon, and Mark and Bartholomew; and all of them were snatched away in a bright cloud and found themselves at Bethlehem. Angels and powers without number descended from heaven and stood round about the house; Gabriel stood at blessed Mary's head, and Michael at her feet, and they fanned her with their wings; and Peter and John wiped away her tears; and there was a great cry, and they all said "Hail, blessed one! blessed is the fruit of thy womb!" The people of Bethlehem brought their sick to the house, and they were all healed. Then news of these things was carried to Jerusalem, and the king sent and commanded that they should bring Mary and the disciples to Jerusalem. Accordingly, horsemen came to Bethlehem to seize Mary, but they did not find her, for the Holy Spirit had taken her and the disciples in a cloud over the heads of the horsemen to Jerusalem. Then the men of Jerusalem saw angels ascending and descending at the spot where Mary's house was. But the high-priests went to the governor, and craved permission to burn her and the house with fire, and the governor gave them permission, and they brought wood and fire; but as soon as they came near to the house, behold there burst forth a fire upon them which consumed them utterly. Now the governor saw these things afar off, and in the evening he brought his son, who was sick, to Mary, and she healed him.

    Then, on the sixth day of the week, the Holy Spirit commanded the apostles to take up Mary, and to carry her from Jerusalem to Gethsemane, and as they went the Jews saw them. Then drew near Juphia, one of the high-priests, and attempted to overthrow the litter on which she was carried, for the other priests had conspired with him, and they hoped to cast her down into the valley, and to throw wood upon her, and to burn her body with fire. But as soon as Juphia had touched the litter the angel smote off his arms with a fiery sword, and the arms remained fastened to the litter. Then he cried to the disciples and Peter for help, and they said, "Ask it of the Lady Mary;" and he cried, "Lady, O Mother of Salvations, have mercy on me!" Then she said to Peter, "Give him back his arms;" and they were restored whole. But the disciples proceeded onwards, and they laid down the litter in a cave, as they were commanded, and gave themselves to prayer.

    Now the angel Gabriel announced that on the first day of the week Mary's soul should be removed from this world. So on the morning of that day there came Eve, and Anne, and Elisabeth, and they kissed Mary, and told her who they were: there came Adam. Seth, Shem, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and the rest of the old fathers: there came Enoch, and Elias, and Moses: there came twelve chariots of angels innumerable: and then appeared the Lord Christ in his humanity, and Mary bowed before him and said, "O my Lord and my God, place thy hand upon me;" and he stretched out his hand and blessed her; and she took his hand and kissed it, and placed it to her forehead, and said, "I bow before this right hand, which has made heaven and earth, and all that in them is, and I thank thee and praise thee that thou hast thought me worthy of this hour." Then she said, "O Lord, take me to thyself!" But he said to her, "Now shall thy body be in paradise to the day of the resurrection, and angels shall serve thee; but thy pure spirit shall shine in the kingdom, in the dwelling-place of my Father's fullness." Then the disciples drew near, and besought her to pria for the world which she was about to leave. So Mary prayed. After her prayer was finished her face shone with marvelous brightness, and she stretched out her hands and blessed them all; and her Son put forth his hands and received her pure soul, and bore it into his Father's treasure-house. Then there was a light and a sweet smell, sweeter than anything on earth; and a voice from heaven saving, "Hail, blessed one! blessed and celebrated art thou among women" (The legend ascribed to Melito makes her soul to be carried to paradise by Gabriel while her Son returns to heaven.)

    Now the apostles carried her body to the valley of Jehoshaphat, to a place which the Lord had told them of, and John went before and carried the palm-branch. There they placed her in a new tomb, and sat at the mouth of the sepulcher, as the Lord commanded them; and suddenly there appeared the Lord Christ surrounded by a multitude of angels, and said to the apostles, "What will ye that I should do with her whom my Father's command selected out of all the tribes of Israel that I should dwell in her?" So Peter and the apostles besought him that he would raise the body of Mary and take it with him in glory to heaven. Then the Savior said, Be it according to your word." So he commanded Michael the archangel to bring down the soul of Mary. Then Gabriel rolled away the stone, and the Lord said, "Rise up, my beloved, thy body shall not suffer corruption ill the tomb." Immediately Mary arose, and bowed herself at his feet and worshipped; and the Lord kissed her, and gave her to the angels to carry her to paradise.

    But Thomas was not present with the rest, for at the moment that he was summoned to come he was baptizing Polodius, who was the son of the sister of the king. And he arrived just after all these things were accomplished, and he demanded to see the sepulcher in which they had laid his Lady: "For ye know," said he, "that I am Thomas, and unless I see I will not believe." Then Peter arose in haste and wrath, and the other disciples with him, and they opened the sepulcher and went in; but they found nothing therein save that in which her body had been wrapped. Then Thomas confessed that he too, as he was borne in the cloud from India, had seen her holy body carried by the angels with great triumph into heaven; and that on his crying to her for her blessing, she had bestowed upon him her precious Girdle. which when the apostles saw they were glad. Then the apostles were carried back each to his own place. For the story of this Sacratissimo Cintolo, still preserved at Prato, see Mrs. Jameson's Legends of the Madonna, p. 344 (Lond. 1852).

    On this part of the legend, see generally Joannis Apostoli de Tran situ Benate Mariae Virginis Liber (Elberfeldae, 18.54); St. Aelitonis Episc. Sard. de Transitu V. M. Liber, apud Bibl. Malx. Pasr. tom. ii, pt.ii, p. 212 (Lugd. 1677); Jacobi a Voragine. Legenda. Aureas, ed. Graesse, ch. 119, p. 504 (Dresd. 1846); John Damasc. Serma. de Dorsit. Deiparce, in Opp. ii, p. 857 sq. (Venice, 1743); Andresw of Crete, In Dornmit. Deiparce Sersr. iii, p. 115 (Par. 1644); Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna (London, 1852); Butler, Lives of the Saints in Aug. 15; Dressel, Edita et inedita Epipahanii Monachi et Presbyteri, p. 105 (Paris, 1843).

    3. Her Assumption. The above story gradually gained credit. At the end of the 5th century we find that there existed a book, De Transitu Virginis Mariae, which was condemned by pope Gelasius as apocryphal. This book is without doubt the oldest form of the legend, of which the books ascribed to Melito and John are variations. Down to the end of the 5th century, the the story of the Assumption was external to the Church, and distinctly looked upon by the Church as belonging to the heretics and not to her. But then cam he the change of sentiment on this subject consequent on the Nestorian controversy. The desire to protest against the early fables which had been spread abroad by the heretics had now passed away, and had been succeeded by the desire to magnify her who had brought forth him who was God. Accordingly a writer, whose date Baronius fixes at about this time (Ann. Eccl. 1:347, Lucca, 1738), suggested the possibility of the Assumption, but declared his inability to decide the question. The letter in which this possibility or probability is thrown out came to be attributed to Jerome, and may still be found among his works, entitled Ad Paulam et Eustochium de Assumptione B. Virginis (v. 82, Paris, 1706). About the same time, probably, or rather later, an assertion (now recognized on all hands to be a forgery) was made in Eusebius's Chronicle, to the effect that "in the year A.D. 48 Mary the Virgin was taken up into heaven, as some wrote that they had had it revealed to them." Another tract was written to prove that the Assumption was not a thing in itself unlikely; and this came to be attributed to St. Augustine, and may be found in the appendix to his works; and a sermon, with a similar purport, was ascribed to St. Athanasius.

    Thus tie names of Eusebius, Jerome, Augustine, Athanasius, and others, came to be quoted as maintaining the truth of the Assumption. The first writers within the Church in whose extant writings we find the Assumption asserted, are Gregory of Tours in the 6th century, who has merely copied Melito's book, De Transitu (De Glor. Mart. lib. 1, c. 4; Migne, 71, p. 708); Andrew of Crete, who probably lived in the 7th century; and John of Damascus, who lived at the beginning of the 8th century. The last of these authors refers to the Euthymiac history as stating that Marcian and Pulcheria, being in search of the body of Mary, sent to Juvenal of Jerusalem to inquire for it. Juvenal replied, "In the holy and divinely-inspired Scriptures, indeed, nothing is recorded of the departure of the holy Mary, Mother of God. But from an ancient and most true tradition we have received, that at the time of her glorious falling asleep all the holy apostles, who were going through the world for the salvation of the nations, borne aloft in a moment of time, came together to Jerusalem; and when they were near her they had a vision of angels, and divine melody was heard; and then with divine and more than heavenly melody she delivered her holy soul into the hands of God in an unspeakable manner. But that which had borne God, being carried with angelic and apostolic psalmody, with funeral rites, was deposited in a coffin at Gethsemane. In this place the chorus and singing of the angels continued three whole days. But after three days, on the angelic music ceasing, those of the apostles who were present opened the tomb, as one of them, Thomas, had been absent, and on his arrival wished to adore the body which had borne God. But her all-glorious body they could not find; but they found the linen clothes lying, and they were filled with an ineffable odor of sweetness which proceeded from them. Then they closed the coffin. And they were astonished at the mysterious wonder, and they came to no other conclusion than that he who had chosen to take flesh of the Virgin Mary, and to become a man, and to be born of her God the Word, the Lord of Glory and had preserved her virginity after birth, was also pleased, after her departure, to honor her immaculate and unpolluted body with incorruption, and to translate her before the common resurrection of all men" (St. Joan. Damas. (Op. 2:880, Venice, 1748). It is quite clear that this is the same legend as that which we have before given. Here, then, we see it brought over the borders and planted within the Church, if this "Euthymiac history" is to be accepted as veritable, by Juvenal of Jerusalem in the 5th century, or else by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century, or by Andrew of Crete in the 7th century, or, finally, by John of Damascus in the 8th century (see his three Homilies on the Sleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in his Opp. 2:857- 886). The same legend is given in a slightly different form as veritable history by Nicephorus Callistus in the 13th century (Niceph. 1:171, Paris, 1630); and the fact of the Assumption is stereotyped in the Breviary services for August 15 (Brev. Rom. Pars cest. p. 551, Milan, 1851). Here again, then, we see a legend originated by heretics, and remaining external to the Church till the close of the 5th century, creeping into the Church during the 6th and 7th centuries, and finally ratified by the authority both of Rome and Constantinople. See Baronius, Anmn. Eccl. (1:344, Lucca, 1738) and Martyrologium (p. 314, Paris, 1607).

    4. On the dogma of Mary's sinlessness, (See Immaculate Conception). On her worship, (See Mariolatry). On the alleged transportation of her dwelling to Italys (See Loretto).

    III. Jewish Traditions. These are of a very different nature from the light-hearted fairy-tale-like stories which we have recounted above. We should expect that the miraculous birth of our Lord would be an occasion of scoffing to the unbelieving Jews, and we find this to be the case. We have already a hint during our Lord's ministry of the Jewish calumnies as to his birth. "We ( Ἡμεῖς ) be not born of fornication" ( John 8:41), seems to be an insinuation on the Jews' part that He was. To the Christian believer the Jewish slander becomes in the present case only a confirmation of his faith. The most definite and outspoken of these slanders is that which is contained in the book called תולרות ישוע , or Toledoth Jesu. It was grasped at with avidity by Voltaire, and declared by him to be the most ancient Jewish writing directed against Christianity, and apparently of the first century. It was written, he says, before the Gospels, and is altogether contrary to them (Lettre Sur Les Juifs). It is proved by Ammon (Biblisch. Theologie, p. 263, Erlang. 1801) to be a composition of the 13th century, and by Wagenseil (Tela Ignea Satanae; Confut. Libr. Toldos Jeschu, p. 12, Altorf, 1681) to be irreconcilable until the earlier Jewish tales. In the Gospel of Nicodemus, otherwise called the Acts of Pilate, we find the Jews represented as charging our Lord with illegitimate birth (c. 2). The date of this Gospel is about the end of the third century. The origin of the charge is referred with great probability by Thilo (Codex Apocsr. p. 527, Lips. 1832) to the circular letters of the Jews mentioned by Grotius (ad  Matthew 27:63, et ad Act. Apost. 28:22; Op. 2:278 and 666, Basil. 1732), which were sent from Palestine to all the Jewish synagogues after the death of Christ, with the view of attacking "the lawless and atheistic sect which had taken its origin from the deceiver Jesus of Galilee" (Justin, adv. Tryph.). The first time that we find it openly proclaimed is in an extract made by Origen from the work of Celsus, which he is refuting. Celsus introduces a Jew declaring that the mother of Jesus was repudiated by her husband for adultery ( Ὑπὸ Τοῦ Γήμαντος , Τέκτονος Τὴν Τέχνην Ὄντος . Ἐξεῶσθαι , Ἐλεγχθεῖσαν Ὡς Μεμοεχευμένην , Contra Celsum, c. 28, Origenis Opera, 18:59, Berlin, 1845; again, Τοῦ Ιησοῦ Μήτηρ Κύουσα , Έξωσθεῖσα Ὑπὸ Τοῦ Μνηστευσαμένου Αὐτὴν Τέκτονος , Ἐλεγχθεῖσα Ἐπὶ Μοιχείᾷ Καὶ Τίκτουσα Ἀπό Τινος Στρατιώτου Πανθήρα Τοὔνομα , ibid. 32).

    Stories to the same effect may be found in the Talmud-not in the Mishna, which dates from the 2d century, but in the Gemara, which is of the 5th or 6th (see Tract. Sanhedrin, cap. 7, fol. 67, Colossians 1; Shabbath, cap. 12, fol. 104, Colossians 2; and the Midrash Koheleth, cap. 10:5). Rabanus Maurus, in the 9th century, refers to the same story: "Jesum filium Ethnici cujusdam Pandera adulteri, more latronum punitum esse." Lightfoot quotes the same story from the Talmudists (Exercit. at  Matthew 27:56), who, he says, often vilify Mary under the name of Satdah; and he cites a story in which she is called Mary the daughter of Heli, and is represented as hanging in torment among the damned, with the great bar of hell's gate hung at her ear (ibid. at  Luke 3:23). We then come to the Toledoth Jesu, in which these caltmunies were intended to be summed up and harmonized. In the year 4671, the story runs, in the reign of king Jannaeus, there was one Joseph Pandera who lived at Bethlehem. In the same village there was a widow who had a daughter named Miriam, who was betrothed to a God- fearing man named Johanan. Now it came to pass that Joseph Pandera meeting with Miriam when it was dark, deceived her into the belief that he was Johanan her husband. So after three months Johanan consulted rabbi Sirmeon Shetachides what he should do with Miriam, and the rabbi advised him to bri

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

    mā´ri , mâr´i ( Μαρία , Marı́a , Μαριάμ , Mariám , Greek form of Hebrew מרים , miryām ):

    I. Definition And Questions Of Identificati ON

    The Name Mary in the New Testament

    II. Mary , The Virgin

    1. Mary in the Infancy Narratives

    2. Mary at Cana

    3. Mary and the Career of Jesus

    4. Mary at the Cross

    5. Mary in the Christian Community

    6. Mary in Ecclesiastical Doctrine and Tradition

    (1) Legend

    (2) Dogma

    (a) The Dogma of Her Sinlessness

    (b) Dogma of Mary's Perpetual Virginity

    (c) Doctrine of Mary's Glorification as the Object of Worship and Her Function as Intercessor

    (3) Conclusion

    III. Mary Magdalene

    1. Mary Not the Sinful Woman of  Luke 7

    2. Mary Not a Nervous Wreck

    IV. Mary Of Bethany

    1. Attack upon Luke's Narrative

    2. Evidence of Luke Taken Alone

    3. Evidence Sifted by Comparison

    4. Character of Mary

    V. Mary , The Mother Of James And Joses

    VI. Mary , The Mother Of John Mark

    I. Definition and Questions of Identification.

    A H ebrew feminine proper name of two persons in the Old Testament (see  Exodus 15:20;  Numbers 12:1;  Micah 6:4;  1 Chronicles 4:17 ) and of a number not certainly determined in the New Testament. The prevalence of the name in New Testament times has been attributed, with no great amount of certainty, to the popularity of Mariamne, the last representative of the Hasmonean family, who was the second wife of Herod I.

    The Name Mary in the New Testament:

    (1) The name Mary occurs in 51 passages of the New Testament to which the following group of articles is confined (see Miriam ). Collating all these references we have the following apparent notes of identification: ( a ) Mary, the mother of Jesus; ( b ) Mary Magdalene; ( 100 ) Mary, the mother of James; ( d ) Mary, the mother of Joses; ( e ) Mary, the wife of Clopas; ( f ) Mary of Bethany; ( g ) Mary, the mother of Mark; ( h ) Mary of Rome; ( i ) the "other" Mary.

    (2) A comparison of  Matthew 27:56;  Matthew 28:1 with   Mark 15:47 seems clearly to identify the "other" Mary with Mary the mother of Joses.

    (3)  Mark 15:40 identifies Mary the mother of James and Mary the mother of Joses (compare   Mark 15:47 ) (see Allen's note on  Matthew 27:56 ).

    (4) At this point a special problem of identification arises. Mary, the wife of Clopas, is mentioned as being present at the cross with Mary the mother of Jesus, the latter's sister and Mary of Magdala ( John 19:25 ). In the other notices of the group at the cross, Mary, the mother of James, is mentioned ( Matthew 27:56;  Mark 15:40 ). Elsewhere, James is regularly designated "son of Alpheus" ( Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:15 ). Since it can hardly be doubted that James, the apostle, and James the Less, the son of Mary, are one and the same person, the conclusion seems inevitable that Mary, the mother of James, is also the wife of Alpheus. Here we might stop and leave the wife of Clopas unidentified, but the fact that the name Alpheus (Ἀλφαῖος , Alphaı́os ) is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic חלפּי , ḥalpay , together with the unlikelihood that anyone important enough to be mentioned by John would be omitted by the synoptists and that another Mary, in addition to the three definitely mentioned, could be present and not be mentioned, points to the conclusion that the wife of Clopas is the same person as the wife of Alpheus (see Alphaeus ). Along with this reasonable conclusion has grown, as an excrescence, another for which there is no basis whatever; namely, that the wife of Clopas was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This would make the apostle James the cousin of Jesus, and, by an extension of the idea, would identify James, the apostle, with James, the "Lord's brother." The available evidence is clearly against both these inferences (see  Matthew 13:55;  Mark 6:3;  Galatians 1:19 ).

    (5) One other possible identification is offered for our consideration. Zahn, in an exceedingly interesting note ( New Testament , II, 514), identifies Mary of Rome (  Romans 16:6 ) with the "other" Mary of Matthew. We need not enter into a discussion of the point thus raised, since the identification of a woman of whom we have no details given is of little more than academic interest.

    We are left free, however, by the probabilities of the case to confine our attention to the principal individuals who bear the name of Mary. We shall discuss Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary of Magdala; Mary of Bethany; Mary, the mother of James and Joses; Mary, the mother of Mark.

    II. Mary, the Virgin.

    The biography of the mother of Jesus is gathered about a brief series of episodes which serve to exhibit her leading characteristics in clear light. Two causes have operated to distort and make unreal the very clear and vivid image of Mary left for us in the Gospels. Roman Catholic dogmatic and sentimental exaggeration has well-nigh removed Mary from history (see Immaculate Conception ). On the other hand, reaction and overemphasis upon certain features of the Gospel narrative have led some to credit Mary with a negative attitude toward our Lord and His claims, which she assuredly never occupied. It is very important that we should follow the narrative with unprejudiced eyes and give due weight to each successive episode.

    Mary appears in the following passages: the Infancy narratives,  Matthew 1,2;  Luke 1,2; the wedding at Cana of Galilee,  John 2:1-11; the episode of  Matthew 12:46;  Mark 3:21 ,  Mark 3:31 ff; the incident at the cross,   John 19:25 ff; the scene in the upper chamber,   Acts 1:14 .

    1. Mary in the Infancy Narratives:

    (1) It is to be noted, first of all, that Mary and her experiences form the narrative core of both Infancy documents. This is contrary to the ordinary opinion, but is unquestionably true. She is obviously the object of special interest to Luke (see Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 76 f), and there are not wanting indications that Luke's story came from Mary herself. But, while Matthew's account does not exhibit his interest in Mary quite so readily, that he was interested in the pathetic story of the Lord's mother is evident.

    Luke tells the story of Mary's inward and deeply personal experiences, her call ( Luke 1:26 f), her maidenly fears (  Luke 1:29 ,  Luke 1:35 ), her loyal submission ( Luke 1:38 ), her outburst of sacred and unselfish joy (1:39-55). From this anticipatory narrative he passes at once to the Messianic fulfillment.

    Matthew tells the story of the outward and, so to say, public experiences of Mary which follow hard upon the former and are in such dramatic contrast with them: the shame and suspicion which fell upon her ( Matthew 1:18 ); her bitter humiliation ( Matthew 1:19 ), her ultimate vindication ( Matthew 1:20 f). Here the two narratives supplement each other by furnishing different details but, as in other instances, converge upon the central fact - the central fact here being Mary herself, her character, her thoughts, her experiences. The point to be emphasized above all others is that we have real biography, although in fragments; in that the same person appears in the inimitable reality of actual characterization, in both parts of the story. This is sufficient guaranty of historicity; for no two imaginary portraits ever agreed unless one copied the other - which is evidently not the case here. More than this, the story is a truly human narrative in which the remarkable character of the events which took place in her life only serves to bring into sharper relief the simple, humble, natural qualities of the subject of them.

    (2) One can hardly fail to be impressed, in studying Mary's character with her quietness of spirit; her meditative inwardness of disposition; her admirable self-control; her devout and gracious gift of sacred silence. The canticle ( Luke 1:46-55 ), which at least expresses Luke's conception of her nature, indicates that she is not accustomed to dwell much upon herself (4 lines only call particular attention to herself), and that her mind is saturated with the spirit and phraseology of the Old Testament. The intensely Jewish quality of her piety thus expressed accounts for much that appears anomalous in her subsequent career as depicted in the Gospels.

    2. Mary at Cana:

    The first episode which demands our attention is the wedding at Cana of Galilee ( John 2:1-11 ). The relationship between Jesus and His mother has almost eclipsed other interests in the chapter. It is to be noted that the idea of wanton interference on the part of Mary and of sharp rebuke on the part of Jesus is to be decisively rejected. The key to the meaning of this episode is to be found in 4 simple items: (1) in a crisis of need, Mary turns naturally to Jesus as to the one from whom help is to be expected; (2) she is entirely undisturbed by His reply, whatever its meaning may be; (3) she prepares the way for the miracle by her authoritative directions to the servants; (4) Jesus does actually relieve the situation by an exercise of power. Whether she turned to Jesus with distinctly Messianic expectation, or whether Jesus intended to convey a mild rebuke for her eagerness, it is not necessary for us to inquire, as it is not possible for us to determine. It is enough that her spontaneous appeal to her Son did not result in disappointment, since, in response to her suggestion or, at least, in harmony with it, He "manifested his glory." The incident confirms the Infancy narrative in which Mary's quiet and forceful personality is exhibited.

    3. Mary and the Career of Jesus:

    In  Matthew 12:46 (parallel   Mark 3:31-35 ), we are told that, when His mother and His brethren came seeking Him, Jesus in the well-known remark concerning His true relatives in the kingdom of heaven intended to convey a severe rebuke to His own household for an action which involved both unbelief and presumptuous interference in His great life-work. The explanation of this incident, which involves no such painful implications as have become connected with it in the popular mind, is to be found in Mark's account. He interrupts his narrative of the arrival of the relatives (which belongs in  Mark 3:21 ) by the account of the accusation made by the scribes from Jerusalem that the power of Jesus over demons was due to Beelzebub. This goes a long way toward explaining the anxiety felt by the relatives of Jesus, since the ungoverned enthusiasm of the multitude. which gave Him no chance to rest and seemed to threaten His health, was matched, contrariwise, by the bitter, malignant opposition of the authorities, who would believe any malicious absurdity rather than that His power came from God. The vital point is that the attempt of Mary and her household to get possession of the person of Jesus, in order to induce Him to go into retirement for a time, was not due to captious and interfering unbelief, but to loving anxiety. The words of Jesus have the undoubted ring of conscious authority and express the determination of one who wills the control of his own life - but it is a serious mistake to read into them any faintest accent of satire. It has been well said (Horace Bushnell, Sermons on Living Subject , 30) that Jesus would scarcely make use of the family symbolism to designate the sacred relationships of the kingdom of heaven, while, at the same time, He was depreciating the value and importance of the very relationships which formed the basis of His analogy. The real atmosphere of the incident is very different from this.

    4. Mary at the Cross:

    To be sure that many have misinterpreted the above incident we need only turn to the exquisitely tender scene at the cross recorded by John ( John 19:25 ff). This scene, equally beautiful whether one considers the relationship which it discloses as existing between Jesus and His mother, or between Jesus and His well-beloved disciple removes all possible ambiguity which might attach to the preceding incidents, and reveals the true spirit of the Master's home. Jesus could never have spoken as He did from the cross unless He had consistently maintained the position and performed the duties of an eldest son. The tone and quality of the scene could never have been what it is had there not been a steadfast tie of tender love and mutual understanding between Jesus and His mother. Jesus could hand over His sacred charge to the trustworthy keeping of another, because He had faithfully maintained it Himself.

    5. Mary in the Christian Community:

    The final passage which we need to consider ( Acts 1:14 ) is especially important because in it we discover Mary and her household at home in the midst of the Christian community, engaged with them in prayer. It is also clear that Mary herself and the family, who seemed to be very completely under her influence, whatever may have been their earlier misgivings, never broke with the circle of disciples, and persistently kept within the range of experiences which led at last to full-orbed Christian faith. This makes it sufficiently evident, on the one hand, that the household never shared the feelings of the official class among the Jews; and, on the other, that the family of Jesus passed through the same cycle of experiences which punctuated the careers of the whole body of disciples on the way to faith. The beating of this simple but significant fact upon the historical trustworthiness of the body of incidents just passed in review is evident.

    The sum of the matter concerning Mary seems to be this: The mother of Jesus was a typical Jewish believer of the best sort. She was a deeply meditative, but by no means a daring or original thinker. Her inherited Messianic beliefs did not and perhaps could not prepare her for the method of Jesus which involved so much that was new and unexpected. But her heart was true, and from the beginning to the day of Pentecost, she pondered in her heart the meaning of her many puzzling experiences until the light came. The story of her life and of her relationship to Jesus is consistent throughout and touched with manifold unconscious traits of truth. Such a narrative could not have been feigned or fabled.

    6. Mary in Ecclesiastical Doctrine and Tradition:

    (1) Legend.

    The ecclesiastical treatment of Mary consists largely of legend and dogma, about equally fictitious and unreliable. The legendary accounts, which include the apocryphal gospels, deal, for the most part, with details tails of her parentage and early life; her betrothal and marriage to Joseph; her journey to Bethlehem and the birth of her child. At this point the legendary narratives, in their crass wonder-mongering and indelicate intimacy of detail, are in striking contrast to the chaste reserve of the canonical story, and of evidential value on that account.

    (2) Dogma.

    There is, in addition, a full-grown legend concerning Mary's later life in the house of John; of her death in which the apostles were miraculously allowed to participate; her bodily translation to heaven; her reception at the hands of Jesus and her glorification in heaven. In this latter series of statements, we have already made the transition from legend to dogma. It is quite clear, from the statements of Roman Catholic writers themselves, that no reliable historical data are to be found among these legendary accounts. The general attitude of modern writers is exhibited in the following sentences (from Wilhelm and Scannel, Manual of Catholic Theology , II, 220, quoted by Mayor, Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible , II, 288, note): "Mary's corporeal assumption into heaven is so thoroughly implied in the notion of her personality as given by Bible and dogma, that the church, can dispense with strict historical evidence of the fact." If that is the way one feels, there is very little to say about it. Aside from the quasi-historical dogma of Mary's bodily assumption, the Roman Catholic doctrinal interpretation of her person falls into three parts.

    (a) The Dogma of Her Sinlessness:

    This is discussed under Immaculate Conception (which see) and need not detain us here.

    (b) Dogma of Mary's Perpetual Virginity:

    It is evident that this, too, is a doctrine of such a nature that its advocates might, with advantage to their argument, have abstained from the appearance of critical discussion.

    Even if all the probabilities of exegesis are violated and the cumulative evidence that Mary had other children done away with; if the expression, "brethren of the Lord" is explained as "foster-brethren," "cousins" or what-not; if Jesus is shown to be not only "first-born" but "only-born" Son ( Luke 2:7 ); if the expression of  Matthew 1:25 is interpreted as meaning "up to and beyond" (Pusey, et al.; compare Roman Catholic Dict ., 604), it would still be as far as possible from a demonstration of the dogma. That a married woman has no children is no proof of virginity - perpetual or otherwise. That this thought has entered the minds of Roman Catholic apologists although not openly expressed by them, is evidenced by the fact that while certain forms of dealing with the "brethren-of-the-Lord" question make these the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, the favorite doctrine includes the perpetual virginity of Joseph. Just as the idea of the sinlessness of Mary has led to the dogma of the immaculate conception, so the idea of her perpetual virginity demands the ancillary notion of Joseph's. No critical or historical considerations are of any possible use here. It is a matter of dogmatic assumption unmixed with any alloy of factual evidence, and might better be openly made such.

    It is evident that a very serious moral issue is raised here. The question is not whether virginity is a higher form of life than marriage. One might be prepared to say that under certain circumstances it is. The point at issue here is very different. If Mary was married to Joseph and Joseph to Mary in appearance only, then they were recreant to each other and to the ordinance of God which made them one. How a Roman Catholic, to whom marriage is a sacrament, can entertain such a notion is an unfathomable mystery. The fact that Mary was miraculously the mother of the Messiah has nothing to do with the question of her privilege and obligation in the holiest of human relationships. Back of this unwholesome dogma are two utterly false ideas: that the marriage relationship is incompatible with holy living, and that Mary is not to be considered a human being under the ordinary obligations of human life.

    (c) Doctrine of Mary's Glorification as the Object of Worship and Her Function as Intercessor:

    With no wish to be polemic toward Roman Catholicism, and, on the contrary, with every desire to be sympathetic, it is very difficult to be patient with the puerilities which disfigure the writings of Roman Catholic dogmaticians in the discussion of this group of doctrines.

    (i) Take, for example, the crude literalism involved in the identification of the woman of  Revelation 12:1-6 with Mary. Careful exegesis of the passage (especially   Revelation 12:6 ), in connection with the context, makes it clear that no hint of Mary's status in heaven is intended. As a matter of fact, Mary, in any literal sense, is not referred to at all. Mary's motherhood along with that of the mother of Moses is very likely the basis of the figure, but the woman of the vision is the church, which is, at once, the mother and the body of her Lord (see Milligan, Expositors' Bible , "Revelation," 196 f).

    Three other arguments are most frequently used to justify the place accorded to Mary in the liturgy.

    (ii) Christ's perpetual humanity leads to His perpetual Sonship to Mary. This argument, if it carries any weight at all, in this connection, implies that the glorified Lord Jesus is still subject to His mother. It is, however, clear from the Gospels that the subjection to His parents which continued after the incident in the Temple ( Luke 2:51 ) was gently but firmly laid aside at the outset of the public ministry (see above, II, 2, 3). In all that pertains to His heavenly office, as Lord, Mary's position is one of dependence, not of authority.

    (iii) Christ hears her prayers. Here, again, dogmatic assumption is in evidence. That He hears her prayers, even if true in a very special sense, does not, in the least, imply that prayers are to be addressed to her or that she is an intercessor through whom prayers may be addressed to Him.

    (iv) Since Mary cared for the body of Christ when He was on earth, naturally His spiritual body would be her special care in heaven. But, on any reasonable hypothesis, Mary was, is, and must remain, a part of that body (see  Acts 1:14 ). Unless she is intrinsically a Divine being, her care for the church cannot involve her universal presence in it and her accessibility to the prayers of her fellow-believers.

    To a non-Romanist, the most suggestive fact in the whole controversy is that the statements of cautious apologists in support of the ecclesiastical attitude toward Mary, do not, in the least degree, justify the tone of extravagant adulation which marks the non-polemical devotional literature of the subject (see Dearden, Modern Romanism Examined , 22 f).

    (3) Conclusion.

    Our conclusion on the whole question is that the literature of Mariolatry belongs, historically, to unauthorized speculation; and, psychologically, to the natural history of asceticism and clerical celibacy.

    III. Mary Magdalene

    ( Μαρία Μαγδαληνή , Marı́a Magdalēnḗ = of "Magdala"). - A devoted follower of Jesus who entered the circle of the taught during the Galilean ministry and became prominent during the last days. The noun "Magdala," from which the adjective "Magdalene" is formed, does not occur in the Gospels (the word in  Matthew 15:39 , is, of course, "Magadan"). The meaning of this obscure reference is well summarized in the following quotations from Plummer ( International Critical Commentary , "Luke," 215): "'Magdala is only the Greek form of mighdōl or watch-tower, one of the many places of the name in Palestine' (Tristram, Bible Places , 260); and is probably represented by the squalid group of hovels which now bears the name of Mejdel near the center of the western shore of the lake."

    1. Mary Not the Sinful Woman of  Luke 7 :

    As she was the first to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus, it is important that we should get a correct view of her position and character. The idea that she was a penitent, drawn from the life of the street, undoubtedly arose, in the first instance, from a misconception of the nature of her malady, together with an altogether impossible identification of her with the woman who was a sinner of the preceding section of the Gospel. It is not to be forgotten that the malady demon-possession, according to New Testament ideas (see Demon , Demonology ), had none of the implications of evil temper and malignant disposi-tion popularly associated with "having a devil." The possessed was, by our Lord and the disciples looked upon as diseased, the victim of an alien and evil power, not an accomplice of it. Had this always been understood and kept in mind, the unfortunate identification of Mary with the career of public prostitution would have been much less easy.

    According to New Testament usage, in such cases the name would have been withheld (compare  Luke 7:37;  John 8:3 ). At the same time the statement that 7 demons had been cast out of Mary means either that the malady was of exceptional severity, possibly involving several relapses (compare  Luke 11:26 ), or that the mode of her divided and haunted consciousness (compare  Mark 5:9 ) suggested the use of the number 7. Even so, she was a healed invalid, not a rescued social derelict.

    The identification of Mary with the sinful woman is, of course, impossible for one who follows carefully the course of the narrative with an eye to the transitions. The woman of  Luke 7 is carefully covered with the concealing cloak of namelessness. Undoubtedly known by name to the intimate circle of first disciples, it is extremely doubtful whether she was so known to Luke. Her history is definitely closed at   Luke 7:50 .

    The name of Mary is found at the beginning of a totally new section of the Gospel (see Plummer's analysis, op. cit., xxxvii), where the name of Mary is introduced with a single mark of identification, apart from her former residence, which points away from the preceding narrative and is incompatible with it. If the preceding account of the anointing were Mary's introduction into the circle of Christ's followers, she could not be identified by the phrase of Luke. Jesus did not cast a demon out of the sinful woman of  Luke 7 , and Mary of Magdala is not represented as having anointed the Lord's feet. The two statements cannot be fitted together.

    2. Mary Not a Nervous Wreck:

    Mary has been misrepresented in another way, scarcely less serious. She was one of the very first witnesses to the resurrection, and her testimony is of sufficient importance to make it worth while for those who antagonize the narrative to discredit her testimony. This is done, on the basis of her mysterious malady, by making her a paranoiac who was in the habit of "seeing things." Renan is the chief offender in this particular, but others have followed his example.

    (1) To begin with, it is to be remarked that Mary had been cured of her malady in such a marked way that, henceforth, throughout her life, she was a monument to the healing power of Christ. What He had done for her became almost a part of her name along with the name of her village. It is not to be supposed that a cure so signal would leave her a nervous wreck, weak of will, wavering in judgment, the victim of hysterical tremors and involuntary hallucinations.

    (2) There is more than this a priori consideration against such an interpretation of Mary. She was the first at the tomb ( Matthew 28:1;  Mark 16:1;  Luke 24:10 ). But she was also the last at the cross - she and her companions ( Matthew 27:61;  Mark 15:40 ). A glance at the whole brief narrative of her life in the Gospels will interpret this combination of statements. Mary first appears near the beginning of the narrative of the Galilean ministry as one of a group consisting of "many" ( Luke 8:3 ), among them Joanna, wife of Chuzas, Herod's steward, who followed with the Twelve and ministered to them of their substance. Mary then disappears from the text to reappear as one of the self-appointed watchers of the cross, thereafter to join the company of witnesses to the resurrection. The significance of these simple statements for the understanding of Mary's character and position among the followers of Jesus is not far to seek. She came into the circle of believers, marked out from the rest by an exceptional experience of the Lord's healing power. Henceforth, to the very end, with unwearied devotion, with intent and eager willingness, with undaunted courage even in the face of dangers which broke the courage of the chosen Twelve, she followed and served her Lord. It is impossible that such singleness of purpose, such strength of will, and, above all, such courage in danger, should have been exhibited by a weak, hysterical, neurotic incurable. The action of these women of whom Mary was one, in serving their Master's need while in life, and in administering the last rites to His body in death, is characteristic of woman at her best.

    IV. Mary of Bethany.

    Another devoted follower of Jesus. She was a resident of Bethany ( Βηθανία , Bēthanı́a ), and a member of the family consisting of a much-beloved brother, Lazarus, and another sister, Martha, who made a home for Jesus within their own circle whenever He was in the neighborhood.

    The one descriptive reference, aside from the above, connected with Mary, has caused no end of perplexity. John ( John 11:2 ) states that it was this Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. This reference would be entirely satisfied by the narrative of  John 12:1 ,  John 12:8 , and no difficulty would be suggested, were it not for the fact that Luke ( Luke 7:36-50 ) records an anointing of Jesus by a woman, accompanied with the wiping of His feet with her hair. The identification of these two anointings would not occasion any great difficulty, in spite of serious discrepancies as to time, place and other accessories of the action, but for the very serious fact that the woman of Lk 7 is described as a sinner in the dreadful special sense associated with that word in New Testament times. This is so utterly out of harmony with all that we know of Mary and the family at Bethany as to be a well-nigh intolerable hypothesis.

    On the other hand, we are confronted with at least one serious difficulty in affirming two anointings. This is well stated by Mayor ( Hastings Dictionary Bible , III, 280 a ): "Is it likely that our Lord would have uttered such a high encomium upon Mary's act if she were only following the example already set by the sinful woman of Galilee; or (taking the other view) if she herself were only repeating under more favorable circumstances the act of loving devotion for which she had already received His commendation?" We shall be compelled to face this difficulty in case we are forced to the conclusion that there were more anointings than one.

    1. Attack upon Luke's Narrative:

    In the various attempts to solve this problem, or rather group of problems, otherwise than by holding to two anointings, Luke, who stands alone against Mark, Matthew and John, has usually suffered loss of confidence. Mayor (op. cit., 282a) suggests the possibility that the text of Luke has been tampered with, and that originally his narrative contained no reference to anointing. This is a desperate expedient which introduces more difficulties than it solves. Strauss and other hostile critics allege confusion on the part of Luke between the anointing at Bethany and the account of the woman taken in adultery, but, as Plummer well says, the narrative shows no signs of confusion. "The conduct both of Jesus and of the woman is unlike either fiction or clumsily distorted fact. His gentle severity toward Simon, and tender reception of the sinner, are as much beyond the reach of invention as the eloquence of her speechless affection" ( International Critical Commentary , "Luke," 209).

    2. Evidence of Luke Taken Alone:

    The first step in the solution of this difficulty is to note carefully the evidence supplied by Luke's narrative taken by itself. Mary is named for the first time in  Luke 10:38-42 in a way which clearly indicates that the family of Bethany is there mentioned for the first time (a " certain τις , tis woman named Martha," and "she had a sister called Mary," etc.). This phrasing indicates the introduction of a new group of names (compare   John 11:1 ). It is also a clear indication of the fact that Luke does not identify Mary with the sinful woman of Luke 7 (compare  Matthew 26:6-13;  Mark 14:3-9;  Luke 7:36-50;  John 12:1-8 ).

    3. Evidence Sifted by Comparison:

    Our next task is to note carefully the relationship between the narratives of Mark, Matthew and John on one side, and that of Luke on the other. We may effectively analyze the narratives under the following heads: (1) notes of time and place; (2) circumstances and scenery of the incident; (3) description of the person who did the anointing; (4) complaints of her action, by whom and for what; (5) the lesson drawn from the woman's action which constitutes our Lord's defense of it; (6) incidental features of the narrative.

    Under (1) notice that all three evangelists place the incident near the close of the ministry and at Bethany. Under (2) it is important to observe that Matthew and Mark place the scene in the house of Simon "the leper," while John states vaguely that a feast was made for Him by persons not named and that Martha served. Under (3) we observe that Matthew and Mark say "a woman," while John designates Mary. (4) According to Matthew, the disciples found fault; according to Mark, some of those present found fault; while according to John, the fault-finder was Judas Iscariot. According to all three, the ground or complaint is the alleged wastefulness of the action. (5) Again, according to all three, our Lord defended the use made of the ointment by a mysterious reference to an anointing of His body for the burial. John's expression in particular is most interesting and peculiar (see  John 12:7 ). (6) The Simon in whose house the incident is said to have taken place is by Matthew and Mark designated "the leper." This must mean either that he had previously been cured or that his disease had manifested itself subsequent to the feast. Of these alternatives the former is the more natural (see Gould, International Critical Commentary, "Mark," 257). The presence of a healed leper on this occasion, together with the specific mention of Lazarus as a guest, would suggest that the feast was given by people, in and about Bethany, who had especial reason to be grateful to Jesus for the exercise of His healing power.

    It is beyond reasonable doubt that the narratives of Matthew, Mark and John refer to the same incident. The amount of convergence and the quality of it put this identification among the practical certainties. The only discrepancies of even secondary importance are a difference of a few days in the time (Gould says four) and the detail as to the anointing of head or feet. It is conceivable, and certainly no very serious matter, that John assimilated his narrative at this point to the similar incident of  Luke 7 .

    An analysis of the incident of  Luke 7 with reference to the same points of inquiry discloses the fact that it cannot be the same as that described by the other evangelists. (1) The time and place indications, such as they are, point to Galilee and the Galilean ministry. This consideration alone is a formidable obstacle in the way of any such identification. (2) The immediate surroundings are different. Simon "the leper" and Simon "the Pharisee" can hardly be one person. No man could have borne both of these designations. In addition to this, it is difficult to believe that a Pharisee of Simon's temper would have entertained Jesus when once he had been proscribed by the authorities. Simon's attitude was a very natural one at the beginning of Christ's ministry, but the combination of hostility and questioning was necessarily a temporary mood. (3) The description of the same woman as sinner in the sense of   Luke 7 in one Gospel; simply as a woman in two others; and as the beloved and honored Mary of Bethany in a third is not within the range of probability, especially as there is no hint of an attempt at explanation on the part of any of the writers. At any rate, prima facie, this item in Luke's description is seriously at variance with the other narratives. (4) Luke is again at variance with the others, if he is supposed to refer to the same event, in the matter of the complaint and its cause. In Luke's account there is no complaint of the woman's action suggested. There is no hint that anybody thought or pretended to think that she had committed a sinful waste of precious material. The only complaint is Simon's, and that is directed against the Lord Himself, because Simon, judging by himself, surmised that Jesus did not spurn the woman because He did not know her character. This supposed fact had a bearing on the question of our Lord's Messiahship, concerning which Simon was debating; otherwise one suspects he had little interest in the episode. This fact is, as we shall see, determinative for the understanding of the incident and puts it apart from all other similar episodes.

    (5) The lesson drawn from the act by our Lord was in each incident different. The sinful woman was commended for an act of courtesy and tenderness which expressed a love based upon gratitude for deliverance and forgiveness. Mary was commended for an act which had a mysterious and sacramental relationship to the Lord's death, near at hand.

    This brings us to the point where we may consider the one serious difficulty, that alleged by Mayor and others, against the hypothesis of two anointings, namely, that a repetition of an act like this with commendation attached would not be likely to occur. The answer to this argument is that the difficulty itself is an artificial one due to a misreading of the incident. In the point of central reference the two episodes are worlds apart. The act of anointing in each case was secondary, not primary. Anointing was one of those general and prevalent acts of social courtesy which might mean much or little, this or that, and might be repeated a score of times in a year with a different meaning each time. The matter of primary importance in every such case would be the purpose and motive of the anointing. By this consideration alone we may safely discriminate between these incidents. In the former case, the motive was to express the love of a forgiven penitent. In the latter, the motive was gratitude for something quite different, a beloved brother back from the grave, and, may we not say (in view of  John 12:7 ), grief and foreboding? That Mary's feeling was expressed in the same way outwardly as that of the sinful woman of the early ministry does not change the fact that the feeling was different, that the act was different and that, consequently, the commendation she received, being for a different thing, was differently expressed. The two anointings are not duplicates. Mary's act, though later, was quite as spontaneous and original as that of the sinful woman, and the praise bestowed upon her quite as natural and deserved.

    4. Character of Mary:

    With this fictitious and embarrassing identification out of the way, we are now free to consider briefly the career and estimate the character of Mary. (1) At the outset it is worth mentioning that we have in the matter of these two sisters a most interesting and instructive point of contact between the synoptic and Johannine traditions. The underlying unity and harmony of the two are evident here as elsewhere. In  Luke 10:38-42 we are afforded a view of Mary and Martha photographic in its clear revelation of them both. Martha is engaged in household affairs, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, absorbed in listening. This, of course, might mean that Mary was idle and listless, leaving the burden of responsibility for the care of guests upon her more conscientious sister. Most housewives are inclined to take this view and to think that Martha has been hardly dealt with. The story points to the contrary. It will be noticed that Mary makes no defense of herself and that the Master makes no criticism of Martha until she criticizes Mary. When He does speak, it is with the characteristic and inimitable gentleness, but in a way leaving nothing to be desired in the direction of completeness. He conveyed His love, His perfect understanding of the situation, His defense of Mary, His rebuke to Martha, in a single sentence which contains a perfect photograph of the two loved sisters. Martha is not difficult to identify. She was just one of those excellent and tiresome women whose fussy concern and bustling anxiety about the details of household management make their well-meant hospitality a burden to all their guests. Mary's quiet and restful interest in the guest and His conversation must be set against the foil of Martha's excess of concern in housework and the serving of food. When one comes to think of it, Mary chose the better part of hospitality, to put no higher construction upon her conduct. (2) In   John 11:20 , we are told that Martha went forth to meet Jesus while Mary remained in the house. In this we have no difficulty in recognizing the same contrast of outwardness and inwardness in the dispositions of the sisters; especially, as when Mary does come at Martha's call to meet Jesus, she exhibits an intensity of feeling of which Martha gives no sign. It is significant that, while Mary says just what Martha had already said ( John 11:21 ,  John 11:32 ), her way of saying it and her manner as a whole so shakes the Lord's composure that He is unable to answer her directly but addresses His inquiry to the company in general ( John 11:34 ). (3) Then we come to the events of the next chapter. The supper is given in Bethany. Martha serves. Of course she serves. She always serves when there is opportunity. Waiting on guests, plate in hand, was the innocent delight of her life. One cannot fail to see that, in a single incidental sentence, the Martha of  Luke 10:38-42 is sketched again in lifelikeness. It is the same Martha engaged in the same task. But what of Mary in this incident? She is shown in an unprecedented role, strange to an oriental woman and especially to one so retiring in disposition as Mary. Her action not only thrust her into a public place alone, but brought her under outspoken criticism. But after all, this is just what we come to expect from these deep, intense, silent natures. The Mary who sat at Jesus' feet in listening silence while Martha bustled about the house, who remained at home while Martha went out to meet Him, is the very one to hurl herself at His feet in a storm and passion of tears when she does meet Him and to break out in a self-forgetful public act of devotion, strange to her modest disposition, however native to her deep emotion.

    Martha was a good and useful woman. No one would deny that, least of all the Master who loved her ( John 11:5 ). But she lived on the surface of things, and her affections and her piety alike found adequate and satisfying expression at all times in the ordinary kindly offices of hospitality and domestic service. Not so Mary. Her disposition was inward, silent, brooding, with a latent capacity for stress and the forthwith, unconventional expression of feelings, slowly gathering intensity through days of thought and repression. Mary would never be altogether at home in the world of affairs. Hers was a rare spirit, doomed often to loneliness and misunderstanding except at the hands of rarely discerning spirits, such as she happily met in the person of her Lord.

    V. Mary, the Mother of James and Joses.

    Under this caption it is necessary merely to recall and set in order the few facts concerning this Mary given in the Gospels (see  Matthew 27:55 ,  Matthew 27:56 ,  Matthew 27:61;  Mark 15:40;  Mark 16:1;  Luke 24:10; compare  Luke 23:49-56 ).

    In  Matthew 27:55 ,  Matthew 27:56 (parallel   Mark 15:40 ), we are told that at the time of the crucifixion there was a group of women observing the event from a distance. These women are said to have followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him and to the disciples. Among these were Mary Magdalene (see III, above); Mary, mother of James and Joses; and the unnamed mother of Zebedee's children. By reference to   Luke 8:2 ,  Luke 8:3 , where this group is first introduced, it appears that, as a whole, it was composed of those who had been healed of infirmities of one kind or another. Whether this description applies individually to Mary or not we cannot be sure, but it is altogether probable. At any rate, it is certain that Mary was one who persistently followed with the disciples and ministered of her substance to aid and comfort the Lord in His work for others. The course of the narrative seems to imply that Mary's sons accompanied their mother on this ministering journey and that one of them became an apostle. It is interesting to note that two mothers with their sons joined the company of the disciples and that three out of the four became members of the apostolic group. Another item in these only too fragmentary references is that this Mary, along with her of Magdala and the others of this group, was of sufficient wealth and position to be marked among the followers of Jesus as serving in this particular way. The mention of Chuzas' wife ( Luke 8:3 ) is an indication of the unusual standing of this company of faithful women.

    The other notices of Mary show her lingering late at the cross ( Mark 15:40 ); a spectator at the burial ( Mark 15:47 ); and among the first to bear spices to the tomb. This is the whole of this woman's biography extant, but perhaps it is enough. We are told practically nothing, directly, concerning her; but, incidentally, she is known to be generous, faithful, loving, true and brave. She came in sorrow to the tomb to anoint the body of her dead Lord; she went away in joy to proclaim Him alive forevermore. A privilege to be coveted by the greatest was thus awarded to simple faith and trusting love.

    VI. Mary, the Mother of John Mark.

    This woman is mentioned but once in the New Testament ( Acts 12:12 ), but in a connection to arouse intense interest. Since she was the mother of Mark, she was also, in all probability, the aunt of Barnabas. The aunt of one member and the mother of another of the earliest apostolic group is a woman of importance. The statement in Acts, so far as it concerns Mary, is brief but suggestive. Professor Ramsay (see St. Paul the Traveler , etc., 385) holds that the authority for this narrative was not Peter but Mark, the son of the house. This, if true, adds interest to the story as we have it. In the first place, the fact that Peter went thither directly upon his escape from prison argues that Mary's house was a well-known center of Christian life and worship. The additional fact that coming unannounced and casually the apostle found a considerable body of believers assembled points in the same direction. That "many" were gathered in the house at the same time indicates that the house was of considerable size. It also appears that Rhoda was only one of the maids, arguing a household of more than ordinary size. There is a tradition of doubtful authenticity, that Mary's house was the scene of a still more sacred gathering in the upper room on the night of the betrayal. We conclude that Mary was a wealthy widow of Jerusalem, who, upon becoming a disciple of Christ, with her son, gave herself with whole-souled devotion to Christian service, making her large and well-appointed house a place of meeting for the proscribed and homeless Christian communion whose benefactor and patron she thus became.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

    Mary, 1

    Mary (Miriam), 'the Mother of Jesus' , and 'Mary his Mother' , are the appellations of one who has in later times been generally called the 'Virgin Mary,' but who is never so designated in Scripture.

    Little is known of this 'highly favored' individual, in whom was fulfilled the first prophecy made to man, that 'the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head' . As her history was of no consequence to Christianity, it is not given at large. Her genealogy is recorded by St. Luke (Luke 3), in order to prove the truth of the predictions which had foretold the descent of the Messiah from Adam through Abraham and David, with the design evidently of showing that Christ was of that royal house and lineage.

    Eusebius, the early ecclesiastical historian, although unusually lengthy upon 'the name Jesus,' and the genealogies in Matthew and Luke's Gospels, throws no new light upon Mary's birth and parentage. The legends respecting Anne, who is said to have been her mother, are pure fables without the slightest evidence.

    The earliest event in her history, of which we have any notice, was the annunciation to her by the angel Gabriel that she was destined, while yet a pure virgin, to become the mother of the Messiah—an event which was a literal fulfillment of the prophecy given centuries before by Isaiah, that 'a virgin should conceive, and bear a son, and should call his name Immanuel,' which being interpreted, is 'God with us' . On this occasion she was explicitly informed that she should conceive by the miraculous power of God, and that her child should be 'Holy,' and be called 'the Son of God.' As a confirmation of her faith in this announcement she was also told by the angel that her cousin Elizabeth, who was the wife of one of the chief priests, and who was now far advanced in years, had conceived a son, and that the time was not far off when her reproach among women should cease .

    Almost immediately on receiving this announcement Mary hastened from Nazareth, where she was when the angel visited her, to the house of her cousin, who was then residing in the hilly district in 'a city of Judah,' supposed to be Hebron. The meeting of these two pious females, on whom such unexpected privileges had been conferred, was one of mutual congratulations, and united thanksgiving to the author of their blessings. It was on this occasion that Mary uttered the Magnificat—that splendid burst of grateful adoration which Christians of all parties have from the earliest times delighted to adopt as expressive of the best feelings of the pious heart towards God . After spending three months with her relative, Mary returned to Nazareth, where a severe trial awaited her, arising out of the condition in which it had now become apparent she was. Betrothed (perhaps in early life) to a person of the name of Joseph, an artificer of some sort (, probably, as our translators suppose, a carpenter), the Jewish law held her exposed to the same penalties which awaited the married wife who should be found unfaithful to the spousal vow. Joseph, however, being a right-hearted man (one who feels and acts as a man ought to do in the circumstances in which he is placed), was unwilling to subject her to the evils of a public exposure of what he deemed her infidelity; and accordingly was turning in his mind how he might privately dissolve his connection with her, when an angel was sent to him also to inform him in a dream of the true state of the case, and enjoin upon him to complete his engagement with her by taking her as his wife. This injunction he obeyed, and hence came to be regarded by the Jews as the father of Jesus .

    Summoned by an edict of Augustus, which commanded that a census of the population of the whole Roman Empire should be taken, and that each person should be enrolled in the chief city of his family or tribe, Mary and her husband went up to Bethlehem, the city of the Davidic family; and while there the child Jesus was born. After this event the only circumstances in her history mentioned by the sacred historians are her appearance and offerings in the temple according to the law of Moses ( ff.); her return with her husband to Nazareth their habit of annually visiting Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover the appearance of the Magi, which seems to have occurred at one of these periodic visits the flight of the holy family into Egypt, and their return, after the death of Herod, to Nazareth the scene which occurred another of those periodic visits when, after having proceeded two days' journey on her way homeward, she discovered that her son was not in the company, and, on returning to Jerusalem, found him sitting in the temple with the doctors of the law, 'both hearing them and asking them questions' her appearance and conduct at the marriage-feast in Cana of Galilee ( ff.); her attempt in the synagogue at Capernaum to induce Jesus to desist from teaching ( ff.); her accompanying of her son when he went up to Jerusalem immediately before his crucifixion; her following him to Calvary; her being consigned by him while hanging on the cross to the care of his beloved apostle John, who from that time took her to reside in his house ( ff.); and her associating with the disciples at Jerusalem after his ascension .

    The traditions respecting the death of Mary differ materially from each other. There is a letter of the General Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, which states that she lived at Ephesus with St. John, and there died and was buried. Another epistle of the same age says she died at Jerusalem, and was buried in Gethsemane. The legend tells that three days after her interment, when the grave was opened (that Thomas the Apostle might pay reverence to her remains), her body was not to be found, 'but only an exceeding fragrance,' whereupon it was concluded that it had been taken up to heaven. The translations of Enoch and Elijah, and the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, took place while they were alive, and the facts are recorded by the inspiration of God; but when the dead body of Mary was conveyed through the earth, and removed thence, there were no witnesses, and no revelation was ever made of the extraordinary and novel incident, which certainly has no parallel in Scripture. This miraculous event is appropriately called 'the Assumption.'

    It is said that Mary died in A.D. 63. The Canon of Scripture was closed in A D. 96, thirty-three years after her decease; which, however, is never alluded to by any of the Apostles in their writings, nor by St. John, to whose care she was entrusted.

    In the Romish Church many facts are believed and doctrines asserted concerning the Virgin Mary, such as her immaculate conception—her perpetual virginity—her right to receive worship, and her mediation and intercession, which not only are without any authority from Scripture, but many of which are diametrically opposed to its declarations.

    It does not appear that Mary ever saw Christ after the resurrection; for she was not one of the 'chosen witnesses' specified in Scripture, as Mary Magdalene was.

    Mary Magdalene, 2

    Mary Magdalene was probably so called from Magdala in Galilee, the town where she may have dwelt. According to the Talmudists, Magdalene signifies 'a plaiter of hair.' Much wrong has been done to this individual from imagining that she was the person spoken of by St. Luke in; but there is no evidence to support this opinion. How Mary Magdalene came to be identified with the person here mentioned, it is difficult to say: but such is the case; and accordingly she is generally regarded as having been a woman of depraved character. For such an inference, however, there appears to be no just ground whatever.

    The earliest notice of Mary Magdalene is in St. Luke's Gospel , where it is recorded that out of her 'had gone seven devils,' and that she was 'with Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto Christ of their substance.'

    This is sufficient to prove that she had not been known as a person of bad character; and it also implies that she was not poor, or among the lower classes, when she was the companion of one whose husband held an important office in the king's household.

    It is as unjust to say that she who had been so physically wretched as to be possessed by seven devils, was dissolute, as to affirm that an insane person is necessarily depraved.

    In the Savior's last hours, and at his death and resurrection, Mary Magdalene was a chief and important witness. She was one of the women who stood by the cross : who after His death beheld where the body was laid , and who prepared spices and ointments to embalm it. She visited the sepulcher early on the first day of the week, while it was yet dark and when Peter and John returned to their own homes she remained at the sepulcher weeping, and had her patient waiting rewarded by the appearance of Her risen Lord.

    Mary, 3

    Wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus, and sister of the Lord's mother (;; ). This Mary was one of those holy women who followed Christ, and was present at the crucifixion; and she is that 'other Mary' who, with Mary Magdalene, attended the body of Christ to the sepulcher when taken down from the cross (;; ). She was also among those who went on the morning of the first day of the week to the sepulcher to anoint the body, and who became the first witnesses of the resurrection (;; ). James, Joses, Jude, and Simon, who are called the Lord's brethren [see the names; also Alphaeus; Brother] are very generally supposed to have been the sons of this Mary, and therefore cousins of Jesus, the term brother having been used with great latitude among the Hebrews.

    Mary, 4

    Sister of Lazarus and Martha. The friendship of our Lord for this family has been explained in other articles [[[Lazarus; Martha]]]

    The points of interest in connection with Mary individually arise from the contrast of character between her and her sister Martha, and from the incidents by which that contrast was evinced. Apart from this view, the most signal incident in the history of Mary is her conduct at the supper which was given to Jesus in Bethany, when he came thither after having raised Lazarus from the dead. The intense love which distinguished her character then glowed with the highest fervor, manifesting the depth of her emotion and gratitude for the deliverance from the cold terrors of the grave of that brother who now sat alive and cheerful with the guests at table. She took the station she best loved, at the feet of Jesus. Among the ancients it was usual to wash the feet of guests before an entertainment, and with this the anointing of the feet was frequently connected [ANOINTING]. Mary possessed a large quantity of very costly ointment; and in order to testify her gratitude she sacrificed it all by anointing with it the feet of Jesus. We are told that the disciples murmured at the extravagance of this act, deeming that it would have been much wiser, if she had sold the ointment and given the money to the poor. But Jesus, looking beyond the mere external act to the disposition which gave birth to it—a disposition which marked the intensity of her gratitude—vindicated her deed. Always meditating upon his departure, and more especially at that moment, when it was so near at hand, he attributed to this act a still higher sense—as having reference to his approaching death. The dead were embalmed: and so, he said, have I received, by anticipation, the consecration of death (;; ).