A Mysterious Lady

Dr. Kenneth Cuffey

Mary from Magdala: first witness of the resurrected Jesus on Easter Sunday, fellow traveler with the 12, financial supporter of the 12, present at the cross and at the tomb. One of the more puzzling characters around Jesus in the gospels is Mary Magdalene. Clearly she was important, even pivotal in her role among the circle of the disciples, and without question Jesus made an amazing impact on her life. Undeniably she was close to the Savior, and he held her dear!

But who was Mary Magdalene? What do we know about her? What can we know about her? The Gospels record her in pivotal scenes and roles, but don’t tell us about her detail. She remains a bit of a mystery for readers today!

This summer, Urbana Seminary is offering a unique opportunity to explore Mary Magdalene, and we would love to have you join us! This class will be a Biblical textual, archaeological, historical, and creative arts examination of one of the most mysterious personages in the circle traveling with Jesus, team taught by three of our faculty.

In my section of this course, we will examine each of the Gospel records that mention or concern Mary Magdalene. As detectives we’ll sort out what we can conclude about her and her role, and what we can’t say for certain. We’ll set her within the context of 1st century AD Galilee, and a woman’s life in that context. And take a journey to her hometown—Magdala—using the results of archaeological excavations there and what they suggest about life where she grew up, illustrated with my own set of pictures taken when I visited the site in March of 2018. In addition, we will consider the passages from the New Testament that some have suggested concern her even though she isn’t named in them!

And that’s all to lay a solid foundation for Dr. Blaski’s examination of how the church thought about Mary Magdalene over the centuries (and made up things about her to fill in the blanks in what the NT tells us) and for Dr. Green’s consideration of the way in which Renaissance art, modern fiction, and film have portrayed her. Come along as we consider how Jesus changed her life, and can change each of ours too. Register for credit, or for audit, or for CEUs. Contact Dr. Green at mgreen@urbanatheologicalseminary.org for more information.