If you think you know who Mary Magdalene was, chances are you’re wrong. She was not the “woman in the city who was a sinner” (Luke 7:37). Nor was she the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 7:53–8:11), nor the Samaritan woman said to have five husbands and to be living with a man not her husband (John 4:8–29). She was actually a leading participant in some of the principal events of Christian faith and possibly a source of apostolic authority for women. In “How Mary Magdalene Became a Whore,” Jane Schaberg redresses a longstanding slander and restores the Magdalene to her rightful place of dignity in biblical history.
Schaberg is professor of religious studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy, where she has taught since 1977. A specialist in the New Testament, she has most recently published The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the New Testament Infancy Narratives (Cross-road, 1990) and has contributed “The Gospel of Luke” to The Women’s Bible Commentary (Westminster/John Knox, 1992). In her spare time, she enjoys travel and horseback riding.