What was the relationship between Judas and Mary Magdalene?

Poster: STANCOBRIDGE | Date: 5:50pm, 3rd Mar 2018. | Views: 79 | 1 Replies
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STANCOBRIDGE. Jalingo, Taraba
5:50pm, 3rd Mar 2018.

Bruce Tarahill

Autodidact, polymath; student of Scripture; Unitarian.

One should bear in mind that ‘Judas’ (‘Yehuda’ in Aramaic) was a very common name in the Second Temple period, just as was ‘Jesus’ (‘Yeshua/Yehoshua’ = Joshua). It’s all very confusing, and the garbled and mangled gospel accounts don’t help much.

“Mary”, in all its various forms and spellings (‘Miriam’, ‘Marya’, ‘Mariam’ etc), was the most common female name at the time. Luckily, the cognomen ‘the Magdalene’ (‘Tower Lady’ or ‘of Migdal’) often singles her out from all other Marys in the text, as does the occasional unique and revealing use of ‘Mariam’ in the Greek. (eg. John 20:16)

Judas is not so lucky. There was the disciple Judas (usually called “Iscariot”), but there was also Judas, one of Jesus’ brothers (Mark 6:3).

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”

Was this brother also the disciple? Probably, but we can never know. To top it all, the revelatory Talpiot archaeological discovery unearthed an ossuary whose inscription reads “Judas, son of Jesus” (‘Yehuda bar Yeshua’). So, if Jesus indeed had a son named Judas, was this son perhaps the disciple? It is likely that none of this will ever be satisfactorily unravelled.

In conclusion all we can say at present is that Judas may have been Mariamene’s (the Magdalene’s) son, but only if one accepts the likelihood that Mariam was Jesus’ wife. Under this same assumption, he—as the brother (Mark 6:3)—might have been the Magdalene’s brother-in-law.

They were certainly fellow disciples.

Clinton Combs


Judas and Mary Magdalene were both important members of Jesus' inner circle, indeed they both seem to have been closer to Jesus than were the 'other' disciples. I put 'other' in scare quotes as Judas was a disciple. Mary, however, despite being part of Jesus' inner circle is not remembered as a disciple. One can only conclude that she was not given this title as she was a woman and women were not called disciples--a bit of sexism perhaps.

Judas and Mary were also both marginalized by the [other] disciples during their lifetimes and by the church afterward. After Jesus' death, there was a power struggle to see who would lead the church. Judas was not to be a part of this struggle as he had already killed himself out of regret for his complicity in Jesus' death--despite the very likely fact that he was acting in what he thought was in the best interest of his people.

In the Gospels we see the power struggle begin between Peter and John (on one side) and Mary on the other. In the two earliest Gospels, Mary enters the Tomb and discovers that it is empty. In the last Gospel Peter and John enter first to make this discovery while Mary is being an hysterical woman. The way the empty tomb story is told positions either Mary as the bringer of the Good News or Peter and John as the bringer of the Good News. From the point of view of the church, it is really better to have this role played by a man.

The four canonical Gospels, however are not the final word as to how history views these people. There are, for instance, some non-canonical Gospels that were written from the viewpoints of Judas and Mary. These Gospels present a different story.

Tim O'Neill

Atheist, Medievalist, Sceptic and amateur Historian

The gospels have very little to say about Mary Magdalene and so it is extremely difficult to answer this (slightly odd) question given the absolute paucity of any reliable information.  Only the Gospel of Luke makes any mention of her in the narrative before the Crucifixion, listing her with various other women who helped support Jesus and his followers financially along with Joanna, Susanna "and many others".  The remaining references to her mention her with several other women at the Crucifixion (eg Mark 15:40) and all four gospels list her as amongst the women who discover Jesus' tomb is empty.

This implies that she was regarded as someone who traveled with Jesus and his followers or at least was amongst a group of women who traveled with them on the final journey to Jerusalem.  None of the sources make any mention of any interaction between Mary and Judas.

Later non-canonical traditions mention her briefly (eg the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip) and there is a gnostic Gospel of Mary which may or may not be about her or could be one of the other Marys in the early Christian traditions.  Despite some fanciful amateur theories, scholars don't regard these much later mentions to preserve anything genuinely historical.  And they don't tell us anything about Judas and Mary either.  Neither do the many much later, wholly fictional Medieval legends about Mary Magdalene.

There is so little information about Mary Magdalene that this question simply can't be answered.

John Simpson


Those who have heard only of the newly made-over Mary Magdalene might  be disappointed to find that the real Mary of Magdala does not fit the  modern-day, dramatized version. Mary Magdalene is mentioned a total of  12 times in the New Testament—the oldest historical record mentioning  her name. All 12 occurrences appear in the gospel accounts, wherein we  learn the following: 

Jesus cast seven demons out of her (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9).

She was one of many who provided for Jesus out of her own means (Luke 8:1-3).

She witnessed the crucifixion of Christ (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25).

She was present at His burial (Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47).

She arrived at Jesus’ tomb on the Sunday following His crucifixion to  find His body missing (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-7; John  20:1).

She saw the risen Lord, spoke with Him, and later reported the  encounter to the apostles (Matthew 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-11; John  20:11-18).

For more see: 

Jeff Kirkendoll-Chapman

Mary M is the sister of Lazarus, and Martha is also a sibling.

In the Scriptures, when Jesus is performing miracles, names are never mentioned. It's "the blind man" or "the leper" or whatever. Except for the story of Lazarus.

Martha runs down the road to Jesus. Her brother is dead. Which meant that both Martha and Mary M. are going to be married off and their brother's estate divided off as dowries.

Jesus comes and resurrects Laz. But its kinda self-serving. Martha loves her brother, but it also keeps her from being treated as property and married off, same with Mary M. And since Jesus is partially financed by Martha and Mary M, the gravy train doesn't dry up. Hmmm.

I highly recommend reading " The Secret Gospel of Mark " for a special soft-core episode of Lazarus and Jesus.

Larry Swinford

MA Theological Studies, and 12 years on the faculty of a Christian college

Unlike a finely written novel the Bible is a little pointedly picky on character development. There may not have been one, morals of that day being different from this. There was one event that may qualify to some degree when a woman of ill-repute crashed a dinner party that Jesus attended. The woman broke open a container of expensive perfume or such and smeared it on Jesus’ feet as she cried. She mopped it up with her hair. Judas ‘had a cow’ over this wasteful extravagance and said it should have been sold to give to the poor. It was here that the Gospel writer paints Judas as a thief who stole from the bag. By the way, Judas was an Iscariot, a trained assassin, Who better to carry the group treasury. At the Last Supper, Judas ‘had Jesus’ back’ at the table. Irony is that Judas could have killed Jesus at any time if he had been so inclined (and God willing).

Robert Hegwood

Teacher, writer

Given that both were close followers of Jesus, they probably both knew each other reasonably well. It is conceivable they even had a conversation or two within the bounds of propriety in that age.  Beyond that what can be said that is not just pure speculation?

Michael Immanuel

the scriptures never tells us of a relationship with the two.

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