The Women at the Crucifixion

How many women were present at the crucifixion and who were they?

Matthew 27
55 Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Mark 15:40
40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were 1) Mary Magdalene, and 2) Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and 3) Salome.

Luke 23
49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

John 19
25 …Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Some have said that these accounts can be reduced to as few as only two different women while others claim this could be as many as seven!

So, how many women were present and who were they? Please provide supporting documentation and support for your position.


Who will be able to answer your question reliably? Women of that era were not deemed of very much importance so perhaps not much effort was made to give an accurate reporting of who was present. Again, was it Mary Magdalene alone (Mk16,9-11, Jn20) or together with other unimportant women (Lk24, Mk16,1-8, Mt28) who were the first to see the Risen Lord after the Resurrection? No man could rely on the testimony of a woman, as evidenced by Peter and John racing to the empty tomb to verify the report.

I make four, though I am partly using traditional identifications of descriptions with names.

  1. Mary Magdalene (easy)

  2. Salome, the wife of Zebedee and mother of the Apostles James and John

  3. Mary the wife of Clopas, mother of James and Joses and “sister” (probably not full sister given that they have the same name) of the Blessed Mother

  4. Mary, the Blessed Mother (only added to that trio by John)

Were we Protestants and thus not convinced that Our Lady had no other children, we could get that down to three by assuming that “the mother of James and Joses” is code for “Jesus’ mother,” since those are the names of two of the Lord’s “brothers” mentioned elsewhere it he Gospels. Not sure how you’d get it to two, though. There are always at least three women mentioned in each version.

If we decouple the names and descriptions and just list every woman from each gospel as a separate individual, we do get seven.


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