[quote=Funky Cedars]i didn’t stick around to ask where his information came from, so i dont know to look for a confirmation. for instance, if he’d said, ‘like we learn in the gospels’ or ‘as we learn from early commentators’, i’d have a place to go and look. instead, he just said, 'do you know what Mary had been earlier in life?..a prostitute!'
so, has anyone else heard this nasty story about Mary before and do you know where it comes from?
This is a reflection I had to write on this subject once…
In the Gospel of Luke (7:36-50) the “sinful woman’s who washed Jesus’ feet name is never mentioned. However, in the very next chapter Luke (8: 2) Mary Magdalene’s name is mentioned with the women who served, some who had been cured of evil spirits and maladies. With regards to Mary Magdalene, it mentions that seven devils went out of her, not that she was a prostitute. If we take these two accounts and put them side-by-side, we begin to see how the identification of Mary Magdalene as the sinful woman began. Paralleling of stories was a way of reading Scripture that has been very popular, off and on, throughout Christian history which takes accounts of similar stories as one and the same, that is, to read them as narratives of the same event but often providing different details. This approach is one we are all familiar with from Hollywood. Most movies that claim to be giving the life of Jesus, rather than giving a view exclusively from one Gospel, give a composite view, with some artistic license as well. This is seen most recently in the movie “ The Passion”, when Mary Magdalene is at the feet of Jesus at the cross and is recalling when she first met him in the story of “The Adulteress” in John chpt.( 8: 4-11), clearly this is not Mary Magdalene.
Regardless of what Mary was before her conversion, it does in no way discredit her after her conversion. Indeed the greater sinner she would have been before she met Jesus, the more she would have been the source of confidence in the power of the grace of Jesus to draw all people, even those involved in the most sinful of lifestyles, to Himself. If she had been a prostitute before meeting Jesus and he converted her from that, then she would have been a sign of the power of Jesus and a sign of hope to all people who were involved in sinful lifestyles or who loved somebody involved in sinful lifestyles. Indeed, throughout history that is the role she played in popular piety, nobody should be given up on because even Mary Magdalene could be converted and become an important figure in the Gospels.