Was Mary Magdalene a member of the Jerusalem church?

  • Clarifying the question

    In c. AD 30, shortly after Jesus’s death and purported resurrection, a group of his followers were meeting together in Jerusalem as a church. Was Mary Magdalene one of the followers gathering among them?

“Yes, after all…
  • Mary was praying with the church

    Mary Magdalene was among “the women” praying in the Acts 1:14 church. After all…

    • …Contextually, she was just mentioned.1
      This is relevant because “the women” were members of the Jerusalem church. (It reads, Acts 1:14 -- [Jerusalem church members] all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women.)
    1. Ben Witherington: “Since, however, the wives of the apostles have played no role up to this point in Luke-Acts, and since Mary is also mentioned, who is certainly no wife of an apostle, it is much more natural to assume that Luke means the same women he had mentioned at the end of this first volume -- the female disciples (cf. Luke 23:55; 24:1, 9, 22), which is surely how Theophilus would have understood the reference.” [The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Eerdmans, 1998), 113.] (Note: Luke-Acts was written primarily for Theophilus [cf. Lk 1:1-4]).
      Richard Bauckham (NT professor at Cambridge; specialist on women in the gospels): “… and when Luke in Acts 1:14 depicts some women with the Twelve and Jesus' brothers, he probably intends his readers to suppose that at least the women named in Luke 24:10 were among the first members of the Jerusalem church.” [Jesus and the Eyewithesses, 46.]
  • Mary was protected by the church

    Mary Magdalene was carefully protected by the Markan community (behind Mark’s gospel). After all…

    • …they deliberately anonymized her name from a story that would have incriminated her. (See Mk 14:3-9) This is relevant because the Markan community was ultimately the Jerusalem church (Peter's church).
  • Mary lived with the apostles

    Mary Magdalene lived with Jesus and the apostles (as if her new family).

    • …Luke 8:2-3 says she abandoned her old life to support them.1
      This is relevant because the apostles lived with and headed the Jerusalem church now.
    1. See Luke 8:2-3 - “Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna [etc.] were contributing to their support [Jesus’ and the apostles’] out of their private means.”; cf. Mark 40:41 -- When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him. She had been converted after having “seven devils” cast out of her (Matt. 27:56, 61; 28:1; Luke 8:2; John 19:25).
  • Mary was especially prominent/influential

    Mary Magdalene was especially prominent/influential in Christianity.

    • …Celsus’ criticized her as a foundational member of the church1
      This is relevant because the Jerusalem church was the fountainhead of early Christian influence. (It is part of what made her testimony and views so accessible.)
    1. Margaret Y. Macdonald (Professor at St. Francies Xavier University): “The public perception associating female membership in early Christianity with the deranged behaviour of women is epitomized by Celsus' label of Mary Magdalene as a hysterical woman. This woman is the victim of the low-grade magic of a charlatan, Jesus; but Celsus' acknowledgment of her important role in the creation of the central Christian belief in the resurrection amounts to an indirect acknowledgment of her influence. [Early Christian Women and Pagan Opinion (Cambridge, 1996), 250.]