Mary the Tower & Martha?

This page provides links to papers and articles about the Mary and Martha story in John 11 and 12.

Guest Post on Sorting out the Marys

Tabors opening comments – This is an informal post sent to me by e-mail from Wendy Pond one of my readers. I asked her for her permission to pass it on. This matter of sorting out the Marys in the three anointing scenes in our gospels (Mark/Matt; Luke, and John) is a complex one. I have shied away from identifying Mary “called Magdalene” with “Mary of Bethany” in John, and also leaned toward the idea of two pair of sisters named “Mary and Martha,” one in the Galilee and another in Jerusalem/Bethany (Luke 10 & John 11 being a different family) but I remain open and consider this matter unresolved.

Elizabeth Schrader

This begins with Elizabeth Schrader’s work on the Manuscript Evidence of John 11-12. Dr. Marg Mowczko recommends the video produced by where Elizabeth presents her case in 40 minutes and then answers questions. Elizabeth’s paper “Was Martha of Bethany Added to the Fourth Gospel in the Second Century?” which was published in the Harvard Theological Review in 2017 is freely accessible online here.

A very good video lecture is Women Erased: The Magdalene Mystery with Elizabeth Schrader and Joan Taylor

See James Tabor’s videos:

Diana Butler Bass

Dr. Diana Butler Bass discussed the issues with Papyrus 66 in a sermon and at the web page Mary the Tower, What would Christianity be like if Mary Magdalene hadn’t been hidden from view? by DIANA BUTLER BASS, JUL 22, 2022.

Dr. Marg Mowczko expanded on her thoughts, P66, and the Lazarus/Mary/Martha potential confusion in the book of John here titled Is Martha Missing in the Oldest Surviving Text of John 11? She also talks about the question of Mary of Bethany being the same woman as Mary Magdalene. Extracts are listed below.

  • [13] I agree with Elizabeth that “the Magdalene” is most likely a nickname meaning “the Tower.” This is how Jerome understood it. I’ve written about this here.
  • [8] In her paper, Elizabeth points out that, regarding John 11:3, “the 1526 Tyndale Bible, the 1591 Bishop’s Bible, and the first printing of the 1611 King James Bible all mention only one sister in this verse.”