In a paper published last month, Elizabeth Schrader, a Ph.D. student at Duke University, and Joan Taylor, a professor at King’s College, London, argue that the assumption Magdala refers to Mary’s place of origin is entirely speculative.The link to the underlying article the Journal of Biblical Literature is via JSTOR. The abstract is free, but the article is behind a subscription wall.
Instead, they say, Magdalene may well be an honorific from the Hebrew and Aramaic roots for “tower” or “magnified.”
Just as the Apostle Peter is given the epithet “rock,” (“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church”), Mary could well have acquired a title “Magdalene” meaning “tower of faith,” or “Mary the magnified.”
For many posts on the ancient city of Magdala (Migdal today), the two first-century synagogues excavated there, and the Magdala Stone found in the first synagogue, start here and follow the links.
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