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Mary Magdalene

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Mary Magdalene, one of the best-known figures in the Bible.

Mary Magdalene is one of the best-known figures in the Bible and has been a frequent inspiration to artists and writers over the last 2000 years. According to the New Testament, she was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified and was one of the first people to see Jesus after the resurrection. However, her identity has provoked a large amount of debate and in the Western Church she soon became conflated with two other figures mentioned in the Bible, a repentant sinner and Mary of Bethany. Texts discovered in the mid-20th century provoked controversy and raised further questions about the nature of her relations with Jesus.


Joanne Anderson
Lecturer in Art History at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Eamon Duffy
Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Magdalene College

Joan Taylor
Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King's College London

Producer: Victoria Brignell.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 25 Feb 2016 21:30


Joanne Anderson at the Warburg Institute

Eamon Duffy at the University of Cambridge

Joan Taylor at King's College London

Mary Magdalene - The National Gallery, London

Something about Mary - The Metropolitan Opera

‘Mary Magdalene the Apostle: A Re-interpretation of Literary Traditions?’ by Judith Hartenstein

Mary Magdalene - Wikipedia



Barbara Baert et al., ‘Noli me tangere’ Mary Magdalene: One Person, Many Images (Peeters Publishers, 2006)

Esther A. de Boer, The Gospel of Mary: Beyond a Gnostic and a Biblical Mary Magdalene (Bloomsbury, 2004)

Eamon Duffy, Saints, Sacrilege, Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations (Bloomsbury, 2012)

Bart D. Ehrman, Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Michelle A. Erhardt and Amy M. Morris (eds.), Mary Magdalene: Iconographic Studies from the Middles Ages to the Baroque (Brill, 2012)

Paul Foster, The Apocryphal Gospels: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Robin Griffith-Jones, Mary Magdalene: The Woman Whom Jesus Loved (Canterbury Press, 2008)

Ann Graham Brock, Mary Magdalene, the First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority (Harvard University Press, 2003)

Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalene. The Essential History (Pimlico, 2005)

Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalene: Myth and Metaphor (HarperCollins, 1993)

Herbert L. Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Broadview Press, 2004)

Karen L. King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Polebridge Press, 2003)

Katherine Ludwig Jansen, The Making of the Magdalene: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 2000)

Ingrid Maisch, Mary Magdalene: The Image of a Woman Through the Centuries (The Liturgical Press, 2002)

Jane Schaberg, The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha and the Christian Testament (Continuum, 2002)

Mary R. Thompson, Mary of Magdala: Apostle and Leader - An Amazing Rediscovery of a Woman in the Early Church (Paulist Press International, 1995)

Jacobus de Voragine (trans. William G. Ryan), The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Jacobus de Voragine (trans. Christopher Stace), The Golden Legend: Selections (Penguin, 1998)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Joanne Anderson
Interviewed Guest Eamon Duffy
Interviewed Guest Joan Taylor
Producer Victoria Brignell


  • Thu 25 Feb 2016 09:00
  • Thu 25 Feb 2016 21:30

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