Skip to main content

Portraying Mary Magdalene Today: The Movie Version(s) with Joan Taylor, Ph.D.

Mary Magdalene has been a figure of religious and artistic inspiration for Christians for some 2000 years.  In the Bible, she is a disciple of Jesus and a key witness at his crucifixion and resurrection. In the Western Church her role and character changed and she became known as a penitent prostitute.  In medieval art, she is often portrayed naked, covered only with her long hair.  In more modern versions, she has been portrayed as the romantic partner and wife of Jesus.  What is the truth? Professor Joan Taylor of King’s College is an expert in the field and shares her insights into some of the images of Mary Magdalene that we receive today.

About our presenter

Prof. Joan Taylor: After a BA degree at Auckland University, New Zealand, Joan completed post-graduate studies at the University of Otago and then went to the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (Kenyon Institute) as Annual Scholar in 1986. She undertook a PhD at New College, Edinburgh University, and was appointed in 1992 to a position of lecturer (subsequently senior lecturer) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, in the departments of both Religious Studies and History. In 1995 she won an Irene Levi-Sala Award in Israel’s archaeology, for the book version of her PhD thesis, Christians and the Holy Places (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993, rev. 2003). In 1996-7 she was Visiting Lecturer and Research Associate in Women’s Studies in Religion at Harvard Divinity School, a position she held in association with a Fulbright Award. She has also been Honorary Research Fellow in the Departments of History and Jewish Studies at University College London. She has taught at King’s College London since 2009. View the engaging and informative documentary on Jesus’ women disciples featuring Joan Taylor.

Opening Prayer

Litany to Saint Mary Magdalene adapted from “Thirteen Ways of Calling Out To Mary Magdalene” developed by The Women Who Stayed, the women’s ministry at the Church of St. Francis Xavier, NYC.