Still Standing

Venida_de_la_Virgen_del_Pilar_(Ximenez_de_Maza)
The Virgin of the Pillar

All the prophecies of Armageddon and the End of Days were fulfilled. Millions were killed or enslaved or sent to the amphitheaters. But I believe there was a ray of hope for “certain” of those with eyes to see. Consider this last quote from Josephus just after the siege was broken…

Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency: this is, Phasaelus and Hippicus, and Mariamne…in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valour had subdued…This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.  Wars of the Jews VII.I.1

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The Last Mary and the Apocalypse

080323-151749 The Virgin Mary in Glory from the book of Revelation
The Virgin Mary in Glory from the Book of Revelation

Josephus, lastly, tells a story about one final Mary…the last one in his index and on my list. This Mary’s story is pretty awful. She does something that is the crowning evil that a woman could do; and not just any woman but a wealthy noble woman. Even Josephus hesitates to tell her story, except I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age….

There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezub, which signifies “the House of Hyssop.”[i] She was eminent for her family and for her wealth, and had fled to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time.

When all exits were closed to the Jews, every hope of escape was now eliminated; and the famine, strengthening its hold, devoured the people, houses and families, one after another. The roofs were full of women and infants in the last stages of exhaustion, the alleys with the corpses of the aged: children and young men, swollen with hunger, haunted the market places and collapsed wherever faintness overcame them…Many, as they buried the fallen, fell dead themselves, while others set out for their graves before their fate was upon them. And throughout these calamities, no weeping or lamentation was heard…Deep silence blanketed the city, and night laden with death was in the grip of a yet fiercer foe—the brigandsJosephus and The Jewish War V.XII.3 Cornfeld.

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Mary the Nazarite

Madonna_catacomb
The earliest known depiction of Mary and baby Jesus from the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome dated to “late 2nd century.” Can’t tell how she is wearing her hair but it is either long and loose or more likely she is wearing a mantle. By then Paul would have had his way…Wikipedia.

So, if two actual historical queens took Nazarite vows in Jerusalem 20 to 30 years after the death of Jesus, is it too far afield to think that Mary/Mariamne made a long-term even life-long Nazarite vow until her prophecy was fulfilled…until her son returned to claim the kingdom? It will be a short discussion.

My first thought is, if I had a prophecy that I would bear a special son, I would want to look up how to do it right. Pre-google, you went to a scribe to look it up in the Torah or the prophets, as clearly the gospel writers did for the prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

And…in another “believe it or not,” there is a prescription given to a young woman by an angel on how to bear such a son…it is the story of the mother of Samson.

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Agrippa vs. James son of Mariamne III

Madonna with Jesus and James
The Madonna and Child with St. James by Andrea Del Saito (1486-1531) from google image http://www.ntprints.com.  James, second son of Mary/Mariamne III has become quite popular of late.

Worms in Agrippa’s Golden Apple

The first worm in Agrippa’s dream of being the “King to Come” was, of course, his grandfather Herod. He was in the same dilemma of all the grandchildren of the Queen…proving the priest’s with their genealogies and abhorrence of “strange women” right. Because, not only was Agrippa Herodian on his grandfather’s side, his own mother was a strange woman. Bernice, widow of Aristobulus son of Mariamne the Queen was Idumaean on her mother Salome’s side and Arabian on her father’s side…which did not matter one bit to Rome.

But these were hard times for the royal blood. The multitude would take what they could get and Agrippa’s father was also a Hasmonean Prince of the Tower of the Queen.  The multitude so desired to have a king in Judea again, one that had Providence on his side, that they would forgive Agrippa his Herodian blood. There is a tradition recorded in the Mishna[1] about Agrippa at the Feast of Tabernacles in 41 A.D. (King 41-44 A.D.) Agrippa read the set reading for the occasion from the Book of Deuteronomy: “Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee that is not thy brother” (17:15) Agrippa burst into tears feeling that he was unworthy and the multitude cried out to him, “Be not grieved, Agrippa! Thou art our brother!”

(A clue, perhaps, that a Jesus with Herodian blood, also, might have been accepted by the people…and Rome…if not for his feud with the Annas House of priests.)

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Agrippa vs. Herodias

Agrippa_I_A.K.A_Herod_Agrippa_or_simply_Herod_(10_BCE_-_44_CE),_King_of_the_Jews
Agrippa the Great, grandson of Mariamne the Queen and Herod the Great. He beat out Herodias, his sister, and Herod Antipas to restore the kingdom.

While Agrippa was in bonds in Rome but apparently dressed as a prince, waiting to be put into prison for hoping that Tiberius Caesar would just go ahead and die and let his friend Caius be emperor, a strange thing happened.

Now Agrippa stood in his bonds before the royal palace, and leaned on a certain tree for grief…and as a certain bird sat upon the tree on which Agrippa leaned (the Romans called this bird bubo,) [an owl,] one of (the others) that were bound, a German by nation saw him and asked a soldier who that man in purple was; and when he was informed that (he was a principal man of the nation of Jews the man asked to be able to speak to Agrippa and) said thus to him…

This sudden change of thy condition, O young man! Is grievous to thee…now wilt thou believe me, when I foretell how thou wilt get clear of this misery…and how Divine Providence will provide for thee. Know therefore…that…I think it fit to declare to thee the prediction of the gods. It cannot be that though (wilt) long continue in these bonds…and wilt be promoted to the highest dignity and power…But, do thou remember, when thou seest this bird again, that thou wilt then live but five days longer. This event will be brought to pass by that God who hath sent this bird hither to be a sign unto thee…Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.VI.7

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More Kings to Come

More Kings
More Kings to Come…

That sign–King of the Jews–nailed over Jesus’ head was meant as a deterrent as kings everywhere put the heads of their enemies on stakes. Herod Antipas and Herodias were sending a warning not to get in their way, as they did with their killing of John the Baptist. They knew that only those of their own House would try to stop their bid for the kingdom…because that is where the bloodline was.

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” Matthew 12:25 (Speaking from Hasmonean/Herodian family history?)

But with Jesus and John now dead, who was left to challenge Antipas?

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Mary Magdalene and the Resurrection

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Mary Magdalene at the Tomb with two other “Marys” following behind her. These are the famous “Three Marys”  at the cross…Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25. his passage is the source of the Three Marys at the Cross paintings; “his mother, his mother’s sister Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. But it is just as easy to read that list differently, making four women at the cross; his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. You can place the commas so that there are two women; [1] “his mother and his mother’s sister; Mary the wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene.” (The passage is reminiscent of the Gnostic Gospel of Phillip quote: “His sister, his mother,and his companion were each a Mary.”) (Luke says: It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women…24:10)
That verse in John is also the only time that “his mother” and “Mary Magdalene” are in the same sentence. I think that John wrote the scene at the cross around some well-known last words of Jesus directed at his mother and deliberately or not, separated “his mother” from “Mary Magdalene”…my theory. He put the Beloved Disciple into the scene and made it about him, knowing full well that Mary had other sons probably standing there with her. But heard in the context of Mariamne III pushing her son to go up to Jerusalem to fulfill her prophecy that her son would restore the kingdom, the words from the cross take on a bitter edge.
The power structure won the day. Jesus was eliminated. Caiaphas’ “prophecy” that Jesus should die for “the good” of the nation held and the son of Mariamne III with her Virgin prophecy that her son would rule was going by the wayside. Luke tells us in Acts that Mary was with her other sons and the disciples in Jerusalem after the crucifixion but the authors of the gospels were confused as to whether she was at the cross or not…until John, written last, explicitly included her but without naming her…

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25)

I think that John wrote her into the scene at the cross (perhaps not realizing she was there disguised as Mary Magdalene…my theory) because he wanted us to know about this last scene between Jesus and his mother that has also been veiled.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother…When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved…

The “disciple standing by whom he loved” has caused a lot of debate about who “he” was. He was first thought to be Lazarus “whom Jesus loved,” as we saw. And, if Jesus had just made a marriage alliance with Lazarus’ sister or daughter most likely, Mary of Bethany, it could make sense to turn her over to his wife’s family. But Mary often traveled with her other sons and one son James will be the leader of the family and followers in Jerusalem after his death…and she clearly stayed with them. She had no need to be taken care of by a “Beloved Disciple.”[1] But forget about all that for a moment and just see the last words John said Jesus spoke to his mother from the cross. A totally different picture emerges…

Woman, behold thy son!  (John 19:26)

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Mariamne VI of Bethany

Bethany
The Sinner Woman and/or Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus’ feet. http://www.christian-miracles.com/photos/Images-of-Faith/Bethany.jpgAnointing

The Mary of Bethany stories have always been a puzzle, in part because they seem to conflate or combine a “sinning woman from the city” with the unusually positive story of sweet Mary of Bethany and her ungrateful old sister Martha. They give a lot of space to a houseful of women. Mark begins the Bethany round of stories with this:

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. (Mark 14:3)

Matthew 26:6, following Mark says the same thing. Luke 7:36-37 says:

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman in the city which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment…

Mark and Matthew ended their Bethany stories with Simon the Pharisee Leper and the anonymous sinner from the city who just randomly wandered in. I will look at her and anointing later in this post but now the story takes a dramatic turn.  Luke and John added stories about Martha and Mary and Lazarus also living in (perhaps) Bethany.

Now it came to pass, as they went that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. (Luke 10-38)

John then radically changes it by identifying the unnamed rich woman with the ointment as Martha’s sister Mary of Bethany.

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair.) (John 11:1-2)

The above passage is the only time that “Mary” is named before “Martha” because John was giving her special attention…and deftly changes the sinning woman with the expensive ointment to a young follower of Jesus…but most of the time, it is Martha named first.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus…And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary…Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him…(John 11)

Twice in the stories Martha complains to Jesus as an equal and expects an answer including the famous line about her being left to do all the serving while Mary sits at his feet…but also over the death of her brother. She demanded to know why he waited until after her brother was dead to come. Jesus then gave her one of his major revelations about his being the “resurrection and the life” and is probably the reason for the story. (John 11) It isn’t just Martha, though. When he approaches Lazarus’ tomb, “Jesus wept” and

then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”

So…in effect, at Bethany there is a Pharisee named Simon possibly nicknamed the Leper, and perhaps a widow named Martha who owns her own house. Living with her are, Mary a younger sister and a brother or uncle… kin… named Lazarus. Jesus is said to love Martha and Lazarus more than Mary…who is thought by many to be the wife of Jesus…combined with Mary Magdalene. The Jesus-was-married-to-Mary Magdalene people combine these two Marys to make one woman worthy of being the wife of Jesus…although you might notice that Mary Magdalene is never in the Bethany stories…so Mary Magdalene was already combined with Mary of Bethany somewhere off stage.[1]

But Mary of Bethany is more than just a younger sister not helping with dinner. Let’s look at the other passages dealing with just Mary…

Now it came to pass, as they went that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary which also sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word…(Luke 10:38-42)

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house…And Martha…called Mary her sister secretly saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him… And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother…when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out…and…when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet. (John 11)

The events in the story have a Christian slant…but I would like to note that no other disciple of Jesus falls at his feet…Reading the passages from a daughter of the king viewpoint, Mary of Bethany is not the first one mentioned where love is concerned. She sits at Jesus’ feet. She falls at his feet. She stays indoors until he calls her. She anoints his feet. She sounds like a virgin damsel to me…one betrothed to Jesus, her soon to be husband and already “lord and master.”

The waiting to be called by her lord before going out of the house reminds me of this passage I quoted from the war with Antiochus Epiphanes:

The women, with sackcloth girt under their breasts, thronged the streets, while maidens who were kept indoors ran together, some to the gateways, some to the walls, and some looked out from the windows; and all raised their hands to heaven and uttered their supplication.  II Maccabees 3:19.

Mary was subtly being portrayed as a damsel virgin betrothed to Jesus. Virgin damsels are allowed to wear their hair long and loose…as are prostitutes…so it could go either way for Mary. John’s assertion that the woman who anointed Jesus was Mary of Bethany means she was not a prostitute…and not even Mary Magdalene. But the timing is important. His stop at Bethany is before he makes his way up to Jerusalem where he now feels “his time has come.”

Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany…and…took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. (John 11:1-2, 12:1-3)

A Wedding in Bethany

Coincidentally, six days was the length of a normal wedding ceremony according to The Jewish Encyclopedia On-Line. Perhaps anointing your betrothed husband’s feet was part of a particular group’s wedding ritual…or a ritual for the king to come…or a ritual to honor Jesus himself who also had a foot-washing ritual with his disciples at just this time.

And now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come…He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel…; he poureth water into a bason and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel…(John 13:1-20)

But during the six days in Bethany, Jesus also carefully orchestrated his entry into the city.

Go ye into the village…ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither…” (Luke 19:30)

The Sinning “Anointing” Woman

I need to go back now and pick up the other thread in this story; the story of the woman that anoints Jesus who at first is just a woman with an alabaster box of ointment wandering by.

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made…And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me….Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:6-13

The woman anointed Jesus on his head and Jesus defends and praises her for it. Luke radically changes the story by placing the event in Galilee and immediately called the woman “a sinner” and of the “city.” (The woman is from Jerusalem but followed Jesus to Galilee.) He then adds the “Mary Magdalene and her seven devils” story—leaving the Jesus-was-married-to-Mary Magdalene people to insist that it was her doing the anointing by that close association. But Luke did something more. He changed the head anointing in Mark and Matthew to a feet anointing and makes the woman a weeping repentant sinner…putting the woman in her place and cooling a tricky story of an anointing down by adding womanly emotions and sins…veiling it:

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And… behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner…brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.[i] Now when the Pharisee saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner…(Jesus) said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven…And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils…Luke 7:36-50, 8:3

Yet Another “Mary” Heard From

This is when the Gospel of John rehabilitated the anointing woman by naming her as Mary of Bethany—but kept the anointing of the feet.

Now, a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair)…[the raising of Lazarus story follows]…Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany…They made him supper; and Martha served…Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment… John 11:1-2, 12:1-3

I think that John had information that the anointing woman was named Mary and so made her the only Mary he knew was there…Mary of Bethany. A good many of the thousands of books written about Mary Magdalene say that she was also Mary of Bethany by the somewhat convoluted path mentioned above. I do not as noted above. The mention of Jesus being in Bethany “six” days which the Jewish Archives, said  is the length of a normal wedding ceremony and the fact that John does tell another story of Jesus and his mother at a wedding in Cana where she gives him orders very early on, plus the thought that Mary of Bethany could be Mary Magdalene because of the proximity of their stories in Luke…and the careful planning Jesus makes about his final trip up to Jerusalem for the Passover…

“Go ye into the village…ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither”…Luke 19:30

It all makes sense if “Mary” was “my Mary”–Jesus’ mother Mary Magdalene as as the granddaughter of the Great Queen with her Mariamne Tower, Mariamne III with a bloodline and prophecy. John has already had Jesus and his mother at a wedding. I think that all the careful planning before her son’s “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem included his marriage and an anointing…by the one with the bloodline…his mother. I have two reasons for thinking this. One, remember when Herod, his great-grandfather, who when he was about to break the siege of Jerusalem and enter the city for the first time as king, rode to Samaria and consummated his marriage alliance with the young virgin Mariamne I the Hasmonean Queen before he could be crowned as the King of the Jews.

To Be Crowned by Your Mother

The second reason is because of this passage:

Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.  Song of Solomon 3:11

We are told that Jesus went up to Jerusalem directly after one or two anointings to orchestrated shouts of Hosanna:

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice…Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest! (Luke 19:37-38)

It would also have been essential for Jesus to have a potent marriage alliance…an alliance with someone who could help him with his claims. I think that young woman was Mary of Bethany. (More on who I think she may have been in next blog post.) My wishful thinking/guesstimate is that the entry into Jerusalem on the seventh day (!) shortly after his anointing and espousal, included his mother with her bloodline and prophecy riding beside him on that elusive second “colt of an ass.” The son of Mariamne III of the Mariamne Tower/bloodline would have been riding into Jerusalem with his queen mother at his side….a deliberate reversal of the last Davidic king and his mother as they rode out of the city to be sent into exile in Babylon…for those with eyes to see…[iii]

Mariamne’s I through VI

Mariamnes I through VI

 

Notes

[i] Read the entire passage in Luke. He mentions “feet” SEVEN times and the use of the word “head” has become “hairs of her head” for the weeping sinner woman who anointed his “feet.”  Jesus also goes to great lengths telling a parable to show that the woman has been forgiven because she loves him much. I will give an example of this kind of love in the next post. We are conditioned to see the word love and think sexual love.

[ii] Remember that the gospels are written during the time of slanders being flung back and forth between rabbis and disciples and the family of Jesus. The gospel writers, even after the horrible war with Rome in 65-70 A.D. have to defend Mary.

[iii] II Kings 24:12…There is so much contradictory information in the New Testament as to whether Jesus was a “son of David.” Herod thought of himself as the “son of David” and it is rumored that he had a genealogy drawn up to show that he was, technically (if one believed that genealogy) making Mariamne III a tiny part “daughter of David.” As Timothy 1:4 said about Davidic genealogies…Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions….so do.

 

[1] The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail by Margaret Starbird, Bear & Company, 1993…She wrote her book in answer to Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, Dell 1982. Also a favorite is The Moon Under Her Feet, The Story of Mari Magdalene in the Service of the Great Mother, a novel by Clysta Kinstler, one of the Goddess books suggesting a ritual marriage between Jesus and Mari, a priestess…so big for a while. Harper SanFrancisco 1989.

[2] From website Jewish Encyclopedia on line who recommended the article they were using… See more at: https://sojo.net/magazine/march-april-1997/who-was-lazarus#sthash.a9c96WDy.dpuf

[3] The New Testament Code by Robert Eisenman Watkins Publishing London1988. He sees the story of Mary and Martha as irony…or code.

T

Jesus son of Mariamne

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The Samaritan Woman at the Well. “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, “Give me to drink.”…(after some back and forth about “living water” vs water in the well)…Jesus saith unto her, “Go call thy husband, and come hither.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said unto her, “Thou hast well said…for thou has had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” The woman saith unto him “Sir…I know that Messias cometh…when he is come, he will tell us all things.” Jesus saith unto her, “I that speak unto thee am he.” And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman…John 4: 7-26. Note that the disciples did not marvel that he talked to a Samaritan with whom Jews had many religious and political reasons for enmity. Nor did they notice that Jesus had just called himself the Messiah for the first time. They marveled that he spoke to a woman and a “sinner.” Remembering that Jesus taught that any re-marriage is adultery. “If a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” Mark 10:12

The way the gospels are written—and let me say again, I am no expert, merely obsessed with comparing the royal women in Josephus to the gospel women and seeing what happens– nothing deep—it often seems to me that there were two factions among the followers of Jesus according to the way the gospels are written: women and everyone else. It has often been commented on that Jesus spoke to a lot of women for his day. The 70s feminists I read going so far as to make him the first “feminist.” For instance; Jesus was called upon to defend and/or “heal” the women around him, most of whom are considered to be “sinners” by the disciples. They also had a bias against the “rich.”  If even some of the disciples around Jesus were Essen in their outlook…not surprising if they had been disciples of John the Baptist who has long been considered to be at least affiliated with the Essenes, then it is understandable.  As Josephus said of the Essen:

This is demonstrated by that institution of theirs, which will not suffer anything to hinder them from having all things in common; so that a rich man enjoys no more of his own wealth than he who hath nothing at all. Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.I.5

Add to that the “sins” of Essen belief that I have quote twice earlier about how women are not to be trusted…and rich women were the worst sinners…even for the Rabbis, as we will see in the later posts. Mary Magdalene had money enough to support Jesus but also had seven devils. The Matthew and Luke birth stories also accuse Mary, as do the Rabbis of being an adulteress. The women with enough funds to purchase expensive ointment had to have been “sinners.”

Remember that the very first designation of family for Jesus was Mark 6:3:

“Is this not Jesus…the son of Mary.”

It was changed by each subsequent gospel to make it more patriarchal…because to call a man the son of his mother was unusual. It usually meant that he was illigitimate…and that is a possibility…given all the fuss made about his birth. But I think it is something more, of course. I think that calling Jesus the “son of Mary/Mariamne” placed him immediately for his audience for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Even forty years after Jesus’ death and after the war that leveled the Jewish nation, Jews would have known what it meant as they were dispersed over the Mediterranean. He was a son of the royal house, a son of the Tower of Mariamne…and his wrongful death will play a part in the lead-up to that war with Rome…as I will attempt to show.

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Our Lady of the Tower

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The original Pillar and statue made of wood. Mary and her son Jesus are wearing crowns. Tradition dates the artifact to 40 A.D and Spain.

Mariamne III the Virgin Orphan could be vilified for her Herodian blood by her own people, but also celebrated for her Hasmonean blood. Her direct descent from Mariamne I, the Great Queen, was a key to understanding her. The Queen was beloved by the multitudes but also vilified by priests and “certain Pharisees” for marrying Herod and polluting the royal Hasmonean line. She was executed for adultery/unchastity which Josephus said was untrue and he sought to rectify the record.

And thus died Mariamne, a woman of an excellent character, both for chastity and greatness of soul…Antiquities of the Jews XV.VII.6

She is virtually unknown today, I think, because she legitimized Herod as king and her heirs were known as Herodian.

 

Continue reading “Our Lady of the Tower”