3. Looking for “My Mary”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMadonna_catacomb.jpg
Earliest depiction of Mary and baby Jesus from the Priscilla Catacombs in Rome…early 2nd Century…showing the importance of Mary to the story of Jesus and, perhaps, a conflation of her with Isis holding baby Horus. The other figure is thought to be Balaam the Prophet pointing to the star from Numbers 24:17.

I was looking for a Mary that made sense to me…a Mary that fit into the patriarchal culture of her day…but also a Mary that could travel with her son and tell  him what to do… something only a queen mother could get away with…as I eventually discovered. My Mary also had to explain why her son–a Galilean citizen brutally killed by the Roman Occupier of Palestine in Jerusalem at the behest of the Jewish High Court and Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, AND the High Priest…all the forms of political power of the day…died with a sign over his head saying “King of the Jews.” All four versions of the story in the gospels include the sign and they also all include the first question Pilate asked Jesus: “Are you a King of the Jews?” to which Jesus answered, in all four gospels, “Yes.”

Being a king in a Middle Eastern monarchy even in the first century A.D. required a royal bloodline….even to be a puppet king in an occupied nation…Rome, as I will attempt to show, honored indigenous royal bloodline in the nations it conquered.

As a curious layperson, after years of studying Christian “Search for the Historical Jesus” books, I literally stumbled across an 800-page book of The Collected Works of Josephus, a Jewish historian born 4 years after the death of Jesus. He first wrote Wars of the Jews for the Romans at their behest of the emperor and is laden with Josephus’ and his captors hatred of the innovators who caused the war for freedom from their occupier. The war destroyed the nation, its holy city and its world-class Temple and the Jews never ruled their again until 1948. Josephus was given access to Jewish court records to write his book about the war. He then wrote Antiquities of the Jews to record his nations history to keep it from being forgotten as he nation was no more. It was published ca 93-94 A.D. about the same time that the gospels were being written (Mark, the earliest, ca 90 A.D.). Josephus spoke at length about a Jewish Royal family–a family not of the legendary Davidic one–that included queens with the dynastic name of Mariamne, often translated in Christian documents as Mary. (The Complete Works of Josephus, Translated by Wm. Whiston, first published by William P. Nimmo, Edinburgh, Scotland…1960…)

This blog is about what I found…simply by comparing Josephus’ histories of the New Testament era from the Jewish side…with the story of Jesus “son of Mary” as it has come down to us from the Christian side…Studying a history of Jewish queens and their role in the politics of their nation gives much needed context to the New Testament Mary and her role in the life and death of her son…see what you think.

In the nature of blogs…begin at the end if you want to read it like a book. Start with  the earliest post under “Archives” October 2014 and come forward…if you want to look at a specific timeframe look under “The Queens of Israel,” a listing of categories to select a certain era. Under “My Search for a Political Mary” in the same menu are my personal excursions into my research and search.

Cleta Marie Flynn