The Bible and Beyond Podcast Episode

Who Are All the Marys in the New Testament?

An Interview with Anna Cwikla

Anna Cwikla

Anna Cwikla, photo by Saliha Chattoo

Bible readers often wonder which Mary the New Testament authors are referring to.  In this Bible and Beyond podcast episode, Anna Cwikla describes seven different Marys in the New Testament, and perhaps even more Marys in extracanonical texts. At least one of those Marys plays a prominent role in some of the books outside the Bible. Cwikla draws our attention to some clues, but no promises, for identifying these Marys. She also warns us to note how our wishful thinking distorts our conclusions.

NOTE:  At approximately the 4-minute mark in the podcast, Anna states that the mother of Jesus is never called Mary in the Gospels of Mark and John. There is one exception to this, in Mark 6:3. Anna apologizes for not including this verse in her discussion of the Marys!

Anna Cwikla is currently completing her dissertation for the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, and she’s been researching the way women are written about in the Bible and in Christian extracanonical texts. The texts she’s currently working with are Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Acts of Paul and Thecla, Dialogue of the Savior, Testament of Reuben, and the Book of Judith. Part of her argument is that the literary functions of women characters go beyond corpus/tradition and are more ubiquitous.

Her recent publications include:

  • “Magdalene, Mother, Martha’s Sister, or None of the Above?” in Rediscovering the Marys: Maria, Mariamne, Miriam, edited by Mary Ann Beavis and Ally Kateusz.
  • “There’s nothing about Mary: The Insignificance of Mary in the Gospel of Thomas 114,” Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies,  Autumn 2019.

Anna Cwikla is actively engaged on Twitter and Facebook.