The idea that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute comes from the account given in Luke 7:36-50 of a woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with her tears and ointment. She is described as ‘a woman of the city who was a sinner’, so this woman may have been a prostitute. Jesus told her to ‘Go in peace’. For some reason, people have thought that this woman was Mary Magdalene, although there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that.

The only mention of Mary Magdalene in any of the gospels before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is in Luke 8:2, where she is described as one ‘from whom seven demons had gone out’. With a number of other women she travelled around the country with Jesus and his Apostles.

It is unlikely that Luke would have described these two women in such completely different ways if they were, in fact, the same woman.

See also the related question “How many times was Jesus anointed by a woman?”

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47 Responses to Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute?

  1. Krista Perry Spivey says:

    Just to let you know, Mary Magdeline is ALSO mentioned “Mark 16:9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”. Reading Luke 7:36-50, I do not see where anyone could come to the conclusion that the woman in the passages was Mary Magdalene.

    From Wikipedia, A point that is noteworthy, but controversial: (This is not in the Bible so I don’t accept it. But I do not think she was a prostitute or an adulteress. I am just including it as an interesting article) is in a gnostic text first discovered in 1896, the Gospel of Mary exalts Mary Magdalene over the male disciples of Jesus. The Gospel of Mary provides important information about the role of women in the early church, although it is missing six pages from the beginning, and four from the middle. It is usually dated to about the same period as that of the Gospel of Philip. The identity of “Mary” appearing as the main character in this Gospel is sometimes disputed, but she is generally believed to be Mary Magdalene. It’s an interesting article on her from Wikipedia. But I’m not sure I believe all of what it says.

  2. Neil Wilfong says:

    Mary Magdaline wasnt a prostitute but a follower of jesus , and beloved by him Now people believe Jesus was married to her and fatheted a son . Hocky puck ! Nothing in the bible nor Nostic Gospels state such , now he beloved may mean differant things . And the Catholic Church labeled her as a prostitute …

    • Cavy4Freedom says:

      no they did not say she was a prostitute…good grief…

      • Brian Owens says:

        Actually, Pope Gregory the Great in one of his sermons said he believed Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and the sinning woman who anointed Jesus’ feet were one and the same. Since the latter woman was considered to have been a prostitute, he was, in fact, saying that he believed Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

  3. Georgy Prodorov says:


  4. Holly B says:

    Mary Magdelan was a devout disciple of Jesus who helped support his ministry financially and I’m sure she did her part in helping to spread the Truth. She wasn’t an adulterer. She wasn’t a
    prostitute. She had been demon possessed before meeting Jesus, was healed, and took up her cross and followed him.

  5. Ed Dipple says:

    I think that Jesus would and even has said that question is none of your business.
    Anything that is our business is explained clearly and in detail in the scripture
    Does not scripture say that when God forgives He places your sin in His sea of forgetfulness . If He forgot our sins we probably shouldn’t even think about anyone else’s , do you want the world to discuss what you were before Jesus forgave you and you became a child of God ???

    • Ed Dipple says:

      This discussion reminds me of middle age “scholars” debating how many angels could dance on the head of a pin .

  6. gregorio64 says:

    she was his wife

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