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Mary Magdalene and the seven demons


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#1 RichardWorthington

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 12:18 AM

Hi,

I've done a check on Monachos and I don't think anyone has addressed this before, so I thought I would ask.

In Wikipedia for Mary Magdalene, under "Eatern Orthodox" it says that

There is a tradition that Mary Magdalene led so chaste a life that the devil thought she might be the one who was to bear Christ into the world, and for that reason he sent the seven demons to trouble her.


http://en.wikipedia....astern_Orthodox


However, there is no reference given for this.

Does anyone know where this tradition comes from, or have they heard of it before?

Thank you,

Richard/Alban

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 01:27 AM

Well, here is her life from the OCA site which directly contradicts this statement. See the second paragraph below. Though Wiki may have it's place in the world, it can be edited by anyone in the world with or without credentials to be authentic. Reader beware. I am more apt to believe the (T)radition of the church rather than a (t)radition from Wiki.

The Holy Myrrh-Bearer Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene. On the banks of Lake Genesareth (Galilee), between the cities of Capharnum and Tiberias, was the small city of Magdala, the remains of which have survived to our day. Now only the small village of Mejhdel stands on the site.

A woman whose name has entered forever into the Gospel account was born and grew up in Magdala. The Gospel tells us nothing of Mary's younger years, but Tradition informs us that Mary of Magdala was young and pretty, and led a sinful life. It says in the Gospels that the Lord expelled seven devils from Mary (Luke. 8:2). From the moment of her healing Mary led a new life, and became a true disciple of the Savior.

The Gospel relates that Mary followed after the Lord, when He went with the Apostles through the cities and villages of Judea and Galilee preaching about the Kingdom of God. Together with the pious women Joanna, wife of Choza (steward of Herod), Susanna and others, she served Him from her own possessions (Luke 8:1-3) and undoubtedly shared with the Apostles the evangelic tasks in common with the other women. The Evangelist Luke, evidently, has her in view together with the other women, stating that at the moment of the Procession of Christ onto Golgotha, when after the Scourging He took on Himself the heavy Cross, collapsing under its weight, the women followed after Him weeping and wailing, but He consoled them. The Gospel relates that Mary Magdalene was present on Golgotha at the moment of the Lord's Crucifixion. While all the disciples of the Savior ran away, she remained fearlessly at the Cross together with the Mother of God and the Apostle John.

The Evangelists also list among those standing at the Cross the mother of the Apostle James, and Salome, and other women followers of the Lord from Galilee, but all mention Mary Magdalene first. St John, in addition to the Mother of God, names only her and Mary Cleopas. This indicates how much she stood out from all the women who gathered around the Lord.

She was faithful to Him not only in the days of His Glory, but also at the moment of His extreme humiliation and insult. As the Evangelist Matthew relates, she was present at the Burial of the Lord. Before her eyes Joseph and Nicodemus went out to the tomb with His lifeless Body. She watched as they covered over the entrance to the cave with a large stone, entombing the Source of Life.

Faithful to the Law in which she was raised, Mary together with the other women spent following day at rest, because it was the great day of the Sabbath, coinciding with the Feast of Passover. But all the rest of the peaceful day the women gathered spices to go to the Grave of the Lord at dawn on Sunday and anoint His Body according to the custom of the Jews.

It is necessary to mention that, having agreed to go on the first day of the week to the Tomb early in the morning, the holy women had no possibility of meeting with one another on Saturday. They went separately on Friday evening to their own homes. They went out only at dawn the following day to go to the Sepulchre, not all together, but each from her own house.

The Evangelist Matthew writes that the women came to the grave at dawn, or as the Evangelist Mark expresses, extremely early before the rising of the sun. The Evangelist John, elaborating upon these, says that Mary came to the grave so early that it was still dark. Obviously, she waited impatiently for the end of night, but it was not yet daybreak. She ran to the place where the Lord's Body lay.

Mary went to the tomb alone. Seeing the stone pushed away from the cave, she ran away in fear to tell the close Apostles of Christ, Peter and John. Hearing the strange message that the Lord was gone from the tomb, both Apostles ran to the tomb and, seeing the shroud and winding cloths, they were amazed. The Apostles went and said nothing to anyone, but Mary stood about the entrance to the tomb and wept. Here in this dark tomb so recently lay her lifeless Lord.

Wanting proof that the tomb really was empty, she went down to it and saw a strange sight. She saw two angels in white garments, one sitting at the head, the other at the foot, where the Body of Jesus had been placed. They asked her, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She answered them with the words which she had said to the Apostles, "They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." At that moment, she turned around and saw the Risen Jesus standing near the grave, but she did not recognize Him.

He asked Mary, "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom dost thou seek?" She answered thinking that she was seeing the gardener, "Sir, if thou hast taken him, tell where thou hast put Him, and I will take Him away."

Then she recognized the Lord's voice. This was the voice she heard in those days and years, when she followed the Lord through all the cities and places where He preached. He spoke her name, and she gave a joyful shout, "Rabbi" (Teacher).

Respect and love, fondness and deep veneration, a feeling of thankfulness and recognition at His Splendor as great Teacher, all came together in this single outcry. She was able to say nothing more and she threw herself down at the feet of her Teacher to wash them with tears of joy. But the Lord said to her: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and tell them: "I ascend to My Father, and your Father; to My God and to your God."

She came to herself and again ran to the Apostles, to do the will of Him sending her to preach. Again she ran into the house, where the Apostles still remained in dismay, and proclaimed to them the joyous message, "I have seen the Lord!" This was the first preaching in the world about the Resurrection.

The Apostles proclaimed the Glad Tidings to the world, but she proclaimed it to the Apostles themselves.

Holy Scripture does not tell us about the life of Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection of Christ, but it is impossible to doubt, that if in the terrifying minutes of Christ's Crucifixion she was the foot of His Cross with His All-Pure Mother and St John, she must have stayed with them during the happier time after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Thus in the Acts of the Apostles St Luke writes that all the Apostles with one mind stayed in prayer and supplication, with certain women and Mary the Mother of Jesus and His brethren.

Holy Tradition testifies that when the Apostles departed from Jerusalem to preach to all the ends of the earth, then Mary Magdalene also went with them. A daring woman, whose heart was full of reminiscence of the Resurrection, she went beyond her native borders and went to preach in pagan Rome. Everywhere she proclaimed to people about Christ and His teaching. When many did not believe that Christ is risen, she repeated to them what she had said to the Apostles on the radiant morning of the Resurrection: "I have seen the Lord!" With this message she went all over Italy.

Tradition relates that in Italy Mary Magdalene visited Emperor Tiberias (14-37 A.D.) and proclaimed to him Christ's Resurrection. According to Tradition, she took him a red egg as a symbol of the Resurrection, a symbol of new life with the words: "Christ is Risen!" Then she told the emperor that in his Province of Judea the unjustly condemned Jesus the Galilean, a holy man, a miracleworker, powerful before God and all mankind, had been executed at the instigation of the Jewish High Priests, and the sentence confirmed by the procurator appointed by Tiberias, Pontius Pilate.

Mary repeated the words of the Apostles, that we are redeemed from the vanity of life is not with perishable silver or gold, but rather by the precious Blood of Christ.

Thanks to Mary Magdalene the custom to give each other paschal eggs on the day of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ spread among Christians over all the world. On one ancient Greek manuscript, written on parchment, kept in the monastery library of St Athanasius near Thessalonica, is a prayer read on the day of Holy Pascha for the blessing of eggs and cheese. In it is indicated that the igumen in passing out the blessed eggs says to the brethren: "Thus have we received from the holy Fathers, who preserved this custom from the very time of the holy Apostles, therefore the holy Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene first showed believers the example of this joyful offering."

Mary Magdalene continued her preaching in Italy and in the city of Rome itself. Evidently, the Apostle Paul has her in mind in his Epistle to the Romans (16: 6), where together with other ascetics of evangelic preaching he mentions Mary (Mariam), who as he expresses "has bestowed much labor on us." Evidently, she extensively served the Church in its means of subsistence and its difficulties, being exposed to dangers, and sharing with the Apostles the labors of preaching.

According to Church Tradition, she remained in Rome until the arrival of the Apostle Paul, and for two more years following his departure from Rome after the first court judgment upon him. From Rome, St Mary Magdalene, already bent with age, moved to Ephesus where the holy Apostle John unceasingly labored. There the saint finished her earthly life and was buried.

Her holy relics were transferred in the ninth century to Constantinople, and placed in the monastery Church of St Lazarus. In the era of the Crusader campaigns they were transferred to Italy and placed at Rome under the altar of the Lateran Cathedral. Part of the relics of Mary Magdalene are said to be in Provage, France near Marseilles, where over them at the foot of a steep mountain a splendid church is built in her honor.

The Orthodox Church honors the holy memory of St Mary Magdalene, the woman called by the Lord Himself from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.

Formerly immersed in sin and having received healing, she sincerely and irrevocably began a new life and never wavered from that path. Mary loved the Lord Who called her to a new life. She was faithful to Him not only when He was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds and winning recognition as a miracle-worker, but also when all the disciples deserted Him in fear and He, humiliated and crucified, hung in torment upon the Cross. This is why the Lord, knowing her faithfulness, appeared to her first, and esteemed her worthy to be first to proclaim His Resurrection.



#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:11 AM

There are a lot of Marys in the Gospels and they often get mixed up. There is more than one version of the story of St. Mary Magdalene from equally Orthodox sources. In contrast with the OCA, the GOARCH website has this to say:

Although it is sometimes said that Saint Mary Magdalene was the "sinful woman" of the Gospel, this is nowhere stated in the tradition of the Church, in the sacred hymnology, or in the Holy Gospels themselves, which say only that our Lord cast seven demons out of her, not that she was a fallen woman. "Madeleine" is a form of Magdalene.

The belief that St. Mary Magdalene was the "sinful woman" is believed to have started with Pope Gregory Dialogist, which goes to show even the saints can get confused from time to time.

Herman the perpetually confused Pooh

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 14 January 2010 - 03:14 AM.
added a thought


#4 Ilaria

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 07:32 AM

I am too busy right now, but as soon as i can I will come with some details from a Patristic book, a renowned professor of Theology in Athens;
according to him, and not only (I know that Fr Sophrony also said this) - St Mary Magdalene indeed led a chaste life

#5 Kosta

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 11:56 AM

St Gregory based his assumptions primarily on the previous paragraghs leading up to 8.1-2. About the sinful woman who annointed Christs feet and was forgiven of her sins. In Orthodox christianity we make a distinction between the sinful woman of 7.39-50 and the women in Christ's party who were healed of evil spirits and followed him in following paragraph. To be fair it seems a stretch to say that Mary Magdelene was chaste before her encounter with Christ. The number 7 itself tends to have a symbolic meaning, both in good and bad contexts. Seven demons would assume a sinful immoral life for a woman and not simply a female who was a bed-ridden cripple. In fact the woman of 8.1-2 were all well off financially, ministering and providing for Christ and themselves from their own resources (see8.3).This would hardly be the case if Mary Magdalane was sickly and frail, in that culture thats a sure ticket for poverty..

It says the women were healed of evil spirits and infirmities (only), but some greek manuscript used in the Constantinople Church also add ..were healed of disease and scourages and evil spirits and infirmities. It would be a huge stretch to claim the 7 demons simply refer to minor physical ailments.

#6 Niko T.

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 05:27 PM

The following life of St. Mary Magdalene in greek (http://www.impantokr...92EE7A9.el.aspx) includes a whole section on the misconception that she was the sinful woman in the Gospel. Here is a pertinent quote from there by St. Modestus of Jerusalem (from a work of his: "On the Myrrhbearers") and my translation:

"Και στον άγιο Μόδεστο, Πατριάρχη Ιεροσολύμων (α' ήμισυ ζ' αιώνος) διαβάζομε: «Τον συμβολικό αριθμό επτά και όταν πρόκειται περί της αρετής και όταν πρόκειται περί της κακίας, βλέπομε να χρησιμοποιή η Αγία Γραφή. Ευλόγως, λοιπόν, διαλέγει ο Σωτήρας την Μαρία την Μαγδαληνή, από την οποία εξέβαλε επτά δαιμόνια, για να εκδίωξη μέσω αυτής, τον άρχοντα της κακίας (διάβολο) από την ανθρώπινη φύση. Διότι οι ιστορίες διδάσκουν την Μαγδαληνή αυτήν δια βίου παρθένον. Και αναφέρεται μαρτύριον της Μαρίας Μαγδαληνής, όπου γράφεται ότι για την άκραν παρθενίαν και καθαρότητά της, φαινόταν στους βασανιστές της, σαν καθαρό κρύσταλλο»."

"And according to St. Modestus, Patriarch of Jerusalem (1st half of the 7th Century), we read: “The symbolic number seven we see used in the Holy Scriptures indicating virtue and indicating evil. Most likely [Ευλόγως], therefore, it is said that Mary Magdalene, from whom [Christ] cast out seven demons, that the Savior drove out from her the prince of evil (the devil) from the human nature. For the stories teach that this Magdalene was a virgin through her life. And it is mentioned that [at] the martyrdom of Mary Magdalene, as is written, that on account of her utter virginity and purity, she appeared to her torturers, as a pure crystal.”

#7 Mary

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 03:24 AM

Personally, I would think, if you have seven demons in you, you're probably a bit sinful.

#8 Nina

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 04:38 AM

Personally, I would think, if you have seven demons in you, you're probably a bit sinful.


No, not really... these are mysteries that only God knows, but I also have heard that St. Mary Magdalene was chaste, in contrary to the western thinking about her... in Italy for instance her name is a synonym for promiscuity/ immorality... but not used in modern times.

I think the 7 were there to torture her... Of course we are all sinners, but the meaning of this is that she was chaste and pure in the moral aspect.

#9 Kusanagi

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 11:11 AM

I have read from St Mary Magdalene that can be bought from SJKP and the Life of the Mother of God by Holy Apostles and both mention that St Mary led a chaste life. The reason that she had 7 demons because the devil knew a virgin would give birth. Virgin from what I understand means not being married as well, because as when a couple get married they have sexual relations. So the devil probably thought a single virgin girl who led a chaste life and so she was possessed. However the devil was deceived because Mary the Mother of God was a virgin was betrothed and gave birth.

If i remember correctly when she was exorcised she became a very devout follower of Christ because of what was done to her.

#10 Panayota K.

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 12:20 PM

I would also like to add that St Mary Magdalene was not young (I don't know if shw was beautiful) when she became a student of Christ. Correct me if I'm wrong but I remember from the religious lesson at school that according to the local culture no woman at young age or unmarried could be follower to any teacher. If we take a look at the names of the women in the Gospels, the names of the husbands are mentioned too. The sisters of St Lazarus were students of Christ but didn't follow Him. It was not permitted.

Panayota

#11 Michael Stickles

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 05:22 PM

What I had read was that the first known identification of St. Mary Magdalene with either the sinful woman who washed Christ's feet with tears or the woman caught in adultery (or maybe both; I don't remember the details or source) was by a certain bishop (might have been Pope Gregory) who was counselling a woman who was in despair over her sexual sins and unable to believe she could be forgiven. The bishop used the identification of one or both of the sinful women with St. Mary to convince the despairing woman that, if God could take a notorious sinner like St. Mary and raise her up to such heights of sanctity, then surely God would not withhold forgiveness from one repenting of similar but lesser sins.

Since I can't find my source for that, though, I'm not sure if it's actually true, or just someone's rather fanciful mis-remembering of the context of Pope Gregory's sermon; or perhaps it's true but just not "first", with someone (maybe Pope Gregory himself) drawing on the material of that sermon in giving his counsel.

In Christ,
Michael

#12 Mary

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 08:51 PM

What I had read was that the first known identification of St. Mary Magdalene with either the sinful woman who washed Christ's feet with tears or the woman caught in adultery (or maybe both; I don't remember the details or source) was by a certain bishop (might have been Pope Gregory) who was counselling a woman who was in despair over her sexual sins and unable to believe she could be forgiven. The bishop used the identification of one or both of the sinful women with St. Mary to convince the despairing woman that, if God could take a notorious sinner like St. Mary and raise her up to such heights of sanctity, then surely God would not withhold forgiveness from one repenting of similar but lesser sins.

Since I can't find my source for that, though, I'm not sure if it's actually true, or just someone's rather fanciful mis-remembering of the context of Pope Gregory's sermon; or perhaps it's true but just not "first", with someone (maybe Pope Gregory himself) drawing on the material of that sermon in giving his counsel.

In Christ,
Michael


I was actually thinking along those lines, while at work. That she needed a Savior, like anyone else, is undisputed. That her purity wasn't the same as the Theotokos is also probably undisputed. What her actual sins are, don't really matter that much, and whether she was a virgin or not, isn't important. But she was a woman who was forgiven and healed and she loved the Lord very deeply. There were all kinds of women who became saints, but not all are as well known. If she is to bring hope to some hopeless woman, does it matter if we're mistaken about her state before Christ found her?

#13 Nina

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 05:38 AM

If she is to bring hope to some hopeless woman, does it matter if we're mistaken about her state before Christ found her?


There are many saints who were promiscuous before reaching theosis. So there are enough examples for hope. Saint Mary of Egypt? Additionally, we can't purposely change the facts of St. Mary Magdalene's life, since that is theologically and morally prohibitive. Also do not forget that there are also women who have similar lives to this kind of saint and they would also need the support.

#14 RichardWorthington

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 09:07 AM

Dear all,

Thank you for contributing your thoughts!

I have read from St Mary Magdalene that can be bought from SJKP and the Life of the Mother of God by Holy Apostles and both mention that St Mary led a chaste life. The reason that she had 7 demons because the devil knew a virgin would give birth.


Mr Kusanagi, would you be able to give me a reference for this book? I found the St john of Kronstadt Press and there was an akathist and 'harlots of the desert', neither of which seemed appropriate to the reference you imply.

Many thanks,

Richard/Alban

#15 Michael Stickles

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 12:42 PM

I found the St john of Kronstadt Press and there was an akathist and 'harlots of the desert', neither of which seemed appropriate to the reference you imply.


Looks like you must have searched on "Magdalene". I don't know if this is what Kusanagi was referring to, but there is also "St. Mary Magdalen: Life, Service & Akathist Hymn". The variant spellings of so many saints' names make online searching an adventure...

In Christ,
Michael

#16 Mary

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 03:32 PM

There are many saints who were promiscuous before reaching theosis. So there are enough examples for hope. Saint Mary of Egypt? Additionally, we can't purposely change the facts of St. Mary Magdalene's life, since that is theologically and morally prohibitive. Also do not forget that there are also women who have similar lives to this kind of saint and they would also need the support.


You are right. But I never heard about St Mary of Egypt till after becoming orthodox. Or any others like her, for that matter. Definitely, not by name. The west, especially the impoverished protestant world, has very little hope in the form of lives of saints. We knew every story in the Bible inside out, but the gap that existed from the time the book of Acts ends till the time that we showed up on earth, left a huge void. We filled it with imaginations, fleshing out the lives of those in the Bible to make them real to ourselves, to make them 'human' according to ourselves so we could related to them and draw courage from them. I know. Really twisted. I look at all those fictional stories based on Biblical characters and they make me want to throw up now. In fact, any 'christian fiction' is sickening, because it is written in such a way that it seems that God Himself is being manipulated to make things work out for the good of those in the book. Anyway. That's so off topic. Sorry.

It was just a feeble attempt to show how Mary Magdalene's life gets so mangled and messed up in the west. You're right. It isn't right to say that someone who wasn't sinful, was sinful. Because there are those whose hearts are pure and gentle, right from the start, and they also need hope. Maybe more so, in some ways.

in Christ,
mary

#17 Niko T.

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 05:57 PM

I do agree that while mentioning that St. Mary was a virgin and not the sinful woman in the Gospel, we can't put her on the same level as the most holy and pure Theotokos, who never gave way to even a thought of sin throughout her life.

I don't know if they will help or further complicate things, but the following are two more quotes from the greek article I cited above, and my translations:

Ο Θεοφάνης Κεραμεύς γράφει: «Αλλά να μην νομίση κανείς ότι η Μαρία είχε επτά δαίμονες. Αλλά ό­πως ακριβώς τα χαρίσματα του Αγίου Πνεύματος ο­νομάζονται συνωνύμως επτά πνεύματα, καθώς ο μέγας Ησαΐας τα αρίθμησε: "Πνεύμα σοφίας και συνέσεως, πνεύμα βουλής, πνεύμα ισχύος και γνώσεως και ευσέ­βειας και φόβου Θεού". Έτσι αντιθέτως και οι ενέργειες των δαιμόνων λέγονται δαίμονες. η ακηδία, η φειδωλία, η απείθεια, ο φθόνος, το ψευδός, η απλη­στία και κάθε πάθος είναι συνώνυμον του δαίμονος που το εγέννησε. Όποιος, λοιπόν, είναι κυριευμένος από αυτά τα πάθη, κατέχεται από δαίμονες. Δεν ήταν λοιπόν καθόλου απίθανον και αδύνατον και η Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή να υποδουλώθηκε σε κάποια επτά πά­θη, από τα οποία λυτρώθηκε και ύστερα έγινε μαθή­τρια του Σωτήρος»5.

Theophanes Kerameus writes: “But no one should think that Mary had seven demons. But in accordance with the graces of the Holy Spirit they are synonymously named seven spirits, as the great Isaiah numbers: “A spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel, a spirit of strength and knowledge and piety and fear of God.” Thus in opposition the energies of the demons are called demons, sloth, parsimony, contempt, wrath, lying, faithlessness and every passion synonymous with the demons which gave birth to it. Whoever, therefore, is ruled by the passions is bound by demons. It is therefore not at all unlikely or impossible that Mary Magdalene was subdued by some seven passions, from which she was later freed and later became a disciple of the Savior.”

Την ίδια άποψη διατυπώνει περί των επτά δαιμο­νίων και ο Θεοφύλακτος Βουλγαρίας στην Ερμηνεία του στο Κατά Λουκάν Ευαγγέλιο: «Καθώς είναι επτά πνεύματα της αρετής έτσι είναι και εξ εναντίας επτά πνεύματα της κακίας. Ωσάν πως είναι Πνεύμα φόβου Θεού, έτσι είναι και εξ εναντίας Πνεύμα αφοβίας Θε­ού. είναι Πνεύμα συνέσεως, είναι και εναντίον Πνεύ­μα ασυνεσίας, και καθεξής τα λοιπά. Εάν το λοιπόν δεν εβγούν τα επτά ταύτα πνεύματα της κακίας από την ψυχήν, δεν δύναται τινάς ν' ακολουθή τον Χριστόν. Διότι πρώτον πρέπει να εβγάλη κανείς τον Σατανάν από λόγου του, και τότε να κατοικήση ο Χρι­στός»7.

The same view is presented on the seven demons by Theophylactos of Bulgaria in his Ermenia on the Gospel according to St. Luke: “As there are seven spirits of virtue thus there are against them seven spirits of evil. As there is a Spirit of fear of God, thus there is against it a Spirit of a lack of fear of God. There is a Spirit understanding, there is against it a Spirit of a lack of understanding, and the same with the rest of them. Unless, therefore these seven spirits of evil leave from the soul, it's not possible for one to follow Christ. For first Satan must be removed from him, and then Christ will inhabit him.”

#18 Kusanagi

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 09:26 PM

There is a life of her plus an akathist which is from SJKP called" Holy Myrrh-Bearer Mary Magadelene" in the beginning of the book it mentions that Mary is often confused with the other pious Marys in the gospel.

#19 Valerie Gross

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:58 PM

I would be intersted to know why Luke 8:2 is always translated as (KJV) And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils..."
and never as, “And certain women, who attended to the sick and the ailing, Mary called Magdalene, from whom emanated seven spirits…”

Based on the Greek, both translations seem valid. “Daimonai” is translated as “strange gods” in Acts 17:18, why not here?

Is it unreasonable to consider that the only women mentioned by name in each of the four Gospels may be extraordinary in her own right?

#20 Michael Stickles

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 03:05 PM

... and never as, “And certain women, who attended to the sick and the ailing, Mary called Magdalene, from whom emanated seven spirits…”

Based on the Greek, both translations seem valid.


Not really. The literal word-by-word translation (with a little rearranging to avoid excessive awkwardness) would read something like:

"And some women who were ones-having-been-cured from wicked spirits and infirmities; Mary the one-being-called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had-come-out; ...".

I don't see any legitimate way to reinterpret the Greek for that verse to have the women doing the tending/curing instead of being the ones cured. And the verb tense is all wrong for "emanated" as opposed to "had come out" - assuming "emanated" is valid for that verb; I don't have my good lexicon to check it with.

“Daimonai” is translated as “strange gods” in Acts 17:18, why not here?


Sorry for the nitpick, but it's only "gods" there - the phrase used is "ξενων δαιμονιων" (xenon daimonion), with ξενων = "strange" (as in "foreign, alien") and δαιμονιων = "gods". Note that this is the one place in the NT where this word is being used by non-Christian Greeks, and I believe that for the Greeks, the word referred in general to deities or to spirits greater than humans, whether divine or demonic (I wish I had my good lexicon with me to verify that). The usage among Jews and Christians was pretty much uniformly "devils" or "demons" - and, since they considered the δαιμονιων the Greeks sacrificed to, to be devils, everything stays consistent.

In Christ,
Michael




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