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Gathering The Strands

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with the observation that research on Martha has, in the main, been limited to considering only the canonical references or observing her only en route to other concerns, such as the analysis of Mary Magdalene or the analysis of women in gnostic literature. It argues that these limits have led to a skewed interpretation and that an analysis of the material with a primary focus on Martha would offer new insights. One very significant tradition which has been recovered as a result is the tradition of Martha as myrrhophore and apostle of the resurrection. Martha is not a minor apostola apostolorum, nor is her role secondary or derived from that of Mary Magdalene. Liturgy and iconography have proven highly significant for this study of Martha traditions, particularly in relation to the traditions placing her at the tomb of Jesus.

Keywords: apostola apostolorum; liturgy; Martha; Mary Magdalene; myrrhophore; tomb



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