Saturday 22 July 2023

the magdalene (10. 898)

Fรชted on this day as the patron protector of converts, glovers, milliners, perfumeries, apothecaries, penitent sinners and sexual temptation, Mary of Magdala, which gives us the name Madeleine, travelled with Jesus and the apostles and was regarded as the only disciple that truly understood Jesus’ message, garnering the jealousy of Peter and the others—and according to some persistent extra-canonical traditions, the bride of Christ, having journeyed to Gaul to start a family. Her depiction as a reformed prostitution began in the late sixth century with a sermon by Pope Gregory I that conflated an unnamed “Sinful Woman,” later identified as Mary of Bethany, who is deigned to anoint the feet of Jesus, which the Catholic Church didn’t officially dispel until thirteen hundred years later with Pope Paul VI’s calendar reform but has proven another persistent association. Elaborated and romanced during the medieval period through modern times, Mary Magdalen was upheld as a example of redemption, though her popular cult was ignored by authoritative theologians, and it was said that seven demons were exorcised from her which became embodiments of the contemporary idea of the Seven Deadly Sins, and from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance is often depicted as rather hirsute by dent of her newly acquired modesty, iconographically publicly nude (vulgaris meretrix) but not obscured with a fig-leaf or Daryl Hanna Mermaid-style with strategically placed plaits but rather lycanthropically in full body hair (like this painting in Gdaล„sk or Tilman Riemenschneider’s altar ensemble in Mรผnnerstadt), like the so called ‘feather tights’ affect given to angelic figures, a costume of scales aligned with the fashion and sensibilities of the time. Elevated from a memorial feast to a liturgical one in 2016 by Pope Francis directed Mary Magdalene be hailed as apostolorum apostola, the “Apostle of the apostles.”


one year ago: more adventures through the Scottish Highlands, a hit from Take That (1991) plus driving along the North Coast 500

two years ago: Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 

three years ago: the origins of the depiction of Jesus as a white European

four years ago: and whitey’s on the Moon plus assorted links to revisit

five years ago: the search for Dark Matter, assorted links worth revisiting, on eggccorns and oronyms plus the smell of rain