Giraudon/Art Resource, New York, NY

An angel announces Jesus’ resurrection in Three Maries at the Tomb, an illumination from the Ingeburg Psalter, a 13th-century French manuscript. The Gospels name various combinations of women as visiting the tomb on the day after the sabbath to complete the burial rites by anointing Jesus’ body. Only Mary Magdalene, however, is named in all four Gospels (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10; John 20:1). Except in the Gospel of Luke, the angel at the tomb tells the women to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples, an unusual commission in that patriarchal era. Furthermore, the risen Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene alone according to John 20:14–18 and Mark 16:9. Clearly women, and Mary Magdalene in particular, occupy a significant position in the resurrection narrative. (The cameo at the bottom of this picture shows the guards asleep at the tomb, the excuse that the guards themselves offered for the disappearance of Jesus’ body [Matthew 28:13].)