Collection Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg / Photo by Scala / Art Resource, NY
Mary Magdalene reaches out to the risen Jesus beside his tomb, but he spurns her, saying “Touch me not”—in Latin, Noli me tangere (John 20:16–18). Longstanding tradition identifies Mary Magdalene as a repentant whore. Her long dark tresses and red dress in this 1835 painting by Russian artist Alexander Ivanov are intended to recall her promiscuous past. In more recent years, however, scholars and novelists alike have suggested that the Magdalene was also Jesus’ wife. In the accompanying article, Birger A. Pearson examines the evidence—both from extrabiblical accounts of Mary as well as from Jesus’ own conversations about marriage—in order to declare this marriage null and void.