Bible scholars, help me out

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25

Ok so we’ve got Mary, Jesus’ mom.
And then we’ve got Mary Magdalene.

It says here that Mary’s sister was named Mary, too, and she was married to a guy named Clopas.

Were parents really unoriginal back then? Why would they name two daughters the same thing? (Perhaps since kids were named after relatives, one Mary was named after, say, an aunt and the other Mary was named after grandma?)

Could this Mrs. Clopas lady be Mother Mary’s sister in law?

OR, is this verse talking about 4 women:

  1. Mother Mary
  2. Mary’s unnamed sister
  3. Mrs. Clopas
  4. Mary Magdalene


Four women, two of whom are mentioned nowhere else, (and one of whom has her named translated in myriad ways: Clopas, Cleopas, and Cleophas. I’m not sure where the extra versions came from. In the Greek, it is rendered [symbol]Klwpa[/symbol], (Klôpa), and the K to C change and the final s both get added from Latin translations, but I don’t know where the “e” originates or how “p” changed to “ph”.)

According to my Pelican Bible Commentaries volume St. John (annotated by John Marsh)

“The Greek is not unambiguous, and could imply any number of womn between two and four.” (!)

If two, then we have 1.) Mary, the mother of Jesus and Daughteror sister of Clopas (instead of his wife – apparently it’s a legit translation) ans 2.) Mary Magdalene.

If thee are three, rthen they’re 1.) Jesus’ mom, 2.) Mary the wife/daughter/sister of Clopas; and 3.0 Mary Magdalene.

If four, then 1.) Jesus’ mom; 2.) Her Sister; 3.) Mary w/d/s of Clopasw; and 4.) Mary Magdalene.

The synoptics, he notes, aren’t much help in untangling his.

As for the lack of originality, from what I understand, “Mary” is a form of “Miriam” and it doesn’t seem that weird that a bunch of people would name their daughters after a prophetess.

I don’t have it in front of me, but I looked this up before &, assuming the correct translation is (Mother Mary’s) “sister Mary”, in the Greek - Mother Mary’s name is rendered Mariam while the sister’s name is Maria- I would be similar to a family where brothers were named Joshua, Jesse & Hosea.

As another note pointed out, it isn’t too surprising for a really popular name. (I once taught a confirmation class with four girls in it. Three had the same first name…) In any event, it’s not as bad as Roman practice, where all the daughters of a Julius (for example) would be named Julia. Distinguished only by birth order.

How silly! No one would ever do something like this today. cough George Foreman cough

Several societies has naming conventions which allowed/encouraged duplicate names of children.

In societies where children are named first after grandparents, if both the parents had mothers named “Mary” then you’ll get two "Mary"s. (In some places, this was an impetus to add middle names.)

I’ve seen 18th century German families that had the practice of naming all sons after the same saint, distinguished only by middle name. The main reason for this appears to be to torment modern day genealogists who have to sort out all the "Hans"s in a family, especially when the sons emigrated to the US separately and dropped their middle names.

I’ not sure and I doubt if anone can prove the case one way or the other.
Since the N.E. was written in Greek which is not punctuated in any way the text is ambiguous on this point.

Your MIGHT infer from the fact that three women were at the tomb that that was the same group that was at the foot of the cross. That is inference NOT proof.

George Foreman has 5 sons all of them named George

I think I heard that somewhere… :smack:

In renderings of the Crucifixion and the Lamentation, the “Three Maries” often appear, and they are traditionally identified as Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome, and Mary the mother of James the Lesser. The last Mary is the most unclearly defined figure–she’s sometimes identified with Mary, the wife of Cleophas, who John mentions; other times she’s considered the same as Mary Salome. So the Three Maries may really only be Two Maries, plus Mary the mother of Jesus (who would bring us back to Three Maries–although the phrase usually does not include her).

I don’t know if this helps any or not.

From prior post:
I’ not sure and I doubt if anone can prove the case one way or the other.
Since the N.T. was written in Greek which is not punctuated in any way the text is ambiguous on this point.

That was N.T., not n.e. :smack: