Why is Mary Magdalene called lilith in the chosen?

The Chosen, a crowd-funded television drama, has captivated audiences around the world with its humanized portrayal of biblical figures. Among these is the enigmatic and often misunderstood Mary Magdalene, who in a bold narrative choice is referred to as ‘Lilith’ in the series’ early episodes. This appellation, steeped in ancient mythology and religious symbolism, has sparked a confluence of dialogue and debate among viewers and scholars alike.

In our article, “Why is Mary Magdalene Called Lilith in The Chosen,” we embark on a scholarly journey to explore the connotations and implications of this provocative link. Our expertise is rooted in a deep understanding of biblical texts, apocryphal writings, and the rich tapestry of Judeo-Christian traditions that The Chosen weaves into its storytelling. We dissect the decision to merge Mary Magdalene’s story with the name Lilith—a figure associated with themes of independence and defiance—and what this means within the context of the show.

The value of this content lies in its capacity to illuminate the layers of meaning behind creative decisions in The Chosen, particularly as they pertain to the reimagining of historical religious figures. By unpacking the historical and theological underpinnings of the Lilith epithet, we provide an enriching perspective that clarifies the show’s creative liberties while respecting the complexity of religious narratives.

Our examination is not just an exploration of a name but a broader inquiry into how contemporary media interprets and redefines ancient texts to resonate with modern audiences. As such, we aim to pique your curiosity and encourage further reading by shedding light on how The Chosen navigates the nuanced interplay between scriptural fidelity and artistic expression.

As you delve into this article, prepare to be drawn into a fascinating discussion that challenges assumptions and invites a deeper appreciation of the creative process behind The Chosen. Whether you are a devout follower of the series, a student of theology, or simply intrigued by the intersection of faith and pop culture, this piece promises to engage your intellect and perhaps even inspire a renewed interest in the timeless stories that shape our world.


Who is Mary Magdalene?

Who is Mary Magdalene?

For those less familiar with the Bible, Mary Magdalene was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. She witnessed many of Jesus’ teachings and miracles firsthand. The Gospels describe her as being present at Jesus’ crucifixion and witnessing his resurrection on Easter morning. This gave her great significance as a leader among Jesus’ followers after his ascension.

The Slow Reveal in Episode 1

In the pilot episode of The Chosen, viewers are introduced to a mysterious woman named Lilith. It takes some time before her true identity as Mary Magdalene is revealed at the end. This slow rollout of characters can make it challenging for youth audiences to track everyone. It helps to set expectations upfront that the first episode is more about establishing characters before Jesus appears.

Depicting Mary Magdalene as Lilith

The big reveal comes when Peter asks “Lilith” to share her story with Jesus. She then admits her real name – Mary of Magdala. This implies a deceptive or troubled past for Mary Magdalene not found in the Gospels.

In Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam who became a demon and danger to children. By initially naming Mary “Lilith,” the show associates her with darkness and the occult. For modern viewers less familiar, this reference foreshadows Mary having a connection to evil forces or involvement in demonic activity.

Backstory Deviations from the Bible

The show seems to use the name Lilith to hint that Mary Magdalene has a past of engaging in sexual sins. She is first seen in the setting of the “Red Quarter” before meeting Jesus. The creators likely wanted to give Mary Magdalene a character arc of transforming from a dark, haunted figure to a devoted follower of Christ. However, the Bible does not portray Mary Magdalene as a prostitute or person possessed by demons. This creative deviation makes her character more relatable and sets up a redemption story.

The Significance of the Lilith Symbolism

By initially naming Mary “Lilith,” the show provides clever foreshadowing on two levels. First, it hints at her previous troubles and association with darkness. Second, it creates a contrast between the light and darkness, setting up her eventual redemption. The name Lilith gives her “demonic” attributes that will make her transformation all the more profound.

Creative License, for Better or Worse

This portrayal of Mary Magdalene is an intriguing creative choice by The Chosen’s writers. On the positive side, it makes Mary more relatable as a flawed person with a past. Her ultimate redemption arc may resonate more with modern audiences. However, deviating too far from the Bible’s account of her character could distort her historical significance. If viewers mainly know Mary Magdalene from The Chosen, they may underestimate her importance as a devoted follower of Jesus from the start.

There are merits on both sides of this creative decision. The showrunners likely wanted to capture viewer interest and provide a compelling character journey. However, when adapting Biblical figures, there is a risk of misrepresenting their established legacy if deviations go too far.

How Other Adaptations Depict Her?

How Other Adaptations Depict Her?

For comparison, some other film and TV adaptations paint Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, while others adhere more closely to the Bible’s portrayal. Films like Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) fueled the notion of Mary having a scandalous past, which persists in popular culture today. Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) depicted her as a woman caught in adultery. In contrast, more recent series like A.D. The Bible Continues (2015) show Mary as a steadfast disciple from the start, with no hints of demons or prostitution.

Looking at the broader picture, The Chosen’s portrayal fits within a tradition of taking creative license with Mary Magdalene as a mysterious, haunted woman. This likely makes her more intriguing and dramatic as a lead character. However, viewers should balance its exciting depiction with what the Gospels say about her faithfulness and courage in the face of Christ’s crucifixion.

Mary Magdalene’s Enduring Significance

While interpretations may vary, Mary Magdalene occupies a central place in the Gospel story as a follower of Jesus from Galilee. She remained faithful after his death when many fled in fear. Seeing the risen Christ on Easter, she gained prominence in the early church for sharing this testimony. Mary Magdalene set an example of courage and devotion regardless of how films and shows reimagine her origins. When portrayals take creative license, as in The Chosen, it opens opportunities to discuss how and why stories evolve over time. There are merits in both preserving the biblical account and modernizing characters. Viewers can appreciate a compelling backstory while still recognizing Mary Magdalene’s significance from the very start as a cornerstone leader among Jesus’ followers.

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