Joan Taylor held her inauguration lecture last week (May 1st) as a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at Kings College, School of Arts and Humanities, Theology and Religious Studies.
Her topic chosen for the lecture was: Mary Magdalene and the case of missing Magdala, and it is summarized thus on the Department’s webpage:
Traditionally, Mary Magdalene is assumed to have come from a place called Magdala, meaning ‘the Tower’. However, there is no such place mentioned in the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament, though there was a small village attested in rabbinic literature as Migdal Nuniya (‘Tower of Fish’), lying just one mile north of Tiberias, and many other villages called ‘Tower of [Something]’ in Galilee and wider Judaea. The place called ‘Magdala’ or ‘Migdal’ in Israel today, 3.5 miles north of Tiberias, continues a Byzantine identification, from the fifth or sixth centuries CE when pilgrim sites were plotted in Palestine, and it is often assumed that the earlier sizeable town now coming to light there was called Tarichaea-Magdala. However, Josephus clearly indicates that Tarichaea lay south of Tiberias, and that this town north of Tiberias was called Homonoia. This lecture will explore Mary’s name ‘the Magdalene’, the actual location of her home village, and the possibility that her epithet may be understood as a double-entendre, meaning ‘the Tower-ess’: a nickname like others Jesus gave to his closest apostles.
Prof. Taylor will be well-known to Philo-scholars and others interested in Philo of Alexandria. She has written, i.a., a book on Jewish Women Philosophers of First Century Alexandria. Philoæs Therapeutae’ Reconsidered (Oxford 2003), and is now (probably inter alia,) engaged in writing a commentary on Philo’s De vita contemplativa (The Contemplative Life), for the Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series (PACS).
Congratulations to Joan Taylor for her new position!
PS: Sorry, Joan, for stealing the picture from your Facebook page, but I had no other! 🙂