I finally discuss what emerges from these memories as likely historical memories. What are they? Our oldest recoverable memories know her to be a single woman and an important woman disciple of Jesus' movement who was a public Christian leader after his death. The public nature of her mission and the authority that she commandeered as a woman disciple of Jesus became a real liability for her memory in a movement that was initially unconventional and that gradually conformed to the norms of its society, norms which often stereotyped public women as prostitutes and closed public offices to women.
Illustration: "Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene" (anon., early 15th c.; AMICO Library Image)