Mary Magdalene and the Dangers of White Feminism

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Meredith J. C. Warren Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

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The film Mary Magdalene (2018) has been praised for its focus on one of Jesus’ most overlooked followers. But the film includes subtly negative depictions of Jewishness as well as problematic depictions of Black characters. Despite the film’s stated attempts to reflect first-century contexts, cinematic decisions reinforce harmful stereotypes about Judaism and about Black men. Viewing the film in light of historical Christian-feminist anti-Judaism on the one hand, and on the other, the figure of the ‘Karen’, a white woman who polices the presence and behaviour of Black people, this article investigates the ways in which Mary Magdalene is characterized in line with white feminism, and as such, the ways in which this white Mary is weaponized against Jews and Black people.

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