John 11:2

And it was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair (hn de Mariam h aleipsasa ton kurion murwi kai ekmaxasa tou poda autou tai qrixin auth). This description is added to make plainer who Mary is "whose brother Lazarus was sick" (h o adelpo Lazaro hsqenei). There is an evident proleptic allusion to the incident described by John in Luke 12:1-8 just after chapter 11. As John looks back from the end of the century it was all behind him, though the anointing (h aleipsasa, first aorist active articular participle of aleipw, old verb for which see Mark 6:13 ) took place after the events in chapter 11. The aorist participle is timeless and merely pictures the punctiliar act. The same remark applies to ekmaxasa, old verb ekmassw, to wipe off or away ( Isaiah 12:3 ; Isaiah 13:5 ; Luke 7:38 Luke 7:44 ). Note the Aramaic form Mariam as usual in John, but Maria in verse 11:1 . When John wrote, it was as Jesus had foretold ( Matthew 26:13 ), for the fame of Mary of Bethany rested on the incident of the anointing of Jesus. The effort to link Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene and then both names with the sinful woman of Luke 7:36-50 is gratuitous and to my mind grotesque and cruel to the memory of both Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene. Bernard may be taken as a specimen: "The conclusion is inevitable that John (or his editor) regarded Mary of Bethany as the same person who is described by Luke as amartwlo." This critical and artistic heresy has already been discussed in Vol. II on Luke's Gospel. Suffice it here to say that Luke introduces Mary Magdalene as an entirely new character in Luke 8:2 and that the details in Luke 7:36-50 ; John 12:1-8 have only superficial resemblances and serious disagreements. John is not here alluding to Luke's record, but preparing for his own in chapter 12. What earthly difficulty is there in two different women under wholly different circumstances doing a similar act for utterly different purposes?

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