In Search of the Real Virgin Mary

The bible provides surprisingly little on the mother of jesus


According to the 20th Discourse of the Apocryphal New Testament, Mary, dying of old age, gathers the community of women around her, instructing them to follow Mary Magdalene when she's gone. "Behold your mother from this time onwards," she says. She dies in A.D. 46, aged somewhere between 52 and 59 years old.

On her death, says the text, Christ descends from heaven. "Her soul leaped into the bosom of her own son, and he wrapped it in a garment of light." At Jesus's instructions, the apostles remove her body to the Vale of Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem, the current site of Mary's Tomb. Three days later, Christ returns to raise her into heaven with him, accompanied by a choir of angels as Peter, John, and the other apostles lose sight of them.