In this academic article is the discussion of the biblical Magdala, possible home of Mary Magdalene. Click on the PDF to access this very interesting article.
Traditionally, Mary Magdalenes name is assumed to indicate the place she came from: Magdala, meaning Tower. However, no place named Magdala is mentioned in the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament or in other contemporaneous writing. The site called Magdala in Israel today, some 5 km north of Tiberias and just north of Mount Arbel, continues a Byzantine identification, from the 5th or 6th centuries CE. It is often assumed that the sizeable town now coming to light here was more commonly called by the Greek name Tarichaea. However, questions may be asked about evidence. There was a village attested in rabbinic literature asMigdal Nuniya (Tower of Fish), lying about one mile north of Tiberias, which was probably called locally, but this Magdala lay south of Mount Arbel. It is suggested in this article that the town known from the Byzantine period through to today as Magdala was in the early Roman period called Magadan (Matt 15.39), with Dalmanoutha (Mark 8.10) being a possible sister town or additional name. Homonoia is an attested Greek name for a town here, but the location of Tarichaea is unclear. Magadan became Magdala for the Byzantine pilgrimage route, as also in later manuscripts of the New Testament, to conform to the expectation that there was a town of this name here, and Migdal Nuniya was side-lined. While Mary may well have come from Migdal Nuniya, referred to as Magdala by people of the lake, the epithet 'the Magdalene’ may be understood as meaning 'the Tower-ess': a nickname like others Jesus gave to his closest apostles.
Keywords: Mary Magdalene, Magdala, Migdal Nuniya, Tarichaea, Dalmanoutha