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MAGDALA (Μαγδαλά: Eth. Μαγδαληνός), a town of Galilee, chiefly noted as the birthplace of that Mary to whom the distinguished name of Magdalene is ever applied in the Gospel. The place itself is mentioned only by S. Matthew (15.39), where we find the words τὰ ὅρια Μαγδαλά, which are represented in the parallel passage in S. Mark (8.10) as τὰ μέρη Δαλμανουδά. As neither does this name occur elsewhere, we have no clue to the situation of the town; although, a modern writer says, “it seems to follow from the New Testament itself that it lay on the west side of the lake.” The argument is, that, on leaving the coast of Magdala, our Lord embarked again, and “departed to the other side,” --“an expression which in the N.T. is applied almost exclusively to the country east of the lake and of the Jordan.” (Robinson, Bib. Res. vol. iii. p. 278.) There can, however, be no difficulty in identifying it with the site of the modern village of Mejdel in the SE. corner of the plain of Gennesaret; where there certainly existed an ancient town of the name, noticed in the Jerusalem Talmud, compiled in Tiberias, from which it is not more than 4 or 5 miles distant, on the north: probably identical also with Migdal-el, in the tribe of Naphtali. (Josh. 19.38.) It is a small and insignificant village, “looking much like a ruin, though exhibiting no marks of antiquity.” (Robinson, l.c.) Pococke's argument against this identification is unintelligible:--“This does not seem to be Magdalum mentioned in Scripture, because that is spoken of with Dalmanutha, which was to the east of the sea.” (Observations [p. 2.246]on Palestine, Travels, vol. ii. p. 71.) How this last assertion is to be proved does not appear. The authority of Josephus has been quoted for a Magdala near Gamala, and consequently on the east of the sea (Vita, § 24); but the reading is corrupt. (Robinson, l.c. p. 279, note.)


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