I have read any number of references, both pre and post AD regarding the use of the name of Mary or a derivative, for women who were involved with mystical work or alchemical study. Does anyone have more clarification on this?

  • Perhaps named for Mary the Jewess?
    – Harel13
    Jan 28, 2021 at 6:40
  • Can you add your citations?
    – cmw
    Jan 29, 2021 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


In their quest for legitimacy, Hellenistic and later alchemical authors claimed that alchemy was an art handed down from the major biblical figures. In the course of time it had become for them a basic tenet that alchemy was first revealed by God to Adam & Eve. Mary was considered the new Eve after the flood.

See: Biblical Figures as Alchemists

  • Yes I have read that. There was an interesting person I have been reading about called Mary (Maria) the Jewess who is said to have been the sister of Moses and was an alchemist and invented many items which we still use today, such as the Bain-Marie, found in kitchens! There is more but unfortunately all of her writings have been lost! I wonder how many other women have been involved with alchemy or the deeper aspects of mythology that we are not aware of because they were "just women"?
    – Bepe
    Jan 29, 2021 at 14:21
  • @Bepe - Who said that Mary the Alchemist was the sister of Moses? That would be weird. Moses's sister was named Miriam (מִרְיָם‎), not Mary as such. Assuming Moses himself existed (most researchers think he did not) and assuming Miriam also existed, they would have lived before 1000 BCE, and the first texts that mention them are from a few hundred years BCE. However, Mary the Alchemist was said to have lived some time after 100 AD. Unless one takes a religious view and believes that Miriam was immortal or long-lived, but note that the Tanach says she died during the wandering in the desert.
    – Obie 2.0
    Feb 20, 2021 at 17:27

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