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The Anointing of Jesus is recorded in all four Gospels. A woman anoints Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and wipes the perfume with her hair.

Was this one event, or multiple events?

(I tend to think the former, since Jesus said that this story will be told wherever the gospel is preached (Mark 14:9). It may be a stretch, but I thought that would also apply to the four Biblical gospels.)

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The four gospels record the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. There are multiple events that are shared and reported among the four gospels.

This is one of those events.

Note that Wikipedia mentions that this could be two separate events, but it is commonly accepted to be one event, shared among the gospels.


If we look at the four gospels, we see Jesus crucified, buried, and resurrected four separate times. The events leading up to his death are similar including four last suppers, four records of trial, etc.

Now, we can presume that he did all of these events multiple times, or we can (rightly) move forward with the understanding that these records are four viewpoints of the same events.

In all four books, Jesus was anointed with expensive oil. Two books show he was anointed on his head, two show he was anointed on his feet. More than likely, he was anointed on once on both his head and his feet.

Mark records the estimate of the oil at 300 denarii. A denarius is valued at 10 asses. A donkey, in modern currency, is worth around US$1000-$2500. This makes the oil worth 3,000 asses, which is, in today's money, $3,000,000 - $7,500,000.

I don't know about you, but I rarely come across any single item that's worth multiple millions of dollars.

Yes, Jesus might have been anointed twice or four times. But if we use just the tiniest amount of common sense, it seems pretty obvious that being anointed with a $3million oil was not a common event. Therefore, it's extremely safe to assume that this was really simply one event.

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Please add some justification for this. – Wikis Aug 27 '11 at 17:19
Thank you. The implications are huge. This was (according to Luke) at one time a sinful woman and (according to John), Mary, one of Jesus' best friends. Interesting then that the Gospel writers who knew her chose to protect her anonymity. – Wikis Aug 30 '11 at 12:45
Your reasoning about the value is totally wrong. The "10 asses" figure refers not to donkeys, but to as (currency). – dancek Oct 1 '11 at 21:56
@dancek is right. A simple rule of thumb is that a denarius is one day's pay. See Matthew 20:1-16. So this is under a year's pay for a minimum wager earner. Quite valuable, but not impossibly valuable. – Jon Ericson Mar 19 '12 at 16:14
I've found a verse which appears to back up Richard's answer. – Wikis Apr 19 '12 at 20:22

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