According to the Bible, did Mary die?

From a comment on another question, it seems that at least some denominations (including the Roman Catholic Church) teach that, like Elijah and Enoch, Mary did not see death.

From where does this teaching arise?

  • 1
    Since Elijah and Enoch got a special mention, they didn't die physically. Mary didn't get a special mention, so I'm sure she died physically. Was she saved? It doesn't specifically say. But there is evidence of her profession so I believe she was saved.
    – hookenz
    Jun 11, 2013 at 0:19
  • The papal decree "Munificentissimus Deus" that infallibly defined the dogma of the assumption was care fully worded to not explicitly decide this question. It says that "Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." It doesn't explicitly say that her body and soul were still joined (she was alive) or were assumed separately (she had died). It doesn't say whether the completion of her earthly life was by death (end of life) or assumption (end of "earthly"). Mar 10, 2018 at 5:08

1 Answer 1


According to the Bible, Mary is not explicitly mentioned after Acts. There is no record of her death or non-death. Further, since she was very young when she gave birth, it is conceivable that she would have outlived many of the original authors. Either way, any information about Mary after about 40 AD cannot rest on Biblical justification.

And I think that an important point to emphasize: There is no outright biblical justification that Mary did *anything* after Acts. Anyone who claims otherwise is presenting not scripture, but an interpretation of scripture.*

Strictly speaking the Church's teaching is ambiguous as to whether Mary was assumed into heaven in the manner of Elijah, or if her body was taken to heaven afterwards (as was the case with Moses). Neither opinion is excluded specifically, but the general thought in the West was that Mary was assumed just before she would have died normally.

This thought is based on several facts. One is the authority of the Church — while this is not something that was held to be official dogma until relatively recently, the consistent and near unanimous opinion of the church Fathers was that Mary's body is currently in heaven. This is no doubt supported by the fact that there is no tomb and no shrine which claims to hold the bone of Mary (this is conspicuous because all of the Apostles had such sepulchers). Further, it was promulgated as doctrine by the Pope resting on Papal authority. In addition, there is an ancient document which actually relates the death of Mary and the assumption of her body.

So you have several sources who agree:

Now, while it is possible to disagree with one or more of these, it is beyond the scope of this question to address such issues.

* While it may be reasonable to believe that Mary breathed, ate, drank, and eventually died, there is no commentary on these in the Bible. If we exclude all evidences outside of the Bible, there is no way to say that she did not join the Judaizers or that she performed miracles as great as the signs in the Gospels.

  • How is it figured Moses body was taken to Heaven after he died? Is it purely on the account of the transfiguration?
    – warren
    Jun 6, 2013 at 13:41
  • @Warren Jude 1:9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you.". If Moses had just been assumed, the devil would not be able to dispute the body. Jun 6, 2013 at 21:34
  • "So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day." Deuteronomy 34:5-6. If God buried him, Satan wouldn't know where he was, either.
    – warren
    Jun 7, 2013 at 13:36

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