#072: What was the Priestly Status of Mary? Was she a Levite? [Mini Podcast]

Did the Blessed Virgin Mary descend genetically from the tribe of Judah or from the tribe of Levi? I’ve typed out the answer for you, but I’ve also recorded a short “mini-podcast” that I voiced this morning for those of you who would prefer to listen to me answer the question.

A reader, Ignacio Puyol Besa, recently left this question on my Facebook wall:

Good day Dr. Taylor, Hope all is well with you! I have a question for you. This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with someone regarding your book The Crucified Rabbi.

Person: All I’m saying is that he (Taylor) said Jesus wasn’t a descendant of Aaron & if that were true, Jesus wouldn’t be qualified to be the Messiah. Btw, it’s through Mary’s genealogy that He’s related to Aaron. Comments? Have a great one.”

Here is my podcast version and here is typed answer to this question:

Click the play button to listen:

The idea that the Blessed Mother must be Levite or Aaronite is refuted in the epistle to the Hebrews. The Melchizedek priesthood of the first born is more dignified than the weak and probational priesthood of Levi. The Levitical priesthood is Plan B after idolatry.

Apostles and Mary

Natural Law had a priesthood of the firstborn (father to son). The New Law/Testament has a priesthood of the first born (Father to Son). The Levitical Priesthood was an ad hoc probational priesthood because of the golden calf incident.

The eternal priesthood (and the priesthood of natural law) is primogeniture (firstborn) priesthood. And the Son is eternally firstborn of the Father. All of this is in Thomas Aquinas. Also Mary is known liturgically as the “Tower of David.” She is Davidian Judahite and not Aaronic Levite. The two genealogies that we have for Mary (Matthew and Luke) say nothing of a Aaronite or Levite relation. The idea is falsely inferred by those that think that Christ must somehow be Aaronite.

She may have trace Levite blood from tribal intermarriage way back when, but there is not much dignity in that. Jesus is the Lion of Judah, not the Lion of Levi. Christ was very critical of the Levitical assembly. It was the Levites of Sanhedrin that killed Christ. In summary, the Blessed Virgin Mary was a descendent of Judah through David.

It actually elevates the Blessed Virgin Mary higher when recognize her as the descendent of David. Daughters of Levites did not hold a civil or religious role in Israel. However, the Queen Mother of the Davidic King (Gebirah) had amazing amounts of prestige and power (this is the basis of her Coronation). We would do a disservice to Our Lady by calling her “Aaronite.”

Saint Justin Martyr (Adv. Tryph. 100) and St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ephesians 18) affirm that Mary was a Judahite and descendent of David. This is the tradition of the Church. St. John Damascene (De fid. Orth., IV, 14) also affirms it.

Please also see my articles related to this topic of Levitical priesthood: by Taylor Marshall

Ignacio, thanks for your awesome question about Our Lady and priesthood!



Question: Have you also heard this belief that Mary was Aaronite or Levitical? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

PS: This book also has a breakdown of the Old Testament Levitical priesthood as it relates to the New Testament priesthood.

PPS: I’m currently recording the Book of Revelation – Catholic Commentary podcast series for yall. So far, 4 episodes are recorded!

PPPS: I’ll be teaching at the Vatican this June as part of the Rome Experience program for seminarians. Please pray a Hail Mary for these seminarians…and for me as I prep lectures for them. Check out the Rome Experience!

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  • BlueMit11

    Your “Davidian Judahite” link goes to a post about Daniel. Could you summarize (or link to a summary of) the evidence of Mary’s Davidic lineage?

    • Blue Mit,

      I moved the link. Sorry about that.

      The evidence of Mary’s Davidic lineage is the geneologies found in Matthew and Luke. There we find her related to David – and no mention of Aaron or Levi…

      • BlueMit11

        Thanks for the reply, but if course those are Joseph’s geneaologies, not Mary’s.

        • Glennfriend67

          Blue Mit: that’s what I was always taught, too, that Jesus received his Davidic lineage from Joseph. This is puzzling to me. Dr. Taylor, can you verify?

          • Saint Justin Martyr (Adv. Tryph. 100) and St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ephesians 18) affirm that Mary was a Judahite and descendent of David. This is the tradition of the Church. St. John Damascene (De fid. Orth., IV, 14) also affirms it.

        • Emilio Perea

          That’s what I also was going to say. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was married to a priest, and I understand that priests would normally marry other Levites. But I think that we have a tendency to take the biological argument too seriously. Both genealogies are Joseph’s because that was the important line according to the Law. Whatever tribe Mary’s parents belonged to, she was of the Tribe of Judah when she married Joseph (like Ruth, Bathsheba, Rahab and [Whatshername — Judah’s wife]).

          Of course, taking the biological line too seriously has a long pedigree. 🙂 The genealogy at the end of the book of Ruth does so at the expense of missing the whole point of the story which was Ruth’s desire to provide descendants to her late husband.

  • Veritas81

    So that would make John the Baptist half-Levite and half-Judahite? Obviously, Zechariah was from the tribe of Levi but would Elizabeth be from the tribe of Judah?

    • This is very possible. Saint Zachary was definitely of the tribe of Levi.

  • Glennfriend67

    Dr. Taylor,
    This is in response to your postscript about Revelations. I’m very excited and can hardly wait! It is such a difficult book to understand at times, primarily because of all the allegory, and I have been guilty a time or two myself of interpreting it a bit too literally. We had an associate pastor at our parish a decade ago who was a fabulous teacher and he was terrific at making sense of Revelations. Sadly, he didn’t stay long with us. About a year later, he was called home by God. Since then, I have longed for a more comprehensive understanding of the most difficult book in the Bible, especially now that we are under such persecution once again. I want to hear the words of hope I know it brings. I look forward to your lessons eagerly, once they have been completed and am an empty vessel. ready to be filled with whatever God desires me to know that will bring me closer to Him.

  • Michael Petek

    In Jewish law the priesthood (before the sin of the golden calf) was to be vested in the first-born, that is to say the child who opened the womb if male. But if either grandfather is a priest, he is exempt from the redemption of the first-born.

  • Darren

    No, this is all new.

  • Sue Korlan

    I knew someone who thought Mary must have been from the tribe of Levi because she was related to Elizabeth, the wife of a priest.

  • Aaron Lopez

    Is there any more discussions lying around about the Catholic priesthood and first-born sons? I’d like to know more about it, I am the eldest son in a Catholic family.

    • Aaron,

      I did a entire video lesson on this topic in the New Saint Thomas Institute.

  • LarryB

    I thought it was the Romans not Levites that killed Christ.

  • Riki


    Mary, Mystical City
    where Jesus, our Savior, resides
    look down on us with pity
    who are carried with the tides

    Will we ever fathom
    the greatness of Your being
    satan spitting his venom
    to prevent our souls from healing

    But You, God’s living Tabernacle
    are constantly pointing to Your Son
    to prevent us from sudden debacle
    to bring us the Victory already won

    We cry out to You, Oh Mystical City
    to pull us out of the dangerous sinkholes
    we are willing to be gritty
    to save our eternal souls

    Mary, our Mother spread Your Mantle over us to keep us safe in Your
    Rita Biesemans written 11-29-2013

  • Riki


    O Mary, Daughter of Zion
    Mother of Judah’s Lion
    bring us, children of Your Tribe,
    to Your Son, God’s Divine Scribe

    Though being the chosen people
    we act as dumbed down sheeple
    if we keep rejecting Him
    our future looks extremely grim

    Some of us accepted the Messiah
    after prompts by Jeremiah
    but most descendants of Judea
    live as in the times of Hosea

    O Virgin of Israel
    bring the ones seduced by Samael
    to Yeshuah Savior and Son of God
    even “ceaselessly” us do prod.

    Rita Biesemans, July 16 2013
    Our Lady of the Mount Carmel lead us up the Mountain