(Be warned – this is a long article.)
This is a heated subject for many. Yehoshua ha’Mashiach (Jesus the Christ) has been traditionally viewed as chaste and single, but conspiracy theories circulate that He was married and/or had children. The typical candidate for Jesus’ alleged wife is Mary Magdalene. Some view such claims as blasphemous and heretical.
Some within the “married Jesus” crowd claim that Jesus faked His death, and other such nonsense. Considering the facts I cover in Has Jesus’ Burial Shroud Been Found? and The Empty Tomb (and Other Evidence for Jesus’ Death & Resurrection), we can dismiss such theories. Ignoring such anti-Christian nonsense, let’s just focus on the idea that Yeshua was married.
History of the hypothesis
The 13th-century Cistercian monk and chronicler Peter of Vaux de Cernay claimed it was part of Catharist belief that the earthly Jesus Christ had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, described as his concubine.
Early Mormon leaders Jedediah M. Grant, Orson Hyde, Joseph F. Smith and Orson Pratt stated it was part of their religious belief that Jesus Christ was polygamous, quoting this in their respective sermons. The Mormons also used an apocryphal passage attributed to the 2nd-century Greek philosopher Celsus: “The grand reason why the gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ was because he had so many wives. There were Elizabeth and Mary and a host of others that followed him”. This appears to have been a summary of a garbled or second-hand reference to a quote from Celsus the Platonist preserved in the apologistic work Contra Celsum (“Against Celsus“) by the Church Father Origen: “such was the charm of Jesus’ words, that not only were men willing to follow Him to the wilderness, but women also, forgetting the weakness of their sex and a regard for outward propriety in thus following their Teacher into desert places.”
The French 19th-century socialist politician, Louis Martin (pseudonym of Léon Aubry, died 1900), in his 1886 book Les Evangiles sans Dieu described the historical Jesus as a turned atheist, who had married Mary Magdalene, and that both had travelled to the South of France, where they had a son.
The Jesus bloodline hypothesis which held that the historical Jesus had married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child with her was brought to the attention of the general public again in the 20th century by Donovan Joyce in his 1973 book The Jesus Scroll. In his 1977 book Jesus died in Kashmir: Jesus, Moses and the ten lost tribes of Israel, Andreas Faber-Kaiser explored the legend that Jesus met, married and had several children with a Kashmiri woman. The author also interviewed the late Basharat Saleem who claimed to be a Kashmiri descendant of Jesus. Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln developed and popularized the hypothesis that a bloodline from Jesus and Mary Magdalene eventually became the Merovingian dynasty in their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, in which they asserted:
The symbolic significance of Jesus is that he is God exposed to the spectrum of human experience – exposed to the first-hand knowledge of what being a man entails. But could God, incarnate as Jesus, truly claim to be a man, to encompass the spectrum of human experience, without coming to know two of the most basic, most elemental facets of the human condition? Could God claim to know the totality of human existence without confronting two such essential aspects of humanity as sexuality and paternity? We do not think so. In fact, we do not think the Incarnation truly symbolises what it is intended to symbolise unless Jesus were married and sired children. The Jesus of the Gospels, and of established Christianity, is ultimately incomplete – a God whose incarnation as man is only partial. The Jesus who emerged from our research enjoys, in our opinion, a much more valid claim to what Christianity would have him be.
In her 1992 book Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Unlocking the Secrets of His Life Story, Barbara Thiering also developed a Jesus and Mary Magdalene bloodline hypothesis, basing her historical conclusions on her application of the so-called Pesher technique to the New Testament.
In her 1993 book The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, Margaret Starbird developed the hypothesis that Saint Sarah was the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and that this was the source of the legend associated with the cult at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. She also noted that the name “Sarah” meant “Princess” in Hebrew, thus making her the forgotten child of the “sang réal“, the blood royal of the King of the Jews.
In his 1996 book Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed, Laurence Gardner presented pedigree charts of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as the ancestors of all the European royal families of the Common Era. His 2000 sequel Genesis of the Grail Kings: The Explosive Story of Genetic Cloning and the Ancient Bloodline of Jesus is unique in claiming that not only can the Jesus bloodline truly be traced back to Adam and Eve but that the first man and woman were primate-alien hybrids created by the Anunnaki of ancient astronaut theory. The 2000 book Rex Deus: The True Mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau and the Dynasty of Jesus, Marylin Hopkins, Graham Simmans and Tim Wallace-Murphy developed a hypothesis based on a 1994 testimony by “Michael Monkton” (who claimed to be descended from Hugues de Payens), that a Jesus and Mary Magdalene bloodline was part of a shadow dynasty descended from twenty-four high priests of the Temple in Jerusalem known as “Rex Deus” – the “Kings of God”.
The Da Vinci Code
The 2003 conspiracy fiction novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown accepted some of the above hypotheses as being valid. Elements of some Jesus bloodline hypotheses were propounded by the 2007 documentary film The Lost Tomb of Jesus by Simcha Jacobovici focusing on the Talpiot Tomb discovery, which was also published as a book entitled The Jesus Family Tomb. In 2007 psychic medium Sylvia Browne released the book The Two Marys: The Hidden History of the Mother and Wife of Jesus, in which she tries to further validate the possibility of Jesus and Mary Magdalene producing a family.
The 2008 documentary Bloodline by Bruce Burgess, a filmmaker with an interest in paranormal claims, expands on the Jesus bloodline hypothesis and other elements of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Accepting as valid the testimony of an amateur archaeologist codenamed “Ben Hammott” relating to his discoveries made in the vicinity of Rennes-le-Château since 1999; Burgess claims Ben has found the treasure of Bérenger Saunière: a mummified corpse, which they believe is Mary Magdalene, in an underground tomb they claim is connected to both the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion. In the film, Burgess interviews several people with alleged connections to the Priory of Sion, including a Gino Sandri and Nicolas Haywood. A book by one of the documentary’s researchers, Rob Howells, entitled Inside the Priory of Sion: Revelations from the World’s Most Secret Society – Guardians of the Bloodline of Jesus presented the version of the Priory of Sion as given in the 2008 documentary, which contained several erroneous assertions, such as the claim that Plantard believed in the Jesus bloodline hypothesis. By 21 March 2012 Ben Hammott confessed and apologised on Podcast interview (using his real name Bill Wilkinson) that everything to do with the tomb and related artifacts was a hoax; revealing that the actual tomb was now destroyed, being part of a full sized set located in a warehouse in England.
Joseph and Aseneth
In 2014 fringe investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici and fringe religious studies historian Barrie Wilson suggested that a 6th century manuscript told the tale of Jesus and Mary Magdalene under the coding of “Joseph” and “Aseneth” This manuscript, called “Joseph and Aseneth”, forms part of an anthology compiled by Pseudo-Zacharias Rhetor, so-named because it also includes the important Ecclesiastical History by the real Zacharias Rhetor. These documents are preserved as British Library Manuscript #17,202 along with other important works, e.g. The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, the finding of first century relics of Stephen and Nicodemus, and the Conversion of Constantine written by a bishop of Rome named Sylvester.
As Jacobovici and Wilson point out, there are two covering letters to “Joseph and Aseneth”. One is by an anonymous individual who had found a small, very old Greek manuscript in a library belonging to the bishops who had come from Resh’aina. Being rusty in Greek, he asked his friend, Moses of Ingila, to translate the work, suspecting that it contained a hidden meaning. The second letter is by Moses of Ingila. He translated the work into Syriac, positioning it as a work of Wisdom whose meaning has to be carefully discerned, at the same time confirming the truth of mainstream Christianity in relation to Jesus Christ. He also indicated that it contains a hidden meaning. Along with the clues provided by the covering letters, the use of Christian terminology (“Son of God,” “Bride of God”), Eucharistic imagery and Syriac use of typology in which Old Testament figures prefigure New Testament ones, the authors argue that the work reflects a community which held that Jesus was married and had children. Using advanced digital imaging techniques, the authors restored the original Syriac text, providing a modern English translation of both “Joseph and Aseneth”, and, for the first time ever, the two covering letters.
Israeli Biblical scholar, Rivka Nir wrote: “…this is a serious-minded, thought-provoking and interesting book, giving expression to an excellent knowledge of early Christian sources and the ability to analyze and integrate them into a clear and comprehensible picture. The book abounds with historical surveys and enlightening discussions on its sources, terms, characters and various period-related aspects….This book will certainly occupy a highly important place in the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, as it raises the fundamental question: how far can scholars go in this quest and to what extent are their conclusions founded”, but described the thesis as objectionable.
The Church of England compared The Lost Gospel to a Monty Python sketch. The director of communications for the Archbishop’s Council stated the book was an example of religious illiteracy and that ever since the publication of The Da Vinci Code in 2003, “an industry had been constructed in which ‘conspiracy theorists, satellite channel documentaries and opportunistic publishers had identified a lucrative income stream’.”
(It’s worth noting that the alleged quote from Celsus really does seem to be fake.)
So, the history of the theory doesn’t seem to provide much support. What about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife that made the rounds a few years ago? Well, it’s authenticity is highly debated, and there’s a strong possibility it’s fake.
Before King published the discovery of the fragment, she asked AnneMarie Luijendijk and fellow papyrologist Roger S. Bagnall of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University to review the fragment. They determined that it was likely authentic, both because of the skills which would have been required to forge the fragment, and because the papyrus seemed to have been in a collection for many years without having been announced. Luijendijk and Bagnall both doubted that the text was forged. Giovanni Maria Vian the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican‘s official newspaper, dismissed the fragment as fake. In a television documentary about the fragment that was presented on the Smithsonian Channel in September 2012, Professor Alberto Camplani of Sapienza University of Rome suggested that he considered it more likely to be authentic.
Immediately after King’s presentation of the fragment in Rome, doubts began to be expressed about its authenticity. Further investigation of the language and the script, and comparison with the clearly forged Gospel of John belonging to the same group of papyri, corroborated the initial doubts. By the end of 2014 there was a general consensus that the papyrus was a fake. Eventually, Ariel Sabar’s tracing of the provenance to Walter Fritz in 2016 provided the final proof, and King conceded that the evidence “presse[d] in the direction of forgery.”
Others noted that the handwriting, grammar, shape of the papyrus, and the ink’s color and quality made it suspect. Professor Francis Watson of Durham University published a paper on the papyrus fragment suggesting that the text was a “patchwork of texts” from the Gospel of Thomas which had been copied and assembled in a different order. In summer, 2015, Professor Watson edited and introduced six articles in the journal New Testament Studies, all arguing against authenticity of the text; these articles have been put on line by Professor Mark Goodacre of Duke University.
In defense of the text’s authenticity, Ariel Shisha-Halevy, Professor of Linguistics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a leading expert on Coptic language, concluded that the language itself offered no evidence of forgery. King also found examples from a new discovery in Egypt that has the same kind of grammar, showing that at least one unusual case is not unique. While some experts continue to disagree about the other case, King notes that newly discovered texts often feature grammatical or spelling oddities which expand our understanding of the Coptic language.
A radiocarbon dating analysis of the papyrus by the Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in 2013 dated the papyrus to between 404 and 209 BC. However, the cleaning protocol had to be interrupted during processing to preserve the fragment. A second analysis was performed by Harvard University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found a mean date of AD 741. A Raman spectroscopy analysis at Columbia University found that the ink was consistent with those in manuscripts from 400 BC to AD 700–800. These analyses suggest that the fragment as a material artifact is probably medieval and not modern.
Analysis of text
In October 2012, Andrew Bernhard observed that there is a close resemblance between Grondin’s Interlinear of the Gospel of Thomas and the text that the forger appeared to have used to compose the text of the Gospel. Karen King has now made available the interlinear translation provided to her by the owner of the papyrus, and Bernhard has shown that every line shows evidence of copying from Grondin’s Interlinear.
Given the extraordinary similarities between the two different texts, it seems highly probable that Gos. Jes. Wife is indeed a “patchwork” of Gos. Thom. Most likely, it was composed after 1997 when Grondin’s Interlinear was first posted online.
Leo Depuydt of Brown University found it ridiculous that in the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, the word “my” in the phrase “my wife” is written in bold, as if to stress the idea that Jesus was married. Depuydt also said that he had never seen bold writing used in a single Coptic text before. He wrote: “The effect is something like: ‘My wife. Get it? MY wife. You heard that right.’ The papyrus fragment seems ripe for a Monty Python sketch…. If the forger had used italics in addition, one might be in danger of losing one’s composure.” Christian Askeland’s linguistic analysis of the text shows that it is in a dialect which fell out of use well before AD 741. He concluded that the text must have been written on a fragment of medieval papyrus by a modern forger. Dr. Askeland also found it suspicious that the author of the fragment wrote the same letter in different ways. In addition, Askeland showed that the fragment is “a match for a papyrus fragment that is clearly a forgery.” This second fragment, containing part of the Gospel of John, belongs to the same anonymous owner, and is now overwhelmingly considered a fake. This is because that fragment of the Gospel of John appeared to have been copied from every second line of an online translation of John’s Gospel in an ancient Coptic dialect called Lycopolitan; also, the Lycopolitan language died out prior to the sixth century, and the John fragment was carbon-dated to somewhere between the seventh and ninth centuries. Askeland argues that the John fragment was written by the same person, in the same ink, and with the same instrument as the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Professor King felt that these concerns were legitimate, but that there was still a chance that the gospel was authentic. The Atlantic reported that despite King’s reservations, the text was widely considered a fake. King later conceded, saying that evidence suggests that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a forgery.
So, that doesn’t appear to count as evidence.
I now defer to Cris from The Biblical Apologist, to his post Was Jesus Married? Part 1—A Wiki Answers Discussion:
To most Christians, to even consider the idea that Jesus was married approaches blasphemy, with the resulting hoopla reminiscent of a scene from Alice in Wonderland: “Off with their heads! Off with their heads!”
However, I take the approach of following the facts, if, indeed, there are any.
On the one hand, the Bible does not explicitly say that Jesus was married. On the other hand, the Bible does not say explicitly that Jesus was not married.
So, here is where our research will begin: Ground Zero, with no explicit facts in either direction.
I will approach this subject void of the emotional baggage that usually accompanies discussion of this subject. Emotion not only tends to color the facts according to one’s perception, it also tends to brush aside any facts that do not fit with a particular viewpoint.
Emotions are the bedrock of prejudice and bigotry. Facts have little or nothing to do with either.
That said, to get us going, I’m starting off with a discussion I ran across on Wiki Answers, entitled “Did Jesus Get Married?” The comments will bring to light many of the subjects I wish to cover over the length of this series.
Some comments are emotional, some are not. The point is, I will not be getting emotional.
I’ve rearranged the comments, with the nay-sayers up front, followed by the yea-sayers and the open-minded-sayers. All quotes are exactly as published on Wiki Answers, including the grammatical and spelling errors. I will reserve my comments until part 2 and beyond.
This is too much
This is too much. All of you who supported that he was married are in fact try to deny that He is a God in Trinity. Jesus never get married as He is so Holy and women who is human can’t lay her sinful hands on Him. This is too much. Just trust what the bible said and if it is not recorded, then just don’t make your own assumption base on other facts. Regarding the Rabbi or Teacher status, He is more than that. He is one in trinity. Even it is not state in bible, it is well known among christians.
my whole thing is we will never know for sure. BUT if he is holy why would he not partake in what the christain bible and and Jewish torrah says is the most holy act between a man and women. and if you knew your husband/wife was going to die 10 or so years down the rode, would you not marry them. we do say in sickness and in health for a reason.
There is nothing to suggest that Jesus was married
From what the Bible tells us there is nothing to suggest that Jesus was married. Many times all kinds of allegations and innuendo are suggested to smear Jesus’ name but never any facts. On one occasion a woman anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair – in public. A group of women were part of a ‘support team’ who supplied material needs to the disciples and Jesus when they were able. Many incidental details are recorded in Jesus’ life. Had he ever been married, a major event, it would have been recorded. Further to this, it would also seem out of line with His purpose to seek and to save that which was lost. In addition, why would someone whose whole life embodied love, knowing that He was to suffer and die and then leave the earth want to get married and leave an unsupported wife (and possibly a family) behind -no social security in those days.
Jesus never got married
No, Jesus never got married to anyone.
Jesus was not married
no he wasn’t married but historians argue that he liked a girl named Mary, not his mother, but another girl.
No, Jesus did not marry.
No explicit answer
The New Testament contains no explicit answer to the question of Jesus’ marital state. It never mentions his wife, nor that he was unmarried. In fact, whenever the New Testament gospels refer to Jesus’ natural relatives, they speak only of his father, mother, and siblings, but never of a wife.
Although almost all scholars of all religious persuasions take this as strong evidence of the singleness of Jesus, a few have proposed that, in fact, Jesus was married. In 1970, for example, William E. Phipps published Was Jesus Married? The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition. In this book Phipps argued that the silence of the New Testament about the marital status of Jesus indicates that Jesus was in fact married. Why? Because virtually every Jewish man in Jesus’ day did marry, especially those who were considered to be Rabbis.
One major problem with this argument, among several, is that it makes no room for an exception. Jesus was not required by law — either governmental or religious — to marry… Yes, this would have been perceived as an unusual, even a counter-cultural choice. But then Jesus never shied away from the unusual or counter-cultural, especially when it came to his relationships with women.
The Meaning of the Well
The encounter of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) sheds light on the marital status of Jesus. Scholars such as Jill Levine reveal a common theme in Jewish literature regarding a well and the acquiring of a spouse. At a well, Rebbecca was selected by Eleazar to be the wife for Isaac (Gen24), Jacob meets Rachel (Gen.29) and Moses meets Zipporah (Ex. 2). Therefore, the well is a place for prominent Jewish figures to acquire women of virture. The well also represents the wisdom of the fairer sex (Prov 14:1) and the acquiring of that wisdom: “Matzah ishah matzah tov – he who finds a wife, finds a good thing.” What is more, the well embodies the fidelity of ones spouse as represented by the fountain of waters contained therein:” Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Shall thy fountains be dispersed abroad, as rivers of waters in the streets? Let them be only thine own, and not the strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” (Prov 5:15 -18)
It is no coincidence that all of these themes are advanced in the narrative penned by John. The scene would imply that Jesus should acquire the Samaritan woman as a wife. Yet, the opposite happens. Here, Jesus is the wise one – the living water. He is greater that Jacob who toiled to bring it to the surface, and fully wise. The woman is the opposite, for her water (fidelity) is exposed. She has had five husbands and is cohabiting with another.
Jewish readers familiar with the tradition of the well would have noticed this passage and understood its importance. There is no question that the narrative wants the readers to understand that, not only did Jesus not marry, he had a greater purpose and greater wisdom than any that preceded him.
Jesus Did Things We Don’t Know About
I disagree that if it had happened it would have been recorded. The Bible leaves out some 20 years of his life. Doesn’t the Bible teach he experienced everything that any man alive did? I bet sex and marriage was on that list. He probably got into fights and did a lot of other things we don’t know about.
Jesus married Mary?
There is a minority which believes that he did get married. Jesus married Mary. Jesus loved her. This minority uses interpretation of “The Last Supper” by Leadnardo Da Vinci as a supporting evidence for their thesis. They consider the figure left of Jesus to be a woman – Mary. There clothing is simlier. Though we do not know is he fathered a child. If he did the maybe was born after his death.
Jesus was married
Actually from what the Bible doesn’t tell us, Jesus was married. It was a necessity for a “Rabbi” to be married in order to obtain recognition as a teacher. If he was not married there would not be so many calling him by the name of Rabbi or Teacher. Further because it was so rare for a Rabbi not to be married the gospel writers would of, out of necessity, explained why Jesus was not married but still able to be recognized as a Rabbi or Teacher. Hence, we know from what the Bible doesn’t tell us, that Jesus was in fact married. It is assumed that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Mary was the first to see Christ after His bodily resurrection from the grave. When she realized it was Jesus she called Him Lord. This was an evidence that Christ was married to Mary in that the wife would call her husband Lord. The original Hebrew shows that she was referring to the Savior as husband and not just Lord. Also the gnostic gospels give more proof to a relationship between Jesus and Mary.
Interesting diversity of opinion. (And I agree with Chris about NOT bringing emotion into the argument.) Now for his Was Jesus Married? Part 2—Points to Consider (Anti-Marriage):
As you have seen, many interesting points have been brought up in the Wiki Answers discussion. I have broken up the various points into three parts: anti-marriage, not sure, and pro-marriage in that order. Each will have its own post.
The points will be discussed in the order they were given in Wiki Answers. My comments will follow each point. Nothing I say is definitive, just my opinion based on, what I hope, is common sense and scripture where available.
So, let us begin.
Somehow Jesus being married would deny that He is a God in Trinity.
Unfortunately, the author did not elaborate on this point, so it is impossible to know exactly what he was thinking.
Without going into a treatise on the Trinity, I will mention a few things.
- The Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible, at least in the King James Version. That is a construct of the Catholic Church and many of its Protestant off-shoots.
- The Godhead is used by many other Protestant churches referring to the Trinity.
- The King James Version of the Bible has three references to the Godhead, although they do not specifically define what it means.
- It is assumed the Godhead consists of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the same as does the Trinity, based, presumably, on the following verse: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (John 5:7.)
Based on the limited amount of information we have concerning the Godhead or Trinity, we cannot safely assume anything, regardless of the traditions that have been handed down over the centuries.
Traditions say that Jesus was not married. The Bible says nothing on the matter.
Therefore, lacking any further knowledge, we cannot assume one way or the other regarding Jesus’ marital status, regardless of how we might personally feel.
Just because something is not referenced in the Bible, we cannot assume it does not exist, although many take this stance. Nor can we assume it does exist. We simply do not know, all prejudices aside.
So, based on these things, I would have to say that the author’s declaration that Jesus being married would somehow deny he is a “God in Trinity” has no basis in fact.
Jesus is so Holy that women who are human can’t lay their sinful hands on Him.
It is obvious the author is a male who does not have a very good opinion of women. Regardless of how he might feel, that does not factor in whether or not Jesus was married.
We must remember: We are all sinful, both men and women, including the author. Jesus was the only person who ever walked on the earth without sin, which sin is the disobedience of an eternal law.
So, no, we can’t disprove Jesus was or was not married by such a declaration as this.
Regarding the Rabbi or Teacher status, He is more than that. He is one in Trinity. Even if it is not stated in the Bible, it is well known among Christians.
I’m not sure where the author is going with this. I can only assume he meant that because Jesus is of the Trinity, he is above meeting the requirements of a Rabbi. I would disagree with this, if this is what he meant.
Whatever the requirements of a Rabbi were in the days of Jesus, he, being who he was, most assuredly met all the requirements or he would not have been respected as a Rabbi among the religious leaders of the day.
I’ll amend that by saying he was not brought up in the traditions of the Jews, as were mainstream Rabbis. After all, he had no need that man should teach him, as he was taught of God, his Father. (See John 17:8.)
So, although the intent of the author in this declaration is unclear, we cannot, I believe, assume that because Jesus was of the Trinity, he didn’t have to meet the qualifications of being a Rabbi in his day.
There is nothing to suggest that Jesus was married
Nor is there anything to suggest that Jesus was not married.
Had he ever been married, a major event, it would have been recorded.
Not necessarily, although one might rightly think so.
This goes back to the idea previously expressed that because a thing is not recorded in the Bible that it, therefore, does not exist. That’s just not logical thinking.
Jesus’ ministry was for three years. It is doubtful that every event in those three years were recorded. And what was recorded was written many years after the actual events took place.
The fact that the same events were recorded in more than one Gospel only hints, as most Biblical scholars believe, that some of the Gospel authors relied on previously recorded Gospels to enhance their own versions.
So, I would have to say, “Not so,” to this author’s assertion.
It would also seem out of line with His purpose to seek and to save that which was lost.
The author seems to be saying that Jesus being married would somehow distract him from “His purpose to seek and to save that which was lost.” If he meant something else, it is lost on me.
I see no conflict here. Whether or not Jesus was married, “His purpose [was] to seek and to save that which was lost.” Period. I cannot see how marriage would interfere with this.
Why would someone whose whole life embodied love, knowing that He was to suffer and die and then leave the earth want to get married and leave an unsupported wife (and possibly a family) behind —no social security in those days?
It happens all the time in today’s world. Three years is still a long time, particularly when you have to walk everywhere.
Sorry, that’s just not a good reason, in my opinion, for Jesus not being married.
No, Jesus never got married to anyone.
Whether Jesus was married or not, one must at least provide some modicum of proof supporting that claim. Just to say so does not make it so.
No, he wasn’t married, but historians argue that he liked a girl named Mary, not his mother, but another girl.
Ditto the last comment. It appeared that Jesus did “like” a woman named Mary. The Bible says little on the subject, however.
Whenever the New Testament gospels refer to Jesus’ natural relatives, they speak only of his father, mother, and siblings, but never of a wife.
This is true. An interesting observation.
The one instance I can think of off-hand refers to:
And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee (Mark 3:32).
Or, as the World English Bible puts it:
A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, “Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you.”
This neither proves nor disproves Jesus had a wife. One could say that if Jesus were married, his wife would likely be inside with Jesus rather than hanging around with his mother, brothers and sisters.
So, while it’s a nice thought, it’s not proof that Jesus was not married.
One major problem with this argument [i.e., the silence of the New Testament about the marital status of Jesus], among several, is that it makes no room for an exception. Jesus was not required by law — either governmental or religious — to marry… Yes, this would have been perceived as an unusual, even a counter-cultural choice. But then Jesus never shied away from the unusual or counter-cultural, especially when it came to his relationships with women.
It is said that to be a Rabbi in Jesus’ day one must have been married. This was true in the case of at least two officers in the early church as well: The bishop and the deacon were required to be married. (See 1 Timothy 3:2,12.)
Was Jesus an exception to the supposed unwritten rule stating one must be married? And what “Unusual or counter-cultural” relationships did Jesus have with women? Well, the author didn’t say. After all, not a lot is said about Jesus’ relationships with women.
CONCLUSION: There is no definitive proof given in all these arguments that Jesus was not married. That doesn’t necessarily mean he was married, but based on these arguments, we cannot definitively say he wasn’t.
All excellent points. There’s really nothing “blasphemous” or “heretical” about the idea.
In Part 2 of this series, we looked at the negative aspect of whether or not Jesus was married, based on the discussion in Wiki Answers. In Part 3 we shall look at those opinions that were somewhere between those who believe Jesus was married and those who do not.
Some interesting points were brought out, but the truth of the matter is summed up in the first statement below.
We will never know for sure.
With the information we have now, we truly cannot know whether or not Jesus was married. This would require further revelation from God. And, when it comes down to it, I think I’m safe in saying that knowing this is not critical nor necessary to our salvation.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting subject, so we’ll see what these folks had to say.
No mention of Jesus being married
The New Testament contains no explicit answer to the question of Jesus’ marital state. It never mentions his wife, nor that he was unmarried.
In the Old Testament, the wives of prophets were frequently mentioned, but not always. In the case where a wife was not mentioned, it cannot be assumed that those prophets were not married.
In the New Testament, a wife was rarely mentioned, although we know that both deacons and bishops were required to have one wife (See 1 Timothy 3:2, 12.)
The Bible obviously doesn’t mention that Jesus was married. Neither, as the above author states, does it mention that he wasn’t married.
Therefore, one cannot assume anything and be correct in that assumption. One’s prejudices, on one side or the other, cannot substitute for revelation on an otherwise silent subject.
Marital bells at the well
The encounter of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) sheds light on the marital status of Jesus. Scholars such as Jill Levine reveal a common theme in Jewish literature regarding a well and the acquiring of a spouse. At a well, Rebbecca [sic] was selected by Eleazar to be the wife for Isaac (Gen24), Jacob meets Rachel (Gen.29) and Moses meets Zipporah (Ex. 2). Therefore, the well is a place for prominent Jewish figures to acquire women of virture [sic]. The well also represents the wisdom of the fairer sex (Prov 14:1) and the acquiring of that wisdom: ’Matzah ishah matzah tov — he who finds a wife, finds a good thing.’ What is more, the well embodies the fidelity of one’s spouse as represented by the fountain of waters contained therein: ‘Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Shall thy fountains be dispersed abroad, as rivers of waters in the streets? Let them be only thine own, and not the strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.’ (Prov 5:15 -18)
It is no coincidence that all of these themes are advanced in the narrative penned by John. The scene would imply that Jesus should acquire the Samaritan woman as a wife. Yet, the opposite happens. Here, Jesus is the wise one — the living water. He is greater that Jacob who toiled to bring it to the surface, and fully wise. The woman is the opposite, for her water (fidelity) is exposed. She has had five husbands and is cohabiting with another.
Jewish readers familiar with the tradition of the well would have noticed this passage and understood its importance. There is no question that the narrative wants the readers to understand that, not only did Jesus not marry, he had a greater purpose and greater wisdom than any that preceded him.
I had to read this several times for the idea to sink in that the author was using this scenario to say Jesus wasn’t married. So, probably, it should have been in Part 2. Nevertheless, I have chosen to include it here since I’ve already published Part 2, so bear with me.
The logic contained herein suggests that whenever an unmarried man met a woman at a well that some kind of divine marital light bulb went off in the head of the man. Perhaps it was true in some cases, such as with Jacob. But Jacob was looking for a wife. The well just happened to be the place he met Rachel.
A well was a common meeting place, especially for the women, who seemed to be the ones relegated to bring home the water. Single women didn’t hang around the well hoping to land some unattached male, at least, not that I’ve found.
When a man came around a well, he was most likely just thirsty. In the case of Eleazar, his meeting of Rebecca at the well turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy/prayer he had just uttered regarding what he should look for to find a wife for Isaac, every point of which was fulfilled.
In the case of Moses, there was no marital intentions between he and Zipporah at the time they met. He had merely stood up for her and her six sisters at the well against some shepherds who were trying to drive off their flocks.
Reuel, her father, simply gave Zipporah to Moses to wife some time after this event, although we are not told how much later. All we know is that “Moses was content to dwell with the man,” followed immediately by the marriage.
So, the inference here is that because three marriages in four thousand years were arranged after some kind of meeting at a well, that Jesus should have married the woman he met at the well. And because Jesus did not marry the woman at the well, who was living with another man at the time, then Jesus never married.
This logic simply does not hold water, if you’ll pardon the pun.
It should be obvious to the reader by this time that I believe that Jesus was married. In Part 4 I shall discuss the reasons why, starting with the discussion points brought out in Wiki Answers.
Agreed – especially on the fact that the belief that the Son of God married does not affect one’s salvation (unless of course you deny His crucifixion and resurrection, which is NOT a necessary tenant of the “Jesus was married” hypothesis).
Personally, I have no problem with the idea that Jesus was married.
I know tradition says he wasn’t married and that somehow his being married takes away from who he is and was. Some even consider it blasphemy to even think of such a thing.
I disagree at the risk of being labeled a heretic. I just think of Matthew 7:1-2 and smile. After all, there is nothing in the New Testament that says Jesus was or wasn’t married. It’s all hand-me-down tradition.
But I digress. Let’s get to those opinions from the Wiki Answers discussion that at least open the door to even consider the possibility that Jesus was married.
In sickness and health
“If you knew your husband/wife was going to die ten or so years down the rode [sic], would you not marry them? We do say in sickness and in health for a reason.”
This references the fact that Jesus knew he was going to die shortly. The inference is: If he loved someone, wouldn’t he marry her anyway, even though he knew he was going to die shortly?
If marriage were just a physical act of mortality, perhaps Jesus wouldn’t marry with this advanced knowledge. However, it is my belief that marriage isn’t just a thing of mortality, a passing fancy, or merely some legal tie-that-binds in order to have “legitimate” children.
To further investigate this matter, you might want to check out my series: “Is There a Mother in Heaven”, beginning with “Is There a Mother in Heaven? Part 1—Two Questions“.
To put it on a more personal level: If you were engaged to be married and you suddenly discovered that you had a life-threatening disease and were ”given” only six months to two years to live, would you go ahead and marry? I mean, if you really loved each other?
I think the majority of people in this situation would indeed go ahead an marry, although there might be some who would not. But I believe the odds are that you would marry, even with the knowledge of a potential heartbreak down the road.
Because I believe that marriage is something other than a thing of mortality, I believe Jesus would go ahead and marry, even knowing what he knew about his own impending death. Of course, this is assuming he would marry at all.
Later, I will get into some other reasons why I believe Jesus was married that are not covered by this Wiki Answers discussion.
Now, we’ll continue looking at those viewpoints from the Wiki Answers discussion ( http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_Jesus_get_married ) that at least in my view open the door to Jesus being married.
Many times all kinds of allegations and innuendo are suggested to smear Jesus’ name but never any facts. On one occasion a woman anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair — in public.
Skipping the “smear Jesus’ name” reference, as the author’s intent is unclear, what we have here is a mixing together of two separate incidences into one event. Besides this anointing of Jesus’ feet with ointment, we have on another occasion, presumably another woman anointing his head with the same type of ointment. However, the circumstances surrounding each incident clearly shows they are two separate events.
Let’s take a look at these two occasions. The first was taken from Mark 14:3-8 and the second from John 12:1-8.
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Then said Jesus, Let her alone; against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
For the poor always ye have with you/; but me ye have not always.
Following are the important points of comparison between the two events:
- The first event was likely the public event the commenter was referring to, being in the home of Simon, the former leper. The second was likely more private, being in the home of Mary and Martha, with Martha serving. It is highly doubtful Martha would be serving in the home of Simon. It is clear Mary and Martha made the supper for Jesus.
- Interestingly, both events took place in Bethany.
- The woman of the first instance was not named, while Mary is specifically named as the one who anointed Jesus.
- The unnamed woman poured ointment on Jesus’ head; Mary poured it on hia feet.
- Both used spikenard, a very expensive ointment.
- Both women kept the ointment in an alabaster box, admittedly, a very small point.
- Even more interestingly, the conversation that followed the anointing in both instances was virtually the same.
While such an act doesn’t prove one way or another that Jesus was married to either or both women (some people believe Jesus was married to more than one woman, as it was often the case in Biblical times and is evident even today in the Middle East), it certainly points to a more than casual relationship between Jesus and the two woman.
I’m guessing the woman of the first instance wasn’t just wandering around Bethany with a box full of expensive ointment looking for someone to anoint. She had to know where Jesus was to begin with. And we also know that Mary, the sister of Martha, was more than just a casual acquaintance.
As a sort of side trip, I decided to look up spikenard on the Internet and the first place I came across was encyclopedia.com, which touts itself as the “Reference information you can trust” with “more than 100 trusted sources, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses with facts, definitions, biographies, synonyms, pronunciation keys, word origins, and abbreviations.”
So we can trust them, right? They said so, anyway. Here’s what it said:
spikenard (spīk´närd), name for several plants. The biblical spikenard, or nard, was a costly aromatic ointment, preserved in alabaster boxes, whose chief ingredient is believed to have been derived from Nardostachys grandiflora (or N. jatamansi), a plant of the family Valerianaceae (valerian family). Such was the precious box of ointment that Mary Magdalen broke over Jesus’ feet. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.) ( http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/spikenard.aspx )
Well, there you have it. Now, I’m not sure which of these “more than 100 trusted sources” came up with the idea that the woman in the second instance was Mary Magdalen, but the idea didn’t come from the Bible.
The Biblical reference in Mark didn’t identify the woman as being Mary Magdalen. Nevertheless, some people assumed this to be Mary Magdalen because, obviously, she held a very special place in Jesus’ heart, as did Mary and Martha.
While we didn’t quote it, the reference in Matthew 26:6-13 is essentially the same as that in Mark, except the “some” in Mark was identified as “his disciples” as being the ones who were doing the complaining.
Referring to the unknown woman of Mark and Matthew, Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible has this to say:
“Many suppose that this woman had been a notorious public prostitute; but this is taking the subject by the very worst handle. My own opinion is, that she had been a mere heathen who dwelt in this city, (probably Capernaum), who, through the ministry of Christ, had been before this converted to God, and came now to give this public testimony of her gratitude to her gracious deliverer from the darkness and guilt of sin. I am inclined to think that the original word, ἁμαρτωλος, is used for heathen or Gentile in several places of the sacred writings.”
While this may be sao, I think this public anointing, as well as the private one, were expressing something more than gratitude. But then, I’m admittedly prejudiced. One just didn’t go around anointing others just because they were grateful, I don’t think.
As to the unknown woman’s identity, Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible doesn’t believe she was Mary Magdalen, nor Mary of Bethany. Wesley’s Notes concurs with the latter.
Who was this woman? We’ll never know without revelation from on high.
One cannot assume anything regarding this woman’s identity. The only thing we know for sure is that she felt a very close bond to Jesus.
Did that bond involve marriage? Probably not, but you never know. And who’s to really say, after all? We simply were not there.
As before mentioned, none of this proves Jesus was married to either of these two women. Yet, it does show there was a certain intimacy between those involved in the anointings.
Hmm. Perhaps. Now for Cris’ Was Jesus Married? Part 6—Points to Consider (Pro-Marriage):
Now, we’ll continue looking at those viewpoints from the Wiki Answers discussion that at least open the door to Jesus being married. This is the second part of a single quote from Wike Answers.
Jesus’ support group
A group of women were part of a ‘support team’ who supplied material needs to the disciples and Jesus when they were able. Many incidental details are recorded in Jesus’ life.
As to this, we read in Luke 8:2-3 the following:
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (emphasis mine.)
From BibleHistory.com we read:
In light of what we know about Jewish life in the first century A.D. Jesus’ teaching must have seemed very radical. He was not one to show partiality. In fact many women followed Jesus… including prostitutes. There is mention of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the “other Mary”, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and of course Mary and Martha. ( Women in Ancient Israel )
I am not sure where the idea came from that prostitutes followed Jesus around, but it didn’t come from the Bible.
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him
Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. (Matthew 27:55-56.)
Here’s another interesting tidbit from Bible-History.com ( http://www.bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html ):
Women were only allowed to receive very little education on religion and the main religious instruction in the home was given by the man and not the woman. They could not be disciples of any great rabbi, they certainly could not travel with any rabbi.
Yet, here we have a number of women traveling with and caring for Jesus and his apostles. How does one explain that?
People’s New Testament says this about Luke 8:2:
And certain women. That these women should attend the footsteps of Christ was opposed to the custom of Palestine. The admixture of the sexes was not common. The rabbis held that the law should not be taught to women.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary said this:
certain women . healed, &c.-on [sic] whom He had the double claim of having brought healing to their bodies and new life to their souls. Drawn to Him by an attraction more than magnetic, they accompany Him on this tour as His almoners-ministering unto Him of their substance.
Dictionary.com explains almoner as “a person whose function or duty is the distribution of alms on behalf of an institution, a royal personage, a monastery, etc.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible had an interesting thing to say about these women:
which ministered unto him of their substance; four ancient copies of Beza’s, and five of Stephens’s, and the Syriac version read, “which ministered unto them”; that is, to Christ, and his disciples, as the Persic version expresses it. This shows the gratitude of these women, who having received favours from Christ, both for their souls and bodies, make returns to him out of their worldly substance, in a way of thankfulness; and also the low estate of Christ, and his disciples, who stood in need of such ministrations.
So, while there were many women following Jesus wherever he went, including to hill of the cross, some appeared to be married, but of others we are not told their marital status. Could one or more of these women be married to Christ?
And, if that’s not enough to get your blood flowing and boiling, stay tuned.
More from the Wiki Answers discussion.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Just trust what the bible [sic] said and if it is not recorded, then just don’t make your own assumption base [sic] on other facts.
In other words, if the Bible doesn’t say Jesus was married, we can’t assume one way or another that he was or wasn’t married. I would tend to agree with that . . . to a point.
Just because a the Bible doesn’t mention that Ezekiel saw an unidentified flying object doesn’t mean he didn’t see one. Don’t believe me? Check out Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10. Perhaps I’ll give my take on these verses one day.
There are many things that can be gleaned from the scriptures that aren’t explicitly stated in modern-day terms. Also, there are many things that can be alluded to by inference from other parts of the Bible, as we shall see.
Rabbi or Teacher Status
It is well established that Jesus was regarded as a Rabbi, even by the religious leaders of his day, although he received no formal training, as did the Jews.
But what does this mean?
In an article entitled, “Are rabbis required to marry or can they remain celibate?”, the author states:
My own inclination is that because marriage itself is a positive commandment, historically the ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Sage’ would have been subject to the same rules. In Rabbinic literature — that is Talmudic literature — there are numerous statements endorsing marriage positively and at the same time commenting negatively on celibacy (TB 29 b; TB Yev. 62b, 63a;). Lastly, marriage was so important that if finances were at stake, one should sell a Sefer Torah in order to marry (Meg. 27a).
Further in Jewish law, the European gloss of R. Isserles on the Shulchan Arukh OH 581:1 states that only one who is married may lead the congregation in worship — note that this is the Hazzan/Shaliah Tzibbur and not the Rabbi whose function may only have been to teach. (Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner)
We know that Jesus taught in the temple. We also know he taught, or at least was invited to read a scripture, in Nazareth. And, of course, Jesus spent three years teaching to numerous congregations, some numbering in the thousands. The Rabbis of the day didn’t seem to object to his teaching, only the subject matter of what he taught.
Does any of this prove Jesus was married? No, but it lends belief to the idea that he was likely married, according to the Jewish Rabbinic tradition.
Why Would Jesus not be married?
If he is holy, why would he not partake in what the Christain [sic] Bible and and Jewish Torah says is the most holy act between a man and women?
Yes, and that is a good question. And here is a good answer.
What was the first commandment given to mankind?
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1: 26-28; emphasis mine.)
Jesus also said he came to fulfill the law. Was he speaking of the Law of Moses or some greater law? Or both? You decide:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosover therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5: 17-19.)
It sounds as if Jesus is talking about the laws of the kingdom of heaven and not the Law of Moses, as the entire Sermon on the Mount was aimed at supplanting the Law of Moses with his higher law. His doing so was in direct fulfillment of the Law of Moses; i.e., from a mechanistic lower, ritualistic law to a higher spiritual law.
Sufficient to say that the laws of the kingdom of heaven also includes that very first commandment of which I have spoken: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth.”
So, did Jesus fulfill that law, or did he break it, making him less than the perfect Lamb of God he is portrayed to be? Was he, indeed, the perfect Sacrifice, or did he have a chink in his spiritual armor or righteousness? To me, the answer is obvious.
Silence Speaks Volumes
Although almost all scholars of all religious persuasions take this as strong evidence of the singleness of Jesus [i.e., no mention of a wife], a few have proposed that, in fact, Jesus was married. In 1970, for example, William E. Phipps published Was Jesus Married? The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition. In this book Phipps argued that the silence of the New Testament about the marital status of Jesus indicates that Jesus was in fact married. Why? Because virtually every Jewish man in Jesus’ day did marry, especially those who were considered to be Rabbis.
What this points out is that marriage was so common and ordinary in Jesus’ day, particularly among Rabbis, that it would be redundant to even mention it. It was simply expected and accepted. So why make a big deal out of it?
So, in this case, I believe, silence does speak volumes. Yet, the scriptures may not be as silent as you might imagine.
And, remember, there may have been other reasons why an entourage of women followed him around other than to supply his and and his twelve disciples’ needs.
Some interesting points (although I don’t believe Ezekiel saw a UFO 🙂 ). Next: Was Jesus Married? Part 8—Points to Consider (Pro-Marriage):
This is the last look at the Wiki Answers discussion. After this, things should get a little more . . . well, interesting.
Don’t Make Assumptions
I disagree that if it had happened it would have been recorded. The Bible leaves out some 20 years of his life. Doesn’t the Bible teach he experienced everything that any man alive did? I bet sex and marriage was on that list. He probably got into fights and did a lot of other things we don’t know about.
I would have to agree with most of this statement, taking issue only with the last sentence.
Remember, at age twelve Jesus was “both hearing [the doctors; i.e., the teachers (Greek)], and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46). It’s hard for me to imagine someone with this kind of temperament out in the streets fighting with other kids.
“And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” (ibid. verse 47.) And apparently the teachers were so impressed with Jesus that they were asking him questions as well as his asking them questions.
Would Jesus being about his Father’s business (ibid. verse 49) include fighting with neighborhood kids? Somehow I doubt it.
And to assume that everything that happened in the life of Jesus, outside of one incident in thirty years, was recorded in the Bible is simply beyond reason. Even during the three years of his ministry we have but very little recorded of his life.
We can’t even begin to imagine what Jesus taught his disciples as they traipsed all over the Judaic landscape. We have but a few incidences that happened while they were walking, or out on the road, but precious little teaching, such as the Sermon on the Mount, or the fig tree incident, although there must have been some conversation, one would think.
One would also think the subject of marriage would come up among so many men over so many miles. But proof that Jesus was married? No.
A Minority Believes Jesus Was Married
There is a minority which believes that he did get married. Jesus married Mary. Jesus loved her. This minority uses interpretation of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci as a supporting evidence for their thesis. They consider the figure left of Jesus to be a woman — Mary. Their clothing is similar. Though we do not know he fathered a child. If he did the maybe was born after his death.
Many people believe Jesus married Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalene. However, there is no absolute proof of it, yet we know there existed some sort of relationship there.
It is also true that Leonardo de Vinci placed a woman on the right hand of Jesus at the table in his famous painting of The Last Supper, even sharing the same vestment colors, no less. That idea had to have come from somewhere. I’ve heard some interesting suppositions regarding the placement of Jesus and the woman in the painting, along with their exact positionings.
In light of this, we might recall who it was to whom Jesus first appeared after his resurrection, even before ascending to his Father in heaven:
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. (Mark 16:9.)
Even before appearing to his faithful disciples, he appeared to Mary Magdalene, who was mourning at his tomb. It was she who Jesus told to go and tell the joyful news to his disciples. This would be a very strange occurrence, were there not some sort of special relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, wouldn’t you think?
Still, this is no proof that they were married, but it certainly hints at the prospect.
Mary Magdalene called Jesus Lord
Actually from what the Bible doesn’t tell us, Jesus was married. It was a necessity for a “Rabbi” to be married in order to obtain recognition as a teacher. If he was not married there would not be so many calling him by the name of Rabbi or Teacher. Further because it was so rare for a Rabbi not to be married the gospel writers would of, out of necessity, explained [sic] why Jesus was not married but still able to be recognized as a Rabbi or Teacher. Hence, we know from what the Bible doesn’t tell us, that Jesus was in fact married. It is assumed that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Mary was the first to see Christ after His bodily resurrection from the grave. When she realized it was Jesus she called Him Lord. This was an evidence that Christ was married to Mary in that the wife would call her husband Lord. The original Hebrew shows that she was referring to the Savior as husband and not just Lord. Also the gnostic gospels give more proof to a relationship between Jesus and Marry. [sic]
The idea of Jesus being a Rabbi and thus married was covered in my last post. Obviously, the issue with Mary Magdalene was just covered.
However, the interesting thing here is the reference to Mary calling Jesus Lord, as a reference to him being her husband.
Bible.org says a wife’s calling her husband lord was a sign of her submission, in that she believed God was working through her husband to fulfill His purposes for her. Of course, things are different today, but we can’t judge what was in vogue, so to speak, in ancient times by what we believe today.
Sarah was an intelligent and capable woman. But when she married Abraham she made a decision. She established as her mission in life the task of helping her husband fulfill God’s purposes for him. That was not weakness. It was God’s will for her life: true biblical submission. Some wives [today] have been systematically sabotaging God’s plan for their husbands because they have not been willing to believe God and entrust themselves to His wisdom. They simply will not trust God to work through their husbands to accomplish what is best. They feel they must help God along by trying to dominate their husbands. (ibid.)
Of course, today, a lot of men are likely more interested in who is going to play in the Super Bowl than they are in determining what God’s will is toward his wife. And the wife is often more interested in who is going to win Dancing with the Stars than whether or not her husband is spiritually interesting in her own spiritual welfare.
Of course, this is only a generalization, but you get the idea, perhaps.
The fact is, a wife’s submission is out of vogue in today’s liberated society, but it was not so in Biblical times. And it appears, in agreement with the above comment, that it was evident in Jesus’ day.
Does this prove Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene? I would say a tentative no, with an equal tentative yes. Women didn’t just go around calling every man lord.
We’re now ready to tackle some interesting incidents in the life of Jesus that might surprise you that could lead to our believing Jesus was married.
Actually, it’s been demonstrated that the “woman” in Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is actually the Apostle John.
It’s interesting to note, though, that other medieval paintings depicted Mary Magdalene at the Last Supper. One wonders where that idea came from? Some whispered, largely long-forgotten tradition? Or simply artistic license?
Cris continues in Was Jesus Married? Part 9—The Marriage at Cana:
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
One might ask: “What has this to do with Jesus being married or not being married?”
I would answer: “Perhaps nothing; perhaps everything.”
There are things in this narrative that suggest this incident has nothing to do with Jesus, save he was an invited guest and that he performed a miracle. However, there are other things suggesting otherwise. Let’s look into it a little bit further.
Regarding Mary: All the narrative says is that “the mother of Jesus was there.” It doesn’t say in what capacity, although later it seems she was in some sort of authoritative capacity, apparently in charge of the wine. Why this would be so, if she were merely a guest, that is the mystery. Would a guest be in charge of the wine, let alone the servants she ordered around?
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible notes that it “is not improbable that [Mary] was a relative of the family where the marriage took place.”
People’s New Testament and Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary agree with Barnes in this.
This is likely true, given her rule over the wine situation. But which relative was getting married?
Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible posits, “Some of the ancients have thought that this was the marriage of John the evangelist, who is supposed to have been a near relative of our Lord.”
While this may or may not be true, there is no evidence to support this. Even so, if it were John the evangelist, exactly which John is this referring to? John the Baptist or John the disciple or apostle?
The Baptist was certainly a relative, while the apostle was likely not. Both were evangelists. And, again, if it were either of the John’s wedding, why would Mary be in charge of the wine?
More than likely, the Mary’s relative who was getting married was someone in her family. Jesus wasn’t the only child of the family; yet, it was Jesus to whom Mary came to complain about the wine situation. If it were some other child of Mary, don’t you think she would have come to him and complained about the wine?
Think about it. When one normally discusses this first miracle, no one really goes into the intimate details of what really went on. And if Jesus had never performed a miracle before this, as this scripture points out, what exactly would she expect Jesus to do? Go out and buy more wine?
No, instead, she instructs the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do, without any apparent by-your-leave or choice given to Jesus. And without the servants bucking at this “guest” telling them what to do.
As to the matter of the “governor of the feast,” who exactly was he?
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1984), “governor of the feast” was translated from the Greek “architriklinðs,” which would be later translated as “ruler of the feast” in this narrative.
According to Strong, “architriklinðs” means “director of the entertainment.” We might liken this to the modern emcee, perhaps, with the added responsibility of being in charge of the wine.
Other translations of the Bible rendered this as “steward” (Revised Standard Version, New Engllish Bible, Jerusalem Bible), “head waiter” (New American Standard Bible), and “master” (New International Version).
But I like “director of the entertainment.” If it’s good enough for Strong, it’s good enough for me; so that’s what we’re going with. I tend to lean on Strong’s quite a bit in matters such as these.
Then there’s the matter of the servants at the wedding celebration. Who exactly were they? And were they really servants or something else? Again we turn to Strong’s.
The Greek rendering of “servants” is “diakðnðs,” which means “an attendant, i.e. (generally) a waiter (at a table or other menial duties.)” It is also used to indicate a Christian teacher and pastor, technically a deacon or deaconess, according to Strong.
We can rule out the latter, as these were non-existent at the time, in particular, the deaconess, as to my knowledge, the Bible makes no references to such an office. That leaves us with “an attendant” or “waiter,” or, as we might say in modern parlance, a server.
This shines an entirely new light on the “political” make-up of the marriage at Cana. Instead of a governor or ruler of the feast, we have a “director of entertainment,” emcee, or even “head waiter.” Instead of servants, which one might expect a governor to have, we have attendants, waiters, or servers. To me, this sounds more like one might come to expect at a wedding celebration, does it not?
Although this has nothing to do with the subject at hand—i.e., whether or not this celebration was, in fact, the marriage of Jesus—as a matter of clarification, I give you various translations of “And when they wanted wine” (KJV):
- ”When the wine gave out” (RSV, NASB)
- ”The wine gave out” (NEB)
- ”When they ran out of wine” (JB)
- ”When the wine was gone” (NIV)
Here’s the thing: If Mary were merely “present” at the marriage in Cana, presumably as a guest, why on earth would she be concerned that they had ran out of wine? That’s the question, isn’t it, that is never answered? Her subsequent behavior would seem very inappropriate if she were merely an invited guest.
It would seem to me that the one who ought to be concerned about the wine running out would be the master of ceremonies or “director of entertainment”—and certainly the head of the household of the groom. However, in this case, it appears that the “director of entertainment” was unaware that the wine had given out, but, significantly, Mary was not!
And why would Mary, if she were merely a guest, go panic-stricken to Jesus with this problem? Even more interesting than this was Jesus’ mysterious response to her:
- ”What have I to do with thee?” (KJV)
- ”What have you to do with me?” (RSV)
- ”Your concern . . . is not mine” (NEB)
- ”Why turn to me?” (JB)
- ”What do I have to do with you?” (NASB)
- ”Why do you involve me?” (NIV)
Jesus wanted no part of this business. And why should he, especially if he, like his mother, were merely invited guests? But, if it were Jesus who was being married, the wine was indeed no concern of his, but was, as pointed out, the concern of the “director of entertainment.”
The last thing I’ll touch upon is in regards to verse 2: “And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.”
This could be the result of a deliberate mistranslation, due to the translators’ and Church’s bias against Jesus being married, or a misunderstanding of the word “kalĕō” (Greek), which was translated “called.”
Strong says that “kalĕō” is “akin to the base of 2753,” which we’ll cover in a minute. We also find: “to ‘call’ (properly aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise).” The word has been variously translated as “bid”, “call”, “call forth”, “whose name was called”, and “whose surname was called.”
The reference to 2753 indicates the Greek word “kĕlĕvō”, which means, according to Strong, “(to urge on); “hail”; “to incite by word; i.e., order.” This relative of “kalĕō” was variously translated as “bid”, “at command(ment)” and “give command(ment).”
The fact is, that given so many uses of the word “kalĕō” and the related “kĕlĕvō”, it is difficult to determine, from the context, which of these meanings might be in order.
It could be merely as it is rendered in the King James Version, meaning they were bidden (i.e., invited) to come the wedding. Or it could mean their names were called at as they entered the house, as we’ve all seen in so many old movies, although I don’t know if that was a custom in early Hebrew weddings. I’m not an expert in that area.
Given all this, I can’t conclusively say that the marriage at Cana was that of Jesus, but neither can I say with assurance that it was not. However, as you have seen, I believe that the marriage at Cana was the marriage of Jesus, but that’s my bias, given my research into the matter.
The question might be asked: “Was this marriage important enough to find its way into the Bible, simply because it was Jesus’ supposed first miracle? Or was it because Jesus was, in fact, getting married?
Tradition says the former; I believe the latter because, as I have pointed out, there are too many oddities to dismiss the idea either out of hand or because of traditional bias.
This bias has been passed down through the millennia by the Church, as well as all those sects that broke off from the Church. Even those Christian Churches which did not break off from the main Church have picked up on the idea and have a bias against Jesus being married.
Yet, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have no problem with Jesus being married, particularly if he was to keep all of the commandments, one of which was “to multiply and replenish the earth.”
This is my stand. I encourage the reader to do his own research and come to his own conclusion. I would love to hear from you.
The first time I read that post, I thought he was grasping at straws at several points; re-reading it now, I’m beginning to agree with him.
The Validity or Invalidity of Tradition
So, was Jesus married or not?
In considering this question, we must remember the answer has absolutely no bearing on our salvation; yet, it is of interest to a great many people.
On the other hand, the great majority of Christianity simply do not want to hear about the subject. For them, it’s an open-and-shut case—Jesus was not married and nothing you can do or say will make any difference to them. And that’s okay; that’s where they’re at.
However, that attitude brings to mind a verse from Proverbs: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Proverbs 18:13.)
Which brings us to the question: “What could possibly be the cause of so many people to shut down at the mere mention of the subject?
One word: tradition.
Traditions can be either good or bad. Christmas traditions, most would agree, are generally good. Getting drunk every Christmas Eve is probably not a good tradition, if for no other reason than the health of the individual.
Religious traditions go a long way back. We know they were a big part of the four Gospels. It was a subject Jesus did not shy away from.
When a group of scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus, they asked him: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread?”
Whereupon, Jesus “answered and said unto them,
Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother; and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death, [i.e., he shall surely die, from the Greek]
But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the command of God of none effect by your tradition.
Ye hypocrites, well did Esais prophesy of you, saying,
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honourelth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:2-9.)
So, from a strictly religious standpoint, traditions can definitely have their downsides, as this example demonstrates. But is the tradition that Jesus was never married one of these downsides?
The idea certainly doesn’t make any of God’s commands “of none effect.” On the other hand, the idea that Jesus was married actually fulfills God’s commandments:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27-28.)
Later, Adam was inspired to say, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24.)
However, he clincher for me is: “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man; in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:11.)
Many seem to forget the human side of Jesus. Most Christians readily accept the divine nature of Jesus Christ, but few seem to acknowledge his human side. His human side is what kept him silent for thirty years, adhering to the traditions of the elders that one must be thirty years of age before one could enter into the ministry. Or, it may have been part of the Law of Moses—I forget.
Is it unreasonable to imagine that Jesus was human in other realms, as well? Did he not grow up loving those around him? Could he not love that special one, the same as we other humans do? Remember, too, Jesus was a very human carpenter.
I don’t think it takes one iota away from his divinity to imagine Jesus having human desires and needs. True, he overcame the flesh, the same as we have been commanded to do. Yet, we don’t have evidence of this until his forty-day fast in the wilderness.
Did not Christ come to fulfill the law?
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17.)
Of course, the law he spoke of was the Law of Moses, but “the prophets” go back much farther, all the way back to Adam.
Why Tradition Persists
Even against all the things I and others have put forth, still the tradition persists that Jesus was never married.
The main purveyors of this tradition are none other than those who stand behind the pulpits every Sunday. It has ever been so. Presumably, they learn it from their colleges of religion wherein they get their preaching degrees.
Admittedly, that’s not the way it was done in the Bible; nevertheless, it’s the way it’s done today. And tradition often has a way of becoming fact, much like the many unproven scientific theories become fact after years of continued repetition.
While I was attending college, I took a course in Coptic, although I can’t tell you to this day why I did so. As a text we used the Gnostic Gospel of Philip. In this class, I learned how far people will go to maintain a tradition.
In the final article of this series I will take you through a number of translations of a particular section that pertains to the subject matter at hand. If true, it is certainly an eye-opener.
I will warn in advance that I don’t entirely agree with the next article; at the moment, I don’t accept the Gospel of Philip as inspired or authentic. However, while generally not inspired, many of the early apocryphal gospels preserve some common traditions at the time, so they can be a valuable – albeit limited – insight into what at least some early believers believed. Anyway, here’s Was Jesus Married? Part 11—The Gospel of Philip:
A Christian Conundrum
There are a growing number of people who believe that not only was Jesus married, but like many of the prophets before him, had more than one wife. According to this theory, these additional wives, along with other notable women, followed him around as he went about preaching, providing sustenance for him and his twelve apostles.
From the scriptures, we know that there was a contingent of women who, in fact, did follow Jesus around. Some of them were named and some were not. Some relationships were given; others were not.
Is it possible that some of these “were nots” may have been Jesus’ wives? We can’t really know without a new revelation. And I’m wondering, if there were a new revelation, and it revealed that Jesus was, in fact, married and had several wives, how many Christians would believe it? The cry of false prophet would undoubtedly be heard throughout the land.
But back to the point. I’m aware that you’d be hard pressed to find any Christian religion or sect that openly teaches that Jesus was married, let alone that he had several wives.
Nevertheless, tackling these sorts of subjects is what this blog is all about. So, whether Jesus had several wives or not, hang onto your seats, if you dare.
To the vast majority of Christians, the idea of Jesus being married at all is somehow sacrilegious, let along his having more than one wife. Even today, the idea of anyone having more than one wife at a time is considered evil and was, in fact, criminalized by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court in the late 1800s, aimed directly at the Mormons who practiced a plurality of wives at the time, or at least some of them did.
However, this series of posts isn’t about modern ideas regarding the subject, but about Biblical ideas on the matter.
The Gospel of Philip
Actually, this subject has been of interest to me for quite some time. While attending college back in the dark ages, I took a non-matricuated Coptic class, just to do something different. It wasn’t costing me anything, so why not?
The text was the Gnostic Gospel of Philip written in Coptic. We were to go through the text and learn as we went. However, when we got to a certain place in the text, I was just flabbergasted. I will reserve this startling revelation (to me) until the end.
I realize the Gospel of Philip has never been canonized and isn’t considered scripture to modern Christians, but it is a period piece and many Christians at the time believed it to be scripture. It is thought to have been written in the second half of the third century A.D., which places it somewhere between 250 and 299 A.D. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t written earlier; that’s just what some Biblical scholars think.
What follows is a relating of some early Christians’ belief at a time not far removed from when Jesus walked the earth. The conclusions I draw are based on this fact alone.
Wesley M. Isenberg Translation
I am going to offer three translations of certain passages in the Gospel of Philip, followed by what I learned in that Coptic class. In each of the translations you will note differences: some similar, some vastly different. I will label the two passages “a” and “ b”.
The Isenberg translation is taken from the book, The Nag Hammadi Library, James M. Robinson, general editor, which I have in my possession. Hopefully my editing caught all the typos in their transcription into the computer.
a) There were three who always walked with the lord: Mary his mother and her [sic] sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary. (p. 145)
b) As for the Wisdom who is called “the barren,” she is the mother [of the] angels. And the companion of the [. . .] Mary Magdalene. [. . . loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [. . .]. The rest of [the disciples 64 . . .]. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The savior answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness. (p.148)
You will note the use of the lacuna, which is “a gap or missing part, as in a manuscript, series, or logical argument” (dictionary.com). It is interesting to me how they appear in the most critical of places; in other words, the areas with the most potential interest.
Jesus’ answer is a bit cryptic and not necessary to this discussion, but it seems to reference that Mary Magdalene saw the light (i.e., Christ) when it came and the disciples didn’t, at least fully, and, thus, remained in darkness. I’m sure those more schooled in ancient writing could come up with a better interpretation, but that’s the best I could do off the top of my head.
The Other Bible Translation
The translator of the Gospel of Philip in The Other Bible: Ancient Alternative Scriptures is not given, but the Introduction is by none other than Wesley M. Isenberg. This book, with an Introduction by Willis Barnstone, is also in my possession.
a) There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and his sister and Magdalene, the one who was his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary. (p. 90)
b) As for the Wisdom, who is called “the barren,” she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them, “Why do not I love you like her?” When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness. (p.148)
There are both subtle and major differences from the Isenberg translation, as you can plainly see. Mary Magdalene, the companion of Jesus, is clearly preferred over the other disciples in this passage and he is very intimate with her.
Applying a little logic, one might wonder why the other disciples would be offended at Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene on the mouth and loving her more than all the rest of them. It plainly doesn’t make sense . . . unless the other disciples were women who also had an intimate relationship with him. I just can’t see men disciples being jealous in this scenario.
You might see things differently, but that’s how I see it.
Paterson Brown Translation
This version I got off the Internet. It can be found at: http://www.metalog.org/files/philip.html .
a) 36. There were three Mariams who walked with the Lord at all times: his mother and [his] sister and (the) Magdaleneº—this one who is called his Companionº. Thus his (true) Mother and Sister and Mate¹ is (also called) ‘Mariam’. (¹i.e. the Sacred Spirit; Mk 3:35, Th 101, Ph 59; hyperlinear)
b) 59. The wisdom which (humans) call barren is herself the Mother of the Angels.¹ And the companion of the [Christ] is Mariam the Magdalene. The [Lord loved] Mariam more than [all the (other)] Disciples, [and he] kissed her often on her [mouth].² The other [women] saw his love for Mariam,c they say to him: Why do thou love [her] more than all of us? || The Saviorº replied,³ he says to them: Why do I not love you as (I do) her? (¹Pro 8:12+32, Lk 7:35!!, Ph 40; ²Pro 24:26, S-of-S 1:2/6:9, Th 61b/107, Ph 35/36, Lewis Wallace, Ben Hur, V.16: ‘He kissed her. Was it only a kiss of peace?’; ³asyndeton; hyperlinear)
60. (While¹) a blind (person) and one who sees are both in the dark, they do not differ from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees shall behold the light, and he who is blinded shall remain in the darkness. (¹asyndeton; Jn 9, Th 34; hyperlinear)
In this translation, the first thing you will notice is the word, “Mate.” This gives a little more meaning to the previously used “companion.” A companion can be many things, even one who is kissed on the mouth. However, a mate can mean only one thing—in this case, a wife.
In the previous two translations, “disciples” was used throughout. You can see in the Brown translation that “disciples” was used in the first instance and “[women]” is used in the second. That’s very significant.
The use of “[women]” would certainly make more sense than the use of “disciples” in the two previous translations. Again, why would men disciples be jealous of Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene, his “Mate,” on the mouth, or even loving her more than he does them?
Jealousy would do it, but only from the viewpoint of those who would also have an intimate relationship with Jesus. Otherwise, who would care?
Coptic Class Translation
Unfortunately, I no longer possess the Coptic manuscript from the class, it having been lost or thrown out sometime over the past several decades and moves. However, such was the impression on me that I remember exactly this one point: The Coptic word translated as “companion,” according to the instructor, should have been translated as “consort.”
The dictionary.com’s definition of consort is: “a husband or wife; spouse, especially of a reigning monarch.”
And is Jesus Christ not a reigning monarch? In the highest sense!
Reading onward, we come across this same Coptic word, which, in the first two instances, was translated as “disciples.” Applying the instructor’s translation of “consorts,” we come up with an entirely different scenario.
So, according to the instructor and the Coptic manuscript I had before me at the time, the scenario becomes an unknown number of Jesus’ wives complaining to him in a fit of jealousy about his favoritism of Mary Magdalene. And this makes the most sense of all, at least to me.
However, as to whether Jesus was married, or whether he was married and had more than one wife, I will leave it up to you to decide for yourself.
There were many early Christians who believed that this was the case, as the Gnostics were a fairly large and competing Christian sect to the more established Mother Church.
That is all I will say on the matter. The rest is up to you.
It was Cris’ articles that first opened my eyes to the possibility that Yehoshua was married. However, what really convinced me that our Messiah was a married father was the James Ossuary & Talpiot Tomb.
I’ve previously covered the James Ossuary in The Empty Tomb (and Other Evidence for Jesus’ Death & Resurrection), but I’ll nonetheless retread the facts:
A final piece of evidence: the James Ossuary, a 1st-century AD Jewish bone box with the inscription Ya’akov bar Yosef achui diYeshua, literally James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.
Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University stated that, other than James Ossuary, only one has been found so far in thousands of ossuaries, which contains a reference to a brother, concluding that “there is little doubt that this [naming a brother or son] was done only when there was a very meaningful reason to refer to a family member of the deceased, usually due to his importance and fame.” He produced a statistical analysis of the occurrence of these three names in ancient Jerusalem and projected that there were 1.71 people named James, with a father named Joseph and a brother named Jesus, living in Jerusalem around the time at which the ossuary was produced.
In short, if authentic, this is FINAL, ABSOLUTE PROOF of Jesus’ existance, and of His significance. And the evidence strongly implies that the box is authentic – as is the inscription (despite the Israeli Antiquities Authority’s attempts to dismiss it – which has blown up in their face).
The James Ossuary came from the Silwan area in the Kidron Valley, southeast of the Temple Mount. The bones originally inside the ossuary had been discarded, which is the case in nearly all ossuaries not discovered by archaeologists. The first-century origin of the ossuary is not in question, since the only time Jews buried in that fashion was from approximately 20 BC to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The dispute centres on the date of origin of the inscription.
According to André Lemaire, the Parisian epigrapher initially invited by antiquities dealer Oded Golan to view the ossuary in Golan’s apartment, the cursive Aramaic script is consistent with first-century lettering. He determined that the inscription was not incised with modern tools, as it contains no elements not available in the ancient world. The first part of the inscription, “James son of Joseph,” seems more deeply incised than the latter “brother of Jesus.” This may be due to the inscription being made at a different time, or due to differences in the hardness of the limestone.
The fragile condition of the ossuary attests to its antiquity. The Israel Geological Survey submitted the ossuary to a variety of scientific tests, which determined that the limestone of the ossuary had a patina or sheen consistent with being in a cave for many centuries. The same type of patina covers the incised lettering of the inscription as the rest of the surface. It is claimed that if the inscription were recent, this would not be the case.[page needed]
On June 18, 2003 the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) published a report concluding that the inscription is a modern forgery based on their analysis of the patina. Specifically, it claimed that the inscription was added in modern times and made to look old by addition of a chalk solution. In 2006, Wolfgang Elisabeth Krumbein, a world’s renowned expert in stone patinas called by the defense counsel, analyzed the ossuary, and concluded that “the inscription is ancient and most of the original patina has been removed (by cleaning or use of sharp implement)”. He further noted in his report, “any forgery of three very distinct types of patina, if ever possible, requires the development of ultra-advanced techniques, in-depth knowledge and extensive collaboration of a large number of experts from various fields”. According to his analysis, the patina inside the inscription took at least 50 years to form; thus, if it is a forgery, then it was forged more than 50 years ago.
In 2004, an analysis of the ossuary’s petrography and oxygen isotopic composition was conducted by Avner Ayalon, Miryam Bar-Matthews and Yuval Goren. They compared the δ18O values of the letters patina from the James Ossuary, with the patina sampled from the uninscribed surfaces of the same item (“surface patina”), and with surface and letters patinas from legally excavated ossuaries from Jerusalem. Their study undermined the authenticity contention of the ossuary. However, Dr James Harrell, professor of Archaeological Geology at the University of Toledo, provided an explanation for this δ18O discrepancy. He suggested that a cleanser may have been the source of the low δ18O readings, which antiquities dealers and collectors often use to clean the artifacts to increase value. He tested the most popular cleanser sold in Israel and confirmed that the δ18O value of the cleanser was consistent with the δ18O value of the patina in the inscription.
In 2008, an archaeometric analysis conducted by Amnon Rosenfeld, Howard Randall Feldman, and Wolfgang Elisabeth Krumbein strengthened the authenticity contention of the ossuary. It found that patina on the ossuary surface matched that in the engravings, and that microfossils in the inscription seemed naturally deposited.
Then the IAA tried to muddy everything:
Limor Livnat, Israeli Minister of Culture, mandated the work of a scientific commission to study the suspicious finds. IAA began an investigation into the affair. The James Ossuary was authentic—albeit unusual in shape—but they claimed the inscription was a fake.
However, in an external expert report, dated September 2005, Wolfgang E. Krumbein entered the controversy. His conclusions contradict those of the IAA stating “Our preliminary investigations cannot prove the authenticity of the three objects beyond any doubt. Doubtlessly the patina is continuous in many places throughout surface and lettering grooves in the case of ossuary and tablet. On the other hand a proof of forgery is not given by the experts nominated by the IAA.”
The Israeli Antiquities Authority has failed to offer any report explaining why it concluded the ossuary is a forgery. Unsurprisingly, international experts are unable to give their opinions on the ossuary’s authenticity until the IAA allows scholars to review its findings.
Edward John Keall, the Senior Curator at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Near Eastern & Asian Civilizations Department, continues to argue for the ossuary’s authenticity, saying “the ROM has always been open to questioning the ossuary’s authenticity, but so far no definitive proof of forgery has yet been presented, in spite of the current claims being made.”
The Biblical Archaeology Review also continued to defend the ossuary. In articles in the February 2005 issues, several paleographic experts argue that the James Ossuary is authentic and should be examined by specialists outside of Israel. Another article claims the cleaning of the James Ossuary before it was examined may have caused the problem with the patina. On June 13, 2012 a Biblical Archaeology Review press release announced the first major post-trial analysis of the ossuary, discussing the plausibility of its authenticity and using statistical analysis of ancient names to suggest that in contemporary Jerusalem, there would be 1.71 people named James with a father Joseph and a brother named Jesus.
BAR Magazine ran the following article:
The “forgery trial of the century” has all but blown up. The trial judge who will decide the case—there are no juries in Israel—has told the prosecution to consider dropping the case. “Not every case ends in the way that you think it will when you start,” Judge Aharon Farkash told prosecutor Adi Damti in open court. “Maybe we can save ourselves the rest,” the judge told her.
The story was reported by Matthew Kalman in the San Francisco Chronicle, and from there around the world. He described Judge Aharon Farkash’s evaluation as a “humiliating collapse” of the government’s case and “a major embarrassment … for the [Israel] Antiquities Authority.”
The government’s star witness, Yuval Goren, former chairman of Tel Aviv University’s institute of archaeology, was forced to admit on cross-examination that there is original ancient patina in the word “Jesus,” the last word in the inscription that reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”
Recent events have also proved humiliating for the IAA in connection with the committee it appointed that supposedly came to a unanimous decision that the inscription is a forgery. In fact, several members of the committee expressed no opinion—but the IAA counted them as “yes” votes. Several other members of the committee based their vote not on their own expertise, but on Yuval Goren’s supposed expertise, which they were in no position to evaluate. One member of the committee who would have found the inscription authentic said he was “forced” to change his mind based on Goren’s scientific arguments.
No paleographer expert in the script of this period has found any paleographical problem with the inscription. And several scientists at the trial have undermined Goren’s scientific arguments. No other scientist has supported Goren’s arguments.
BAR has consistently supported the authenticity of the inscription, as have leading paleographers André Lemaire of the Sorbonne and Ada Yardeni of Hebrew University. All appear now to be vindicated.
Quite simply put: it’s authentic, and we have (more) PROOF of the historical Yeshua/Jesus.
The Talpiot Tomb is a 1st-century AD tomb found just outside of Jerusalem, from prior to 70 AD. It was clearly a family tomb. It contained 10 bone boxes (many with remains inside), and some other skeletons. Many of the bone boxes contain the names of Yeshua’s immediate family – Mary, Joseph, Simon (mentioned in the NT as His brother), Salome, etc. (One of the boxes – with a body inside – is interpreted to read “Yeshua bar Yosef”, literally “Jesus son of Joseph”. However, the first name – i.e. that of the son of Joseph – is partly illegible, and I don’t believe it to be our Messiah. The evidence of His resurrection, namely the Turin Shroud and Oviedo Sudarium, strongly suggests that.
The numbers have been run, and staticians claim that the chances of it being another family’s tomb are extremely slim. Some aren’t convinced by that, though.
What connection do the James Ossuary and Talpiot Tomb have? The history of the Ossuary indicates it’s been in circulation since before the Talpiot Tomb was discovered (although that doesn’t rule out it having been pinched by a tomb robber in centuries past). However, there is one vital evidence that the Ossuary originally came from Talpiot, and that Talpiot is therefore Jesus’ family’s family tomb: geology.
In April 2015 the Sunday New York Times broke a major full-page story, “Findings Reignite Debate on Claim of Jesus’ Bones” based on new chemical tests done on the ossuaries from the Talpiot “Jesus” tomb comparing it with the controversial “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” ossuary that came to public light in 2002.1
Dr. Aryeh Shimon is interviewed on the results of these tests that compare extensive scrapings from inside and outside ossuaries carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority of comparative ancient tombs of the same period in Jerusalem. Previously, tests had been done on patina, as noted below, but the new tests were of a far more telling nature, accessing the limestone beneath the patina. Limestone ossuaries over time absorb the soil and chemical environs of the tomb they are placed in. Each tomb has a characteristic chemical profile unique to its environment. Dr. Shimron’s conclusion is that there is an extremely high probability that the James ossuary was originally taken from the Talpiot tomb–either at the time of its discovery in 1980 by a construction crew, or perhaps earlier–since the tomb itself was found unsealed with no blocking stone. I should also point out that Dr. Shimron also sampled an ossuary from the nearby Talpiot Tomb B, just 60 meters away, and it did not match at all the Talpiot “Jesus” tomb ossuaries (Tomb A). This shows that Tomb A had a very specific and unique chemical environment–even compared with a tomb quite close by. Everyone seems to agree that statistically speaking, adding the James ossuary to the names that are already in the Talpiot tomb changes everything in favor of its high probability of being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family, see the calculations by Kilty and Elliot, “The James Ossuary and the Talpiot Tomb.”
You can read an on-line version of the full New York Times story here:
Dr. Shimron was looking for unusual amounts of elements derived from Rendzina soil, like silicon, aluminum, magnesium, potassium and iron, as well as for specific trace elements, including phosphorus, chrome and nickel — signature components of the type of clayey East Jerusalem soil that he says filled the Talpiot Tomb during the earthquake. The findings, he says, clearly place the James ossuary in the same geochemical group as the Talpiot Tomb ossuaries. “The evidence is beyond what I expected,” he said.
What follows is the backstory on this controversial issue. For an overview of the James ossuary controversy more broadly see my post “What is What Regarding the Controversial James Ossuary.”
Is the James Ossuary from the Talpiot Tomb?
There are four issues to be addressed related to the possibility that the James ossuary came from the Talpiot Jesus tomb.
First, if the James ossuary was in fact the tenth missing ossuary from the tomb, even though it has disappeared, it was definitely catalogued by the authorities at the IAA, apparently measured, and given a registration number. Oded Golan says that he purchased it from an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem. It is difficult to construct any kind of hypothetical scenario that would have it removed from the IAA collection and end up on the market.
Second, even though the dimensions of the missing ossuary and that of the James ossuary are close, it is also described as plain and broken by Rahmani in his catalogue. Although in 2002 the James ossuary was broken while in transport to the Royal Ontario Museum and subsequently repaired, it was not broken when Golan acquired it. While not elaborately ornamented, it does have faint traces of the beginnings of rosette designs on the side opposite the inscription, so technically it is not “plain.” Rahmani, known for his keen eye and detailed descriptions, would have not likely missed this feature.
Third, Golan has testified that he obtained the ossuary sometime before 1978, providing photographic evidence to support his story, whereas the Talpiot tomb was not excavated until April, 1980.2 Although it is possible that it had been looted from the tomb sometime previous to 1980, we don’t know if the entrance to the tomb was visible to passerbys before the construction blast that obliterated its outside front entrance or porch, making it stand out even from the road below.
Finally, since Hegesippus reports, in the second century CE, that the tomb of James was visible in the Kidron Valley, not far from the southwest corner of the Old City, how and when would James’s ossuary have been moved to the Talpiot tomb?
Sometimes it seems impossible to fit all the pieces of a complex puzzle together but it is nonetheless important to have those pieces in view. Recently new evidence has come to light that not only supports the case for the James ossuary originating in the Talpiot tomb, but addresses these major objections in an unanticipated way. We are now in a position to put all that evidence together with some compelling new results.
Recently a group of scientists headed by Amnon Rosenfeld of the Israel Geological Society published a summary of their own work on the authenticity of the patina inside the inscribed letters of the James ossuary. Rosenfeld was on the original team at the IGS that had authenticated the patina on the ossuary in 2002. They conclude:
The most important indication that the inscription “Ya’akov Son of Josef Brother of Jesus” is authentic is the beige patina that can be found inside the letters, accreting gradationally into the inscription. The patina can be observed on the surface of the ossuary continuing into the engraving. . .These minerals and the circular pitting within the thin layers of the beige to gray patina were found on the surface of the ossuary and, more importantly, within the letters of the inscription. They indicate biological activity and are the product of airborne and/or subaerial geo-bio activity that covers all surfaces of the ossuary . . .indicative of slow growth over many years.3
The team then turned to an evaluative analysis of the scientific tests done in 2006 on the comparative chemical composition of the patina accretions on ossuaries taken from various ancient tombs in the Jerusalem area. The premise of the tests was that ossuaries accumulate distinctive and measurable biochemical “signatures” based on the cave environments in which they have spent the past two millennia.4 Patina samples were taken from the James ossuary, three ossuaries from the Talpiot Jesus tomb (Jesus son of Joseph, Mariamene, and Matthew) and ossuaries from thirteen other burial caves in the area. By comparing these signatures one can determine if the James ossuary had developed its patina in that particular “tomb” environment:
Among the examined 14 burial caves was also the Talpiot cave. Six Talpiot tomb wall and ceiling patinas were sampled December 14th, 2006 (op. cit.). The elemental spectra of the samples were examined by SEM-EDS in the Suffolk Crime Lab (NY). Each sample was analyzed (SEM-EDS) in at least 3 different locations. The differences between tombs were easily discerned by the elemental fingerprints. The quantitative variability of the elements (patina fingerprint) within an individual tomb (wall patina, ceiling patina, ossuary patina) were small, 5% or less. ((See Rosenfeld, et. al., op. cit. and Rosenfeld, A. and S. Ilani. 2002. SEM-EDS analyses of patina samples from an ossuary of “Ya‟akov son of Yossef brother of Yeshua.” Biblical Archaeology Review 28:6 (2002):29.))
Even tombs that shared a similar rock formation in close proximity to one another nonetheless had their own distinctive chemical signatures. The results showed that the James ossuary shared the same chemical signature as the three tests ossuaries from the Talpiot Jesus tomb as well as the walls and ceiling of that tomb. In contrast, the James ossuary patina signature differed considerably from any of the other thirteen burial caves.5
Rosenfeld and his colleagues suggest that based on these patina fingerprints the James ossuary was more likely a looted eleventh ossuary, rather than the missing tenth ossuary that had been catalogued by the IAA in 1980 and discarded or misplaced. They observed that the James ossuary was weathered intensively with massive pitting and striations.
None of the other nine ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb show this kind of weathering. They concluded, on the basis of this weathering, that the James ossuary had been exposed to the elements for at least 200 years. Since we know that the blocking stone was missing from the tomb when it was examined in 1980, and the tomb itself was filled with the local terra rosa soil to a depth of two feet, covering the tops of the ossuaries in the niches, the James ossuary had likely been nearer the exposed doorway of the tomb, where the fill was more shallow. When or how James ossuary would have been taken from the Talpiot tomb we cannot determine. It might have been a number of years before the 1980 excavation of the tomb, or it could have been looted the first night when front porch of the tomb was blown open and exposed, before the IAA officials arrived to begin their work. If it were close to the entrance it would have been the only ossuary seen inside by looters since the others were covered with soil.
During the trial Oded Golan presented photos taken in 1976 in his parents’ apartment showing that he possessed the James ossuary, with its full inscription at that time—before the excavation of the Talpiot tomb in 1980. A photographic expert,Gerald Richard, former head of the Department of Photography and Documentation at the FBI, found no possibility that the photos were made at a later time.6
If the James ossuary inscription is authentic and it comes from the Talpiot Jesus tomb, what about the late second century CE report by the Christian chronicler Hegesippus who says the tomb of James was visible in the Kidron Valley, not far from the southwest corner of the Old City wall, where James was murdered? It hardly seems likely that the tomb of James was once in that location and then subsequently moved to the Talpiot tomb. We suggest that there well might have been some kind of monument to James in that area but we know little of Hegesippus, who spent his career in Rome. We can’t assume that he is reporting any kind of eyewitness account. In Rome there are reports of tombs and monuments to both Peter and Paul in several locations.7 Monuments were assumed, over the ages, to be tombs, and tombs might not have monuments. The fourth century church historian Eusebius, for example, quotes an unknown writer named Gaius who says: “But I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.”8 We are not certain if he means some kind of monument, pillar, or relic, or is he speaking of a tomb. Clement of Rome, who lived just a few decades after the deaths of Peter and Paul, mentions their martyrdom but seems to know little of any circumstances and mentions no tomb locations (1 Clement 5:3-7).
Today there are several monumental tombs in the Kidron Valley, dating to the late Hellenistic period (200-100 BCE) that are variously identified as the “Tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” the “Tomb of Zechariah,” the “Pillar of Absolom,” and a tomb inscribed as that of a priestly family,that is sometimes identified as the “Tomb of James.” On Mount Zion today, the southwest hill of Jerusalem, millions of pilgrims visit what is called “the tomb of David,” though most scholars locate it further to the south, outside the city of David. No one takes any of these sites and locations seriously as historically connected to these figures. They are part of hagiographic traditions that Christians developed in the late Byzantine period down through the Crusades.
Even though we had initially suggested the possibility of the missing tenth ossuary being that of James, based on the similar dimensions and the patina fingerprints that seemed to place it in the Talpiot tomb, we must always adapt our views to new evidence.9 Shimon Gibson had suggested this theory of a missing eleventh ossuary to us back in 2006, when he recalled that the ten ossuaries inside the niches, and removed to the Rockefeller, had been covered with soil. When the IAA archaeologists arrived on a Friday morning, March 28, 1980, the first day of the excavation, they took photos and there is no evidence of any ossuaries having been dug out of the niches. But it is entirely possible, since patina tests show the James ossuary spent much of its history over the past two millennia in the Talpiot tomb environment, that it was near the door, less covered with soil, and thus easy to carry off. By whom or when we will likely never know.
A couple more links backing this up:
I disagree with the suggestion that this is Jesus’ tomb, but nonetheless, it’s a scientific fact that the James Ossuary is almost absolutely certainly from the Talpiot Tomb, thereby establishing it as the tomb of Yeshua’s family.
What does this have to do with Yeshua being married? Two things.
First off, the “Mariamne” that appears in regal Greek on one of the bone boxes. It’s a form of “Mary”. However, it’s distinct from the other Mary in the tomb, who appears to be Yeshua’s mother, the ex-Virgin. Mariamne is a very unusual and rare spelling. From James Tabor (note that I DO NOT endorse his opinions regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection; however, the following is fact):
I accept the reading of Rachmani (reaffirmed by Leah Di Segni) that Mariamene is a diminutive or endearing form of the name Mariamne, derived from Mariame.[xviii] Although Mariame is a common name, the rare form Mariamene—spelled with the letter “n” or nu in Greek, is quite rare. In fact, a check of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, a comprehensive digital data base of Greek literature from Homer through 1453 CE finds only two ancient works that use Mariamn- as a form of the name Mariame—both referring to Mary Magdalene! One is a quotation from Hippolytus, a third century Christian writer who records that James, the brother of Jesus, passed on secret teachings of Jesus to “Mariamene,” i.e.. Mary Magdalene.[xix] The other is in the 4th century CE Acts of Philip that regularly refers to Mary Magdalene as Mariamene. It seems unlikely to the point of impossibility that Rahmani, who made no association whatsoever between his reading of the ossuary name as Mariamene with Mary Magdalene, would have just happened to come up with this exceedingly rare form of the name Mariame as his preferred reading. It seems clear to me that Rahmani’s keen eye and years of experience have unwittingly provided us with one of the most important correlations between the names in this tomb and those we might expect, hypothetically, to be included in a Jesus family tomb—a name uniquely appropriate for Mary Magdalene. That this rare form appears in later sources strengthens rather than diminishes the case here since one would not expect such a “later” literary form of a name for Mary Magdalene to appear on a 1st century CE ossuary in Jerusalem.
In other words, Mary Magdalene is very likely buried in Yeshua’s family’s tomb. That of course raises the question what the hell is she doing there?! DNA testing on the elusive son of Joseph/half-brother of Jesus (the one mistaken for Jesus) shows she’s not a biological relative of the family. Clearly an in-law. Jesus wife?
But THE most explosive part of the Talpiot Tomb is the bone box with the undisputed inscription “Yehudah bar Yeshua” – literally “Judah son of Jesus”!!!!!!!
So, let’s lay the facts bare: we have a first-century Jewish tomb containing the names of several of Yeshua’s family; we have a first-century Jewish bone box that almost definitely belongs to Yeshua’s brother Yaákov/James; we have almost absolute scientific proof that that bone box originated from the Talpiot tomb – CONTAINING THE NAMES OF JESUS’ FAMILY – clearly demonstrating (dare I say proving?) – that this is YESHUA’S FAMILY’S TOMB – and it contains not only a bone box that is likely Mary Magdalene’s – THE FAVOURITE CANDIDATE FOR JESUS’ WIFE – AND a tomb clearly proclaiming the occupant as Jesus’ son!!!!!!!
I think you can see why this convinced me. In addition to the fact that the idea does not in any way contradict Scripture, or impact the Gospel’s message, or Jesus’ divinity, or His crucifixion and resurrection.
Some claim that Isaiah 53:8 and who shall declare his generation? proves that He was single. Um…?! Aside from the fact that that phrase is rendered very differently in other translations (I quoted the KJV; I recommend looking at the ESV), “generation” (in the Hebrew) means just that: the generation of people alive at the time. Even if it meant descendants (as it apparently sometimes can), “who will declare His descendants?” can just as easily mean “they will be unknown” as “there won’t be any”.
And some argue that if there was an earthly wife, that would nullify the message of Christ’s Bride. By that argument, God fathering an earthly Son nullifies our promise of becoming His sons.
I leave it up to the reader to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. My own research has led me to conclude that the answer to the question I posed in the title is “Yes!”
Again, this isn’t a matter of salvation or doctrine; it’s merely an interesting historical possibility.