Theological Thursday – Jesus and Mrs. Of-Nazareth

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Well, it’s been all over Facebook.

Good Morning America talked about it.

I’m sure it’s been discussed on the radio and in the newspapers and around water coolers everywhere.

Jesus had a wife.

Well….

Maybe.

According to one newly discovered source, dated some few hundred years after Jesus’ life on earth, and limited to a handful of fragmented sentences, it may be possible that he mentioned a wife.

As I understand it, this is a picture of that new source in its entirety.

Image from http://www.hds.harvard.edu credit Karen King 2012

It’s kind of small.

And it hasn’t been subjected to much testing, although their doesn’t seem to be any serious debate about the authenticity of its age.

Uhm.

My world is not rocked.

Here’s the thing…

Dan Brown wrote about this 10 years ago!

This is not a new debate.  It’s been a subject of discussion for pretty much as long as the Christian church has had any sort of official organization.  The Bible makes no mention of Jesus ever having been married or having a wife.  It also makes no mention of him NOT having a wife (which, frankly, in that time and place would probably have been worth mentioning as it was very uncommon for a man of his age).

Obviously, church tradition, over time, has favored the “no-wife” argument and there are some valid reasons for that.

But if, some day, we find irrefutable evidence that he did get married…  how does that change the fact that he was sent from God, lived a sinless life, died on the cross and rose again?

How does being married make the sermon on the mount any less extraordinary?

How does having a wife make his miracles less valid?

Over time, our understanding of things changes.  A thousand years ago breaking a piece of moldy bread over the body of a sick person while chanting would be called witchcraft.  Now, we understand that, while perhaps not the best way of doing things, it could heal someone… not because of any magic, but because bread mold has antibiotic properties.  Our understanding has changed.

Modern day Christians tend to say that they believe this or that because the Bible says it’s so…  but when we REALLY read the Bible, does it say what we think it does?  Or have we grown up in a powerful and well-ingrained tradition that interprets things a certain way?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking tradition.  I think that it’s important to embrace our history.  But, assuming you believe that the scripture is divinely inspired, nowhere does the Bible give church history an equal importance.  There are the words of God, given through the prophets and His own Son, and then there is everything else.

If, in time, all evidence shows that the earth is young or old, that dinosaurs (Leviathans) did or did not exist in the time of Job, that Mary (the mother of Jesus) did or did not have other children of her womb, or… yes… even that Jesus was or was not married….

well…

then that’s the truth.  And it doesn’t necessarily contradict the Bible.  Your faith needs to be strong enough to survive the misunderstandings of your intellect.

St. Augustine once said, “Miracles happen, not in opposition to nature, but in opposition to what we know of nature.”

Now, if, in time, all evidence shows that Jesus was NOT an actual person, that he never performed a single miracle, that he did NOT die on the cross or that (by far the most important thing of all) he did not rise again…

well…

THAT would rock my world and shake my faith.

The rest is just details.

Try not to get too worked up about it.

The world, time, all things, are delightfully mysterious.  Accept that humanity is young and sophomoric and that we still have an awful lot to learn, and go forward in faith that the Wonderful Creator, who is behind all of it, has your best interests well in hand.

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9 responses »

  1. Amazingly, I had not seen this tidbit of news. I find it humorous/sad that every few years the media (and society, in general) uncover a piece of history that “threatens to shake the very foundation upon which Christianity was formed” – really?! I mean, Christianity is so much more than what the Bible says or in this case, doesn’t say. I do believe it is divinely inspired but as believers, we live by the promise that our God is alive. It’s about faith and a relationship with Christ. People who get hung up on this sort of stuff (although it is pretty interesting and thought-provoking) are missing the entire point.

  2. I saw a link about this on Facebook and never clicked on it. I just now, reading your article, realized that I guess I just always thought that Jesus had a wife. Then again, I might be getting Jesus and Joseph confused. And I don’t know what the Sermon on the Mount is. But I liked your St. Augustine quote.

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