Too holy for sex? The problem of a married Jesus
2012-10-02 0:00

By Becky Bratu | NBCNews



If a fourth-century fragment of papyrus that purportedly quotes Jesus telling his disciples about "my wife" is authenticated, it could upend the modern church’s understanding of the “son of God.”

“If Jesus is a normal human being and he’s sexual, that’s the real fear,” James Tabor, a biblical scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the co-author of books about Jesus and his family, told NBC News. “You can’t think of Jesus like that because he’s too holy.”

The Bible contains no explicit mentions of Jesus being either married or not married, but few churches have room for the idea of a sexual Jesus. The Catholic Church’s celibate priesthood is built on the belief that Jesus was not married. Eastern Orthodox priests are often married, but the church teachings don’t mention a married Jesus. Protestant ministers are allowed to marry, but there again, it is not common to teach that Jesus himself was married.

"I would say that the more conservative groups might be more inclined to be bothered by the idea of a married Jesus, and especially that he might have had a child, god forbid, since that would really raise questions about his ’divinity,’ since they see him as fully human and fully God," Tabor subsequently explained in an email.

"Can God sleep with a woman and have a child? It just doesn’t fit the concept they want for Jesus," he said.

The Unification Church, however, does believe that Jesus was supposed to get married, and some of the early teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stated Jesus was married and even fathered children, although that belief is not widespread today.

The Mormon and the Unification Church’s beliefs, however, have more to do with their own theology of marriage rather than with scripture, Ben Witherington III, a New Testament professor at the Asbury Theological Seminary, told NBC News.

Unlike their modern counterparts, there is evidence that some early Christians -- the Valentinian Gnostics -- believed Jesus was married, according to April DeConick, a biblical scholar at Rice University. The recently discovered papyrus, she told NBC News, would be the second piece of evidence from an ancient Christian gospel that early Christians were not bothered by the idea of a married Jesus. The first piece of evidence -- which DeConick said comes from the Gospel of Philip -- identifies Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ wife.

Karen L. King, the Harvard Divinity School professor who unveiled the papyrus, cautioned that the discovery does not serve as evidence that the historical Jesus was married.

"This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage,” King said in a press release. “From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’ death before they began appealing to Jesus’ marital status to support their positions."


[...]

Read the full article at: nbcnews.com











Related Articles
’Gospel of Jesus’ wife’ fragment is a fake, Vatican says
The Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife : New Early Christian Text Indicates Jesus Was Married
God’s Wife Edited Out of the Bible - Almost (Videos)
Michelle Obama Cites Jesus as Model for Citizenship
What would Jesus do?: The rise of a slogan
Manuscripts Reveal Legend of Jesus’ Great-Grandmother
The Bible Refers to Jesus’ Wife, Too


Latest News from our Front Page

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »