Was Jesus Married?

 

Mary of Bethany (Mary Magdalene? pregnant?) with Jesus,
in a 1906 stained glass window from
Kilmore Church on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.

 

In case you haven’t heard about this yet, here’s an article regarding the little fourth-century Coptic papyrus fragment that seems to mention a wife of Jesus:

 

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/09/suggestion-of-a-married-jesus/?utm_source=harvardalumnigazette&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=september12

 

As late as it is, I don’t think the rather ambiguous little fragment offers actual substantial evidence for Jesus having been married.  On the other hand, it does apparently suggest — though there is also the possibility that it was intended metaphorically — that at least some Christians in the 300s AD believed that he was.  There is no clear historical text from antiquity saying that he wasn’t, although his asexuality rapidly became Christian dogma (reinforcing, and reinforced by, the rise of asceticism and monasticism) in the first centuries after his mortal life.

 

A good place to commence examining this seldom-discussed question is probably still William E. Phipps, Was Jesus Married? The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986), and perhaps also William E. Phipps, The Sexuality of Jesus: Theological and Literary Perspectives (New York: Harper and Row, 1973).

 

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  • http://bit.ly/ldsarc Mike Parker

    What do you think about the probability that this is a Gnostic fragment? The concept of the “bridal chamber” was important to Gnostic Christians.
    If it *is* Gnostic, then it doesn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for a long time.

    • danpeterson

      Very possible, I think.

  • Katheryne MacGill

    I enjoy and collect art as I can afford it. I treasure the book ‘Visual Testiment’ by Tom Cryer. I could see everything he wrote about having been exposed to Israel and Hopi lands and customs. I picked up Dynasty of the Holy Grail by Vern Grosvenor Swanson and enjoyed it as well. The collection of art was fabulous and gave me great time to ponder and study and come to the conclusion that it was again to fulfill all righteousness.

  • Valerie Fulmer

    Why wouldn’t Jesus have been married? He came to fulfill all righteousness. One of the first commandments given to our first parents was to multiply and replenish the earth. This commandment is still in force today. To those who cringe at the thought of our Savior being married and having children I remind you that this commandment is nothing to be ashamed of. The thought of our Savior having a wife and children does not diminish who he is, it glorifies him. Those of us who have been sealed in the temple for time and eternity and keep our covenants will be with our families forever. Why wouldn’t the most important man who ever lived not have this great blessing as well? It is not sacrilegious to believe he had a loving relationship with his wife and that they had offspring. This is a beautiful commandment and it is the Adversary that takes something holy and beautiful and makes people believe it is something to be ashamed of.

    • Shelby Gail

      amen to that!

  • Pingback: “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”


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