Ever since Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code raised the intriguing possibility that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene, pop culture has been fascinated by this question. And, even though historical evidence for the actual marriage of Jesus was extremely slim at best, and the evidence to the contrary was weighty, millions of people have been convinced that Jesus was, indeed, married. I know this because lots of them have emailed me about things I have written on the marriage (or non-marriage, if you will) of Jesus. You can find my writings here: Was Jesus Married? A Careful Look at the Real Evidence.
In 2012, an announcement by an influential Harvard professor added fuel to the fire of the “Was Jesus Married?” debate. Karen King announced that she had a fragment of an ancient gospel, which she called The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. In this little fragment, a character named “Jesus” refers to someone named “Mary” as “My wife.” Talk about fuel for the fire!
King cautioned us against thinking that this fragment had anything to do with the actual Jesus of Nazareth. But her warning didn’t stop the press from hyping King’s find as if it were conclusive proof of the marriage of Jesus.
In September 2012, I wrote a series of blog posts about The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. In this series, not collected here, I agreed with King that nothing in her fragment has any relevance for the question: Was Jesus married? If the fragment is authentic – and I left that question open for lack of evidence – then at most it tells us what some gnostic Christians living several hundreds years after Jesus thought.
No matter what is concluded about the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, I would continue to underscore that which Karen King has said all along: This fragment does not contribute in any way to the discussion about the marriage (or lack thereof) of the real Jesus of Nazareth.
Links to my longer articles: