A few days ago, a Harvard Professor announced that he had found a papyrus which indicated that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married. Now, I’m not expert enough in the field to make any serious comment on the validity or otherwise of these claims, but this episode illustrates a few important truths from the Christian blogsphere.
Whenever some new claim of this sort is made:
James McGrath will respond relatively quickly to the issue and will provide links to lots of sources of discussion.
Mark Goodacre will be a little slower to comment, but will also make some well balanced comments.
Archdruid Eileen will almost certainly have something funny to say about the situation and may also have some wise comments, too (the funny and wise may well be combined in one post).
If Simon Cozens decides to blog on the issue (and that is a rare event) he will say something that really makes you think.
I’ll leave the last word to the good Archdruid.
So here’s my thesis – radical it might be. But I’m going to stick my neck out here.
Based on four Gospels (five, if you include Thomas) and the rest of the New Testament and other early writings, and on the general agreement of those parts of the Church that had no vested interest in trying to synthesise the Apostolic tradition with Greek philosophy – I propose:
- That Jesus was probably not married (though it wouldn’t matter all that much if he did, as it wasn’t a sin),
- That he never went to India, nor Glastonbury.
- That he had twelve close apostles – none of whom, as far as we can tell, were female or gay lovers of his. He had lots of other disciples – men and women.
- That one of his apostles betrayed him to an alliance of the Romans and the Jewish leaders.
- That he died, and was buried.
- That on the third day, he rose from the dead.
- That all the graves in the Palestinian territories and Israel marked “Jesus” are other people
- That he didn’t leave any living descendants (although it wouldn’t matter much if he had – as he had totally normal human DNA).
- That the church went and preached much of what I’d said above.
- That the Gnostics made stuff up to try and fit Jesus into other philosophies. Because they were so odd, and because the tradition said otherwise, they didn’t last.