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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife » The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

MCQ - September 19, 2012

A fragment of a book written in Coptic has now been discovered which suggests that early Christians of about the fourth century believed that Jesus was married. This may not be earth-shattering news, but it does raise some interesting questions. For myself, I have always believed that Jesus was most likely married, despite the paucity of evidence on the subject. It just seems more likely to me that he would have set an example of being the perfect husband (and perhaps father?), along with the other things he did perfectly.

What about you? Do you have any beliefs or assumptions about Christ’s mortal marriage or lack thereof? Does the importance of marriage in our doctrine play any part in your assumptions? Does this new discovery impact your belief one way or another? Should this have any impact on those who practice or believe in celibacy?

19 Comments »

  1. The Mormon emphasis on marriage does not factor into my assumptions, but the Jewish emphasis on marriage does. I think he was married, according to the customs of his time/place.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — September 19, 2012 @ 9:40 am

  2. I won’t say he wasn’t, but I would hope, given the wealth of revelation we’ve received, that we would have known about it by now. Even if evil and conspiring men removed it from our major scriptural sources, you would think some mention would have been made in the BOM, or even after the fact in the D&C. I don’t know enough about Jewish law/customs to know for sure. Not much is mentioned about the disiples’ wives or children, either. I guess if it was necessary for our salvation, we would know it. Since we don’t, I assume it isn’t.

    Comment by IDIAT — September 19, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  3. In addition to some of the early brethren’s statements on this subject, Donna Nielsen’s book Beloved Bridegroom provides a unique perspective on Jewish religious customs at the time of Christ.

    Comment by Believe All Things — September 19, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  4. CJ, that’s a good point, and it seems to me that is a good argument for why Jesus would have been married, but isn’t the doctrine of eternal marriage also important? Assuming you believe the doctrine, wouldn’t it be odd if Christ was our exemplar in so many other things, but not marriage?

    IDIAT, I also wonder about the lack of mention of it in revelation, but then again, we know God the Father is married, yet there is no direct revelation about that either! Maybe it’s just a given that divine beings do not talk about their spouses. Kinda like on boys night out.

    Comment by MCQ — September 19, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  5. It’s true He was our exemplar, even being baptized when He didn’t need it. But we don’t know the extent that eternal marriage was revealed or practiced in that time, if at all. It would be like expecting Jesus to be an example of obeying the Word of Wisdom, even though it wasn’t revealed until 1830 (which I realize some of us do, re-interpreting the KJV wine to mean Welch’s Grape Juice, etc).

    Jesus had a divine mission for which He was uniquely qualified, so it would be excusable for His ministry to take precedence over things like marriage. Like Paul, for instance, who describes himself as the devoutest of the devout among the Jews before his conversion, but was also unmarried and was the greatest missionary of his time.

    I used to think that Jesus was married, but I’ve changed my mind because of the basic argument from silence already mentioned. So I realize that I won’t sound very convincing.

    Comment by Bryan H. — September 19, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  6. The gospel of Jesus wife? What Gnostic writings has to do with the true gospel of salvation? Where is the good news in them? Anything based on a lie is a lie.The Holy blood Holy grail pretend that Jesus escaped death on the cross and married Mary Magdalene.Then Da Vinci Code pretend a secret marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene and the real blood of the grail is inside Mary based on the painting of the last supper by Leonardo Da vinci.After that some persons pretend finding Jesus tomb and bones and carried DNA tests! and statistics on names! Their fake discoveries correspond the above fake stories.Now a “scholar” with a writing words about Jesus wife.There is a very dangerous lie about the real blood and the wife.The truth is that real and Holy blood is on Jesus’ forehead and not in the womb of Mary Magdalene or any other woman.This is revealed in the true story THE COIN OF THE TEMPLE by Souheil Bayoud.As for the wife,The impossibility of the marriage of Jesus is not and will not be revealed to blind and opponents scholars to Orthodox Christianity, to the wise and the learned.

    Comment by Souheil Bayoud — September 20, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  7. Jesus said, “My wife…is the Church.”

    I doubt that’s what is the missing fragment but I think it would be hilarious if it was:-)

    I’ve always believed Jesus was married but I have more doubts about Him having children during His mortal life but who knows. Either way, it doesn’t change my views of who He is, what He did for me or what He wants me to do. So my feeling about this new discovery is mostly ‘that’s cool and interesting, but meh.’

    Bryan H,
    Do we know Paul was not married? The Bible is silent on that and I see it going either way on that basis (this guy believed he was a widower) and with the knowledge of the Restoration, I would conjecture it to be more likely than not, personally.

    Comment by Bret — September 20, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  8. I guess it’s more ambiguous than I thought. Thanks for pointing that out, Bret.

    Comment by Bryan H. — September 20, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  9. Bryan, Welch’s? Really? That company must be older than I imagined.

    I think it’s probably not helpful to compare the doctrine of eternal marriage with the WoW. Not really comparable ideas in any way.

    I don’t look at the Jewish laws regarding marriage and our doctrine of eternal marriage as necessarily separate things. They could both be based on the same idea, received as revelation at different times.

    Comment by MCQ — September 20, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  10. I love the Jewish traditions. The way they marry with such joy—I think emphasizes the commitment very well. I don’t need to think of Jesus as married or unmarried; I do believe the Catholic Church needed to portray him as unmarried and so censored any hint that He was married.

    The truth is that we are more like other religions than we are unlike. And that we have only a limited understanding of eternal realities.

    Comment by annegb — September 21, 2012 @ 8:38 am

  11. Amen to that annegb, but I do think that the more we know about the mortal Christ and his life, the more we are able to know him, which is a good thing.

    Comment by MCQ — September 21, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  12. If the goal is to know about Christ in order to know Christ, this new finding may not be the right place to look. Many think it is a fraud. Regardless, I’m in the camp of “If we need to know, we’ll know.” Otherwise it doesn’t really change much about my understanding or belief.

    Comment by cantinflas — September 23, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  13. I have been an avid student of early Christian writings (Nag Hammadi, Classic Gnostic Works, Christian Apocrypha, Valentian, Heretic, Mandean, Manichaean, and Cathar writings) for many years now. In this context, I place the newly discovered Coptic writ among other similar Coptic writings of the Gnostic traditions of the early Christian era.

    This is not the first time a Coptic document suggests a husband/bridegroom relationship between Jesus and an actual woman (not the Church). So, I guess the surprise or “news” comes from the usage of the term “wife,” which may be unprecedented in the context of an actual woman (not the Church).

    I have always considered the possibility of Jesus being married. In my mind it only makes sense. On the other hand, I also think of the serious consequences of actual “descendants” of Jesus Christ due to our current understanding of his mission.

    We claim Jesus is indeed God. We claim he “needed” to be human so he could suffer and understand human suffering, but also that he “needed” to be divine so that he could endure the amount of suffering he had to endure to redeem the sins of all humanity and to be able to “conquer death” and complete a resurrection, so that in turn we may one day do the same.

    In this narrative, this is how we differentiate Jesus from us, he is divine because we was conceived by a divine father (God the Father) and a human mother (Mary).

    Therefore, Jesus having had children would mean these descendants are somehow of a more special lineage than the rest of humanity. They posses in their genes, part of what differentiated Jesus from the rest of us. They would be direct descendants of God the Father in the time of Jesus through the Virgin Mary. I find this very unlikely.

    With the historical obsession with elitism shared by races and religions (and unfortunately the seemingly current obsession with racial elitism based on the importance of different lineages in the LDS world, which I believe to be both absurd and anti-Christian), I prefer to think he did not have direct descendants and that he most likely did not have a wife.

    We don’t need this blue, royal, chosen, or whatever “blood” or “lineage” bullshit (as much as some LDS try to keep those false traditions alive). I personally believe Jesus was about the very contrary, and knowing the human nature of wanting to always create a “superior” or “more special” or “more chosen” lineage for whatever reason, his mission focused on bringing humans closer to God.

    After all, populating the earth is the commission of an Adamic calling not a Messianic one (Jesus is in a Messianic stage of existance in the eternal continuum, while the rest of us humans are in an Adamic stage of existance per classic Adam-God==human God early LDS tradition, although not other ramifications of the Adam=God theory). Therefore, I have decided in my mind, Jesus did not have a wife during his mortal experience.

    Comment by Manuel — September 23, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  14. but isn’t the doctrine of eternal marriage also important? Assuming you believe the doctrine, wouldn’t it be odd if Christ was our exemplar in so many other things, but not marriage?

    I actually hold the view that the marriage requirement for our own exaltation should not be assumed for members of the Godhead. In know we Mormons believe in a sort of limited God that abides by laws of the universe, but I tend to believe that God’s laws for us on this earth are probably specific to us in many cases. The only reason I’m compelled to believe in a Heavenly Mother is because of modern GA statements. We teach that we can become like God – not as/or above God.

    Anyway, It may sound like an inconsistent God (not an orderly one) but a review of the development of Mormon doctrines and teachings back me up, I think.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — September 24, 2012 @ 7:15 am

  15. Manuel, saying he had a wife is not the same thing as saying he had children, but if he did have children, then by now, all of us have his “royal blood.” I don’t see the concerns about his bloodline being enough reason to make any conclusions about his marriage or lack thereof.

    CJ, you probably need to elaborate on that statement. I’m not at all clear on what you think backs you up.

    Comment by MCQ — September 24, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  16. You are right about the Children, one must not assume he would have to had any were he to be married, yet I find you a bit naive about the lineage.

    We already have had publications (some rather recent) by Mormons claiming Jesus had children and that Joseph Smith was a direct descendant of Jesus, blah blah blah, etc etc etc, and trust me, it does make a difference to them whether someone is a direct descendant or has simply been “spiritually re-born of,” therefore now claiming to have his “royal blood.”

    Either you are being naive or you need to read a lot more about LDS history in the contexts of lineage, adoption, patriarchal blessings, tribes, fore-ordination, the allegory of the olive tree, etc, etc, etc. You seem to be missing a huge chunk of classic Mormon world view, can’t help you with that.

    Comment by Manuel — September 24, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  17. Manuel, get real. I know about that stuff but that has nothing to do with what we are talkinmg about here.

    Comment by MCQ — September 25, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  18. Jesus said “my wife….is the church” in the Bible that the Catholic Church controlled for centuries. We have no clue what’s been left out or is hidden in a dusty corner of the Vatican.

    I wonder, though, because John the Beloved lived on Patmos? Ephesus? in his old age with Mary the mother of Christ. Is there any historical information on what happened to Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ death?

    I think I had a book called the gospel of Mary—maybe still do. I had a bunch of those gnostic gospels. Somewhere. In a dusty corner. :)

    Comment by annegb — October 2, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  19. I think God allowed the most important things to be in the scriptures. God called our Redeemer, “My beloved son,” so his marriage should have been in the scriptures for Jesus was greatly loved by our Father in heaven. There was a lot of hatred towards Jesus when he was crucified. I wonder if the anger would have been directed to his wife and children. Their sacrificed was not included in the plan. Jesus resurrected and many saints were resurrected after him and they do not dwell on earth. Their glorious live continue and they are still committed to help those that Chose God above else.

    Comment by Maria — February 12, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

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