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September 19th, 2012
06:05 PM ET

5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'

By Eric Marrapodi, Co-Editor CNN's Belief Blog

(CNN) - Since the news broke Tuesday about a scrap of papyrus containing the line in Coptic, "Jesus said, 'My wife..' " questions have rocketed across the world about what this means.

We put many of the big questions to leading scholars, pastors and people in the pews to find the answers.

1. Why is this just surfacing now?

The papyrus fragment is thought by Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King to be from the 4th century but could be a copy of an early gospel from the 2nd century. King said a dealer, who wishes to remain anonymous, brought the fragment to her to be translated and analyzed in 2011. The New York Times reported the dealer hopes to give the fragment to Harvard if they buy a large portion of his collection.

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On Tuesday, King presented her findings on the fragment to a conference on Coptic texts held in Rome once every four years.

In some ways, texts like this are not uncommon.

Elaine Pagels, a professor from Princeton University who is an expert on gnostic writings such as this one, noted to CNN, "You can find boxes filled with Coptic fragments." But what makes this one significant is for the first time, it explicitly has Jesus referring to "my wife."

King posits it may have come from a complete gospel she and her research partners have dubbed "the Gospel of Jesus' Wife." If that were true, Pagels said "that could make the fragment much more valuable if it were part of a gospel, but we don’t know that.”

2. How do they know this isn't a fake?

Authenticating documents is equal parts art and science. What researchers are trying to rule out is if this is a modern forgery. To do that, they look at a variety of aspects, including the age of the paper, the chemical composition of the ink and text itself. The authentication won't confirm whether the text is true but only whether the physical item is true to the time frame researchers think it is.

The document was examined by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Roger Bagnall, the institute's director and an expert on papyrus, examined it and determined it to be authentic, he confirmed to CNN. Ariel Shisha-Halevy, professor of linguistics at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, was asked to examine the authenticity, according to King. Shisha-Halevy said that based on the language and grammar, it was authentic.

Chemical tests on the ink are pending, King noted in a draft of her work set to be published in January in a peer reviewed journal.

Some experts in the field, including Pagels, suggest the fragment contains too little to be faked, suggesting that a forger would have included much more in the document to try and raise the value.

“We have to have more information about the fragment," said Douglas A. Campbell, an associate professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. He points to recent history when discoveries turned out to be fakes. “The academic community has been badly burned,” he said, adding that there is still much to be learned about the provenance of the document, "the history of where it came from and how they got it.”

“The anonymous donor thing is very problematic,” he said.

3. Does this prove Jesus was really married?

Short answer: No.

King herself was quick to point out in interviews that this piece of papyrus does not prove that Jesus was married. "This fragment, this new piece of papyrus evidence, does not prove that (Jesus) was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we're in the same position we were before it was found. We don't know if he was married or not," King said in a conference call with reporters.

The early consensus of other scholars we spoke to about this agree this document does not prove Jesus was married.

"Let's not neglect the fact this was written 300 years after Jesus' death," Hellen Mardaga, an assistant professor of New Testament at The Catholic University of America, told CNN. Mardaga says "the text may be real and not a forgery, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in with the Gospels.”

There is nothing in the Gospel accounts in the Bible and the earliest Christian tradition that speaks to Jesus being married.

"This is an aberration; this is something totally outside of any biblical tradition," said Jerry Pattengale, the executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative, which helps oversee one of the largest private collections of biblical antiquities.

"We know that tradition, or anything passed down, has a huge story to tell and there is a lot that can be learned from tradition that is linked to history. There is just no solid tradition for Jesus being married, so this is certainly an aberration and an important find," he said.

4. Would Jesus being married change Christianity?

Yes. Probably. But we'll never know for sure (see above).

Without getting too into the weeds theologically, it raises lots of interesting questions about how Jesus lived on Earth and what is not known about his life. For married couples, it also adds a healthy doses of mirth to the idea of being married to someone fully human and fully God, as the Christian creeds say Jesus was.

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"Had Jesus had a wife, I have no doubt he would would have treated her with the same dignity, respect and affection with which he treated his female disciples like Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany and Martha," Christian author Rachel Held Evans said when we asked her about this.

"Though I confess I think it would be a little unfair for a woman to be married to God incarnate. Kinda makes it tough to win an argument," she joked. "On the plus side, he turns water into wine ... which would be nice!"

5. So can Catholic priests get married now ?

This discovery brought the issue of Catholic clergy and celibacy to the forefront and got a lot of people wondering whether this would prompt the church to shift on this issue.

“At the time this (fragment) was written, we had a married clergy," pointed out Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

Reese said this discovery won't change Catholic teaching on the marital status of Catholic clergy.
"It has nothing to do with whether we have a married clergy or not. For the first thousand years, we had a married clergy. For the last thousand years, we’ve had a celibate clergy."

The celibacy requirement is based on church law, not doctrine, which is the core, unchanging beliefs of the faith. "The church can change this rule whenever it decides to change the law," he said.

For Reese, the Coptic papyrus fragment does not hold great weight for the future of the Catholic clergy.

"This is a nice academic footnote, but beyond that, it is not going to be all that important," he said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Jesus

soundoff (1,438 Responses)
  1. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J4ZuHEYXkk&w=640&h=390]

    September 20, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  2. teelor

    you are on a rock.. floating in space.. and you think you're a special child of "god." sounds kinda nuts!! :D

    September 20, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • UD

      If you are in a VW Micro-bus traveling at the speed of light and you are fast approaching the event horizon of a black hole and then you switch on the head lights....can anybody hear you scream?

      September 20, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • teelor

      UD: excellent question. but why would I scream. being condensed down to a mass the size of a grain of sand, after said entrance to the black hole, would be a badass end. and, hell, who says it's an end? perhaps I'll enter another universe? but let me know the answer, just in case. :D

      September 20, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • UD

      @teelor

      It is a trick question. You would not be able to scream because you would be inhaling your last cigarette.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • teelor

      lol!!

      September 20, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  3. millennium3

    Single or married does not matter, what matters is Jesus was a true Prophet of GOD whose prophecies have already clearly and unmitakably come true!
    Here please, witness it with your own eyes now in this most critical Last and Third Day (=Millennium; John 6/40) here:
    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    September 20, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • UD

      You can't name a single phrophecy that has come true. Why? Prophecies are fantasies for children. Go ahead, try to name one. I am waiting.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Hear This

      millennium3,

      I am not going to your goofy web site. Almost every time I go to one of those types of places my email is spammed for days "Are you saved?" cr@pola.

      If you wish to mention a prophecy which has come true, go ahead.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  4. Thomas Steinberg - Messianic

    A few points to consider:

    One: This is NOT Coptic language. It is sloppy Greek at best and it is certainly not 4th century. You may check examples of both at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coptic_alphabet and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_alphabet

    Two: The Gnostic writings, (not scripture), were written by self described mystics and their writings are no more a true biography of Christ and his disciples than “The Da Vinci Code”. The Gnostics have been rejected by Christians, Jews, and non-believer historians.

    Three: The Greek Phase: ανοιχ τή ο δο ιτ, or at least a sloppy version of it can be seen at the bottom left which is the end of the script. (Greek was written right to left). In Greek this reads: “openly the IT structure” loosely translating to English as: ADMITTEDLY an IT STRUCTURE.

    I believe this is the signature of the person knowingly creating a fraud. I’d be happy to have you purported “historians” try to prove me wrong. The photo of the script in question was conveniently moved by CNN after much ridicule to: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/18/fragment-suggests-jesus-was-married/

    Three: The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1946-1947, not a Catholic undertaking and written BEFORE the canonization, yet they match the Bible with almost every word, thus disproving any revelation by Gnostic writings and debunking any claims of manipulation of Canon accepted writings.

    September 20, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Thomas Steinberg – Messianic

      Oh my you are sadly misinformed but I appreciate your effort.

      One: This is an outstanding example of Coptic pigeon. Not unlike today's Hawaiian Islanders, The Coptic language was a mixed dialect making it seem "sloppy" to the untrained eye.

      Two: The Gnostic gospels were indeed "scripture" far more so than the present form of the so called "Holy Bible". In fact, these scriptures tell the tale of Jesus the man. Married, a Buddhist, a nudist, a true renaissance man of his time.

      Three: The Greek Phase: ανοιχ τή ο δο ιτ, simply means, "what time did you get in last night?” Loosely translated into today’s vernacular.

      The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 20th century and have been proven to be a forgery. Please consult any verified research paper.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Thomas Steinberg - Messianic

      Dr. Donnel Johnson, you are an absolute charlatan with virtual no historic or theological background and are full of it. You may fool some, but I have provided links to examples of every thing I stated and anyone can visit Google Translator to verify that translation. You are no Doctor. You are a fraud..

      September 20, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Leroy

      yo doc, i had you serious for a minute. you a ghetto punk

      September 20, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Whats up Doc

      Hey Doc, what was all that professional stuff you were spouting? Seems like the Messianic smacked you good.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Thomas Steinberg – Messianic

      I beg your pardon! I have devoted my life to the study of ancient languages and antiquities. What have you done? Regurgitated what you have read or translated on "google". Please.

      I can assure you that my knowledge of the Bible and all satellite doc.u.mentation pertinent therein is beyond refute.

      For example, you incorrectly stated in your post that:

      "this is the signature of the person knowingly creating a fraud. I’d be happy to have you purported “historians” try to prove me wrong"

      I will have you know that this is a well known signature that historians have relied on more than once to validate the true nature of a discovery like this one. What we are seeing here is a heartwarming piece of ancient history that tells one of our heros was human after all.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Thomas Steinberg - Messianic

      Donny boy, if that is your name, you are an i d i o t. Plain and simple, and a terrible l i a r. You've studied nothing but your imagination. It's not a signature. It's a statement but I won't waste my time with such a loser. I've read your dribble for the past 20 minutes. Good luck in life, you are going to need it.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Athy

      It's "drivel"' not "dribble".

      September 20, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  5. Butters

    Christians are the same today as 2000 yrs ago .
    Looking for a religious leader , unable to think for themselves .
    Cow Like .

    September 20, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  6. atomD21

    Why does it matter if Jesus were married or not? The example of humanity he taught is still a good one to learn from, regardless of whether you believe he was (is) who the church says. And on the religious side, if marriage is a God given thing, why would it be bad for Jesus to marry? It's only we Christians that have elevated him out of his humanity. He was a Jewish peasant that I'm sure had the same desires and feelings as men do now. Personally, I'd rather know that he married than find out he went from town to town getting some strange all the time...

    September 20, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  7. ScottCA

    Rationalists you are not alone. There are many other sane people out there.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nojbb-q4Vnw&w=640&h=390]

    September 20, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  8. Mr Everyman

    The fragment adds to other stronger evidence that Jesus was married and had children. In 2005, James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici examined ossuaries, stone coffins, in a Jerusalem tomb. The ossuaries had inscriptions. One said: "Jesus son of Joseph" and "Mariamene" (Mary Magdalene's name). Another said: "Judah son of Jesus." Others said: "Matthew" and "Joseph." Jewish husbands and wives are often put in the same ossuary. The time frame is correct and the combination of names is unlikely as a coincidence not to be Jesus, the man. I have read other claims that Jesus lived 19 to 22 years after crucifixion and had children. Sarah is mentioned as one of them. God is all powerful. He chose to reveal himself through Jesus and show He knows what Man suffers by going through death as Jesus. The fragment is added proof of being fully human.

    September 20, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      Sadly this is not the case. If you read both Timothy and Phillip, there are passages which describe in detail that Jesus was cremated.

      We know this because his friends were asked to take his ashes to the Sea of Galilee and deposit them over, "...the lapping waves of His Father's own sink basin".

      September 20, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Mr Everyman

      @ Dr Donnell Johnson: Please give chapter and verse. Are you quoting gnostic writings?

      September 20, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Mr Everyman

      Yes, naturally I am quoting the Gnostic Gospels. I am sure you are aware of the passage in Timothy that states, “…the ashes were as grains of sand. I have tasted his body.”

      This passage is thought to have been incorrectly translated into the last supper myth.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Mr Everyman

      The ossuaries are not myths. They ar real objects with DNA information. Gnostic writers viewed the physical world as evil and wrote according to their agenda, not facts. This is well known. Cameron and Jacobovici were trying to verify history.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Mr Everyman

      That again is where you are wrong. Gnostic writers viewed the physical world as a detour to a true spiritual plateau and they wrote precisely what they perceived.

      The problem was that Jesus, Judas, Mary, et al were illiterate and poor communicators. This is well known.

      I know you want to wash Cameron and Jacobovici ‘s balls with soap and water, but they are wrong. You can start polishing my balls any time.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • I wonder

      Dr. Johnson,

      It seems as if back in those days, similar to the way these blogs are set up, *anyone* could write *anything* under anyone else's names, in their style, and even as parody and get away with it. I'm sorry to say all of this is long-lost, unverified history. No omnipotent, omniscient god would leave such poor, sloppy, easily disputed evidence. Believe it if you like, but you may not claim factualness.

      Perhaps one day, a few hundred years from now, folks will find feature stories from "The Onion" or "The National Lamp-oon" scattered around, or posts from our phony HeavenSent and think that they are true (not that the real HS is any better!).

      September 20, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Mr Everyman

      There are Gospels attributed to all three calling them the authors. More importantly, Jesus impressed the rabbis in the temple with his knowledge of scripture. Orthodox Churches have always recognized Mary as an "equal of the Apostles" for her preaching, church organizing and, support of other Apostle's missions. This time you are wrong.

      September 20, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Mr Everyman

      To Dr. Donnel Johnson: My last entry was to you. Oh! As a kid on a farm I was known as "The Ice Man" be careful what you want polished.

      September 20, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Cremation is not a Jewish or Christian practice. Burning up the dead was and always will be a pagan and heathen practice. Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all mandate burning up the dead by means of cremation. These do not accept the same beliefs about the human body and the soul that Jews and Christians have.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Mr Everyman

      To Foghorn Leghorn: The ossuary with Jesus and Mary Magdalene's names on it had DNA but no bones. The bodies had to have been there for some time to leave DNA. Grave robbers or friends could have removed the bones. The life of Jesus after resurrection remains hidden because He was a fugitive from Roman and Jewish high priest authorities. The fragment indicates Jesus had a personal wife as well as the Church. In early Christianity priests could be married and Bishops were restricted to one wife. As pagan Rome and Greece exerted more and more influence this changed.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. David in Tampa

    Hey boyz ...... take a look at Genesis 6 1-4. If the Sons of God loved our women before the flood, why would the only Son born of man not love our women?

    September 20, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Epidi

      Good question. Why would an adult Jewish male at that time NOT be married? Heaven forbid he should defile himself with a woman – Christian rhetoric can be so absurd sometimes. The early church allowed preists to be married. However, in the attempt to stamp out Paganism, and the revered Goddesses, they revoked this and claimed women were weaker and in less control over themselves and easily seduced by Satan making them dangerous and those who did not submit were witches fit only to be killed. Can't live with us – yet can't live without us. A silly paradox isn't it?

      September 20, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  10. Rosey Cross

    The path to God is a long journey and takes several lifetimes to complete. Each time either moving closer to, or away from, God via such energy forces as karma and the comprehension of life lessons. Only once you have reached a harmonious balance with nature and spirit will the advancement to the next level arise. Look into the historic and ongoing beliefs of the Rosicrucians, an early christian sect, predating and even spawning such groups as the free-masons. Once you have mastered the powers of the mind, body, and spirit, such as astral projection, psychic healing, manifestation, telepathy, and more, will you understand the true meanings of life and the afterlife.

    September 20, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      The evidence would suggest that Judas, Mary, Jesus and others spent a great deal of there down town reflecting on the spiritual dichotomy of the soul vs. the physical and how that relates to the teachings of God.

      Why did they do this? Jesus was attracted to Buddhism and often rested his decisions on the non-bias imaginings of one who would make sacrifice in this life only to be reborn in the next.

      In short, Jesus was a Jew by birth, but not by practice. He taught his own flavor of Buddhism and his closest disciples, Judas and Mary for example, were quite sure he was actually a snake in a previous life.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • thade76

      @Dr. Donnel Johnson
      Could you please provide any text that states Jesus was a closet Buddhist? Or is this your hypothesis from reading a story written in third person.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Arastorm Von Kull

      It is good to see a Rosicrucian make a comment. I have to say though we keep too ourselves for most part. What you say is true to some point, but let the world fall, we need not to give them incite where they do not want to learn. Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime, but only if that man wants to learn and not feed off your hospitality.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @thade76

      Certainly, in the Jesus Gospel he discusses long journeys east of the desert where, "....there I encountered great wisdom and peace among the monks. They removed the sand from my sandals and blew upon my feet with flowered breath"

      He goes on to say that, "...we meditated together for many days, fasting but joyful in the divine and always mindful of odor."

      As a matter of fact as I pointed earlier, he brought these teachings to his 12 plus Mary and his parents saying, "...know me and know the many lives of the snake, the lizard, and the beasts of all previous lives. Mine is the journey of a God. Perfection can be found through self-sacrifice."

      This is well doc.u.mented but sadly, few too people understand that Jesus was no more a rabbi than me.
      He was a monk, and according to Timothy, an enthusiastic nudist. "...without concern nor bashfulness, the fullness of our Lord cannot be contained by his tunic."

      September 20, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  11. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man (married or not) would do or say?

    September 20, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • UD

      Because it is interesting.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • wisdom4u2

      The reality is – it’s so obvious you still have your mom’s IUD embedded in your cerebrum!! What a ‘duhhh’.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does Obama and his family)(As does Biden and Ryan)

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      September 20, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  12. Jim

    Welcome to the world of Coptic/Gnostic literature! It was common for such groups to fill in details absent from the canonical gospels. For example, much was also written about Joseph, the Father of Jesus, in Coptic. Why? Because not much is said about him in the canonical gospels. Also note the VERY LATE date here (4th c. CE papyrus perhaps based on 2nd c. CE work). In short the sensational headlines here are just that, sensational. For a good introduction to the contrast between Gnostic thought and the canonical gospel, read N.T. Wright's Judas and the Gospel of Jesus. Many who are opposed to a more orthodox Christian view will not like it, but it is easy to read and draws a much needed distinction between two radically different world views.

    September 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      Jim, you came to the right place to discuss these amazing books, the Gnostic Gospels. I can tell you after many and many years of research of my own, including a number of papers, that there is much that does not get told in popular academia.

      For example, Jesus tells us that his father and mother "have not spaketh a single word in two years plus three. This sounds like a man scorned to me.

      How can we prove marital troubles in the home of Jesus? Reading from Mary (Magdalene), she says, "when Joseph's gaze met mine I felt a burning deep within...." She goes on to discuss Jesus' jealousy and rage.

      Is it possible Joseph never forgave Mary for her affair, and Joseph and Jesus were competing for Mary Magdalene’s affection?

      September 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • myway

      How about looking at this the other way. So called Gnostic gospels have been around just as long as the canonical gospels. In fact Gnostic gospel texts pre-date the canonical ones in some cases, such as the gospel of Thomas, according to scholarly research. So what makes the canonical gospels more valid? Nothing. They were selected to be included in the bible for various reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the Christian faith, but impacted it dramatically since we're still discussing this subject 1700 years later. That's the only real difference. The first complete version of the bible, including the new testament, was written after 300 AD. That makes the biblical texts just as suspect as the Gnostic ones, or as valid, which ever way suits you best. Oh, and since there were no xerox machines during antiquity, all texts had to be copied by hand. Therefore if a text was written in 400 AD it could be a copy of a much older text. Of course, scribes could have used artistic freedom and altered texts with each copy over the centuries. That is probably what happened in many cases for better or worse. Therefore we have no way of knowing which text fragments tell the truth and which ones don't.

      September 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @myway

      Perhaps I can draw your attention to a passage in the Gospel of Truth, which states, "Jesus found the scribes to be ignorant and foul smelling..."

      These men were his employees and Jesus showed a discernible dislike for them. Perhaps out of jealousy that they were educated where he was not.

      The text goes on to say, "...and Jesus thought not of the female form, and from heaven came to remove ignorance"

      Again giving weight to the common thinking that Jesus was a h.o.m.o.s.e.x.u.a.l.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Athy

      It's "homosexual".

      September 20, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Athy

      That is your contribution? You edit with wordpress and this is important enough to reply to a post? Oh my.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Athy

      What's WordPress?

      September 20, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • myway

      @ Dr. Donnel Johnson
      Not sure you can dismiss this fragment so easily by citing established passages. The only thing that's proven with the biblical texts is anyone can find a passage that cements their respective believe in what is the truth.

      If there's any truth in the gospels, and most likely there is, Jesus was a wandering rabbi, although he could have had a fixed place of worship where he did most of his work. Whatever, he was made famous due to the stories about his missionary work around Galilee, a relatively independent province on the outskirts of the Roman Empire.

      Jesus was not alone doing this kind of missionary work. There were many other figures doing the same who hoped to become the prophesized messiah. None of them really succeeded in the eyes of their contemporaries, including Jesus.

      If you can believe what's between the lines in the gospels, Jesus saw the role of the messiah to re-establish a direct line to the Jewish God. The temple priests had become go-betweens and controlled access to the temples where they said God resides. In other words you had to have access to the temples which was probably a matter of money and social status.

      Jesus' goal appeared to be to take away the power from the priests and give it back to the people. The problem was the common people didn't appreciate that at all once they realized they could get in trouble for being seen as dissident to the establishment. Therefore Jesus was abandoned by his followers and paid the ultimate price. Perhaps the underlying reason was the Jewish commoners wanted the messiah to free them from the Romans, not the temple priests, one reason why subsequently the emerging Christian religion was such a hard sell throughout the Roman Empire.

      The point of this digression is, Jesus must have been a very good Jew and believer in order to take on so much overwhelming opposition. Supposedly this occurred as a result of a desert retreat Jesus imposed on himself. He emerged a changed man with a mission.

      However, he lived most of his life prior to his missionary effort. Therefore it's very likely he was married and was involved in a normal Middle Eastern family lifestyle. Families in that region were and still are very close knit and stick together for a lifetime. To assume Jesus chose a life as an outcast at a young age prior to his "enlightenment" is unrealistic. My vote is, if this biography has any truth in it, Jesus was a family man, just like Siddhartha was before he dropped out and eventually became the Buddha.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  13. turth

    The word of God doesnt need any doesnt need any defense from imperfect people. At the end of the day everyone will have a choice to believe or not.

    September 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • UD

      @turth

      It is the end of the day where I am and God is still nonsense. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

      September 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      "the word of god" was written by imperfect people

      September 20, 2012 at 5:39 am |
  14. Roberto

    Dear Abdullah/Iraq,

    Allah, Schmallah. How much for the pork chops?

    September 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Jake Blues

      How much for the woman? Her, the little girl...how much for the woman?

      September 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  15. axolotl

    Mary Magdalene is described in many early writings as Jesus' consort. How is his different from being his wife?

    September 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      I am glad you asked axolotl. In my research I have found that Mary Magdalene was in fact both consort and wife. A consort was simply a companion. If you read the scriptures, you will find that in the late BE and early CE, it was actually possible to both be married and single simultaneously.

      How you ask?

      You must refer to the Gnostic versus attributed to Phillip who said, "Be it spouse or alone, we are only that which our threshold allows on the Sabbath."

      Loosely translated it means a woman can be beholden to a man one day, and quite free the next. This makes polygamy possible without breaking God's law against Adultery.

      September 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • myway

      There are other Gnostic texts where MM was depicted as a spritual partner in Jesus' missionary work. In fact in one passage the desciples complained that MM is wielding too much power amongst them. According to that passage Jesus appeared to have selected MM to interpret his sayings to the desciples. Apparently it didn't sit well with some of them that she had more spritual insight than they did.

      I picked up another theory along the way which has MM as Jesus' main sponsor and fund raiser. According to that theory MM was a trusted friend of the family and was also a woman of some means with usefull social connections around Galilee.

      If MM was the wife of Jesus, most likely they would have been married for a long time, well before Jesus' missionary period. In those days people got married as young teenagers because life expectancy wasn't much more than 30 years. It took an early start to have a family and see the children grow up.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  16. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    I have spent a great deal of my professional life in the study of the Gnostic Gospels. As it turns out, the majority of “prophets” contributing to these scriptures was quite illiterate and most likely drew pictures to explain their wisdom.

    Needless to say, transcribing pictographs to verse was a tough task for the monks in those early centuries.

    Moreover, Jesus was the worst of the lot. This poor man could not even draw stick figures in the sand and apparently could not be trusted with anything sharp enough to draw with. As the story goes, Jesus would have to play a primitive form of "charades" while his scribes tried to guess his meaning.

    Most scholars agree that this is why these books were omitted from the Holy Bible.

    The evidence would suggest that Judas, Mary, Jesus and others spent a great deal of there down town reflecting on the spiritual dichotomy of the soul vs. the physical and how that relates to the teachings of God.

    Why did they do this? Jesus was attracted to Buddhism and often rested his decisions on the non-bias imaginings of one who would make sacrifice in this life only to be reborn in the next.

    In short, Jesus was a Jew by birth, but not by practice. He taught his own flavor of Buddhism and his closest disciples, Judas and Mary for example, were quite sure he was a snake in a previous life.

    Jesus never actually said he believed in God. In fact, if you read the Bible you will learn that Jesus actually believed in what he called, "The Divine".

    What does this mean? Jesus, while inarticulate and a bit clumsy in general, had an excellent grasp of the fundamentals of what the Native Americans call, "Mother Earth" and what it is to be a "Human Being".

    How do we know this?

    Look at the teachings of Jesus in the Gnostic literature that relates to being reborn as a Snake, a Lizard, and a Spider. Why did Jesus feel he was reincarnated; and why these animals and insects? That is easy if you read the Gospel of Mary.

    Mary had many pet names for her lover and among them were Snake, Lizard, and Spider. Snake and Lizard I can understand, but the passages relative to Spider are less clear.

    September 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  17. HeavenSent Blog

    Wash your evil souls with this atheists!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq6FsOCdadI&w=640&h=390]

    September 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  18. E N

    Dan Brown eat your heart out. But seriously, would it be that bad if he was married?

    September 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  19. Jim Truth

    Here heathens, wash your nasty souls with this:
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aQ8DUHMg7o&w=640&h=390]

    September 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • UD

      I love Beethoven but I am an atheist. What is your point again?

      September 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      You do realize that Schiller's "Ode an die Freude" (Ode to Joy) is a poem that refers to Elysium – the pagan Greek home of the Gods and mortals – not a Christian heaven. The final words are "Spark of the Gods" (plural).

      Beethoven set the poem to music in the final movement of his 9th symphony to be a celebration of universal brotherhood – composing it only 9 years after the defeat of Napoleon. (The symphony was commissioned by the Philharmonic Society of London in 1817, just two years after Napoleon's defeat.)

      September 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – "mortals" should read "heroes"

      September 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Jim Truth

      I've seen some goofy people trying in vain to undermine people's faith here. The fact is, Ode to Joy was written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785, celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind. And he was Christian. Where do you goofballs get your information?

      September 20, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • ScottCA

      This truly does speak to the power of the Greek gods. I think you might be right lets all begin building temples to Zeus and Hades in hope that we can reach this beautiful place that inspired this music

      September 20, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • teelor

      what soul? get it together, friend. lol

      September 20, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • ScottCA

      Freude, schöner Götterfunken Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
      Tochter aus Elysium, Daughter of Elysium,
      Freude, schöner Götterfunken Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
      Götterfunken! Spark of the gods!

      The ignorance of Christians who think everthing that mentions a god must be about there belief. Ignorant stupidity.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  20. Yeehaw Pa

    Hey, "here he comes", here is another.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpZ3jPMM5Ac&w=640&h=390]

    September 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.