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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
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(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. Eric

    Once again this is that latest attempt to cause chaos. It isnt limited to the Christian community it happens in all communities. From Greenpeace to Islam a few people incite the masses who react instead of think and discern.
    But once again the internet community becomes polorized and vocal without having all the facts. Maybe one day we will mentally evolve enough to not be abunch of sheep, or mindless atomatons

    September 20, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  2. TG

    Jewish historian Josephus (about 37 C.E.-101 C.E.) of the first century C.E. mentions some 12 persons, other than those in the Bible record, bearing that name. It also appears in the Apocryphal writings of the last centuries of the B.C.E. period, before Jesus as the Christ arrival on the earth. It therefore appears that it was not an uncommon name during that period.

    At Acts 7:45, the King James Bible inaccurately reads "Jesus" instead of Joshua, unable to differentiate between Joshua who was Moses attendant (Ex 33:11) and Jesus who is God's "only-begotten Son."(John 3:16)

    September 20, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      That's correct. However, none of those other Jesuses ever had their name contracted in a Christian nomen sacrum, sacred name. This manuscript has Jesus' name as a nomen sacrum. He is the only one this text woul appear to fit. The text is, however, a fourth century Gnostic text and of little concern to mainstream Christians. It is more an academic curiosity that may, or may not, she'd more light on Gnostic beliefs.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  3. clubschadenfreude

    Finding a scrap of papyrus like this is no different than finding one about Horus, or a scrap of paper talking about Odin or a stone carving of Quetzalcoatl. None of it shows that any of these characters were real. Could they have been based on a real person? Yep, but that wasn't what was being worshipped. For example, no one claims to be worshipping an itinerate rabbi who was certain the world would end and that he and only he knew what this god "really wanted", just like every other priest or "messiah" at the time. They claim to worship a man/god that did raise the dead to walk in the streets, cured illness and who rose from being dead himself. Since this character cannot be shown to have existed, just like Odin or Thor, fairies, leprechauns or the native american "great spirit", any debate about if one character was married or not makes not a whole lot of difference. We may as well be arguing what would happen if Superman married Wonder Woman.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  4. maria

    oh by the way i completely omitted Jesus's wife.........she wasn't very likeable anyways.hahahaha.....GOD

    September 20, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  5. Clever Patter

    The word is provinance, not province. Editing is not just a matter of spell checking.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • PigBodine

      the word is provenance. editing is not snarking.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  6. Dain

    Jesus got married at his second coming. Who cares?

    September 20, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If the second coming already happened, please tell that to all those apocolyptic Christians. Their ramblings are quite tedious.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  7. Guest

    For all you non-Christians out there, you have all these great speeches on how God does not exist and that the Bible is fiction. You go on believing that, you go on thinking that this great world was created out of nothing and did not have an engineer behind it. You all keep thinking that we came from a single cell bacteria and evolved into what we are today, even though there has been no evidence of evolution, apes still make apes, have not seen an ape pop-out a human lately. Our bodies and their make-up are extradinary and did not evolve in the machines that they are. You do not want to believe in God, Christ or the Holy Spirit that is your decision. I for one will and always will remain faithful because I have experienced the joy that only God can provide. If you cannot see that someone created the earth and you, I truly pity you because Hell will be forever and unlike other religions, our gift of salvation is free, all you have to do is accept and ask for it.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're wrong. Salvation is not only free with the Church of the FSM, it comes free with a cold beer and a spaghetti dish of your choice.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Guest, It's not free if you have to do (or give up) something to get it. Point two, no one thinks we came from "Monkeys" or the like, all evidence points to a common ancestor for us and them, please research before speaking on a subject. Another point, what makes you think this universe was created, and if created, created for who or what?

      September 20, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • John Jacobson

      Believe what you want, just keep it to yorself and don't be so sanctimonious

      September 20, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • MrAnonymous

      Did you just say "no evidence to evolution"? There is more evidence for evolution than there is for gravity. And JohnQuest correctly points out that evolution does not say that man came from apes, but rather both have a common ancestor. I am a Christian that holds a degree in Biology and it boggles my mind that anyone can completely disregard a scientific concept as thoroughly researched as evolution...

      September 20, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • ME II

      @Guest,
      There is plenty of evidence for evolution such as, ambulocetus, tiktaalik, human chromosome-2, ERVs, etc., just to name a few.

      Even if God exists, he still used evolution, or at least did a hell of a job making it look like He did.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • watergirl

      If God wanted people to go out and recruit, he would of made Christians, better salesmen.

      I feel pitty for people like you.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • sam stone

      Guest....your empty proxy threats are laughable. Get off your knees.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • sam stone

      R.L: Does it come with breadsticks or garlic bread, too? If so, sign me up

      September 20, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  8. Christian

    This has got to be the stupidest drummed up idea based upon a 1 inch piece of papyrus with ancient writing that has the name Jesus written as a NICK NAME... not even the name Jesus. (which btw was a common name).

    CNN will do ANYTHING to destroy or cause chaos to Christianity.

    And even though these things are annoying, there won't be any riots.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The Bible was once just pieces of papyrus with ancient writing on it.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • John Jacobson

      How is this CNN destroying christianity? It is being reported everywhere

      September 20, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • sam stone

      Christian: Feeling a bit put upon? How is this "destroying Christianity"?

      Your paranoia is amusing

      September 20, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  9. AvdBerg

    The above subject article is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.
    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Evenstar13

      I am a Catholic and I know, as do many, that the church itself can and is at times, quite corrupt. I do not go to church, as I fear being corrpted by these holy men (although there are good and decent men of the church), rather my church is in the word of God that is the bible. This world today easily leads many astray and it is a struggle not to fall victim to the cares and desires of this world.
      "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you." Mattew 24:4

      September 20, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows whoever wrote that mess was high as a kite. St. John the Opium Addict, evidently.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Evenstar, if you are truly Catholic you know that the mass is at the center of our faith. Allow me to invite you back to the mass.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  10. Charlie

    Mormons think Jesus had three wives.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  11. pat
    September 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • pat

      %copy and paste scripture here%

      September 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  12. TJC

    The article misses the obvious point, supported by the history of customs of the time, that as a young Jewish man of his age it would have been extremely unusual, if not odd, that Jesus would NOT have been married.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Insider

      This is a conspiracy between the Muslim Lover Obama and his Alma Mater to deflect attention from what is currtently going on in the Middle East.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • M

      Jesus was possibly an Essene, or a Nazarite, who generally, if not always, took vows of celibacy. So, for Jesus to have been unmarried would not have been unusual at all.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • ME II

      @Insider,
      If Jesus were alive today, don't you think He would be a "Muslim Lover"?

      September 20, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Timmy

      If Jesus were born today in that part of the world chances are that he would be Muslim, not just a Muslim Lover.

      September 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  13. guildsbounty

    So here's my question. It was written 300 years after Jesus lived...are we going to assume that no one else named their child Jesus in that span of time?

    September 20, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Evenstar13

      Good point. Latino's still do today.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  14. Wilderness

    Jesus was never married! Yeshua is my GOD.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Jesus said "come follow me", not "come worship me".

      September 20, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Eric

      Yes he also said he was God. "before Abraham was I am"

      September 20, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Eric

      John 8:58

      September 20, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  15. Evenstar13

    I feel pity for atheseits, as it is appointed for all flesh to die, and die we all will. But when the last judgement occurs, what will these atheists do, argue with their creator that he did not give them enough evidence that he existed and that all the evil deeds of their life is his fault because he did not prove to them that he was real?
    "For we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
    "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:26-29

    September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • pat

      What do you call us?

      September 20, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Evenstar13

      I call you brother, or sister. Sorry, the name goes either way.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      I feel pity for azzholes

      September 20, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I feel pity for Christians who do not die gloriously in battle as they will never know the bliss that is Valhalla.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  16. Paul

    Since Jesus turned water into wine, does that make him the first real brewmaster?

    September 20, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Mia

      No, just the protype 'Make a Wish' foundation 🙂

      September 20, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • ME II

      Nah, the Egyptian's had been brewing beer for centuries, or millennia .

      September 20, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  17. pat

    "Does this prove Jesus was really married?" – It doesn't even prove he ever existed.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  18. Yaweh

    This whole discussion is silly. It's like saying we found evidence that Santa Clause has a wife. There is no Santa, and there is no Jesus. Jesus was an invention derived from the pagan god Mithra, who was worshiped for over 900 yours prior to the invention of Jesus. Just Google Mithra and check the evidence yourself.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Evenstar13

      Dont you mean Mothra?

      September 20, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • LOL

      Come on, we all know Mithra fought Godzilla and lost.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Yes, Yaweh, there IS a Santa Claus.
      Santa Claus = Saint Nikolaos of Myra, who was present at the Council of Nicea where they decided what bits of the bible would be canonized.
      One of the myths about him is that in the middle of the night, he tossed bags of gold through the window of poor man so that he might have a proper dowry for his daughters.
      Hence Santa Claus brings presents after the kids are asleep...

      September 20, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • LOL

      Ha, Even. Beat me to the punch line! Drat! Oh well, comparisons with Mithra are either overstated or plain false if you do more than a surface study on biased atheist websites.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • LOL

      You guys are just jealous and mad at your mommies and daddies.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      On December 25th, long long ago, a child was born unto a virgin.
      Following a star shining in the east, 3 great kings of far off lands came to adorn the child with gifts to recognize his holiness.
      By the age of 12, the child was teaching learned men valuable lessons.
      By the age of 30, He had 12 disciples with whom he travelled the land performing miracles and spread the word of His ministry.
      Alas, He was betreayed to his enemies and crucified.
      Upon His death, he was buried for three days – but miraculously rose from the dead!
      He was known by many names, including The Truth, The Light and God's Shephard.
      His name was Horus.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • LOL

      And, yet again, with more tan a surface investigation of the facts, one indeed learns that Horus and Jesus weren't all that alike after all. It was only in some fringe scholar's mind. Timothy and Freke, anyone? You atheists really have to come up with more reputable sources of information. At least pick real scholars of the ancient near east.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • PigBodine

      Doc Vestibule, who you callin a whorus? It was taht h0m0hammed

      September 20, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • LOL

      Has anyone else noticed that atheists begin to sound like conspiracy theorists after a while? Jesus was like Mithra. No? Um, jesus was like Horus. No? Um, Jesus was like Apollonian of Tyana. No? Blast! Um, Jesus was like Osiris...no, Hercules, no... Oh, the heck with it.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Trinity owes a lot to the various triads in Egyptian religion, principally Amun, Mut and Khonsu.
      The notion of the "baby Jesus" stems from Horus-Shed (the saviour), and the imagery of various little "cippi" (devotional stelae of Horus-the-Saviour) showing the child Horus trampling snakes is suggestive of the imagery of the son-of-the-woman bruising the head of the snake in Genesis.
      Icons of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus stem from similar images of Mut and Khnonsu and Isis and Horus that were first produced in Alexandria.
      The so-called "Latin Cross" (the now-standard Christian cross) derived from the Egyptian ankh symbol, first used as a "cross" by Coptic Christians, and co-opted from Egyptian religion.
      Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort, Attis, who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. Attis was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during a three day period at the end of March.
      Well before Easter was associated with the zombification of your deity, it was a widely celebrated pagan holiday marking the rebirth and renewal of spring. The very word "Easter" comes from the Saxon goddess Eastre and the Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility, Eastra.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Horus: Egyptian, 6000 BC
      Dionysus: Greek, 1500 BC
      Attis: Greek, 1200 BC
      Mithra: Zoroastrian, 600 BC
      Krishna: Hindu, 400 BC
      Jesus: Christian, 30 AD
      A) Born on Dec. 25 – Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
      B) Virgin Birth – Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
      C) Sign of Star in the East – Horus, Krishna, Jesus
      D) Adorned by 3 Kings – Horus, Jesus
      E) Teacher at age 12 – Horus, Mithra, Jesus
      F) Ministry started at 30 – Horus, Jesus
      G) 12 Disciples – Horus, Mithra, Jesus
      H) Travelled with Disciples Performing Miracles – Horus, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
      I) AKA The Truth, the Light, God’s Shepherd – Horus, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
      J) Betrayed – Horus, Jesus
      K) Crucified – Horus, Attis, Jesus
      L) Buried 3 days – Horus, Attis, Mithra, Jesus
      M) Resurrected – Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus

      September 20, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • mb2010a

      Jesus was a man (supposedly) who merely imitated Simon of Peraea or Simon son of Joseph and merely corrected Simon's mistakes. They both claimed to be the messiah.

      A tablet, known as the Gabriel's Revelation or The Jeselsohn Stone, was likely found near the Dead Sea some time around the year 2000. It has been associated with the same community which created the Dead Sea scrolls and mentions Simon. Israel Knohl reads the inscription as a command from the angel Gabriel "to rise from the dead within three days". He takes this command to be directed at a 1st century Jewish rebel called Simon, who was killed by the Romans in 4 BC. In Knohl's view the finding "calls for a complete reassessment of all previous scholarship on the subject of messianism, Jewish and Christian alike".

      September 20, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @mb2010a
      During that time, there were all sorts of claimaints to the Messiah role like Simon of Peraea, Athronges, Menahem ben Judah, Vespasian, Simon bar Kokhba, etc. ad nauseum.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  19. Dave

    Not proof!

    September 20, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Cq

      Which is to say that no ancient writings are actual "proof" of anything, right?

      September 20, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  20. Cq

    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Asherah, the Queen of Heaven, was popularly worshipped as a goddess and consort of Yahweh (God) up to the time of the Maccabees. Like father like son, I suppose.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I believe another myth was that Yahweh was Asherah and El's son.

      September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Cq

      Rational Libertarian
      Yup, actual Jewish worship practices were quite varied, and nowhere near monotheistic outside of urban royal/temple circles. Where Jesus came from, the Galilee, was heavily influenced by foreign culture and religious practices. This probably would explain the animosity between him and the temple keepers if the Gospels are accurate in this regard. The official YHWH priesthood protected it's charge very forcefully and that's what's recorded in scripture, the same scripture that they wrote, of course.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:00 am |
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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.