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My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)
September 21st, 2012
09:28 AM ET

My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A few years ago I wrote a book about Jesus in the American imagination. What I learned along the way is that the American Jesus is a Gumby-like figure who can twist and turn in almost any direction.

Our Jesus has been black and white, gay and straight, a socialist and a capitalist, a pacifist and a warrior, a civil rights activist and a Ku Klux Klansman. Over the American centuries, he has stood not on some unchanging rock of ages but on the shifting sands of economic circumstances, political calculations and cultural trends.

Part Proteus, part Paul (who called himself "all things to all men"), he became during the Victorian period a sentimental Savior. During the Progressive era of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he flexed his muscles and carried a big stick. During the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, he grew his hair long and strummed his guitar for peace.

Now, in an era in which Americans are debating who can marry and have sex with whom, we are given a Jesus who has given his body and soul in marriage, at least if we are to believe the scrap of ancient papyrus soon coming, via Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King and the Smithsonian Channel, to a television set near you.

“Jesus said, ‘My wife,'” this Coptic papyrus reads, and since King announced her finding at a Coptic studies conference in Rome on Tuesday, the world is trying to imagine not only what manner of man (and god) this might be, but what sort of woman he might have taken into his marriage bed.

As for the question everyone is asking — was Jesus married? — the only correct answer is that we do not know.

There are all sorts of reasons to be skeptical about this find. First, according to King it is owned by an anonymous dealer who is willing to give the fragment to Harvard, but only if it buys other parts of his collection.

Second, we don’t yet know anything about where this fragment was supposedly found or by whom, and the world of ancient Jewish and Christian manuscripts is replete with fakes and fakers.

Third, even if the papyrus is genuine, it points only to one author quoting Jesus as referring to his wife. Perhaps that author was simply trying to push the early Christian tradition away from a preference for celibacy over marriage.

Or perhaps the reference is to some symbolic or spiritual “wife,” rather than one of the flesh-and-blood type. (In the New Testament Jesus already refers to himself as the bridegroom.)

In the end, what intrigues me about this tiny fragment (it measures roughly 1.5-by-3 inches) is the huge hype. The original Belief Blog piece on this story has over 4,000 comments and counting. And a Smithsonian documentary is in the works for September 30.

Jesus may be one of the best attested figures in the ancient world, but we still know hardly anything about him. And because he is the key figure in the largest religion in the world, we are keen to fill in the blanks.

The Jewish tradition has a name for this: midrash, which refers to a way of storytelling that fills in the gaps. This is what Americans have been doing for centuries with Jesus. Not sure where he was during his “lost years” from the end of his childhood to the beginning of his ministry? Send him off to India. Not sure how he looked? Draw a painting or carve a statue.

What is going on here, as I see it, is a reluctance to say, “I don’t know.”

The truth of the matter is that we don’t know what Jesus looked like. We don’t know where he was or what he was doing when he turned 18. And we don’t know if he was ever married or divorced.

What we do know is that we live in a country besotted with Jesus and in an age obsessed with marriage and sexuality and the body, which is why this tiny papyrus is making such big waves.

As for me, I don’t much care what Jesus thought about marriage, or whether he engaged in it. I think we as a society tend to collapse religion far too readily into bedroom questions, as if Jesus came into the world to tell us with whom we should be having sex, and how.

I’m more interested in what Jesus has to say about wealth and poverty, the rich and the poor. And there is plenty in the available record to read and heed, "if only we have ears to hear."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Coptic • Jesus • Sexuality • United States

soundoff (2,026 Responses)
  1. blake

    CNN stop using Prothero to write about Christianity. He does not represent Biblical Christianity or evangelical Christians. His articles are consistently nonsense and used by CNN to stir up hate responses from the 15% of the U.S. population that is agnostic or atheistic.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Are you suggesting that a “Biblical or Evangelical Christian” author would write anything less nonsensical?

      LOL

      September 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Len

      Why do you think that keeping evangelical Christianity content trumps free speech?

      September 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @blake,

      so Evangelical Protestantism is the "true" Christianity?

      Any time you play the 'monopoly of truth' card you lose any debate.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @blake,

      besides, CNN's purpose with the "Belief Blog" is key-clicks. Mo' key-clicks, mo' money. Like most web sites, it's a business – not a public service and controversy generates more interest.

      Mo' controversy, mo' key clicks, mo' money.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Art

      @ Blake Free speech means that all are welcome to share their views and opinions in the marketplace of ideas. I'm guessing you really do want something of a theocracy where all ideas are screened before they are presented before the public. All offensive material is then discarded.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Define "Biblical Christianity".

      September 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • EnoughAlready

      15% either agnostic or atheist. Why would they care any more than the Buddhists, Hindi, Deists, or pretty much any other religion?

      September 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  2. BG

    Jesus was married and had children. I am a descendent after 60 generations. Everybody send me money.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  3. GAW

    No doubt this opinion piece will bring out the weirdos, trolls and fundys of all stripes. I'm just going to sit back relax and watch the show.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  4. caesarbc

    What!?!? Just because someone mentioned a common name Jesus, and a common name Mary, on a common writing medium called papyrus... and someone happened to find it thousands of years later... it MUST be THEE Jesus in all the Chrisitan parables.

    Yet another good old American epistemic leap to judgement.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Read the rest of the fragment, ya dolt.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • caesarbc

      You can read Aramaic? Right...

      September 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Len

      Then who's to say that the New Testament isn't filled with references to some other guy named "Jesus"? Your argument works both ways.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • caesarbc

      Because the Jesus that is written in the Bible is the one that we all know about...(?).

      duh.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Len

      caesarbc
      But how do you know that people didn't just gather up all the stories about guys named "Jesus" floating around and package them up as about the same fellow? More likely, how do you know that people didn't just attribute popular stories/teachings of several rabbis and heroic figures of the time all under the banner of "Jesus". We already know that famous people can have sayings and stories attributed to them that were not theirs, so why can't this have happened to Jesus?

      September 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @caesarbc,

      this fragment is not written in Aramaic. It is Sahidic Coptic.

      See pp14-15 for the translation:

      September 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      It's Coptic. And no. My friends do, and it's translated many places on the web.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  5. John Briffaux

    Ahhh so Mary did have a bellybutton after all.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      What are you talking about ? No one ever said she didn't. Are you sure you don't mean Eve ?
      Mary, the mother was a human by a human mother. The church never said she had no umbilicus.
      Mary Magdalene was a human, and the same thing appies.
      What are you talking about ?

      September 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I heard Mary M was actually a Tranny named Shlomo in disguise

      September 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  6. mwegner

    I have always believed that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had a family that survived him.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      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 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • caesarbc

      I love how Dan Brown writes fiction novels covering all of this, and now everyone claims they knew that his story was the one that was right. It was FICTION... which concedes to the fact that it was all verisimilitude.

      Now go get your dictionaries you simpletons.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  7. Morty

    Who cares if Muhammad was gay?

    September 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Sly

      Hey watch it – you'll cause the Muslims to riot, and the whte Christians will go blow up some more abortion clinics.

      These god-sters get quite posessive about their personal deities.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Rob

      that pink turban is FAAAABULOUS!

      September 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Christianity is a mental disease- FACT

      Arent most Cult leaders gay...Muuuuuhammmeeeeed, Jesawwwwws and so on

      September 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  8. Sly

    More interesting is that Jesus married a man – he was gay, and back then gay marriage was legal.

    Doesn't bug me ... the ol' hippie had a little sugar in his tank.

    God does stuff like for amusement ... gotta love the big blubberly guy's sense of humor.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      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 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Dude

      A non-existant god has no sense of humor.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Dude

      Dr. Donnel Johnson: Jesus denied being god, and implied that he could not possibly be god, since he can't do, and does not know, the things that god supposedly does.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  9. 200 TON HAMMER

    The Urim Thumim would know,but european religion is scared of the Urim Thumim

    September 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Scared of Uma Thurman?

      Yup, she scares me as well!

      September 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      I'm more scared of people who are as dumb as a bag of hammers.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  10. Johnny America

    Jesus was not gay, not white, not black and not a capitalist or communist..

    He was middle eastern and he was a handyman. He probably would have been a social conservative, and fiscally liberal.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • William Demuth

      But he had blue eyes right?

      He was a revolutionary, think Che or Fidel!

      September 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Christianity is a mental disease- FACT

      Evidence points to him being gay sorry.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      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 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Johnny America

      What evidence? Please cite it.

      I know you can't you don't seem to be intelligent enough to know you are caught in a lie. Just sayin

      September 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Johnny America

      Well "doc" you never cited the verse...do you like believing your own bs?

      Did you even read this article? Did you see the part about him having a wife? Do you know about the gnostic gospels? If you did, then you know that there are many traditions,early ones, where Mary Magdalene is mentioned as his girlfriend/wife...sorry to educate you, but it needed to be done.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • 200 TON HAMMER

      Middle eastern are people of color non white

      September 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  11. the_dude

    Its ok if Jesus was married.......just not to another dude ok??? Jesus & Joseph???? No thanks.....

    September 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      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 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Christianity is a mental disease- FACT

      Jesus clearly was a ba stard by definition. Mary got prego from another man and Joseph was ticked.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Johnny America

      Both of you are completely ignorant and cannot even cite something to back up your weak positions.

      This is what is wrong with the public school system.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  12. 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.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  13. Let the religious nuts tell us all about truth.

    It is cute that people like Bucky use a mythical story book to prove a mythical god. Pretty soon we will see people start qouting from Harry Potter books as proof he was real.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • 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 a snake in a previous life.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Christianity is a mental disease- FACT

      Topher feels that because a book has historical ref to cities etc and real things that it makes the magical things real. Harry Potter is a real story about real events.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Let the religious nuts tell us all about truth.

      " It is cute that people like *Bucky* use a mythical story book to prove a mythical god. "

      Bucky...? Are you talking about @Bucky Ball/realbuckyball ?

      Please show me where you see him to be a believer ?

      As that would be news to me !

      Peace...

      September 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  14. Duh

    "American Jesus is a Gumby-like figure " No, American Jesus is Gumby.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Rob

      Jesus was stronger and more agile than Gumby and Hercules combined
      Gumbercules!

      September 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  15. John

    Who cares? Every catholic priest on the face of the earth that wasn't molesting a choir boy. All two of them.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Let the religious nuts tell us all about truth.

    Heck, I have known he was married for years now. Him and his wife let their son Jose do my yard every once in a while.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • BWANA DIK

      No Jesus, no leafblower:
      Know Jesus, Know leafblower

      October 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  17. Tom Vincent

    Jesus is just a fictional literary character, so you can make up whatever you want about him. It's like saying Harry Potter is QB for the Rams or Sherlock Holmes is now director of the CIA.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Puzzled in Peoria

      The "Jesus is a fictional character" or "the Bible is a myth" claims were debunked decades ago by serious scholars. You should do some reading in Biblical Archaeology Review or Bible scholarship. Jesus of Nazareth was a real person, who lived in ancient Israel at a specific time. He was no more fictional than you are.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Let the religious nuts tell us all about truth.

      Puzzled.. ummm, when a group of religious nuts get together, and form a group to prove that the Bible is not mythical stories and that Jesus existed.. chances are, very high that they had a conclusionn in the affirmative before they ever met. Is there a book that we call the "Bible" -Yes. Was there a person who existed in the city of Nazerth named Jesus, and he was a carpenter? -Yes. Does that mean any of the myths or stories are true?-NO. In 500 years people will probably uncover Harry Potter books and start to worship the mythical charater much like you worship Jesus.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • A Muslim

      Right because no one ever wrote anything about real events or real people in the world back then.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Len

      Puzzled in Peoria
      But saying there is evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is not the same thing as saying there is evidence that he was "The Christ" and divine.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      @A Muslim
      Right because no one ever wrote anything about real events or real people in the world back then.

      Sure they did. The question is.. did they ONLY write about real events and people? Did they ONLY tell the truth as it was and not exaggerate ? I guess all those stories about Zeus being the King of the gods was real.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  18. Jill

    Rainer Braendlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Nesus of Jazareth

      LOVE IT!

      September 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  19. AvdBerg

    Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and neither is there salvation in any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

    The Jesus figure portrayed by Stephen Prothero is not the true Christ. His books and articles are a mere heresy. We invite you to read the article ‘Boston University – School of Theology and Stonehill College’, where he is a so-called scholar in religion. He might be a scholar but he is spiritually blind (1 Cor. 2:14).

    Also, are those that are referred to as ‘Christians’ by the media really the followers of Jesus Christ or do they follow after a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and why is there so much division amongst religions? Please read on.

    The above mentioned 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 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • midwest rail

      advertising thief ^ ^ ^ ^

      September 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • ironman59

      You and everyone else that believes in these fairytales are delusional. Fact is that it doesn't matter of that person was married because he didn't exist, nor does "gawd". It is a man made fantasy that keeps the masses enslaved to the wishes of others. Religion in all of it's forms is used to enslave people, justify oppression and worst of all to justify murder.

      I am quite happy living & knowing that no such creates exist or existed. I and each year more like me are very happy knowing that we live with the reality around us and don't blame problems or success on something that doesn't exist. Hopefully in my lifetime, religion with go the way of the dinasours.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Len

      Let me guess, YOU cannot be one of the deceived, right?

      How very convenient!

      September 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      midwest rail

      So, what is your message to the people of this world?

      Ours is that you must repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of) unto God (Acts 26:18).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      September 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • *

      *dinasours.... is that a new flavor of tart Skittles or something?

      (ahem, *dinosaurs)

      September 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • midwest rail

      My message is, I'm not stealing free advertising in an effort to sell my book. You are.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Joe

      Just click "Report abuse" on all AvdBerg linkspam. CNN will have to take notice eventually.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • BWANA DIK

      AWWWW..You're just unhappy that you couldn't get a library card

      October 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I thought it was odd that Stephen Prothero would 'file' the dialog on this fragment of writing in the context of 'defence of marriage' rather than the divinity of Jesus and the nature of the Godhead.

    While there are a lot of "Jesus was gay" comments, I think the bigger implication of a married Jesus are the questions around the true nature of God that bedevilled Christianity since the beginning.

    The implications to the notion of Jesus as God by having a married Jesus have bigger consequences to believers than "I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)".

    September 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Agreed, I think if it is proven that Jesus was Married, it would call the entire Christian Worldview into question. Consider the Greek and Roman Gods?

      September 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      It's your belief that's creating the implications. Personally, I've seen no evidence, other than the hero-legend, mythology present in the New Testament, that this prophet was anything more than a man. Men get married. No implications for me.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Rynomite

      What do you believe the implications to be? I'm an Atheist, but don't really see why Jesus being married would change any Christian dogma.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Rynomite, Seems to me at least that Jesus is considered a God (The one and only God) by Christians, what does it mean that Jesus had a Human wife. It brings celibacy, the rights of the Church (as the Bride of Christ), and the very foundation of Christianity into question. Consider, as a Christian one is suppose to give up worldly things, I think a Wife would be a worldly thing.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Rynomite,

      the implications relate to the notion of the trinity.

      If Jesus is married, how does that relate to "God the father". Is this marriage permanent in heaven? Is the wife of Jesus also the wife of Yaweh, since Jesus, Yaweh and the Spirit are one God?

      Christians have been arguing about the nature of the divinity of God since the beginning. The reason that this shows up as a Coptic writing is that the Copts are monophysites – they did not accept the rulings of the Council of Chalcedon (451) that there are two 'natures' of Jesus – God and as John the evangelist puts it, "the word made flesh'.

      The monophysite Copts see Jesus as a separate person from God. (Meaning Jesus is not God, merely his son.) In their tradition, whether Jesus is married or not is no big deal.

      The fact that the Copts were at odds theologically with the Latin church and the Empire (then headquartered in Constantinople) influenced the Muslim conquest of Egypt. (Some historians accept that the Egyptian Copts were happy to trade out tax-demanding Greek masters who also interferred with their beliefs with tax-demanding Muslim masters who did not (at least in the beginning).

      September 21, 2012 at 1:19 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.