Debunking Jesus’ Marriage

According to one prominent conspiracy theory, Jesus was secretly married to Mary Magdalene and had children by her.  This theory is among the favorites for the casual theorist, as it does not run directly counter to known science nor does it accuse a government of secretly controlling lives.  (As if governments need to be secretive for such a thing.)  The “married Jesus” conspiracy is at the core of The Last Temptation of Christ, The Da Vinci Code and the Preacher comic / television show alike.  It’s even been brought up as truth in news stories from places like Huffington Post and The U.K. Independent.

Careful examination will note, however, that both the HuffPo and Independent pieces shared the same author: filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici.  This raises flags; prominent people may fall for a conspiracy just as well as anyone else, as has been seen with Rosie O’Donnell’s 9/11 inside job arguments and Roseanne Barr’s Q-Anonsense.

Most conspiracies about Jesus’ marriage fall back on absence.  As an example: it is not stated in the gospels that Jesus was celibate; therefore, the theory goes, he could not have been, or people would have noticed.  The “strength” behind that is that Jesus was addressed as “Rabbi” by his followers.  The problem there is that “Rabbi” is both a title and a job description.  The person who instructs you on how to play guitar will be called your “teacher”, because he taught you.  That does not mean they are on the payroll of the local school system.  It’s quite plausible that Jesus was addressed as “Rabbi” because he was a religious instructor… even more so when it is considered that others have been historically referred to by that title without officially holding the position.

Another notable absence is thirty years in his maturing life.  Again, absolutely notable and the subject of volumes and volumes of conjecture.  The very irreverent (to some, blasphemous) humor novel Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal suggests that he was… a carpenter.  Even humorists can figure that one out.

Here’s a simpler test: while none of the gospels mentions that Jesus was celibate, also none mention that he was married.  Of the two, one carries a host of responsibilities.  It is far more reasonable to assume that something extraneous was ignored than it is to assume that something key was forgotten.

And, just to further crush that argument… while it is true that most rabbis were married, not all of them were.  There have been rabbis who remained single their entire lives, and they have been documented to exist since before the time of Christ.  So even if he had been an official rabbi, he still wouldn’t have been required to be married.

Another argument is that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for burial, and only a relative would do so.  This is true, she did go… but she didn’t go alone.  Matthew 28 states that she went with the other Mary; Mark 16 says that Mary, Mother of James, and Salome went as well.  Holding to this theory would say that Jesus wasn’t merely married, he was a trigamist.  Ummmmmmmm…NO.

So, then the question becomes, is there any factual evidence that backs up a married Jesus?

Kind of.  Not just in one, but in two places.  The more explosive of the two exists in one of the Gnostic gospels, the “Christian Apocrypha”.  Specifically, the Gospel of Philip.  In it, there is a statement that Jesus kissed Mary Magdalene.

That’s it.  No indication whether it was a romantic or chaste kiss, nothing of the sort, merely that there was a kiss.  From that, we’re to conclude that Jesus was married.

Oh, but the other place… this is known as the “Lost Gospel” and is at the heart of modern “married Jesus” theory.  It’s the story of Joseph and Asenath written around the sixth century AD.  

A story written about six hundred years after Christ, about people with other names…. but which is interpreted by theorists to REALLY be about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and interpreted as well to have some sort of concrete evidence more than a half of a millennium after the fact.

Could Jesus have been married?  I suppose.  There are many things that could be.  I might be a dead ringer for Godzilla, just one that misspells “fluoride”, who is typing all of this on a huge keyboard on a hidden Monster Island that has been kept off the maps by world governments.  But I’m not.  And I’m confident in saying Jesus wasn’t married, either.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.