Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Coptic Mention of Jesus' Wife

A fragment in Coptic seems to mention Jesus' wife: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/historian-says-piece-of-papyrus-refers-to-jesus-wife.html?_r=1.  Everyone else in my blog circles is mentioning it, so I thought I would too.

How does this affect me as a Christian?  Not at all for pretty much every reason.  First, it dates from the 300s, so it does not likely shed any light at all on the historical Jesus.  All it tells us is that some Egyptian Christians in the 300s thought Jesus had a wife, which is interesting in its own right.

But more interesting to you is probably the fact that, while there is no evidence that Jesus was ever married, I don't think it would matter one iota to Christian faith if he had been.  Jesus was fully human, so I think it's fair to assume that he had sexual desires.  I can't think of a single theological issue with Jesus being married, except that children would have been really theologically complicated.

Surely the knee jerk offense some take at this suggestion is some latent sense that sex is dirty. Since it isn't--and since the Bible seems silent on the issue--I can't see any biblical or theological problem with this thought experiment that, alas, is forever a thought experiment.


Martin LaBar said...

Perhaps it wouldn't matter, but wouldn't it affect our view of the Bible? It would be strange, indeed, if the central character of the New Testament had a wife, and there was no mention of that relationship. It would be especially strange, since we do know a little something about the marital status of Paul and Peter, who, though important, are lesser characters.

I think, if we discovered that Christ had a wife, we'd wonder what else we wouldn't know, in relation to the things that would be reasonably inferred from the New Testament, because the New Testament doesn't mention them?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Yes, Martin, indeed, wouldn't it put a different light on monasticism/celebacy for priests? Doesn't it mean that "separating oneself" for the purposes of "God" by not marrying (Christ, Paul, monks and nuns) have to address how to think about "separting oneself for the Kingdom"??? It means that supernaturalistic understandings is suspect, doesn't it??

I refuse to limit my understanding/knowledge of humans to "Christ", as that would be a supernaturalistic view, as well. The focus would've changed from scripture to spirit.

"Spirituality" is often abused just as much as Tradition (religion), as "spirituality" is judged in some way, if it is to be "rational" at all! Otherwise, it is "faith" apart from reason and that is "irrationality"!