Last week, a Harvard historian shook up traditional ideas of a single, celibate Jesus when she revealed that an ancient scrap of papyrus written in Coptic and thought to be from the fourth century read (in part), “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” Scandal! But why, exactly, are some people against the idea of Jesus having sex (even in a monogamous, marital relationship)?
“If Jesus is a normal human being and he’s sexual, that’s the real fear,” James Tabor, a biblical scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the co-author of books about Jesus and his family, told NBC News. “You can’t think of Jesus like that because he’s too holy.”…
“I would say that the more conservative groups might be more inclined to be bothered by the idea of a married Jesus, and especially that he might have had a child, god forbid, since that would really raise questions about his ‘divinity,’ since they see him as fully human and fully God,” Tabor subsequently explained in an email.
“Can God sleep with a woman and have a child? It just doesn’t fit the concept they want for Jesus,” he said.
Indeed, the whole reason why Catholic priests can’t marry is because of the idea that Jesus was unmarried.
Of course, the newly discovered papyrus doesn’t prove Jesus was married. But there are some early Christians who did believe he was married — possibly to Mary Magdalene (a theme explored in the novel The Da Vinci Code). However, there were other factors at play when the ancients were deciding what’s moral and what’s not.
[Rice University professor April] DeConick, who explored sex and gender in early Christianity in her book, Holy Misogyny, said that in the ancient world, the female body was considered weak, pitiful and wretched.
“We have so many hundreds of years of an understanding of sexuality that in some way sex is not divine, it’s not sacred,” she said. “It’s going to be a long hard road for people to see a figure that they think is god as being engaged in a sexual activity – even with a wife.”
Citizens of the modern world, what say you? Would a married Jesus impact your belief system? Or not?
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