June 25, 2016

Simcha Jacobovici: Defaming Jesus’ Wife

Simcha JacoboviciRebel Blogger

Every once in a while, some ancient artifact is discovered that doesn’t fit some people’s idea of history or theology. So what do they do? Attack the messenger!

I experienced it myself with the Talpiot Tomb, just outside of Jerusalem. Here is a 1st century tomb that had a man buried in it named “Jesus son of Joseph," it says so on his ossuary, the limestone coffin that he was buried in. So what do the so-called “experts” do? Do they investigate the possibility that this is Jesus of Nazareth? No, they keep the whole thing a secret and don’t even publish an archaeological report until 16 years after the find. But there’s more.

Next to “Jesus son of Joseph” there were two Mary’s buried: one was called “Maria” and the other, in Greek, “Mariamene”, a name used for Mary Magdalene and no one else in the entire corpus of Greek literature. Buried next to the two Marys there was a “Yose”, a rare name rendered “Joses” in the gospels as a “brother of Jesus” (Mark 6:3). So what do the experts do? Do they consult statisticians to determine whether this is the Jesus family tomb? No, they just shrug their shoulders and say: “Can’t be!” When Professor James Tabor and I say that it could be, we are mocked by a tsunami of bad mouthing.

But this is always the case with archaeology involving Jesus, sex and marriage. When the greatest New Testament scholar of his generation, Professor Morton Smith of Columbia University, published an ancient text that hinted at Jesus baptizing naked (“The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel According to Mark”)…Smith was accused of being a forger and a closet homosexual. The tactic is “science” by mud slinging.

The latest example of this genre is the most recent article in the Atlantic Magazine (July/August 2016) by Ariel Sabar. Back in 2012, Professor Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, revealed a Coptic papyrus in which Jesus refers to a woman, apparently Mary Magdalene, as his “wife”. This didn’t feel too good for some. But what could they do? They couldn’t attack Professor King by saying that she is simply an ignorant journalist, like me. After all, she is the first woman in 295 years to hold the Hollis chair at Harvard. They couldn’t say she didn’t consult anyone, because she did: top professors from around the world. So what could they say? Maybe because she is a female, they decided not to pull the Morton Smith gambit i.e., they didn’t call her a forger. Instead, her critics insinuated that she was naïve, stupid or both, and was duped by a forger.

Professor King didn’t give up. She consulted more colleagues and ran a battery of additional scientific tests on the inscription, including crucial tests on the ink. She published her findings in a peer-reviewed journal. Everything spoke to the authenticity of the “Jesus Wife Papyrus.” So what did her critics do? They argued that another papyrus, found in the same batch, must be a forgery, so the Jesus Wife Papyrus must be a forgery too. It was forgery by association. The tactic is clear: first, you attack another papyrus (no scientific tests necessary) then you state that one papyrus is like another and, therefore, presto: Jesus wasn’t married. Illogical, but it’s what happened.

The amazing thing is that Professor King herself never claimed that Jesus was married. She claimed that the papyrus proves that some people “believed” that he was married. She claimed that the papyrus was not proof for or against the idea of Jesus’ marriage. In fact, Professor King was so upset by her critics that, at some point, she suggested that Jesus wasn’t one or the other. Clearly, you don’t have to be the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, to realize that Jesus was either married or not.

In any event, the whole thing was kind of swept under the academic and media rug. Nonetheless, the papyrus continued to be a huge elephant in the room…even though it’s no bigger than a postage stamp. The whole idea just hung there in the air: Jesus was married: the gnostic gospels say so, the Talpiot archaeology says so and now this early gospel says so. Then, to the rescue, comes the Atlantic.

Some 600 years after Jesus and Mary Magdalene walked the earth, Pope Gregory stated that Mary Magdalene is one and the same as the “sinful woman” mentioned in the gospel of Luke (7:36-50). From that moment, she became permanently identified as a reformed prostitute. Suddenly, she went from apostle to whore. The tactic works.

Now that the Jesus Wife Papyrus is associated with YouTube orgies, academics and theologians will feel that they don’t have to engage in any science whatsoever in order to discredit it. Even Professor King has stated that the kinky sex convinces her that the papyrus is “probably” a forgery. Imagine what she would have thought if the collector’s wife was teaching in a nunnery. In such a case, King would now be sure that the papyrus is authentic. Mud slinging worked in ancient times… and it still works now.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2016-06-30 20:46:37 -0400
Thank Christ that Muhammad came along 600 years later and enlightened the World with his murderous wisdom. As you were—-Keep attacking Jesus .
commented 2016-06-28 13:35:06 -0400
Several sites online reference a ;) as meaning a winking smile (as in reference to humor). Thank you for the correction, I see by your posting it means threatening not humor. I must notify several sites immediately and let them know it doesn’t mean what they have posted so other people do not get accused of threatening when joking. Thanks for the tip Ronnie.
commented 2016-06-28 10:02:02 -0400
Yes, Maurice, since Hyacinth has taken on the qualities of the Divine she is omniscient and knows all things about someone she has never met. Seems more than a trifle arrogant to me. And to compare me to those other lefties-well- that is the cruelest cut of all. Have I called anyone a C***? How about a A**hoe? Or perhaps I have told someone to F*** themselves? So there really is no comparison is there? She simply dislikes that I disagree with her and so engages in a personal attack on me.

And she talks of disrespect. That is rich. Ok if she patronizing and condescending but woe betide anyone who simply disagrees with her. She even made that threat: "Let my displeasure be known? Surely you jest, you know not what you ask for ;) "

Thanks for the clear thinking brother.
commented 2016-06-28 05:52:13 -0400
Maurice, I am stating what is evident. No disrespect was meant towards you. Think of postings by Terry, Sean, Mr. Kokes, Jay, and Ronnie – similar style, tactic. But believe what you will.
commented 2016-06-28 05:12:01 -0400
Hyacinth, with all due respect, that last post was nothing, if not patronizing and condescending…… with all due respect.
commented 2016-06-27 22:43:11 -0400
Hyacinth, would you like me to send you a photo of it?
commented 2016-06-27 21:04:49 -0400
Maurice, with all due respect, I know he is lying about M. Div. there is no way he is what he claims to be, his posts speak volumes. Think of Terry, nuff said.
commented 2016-06-27 20:37:05 -0400
Hyacinth, I’m with Al on this one. I don’t know Al, but I’ve read all his posts on this thread. I’m sure he doesn’t need my help, but I see nothing of the uncivil, un-Christian attitude that you seem to find so offensive. The only argumentative, defensive and aggressive attitude I see seems to be coming from you. Trying to be as objective as I can (and I realize none of us can be completely objective), that is my genuine perception of this entire thread of conversation. Sorry.
commented 2016-06-27 19:32:18 -0400
Do grow up AL.
Charlatan, your postings prove it.
commented 2016-06-27 19:20:25 -0400
I rest my case. Touchy yet snarky. Hmm.

Since you only make the most vague of references to what I said that offends you I still have no idea what it is. I guess it’s like that old, “If you don’t understand it then I’m not going to tell you” routine.
commented 2016-06-27 16:34:09 -0400
“Not to stir you up but you seem to be easily offended. Yet you don’t mind goading other people for their perceived short comings.”

Matthew 7:5 (NKJV) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Reread your posts Al Peterson.
commented 2016-06-27 14:43:14 -0400
Hyacinth, I’m not a minister as you call it. I just happen to have the degree. I taught Biblical Studies in Europe for a couple of years and then a few courses back here in canucksville. I never intended to be a minister but a teacher and I always made sure my courses were not stuffy but fun even while holding to rigorous scholarship. The two are not mutually exclusive. I think we hold pastors, ministers or whatever to unreasonable standards and then are shocked when we find out they can’t attain them. I like a little more authenticity. Sorry if you have unrealistic expectations. Not to stir you up but you seem to be easily offended. Yet you don’t mind goading other people for their perceived short comings.
commented 2016-06-27 14:32:14 -0400
Thank you for that, Hyacinth. And like I said before, either you’re right and I’m wrong, I’m right and you’re wrong, or we’re both wrong. We’re definitely can’t both be right. Objective truth is absolute and exclusive; it has no agenda… it simply IS. I guess we’ll see.
commented 2016-06-27 10:27:52 -0400
And if you found a book debunking a middle eastern faith and wrote about how alai baba said love you enemies Moe, don’t just kill them, don’t kill the prisoners you take, and don’t rape the women, and be as cruel to the animals you kill for food to practise and desensitize your people to murder as possible and create fear enough to cow most reasonible people you’d publish that right?
commented 2016-06-27 10:16:55 -0400
Al, if you do not expect to be held to a higher standard then I suggest you do not offer the information of your scholastic achievements. Many, I among them, hold ministers, priests, and pastors up to a much higher standard. Much like we expect our politicians to act with some decorum so too should our spiritual leaders. Perhaps this is incorrect perhaps not. I can thumb my nose and nobody would care, a minister does they notice. Let my displeasure be known? Surely you jest, you know not what you ask for ;)
commented 2016-06-27 10:13:59 -0400
I did not mean to rile you Maurice, but fair is fair I guess, you hit a nerve with me and one similarly was struck with you. The old saying never discuss politics, religion or sex, three topics that make for heated exchanges rings true time and again. You speak snidely “just an uneducated …spell things out” yet you do not realize how lucky you are. If I could do a do-over I would in the aspect I would unlearn some things. What you learn does color your worldview. “Be as the sparrows of the field and not worry about the ’morrow” is something that remains elusive in concept to me.

Where do I stand? That is not so simple nor clear cut for me. Same as I stand on most religious writings be they deemed heretical or not. I probably give the deemed heretical writings more credit than you because I have read about the power struggles of the early Church, the patriarchal society that Christianity was born into. I have read about how the Church evolved, the impudent decadence of the successive Popes. I have read certain argumentation presented by the Early Church Fathers and that of certain philosophers. I have read about Luther’s fight against the Church and read his writings. All this colors one’s view one way or another to some degree, those that claim otherwise are not being honest with themselves. Are you asking if I believe in God? That I can answer with certainty -Yes. Do I believe in particular ancient writings? That is not something I can answer. Let me ask you, is it so terribly important which road one travels if the destination is the same? If it is how then can one explain the different divisions within Christianity itself?
commented 2016-06-27 01:49:40 -0400
So, Hyacinth, were do you stand on the Gospel of Thomas, the marriage of Jesus, His resurrection from the dead, and, the Bible as the Divinely inspired word of God? Sorry, I’m just an uneducated shmuck who barely made it through high school and then had to go work in logging camps for a living, so you’re going to have to spell things out for me.
commented 2016-06-27 00:31:31 -0400
Hyacinth, I could write a scholarly treatise ( yes, I do have an M. Div.. I can send you a copy if you would like to see it.) but that would come across as pretentious on a site like this. I’m just an average schlub. Sorry you don’t like a little levity in your day. I shall endeavour to conduct myself in a more professorial manner. I’m not sure where my spelling was wrong but if so then I appeal to the fact that I am not submitting my writing here for marks. I go over my writing quickly since I don’t have the luxury of spending my day proof reading. As for grammar- same reason. This is not a scholarly paper I am presenting and I suspect my grammar is at least the equal of anyone here. If you have any more nits to pick by all means let your displeasure be known.
commented 2016-06-26 23:24:25 -0400
Maurice, never state “or at least what any reasonable person” in a sentence. It immediately sets one’s hackles and ire up. I objected to Al’s post because it came across dead wrong for someone that claims to be a minister, that is what courses in Divinity achieves unless he intends to continue on with further education in another field. A minister would never use such derogatory terminology as he did in his post. In pastoral classes that I have knowledge of “how to speak” is stressed. I was a Theology student and know from the course descriptions that were listed as well as conversations I have had with ministers and professors. No Divinity student or minister would be tossing terminology such as " It makes the conspiracy theorists feel so much superior and in the know. That is in fact what the gnostics were: conspiracy theorists of their day who were enamoured of holding special knowledge that the average schlub didn’t have and thereby felt superior and in control." Bad spelling, poor grammar, derogatory tone, and “shlub” really!! If he holds a Divinity degree then I am of royal lineage.

“I know the Gnostics were considered among the earliest heretics of the early church”
Do you know the history? Who, what they believed, why they were labeled heretics? Did you know that most “heretics” in early Christianity had positions of influence within the Church prior to being labeled a heretic? When early church heresies are discussed it is usually regarding the 2nd century, there is no clear literary evidence until then. i.e.: Marcion apparently wrote only a single work, Antitheses, in which he allegedly set forth his ideas. Since it has not been preserved, we must be content with deducing its contents by the writings of his opponents — particularly in Tertullian’s 5 volumes written against Marcion – Adversus Marcionem.

Simcha points out “Some 600 years after Jesus and Mary Magdalene walked the earth, Pope Gregory stated that Mary Magdalene is one and the same as the “sinful woman” mentioned in the gospel of Luke (7:36-50). From that moment, she became permanently identified as a reformed prostitute. Suddenly, she went from apostle to whore. The tactic works.” That has been ongoing since the formation of the early Church. Let’s look at another example: a bull was issued on June 15, 1520 by Pope Leo X that branded Luther a heretic. The bull condemned 41 things taught by Luther. Does Luther fall in the same category? We know what Luther wrote, it was preserved. We can see what he objected to in his writings about the Catholic Church and the response of the Catholic Church. We do not have that luxury with early Christianity.
commented 2016-06-26 21:29:47 -0400
I’m not sure what you found “suspect”. You and I agree on many things but you seem uncertain and suspicious of these ones. I studied Greek and Hebrew and textual criticism and others. I am by no means an expert but have an above average understanding of the issues since that was my field of study. Most people would only know what Dan Brown or Maclean’s magazine tell them at Christmas and Easter.

If you do an internet search of gnosticism you will find the secret knowledge and mystical experience were key parts to the movement. I’ll give you a summary here:

“Gnosticism, is a philosophical and religious movement prominent in the Greco-Roman world in the 2nd century AD.

While Gnosticism drew from and influenced in turn many traditional religions, its effect was most clearly felt on nascent Christianity, in which it led to the formation of the canon, creed, and episcopal organization.

The designation Gnosticism, derived from the Greek gnostikos (one who has gnosis, or “secret knowledge”), is a term of modern scholarship. Evidence for the Gnostic phenomenon, found in the Church Fathers who opposed Gnostic teachings (Irenaeus, c. 185; Hippolytus, c. 230; Epiphanius, c. 375) and in the Gnostic writings themselves, reveals a diversity in theology, ethics, and ritual that defies strict classification.

Yet Gnostic sects appear to have shared an emphasis on the redemptive power of esoteric knowledge, acquired not by learning or empirical observation but by divine revelation."

Gnosticism was a syncretistic system that combined Greek thought with other elements borrowed from what was at hand. Kind of like the "New Age " movement of the 1980’s.

And, yes, experts disagree. One thing I have learned over the years is that in determining truth, facts are less of an issue than presuppositions. They determine what you are going to do with the facts. The lefties ignore facts with reckless abandon since they rarely fit their preconceived narrative.

We could go on at length but space doesn’t allow. At any rate we’ll see the “secret knowledge” about Jesus at Christmas.
commented 2016-06-26 21:28:15 -0400
Faith versus fact – a lose lose confrontation. Too much vested interest tied up in the faith rackets.
commented 2016-06-26 21:15:57 -0400
Quoting you, " Al. I find your posting suspect." So obviously you disagree with Al Peterson, or at least that is what any reasonable person reading your words would assume. I happen to agree with him. Like I say, I’m no scholar, but I have read the Bible and continue to do so daily. I believe it. I believe it’s the inspired word of God. I don’t know whether you do or not, but I find the notion that Jesus was married to be ludicrous. I’m pretty sure the Gospel writers, and the writers of the Epistles would have mentioned it if he was, especially Luke. If you’re recording a history of someone, their family is a pretty big deal. I know the Gnostics were considered among the earliest heretics of the early church, and the Gospel of Thomas was composed around 140 AD, long after Thomas died. I don’t give any credibility to non-canonical writings that weren’t written within living memory of the events. Of course, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.
commented 2016-06-26 20:26:49 -0400
I have not offered a personal position Maurice, only information and asked Peter a question. Please enlighten me Maurice, what do you perceive to be my position since you clearly have determined one for me. I am curious.
commented 2016-06-26 15:48:12 -0400
Hyacinth, you and I have obviously met a very different set of clergy. I haven’t met one who takes your position, and I certainly don’t. But you can believe what you want to believe, and I’ll continue believing what I believe. In the end, there are only three possibilities; either you’re right and I’m wrong, I’m right and you’re wrong, or, we’re both wrong. I guess we’ll see…. or we won’t. I could make a scholarly defense of my position (though I’m no scholar) but it wouldn’t change anything. I couldn’t convince you of anything, no matter how sound and logical my arguments. And I suppose the same thing could be said of me. So I’ll just let God sort it out, but I’m sticking with the Bible.
commented 2016-06-26 15:17:38 -0400
There is not a single minister nor professor that I have had the privilege of meeting and speaking with informally that spoke as you have written Al. I find your posting suspect.
commented 2016-06-26 14:52:42 -0400
Having studied long and hard in this field to obtain my Master of Divinity degree I would put no stock in these conspiracy theories. They come along regularly- usually around Christmas and Easter. The content and tone of them is entirely different from the accepted New Testament texts. They are far more concerned about “magical” elements and temporal issues. “Stand back and be amazed!”

The old canard is often trot out about when the first list of canonical books was made. All the lists did was confirm the books that had been accepted for use and practise long before by consensus of the Christians who read them. It wasn’t that someone sat down and wrote a bunch of books to be “official”.

But the world likes nothing better than “secret knowledge” that no one else has. It makes the conspiracy theorists feel so much superior and in the know. That is in fact what the gnostics were: conspiracy theorists of their day who were enamoured of holding special knowledge that the average schlub didn’t have and thereby felt superior and in control.

This is nothing new it has been going on for 2000 years. Keep your eyes open around Christmas for the next thrilling episode.
commented 2016-06-26 14:51:19 -0400
That’s interesting, the formatting changed, I used [ ] and it came up in red and links to this page, odd. It was meant as reference 2 and reference 3 as in my book.
commented 2016-06-26 14:46:53 -0400
Peter Netterville commented
“According to the Bible and according to historical works of Josephus;
1. Jesus never married.
2. Jesus was buried alone in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb for three days until he rose from the dead. "

When you mentioned Josephus I dusted off my book and flipped through the index. How do you get Jesus never married from Josephus? See following. That Josephus actually wrote this account has been debated since about the 17th century. It has been argued that it was inserted into his writings by a Christian copyist, probably in the 3rd or 4th Century.

The Complete works of Josephus
Translated by William Whiston
Kregel Publications, 1999
Page 590 – Book 18, Chapter 3, Jewish Antiquities
(63) Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. (64) And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross 2, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day 3 as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand of other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct this day.
2 A.D. 33, April 3
3 April 5
commented 2016-06-26 12:45:32 -0400
According to the Bible and according to historical works of Josephus;

1. Jesus never married.
2. Jesus was buried alone in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb for three days until he rose from the dead.
commented 2016-06-26 11:24:39 -0400
“The original Greek Scriptures, which were around ling before these gnostic scripture and based largely on eye witness accounts,do not mention this.”

A History of Christianity, Paul Johnson, 1976
Page 22 – Christians had access to more than one account or source, written or oral. Moreover, all the documents have a long prehistory before they reached written form. Oral accounts continued to circulate long after the earliest written gospels appeared in the two decades 60-80. The canonical documents (let alone those later judged apocryphal) thus overlap the earliest writings of the Church Fathers. They are products of the early Church and are tainted in the sense that they reflect ecclesiastical controversy as well as evangelistic motivation, the difficulties of reducing oral descriptions of mysterious concepts to writing, and a variety of linguistic traps. The four gospels declared canonical were circulated, but not necessarily first written in colloquial Greek; Matthew was almost certainly translated from Hebrew, all four were either thought in Aramaic, or transcriptions from tales which were Aramaic in original circulation, yet which drew on Hebrew quotations and, to the lesser extent, on Hellenic or Hellenized concepts. Moreover, we cannot assume that the gospels that we have reflect the earliest oral traditions. The prologue to Luke makes it clear that they are based on earlier written accounts, themselves derived from the words of eye-witnesses: Luke is thus the third or possibly the fourth link along a chain stretching back two generations.

The New Testament, A Student’s Introduction, Stephen L. Harris, 2006
Page 23 – Although most of the documents eventually included in the New Testament were composed between about 50 and 140 CE it was not until in the fourth century CE that a list of books that corresponds to the twenty-seven we know today. In 367 CE Athanasius, then bishop of Alexandria, made this list part of his Easter Letter. Even after Athanasius issued this definitive tally, numerous churches continued to use New Testament collections that differed significantly from one another.