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.

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commented 2016-06-26 10:06:39 -0400
commented 2016-06-26 08:54:14 -0400
Im not going to “shoot the messenger” here, just point her in the right direction. Nowhere in the Bible does it say Jesus was married. The original Greek Scriptures, which were around ling before these gnostic scripture and based largely on eye witness accounts,do not mention this. Plus there is no concrete evidence to support that claim, just speculation. That wouldnt fly in a court of law so why is it ok when it comes to Jesus? Jesus came to this earth for one purpose: to die for the sins of mankind.

This brings me to my second point: Jesus did not stay dead. The Bible teaches, very clearly that He rose from the dead, as confirmed by many eye witness accounts. The fact that He arose is the basis of the hope Christians have. If He stayed dead there is no hope. The tomb was just borrowed for a while. The whole debate as to whether or not it was His tomb is irrelevant to me. The fact that He walked out of there is what give me,and Christians alike, hope everyday.

To suggest He was married is just grasping at straws. i would rather believe the original eye-witness accounts in the Bible than believe these so-caled gospels that were written well after the fact that could be full of speculation and contradictions, unlike the Bible.
commented 2016-06-26 07:14:03 -0400
so… all this proves is that you cannot trust scientists, whether they are talking about climate change or archeology. well done. I will start by not trusting you.
commented 2016-06-26 02:47:37 -0400
Mark I couldn’t agree more. The deniers would have us believe that the gnostic documents, which were written years after the fact, are somehow more believable than the eye witness accounts written down within the first few decades after the crucifixion while these same eye witnesses were still alive. Several apostles warned us of these false prophets.
commented 2016-06-26 02:06:32 -0400
Why do some people just despise admitting Jesus did exist? There is tons of evidence and it only proves there was a man called Jesus , it does not prove he was the son of God , so you need not fear admitting he was a real person, it will not make harm you in any way or harm your atheistic beliefs.
commented 2016-06-26 00:16:35 -0400
The Gnostic documents are not even close to being reliable sources of information about the life of Jesus. They come from the late 1st to 3rd centuries and were not written by apostles or close associates of apostles as the canonical gospels all were. If you insist on taking them seriously, check out the anti-feminist passage from the Gospel of Thomas where Jesus tells Peter that Mary has to “become male” in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. There’s a good reason these documents were rejected. No conspiracies or intimidation. These documents disqualified themselves because they’re so ridiculous.
commented 2016-06-26 00:06:07 -0400
I think the premise of the article is flawed. There was very much a discussion about whether the ossuary could be that of Jesus.

Mud-slinging does work as a tactic, I grant you that, but the article assumes that the conclusions run counter to Christian tradition are automatically true.

I don’t think this article makes the case for it and I don’t think there’s a good basis for it. Consider the idea that Jesus was married. If there was a substantial group of people who had believed he was, who were they and where did they have communities? And considering that’s a heresy, what Church Fathers wrote against them? The notion that the Church could erase all views and all evidence of views contrary to its doctrine is non-sense. The Church was very well aware of contrary viewpoints, Church Fathers wrote to denounce them, and so if there had been any significant number of people who believed that Jesus was married, the Church Fathers would have denounced them.

What this is is conspiracy-theory history. Sorry. It’s not serious.
commented 2016-06-25 23:03:38 -0400
Apparently , Muhammad, was an intellectual -
When compared to a Camel.
commented 2016-06-25 22:02:34 -0400
“Now that the Jesus Wife Papyrus is associated with YouTube orgies… King has stated that the kinky sex convinces her that the papyrus is “probably” a forgery.”

Seems King is more interested in retaining her tenure and position.

Gospel of Thomas, CODEX II
These are the secret sayings which the living
Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas
wrote down.

(2) Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue
seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will
become troubled. When he becomes troubled,
he will be astonished, and he will rule over the

(5) Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight,
and that which is hidden from you will become
plain to you. For there is nothing hidden
which will not become manifest.”

- – -
sapientia melior auro
Wisdom is better than gold.
commented 2016-06-25 21:48:51 -0400
Jesus being married does not change the 10 Commandments so what difference does it make? I remember when sceptics used to say that there was no historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. They were wrong, wrong, wrong.
commented 2016-06-25 20:54:41 -0400
This reminds me of what happened to the Scientists who disagreed with climate change being caused by man.
commented 2016-06-25 20:43:58 -0400
JESUS is an easy Mark for most intellectuals . They can spout their silly bullshit——

And not worry about being Killed.