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Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Transcription of ancient manuscript suggests Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had two children

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An ancient manuscript unearthed at the British Library and dating back nearly 1,500 years says that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had two children, with their names and descendants reportedly given in detail in the text.  The Church of England has dismissed the claims, saying it is closer to the fictional ‘Da Vinci Code’ than historical accounts.

The so-called “Lost Gospel”, which has been translated from Aramaic by Professor of Religious Studies Barrie Wilson and historical writer Simcha Jacobovici, allegedly reveals the startling new allegations, according to The Sunday Times .

Professor Wilson said on his website that he found the "ancient Syriac manuscript lurking in the British Museum, dating from the 6th century but translated from much earlier Greek writing.” He added that “scholars have known about it for almost 200 years, but have not known what to make of it.”

According to Wilson and Jacobovici, the manuscript includes details about Jesus’ political connections to the Roman emperor Tiberius and one of his generals, Sejanus, and says that there was an assassination attempt on Jesus thirteen years before his execution. However, the most controversial claim is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and raised two children with her during his time in Nazareth.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Jesus and Mary Magdalene (1534) by Antonio da Correggio ( Wikimedia)

Wilson and Jacobovici are not the first to claim that Jesus had a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene. Theologians and researchers have been speculating on the subject for centuries, but it became most popular following the release of ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’, which put forward the hypothesis that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had one or more children, and that those children or their descendants emigrated to what is now southern France. Once there, they intermarried with the noble families that would eventually become the Merovingian dynasty.

This theory was further pursued by Dan Brown in his best-selling historical thriller ‘The Da Vinci Code’, who wrote that the figure at the right hand of Jesus in Leonardo da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper" is not the apostle John, but actually Mary Magdalene.

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci ( Wikimedia). In the novel, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, Dan Brown writes that the figure at the right hand of Jesus is Mary Magdalene.

The claim that Jesus was married was once again thrown into the spotlight in 2012 when an Egyptian papyrus fragment was translated into English and was found to contain an explicit reference to Jesus being married. The so-called ‘ Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ dates from the 8 th century and includes the line: "Jesus said to them, my wife….", and "she will be able to be my disciple".

The so-called ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

The so-called ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’. Photo credit: Karen L. King

It is a bit hard to know what to make of the ‘lost Gospel’ claims until further information and, hopefully, images of the original text are released for verification, but a look at the publisher’s website does draw into question the authenticity of the claim, as it describes Wilson and Jacobovici’s book as “part historical detective story, part modern adventure”. Nevertheless, the preview of the book does look intriguing and it will be interesting to see the response of the academic world.

The Church of England has dismissed the claims made in ‘The Lost Gospel’, saying it is closer to popular fiction than an accurate historical account. "This appears to share more with Dan Brown than Matthew, Mark, Luke or John," a church spokesman told the Sunday Times.

Featured image: ‘Jesus as a friend of children’ (1845), by Marie Ellenrieder ( Wikimedia)

By April Holloway

Comments

Did some digging and found that the focus text of the book is a pre sixth century Syriac text usually called "Joseph and Aseneth". Read: http://www.markgoodacre.org/aseneth/translat.htm This is a translation of the alleged lost gospel from 1984. Two things will immediately spring to mind: firstly, it simply ain't a gospel. It's pseudo biographical "bonus content" regarding the marriage of the Joseph of Genesis to the Egyptian priest's daughter Aseneth, at Pharaoh's behest. The account in Gen. is rather brief. Secondly, searching using the title Joseph and Aseneth, reveals that it ain't lost. In fact it's rather well known and there are a range of argued theories and interpretations, all well argued, for interested parties to take their pick.  Looking at the charming little tale, the first thing that the narrative suggests is the way Aseneth is presented almost as a Disney character- fabulously wealthy and beautiful, and a man hater to boot. And this, along with the fantastic events that follow is very good at distracting away from what would have been uncomfortable for either late 2nd Temple or early rabbinical Judaism: that Joseph the patriarch married a gentile.  Now, none of the above will hold water for those fizzing with theories of conspiracy fuelled by the Holy Blood and the Grail/ daVinci Code. BUT I respectfully submit that this will turn out to be another book flogging wheeze that will have a nice tie-in documentary on H2.  It's also worth remembering that the majority of scholars currently leading this field aren't secret members of Opus Dei, they are often agnostic and their interest in the field supersedes whether Jesus was married or not.  When the media gets hold of stuff like this, they always go to a C of E, Free Churches, or RC in-house specialist because most readers won't check to see if they are simply echoing a generally held academic opinion (in this case dismissing the book) and they can cheerfully invent a scandal or controversy that doesn't really exist because a partisan opinion MUST be somehow trying to subvert the truth.  People who are drawn to this then do the rest themselves in exercising confirmation bias: they only ever submerge themselves in evidence that supports their theories and everything else is a ruse. I'm just waiting to be accused of being an undercover Masonic plant- or worse: a Daily Mail reader!

Interesting.

Remember, both Muslims and Christians are members of Jewish " Cults". This is so because their roots are congruent to one another right back through the line of Moses to Abraham. The " Book"' so to speak. There is the Jesus Cult and the Mohamed Cult. I am not a theological scholar by any stretch, but this is how I come to terms with this subject in my mind. All are Jews, in essence anyway.
If you judge the teachings on their own merits then the marital status of Jesus should not subtract from it. Of all the scores of men, women and children put under a knife to blood thirsty gods that number would pale when compared to the bloodshed in the name of those three religions. It is what it is.

So the fact that a living human being with blood through his veins could marry, have sex and father children seems like "popular fiction"!!!
What say you, then, to a dead person levitating after three days in his tomb and appearing here and there as if she was still alive? Popular fiction????????????????

I thought if he was married, it was to Mary of Bethany, sister of Lazarus and Martha the busy one. Robert Graves suggested this is his book "King Jesus".

I don't think scholars were quite as wholesale as to destroy real documents, and there was an awful lot of trash, fantasy rubbish being written. Ask any publisher what shows up in their slush pile.

A crusifixion was commonplace in Palestine at the time. Why so much contemporary evidence from people who were there at the tiin the moment?

This is a late document and is a bit dodgy. What is its provenance? How is it connected to contemporary accounts? What is its authority? These are considerations that affect the value of the document in historical terms.

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