Was Jesus Married?

By: Guest
August 7, 2013

This guest post comes from Justin, who also blogs at LDS Anarchy.

The Wedding in Cana:

Jesus at the wedding in Cana.  Was it his wedding?

Jesus at the wedding in Cana. Was it his wedding?

and on Tuesday
there was a wedding
in the city Cana
of the country of Galilee

and the mother of Yeshua was there
and both Yeshua and his followers were called too
and when the wine ran out
the mother of Yeshua said unto him

they have no wine

John 2:1-3

Orson Hyde, one of the original members of the re-organized quorum of the 12 apostles in the latter-day dispensation of Joseph Smith, and the president of that quorum from 1847 to 1875, created some controversy when he declared:

It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction, it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion.

If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it.

I will venture to say that if Jesus Christ were now to pass through the most pious countries in Christendom with a train of women, such as used to follow him, fondling about him, combing his hair, anointing him with precious ointment, washing his feet with tears, and wiping them with the hair of their heads and unmarried, or even married, he would be mobbed, tarred, and feathered, and rode, not on an ass, but on a rail.

and later said,

I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children. All that I have to say in reply to that charge is this — they worship a Savior that is too pure and holy to fulfill the commands of his Father.

I worship one that is just pure and holy enough “to fulfill all righteousness;” not only the righteous law of baptism, but the still more righteous and important law “to multiply and replenish the earth.”

Startle not at this! for even the Father himself honored that law by coming down to Mary, without a natural body, and begetting a son; and if Jesus begat children, he only “did that which he had seen his Father do.”

So — was Jesus Married?

Obviously, for LDS doctrine to assert that marriage is just as essential for “fulfilling all righteousness” as baptism is — is itself sufficient to declare that Jesus was married [just as assuredly as we could say that he was baptized, whether we had an account of it in the gospels or not].  Personally — it makes more sense to me that he would have been married, and I prefer to think that he was.

If the purpose of the Messiah was for God to reveal Himself as a human-being living a complete human life on Earth, to walk through all of our experiences and show us the way through them all — then I wouldn’t think he did a very good job of that if he missed out on pretty much the largest chunk of human activity: match-making, pair-bonding, reproduction, rearing children, seeking emotional and sexual fulfillment with a spouse, etc.

Surely what Paul wrote of the qualifications for bishops of the church:

a bishop then must be
married
[...]
one that governs his own house well
having his children in subjection with all gravity
for if a man know not how to govern his own house
how shall he take care of the church of god?

1 Timothy 3:2-5

applies all the same to the Bishop of the Church.

But I think the real key to the question is to look at why it’s ever an issue to question his marital status in the first place.   I mean — even if it was historically-validated that he never did marry [because he was an apocalyptic, end-times prophet who thought there’d be no point in marriage, kinda like Paul thought] — it still wouldn’t change my views towards my family life and its preeminence in my life one iota.

You’ll notice that His marriage usually comes up, though, because of the grove-smashing Deuteronomists and the sexually-deprived monks, etc. — who seek their “purity” throughthe  premature and unhealthy deprivation/repression of sexuality [whether it’s through circumcision, vegetarian diets, oppression of women, celibacy, monastic living, monogamy, etc.]

So I think the Jesus-marriage question is a more interesting thing to discuss — not because of what the answer might be [historically-speaking] — but because of what I learn about people based on what they think about the very question itself.

For people who are scared of the “natural” because it doesn’t seem as “self-sacrificing” as the “spiritual way of life” [like Catholic priests who feel a life of celibacy and restriction is “more holy” than a family-life — or monogamists who would tell a polygamist that they need to “deny their natural man” and get with one-on-one monogamy instead of a natural state of multihusband-multiwife tribes], Jesus just can’t have been married — because we can handle a God who suffers, but not a God who’s sexual.

 

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35 Responses to Was Jesus Married?

  1. Niklas on August 7, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    My personal opinion is that Jesus was married. However, far more interesting question is if he did beget children. Sometimes in church we think of Jesus almost as a demigod of Greece mythology. We say that Jesus could accomplish resurrection, because he was half man and half god. If Jesus had children, they would be quarter-gods. Would that endow them with some godlike abilities?
    But if one is to believe that Jesus was married then one should also believe that he had children. After all, the commandment given already in the garden of Eden was to multiply.

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  2. Hedgehog on August 7, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    Ah Niklas, I think we’d have to say, that were there children, they only inherit the mortal genes that came via Mary, and not the immortal genes. That’d make them all girls for a start, and might suggest why children are never mentioned.
    Kind of like it’s assumed Nephi only had daughters.

    I think Orson Pratt is man of his polygamous times though, with a very poor view of women. Did he really think polygamy would have been allowed in jewish society at the time, and that there would have been no very serious accusations of adultery? They wouldn’t have needed trumped up charges to get a death penalty in that case.

    Personally I find Jesus treatment of women in the NT very refreshing. I certainly don’t draw the conclusion that it meant he had to be married to them all by golly!

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  3. hnuh on August 7, 2013 at 5:11 AM

    Polygamy was allowed at the time.
    The Levirate law was fully practiced.

    From the Oxford Biblical Studies Online:

    An injunction that if a married man died without children, it was the duty of a brother or other near relative to marry the widow, and the son of the union would be reckoned to be the son of the first husband (Deut. 25: 5–10). The law did not forbid a man to be married twice (Deut. 21: 15–17), but it was possible for a brother or kinsman to relinquish his right to marry a widow by taking off his shoe and giving it to a neighbour (Ruth 4: 7). Levirate law seems to be presupposed in the dialogue of Matt. 22: 23–30 between Jesus and the Sadducees—religious conservatives, who did not believe the comparatively recent doctrine of resurrection but did acknowledge the authority of the Pentateuch.

    http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t94/e1118

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  4. heather y. on August 7, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    I believe like Carlfield Broderick, http://gospelink.com/library/contents/1085
    who said that the wedding at Cana was possibly his youngest sisters wedding, where Jesus would have had the obligation as the male head of household (his father being dead) to provide wine for the guests. I don’t believe Jesus was married and feel sorry for whoever the woman was if he actually was married. Talk about being a single parent! He wasn’t around enough to be a decent spouse.

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  5. Hedgehog on August 7, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    Well hnuh, I knew the bit about marrying a dead brothers wife (in order to raise up seed on behalf of the brother – seems pretty weird – really she’s still the brothers wife then I think, despite the Sadducees question, and I’m not sure what the existing wife ot the widow would feel about it) but I think that is particular circumstance. I don’t think polygamy was practised otherwise.
    In reference to the post, Mary and Martha were sisters, living with their brother, and in any case I understood marrying sisters was prohibited.

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  6. DB on August 7, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    I’ve always felt that the idea of Jesus being half mortal and half immortal is just ridiculous and very much a product of 19th century thinking. I believe Jesus was the biological son of God the Father and Mary but that he was 100% mortal. He did not need to be half mortal to perform any of his miracles (for crying out loud, look at everything he did before he had a body, creating the world and all that) but he did need a fully mortal body to fully experience mortal life and truely overcome all its temptations and difficulties. I also believe he was most likely married and might have had children. Those children would also be 100% mortal.

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  7. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Hedgehog #2:

    Ah Niklas, I think we’d have to say, that were there children, they only inherit the mortal genes that came via Mary, and not the immortal genes.

    That assumes He received “mortal genes” from Mary, rather than her acting as a “vessel“, or surrogate, for a child that was of “one genome” ["mono-genes"] with the Father — which makes the “children question” much more interesting.

    Also,

    Did [Orson] really think polygamy would have been allowed in jewish society at the time, and that there would have been no very serious accusations of adultery? They wouldn’t have needed trumped up charges to get a death penalty in that case.

    I read, from Bart Ehrman, that it’s unlikely that Jesus was married because it’s never mentioned. He says that it wasn’t something it would’ve been controversial to have mentioned about Jesus in the gospel narratives — yet none of them mention anything about it.

    You’ve got Paul [one of the sources for the earliest Christian writings we've got] saying:

    husbands love your wives
    even as christ loved the church

    But why make such an analogy if Jesus were married? If that doctrine were known [about his marriage], then would it not have been better to write: “husbands love your wives even as Christ loved His wife(ves)”? Nephi wrote that we should be baptized even as Christ was baptized, so why would Paul making an indirect comparison to Christ “marrying” the church, when he could’ve made a direct comparison to Him marrying a woman?

    Also — if Jesus practiced something that could be recognized as LDS polygamy [which is what Orson and the other early polygamous LDS were trying to say], then surely that would’ve raised as much concern as his other “non-kosher” practices did. So, again, it seems that it would’ve been mentioned somewhere in the historical record.

    So, either way you slice it, Ehrman seemed to suggest that the fact that it’s nowhere mentioned in any of the early, reliable texts is good reason to believe that it didn’t happen.

    But, again, His marriage being definitively shown to have been one way or the other wouldn’t affect how I feel about my marriage and my family-life, and it also wouldn’t change my devotion to Jesus either. I’ve always been more interested in thinking about why the question of whether He was married or not is ever such a controversy in the first place.

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  8. Jeff Spector on August 7, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Never sure why something not being in the current set of scriptures is any indication of anything since it is, at best, an incomplete record and at worse, an inaccurate or untruthful record.

    In my mind, from a theological, historical, practical and logical perspective, it seems to me that Jesus would have been married and would have had children and may have had multiple wives. The actions of the women as described in the NT, are counter to those of women toward a man not their husband for that time.

    Jesus’ actions as recorded were not so much against the doctrine of the Old Testament as against the common practices of some Jewish groups in their interpretation of the OT. And those practices were developed over time based on the teachings of the group’s leaders, not necessarily based on the actual doctrine. Jesus would have been more familiar with the real intent of the doctrine.

    And as He said, he was there to fulfill the Law, not destroy it.

    IMO, he would have been married.

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  9. Mike S on August 7, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I think he was married – and married to Mary Magdalene – and it’s based upon my own personal prejudices.

    I know that if I died and were resurrected, the very first person I would want to see would be my wife. Period. I’d have her go tell other people I may have worked with or served with what happened, but she’s the first person I would see.

    This doesn’t “prove” anything by any means, but added to everything above, is enough for me to answer this unprovable question. And I see absolutely nothing wrong with Christ being married – theologically or any other way.

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  10. Hedgehog on August 7, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    #7 Justin, Just to be clear, I don’t personally think Jesus was married, but I wouldn’t be upset if it turned out he that he was.

    “I read, from Bart Ehrman, that it’s unlikely that Jesus was married because it’s never mentioned. He says that it wasn’t something it would’ve been controversial to have mentioned about Jesus in the gospel narratives — yet none of them mention anything about it.”

    I’m not sure I follow that argument since mostly throughout scripture the wives aren’t mentioned… I do agree with you however that polygamous practice would have been a concern, as I’d tried to point out #2.

    I imagine the controversy is only so fraught for LDS because of our doctrine. Many other faiths don’t even see him in terms of eternal personhood, simply God embodied for a time, so I’d have thought marriage would be neither here nor there.

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  11. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Jeff #8:

    Never sure why something not being in the current set of scriptures is any indication of anything since it is, at best, an incomplete record and at worse, an inaccurate or untruthful record.

    Admittedly, absence of evidence is never evidence of absence — but that wasn’t Ehrman’s point. He’s saying that because (1) if the early Christian community had “The Gospel” that we have, then they’d want to have associated Jesus with “marriage” just like we make a point to associate Him with “baptism”. Him “showing us the way” and all of that. And (2) it’s not just the scriptural record, which would’ve been friendly to Christ — but the fact that oppositional records [which admit that He existed, was crucified, and was reported to have rose again by His believers] that fail to mention a marriage or children. And (3) being married wouldn’t have been all that controversial for Him to have been at that time [we're talking the first decade after the resurrection] — so there would’ve been no reason to “suppress” that fact from the records [assuming, as you are, that that's what must've happened].

    Meanwhile, it’s admitted by the historical records that Jesus’ family took the lead in much of the early church [His brother James being the best example, but His mother too I believe] — yet we get no mention of a role for His wife/children? Why’s that? A Crazy Catholic Conspiracy, or what?

    You said:

    The actions of the women as described in the NT, are counter to those of women toward a man not their husband for that time.

    but then,

    Jesus’ actions as recorded were not so much against the doctrine of the Old Testament as against the common practices of some Jewish groups in their interpretation of the OT.

    Is it not possible that all of Jesus’ interactions with women [that seemed beyond what would be "permissible" between a man and a women whom weren't married, and make us want to say, "He must've been married to those women."] fit that category — namely they were against common practice/culture between non-married persons because that was His point, “common practice is wrong, I’m showing you a new way.”?

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  12. hawkgrrrl on August 7, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I agree with Mike S. I also think it highly unlikely he would have practiced polygamy. He would not have had the means and it wasn’t common during his day. I know Justin espouses polyamory which goes both ways and it’s therefore kinda sorta equal. But Brigham Young and section 132 are all about polygyny only which is oppressive to women any way you slice it. The way Brigham Young practiced it did grant his wives some freedoms other women lacked (permitting both careers and divorce), but that doesn’t make it a good system, just slightly less bad.

    I agree that those who generally dislike the idea of a married Jesus are squeamish about the natural human side of Jesus. That’s my favorite side to him because it’s the one I get!

    I do think it’s totally possible Jesus has children and the female children being likely is a very good point.

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  13. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Howard #10:

    I’m not sure I follow that argument

    I just summarized Ehrman’s point — in full, he writes:

    Most scholars who study the New Testament and early Christianity are persuaded that Jesus was single and celibate, like the Essenes before his day (and afterwards) and like the Apostle Paul. In particular, there are compelling reasons for thinking that Jesus was not married to Mary of Magdala.

    (1) If Jesus was married to Mary, why is there not a single reference to the marriage in any source in the ancient world? You can list all of the gospels we know besides the canonical four — the Gospels of Peter, Thomas, Philip, Mary, the Nazareans, the Ebionites, the Hebrews, and so on. In none of these gospels is there a solitary reference to Jesus’ marriage to Mary. Plus, it’s not just the Gospels. There is no reference to Jesus and Mary being married in any Christian (or non-Christian, for that matter) writing of any kind from the ancient world. Modern historians, of course, can only argue about historical probability based on surviving evidence. But what evidence is there for Jesus and Mary being married? There’s not a single reference to it in any historical source.

    (2) On a related point, if Mary was important in Jesus’ earthly life (for example, during his public ministry prior to his death), why do the two have almost no contact with each other in the Gospels? To the surprise of many people who owe their knowledge of Jesus more to Hollywood than to the New Testament, Mary is scarcely ever mentioned in Jesus’ company in the four Gospels of the New Testament — our earliest and best sources for knowing about the historical Jesus. In these sources, our only first-century records of Jesus’ life, how often is Mary associated with Jesus during his public ministry? Once. And only in the company of other women.

    We are told in Luke 8:1-3 (this is the one and only reference to Mary in connection with Jesus before his crucifixion) that Mary, Joanna, Susanna, and a group of other women all accompanied Jesus and the Twelve on their itinerant preaching ministry in Galilee, and were provided with the funds they needed. We are also told in Luke that Mary is the one who had seven demons cast out from her, but we are not told that Jesus was the one who performed the exorcism. If Mary was married to Jesus, wouldn’t she figure more prominently in the stories? Wouldn’t she be named throughout his public ministry? At least sometimes? Or a few times? As it is, she is no more prominent than, say, Joanna. And far less prominent than Mary of Bethany (a different woman from the Judean town of Bethany; the other Mary comes from the Galilean town of Magdala) or Martha, Mary of Bethany’s sister.

    (3) If Mary was married to Jesus, why is she identified the way she is, as Mary of Magdala? All of the Marys of the New Testament are given some kind of qualifying description to differentiate them from one another. Mary was such a common name and peasants didn’t have last names. We have Mary “the mother of Jesus,” Mary “who came from Bethany,” and Mary “who came from Magdala,” for example. Each Mary is identified by the distinguishing feature that makes her stand out from the others. Now, if this particular Mary was in fact married to Jesus as his lifelong spouse and lover, couldn’t you imagine some way to identify her more distinctively from the others, other than the fact that she came from a fishing village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee?

    (4) The early Christian writers have no trouble mentioning Jesus’ other relatives: his mother Mary, his father Joseph, four of his brothers by name, his sisters. All of these are mentioned in the New Testament Gospels. If Jesus was married, why would his spouse not be mentioned as such? In short, as exciting and titillating as it is to imagine that Jesus was married, and even married with children, there are compelling reasons for thinking that he was not married — at least, not married to Mary Magdalene. Anyone who thinks that he was married needs to provide some evidence; something more than wild, intriguing, captivating speculations with no historical basis. Sometimes, historical fact simply isn’t as juicy as modern fiction.

    Having said that, I don’t want to minimize the importance of Mary Magdalene. According to some of our traditions, she and other women saw Jesus get crucified, saw where he was buried, and on the third day, were the ones who found his tomb empty. In some of the later traditions (not our earliest ones), Mary Magdalene was the first to declare that Jesus was raised from the dead. If this tradition is historical, one could argue that Mary, in fact, started Christianity! That’s about as important as a person can be. But, it does not mean that she was Jesus’ lover and had his children. That’s a different question. And for that, we need historical evidence which, regrettably, is completely lacking.

    Maybe that’ll help you follow better.

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  14. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    hawkgrrrl #12:

    I agree that those who generally dislike the idea of a married Jesus are squeamish about the natural human side of Jesus. That’s my favorite side to him because it’s the one I get!

    That’s my favorite response to the question whenever it’s come up in conversations: we can handle a God who suffers, but not a God who’s sexual.

    Whereas — that’s the very reason I consider Him, in my mind, to have been a married father — because the most energy in my mortal life has been spent seeking a matching partner, pair-bonding with her, having children, raising our children together, and seeking emotional and sexual fulfillment with each other. I wouldn’t think Jesus really “got” mortality from a human-perspective if He missed out on doing all of that.

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  15. bon on August 7, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Can someone please help me understand this:

    who seek their “purity” throughthe premature and unhealthy deprivation/repression of sexuality [whether it’s through circumcision, vegetarian diets, oppression of women, celibacy, monastic living, monogamy, etc.]

    How exactly is a vegetarian (or vegan, for that matter) getting lumped in with the “unhealthy” deprivation/repression of sexuality? Circumcision, sure. Women oppression, sure. Celibacy, monastic living, monogamy, polygamy, etc., sure. But, vegetarian diets?? You lost me at hello.

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  16. arelius11 on August 7, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Most people are familiar with the dialogue between Jesus and Mary Magdelene after she sees him as a resurrected personage. What most people don’t realize is that the Greek actually says, “You need to stop holding me now so I can go to my Father” as opposed to the common understanding of this verse.

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  17. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    bon #15:

    How exactly is a vegetarian (or vegan, for that matter) getting lumped in with the “unhealthy” deprivation/repression of sexuality? Circumcision, sure. Women oppression, sure. Celibacy, monastic living, monogamy, polygamy, etc., sure. But, vegetarian diets?? You lost me at hello.

    to understand, you should look into the motivations for the dietary treatments prescribed by Kellogg, Graham, et al. when it came to their high-fiber, vegetarian regimens [as well as the genital mutilation, which you can admit that you understand]. No-Animal-Product diets have been common among sexually-Puritan sects/belief systems.

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  18. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    arelius11 #16:

    Most people are familiar with the dialogue between Jesus and Mary Magdelene after she sees him as a resurrected personage. What most people don’t realize is that the Greek actually says, “You need to stop holding me now so I can go to my Father” as opposed to the common understanding of this verse.

    I don’t think “most people” are unfamiliar with that or “don’t realize that” — because that parsing of haptomai [hold me not -- versus -- touch me not] is described in the Joseph Smith Translation footnote in the LDS scriptures.

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  19. bon on August 7, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    No-Animal-Product diets have been common among sexually-Puritan sects/belief systems.

    Not to railroad the discussion into a separate, unintended area, but correlation doesn’t equal causation. Being well versed in modern day reasons for vegetarianism and veganism, the vast majority of people I’ve researched do so either out of a motivation for (a) health concerns/disease prevention or (b) empathy to animals. And, though I’ve performed no studies on the matter, these anecdotal reports are much more common among feminists, atheists and “spiritual but not religious” sects, if one could call it such.

    I’m not saying it’s not common, or even perhaps “more common” among the belief systems you cite (do you know of any studies to suggest that such diets are more prevalent among such belief systems than the average population?), but one should be careful not to mistake correlation for causation.

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  20. Justin on August 7, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    bon #19:
    I’m not mistaking correlation for causation [nor am I saying that people haven't been motivated to be vegetarians for other, non sexual reasons] — I’m saying that religious sects that have sought to reduce the sexual impulse because they felt that it was “less spiritual/holy” have historically done so using grain-based/soy-based diets which reduce testosterone in men and reduce the libido overall [among the other restrictions/practices they've done, such as genital mutilation, celibacy, etc.]

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  21. Will on August 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Yes, he was.

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  22. Will on August 7, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    He was a Rabbi (Mark 11:21). It was Jewish custom that not only a Rabbi be married, but is was also common for a Rabbi to have more than one wife. I think we was married to both Mary and Martha.

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  23. nate on August 7, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I don’t think Jesus was married, and I find Ehrman’s arguments persuasive. I believe the fetishizing of eternal marriage is unique to this dispensation.

    Jesus had a special mission, unique in all the world. He abandoned his family when he was young saying “I must be about my father’s business.” He puts off his mother, saying, “who is my mother and my brother? THESE are my mother and my brethren.” He shirks any duties he has as husband and father, walking the earth as an itinerant preacher, “foxes have holes, but the son of man has no where to lay his head.” This just doesn’t seem like a married man. It seems more like the style of Paul: “I would that all men were like unto me, for the sake of the ministry, but if you MUST get married, go ahead, it’s better to marry than to burn!”

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  24. Justin on August 8, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    I didn’t mention the relatively recent-discovered scriptural fragment called “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife“, which reads:

    1) not to me. My mother gave to me life …

    2) the disciples said to Jesus, …

    3) deny. Mary is worthy of it …

    4) …” Jesus said to them, “My wife …

    5) she will be able to be my disciple …

    6) let wicked people swell up …

    7) as for me, I dwell with her in order to …

    The fragment is the first I’ve seen that shows Jesus using the phrase “my wife” to refer to another woman [presumably Mary], whereas previously I’d only seen her described as a woman He “loved” or often “kissed”.

    Harvard’s website about it says:

    1. Does the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife prove that Jesus was married?

    No, this fragment does not provide evidence that Jesus was married. The comparatively late date of this Coptic papyrus (a fourth century CE copy of a gospel probably written in Greek in the second half of the second century) argues against its value as evidence for the life of the historical Jesus. Nor is there any reliable historical evidence to support the claim that he was not married, even though Christian tradition has long held that position.

    The oldest and most reliable evidence is entirely silent about Jesus’s marital status. The first claims that Jesus was not married are attested only in the late second century CE, so if the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife was also composed in the second century CE, it does provide evidence, however, that the whole question about Jesus’s marital status arose as part of the debates about sexuality and marriage that took place among early Christians at that time.

    From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better to marry or to be celibate, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began using Jesus’s marital status to support their different positions. Christian tradition preserved only those voices that claimed Jesus never married, but now the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife shows that some Christians claimed Jesus was married, probably already in the late second century.

    So, if it’s authentic, then perhaps the issue was just as controversial in the 2nd century as it is in our century.

    I feel like with Joseph Smith putting such heavy emphasis on marriage in the restored LDS doctrine he presented — that he would’ve went out on a limb and proclaimed that He was in fact married, using the spirit of prophecy and revelation to do so. I mean the guy was willing to come right out there and declare that God the Father was once a man and sits enthroned in yonder heavens as a resurrection human that would look to be in the same bodily form as one of us [were we to behold Him].

    You’d think it wouldn’t have been such a stretch to that Jesus was married during Him life [when compared with saying God the Father used to be a mortal human].

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  25. Justin on August 8, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    Oops — all of that text shouldn’t be a hyperlink. Perhaps an admin could repair that HTML for me …

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  26. Justin on August 8, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Wow — I typed way too fast — in addition to the hyperlink error,

    You’d think it wouldn’t have been such a stretch to that Jesus was married during Him life [when compared with saying God the Father used to be a mortal human].

    should read:

    You’d think it wouldn’t have been such a stretch to say that Jesus was married during His life [when compared with saying God the Father used to be a mortal human].

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  27. Jettboy on August 8, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I’m sorry, but until there is historical proof about Jewish marriage and family practices then this is all extreme speculation even by Ehrman and Orson. Give me quotes and explanations from historical documents to set as a baseline. My own speculative view is that Jesus was married at least to one, if not more, women. His wife would have followed him around.

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  28. Justin on August 8, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    I’ve been reading more from the Harvard professor who’s publishing the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife manuscript, and she’s said in an interview:

    The question on many people’s minds is whether this fragment should lead us to re-think whether Jesus was married. I think however, what it leads us to do, is not to answer that question one way or the other, it should lead us to re-think how Christianity understood sexuality and marriage in a very positive way, and to recapture the pleasures of sexuality, the joyfulness and the beauties of human intimate relations.

    which is about what I think. Most people who are put-off by the idea of Jesus being married will say so because they feel that being sexual is somehow contrary to His mission of being holy and being a Savior. Like if He was somehow “tainted” with sexual pleasure, then He couldn’t have been our perfect propitiator to God.

    Jettboy #27:
    I don’t see how having,

    historical proof about Jewish marriage and family practices

    would help us answer the question of whether Jesus was married or not. Ehrman is arguing from a case of “it wouldn’t have been controversial to mention, so nobody would’ve suppressed it if it were true” — and Pratt appears to be arguing that since “marriage” is just as essential as “baptism” and since we know that Jesus was baptized to “fulfill all righteousness” then we can infer that He was married to do the same. So Jewish marriage and family practices don’t seem to enter much into what Bart or Orson were saying.

    And — is your “own speculative view” based on any,

    quotes and explanations from historical documents

    and, if not — then why do you require it of Ehrman and Pratt, but allow yourself to have your own “extreme speculation” to He “was married at least to one, if not more, women” and that “His wife would have followed him around.“?

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  29. Proud Daughter of Eve on August 8, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Personally, I believe He was married. I also am inclined to think He was a widower and either they had never had children or they had died with their mother. I think if He had abandoned children (or a wife and children) for His ministry, someone would have thrown it in His face pretty hard. It’s possible, but I don’t think likely, that something like that would have gotten left out of the scriptures. On the other hand, I can see the issue of family that died before His ministry began not making it into the records.

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  30. Douglas on August 9, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Methinks the discussion should have been on a more specific topic: Was Jesus married during his mortal life? I believe so, but I’m fairly certain that He is married NOW. Reason? Eternal marriage is a Gospel principle, restored via Joseph Smith circa 1843 (known even earlier but not disclosed prior). It would be entirely inconsistent for this principle to be so strongly emphasized for us were the Savior himself not subject to it and likewise provided with an opportunity to fulfil it. His mission has always been to fulfil ALL righteousness. If for some reason Jesus did not have the opportunity to do so in mortality, like anyone else likewise denied same, He’d had it available in the afterlife.
    Now, since Jesus has, by definition, possessed the Priesthood inherently (I know of no ordination by a MP Priesthood being done or even considered necessary, but I leave it open that were it necessary for hands to be laid upon His head and the Priesthood conferred, that it was done), he had all keys, including those of Eternal marriage. Again, with the principle being to fulfil ALL righteousness, He’d have found himself at least one wife and have done it.

    The arguments against Christ being married are basically an argument from silence. As fundamentalist X-tians might put it, “the Bye-Buhl” does NOT explicitly say that Jesus was married, therefore He wasn’t”. But the Gospels are silent about many things, such that the Apostle John even had to comments at the end of his that there were so many other things that Jesus said and did that were they all written down,the world could not contain them…obviously Jewish simile, but the point is well-taken. Never mind also Joseph Smith’s assertion about “many plain and precious things” being removed from the Scriptures.

    The other argument is what I would term the “ick” factor. Certainly out of reverence we wouldn’t dwell on the sexuality of our Lord. Look, I don’t get hung up about my parents or grandparents knocking boots either, but…here I am, and I have four siblings, so we can figure it out easily, right? Big whoop. We can revere our ancestors and at the same time understand that they got to be ancestors by virtue of their own sexuality. It’s a part of the human experience, one that we all have to contend with and master as part of our learning to master our passions in mortality. I think of a fave scene from “The Bounty” where the Anthony Hopkins version of Captain Bligh remonstrates the Mel Gibson version of Fletcher Christian for rutting about with a native girl. Christian replies that he’s only doing “what is natural”. Bligh retorts that men who lose their self-control use “being natural” as an excuse for indiscipline and lack of self-control (keep in mind that Bligh is a married man with two daughters, and whatever his faults, he values his marriage vows, even when one of the Tahiti Chieftain’s polygamous wives is practically plopped on top of him as a ‘gift’). Christian, perhaps unfairly mocking his Captain for not giving in and indulging himself earlier, taunts him as saying he has nothing to control. This, of course, begins the falling out between the two that leads to the Mutiny. Asceticism, which grew out of the philosophy schools of Aristotle and Plato, was adapted by Christians as they became more prominent in the Eastern Roman Empire and they took over much of the Greek culture then extant. It evolved to the point where it went beyond chastity and extended (in some irony, more for the Western clerics answering to Rome than the Eastern ones looking to Constantinople) and graduated to celibacy. Hence probably why Paul wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 4:1-3 that in later times some would depart from the faith, amongst their errors being FORBIDDING TO MARRY. Why would Paul mention this if Christ had himself been celibate? We think that SOMEHOW it was an issue of the Savior having to be “focused” on His mission on Earth, yet He found time to learn and excel at carpentry as a trade. His servants on the Earth today are busy earning a living by the sweat of their respective brows, marrying and raising families, and yet they do His work…are these “mere” men better than He? I don’t think so, and every one of them will say to the effect that they aren’t worthy to take off His shoes.

    Arguments in favor of Jesus being married in His mortality:

    1) He was addressed as rabbi, not merely as an honorific. To be considered one, it would have been remarkable for Him to have remained celibate until the age where he was considered mature enough to teach (30). Certainly the legalistic Pharisees, noting whether or not He ceremonially washed His hands prior to eating, would have jumped all over Him if He were a “confirmed bachelor”. I’ve included a humorous link from a rabbi on the subject:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2012/09/24/the-rabbi-says-sure-jesus-had-a-wife/

    2) Supposedly the term that Mary exclaims (“Rabboni”) upon seeing the Resurrected Jesus is one that would be appropriate to a relative, such as a husband. I’ve heard this but couldn’t find the references to confirm or deny it.

    3) As I’ve stated before, He had to fulfil all righteousness, and if He has emphasized the importance of marriage, would that make sense if He had remained celibate? It defies credulity.

    A final counter to the argument from silence: The scriptures don’t mention Jesus’ marriage(s?) or children because He wants them silent on the subject. For that matter, we have an inspired hymn by Eliza R Snow that alludes to a Heavenly Mother, but we don’t claim specific revelation about Her. Why would the Lord withhold such knowledge? My pet theory is that He is merciful and compassionate, but He is a Man of passions. He can take insults to Himself and His servants, but imagine His fury were men to curse and revile His Mother, or Wife, or Sons and/or Daughters if He begat any. It’s His discretion that to avoid His understandable fury that we aren’t accountable in that manner. And this knowlege isn’t necessary for our salvation anyway.

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  31. Jettboy on August 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Justin, my own speculation is just that; speculation. However, both Ehrman and Pratt are treated as if their speculation has more evidence than mine or yours. historical proof about Jewish marriage and family practices would at least put the question in perspective. It can answer some questions like would a Rabbi (that Jesus was called) have to be married or not? Does supplying wine mean its your own wedding or required by the oldest male of the family? How often was marriage mentioned in ancient texts for those we know were married? These are only a few questions where the answer has been more rumor than historical evaluation.

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  32. Jeff Spector on August 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    I am with Jettboy on this. There are just not that many references to specific marriages in the scriptures to draw conclusions one way or another.

    I suppose we’ll all find out for sure soon enough.

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  33. Heber13 on August 9, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I am not a fan of taking my current perception of the world, and going back into the scriptures to proof-text it and make it seem it must have always been that way for it to be true for me now.

    I believe in God, and hope my knowledge of Him progresses to know Him better. I do not need to limit my trust in Him based on if He fits the limited definitions I have of Him, or the checklists I believe are necessary for perfection. He simply is God.

    It has always been puzzling to me that missionaries quickly quote baptism is necessary because Christ sought out John as told in the bible, yet Gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood, and temple ordinances like marriage are not presented similarly. They are not mentioned in the scriptures. Therefore I conclude they are not all necessary for exaltation for everyone throughout history or that would have been revealed, to the Nephites for sure, but to the Jerusalemites as well as was baptism. Since it is not specified, it is more likely to me that it never happened and our current church ordinances are not necessary to go back and prove they always existed for everyone since Adam.

    Many people go through this life without getting married or having children. Some babies die without ever having opportunities to grow up and experience these things in this life. It happens.Timing and circumstances sometimes make unique situations. But the gospel is adaptable to all, and things can happen in the next life to compensate…therefore, not everything must happen in a mortal probation.

    Maybe Christ had all those ordinances done and was married, maybe He didn’t. Maybe these ordinances were always on the earth, maybe they weren’t. Neither of these options change my faith that He is God or the church is true. It is easier for me to accept Bart Ehrman’s argument than Orson Hyde’s speculation (which I think is just trying to make Mormonism fit into a nice neat restorationist box).

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  34. hawkgrrrl on August 10, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    “I am not a fan of taking my current perception of the world, and going back into the scriptures to proof-text it and make it seem it must have always been that way for it to be true for me now.” Well, that’s too bad because it’s kind of the basis of nearly all religious discourse, regardless the faith.

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  35. Layal saik on May 4, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    i like the icon do u have it in bigger resolution ?

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