"Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife...’ ” Too convenient for some, it also contained the words “she will be able to be my disciple..."Now I have as little religion as the most Godless heathen. But I got to thinking about this a bit in the context of the period when the guy is supposed to have lived and wondered...why not?
I once read somewhere that one of the strongest lines of evidence that the Christ - assuming that there was an actual person living in Galilee around 32AD who claimed to be the Son of God and went around talking about that until he was arrested and executed and the whole magilla isn't a Book-of-Mormon-level scam - was married was the importance of marriage as a social signifier in Roman Judea.
Bottom line; a thirty-something Jewish guy with no wife and family? Slacker, or worse. Can't hold down a job long enough to afford to marry? Too poor? Too chancy?
Who the hell would listen to that joker talk about God? What the hell would he know?
The bizarre Christian obsession with celibacy really sort of turns up associated with Paul of Tarsus. He was sort of a freak about that. I tried a quick search for "What did Christ say about chastity" and result was, pretty much, "nothing".
Here's the Mormons trying to come up with something. The best that Bishop Elder "of the Seventy" can do is cite the Matthew version of the Sermon on the Mount where Christ says "Don't commit adultery."
Here's the Catholics talking about it and the best the Church webmaster can come up with is "Sexual intercourse outside marriage is formally condemned I Cor 5:1; 6:9; 7:2; 10:8 Eph. 5:5; I Tim 1:10; Heb 13:4; and with explicit reasons I Cor 6:12-20."
Get the connection there?
First Corinthians, Ephesians, First Timothy, Hebrews...those are all Paul getting all pissy while riding his usual hobbyhorse, "Fucking is the Devil's horizontal rhumba and only if you're married it's only just barely preferable to depopulating the Earth." The sonofabitch was just obsessed with his purity of essence; I'll bet he had something going on about his precious bodily fluids, too. Dude was a freak. Period.
Jesus, based on what got written down, seems to be a whole 'nother guy.
He gives the usual prohibitions against adultery, but physical chastity?
Doin' the nasty so long as it was with your legally-sanctioned partner?
That seems to have been jake with Jesus.
(And, along those lines, Paul Rudnick has a funny "I was Jesus' wife" story in the New Yorker.)
Is this odd little scrap a forgery?
Who the hell knows? We don't even know if Jesus himself isn't a massive 1st Century practical joke, much less whether he really was married if he really was real.
But if there was an actual person, was it likely that he was married?
Seems to me, what the hell - it's as likely as not.
To which, being who I am and what I am, I have to close with this delightful image of "The Bride of Christ" from Pastor Dobi's blog:
Which I found searching for an image of "The Bride of Christ".
Pastor Dobi, "your sister in Christ" describes the little scene as:"...The Bride of Christ coming to her beloved! Look at the picture closely. We see our dear Jesus coming to His bride..."
And as instructed I looked at the picture closely and my immediate thought was:
"I'll bet! I just hope that dear Jesus is thoughtful enough to tip His bride the hint before he comes so she knows that she's about to get a faceful of the Holy Spirit..."
Yeah, yeah, I know. Sorry. I just can't help it.
Proof once again if any was needed that a) I have a filthy, filthy mind, and b) I better hope that all this really is a big practical joke because, if it's not, when Jesus returns I am in SO much trouble...