Was Jesus Married & Does it Matter?

Recently, Prof. Karen King of Harvard University published a fragment on the internet that indicates that Christ was married. Written in Coptic, the language of Egyptian Christianity, it states, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Unfortunately, because it is a small fragment, we do not know what Jesus actually said to them about “his wife.” At her blog The Forbidden Gospels, April DeConick correctly points out that this is not new news. We already had the Valentinian Gnostic Gospel of Philip that also hints at the marriage of Jesus.

How does the Church fall on the issue? On this and many other subjects, it has no official position. Many early church leaders did state that they believed Christ was married and that he may even have had children before his crucifixion. Modern uninterest in the topic fueled one anti-Mormon site into questioning the integrity of the Church, saying that it taught the public one thing and members another. In essence, this is a silly criticism to me, because fundamentally the status of Christ’s marriage does nothing to change the gospel message. As my mission president once stated, “Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Spirit are the pillars of our faith, everything else is mostly peripheral.”

My own personal position on the subject is that Jesus was married. Do I have proof? No, but I have circumstantial evidence that calls out to me. The strongest evidence to me is that the first to see the risen Lord was Mary Magdalene. Now, she could have been a very faithful follower or something more. Also, I believe Christ “fulfilled all righteousness” and provided the guidepost on how we live our lives. To me, this includes marriage. To be honest, we do not have the entirety of the Lord’s biography but are merely rooting around in the dark based on the scriptures and gleaned fragments. I would like more proven evidence to back up my personal belief but in the end my salvation does not hinge on the question.

Update: Jim Davila, at his blog PaleoJudaica (one of my favorites), has come out with the opinion that it is fake. He writes,

So my current judgement, which seems to be what most people are thinking, is that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment is very likely a fake. If it is genuine, it tells us what one late apocryphal tradition speculated about Jesus, but nothing about the historical Jesus.

See http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2012_09_16_archive.html#4202541771092050516.

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