As I mentioned to Prof. Enns, I'm not surprised at the various forms of hostility on Facebook. I knew going into this project that there are many who feel threatened by this topic. The topic of the wife of Jesus has typically attracted "cranks" and "sensationalists". Actually, I quite appreciate the honesty demonstrated on Facebook yesterday as it gives me an opportunity to address the most common concerns that people have.
Notice the first comment to Peter Enns post:
Mr. Raine provides us with the most typical reaction. He simply knows the truth of the matter. There is nothing more to say. For more on the topic related to Mr. Gilbert's comment, see DeConick's Holy Misogyny (now available in paperback!).
The comment by Dr. Moser below at least engages the question on the table. He dismisses the question based on silence, unfortunately. I don't mind admitting that I might have done the same a few years ago. This is often the first objection that I hear: if we're to take this notion seriously, what do we do with the complete silence on this subject in the Gospels? The short answer is that silence works both ways: the New Testament doesn't tell us that Jesus was single. I might add that by Dr. Moser's approach, we could also argue that there is no evidence that Jesus was breastfed. I would demur. Sociological study provides us with a great deal of evidence concerning marriage practices relevant to Jesus' time and culture.
The point made by Kendall Beachey is an important one. For more along this line, see my intro chapter and chs. 2 and 7.
Perhaps the award for the most honest answer goes to Linda who commented on Bill Heroman's post:
Linda illustrates a common response. It feels weird to think of a married Jesus. The reason why it feels weird is related to our feelings about sexuality. I address this relationship in chapter one but a great deal more could and should be said. We westerners associate marriage with "hormonal activities" and Jesus with nobility. This is our default setting. But this is the wrong way into the topic even if it seems the most intuitive (see more in chapter 6). Beyond this initial feeling of discomfort, I think that many Christians echo (perhaps unknowingly) the logic of Clement of Alexandria: "In the first place, [Christ] had his own bride, the Church. Secondly, he was not a common man to need a physical partner. Further, he did not have an obligation to produce children; he was born God’s only son and survives eternally."
In short, the idea of a married Jesus creates theological difficulty for Christians. I know that this is true; I'm not surprised. I do hope that at least a few of my coreligionists will see the value of historical inquiry without preset conclusions. Moreover, I hope that more than a few will allow their study of Jesus to take them places that are not theologically comfortable.
Finally - as almost all of the reviews of my book will demonstrate - my willingness to take this topic seriously did not predetermine my conclusions in the book. I don't think that Steve, or Paul, or Linda (above) will find my conclusions to be heretical. But initial, visceral reactions are to be expected. I've had them myself.