Baker Academic

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jesus had a wife! (Part II)

Writing the phrase "Jesus had a wife!" is roughly equivalent to writing the phrase "Jesus had a penis!" Both phrases immediately suggest that Jesus had a sexual identity. Contextualized within a history of Christian culture that has been fearful of sexuality, you can create a nice little scandal with such information. For the record, I am not under the impression that most Christians (whatever that means - Xty is the most culturally diverse organized religion on the planet) are repressed puritans. But for a whole host of reasons most Christians like their Jesus to be asexual. Which, to me, is much more weird than a Jesus who had a normal human identity.

Look, I don't know if this thing is a forgery, or if it's an interesting window into what some folks believed about Jesus post-300. I'm not even sure which of these options would be more interesting. What I am sure about is that this a very old story dressed up in a new foreskin. The Jesus that we'd like to worship just isn't the Jesus that we find in our best historical reconstructions. If taken serious, more Christians should be scandalized that Jesus was circumcised on the eight day. But the fact that Jesus was Jewish has become commonplace. I suppose that a story about Jesus' fictional wife is a good reminder that he is deceptively familiar; there is so much about him that has been obscured by our overexposure to him.


  1. says a blog that is devoted to overexposing Jesus. I often find my lack of self-awareness quite charming.

  2. This hypothesis that Jesus possibly had a wife, should not be a scandal. It is easier to become connected with Christianity, if the followers are able to make personal connections with Jesus. Being relatable is a great quality for anyone, not excluding Jesus. So what if him having a wife was true. Isn't everyone entitled to have somebody to love? And isn't that one of Jesus' main messages is to LOVE? I would like to be able to ask a Christian why they prefer to have their Jesus be asexual, so that I can understand their point of view upon this issue.

  3. Growing up as a Catholic, I was always told that Jesus referred to the Church (religion) as his wife. Much like a husband is suppose to leave everything behind to care and be with his wife, Jesus did the same for the Church. At an early age, he left his friends and family and went on to do God's work and serve his Church, his wife.

    As Catholics, I think the idea of an asexual Jesus helps us explain way priests are suppose to be married with the Church and thus are to be faithful to their wives. However, now that you mentioned it, an asexual Jesus does seem pretty weird when said out loud and explaining why we believe this is tough.

  4. Certainly, hearing someone exclaim that Jesus has a wife is something that will cause some heads to turn and some people to be either offended or surprised. For some reason, the concept that Jesus did anything separate from being a prophet is just something that many people can't even begin to imagine. Perhaps it is because it would make Jesus less holy in some eyes. Or perhaps, and this is where I feel most of the reasoning lies, perhaps it is because if Jesus were to have a wife that he engaged in sexual relations with, it would make the possibility of Jesus fathering kids a possibility as well. This would mean that somewhere in the world, there are likely people that are literally blood descended from Jesus, and that is an idea that would likely cry out in disbelief and outrage as well.

    Perhaps the item was a forgery, perhaps it was the truth, or perhaps what is being interpreted from the item is just not what the true meaning was. Until more evidence pops up, we will never really know, will we?