Baker Academic

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals - Available in Paperback

My book The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals is now available in paperback. Here are few nice things written about this book from folks who are most discerning, handsomest, smartest, and kindest to puppies and children:

"[Le Donne] roots his analysis in the ancient texts and in the world of modern-day Biblical scholars. He reaches his conclusion with much careful thought and analysis. . . . "The Wife of Jesus" is an eminently sensible, thoughtful and balanced look at an important question. Its significance has to do, of course, with who Jesus was. But even more, it has to do with how Christians model themselves after him."  –Chicago Tribune

"Despite a subject matter that is sure to be provocative, Le Donne manages not to take sides but also reminds readers that our ideas on Jesus’ sexuality and marital status show more about us than they do about him. A welcome resource and fresh voice." –Kirkus Reviews 

"Anthony Le Donne balances strong scholarship with sensitivity as he lays out the possibilities in The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals. This is an eminently readable book for nonspecialists and specialists alike that contributes to the discussion with clarity and candor even as it challenges readers to ask what it is about ourselves that we might learn from our curiosity and concern." –Publishers Weekly

"A remarkable expedition through an impressive range of intriguing and little-known ancient texts." –Joel B. Green

"The Wife of Jesus works superbly well as both an introduction to historical Jesus studies and an authoritative guide through a range of sensationalist understandings of Jesus in the mass media." –James Crossley

"A fantastic read. Le Donne's quest for the historical wife of Jesus is as much about our contemporary phobias as it is about our past. What Le Donne did so brilliantly for Jesus in his book Historical Jesus, he now does for Jesus' wife. In this book, he lays out the best historical evidence for and against a married Jesus, the gay Jesus, the celibate Jesus, and the polygamous Jesus. What is so scandalous about this? Le Donne shows us it is all about sex."
–April D. DeConick

"Fascinating and wide-ranging… Le Donne challenges us to revisit the assumption of Jesus’ celibacy by providing evidence on both sides from sources as varied as the Dead Sea Scrolls and Dan Brown, the Bible itself and a broad spectrum of scholarship." –Anne Lapidus Lerner

"A crystal-clear, compelling yet historically robust account of what we can and can’t know about the wife of Jesus." –Mark Goodacre

In all seriousness, I am very thankful for those who have taken the time to read this book and write a bit about it.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful book.

    But how do you deal with Dr. Tabor's claims to have found the bones of Jesus - and his son Judas?

    These are difficult problems. As Goodacre noted, inscriptions on the Talipot tombs seem late. But they do arrive at mostly the names corresponding to Jesus and family. Relationships confirmed by DNA, moreover. The only variance from the biblical account being a biological son from the Jesus, and one of the Marys. Something whose suppression by the pious and by HJ critics too, is easy to account for.

    1. Suppression? No. Almost total disinterest? Yes.


  2. There was a small flurry of temporary interest two to four years ago. Both Goodacre and I were active in the blog discussions. Goodacre and others came out against the whale and other inscriptions. I was active on both sides of the fence, talking with both Goodacre and Tabor.

    Results? To me, if the DNA results are true, this deserves attention. Biblical rejection of Judas might be a half-remembered attempt to deal with an illegitimate and contracting heir.

    To be sure, biblical archeology is always highly problematic, given the vested interests of all sides involved.

    1. Okay Anonymous,

      I'll take the bait: to what does one compare the DNA results?


    2. Sorry I didn't make this clear; I'm on my little phone and am all thumbs. Better said: allegedly the DNA results of each body or ossuary, were compared to each other, to see if there were family relations between them. Tabor usually asserted that the results confirmed the biblical model: the" "Jesus" was the son of the inscribed Mary and the Joseph, etc.. However, at times Tabor seemed anxious about limitations to information from grinding old bones.

    3. My position on HJ by the way is that there may or may not be one. Probably not. But it makes little difference. If there was no Jesus, then he is a myth. If there was one, we can see his ideas were so formed by cultural ideas or myths around him, that in effect even a real Jesus would be just a walking, talking myth. A written being, inscribed by cultural stereotypes .