Jesus Had a Wife?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Rex, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    It makes a great deal of difference to the Catholic Church as it's why their Priests are not allowed to marry.

    That's a rationale but the main reason given is that Jesus wasn't married and they are following in his footsteps.

    That is what I was taught. Turns out it's not true.

    ^^THIS.
     
  2. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Where were you taught this, MacMadame? I'm always fascinated about what is and is not taught in schools, both secular and parochial.

    I distinctly remember being taught about the lack of independent, corroborating evidence in ninth grade.
     
  3. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    This reminded me of my confirmation class many years ago. One of the points our minister stressed was that Jesus was human. It's what made the whole "he died for our sins" thing work - if you will. Made sense to me, but man, the reactions of some of the other kids in the class...
     
  4. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Actually, none of the above is accurate.

    While people tend to read biblical texts today in faith contexts, there are ways to read them from a scholarly perspective. Using Hebrew Bible as an example, there are ways to read the text to determine historicity of some portions of the text. Ditto with New Testament.

    For example, there isn't much historical data available on Marcion, but we've nonetheless determined he was an actual person. There's much more available on Jesus, so his existence isn't really a debate amongst scholars.
     
  5. euterpe

    euterpe Well-Known Member

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    Matthew 16:18: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

    Peter is considered to be the first Pope.
     
  6. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Can you be specific about to what "historical data" you are referring? AFAIK, there isn't anything written by any contemporary who could possibly have known the facts except for the works of believers. While that could be evidence, I wonder what specific writings you consider to be "historical data."

    And let's stick to the issue at hand -- Jesus -- without getting into whether any other people (other than Jesus' wife) existed or if any other events occurred. Otherwise, it gets too far removed from the issue to be enlightening.
     
  7. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Ahhh, I didn't know that. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Who was the first prophet?
     
  8. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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  9. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    The Roman historian Tacitus wrote an extensive history covering that period, relying on Roman records available at that time. He names Jesus and covers his life and death from a Roman context. Tacitus wasn't Christian.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ
     
  10. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Tacitus was writing after Josephus. As far as I know, it isn't at all clear that Tacitus had any "records" available to him other than Gospels and similar materials. If he did, he didn't cite them, and there is no contemporary account written by a non-believer that corroborates the accounts given in the Gospels. The fact that Tacitus was not a believer and was not sympathetic to early Christian beliefs does not mean that his reliance on earlier accounts was valid.
     
  11. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you understand the nature of scholarship in antiquity. Unlike today, histories weren't composed during or immediately after (in the modern sense) they took place. People's living memories of events preceded the need for such a thing, and writing of any sort, but particularly scholarly histories, were extraordinary undertakings back then.

    So you would expect a history of that time period to be published when it was. If it was written significantly earlier, it would actually call into question the credibility of the work.

    Tacitus wrote disparagingly of Christians and Jesus, so the idea that he would shill for them by only republishing sectarian documents defies credulity. Further, he is known to have consulted Roman archives for the basis of his work.

    But more than that, there is the plethora of writings circulating from very early. We have epistles dated to within 20 years of Jesus' death, and numerous polemical writings that follow during that first century. But in none of the polemical writings is the argument ever made that Jesus didn't exist. So what that would mean is during the time when people were alive that would have witnessed the events in question, the debate was over the nature of Jesus' teachings and the behavior of his followers--never that he didn't exist. Given the heated nature of these debates, it defies logic that the strongest argument that could be used to delegitimize the opposition (that the object of worship by Christians never even existed) was neglected by every polemical writer in antiquity.

    Couple that with cross-referencing data mentioned in these early documents to other writings and annals, and the weight of evidence is clear. Then there are developmental chronologies which conform to a Jesus event around 30 CE, etc.

    Obviously all of the above is cursory and I'm speaking in broad strokes, but all I can tell you is if you actually did research in this area in the original languages, it's really not a matter of debate. Even non-theist biblical scholars will say the existence of Jesus isn't a matter of contention (eg. Bart Ehrman).

    Fwiw, the writings of Tacitus are far more compelling evidence than Josephus IMO. And that's not just me, but the scholarly consensus as well.
     
  12. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Googled Bart Ehrman and found this interview:

    Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman supports the historic existence of Jesus


     
  13. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Not so much. It is rather based on Paul's assertion that giving up marriage for the service of the gospel is ideal.

    From I Corinthians:

    "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I." (i.e. not married)

    Later in the same passage: " But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;"

    Additionally, Jesus suggested, as recorded in the Gospels, that a true disciple would give up family. From Luke:

    "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
     
  14. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I thought Ehrman identified as non-theist at a debate awhile back, but if he claims agnosticism now, fine and dandy.

    Thanks for the link btw :)
     
  15. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    It was more of a debate among early theologians which has become canon in later versions of the Bible and Church history. Early Christian church history is intimately involved with the changing political landscape of Europe and the near East (Constantinople vs Rome as it were) and the celibacy of Christ and consequently the priesthood were part of this debate. I forget which Edict formally declared priests could not marry, but this was more of a means of controlling church lands and funds so a wealthy bishop could not pass lands on to his sons. You cannot separate the entire first millennium of church doctrine from the sociopolitical environment in which it was constructed.

    Many early religious texts were discarded or re-interpreted if they did not support a certain political agenda.

    I have a friend who did his dissertation on the cult of St. Michael in the 3rd and 4th centuries and how it evolved in regard to the political changes happening in Europe.

    So, this debate regarding Mary Magdalene and her role isn't new. It's just that the papyrus may provide support for the role of wife. It won't change any doctrine because even though it does appear to be of an appropriate age, it is such a small fragment of a larger document, it will be interpreted to mean what the reader already thinks. Those who think she played a more important role, including being a sexual partner, will cite it as supporting data; those who do not will interpret the text as meaning something else.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  16. euterpe

    euterpe Well-Known Member

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    In some branches of Catholicism, married priests are permitted. For example, the Russian Catholic church permits married priests---but they must be married before they are ordained.

    Therefore, it is not a theologic doctrine that is the basis of celibate priests.
     
  17. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    This is true. And even in the Roman rite, exceptions are made. There are Anglican and Episcopal priests who have converted and been ordained as Roman Catholic priests even though they are already married.
     
  18. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    So, really ... just like the Bible. :slinkaway

    (never mind the "slinkaway" one, I think I might need a "ducking lightning bolts" emoticon here ...)
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  19. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    Hey, why think small and debate whether Jesus had "a" wife, in the singular? Mitt's religion portrays Jesus as a man-whore who had at least three wives, with whom he bred like a cockroach. Jumpin' J.C. be pimpin'!
     
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    You mean the Russian Orthodox Church, right?
     
  21. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I assumed the post referred to Eastern Rite Catholics. They are not Russian Orthodox and are affiliated with the Roman/Latin Rite.
     
  22. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I've heard this before. It makes sense. It kept the wealth in the Church. If I am remembering correctly, the wealthy clergy gave up their family possessions to the Church.
     
  23. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    I am absolutely NOT an expert on any of this. I was raised as a Catholic, and converted to Judaism.

    The quote from the Gospel of Matthew is accurate, however, it was written 70 years after Jesus died. So any "quotes" of what Jesus said or didn't say are really memories. And frankly, could be considered as political writings.......designed by various people to put forward a point of view.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew

    And, just to add from my personal perspective. I (personally) believe that the Bible was written by G-d.............and I accept what it says as true. AND, I know that is a decision on my part, and is neither right or wrong, or provable one way or the other. And, I do ridiculous things like observe the Laws of Kashrut..........just 'cause. I don't think any religion is right or wrong. I suppose Jesus lived. (I sort of don't have a dog in that fight, so to speak). But I also think that most of "what he said" is what others say he said. Is it divinely inspired? Who knows? No one.

    I have this conversation about G-d and believing in G-d all the time with my husband. He does not believe in G-d. But I don't see any real logic in either position. Either is a leap of faith. Oh, maybe that is why it is all called "faith" :eek:
     
  24. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Could be.
     
  25. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Yes. Another example of documents describing historical events after the fact are the Soto chronicles describing the Soto expedition through the southeast. All four chronicles were written well after the fact and only one is purported to have been written by someone who was actually on the expedition. The Spanish crown deemed the expedition a failure in that no gold was recovered and half the expedition died; therefore, no official history was written. Archaeologists who work in the SE consider the documents to be of interest, but not necessarily factual unless events are supported by other forms of data including the archaeological record. Biblical archaeology does much the same thing in Israel, Jordan and other regions mentioned in the Bible. There is evidence to support some historical events described in the Bible. There is nothing to indicate that Jesus was not a real person. Faith is what elevates him to a spiritual being.
     
  26. liv

    liv Well-Known Member

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    This is why I am not a firm believer of any one religion. There are so many angles, beliefs, so many writings that either do or do not make up a religion (and some that haven't been discovered or are lost) and I find it impossible to say that one is any more true than another. Much has been decided by the people in positions of power at different times who were not infallible. I guess I don't have faith in them as opposed to faith in G-d.
     
  27. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    How patronizing. And presumptuous. And given that you were just recently lambasted in another thread for just that sort of attitude, it's disappointing that you didn't take the criticism to heart before you submitted that post.

    I know. My History class in ninth grade covered that as well.

    There are other possible sources besides histories such as Tacitus and Josephus wrote, as I am sure you know.

    I never said he was shilling for them or republishing sectarian documents. If you inferred it, it's because you are pursuing your own agenda rather than reading in a detached manner. As far as I can tell, you do that a lot.

    But what did he find there? What documents did he rely on?

    Modern historical scholarship requires something more than an unsourced statement about something that happened decades previously in a distant land, which is all that Tacitus offers.

    Again, the writings of people who believed that Jesus was the son of God are hardly objective sources to establish that even the earliest texts (which vary in their details) refer to one specific historical person.

    It's pointless to talk about how there is no contemporary source stating that Jesus did not exist. The issue framed upthread is whether there is evidence that he did. And all of the early evidence on that point is either (1) written by people who believed he was the son of God or (2) from close to a century after his ostensible death and unsourced.
     
    cholla and (deleted member) like this.
  28. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    The interview I posted with Bart Ehrman says basically the same thing agalisgv did, that scholars believe Jesus was an historical person. If you disagree with the scholarly consensus, Vagabond, maybe you could say more about why? Why do you think mainstream scholarship is wrong on this?
     
  29. DAngel

    DAngel Active Member

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    why is lacking a belief in God a leap of faith? :confused:
     
  30. Simone411

    Simone411 Just Flip-Flopping Around

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    I had seen this on the news today.

    There were several books left out or dismissed from the King James Version of the bible like The Gospel of Mary because of authenticity.

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospelmary.html

    The lost books from the Dead Sea Scrolls are other examples due to whether they were authentic or not. I'm referring to the carbon dating of the scrolls.

    There are several other books, gospels, that were also dismissed or left out, especially a collection referred to as the Apocrypha.

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/index.html

    The total list of the ancient New Testament Apocrypha is found here

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/apocrypha.html

    And here:

    http://www.interfaith.org/christianity/apocrypha/

    Another book is The Book of Jubilees:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/jub/index.htm