Did Jesus Have a Wife? I Don’t Buy It

Harvard Historian Karen King (photo credit: Evan McClinn for the NYT)

Harvard Historian Karen King (photo credit: Evan McClinn for the NYT)

Have you seen that Harvard historian Karen King discovered an ancient papyrus text in which Jesus allegedly uttered the phrase, “my wife.”  (Read here for the full explanation of King’s “discovery”.)  I hope that thousands of dollars are not being wasted on research to determine whether Jesus really had a wife.  Because, I can tell you right now, he didn’t.

I know what you are thinking: “She’s a mom, a blogger, a Costco-customer, a lawyer, and a Biblical scholar?”  No, I am not a Biblical scholar, but I don’t need to be.  Here’s how I know that Jesus didn’t have a wife:

Let’s start at the end and move backwards.

  • In Catholic school, I learned the stations of the cross and they scared the ever-living tar out of me every Lent.  There’s one station where Jesus falls with the cross on his back and some village women wipe his brow. (My details may be a little fuzzy here, because I am almost 40 years old.)  You’re telling me he had a wife who was (1) not by his side as he walked to his death, and (2) let other strange women wipe his brow?  No way.
  • What about the Last Supper? I have seen the painting: That was an all-male dining experience.  If Jesus had a wife, do you think she would let him have a boys night out right before his final days on Earth? As important as his apostles were to him, wouldn’t she demand an invite to the dinner?  At least for some appetizers or the bread-flesh course?
  • Those robes.  I know it was a different time and place when Jesus walked the planet.  But, if he had to wear those long, flowy garments, why did they all have to be that off-white color?  He was the KING OF THE JEWS, didn’t he deserve some jewel tones?  No way did Jesus have a wife– she would have definitely thrown in some blue or ruby-colored robes every now and then.  Also, he deserved some sturdier shoes (not those pre-Birkenstock sandals) for his work on Earth; a wife would have made that happen.
  • The nuns taught me that Jesus never succumbed to the sins of the flesh (which meant we should never, ever French kiss or even think about sex).  Excuse me, but can you have a wife if you never consummate the marriage?  I know he was busy preaching his Gospel and performing miracles, which is literally God’s work, so how did he fit in time to cuddle and nurture a marital relationship?  If he died a virgin, which Sister Mary Frances swore he did, he must have been an amazing cuddler.  That takes time, and after a long day of raising Lazarus and saving fallen women from the villagers who wanted to stone her, I just can’t picture cuddling with this alleged wife.

It would be mind-blowing for me (and lots of others), however, if it turns out to be true.  I am all for expanding my understanding of religious figures and Jesus-as-husband might be good for women’s rights.

Karen L. King’s research on this subject is fascinating but not complete.  I would like her to discover more text about Jesus’ relationship with his wife.  Specifically, if she could find passages where he talked about the importance of thanking his wife for all she does for him while he’s out saving the world (or golfing on the other side of Galilee), that would be stellar.  Oh, also, she should excavate the passages where Jesus said that the glass ceiling is bullshit and should be smashed like the tables in the Temple.

Bonus points: Any passage where Jesus warns men that they should obey their wives, pick up their socks from the floor, and keep politicians’ grimy hands of women’s bodies.  (PS: Ms. King, please find that last part before November’s election.)

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28 thoughts on “Did Jesus Have a Wife? I Don’t Buy It

  1. the scariest thing about this whole discovery is that what if Dan Brown was right? I hated that book with a deep & abiding passion – some of the worst writing EVER (and then along came Fifty Shades of Grey…) & if you’ve ever looked at his other books, they’re all versions of the same damn plot. So PLEASE let this be a big mistake – maybe Peter, Paul, or any of those other dudes had a wife. Just do not validate Dan Brown. Is that too much to ask?

    • So with you. Once as a joke a guy I was dating bought me a Dan Brown book. We broke up that night. I do not suffer Dan Brown. So. With. You.

      BTW, saw EL James on the Katie Couric show. Not at all what I expected, but I digress and I guess I just admitted I watch daytime TV, so there’s that.

  2. I think this is hysterical, and wickedly clever. And what follows does not apply to this post, but in allegiance to my husband, who is mortified for the scholar – since she released the finding to get people to weigh in not flip out – I will highlight this part of the article:

    “Dr. King has reiterated that the fragment is not proof that Jesus was married because it was most likely written three and a half centuries after his death, making it historically unreliable. She has emphasized that the fragment is merely a glimpse of a discussion among early Christians about whether their savior was married or celibate.”

    When research hits the soundbite, people FREAK!

  3. I find this story fascinating, way more fascinating than when people see images of the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich. (I once made a pancake that looked remarkably like Buzz Lightyear, but that’s whole other story…)

  4. See, now, I would have totally said you were a Biblical scholar. You should have just let us all believe that. You made some great points here, by the way. I am pretty sure if Jesus had a wife she also would have demanded he cut his hair. Something tells me no wife wants a husband with better hair than she has.

  5. I’m sorry, but he so couldn’t have had a wife because she would have taught him and hence all males after him to put down the toilet seat. Or whatever lids they had before toilets.

  6. Pingback: Cite Simon

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