Did Jesus Have a Wife?

The Da Vinci Code book and movie made popular the idea that Jesus was married and had children, although that idea had circulated in many forms before that.  Now a scholar is putting forward a new discovered text that seems to speak of a wife of Jesus.  You can read the article here.  Karen King will be publishing her findings in an upcoming issue of Harvard Theological Review.

How does this affect our understanding of the historical Jesus?  It doesn’t.  If you read the article closely, Karen King is not suggesting that the historical Jesus was married.  The text was actually written centuries after Jesus lived.  All this text (may) say is that some early Christians could have had a tradition about Jesus being married.  If you read other literature from the second to the fourth century, this is actually a fairly tame claim about Jesus.  There are some pretty wild claims about Jesus in many of the Gnostic writings of the time.

Something else to keep in mind is that this text is very fragmentary.  We really do not know what is being said here and what the context of it is.  Is this a biographical narrative of Jesus’ family life, is it a parable, is it an allegory or is it something else?  We don’t know and likely will never know.

In conclusion, no need to go and plan a wedding shower for Jesus and his wife.

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