In a new book called The Lost Gospel, written by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson, the authors make the claim that not only was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene, but that they had two children. They have arrived at this conclusion with the help of a 1,500 year old papyrus found in the British Library. The papyrus contains references to two people named Joseph and Aseneth, and Jacobovici and Wilson have taken these as being codenames for Jesus and Mary. This may sound like a stretch, but the fact that the evidence is laughably weak should not bother us too much as it supplies us with a good opportunity to riff on the impact that such a revelation would have on Christianity and its teachings.
In the papyrus, Jesus and Mary are referred to respectively as “the son of God” and “the daughter of God”. Setting aside the mildly incestuous undertones, the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married (or at least enjoyed the act of being physically entwined) will be familiar to those of us who have read Dan Brown’s abysmal but shamefully addictive bestseller, The Da Vinci Code.
Crackpots and Genocide
Eccentrics are ubiquitous in religious circles, and so the main achievement of Jacobovici and Wilson has been to become known as crackpots in a field that is already full of them. I always welcome these kinds of conspiracy theories as they suggest that Jesus might have been a little more interesting and complicated than the boring goody two-shoes that he is often portrayed as having been.
The writers of the Bible should shoulder most of the blame for this depiction. It is not lacking in violence; in fact the benevolent and all-loving God of the Old Testament often calls for genocide. But sex is a disappointing absence for those who attempt to endure the tedium of that seemingly never-ending book.
Jesus and Sex
There is no mention of a wife in any of the four Gospels, but this is not the only reason that Christians have been slightly reluctant to admit that Jesus might have had a penis. St Augustine was instrumental in inculcating into Christians a prim and proper (and evasive) attitude to, dare I say it, sex. And so the suggestion that their charitable leader, who is often praised and revered for his restraint in material matters, might himself have been susceptible to base human impulses, has been met with a little resistance from Christian scholars.
Jacobovici and Wilson even go on to suggest that Jesus’s main message was related to the redemptive power of sex, which is difficult to square with Christianity’s general squeamishness about all things below the waist.
Much fun can be had when imagining Jesus’ sex life. However, the thought experiment can be taken too far. It can be a little baffling to wonder what, before Mary entered his life, “material” he might have used to gain temporary relief, and what one-handed books he and his cohort passed around in hushed tones.
One also wonders whether Jesus’s last supper was followed by a last consummation. The possibility that he had children also offers up plenty to be thinking about. There will no doubt be many who claim to be the direct descendant of Jesus and Mary, and some of these may even get airtime on FOX news or other such reputable and fact-based news channels.
“He’s not the messiah. He’s a very naughty boy.”
It may be sadistic of me, but how I yearn for the “discovery” that Jesus once paid for an abortion after a premature “It’ll be fine” moment of unprotected ‘Holy’ communion. I also dream of the time in the (hopefully not too distant) future when a stone tablet containing Jesus’s “Ten Commandments of Sexual Etiquette” is unearthed. “Thou shalt give before thee receive” may be the first commandment, written when Jesus was in between girlfriends and looking to improve his attractiveness to potential future lovers.
I seem to be getting carried away, and so I leave you with this thought: according to Matthew 5:28, Jesus said, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” It is pleasing to imagine that gentle Jesus, ever meek and mild, might have committed ‘adultery’ with a more practical organ than his heart.