I don’t know what it is about some people who just want to see the Bible twisted, torn and pulled apart in any way possible.
Not only do Bible-believing conservatives get treated to the Left’s pronouncements on what Jesus would do, how the Ten Commandments are no longer relevant, and how we’re all hypocrites for not sacrificing white doves, etc. ad nauseum, but it seems that about every 10 to 15 years, someone comes out with “earth-shaking” new claims that “prove” Jesus was married and had kids.
The most famous recent one was Dan Brown’s highly successful “The DaVinci Code,” which many, many people took for non-fiction. At the heart of that novel was the oft-told, never-substantiated claim that in the early fourth century, Emperor Constantine bullied the world’s bishops into accepting just four Gospels as canonical, when there had been dozens floating around.
Before “The DaVinci Code,” there was “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” and there were other books long before that. I’ve seen books from the early 1900s that talked about the Grail, the lineage of Jesus, the Templars, Constantine and all of it.
Now, there’s “The Lost Gospel,” the latest “bombshell” book to retread this soggy ground. The authors, York University professor Barrie Wilson and writer Simcha Jacobovic, claim that their discovery is based on their finding of a translation of a 1,500-year-old document that says Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had two kids. Further, the document supposedly reveals an attempt on Jesus’ life before the crucifixion and on his children’s lives. The authors also claim that early Christianity was not Jesus’ cult, but that of Mary, who was a foreign priestess.
That’s a lot of paradigm shifting, but not to fear, that crazy Emperor Constantine successfully buried it all.
The proclaimed reason for that fantasized version of the Council of Nicea is that Constantine wanted to excise all positive mentions of women (because Christians hate women), and he wanted to cover up THE GREATEST, MOST SHOCKING SCANDAL OF ALL TIME — that Jesus was married and had kids, and presumably their descendants led to Constantine.
There are several problems with this scenario, not the least of which is why you would care what anyone thought about your ancestors when you already had the Roman army at your command, or how an emperor would find time to rewrite all of the New Testament.
The most glaring problem is, of course, the dates. Jesus died in the first century, around 30 A.D. The four Gospels and the core letters of Paul were all written before the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., as is clear from contextual information. Even if you didn’t have that, Irenaeus in 170 A.D. says there are only four accepted Gospels.
The Council of Nicea wasn’t convened until about 300 years after Jesus. Far from being a mishmash of Gnostics preaching from a hundred gospels, these were solid Christian bishops who were united in their beliefs and concern about heresies, thus producing the unified statement that is known as the Nicene Creed.
The authors of “The Lost Gospel” dig themselves an even deeper hole than usual, however, because their translation, they claim, was in code, and the text doesn’t even use the names Jesus or Mary, but Joseph and Aseneth, who are two characters from the Old Testament the authors claim are stand-ins for Jesus and Mary.
“There is now written evidence that Jesus was married to Mary the Magdalene and that they had children together. … Gathering dust in the British Library is a document that takes us into the missing years of Jesus’s life,” proclaims the book’s blurb.
There are some very good reasons it was gathering dust. Check the new book out from your local library if you must, but save your money.