Last week we talked about the Gospel of Philip and its reference to Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene. A scandalous post. But fun. This week we dug out some other posts from Bart Ehrman speculating on whether Jesus was married or not.
- Cultural standards? Some sources (and we have probably cited them here) have said that most Jewish men in the time of Jesus were married, and it would be highly unlikely for Jesus not to be married. However, it was not impossible for a Jewish man to be single in those days. The Jewish sect called the Essenes for example. Paul himself openly declares in 1 Corinthians that he is single and celibate (the text is silent on whether that was by his choice or not; Paul was a bit of a boor … and a bore … at times).
- Mary featured after the Resurrection. Out of all four gospels, Mary Magdalene is mentioned only once as being present during Jesus’ entire public ministry. The passage is Luke 8:1-3, where we are told that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna, along with a large group of other women, financially supported Jesus and his disciples. That’s it! That’s what it says. She is not singled out as special in any way to Jesus. But Mary M takes on a more prominent role after Jesus’ resurrection. Specifically,she was with the first group of women who found the empty tomb.
- Inconsistent with other mentions of Jesus’ family. Mary M is always called “Magdalene” in order to identify which Mary she is (Magdala is a town along the Sea of Galilee). She is not Mary the mother of Jesus, or Mary the sister of Martha of Bethany, or Mary the mother of Joses. She is never identified as Mary, the wife of Jesus. If they were married, that would be inconsistent with other parts of the gospels that talk freely about Jesus’ other family members.
So, even though it’s not as much fun to speculate about, at least according to Dr. Ehrman, Jesus and Mary M probably did not have a ‘thing’ going on.