New Historian

Contentious Book Claims Jesus Married

Mary Magdalene

<![CDATA[Jesus married Mary Magdalene and their union produced two children, according to a controversial book published on Wednesday. It also claims Jesus survived an assassination attempt, and was well connected with powerful political figures in the Roman Empire. The book, The Lost Gospel, written by Simcha Jacobovici, an Isreali-Canadian writer and film-maker, and Barrie Wilson, Professor of Religious Studies at York University in Toronto, is being hailed as a surprise revelation. It follows the path trodden by works such as The Da Vinci Code and The Last Temptation of Christ by portraying Jesus as a married man. The Lost Gospel sets out its message from the very start. It opens with the statement "What the Vatican feared - and what Dan Brown only suspected - has come true. There is now written evidence that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had children together." Evidence for this claim lies in a manuscript buried in the British Library. Written on parchment in Syriac, a Middle Eastern literary language with similarities to Aramaic, the manuscript is known as 'The Ecclesiastical History of Zacharias Rhetor.' It was purchased from an Egyptian monastery in 1847 by the British Museum, who later moved it to the British Library. Wilson and Jacobovici claim the manuscript is a sixth-century copy of a previously unknown gospel. Following the works of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, this fifth gospel reveals how Jesus became engaged, got married and fathered children, according to The Lost Gospel's authors. Wilson and Jacobovici add that they are not seeking to attack the Christian faith, merely comment on what is contained in the manuscript. While Wilson and Jacobovici's manuscript may be a new discovery, the content of the text has been widely known for sometime. "It's a well-known ancient text, often called Joseph and Aseneth. Most scholars consider it a Jewish story, although it was possibly edited or even composed by Christians," Greg Carey, Professor of the New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary, said in an interview with Discovery News. Wilson and Jacobovici have interpreted the tale of the Old Testament character Joseph, and his Egyptian wife Aseneth, as a disguised account of Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene. Their claim relies on a newly-translated passage which describes the couple's wedding ceremony. The manuscript says the union was celebrated by the Pharaoh of Egypt himself, who said to Aseneth, "Blessed are you by the Lord God of Joseph, because he is the first-born of God, and you will be called the Daughter of God Most High and the bride of Joseph now and for ever." Wilson and Jacobovici's book is, however, being viewed sceptically. "Jacobovici has made some pretty outlandish claims in his time, but this latest one may just be the most incredible," Professor Mark Goodacre, from Duke University, told Discovery News. The majority of existing evidence suggests that Jesus was celibate and encouraged his followers to behave similarly. "We have no evidence for Jesus being married or fathering children. That is not to rule out the possibility. However, the gospels provide the strong impression that Jesus was celibate," Professor Carey said. Wilson and Jacobovici's contentious work makes some interesting claims which challenge accepted accounts of how Jesus lived. The publication of their book adds another layer of mystery to modern understandings of Jesus' life.]]>

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