Was Jesus Married?


 

What Are We
Really Looking For?

There is a great need in our culture for symbols of balance and wholeness. Hence the popularity of books like The DaVinci Code, and Holy Blood, Holy Grail, despite their historical inaccuracies.

Readers of these books are enticed by the prospect of ancient artifacts proving that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married---even though this evidence can only be, in the final analysis, fictional. 

People are always looking outside themselves for an answer that can only be found within. What are we really looking for? 

We yearn for symbols and stories that help us to remember who we really are, or who we have the potential to become. The image of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as enlightened lovers is the same archetype that we find in the Song of Solomon---a symbol of the ecstatic union of male and female in God, and an invitation to participate more fully in the eternal love story that connects all others. In an article on Tantric yoga, this union was described by Alan Watts, as follows:

"in an embrace of this kind, all considerations of time and place, of what and who, drop away" and they discover in themselves "the primordial 'love that makes the world go round.' There is an extraordinary melting sensation ... and, 'seeing their eyes reflected in each other's, they realize that there is one Self looking out through both... The conceptual boundary between male and female, self and other, dissolves, and---as every spoke leads to the hub---this particular embrace on the this particular day discloses itself as going on forever, behind the scenes."

--- Alan Watts, On Tantric Yoga
"Erotic Spirituality,"1971, p. 89

Was Jesus Married?

More fundamental than the question of whether or not Jesus was married, is the question of whether or not Jesus existed at all. Robert M. Price and Earl Doherty, among other "mythicist" historians, argue that, in all likelihood, he did not. 

One of the mythicists' most compelling arguments is the simple fact that none of the earliest first century letter writers, including Paul of Tarsus, ever mentions any of the miraculous events that later came to be associated with Jesus' life on earth. Paul never mentions the virgin birth, for example, and makes no reference to the stories of Jesus walking on water, multiplying loaves and fishes, healing the sick, or raising the dead... even though this evidence of supernatural power would have helped him to disarm Jewish skepticism, and charm credulous Greeks and Romans... whose oral and literary traditions teemed with similar miraculous stories of heroes and gods. In fact, nothing in the letters of Paul identifies Jesus as a real historical figure who recently walked the earth. Read without superimposing the later gospel stories, Paul's letters convey his belief in an entirely supernatural being who... like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris... died and was resurrected in an entirely supernatural realm. 

In the face of Paul's silence regarding miracles, some apologists argue that Paul was simply not interested in the biographical details of Jesus' life. However, as Doherty points out, the recipients of his letters... the budding Christian communities, and the prospective converts that he was writing to... certainly would have been; no less so than later Christians who treasured and preserved the gospels. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that Paul could have written so many thousands of words without ever making a single offhand remark referring to some time and place in Christ's earthly life.

In his book, The Jesus Puzzle, Doherty attempts to reconstruct the complex historical process by which several literary and philosophical- religious traditions combined to form the Jesus narrative. Here is a brief outline of his argument:

[1] Jesus of Nazareth and the Gospel story cannot be found in Christian writings earlier than the Gospels, the first of which (Mark) was composed only in the late first century.

[2] There is no non-Christian record of Jesus before the second century. References in Flavius Josephus (end of first century) can be dismissed as later Christian insertions.

[3] The early epistles, such as Paul and Hebrews, speak of their Christ Jesus as a spiritual, heavenly being revealed by God through scripture, and do not equate him with a recent historical man. Paul is part of a new "salvation" movement acting on revelation from the Spirit.

[4] Paul and other early writers place the death and resurrection of their Christ in the supernatural/mythical world, and derive their information about these events, as well as other features of their heavenly Christ, from scripture.

[5] The ancients viewed the universe as multi-layered: matter below, spirit above. The higher world was regarded as the superior, genuine reality, containing spiritual processes and heavenly counterparts to earthly things. Paul's Christ operates within this system.

[6] The pagan "mystery cults" of the period worshiped savior deities who had performed salvific acts which took place in the supernatural/mythical world, not on earth or in history. Paul's Christ shares many features with these deities.

[7] The prominent philosophical-religious concept of the age was the intermediary Son, a spiritual channel between the ultimate transcendent God and humanity. Such intermediary concepts as the Greek Logos and Jewish Wisdom were models for Paul's heavenly Christ.

[8] All the Gospels derive their basic story of Jesus of Nazareth from one source: whoever wrote the Gospel of Mark. The Act of the Apostles, as an account of the beginnings of the Christian apostolic movement, is a second century piece of myth-making.

[9] The Gospels are no historical accounts, but constructed through a process of "midrash," a Jewish method of reworking old biblical passages and tales to reflect new beliefs. The story of Jesus' trial and crucifixion is a pastiche of verses from scripture.

[10] "Q", a lost sayings collecttion extracted from Matthew and Luke, made no reference to a death and resurrection and can be shown to have had no Jesus at its roots: roots which were ultimately non-Jewish. The Q community preached the kingdom of God, and its traditions were eventually assigned to an invented founder who was linked to the heavenly Jesus of Paul in the Gospel of Mark.

[11] The initial variety of sects and beliefs about a spiritual Christ shows that the movement began as a multiplicity of largely independent and spontaneous developments based on the religious trends and philosophy of the time, not as a response to a single individual.

[12] Well into the second century, many Christian documents lack or reject the notion of a human man as an element of their faith. Only gradually did the Jesus of Nazareth portrayed in the Gospels come to be accepted as historical.

--- Earl Doherty, 
The Jesus Puzzle, 1999, p. vii

Reflections On My Own Journey

What follows is my earlier exploration of this issue, before I discovered The Jesus Puzzle. Even for those who believe in the historicity of Jesus, there are good reasons for keeping an open mind on the question of whether or not Jesus was married. If you are looking for an in-depth, scholarly exploration of this issue, read Was Jesus Married? and The Sexuality of Jesus, by William E. Phipps.

Also, you might want to read this article in conjunction with Elaine Pagel's online review of The Da Vinci Code. And for those who have an interest in early Christianity, I highly recommend: When Jesus Became God, by Richard E. Rubenstein; and The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels. 

All of these historians appreciate the significance of diversity and dissension in the earliest stages of Christianity. From the very beginning, there were bitter ideological battles between the proponents of various versions of Christ's life and teachings. And their differences were not trivial, but focused on such central questions as whether or not Jesus really claimed to be the only son of God. Mainstream Christians (if they are aware of these feuds at all) generally assume that, with the help of God, the true version of Christianity must have prevailed. Some of us are less impressed, however, by battles that have been won by burning books and "heretics," rather than by reasoned argument. 

Even the Bible itself cautions its readers against the presumption that the scriptures are protected by God from error:

"Look! the scriptures have been changed by dishonest scribes." (Jeremiah 8:8)

The first generation of Christians, would be thoroughly perplexed by modern beliefs and practices regarding Jesus. Dozens of books and letters considered authentic by the Jewish Christian Ebionites and other early groups were destroyed or consigned to oblivion by censure and neglect. As Christianity migrated into Hellenic culture, where there was a long tradition of gods being born of virgins and walking the Earth in human form, there was considerable pressure to leave out any writings suggesting that Jesus was a great, but merely human, prophet of God, as in the earliest Jewish-Christian opinion. 

The original message of Jesus was seriously compromised when Constantine yoked Christianity to the temporal power of Rome. Under the auspices of "the ruler of this world" (Matt. 4:8-9), a series of councils were convened to separate the wheat from the chaff of early Christian writings. These councils drew a circle excluding most of the documents that had inspired the earliest Christians, and established the tenets of a new state religion. In addition to the obvious questions regarding their impartiality and good faith, it should be born in mind that their idea of evidence was rather different from ours. The second century theologian, Irenaeus, for example, argued that only four of the early writings were genuine---Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--- because (according to the science of the time) there were four principal winds and four pillars that hold up the sky.

With these considerations in mind, it seems reasonable to conclude that there simply isn't enough evidence to draw a definite conclusion on the question of whether or not Jesus was married ---too much of the evidence of Jesus' life and teachings was lost or destroyed during the internecine battles of the first four centuries, or during the age of barbarism and cultural darkness that followed the fall of Rome. So, in the second part of this article, I've tried to sidestep this lacuna by examining the coherency of the mainstream belief system itself, and placing the "marriage question" in a larger context; namely: Is God a masculine spirit with no feminine counterpart?

Was Jesus Married? Part 1

According to ancient Christian manuscripts discovered in 1945, Mary Magdalene was not only Jesus' most enlightened disciple, but also his most intimate companion. Here is a key passage from the Gospel of Philip:

The companion of the savior is Mary Magdalene. And Jesus loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often... The rest of the disciples were jealous, and said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?''

In her review of The Da Vinci Code, Professor Pagels cautions against reading too much into this passage: "Those who have studied the Gospel of Philip see it as a mystical text and don't take the suggestion that Jesus had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene literally." 

Pagels' cautious and evenhanded critique is a mark of true scholarship; however, there are some additional caveats that could be joined with hers. There is, for example, the possibility that the author(s) of the Gospel of Philip might have sublimated and mystified what was in fact a real attraction. Historians of religion, and people in general, should ask themselves how likely it is that Christ's disciples were privy to the most intimate moments of his life.

Since none of Christ's own writings were miraculously preserved by God, everything we think we know about him is second hand---filtered through the beliefs and opinions of several very different schools of thought, and drastically reduced to the four canonical gospels, Acts, and the Pauline and pesudo-Pauline letters. Also bear in mind that, as the story of Jesus spread throughout the surrounding Hellenistic culture, it was blended with a dualism of body and spirit that was very un-Jewish. Although there were celibate Hebrew communities like the Essenes, the notions that sexuality and spirituality are incompatible; that celibacy is more pleasing to God than marriage; that Jesus could not be both holy and sexual, were more likely Hellenistic inversions of the earliest expressions of Christianity.

Arguments From Silence

Mary of Magdala figures prominently, even in the canonical Gospels. By some accounts, when Jesus was crucified, most of his disciples kept themselves hidden, but Mary suffered with him through his agony on the cross. She was the first to seek out the place where he was buried, and the first to see him after his resurrection. According to John 20:15, Jesus spoke to her, as she was crying by his tomb in the darkness; but she was so distraught that she did not recognize him at first. Thinking that he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Who was this woman who felt that she had the right to claim Jesus' body?

The wedding in Cana may have been Jesus' own wedding. All the evidence in the gospels suggests that his parents were observant Jews. According to custom, Jesus' father would have arranged a marriage for him while he was still young. God's first commandment, recorded in Genesis, was to "be fruitful and multiply," and, generally speaking, men were not considered mature enough to counsel others, as rabbis, unless they had wives and children of their own. An explanation would have been called for, if Jesus had not followed this customary path, and in all likelihood, that explanation would have been remembered and transmitted by the first Christians as a matter of importance. 

Likewise, if Jesus taught that celibacy was preferable to marriage, he would have been vehemently challenged, and his arguments recorded and quoted by Paul, and the earliest evangelists. It is highly unlikely that Paul would have failed to quote the Master or cite his example, if Jesus never married, or if he said anything at all that could be used to support Paul's advice in 1 Cor. 7: 9:

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves , they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

But if Jesus was married, how do we explain the absence of direct evidence? In addition to the sex-negativity of those who preserved his words and deeds, we should also take into account that, after his execution, his friends and relatives would have been extremely reticent and highly motivated to hide his wife and children from the Romans. All the more so if he was believed to be an heir to the throne of David. For these reasons, and many others cited by professor Phipps, it is reasonable to keep an open mind on the issue of Jesus' marital status.

Some of these arguments are characterized by mainstream apologists as weak and unpersuasive "arguments from silence," because they rely on circumstantial, rather than direct, evidence. But it seems rather disingenuous to complain about lack of evidence, in view of the religious establishment's long history of book burning and violent intimidation. And it is especially ironic that demands for more direct evidence should come from people who insist that their own extraordinary claims---the immaculate conception for example---should be accepted on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

Was Jesus Married? Part 2

Ever since the council of Nicea, nearly 300 years after Jesus' death, the central premise of mainstream Christianity has been that Jesus was the earthly embodiment of God. So, asking whether or not Jesus was married is rather like asking whether or not God was married---an outlandish idea to many Christians. But as a matter of fact, there was a time, in the ancient days of Judeo-Christianity, when our ancestors believed that Yahweh had a female counterpart---a goddess. And although it may sound shocking, this primitive notion is actually more rational than the commonly accepted modern belief.

Mainstream Christianity characterizes God as a bodiless masculine spirit. But if, as some people say, God is a pure spirit residing in a purely spiritual, sexless heaven, then what does his masculinity consist of, if he has no bodily parts? And what does this masculinity exist in relation to, if he has no feminine counterpart? The dominant version of Christianity characterizes the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) as a species comprised of males only. Everywhere in nature males function in relation to females, and, without this functional reference, maleness becomes a meaningless abstraction---like up without down, and hard without soft. Yet for most Christians, the one and only God is a "he," not a "she." We hear of "God the father," without reference to "God the mother." 

Does it really make any sense to say that God is limitless, omniscient, and omnipresent; yet somehow, masculine only, and not feminine? Is this not a profound self-contradiction? If the Source of life is truely limitless, it must contain within itself both male and female. This symmetry was represented in king Solomon's time by the loving relationship of a god and a goddess, Yahweh and Asherah.

This might sound like dread polytheism; yet, many people who consider themselves monotheists are comfortable with the idea (mentioned earlier) that the Godhead is comprised of multiple persons. How odd then that, despite the common belief in an omnipresent, all-encompassing God, none of these persons is female.

According to Raphael Patai and A. Marmorstein, the two concepts "Shekhina" and "Holy Spirit" were used synonymously during the Talmudic period of Jewish history, and refered to the feminine aspect of God. [1] However, Catholic dogma proclaims that the Holy Ghost is masculine:

Though really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is consubstantial with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.

The Catholic Encyclopedia

Officially then, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are members of the only "known" species consisting of males only; whose non-physical masculinity exists without any feminine complement or counterpart---like up without down, or hard without soft. Ironically, the defenders of this flight of the imagination suddenly become models of scientific rigor when they turn to the question of whether or not Jesus was married.

The nearest equivalent to a goddess in Christianity is Mary, "the mother of God". But the woman who provided Jesus with a human body is not (according to mainstream theology) a primordial being who existed "with God in the beginning," as Christ is believed to have done. She is not, like Christ, considered to be a primordial power through whom "all things were made." (John 1:3) Mary does, however, fill the psychological need for an image of divinity with a friendly feminine face (as the intercessor between wretched humanity and the stern medieval lord on high); yet she is not officially interchangeable with the Holy Ghost, and is not officially recognized as a member of the Holy Trinity. 

The Goddess of love---erotic love---has been suppressed in Christianity, but there was a time when she had full status. Human existence was understood as part of a primordial love story between the male and female aspects of the Source of Life. In his book, The Hebrew Goddess, Raphael Patai concluded that the Hebrew Goddess, (Asherah / Anath / Astarte)....

was deeply established in the lives of the Hebrew people, in various forms, from the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian Exile. From about 400 BC---after the post-Exilic reforms of Ezra---she seems to vanish, although, curiously, her image still remains in the Holy of Holies of the Second Temple."

...even from the beginning there were two images of divinity in the Ark: both Yahweh and his consort---possibly the Canaanite goddess...

[According to Philo] one of the Cherubim in the Temple represented a male, the other a female figure. This is consonant with the Talmudic tradition.... according to which the Cherubim couple was shown in marital embrace in a sculpture which stood in the Holy of Holies of the Second Temple.(p. 78)

After the destruction of the First Temple and the building of the Second Temple, the cherubim in the Holy of Holies were believed to reflect the male and female aspects of Yahweh. Later still, before the destruction of the Second Temple, figures of the male and the female cherubim embracing, which stood in the Holy of Holies, reflected the union of Yahweh with the Community of Israel, his bride.

Raphael Patai, "The Hebrew Goddess"

The synthesis of goddess and god, as facets of one all-encompassing Source of Life, was complicated by the goddess Asherah's association with Canaanite religion and matriarchal social structure. Thus the worship of Asherah was opposed by a faction of kings and prophets who were devoted exclusively to Yahweh, and during those periods when they held power, they attempted to abolish the worship of other deities, including Asherah. (See the story of king Josiah) Over the course of several hundred years, the statue of Asherah was repeatedly removed and reinstalled in the Solomonic temple. Despite the sometimes violent opposition, her statue graced the temple for 236 years, nearly two-thirds of the time that the temple stood in Jersusalem. All in all, "the Hebrew nation remained devoted from the days of the conquest of Canaan down to the Babylonian exile, a period of roughly six centuries."

By suppressing the idea of a divine feminine as an aspect of God, mainstream religious institutions have reinforced and sustained the social subordination of women---with disasterous consequences for culture and society. There is no way that this system could have been maintained without violence and the threat of violence; thus allusions to the "divine feminine" have had to be carefully worded:

What does God do all day long? He gives birth. From the beginning of eternity God lies on a maternity bed giving birth to the All. God is creating this whole universe, full and entire, in this present moment.

---Meister Eckhart

What pronoun would Eckhart have used, if he hadn't been living in a era when teachers who strayed too far from orthodoxy were burned at the stake? At the age of 68, Eckhart himself was tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII. A confession of error was extracted under duress, and although he was not condemned to death, he died in the papal prison before his trial could be concluded.

Did Jesus, like Eckhart, ever allude to the divine feminine? According to The Secret Book of John he did. After Constantine put an end to the Roman persecution of Christians, and established Christianity as the state religion, Christians were free enlist the power of the state to persecute each other. The Secret Book of John was one of the early texts that had to be hidden away in the desert to preserve it from book-burners like Bishop Irenaeus and Archbishop Athanasius.

In her article The Truth at the Heart of the Da Vinci Code, Elaine Pagels suggests that perhaps the worst blasphemy of all, in the so-called heretical gospels, was that they spoke of God using both masculine and feminine imagery:

The Secret Book of John tells how the disciple John, grieving after Jesus was crucified, suddenly saw a vision of a brilliant light, from which he heard Jesus' voice speaking to him:

"John, John, why do you weep? Don't you recognize who I am? I am the Father; I am the Mother; and I am the Son."

After a moment of shock, John realizes that the divine Trinity includes not only Father and Son but also the divine Mother, which John sees as the Holy Spirit, the feminine manifestation of the divine.

In his book, "The Lost Religion Of Jesus," Keith Akers argues that it was the earliest followers of Jesus, the Jewish Christians, who understood Jesus better than any of the gentile Christian groups. Although Jewish Christianity had hardly liberated itself from patriarchy, it did accept the idea of the divine feminine:

Jesus refers to the holy spirit as his mother in the Gospel According to the Hebrews, a gospel used by both the Ebionites and by the Nazoraeans. The Homilies speak of the "Wisdom" or "Sophia" of God as if it were part of God's feminine aspect (16.12). The Elchasaites, another Jewish Christian group, believed that the Holy Spirit was female and was either the equal of Christ or his sister (Panarion 30.17.6, 53.1.9). All of this makes sense because it is in accordance with Hebrew, which spoke of the holy spirit or divine presence, the shekinah, as feminine.

Since so much of the early literature was destroyed by misogynistic heretic-hunters, the evidence for this balanced view of God in early Christianity is not abundant. There is, however, plenty of evidence that women were systematically divested of the authority that Jesus accorded to them, and intentionally written out of early Christian history. See Karen King's article: Women In Ancient Christianity: The New Discoveries. Also see Bart Ehrman's book, "Misquoting Jesus." According to professor Ehrman, the bible was altered in non-trivial ways by the scribes who copied it. Marginal notes made by copyists were incorporated as God's word, and words were altered in ways that profoundly affected doctrine. For example, women's names were eliminated or masculinized because scribes couldn't believe that women held positions of authority in early Christian communities. 

Did Jesus use both masculine and feminine imagery in his references to God, as claimed by the The Secret Book of John and the Jewish Christian texts? The scarcity of evidence must be weighed against the Church's propensity for destroying evidence. But, on a more a priori level, does it really make any sense to pray to "our Father in heaven," if there is not also a Mother in heaven? The idea of masculine without feminine is an impossible abstraction like up without down, or hard without soft. It makes more sense to suppose that the ultimate Source of Life contains within itself both masculine and feminine---just as light contains all colors. 

Jesus' comment, "I am the vine and you are the branches," tends to support this view. Branches are inherent in the vine, just as colors are inherent in light. These metaphors express the idea of our fundamental continuity with God, and, in the case of great pioneers of consciousness like Jesus and Eckhart, they point to the possibility of oneness with God: an experience that is at the heart of all great spiritual traditions, not just Christianity. The vinelike "body of Christ" is sometimes understood too narrowly as the Church itself---the communion of believers---but that is not how it was understood by mystics like Eckhart and Francis of Assissi, for example. Francis felt a kinship with all life, and Eckhart saw God's immanence in all beings:

The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge... God is nearer to me than I am to myself.

In her review of the Da Vinci Code, Professor Pagels asks: what were the alleged heresies that so provoked churchmen like Athanasius and Irenaeus. In addition to their fair and balanced use of masculine and feminine descriptions of God, many of the suppressed gospels suggest that the way to God can be found by anyone who seeks. 

According to the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus suggests that when we come to know ourselves at the deepest level, we come to know God: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.'' This message---to seek for oneself ---was not one that bishops like Irenaeus appreciated: Instead, he insisted, one must come to God through the church, "outside of which,'' he said, "there is no salvation.''

Second, in texts that the bishops called "heresy,'' Jesus appears as human, yet one through whom the light of God now shines. So, according to the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, 

"I am the light that is before all things; I am all things; all things come forth from me; all things return to me. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up a rock, and you will find me there.'' 

To Irenaeus, the thought of the divine energy manifested through all creation, even rocks and logs, sounded dangerously like pantheism. People might end up thinking that they could be like Jesus themselves and, in fact, the Gospel of Philip says, "Do not seek to become a Christian, but a Christ.''

As Irenaeus read this, it was not mystical language, but "an abyss of madness, and blasphemy against Christ.''

Pagels

Yet, this suppressed wisdom from the Gospels of Thomas and Philip is entirely consistent with Meister Eckhart's insights, with the insights of mystics from other spiritual traditions, and with Jesus' own comments in the canonical gospels regarding "the kingdom of heaven within" and "the vine and the branches."

The Book Of Nature

Who were the first to be born in the mystery of self and other? Who were the first to give and receive love? Who are the primordial lovers, through whom all things come into being? According to John 1:3, Jesus is the masculine spirit "through whom all things were made." If you accept this premise, and if you agree that masculine without feminine is an impossible abstraction (like up without down), then it is reasonable to ask: who is Jesus' female counterpart? This is the sort of question that I would expect to arise naturally in a religion of love and untethered wonder, where theology is undistorted by violent suppression. 

Everywhere in nature, complex life-forms are propagated through the union of male and female. If the Source of Life, like any other artist, is reflected in its creations, then the book of nature seems to be at odds with the Bible. Which testament is more likely to be true? Which one has been (until recently) most resistent to human tampering?

It makes more sense to postulate a Trinity comprised of male and female emanations from a single androgyous Source. The common concept of Trinity seems like a poor imitation of this, designed to project onto heaven the injustice of an earthly order where women have been treated like second class citizens, or worse. A Godhead comprised of male and female emanations from an androgyous Source is no more polytheistic than the trinitarian concept of three persons in one God. In fact, if the Holy Ghost is recognized as the conspicuously absent feminine divine, then why should it be difficult for those who believe that Jesus is the masculine spirit "through whom all things were made" to entertain the possibility that he might have a feminine counterpart---a wife?

Conclusion

Although there are lots of good reasons for keeping an open mind about the possibility that Jesus was married, we simply don't have enough information to say, one way or the other. Yet there is a great need in our culture for symbols of wholeness. Hence the popularity of books like  The DaVinci Code, despite their historical inaccuracies.

Readers of the The Da Vinci Code are enticed by the promise of ancient artifacts proving that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married---even though this evidence can only be, in the end, fictional. People are always looking outside themselves for an answer that can only be found within. What are we really looking for? We yearn for symbols and stories that help us to remember who we really are, or who we have the potential to become. The image of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as enlightened lovers is the same archetype that we find in the Song of Solomon---a symbol of the ecstatic union of male and female in God, and an invitation to participate more fully in the eternal love story that connects all others. In an article on Tantric yoga, this union was described by Alan Watts, as follows:

"in an embrace of this kind, all considerations of time and place, of what and who, drop away" and they discover in themselves "the primordial 'love that makes the world go round.' There is an extraordinary melting sensation ... and, 'seeing their eyes reflected in each other's, they realize that there is one Self looking out through both... The conceptual boundary between male and female, self and other, dissolves, and---as every spoke leads to the hub---this particular embrace on the this particular day discloses itself as going on forever, behind the scenes."

--- Alan Watts, On Tantric Yoga
"Erotic Spirituality,"1971, p. 89

 

 [1] Raphael Patai, "The Hebrew Goddess"

For more about the Song of Solomon and the mystical experience of "unitive consciousness," read the introductory essay:

Unitive Consciousness:
the Marriage of Heaven and Earth

See also:

The Hidden Meaning of the Song of Songs

Wedding Music for the 
Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Recommended reading:

"Was Jesus Married" 
and "The Sexuality of Jesus,"
by William E. Phipps.

"The Hebrew Goddess," 
by Raphael Patai

Articles online:
(PBS Frontline) "From Jesus To Christ:"

Women In Ancient Christianity: The New Discoveries---an interview with Karen King.

The First Christians: Roles For Women--- interviews whith Elizabeth Clark and Elaine Pagels.


Background: 
"The Last Supper," by Leonardo Da Vinci

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