Quick Challenge Answer: Was Jesus Married? I know, this seems like a silly question! David and I recorded a podcast earlier this week on the subject. We both expressed some doubt as to how serious of a challenge this actually was. But as we’ll see below, this objection actually goes way back in Christian history.
Are There Any Early Claims?
The first instances we see of it being reported that Jesus was married are in some of the apocryphal writings of the gnostic Christians. These began popping up several hundred years after the life and death of Jesus. None of the canonical Gospels (the sources close in history to the time of Jesus) mention His being married. Of the early sources that are available to us (within the first 300 years of Jesus’ life and death) none mention this fact about Him either.
It is only after 3 centuries had passed that we begin seeing these “alternate Christianities” begin to form. And these writings were mentioned as spurious by the church fathers of the times. They make it clear that they were aware of these accounts. They were not considered reliable by the church leaders of the time.
Modern Theories and Books
In more recent times, Books such as Holy Blood and the Holy Grail have repeated the claim. The book was written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln in 1980. The authors claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene moved to modern day Spain after Jesus escaped the cross. They then began a family together. This bloodline was what the medieval Christians were referring to when searching for the “Holy Grail”. Fanciful for sure. Even news sources such as 60 Minutes and The Discovery Channel found very little to substantiate their claims. And scholars in the field flat out rejected the premise.
In 2003 author Dan Brown published his book The Davinci Code. While presented as a work of fiction, the book was widely believed to be relaying accurate information about the theory. The similarities between his work and Holy Blood and the Holy Grail were great. So great that it resulted in a lawsuit by the authors against Brown. Brown ultimately prevailed.
A few years ago, Karen L. King of Harvard Divinity school announced the finding of a papyrus fragment that contained the following words . “Jesus said to them, my wife (text missing after this phrase). It also said, “she will be able to be my disciple”. Dr. King was cautionary, saying that ““this fragment should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived. And all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question, she said.”
So, in conclusion, there is no reliable or early source that claimed Jesus was married. The only writings that make mention of this appear late in history. These accounts were written 300 years after Jesus life and death. This is far too removed from the actual events to have been written by eyewitnesses. All modern claims that Jesus was married rely on nothing more than unfounded speculation. There is simply no support for the idea that Jesus was married.