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Rather, in the mythical words of Joe Friday, we need “Just the facts, ma’am.”Finding the facts isn’t easy, however, because we have very little overt historical evidence for or against the marriage of Jesus. The silence of the New Testament gospels has given rise to a cacophony of conflicting voices.The earliest and most reliable records of his life – the New Testament gospels – do not tell us explicitly whether Jesus was married or not. Some see in these writings a plot to cover up the truth about Jesus.In this article I will examine the historical evidence for and against Jesus’ purported marriage.Whether we’d like to think of him as married or not is not particularly relevant here. We don’t need more ranting and raving about this issue, no matter what the position of the ranters and ravers.It was born of the popularity of Dan Brown’s controversial novel, .This novel advocates the thesis that Jesus was in fact married to the woman we know as Mary Magdalene, that they had a child together, and that this “truth” was covered up by the church for self-serving reasons.Although almost all scholars of all religious persuasions take this as strong evidence of the singleness of Jesus, a few have proposed that, in fact, Jesus was married. One major problem with this argument, among several, is that it makes no room for an exception.Jesus was not required by law – either governmental or religious – to marry.
According to Philo and Josephus, they did so because they thought that women had a negative impact on men.Both Philo and Josephus mention that the Essenes, a group of apocalyptic Jews who eagerly awaited God’s intervention in history, did not marry by choice. Josephus, , 2.8.2These Essenes reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem continence, and the conquest over our passions, to be virtue.Here are excerpts from their writings: Philo, 11.14-17Again, perceiving with more than ordinary acuteness and accuracy, what is alone or at least above all other things calculated to dissolve such associations, they repudiate marriage; and at the same time they practise continence in an eminent degree; for no one of the Essenes ever marries a wife . They neglect wedlock, but choose out other persons’ children, while they are pliable, and fit for learning, and esteem them to be of their kindred, and form them according to their own manners.But, one might argue, this kind of behavior was common only on the outskirts of Jewish society.Mainline Jews, if you will, would have looked down upon Essene celibacy.