5 Reasons Why People Are Still Wondering Whether Jesus Was Married

(RNS) Another day, another stunning blockbuster report that … Jesus was married! And to Mary Magdalene!

The latest version of this meme comes from Simcha Jacobovici, an author and filmmaker who is famous for promoting stunning theories about Jesus that on further review often turn out to be dubious.

Jacobovici’s new claim that he has decoded an old text that reveals Jesus and the Magdalene were married and had two kids (and she was a “co-deity” with her husband) came out this month and has also been widely dismissed.

But as happened earlier this year with the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” — a suspect papyrus that receives a further debunking in the latest edition of the Atlantic — people find Jesus’ sex life endlessly fascinating, and plausible.

Why is that? Here are five reasons.

1. Biblical archaeology has primed people for surprises

There is nothing new under the sun, the Book of Ecclesiastes says, yet amazing discoveries in recent decades seem to tell a different story. Excavations in the Holy Land have yielded remarkable artifacts that provide unexpected insights into Bible history. But the emergence of ancient papyrus texts from the sands of Egypt really upended scriptural studies — and many common assumptions about Christianity.

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