by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. I am writing today where I write every day; from my eyrie hard-by the Cambridge, Massachusetts Common, across the street from Harvard University, my alma mater whose motto — “Veritas” (“Truth”) — is everywhere apparent.
It is important, particularly for this article, that you understand something of the history of this venerable place, the city of Cambridge itself, its designated mission, what the Puritans aimed for, and whether they achieved it.
The first settlers to Massachusetts (arriving November 11, 1620) underwent the greatest possible travail and difficulty. They endured their acute miseries, even welcomed them, because they insisted upon their view of God and their direct and personal relationship with Him.
In their new land, there would be no bishops, no cardinals, no fathers Holy or otherwise … just a man, his Bible, his vision of God, and no overweening, dictating authority. On this basis they divided their new home into two parts; Boston was designated the administrative, governmental and commercial headquarters. Cambridge (then called Newe Towne, until 1638) was designated the theological center, including schools; most importantly the most celebrated educational establishment ever created, Harvard.
From its very first moment, it was clear that Cambridge and Rome would be the axes of two fundamentally different views of God and how men should regard, worship, and honor Him. Each side spoke well of the other when necessary, but each regarded the other as capable of any outrage. How could it be otherwise when one claimed infallibility and the other believed no man and therefore no human institution was infallible, a state reserved for God Himself.
From time to time the tensions, always latent, flared. My brilliant classmate Professor John Boswell (1947-1994), though a zealous convert to Roman Catholicism, was one who rocked the boat in one seminal study after another on the Church, its long, early acceptance of openly gay priests and same s** marriage.
Discerning people knew at once with the publication in 1980 of “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” that here was a clear, new, lucid, learned voice on some of Rome’s greatest problems. His National Book Award in 1981 was just the first of a cascade of honors. His tragic death from complications of AIDS was a huge setback for tolerance and a way out of Rome’s Gordian Knots. It was rumored then and after that the Roman Catholic Curia breathed a sigh of relief at his death, sotto voce claiming it was God’s will. So the Vatican acknowledged Boswell’s importance and the Veritas that was always his objective.
Now Harvard offers Rome Professor Karen L. King and the now celebrated text suggesting that Jesus was married… his wife being (a) Mary but as yet unclear which one; (there are three mentioned in the Bible). Even the possibility that the Son of God was married has generated a tsunami of controversy, learned (and not so learned) commentary, and knee-jerk reactions of every kind.
Now it is time for me to weigh in, on the principle that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, a phrase written by English poet Alexander Pope in 1709. It became the title of a well-known 1940 song, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Rube Bloom. Bing Crosby, himself a fervent Roman Catholic, added it to his string of hits. You’ll find it in any search engine. I like the sultry version by Mildred Bailey.
Recognized scholars confirm the document is genuine.
The two essential questions: is the document authentic? And is what it reports about Jesus and his wife accurate, thereby proving the case for what would then be the most important marriage in all history?
As for the authenticity of this inelegant document, smaller than a business card, written in a coarse hand with a pen well worn and past its prime, one recognized scholar after another has been sought out by Professor King. Tellingly each and every authority who has seen and scrutinized the actual document has endorsed its authenticity; as the actual thing it purports to be. Exhaustive testing and analysis by the world’s leading experts have failed to produce a single dubious element, feature, or aspect. In short, there is not a single “red flag” to be had, although there are still plenty of doubters.
Professor King, historian of the early Christian church, did her work well, and shrewdly. By her outreach to her peers, she kept her worldwide colleagues in the loop, giving them no grounds for criticism. She shared what she had…. and in the process covered herself, too, in case later analysis yielded doubts not present now. Should such a day ever dawn, Professor King would not be the only one with egg on her face. It would be generously shared with every poobah in the field.
Is the text accurate?
Thus King cleverly dispensed with the lesser query, getting comfortable shared responsibility while ensuring her name would be forever linked to this epochal matter. Now she must go to a far more difficult and controversial place, for the truly essential question is: “Is the message history, true, or merely tittle-tattle in the Coptic language?” And here, to date, there is not only no agreement in general, but little desire to stray beyond the verities of papyrus and pen. And so it’s time for this fool to rush in…
Fate? Accident of history? Conspiracy?
Why is there so much hubbub in the world, both amongst theologians and historians and people on the street concerned about their immortal souls and the Good News that is Jesus, regarding this text specifically and the subject generally? It is because for hundreds of years all manner of people have speculated on the man called Jesus and every aspect of his world-altering career.
Every aspect of his known life matters to us, and so both believers and non-believers alike have made it a point to study and master “The Greatest Story Ever Told”… a story that rivets our attention not least because it so closely touches the matter of our souls and our eternal place in the firmament.
Thus in studying the story of Jesus, we study, too, what may happen to us, individually and species. And because the matter is so significant, we must approach each new development as the greatest of lawyers would have done… with minute scrutiny, wariness, doubt and dubitation; the matter is too significant for us all to warrant any other approach.
Advocates for Jesus’ marriage must ask and answer such piercing questions as these:
1) Is it likely that such a crucial event as his marriage would be found and solely communicated to us in just one document, and that unclearly written in an ungrammatical and uneducated hand?
2) Is it likely that the marriage of Our Saviour would be treated as silently and unheralded as to appear in but one text?
3) Why are the Prophets predicting the advent of Jesus universally quiet on the matter of the help-mate who would partly share his life and lighten his excruciating load?
4) Given the fact that such a spouse presumably out lived Jesus, why is there no document proved and incontrovertible that mentions her in any of the stringent activities and customs of her Jewish widowhood?
5) Why is there no document, authenticated or not, that mentions seeing, visiting, embracing or listening to this spouse, even being given by her any of Jesus’ effects, each of which would have immediately become the holiest of artifacts?
6) And what of the Pharisees and of the Romans? They had each been apprehensive of Jesus when alive and so might well have monitored his widow and any cult of her husband, which she might well have been expected to bolster and grow.
Why is none of this and the thousand related queries not mentioned in the texts and documents which constitute the Bible and related texts? A good sleuth must be forced to conclude they are not there because there was no wife, no help-mate, no spouse, thereby proving yet again how much the Son of Man forfeited for us. And yet….
Where the definitive answer probably resides and three dates.
There has been, so far, a huge h*** in the debate, and I suspect that within this h*** is the solution to the married Jesus conundrum. This h*** is the most lavish, ostentatious, and palatial library ever created, suitable for the men on whom God built his Church. This place is the Vatican Library and it is here, amongst its 75,000 codices and over 1.1 million printed works, that the likely answer is to be found. Yet neither Karen King nor any of the many publications and media sources following this story have even mentioned this absolutely vital resource and its importance for elucidating the matter at hand.
Did Professor King seek to get access to either the general collection or the all-important Secret Archives? If so, why has she not said so, reporting what she may have seen or was not allowed to see? Or did she fail to ask for admission, thereby leaving an enormous gap in her research? For make no mistake about it: the most likely place to find what will solve the matter is amidst the documents of those who have the greatest vested interest. All roads lead to Rome as they have from the days of the Caesars, and to the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana.
Three dates are significant to the work of any Biblical scholar, theologian or historian in hot pursuit of Veritas. 476 is when the Roman empire of the West finally fell. Thereafter the greatest library of the world and repository of Church documents was to be found not in Rome but in the Eastern empire, in Byzantium — until April 13, 1204 when during the Fourth Crusade the Christian crusaders sacked the greatest of Christian cities, dispersing its riches, including the riches of its great library; carrying back to Rome masses of crucial Church history. From this emerged in 1475 the library of the Holy See. And it is likely there, Professor King, you will find the answer to the matter at hand, an answer one way or the other, for as Mildred Bailey at her loveliest sang, “Though I see the danger there/ If there’s a chance for me /Then I don’t care.”
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About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates