When the news broke this week that a papyrus script surfaced which indicated Jesus was married, I was asked for my reaction by several acquaintances. As an outspoken atheist and philosophy buff, this isn’t unusual for me. Unfortunately for all those excited, neither is this new discovery.
Several of the unearthed Gnostic gospels make mention of Jesus being married. This is merely another mention of it. While people of faith may find it compelling, it is only due to their ignorance of other scriptures or the mistaken idea that the gospel stories of Jesus are history. They are not. In fact, the canonized gospels alone can’t agree on historical facts and contain many claims that have been demonstrated by historians and archaeologists to be false. Add the gnostic gospels into the mix and the one thing that is clear is that early Christianity was an un-codified assortment of vastly different accounts and beliefs. From the standpoint of history, there is almost no evidence that Jesus even existed, and given the obvious parallels in his stories to earlier gods and prophets of antiquity, he is likely a comprised patchwork that was eventually organized by Paul the Apostle and later by the early church and Vatican 1. While there may have well been a preacher named Jesus in early first century Palestine, there is no first or second-hand evidence of him or the claims of the gospels. (One would think that contemporary historians would have seen fit to make note of him at the time if the gospel claims had any merit.) Given that the gospels were written decades after Jesus’ supposed death and resurrection (this new papyrus finding dates back to four centuries after Jesus,) they are simply not reliable at the historical level. Thus, the recent discovery is the equivalent of finding a papyrus scroll saying that Hercules had a sixteen inch penis; a new detail to an old fable.