II. Did Jesus Submit To The Sexual Urge, Marry, and Procreate?
True: Jesus--as profiled in Scripture-- loved and honored women above the secondary and even subjugated social status that they held in ancient society, and beyond their primary function as sexual objects and generators for procreation, but only a sexually-obsessed leftist can fail to see him getting around the latter--or mastering his biological instincts...
...unless, of course, he was exceptional, and supernaturally so.
Therefore, in order to promote the idea that Jesus had erections--and indulged them--"just like 'everyone' else, because 'everyone' does it!"--it therefore requires the premise that Jesus was just--and only just--a man, "just like everyone else."
So you can see how the two most controversial points in the book--(1) that Jesus' divinity was a late, Fourth Century fabrication and (2) that he engaged in sexual behavior--need each other to stand on their two, wobbly legs, else one would kick and cancel the other out.
To say that the fountainhead of Western virtue and discipline--i.e. Jesus Christ--was "just like anyone else"--i.e. that he was an obedient slave to biological instinct and his own self-serving passions-- misses an important point of Christianity altogether, if not intentionally undermining it, as liberals need to insist upon the overriding primacy of sexual desire to justify--indeed institutionalize into "sexual identity politics"-- self-indulgent and even irresponsible sexual behaviors, because: "We can't help it!" and, of course, "If it feels good, do it!--Just like Jesus couldn't help it and dunnit!"
To premise that Jesus must have given in to his sexual desire is like saying that he must have snuck a Snicker's bar into his mouth when God wasn't looking during one of his famous 40-day fasts, but in this era of obsession with body image (and consquential anorexics and bolemics--for the sake of sex-appeal since the eating disorders become detrimental to health), that area of Christ's dietary discipline is left alone.
There's nothing politically charged by it.
But Christ's sexual discipline--which is part and parcel with his disciplined, dietary fasting-- is not left alone and is instead subjected to skepticism and even scoffed at in tandem--in this day and age-- with the ridiculing and pointing-out--if not rubbing-in-- of the "failure" of Christian programs that try to "cure" homosexuality (despite testimony to the contrary) and the somewhat comical results of conservative abstinence programs for adolescents (like the vows for the preservation of virginity until marriage broken by the time the senior prom rolls around).
Such aggressive ridiculing of celibacy until marriage (or at the very least until one is mature and serious), the attacks on traditionalists who discriminate betweeen "natural" sexual behaviour and that which has--until relatively recently-- been considered "deviant," and the heckling of attempts to dampen and defuse lust in general, are carried out for the sake of insulating that institutionalizing of sexual-identity politics (as well as the billion-dollar sex industry) and setting personal responsibility up against an irresistable force.
As stated, Christ's 40-day fasts and his celibacy are in the same room together of spiritual discipline over biological hunger/desire.
If you went without food for forty days, and without an orgasm for those forty days, and then given a choice to satiate yourself either with your ideal sexual partner or a meal fit for a king, which would you choose?
Get serious: The meal (the meal-meal, not the sex-meal).
Republicus would think that Ronald McDonald would be far more appealing than his dream-date would be at that point (sexual desire wanes with the absence of stimulation while hunger increases with the absence of food).
But au contraire
, the subtext: Sure, Jesus could go without food or water for forty-days, but how could he possibly resist the T & A of Mary Magdalene?
For the liberal, sex is not a desire, it's a need because the biological compulsion has been transmogrified into a psychological/spiritual addiction.
In taking issue with Christ's sexual discipline while ignoring the dietary one, the message of that is indeed that the hunger--the addiction-- for sex is a greater biological imperative than the hunger for food itself is...
...and Jesus Christ Himself must conform to that.
Therefore the doctrines and value-systems of His earthly representatives--The Church (the true wife of Christ) and Scripture-- that preach otherwise must be discredited and bypassed (because they stand in the way of liberals and the liberal Jesus they're looking for).
Note that The Da Vinci Code
doesn't attack Christ per se, but only as He is presented by the Church and Scripture.
Therefore, the Church and Scripture are attacked for lying about Him (or just small-case "him," as it were), with subtle disclaimers directed towards those guarding the integrity of the conservative Christ that they should have nothing to take umbrage at, since, by the latter's own faith, the integrity of divinity is invulnerable, now and forevermore, and they shouldn't have to worry about a "fictional, 'fun,' religious romp."
Jesus is Jesus, no matter what, is He not?
But that's the cunning subterfuge of scoundrels, i.e. slandering someone in public and then telling the aggrieved not to be so defensive, if it isn't true, unless, of course, they have something to hide, after all?
But the compromising of the faith of the learned clergy and the corruption of devotees in their parishes are not the issue-- as far as the clergy and parishioners are concerned-- but the reputation of the Faith at large to humanity.
With the conservative claims--and indeed the character-- of its definitive spokesmen and Fountainhead slandered and undercut, what's left in the eyes of the world?
Liberal Jesus-- obeying his animal instincts.
But so what?
At least he was married, and monogamous!
Right. The wolf of liberalism (i.e. sexual Jesus) wrapped in the sheep's clothing of conservatism (monogamous, heterosexual matrimony) in order to gain passage and mingle with the flock.
--Once the flock is devoured, however, that clothing becomes dessert.
Anyway, the sexualizing of Jesus Christ is not an altogether new phenomenon.
In 1982, authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln had their book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
--published (it was retitled Holy Blood, Holy Grail
in the United States (and based in large part on Pierre Plantard's Priory of Sion--Psssst!--
In it, the authors argued on behalf of the whispered allegations that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had a child, and the descendants emigrated to what is now southern France.
Once there, they intermarried with the noble families that would eventually become the Merovingian dynasty, which is championed today by a secret society called the Priory of Sion.
Yes, that sounds familiar, and familiar enough for the authors to sue Dan Brown for plagiarism (they lost, as similar themes had been floating around before either of them launched their "groundbreaking ideas," as the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail
themselves admitted, citing L'Or de Rennes
(later re-published as Le Trésor Maudit
)--a 1967 book by Gérard de Sède--as being influential to their own project).Holy Blood, Holy Grail
was an international bestseller, and ignited cottage industries of sorts similar to what we see today that bank on interest in The Da Vinci Code
, but mainstream historians and academics, however--like today vis-a-vis Brown's book-- were roundly negative.
Like today, the critics then argued that the claims, ancient mysteries, and conspiracy theories-- presented as fact--are pseudohistorical.
But that's all history now, and--like history in general-- forgotten by the historically-illiterate mass of people (something the liberals can always count on to receive a good reception when re-introducing their old, debunked, and failed ideas, with a little help from historical revisionism).
But leave it to Americans (and their short-term memory deficits) to utterly forget a defrocked and horsewhipped charlatan from 24 years back only to have that very charlatan reintroduced as "All New!" and "Revolutionary!" and "Completely different!"
It's more like an insistent, hammering persistence in trying to drive in a point, however many nails it takes, and however many years separate the attempts to crucify Jesus Christ a second time, and put Him to rest once and for all-- because he's just a human who must stay dead!
How "human" was he?
"Human enough to have sex, that's for sure!" insist the anti-Christian leftist, "What's wrong with that? And Hey!--Why not?-- human enough to have homosexual sex! What's wrong with that? Sex is sex." :)
Indeed, in the early-to-mid 1990's--in tandem, apparently, with the cultural vogue of AIDS Awareness and homosexual activism (which tied up former-President Clinton for a while in the Gays-In-The-Military debate, leading to the "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell" military policy)--the envelope was pushed and it was fashionable among the liberal intelligentsia to contemplate the relationship of Jesus and his youngest disciple John--"Whom he loved"-- as distinct from his relationship with "the other disciples":
One of them, the disciple he loved (i.e. John), was reclining close beside jesus.
John 13:23-24 (NEB)
Of course, that way of thinking begins to snowball (from 1st, 2nd, to 3rd base, etc.), and the rest of the disciples themselves were quickly sucked into--why not?-- the entertaining and publicizing of the notion that Jesus and all twelve of them were like the YMCA Village People on tour when they went village-hopping:
I give you a new commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
John 15:12-13 (NEB)
Although Republicus--if memory serves--vaguely remembers that concept gaining enough steam to lead to some sort of off-Broadway production staging that theme, it didn't have much staying power for the sensibilities of the population, and the Church barely bothered to even dignify such a depraved--if not sacrilegious--notion with any formal denunciation, so it was pulled and shelved.
Again, that's all just part of the liberal undermining of the traditional Christian Faith and its promoted virtues as expressed in The Bible and championed by the Church, which are just too prudishly uptight (whatever) for the agenda of the sexually-liberalizing Left and the policies they're trying to push, so therefore the disciplined Jesus has to be made sexual in the endeavor to undermine those mores and overturn taboos preserved in Scripture and safeguarded by the Church--and as exemplified by the Fountainhead, Jesus Christ Himself.
But that--the publicized notion of Gay Jesus-- was pushing (or over-pushing) the envelope from an envelope-pushing which had already passed across the desk of John Q. Public in the late 1980's:
After Holy Blood, Holy Grail
receded into the past and was forgotten, yet another stab at entertaining and publicizing the notion that Jesus himself indulged in the fantasy of marrying Magdalene and raising a family with her was thrust out in 1988 with The Last Temptation of Christ
Indeed, the concept of a sexually-active Jesus is not new.
What is new is the raising of John Q. Public's tolerance level, moving from presenting a sexual fantasy (but as instilled by satan!) of Jesus and Magdalene--in Martin Scorcese's 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ
-- to the short-lived "Gay Jesus" in the early 1990's, to presenting an actual sexual situation between Jesus & Mary covered-up by the Church today in Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code
Although going from tempting fantasy in 1988's The Last Temptation of Christ
to covered-up actuality in today's The Da Vinci Code
is in itself a pretty big step step forward, the conservative revival and popular resistance to same-sex marriage (leading to the absurd whining that such resistance is "homophobic persecution" and a trampling of civil rights) compelled the "The-Sermon-On-the-Mount-of-Brokeback" intervening concept and any pre-production activity to take a step back (if only because it would have been an unprofitable undertaking), so instead the fallback position of "Jesus-Loves-Mary-In-A-Biblical-Way" was resurrected and evolved and "mainstreamed" to: "Well he was sexual...but this time He was married! To a woman!" :)
Oh, okay! *whew
Well, whatever it takes to work in the main point (no pun intended) that Jesus had erections and indulged them...
...Just like everyone else!
The novel The Last Temptation of Christ
, by Nikos Kazantzakis (published in 1951) was very controversial (Kazantsakis himself was excommunicated from the Greek Orthodox Church and was buried on unconsecrated ground) as it presented a Jesus who--although technically sin-free--was subject to every form of temptation that humans face (e.g. fear, doubt, depression, and, of course, lust) to a degree that, although conforming to the Orthodox doctrine "Fully Man," compromised the co-substantial complement of "Fully God," and the integrity of character that aspect endows by default.
Martin Scorsese directed the film adaptation of that book in 1988 (the rising star Willem Dafoe--in the wake of Platoon
stardom-- played Jesus).
Complaints from the religious community began even before the end of production.
Major religious leaders in the U.S. condemned the film as blasphemous (and even pornographic).
There were boycotts and small groups outside select theaters holding signs.
That was contemporaneous with the "Piss Christ" exhibits (an NEA-funded exhibit by an "artist" who included in his pieces a depiction of a crucifix submerged in urine) and other aggressive--and gratuitous-- attacks on Christianity by the liberal Left, so yes, the Christians were like, "WTF?" (pun intended)
On October 22, 1988, a French Catholic fundamentalist group launched molotov cocktails inside the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater to protest against the film projection.
The cocktails injured thirteen people.
The complaints, boycott, sign-wavings, and the isolated incident of violence in France are referred to now as "violent protests" and had been exagerrated to the scale and nature of the recent Islamic mass demonstrations and riots about the cartoons caricaturing a violent Muhammad/Islam in order to draw a moral equivalency between the Islamic extremists and the Christian Religious Right (i.e. the "Christo-fascists" or "American Taliban").
But that's absurd.
First of all, Scorcese did not publicize cartoons caricaturing Jesus Christ as an anti-war peacenick (which would be the equivalent).
What he did was depict a naked Jesus actually having sex with Magdalene on the big screen in theaters across the nation and around the world ("But WAIT! She was his wife!" Oh, okay-- *whew*).
Secondly, even with the molotov-cocktail throwing in Paris, there is just no way you could compare that reaction with the reaction of Islamists across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and their street-rioting, murdering, torching of embassies, and general mayhem over the cartoons.
Anyway, for it's part, the graphic, live-action movie indeed depicted Jesus having sex with Magdalene (with the humping buttocks of the Savior in glorious view).
Kazantsakis--and Scorcese-- apparently felt they could get away with that because it was all part of a dream sequence that Jesus had on the cross (i.e. the last temptation--so the subject of sexuality desire itself, is, by the very title, is, implicitly, the last frontier which separates Jesus from sinful man, and which has to be breached, but note that even Kazantzakis explicitly understands the sinful aspect, else how could it be a "temptation?"), so "it never really happened," and it wasn't "gratuitous," but was meant to illustrate the delicious creature comforts Jesus was tempted by in one last desperate attempt by satan (!) to have him forsake his Duty as the Redeemer and instead live happily forever after as an average Joe with his Jane satiating his human lust.
(But, of course, it was as husband and wife, in holy matrimony, so it was "okay!"--and furthermore, it was concocted by satan!)
Jesus ultimately rejected the temptation (which, again, satanically attacked him in a dream), but after
he enjoyed the good life and the creature comforts for a lifetime in the virtual reality of the dream, so in a sense it did seem gratuitous and a cheap--and cowardly--way to indulge in a sacrilegious fantasy, because it cheapened Jesus' Sacrifice of his own natural desires and comfort by giving him a lifetime of them in the dream--i.e. it wasn't presented to him as something he could choose to have but triumphantly reject for the Higher Calling, but something already chosen and indulged in vicariously through dream, and so the sacrificial difficulty of his final rejection of it was diluted by the exhaustive satiation of it, with a "been there, done that" kind of thing--and even implying that Jesus had to experience the married life first before realizing that death by crucifixion was the better path!
[Ha ha, actually, what compelled Kazantsakis' Jesus to forsake the fantasy and carry out his duty as the crucified Savior was not because he just had to get out of the house, but because he was horrified by the vision of apocalyptic chaos and violence that would shortly engulf the earth and destroy all humans if he shirked his Duty.]
Judas Iscariot is also portrayed as Jesus' most devoted disciple in the Kazantzakis book and film-- a resurrected notion with the recent translation of The Gnostic Gospel of Judas.
So none of this is new, but seems like a cultural counter-movement from the Left against the conservative Revival that not too long ago had Mel Gibson's Scripturally-orthodox movie The Passion breaking box office records and restoring a conservative interpretation of Christ and his true passion: Not the curves of Mary Magdalene, but the Redemption of Humanity.
But look at this pattern:
In 1951, Kazantsakis' The Last Temptation of Christ
and the Magdalene fantasy on the cross therein hit the public consciousness.
31 years later, in 1982, Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and its plot involving an actual copulation with Magdalene and procreation became an international best-seller.
Six years after that, in 1988, the Kazantzakis book was made into a movie.
The next year, in 1989, Salman Rushdie came out with The Satanic Verses
, which presented Muhammad and his wives in a none-too-flattering light.
Islam, however, neither appreciates nor tolerates artistic tampering with its faith, and Rushdie got a fatwah placed on his head by the Ayatollah of Iran.
Meanwhile, in the far-more tolerant Judeo-Christian West, a few years after that, in the early 1990's, Jesus as a homosexual was explored and produced for public consumption (although that boat didn't float too well in the mainstream and quickly sank after being torpedoed).
In 2003, 21 years after Holy Blood, Holy Gr
ail became an international best-seller, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
--resurrecting the same theme--likewise became an international best-seller.
Three years after that--a few months ago--the Gnostic Gospel of Judas made headlines, making the traitor Judas Jesus' "favorite disciple."
Today, the movie version of The Da Vinci Code
with Forrest Gump and Magneto are at theaters everywhere.
Not bad, considering that it took 37 years for Kazantzakis' similarly controversial book to hit the big screen.
One wonders what kind of material about Jesus will be hitting the public consciousness ten years from now (if not five).
If the two envelope-pushing steps forward, one back, then two more pattern every 5-15 years continues apace, the "Gay Jesus" shtick should be ready for re-auditioning soon enough.
But by then, perhaps--depending to one extent or another on the success or failure of the Marriage Protection Constitutional Amendmnet vote this week-- it would be "okay" because a book and movie will have come out outing Jesus as having been in a loving, commited, marriage to his "beloved disciple" John--but WAIT:
They were married in a secret wedding ritual, so it's "Okay"!
Oh, okay, *whew
The written account, it would be claimed, was suppressed by Peter and the other boys-on-the-board of the Jerusalem church early on because they were homophobic (John himself was exiled to the Roman alcatraz of Patmos for some strange reason).
However, the secret of St. John being the Lord Jesus' wife leaked out in mid-First-Century and converted the Emperor Nero (reigned A.D. 54-68) to Christianity (as Gay Jesus intended it to be).
Repenting of his fornicating, whore-mongering ways, the first thing the Born-Again Nero asked himself was:
"WWGJD?" (i.e. "What Would Gay Jesus Do?")
And as a true Christian, Nero was the groom in the first same-sex "marriages" in Roman history (at least in public; in the homophobic days of Jesus in the Palestinian province, the Judeo-fascist Pharisees compelled the progressive Gay Jesus to keep his nuptials with John in the closet, you see).
Nero had three same-sex marriages, although his first same-sexer is tricky to classify as such because it was a gender-bender: he turned his bride-to-be-butt-boy Sporus into a "female" by castration.
Fortunately, he had the RCLU (the Roman Civil Liberties Union) there to threaten the angry senators of conservative Roman virtue with lawsuits if they tried to obstruct Nero's religious freedom as a practitioner of the Way of Gay Jesus.
Nero then blamed the angry and homophobic false Christians for torching Rome and ordered a round-up and had the homophobic Peter and Paul arrested for hate crimes.
But the homophobic forces of false Christianity caught up to Nero and killed him because he knew about Gay Jesus' secret wedding to John.
Seriously, the only thing true about any of that stuff is that the deranged and thoroughly-corrupt Nero was indeed the groom in the first "official" same-sex marriage in Roman history, that he had three of them, and that his first was with the castrated Sporus (castrated for the express purpose of bending the rules for marriage), and can be classified as the first transgender wedding in history.
It is also true that he scapegoated the Christians for torching Rome, and launched a genocidal persecution that got St. Peter crucified upside-down and St. Paul beheaded.
The rest, of course, is Da Vinci Doo-Dah stuff.
[Note: It was in all likelihood Nero himself who commited-- or ordered--the arson to make way for construction projects like his Golden Palace--but note how the Bush-hating Left, almost two thousand years later, projected that essential character and agenda onto the Bush Administration--i.e. that President Bush orchestrated 9/11 for the purpose of enlarging his government and scapegoated Muslims in the process.
Meanwhile, Leftist scholars write theses on how the "artistic" Nero was "misunderstood" and maligned by the "partisan" historians Seutonius and Tacitus and the historical revisionism...
...of the Roman Catholic Church, because they were being vindictive about the upside-down crucifixion of St. Peter--the capo of the syndicate of Roman Catholicism.
What are they doing there?
Well, for starters, they're trying to reform Nero's reputation by their own historical revisionism, suggesting that traditionally-authoritative historians like Seutonius and Tacitus were unfair and unbalanced (despite the fact that Nero's notoriously-known sadistic depravities have given others good cause to reckon that the number of the antichrist-- as presented by St. John in Revelations-- i.e. 666, refers to "Neron Caesar").
Objective, rationally-skeptic academics who concur with that identification harumph that St. John was "prophesying" about his own current--if not recently past-- events (he himself was exiled to Patmos by post-Nero Domitian, but the Christians own holocaust under Nero was about as far removed from him then as memories of Hitler are today--about a half century).
But subjective Christians aware of that presumed numerological code (i.e. 666=Nero) would say, if concurring, that St. John is referring to the same demonic spirit of Nero manifesting itself in the future in some way.]
Anyway, the sexualizing of Jesus is like pornography, and the envelope of the latter has been been pushed further and further regimentally in tandem with the gradual but regimental sexualizing of Jesus:
What was "alternative" (i.e. deviant) subject matter on backroom shelves is now front and center.
The sexually-groundbreaking Playboy Magazine
(which raised quite a fuss when it made its debut in 1953) is barely considered "porn" anymore.
Those who do consider it "porn" today nevertheless do view it as lightwight (compared to what's out there), but equate it with marijuana, i.e. a "gateway drug," because it stimulates lust which itself begins to snowball with insatiabilty.
Interestingly, Playboy's first 1953 issue (showcasing a "nude"--i.e. buck-naked-- Marilyn Monroe on the cover) was two years after the 1951 publication of Kazantzakis' The Last of Temptation of Christ, so a nexus can be discerned between the sexualizing of Jesus and the sexualizing of conservative, Judeo-Christian culture.
But really now, quite a fascination with what Jesus really did with his penis from a lefty crowd that insists that it doesn't really matter what one does with it, anyway (as long as, of course, a condom is worn).
They should really get their minds off of his penis and listen to what he says once in a while (like the parts that implicitly say that we should not be preoccupied with genitalia).
Anyway, again, one need only to look under the soap to find the key to the safe wherein lies the answer to whether or not Jesus got down and dirty I mean was married to anyone-- i.e. in the New Testament.
And, again, Republicus will primarily focus on the earliest text in the New Testament-- i.e. the letters of Paul-- in order to come to a reasonable conclusion as to whether or not Jesus was married, based on the arguments and POV of Paul's first-hand accounts.
Paul is not known as a writer who holds anything back, but speaks his mind freely and passionately.
Republicus thinks he has discerned certain condescending, patronizing, rationalizing, manipulating, and ad-libbed tones here and there in Paul's Epistles from time to time (particularly when he engages in fund-raising drives, or yells at and browbeats organizational underlings like "the stupid" Galatians), but when discussing dogma he is firm in his convictions, and, importantly, his word values are consistent.
When impassioned--whether with joyful enthusiasm, grief, frustration, or anger-- one gets the sense that he's speaking from the heart.
Also, to bolster an argument, he often takes the opportunity to reference Jesus as an exemplar.
Before moving on with this, due to the stigmatizing of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and the swirling allegations of late, late authorship and even later ecclesiastical editing, it is incumbent upon Republicus to provide some context:
In exegetical academia, The Gospel of Mark is deduced as being the earliest gospel of the four, and reckoned to have been written no earlier than 70 A.D.--a good four decades after Jesus walked the earth.
That date is set because Jesus therein (and echoed in the synoptics Matthew and Luke) makes a prophecy about the destruction of Herod's Temple--which actually was carried out by Titus' Shock & Awe Roman legions in year 70, and the post-Year 70 dating benchmark is primarily based on that.
That is understandable, as no objective, rationally-skeptical scholar weaned on the scientific method and worth his degree should be expected to grant prophetic abilities--by hearsay, no less--when dating biblical material.
But that obviously becomes problematic for the faithful right off the bat, as the dating of Scripture is accordingly pushed up by how many years, or even decades, to conform with the premise that Jesus could not possibly have foreseen the destruction of the Temple forty years in advance?
Well, that's their problem...
...or is it academia's?
Let's grant the year 70 benchmark.
And grant the dating of Paul's letters two decades behind that.
That does not explain how Paul can take issue with an account presented in Acts of The Apostles (by Luke).
The Gospel of Luke is "Part One" to the "Part Two" of Acts of the Apostles, which is also written by Luke:
Like Matthew's Gospel--and unlike John's-- Luke's is a synoptic gospel, i.e. it can be structurally juxtaposed with Mark and Matthew and paralleled with both.
The synoptic quality of both Luke's gospel and Matthew's are deduced in academia to be because both referenced the structure presented in Mark's gospel (which he himself supposedly cobbled together from collections of isolated sayings and purported events and structured them in a Classical, dramatic framework with the use of literary devices), and therefore must have been written after Mark's earliest date of year 70.
Luke-Acts, thenceforth, is calculated by academics to have been written in year 85 (give or take five years).
But here are a couple of problems with that:
In Acts, Luke narrates the first time Paul (at the time Saul) met the apostles--the boys-on-the-board of aboriginal Christianity, in the headquarters of the Jerusalem Church:
When (Saul) reached Jerusalem he tried to join the body of disciples there; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was really a convert. Barnabus, however, took him by the hand and introduced him to the apostles.
Acts 9:26-27 (NEB)
According to the dating system which puts the appearance of the synoptics well after 70 A.D. and Paul's writing at least three decades earlier, here we nevertheless have Paul (in A.D. 55-56) trying to correct the "record" of that account in Acts:
Three years later I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas (i.e. Peter). I stayed with him for a fortnight, without seeing any of the other apostles, except James the Lord's brother. What I write is plain truth. Before God I am not lying.
Galatians 1:18-20 (NEB
The reason why Paul considered it important to downplay his affiliation with the "other apostles" in Peter's Pharisaic-Christian Jerusalem church to the Gentile Galatians was because of the latter's squeamishness with circumcision, which kosher Christian Judaizers--though apparently not from the kosher Jerusalem Church-- required as an initiation to Christianity (which, again, was aboriginally a Jewish sect with all the exclusionary characteristics and rituals of Judaism), and they feared that Paul was going to show up one day as a Mohel and command all the adult males to line up for their bris ceremony.
Also, Luke-Acts ends with Paul preaching in Rome, and on a rather high note:
(Paul) stayed (in Rome) two full years at his own expense, and with a welcome for all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and without hindrance.
Acts 28:30-31 (NEB)
Paul is calculated to have went to Rome in 58 A.D. and executed by Nero in 60.
And yet, 25 years later--according to academic dating-- the author of Luke-Acts ends his comprehensive epic with Paul victoriously preaching the Word "unhindered."
So you can see how the academic claims that Luke-Acts appeared over three decades after Paul's correpondence to the Galatians --correcting the record preserved in Acts--is problematic, along with Acts' upbeat ending about Paul 25 years after his beheading by Nero, which Luke--a church CEO of sorts as well as chronicler-- must have been well aware of (especially if he was writing on 25 year hindsight).
And there is no reason for Luke to "whitewash" Paul's end in Rome when he unabashedly chronicled the stoning of the first martyr St. Stephen, the martyrdom of James (Jesus' blood brother) and others as inspirations to keep the Faith amidst genocidal persecutions-...
...unless he was writing well before year 70, or working with material that predates the academic demarcation by decades.
For their part, academics ignore those points entirely and instead use Paul's correction to the Galatians, for example, to point out not only the lack of unanimity on matters in the early phases of Christianity (e.g. To circumcize or not to circumcise?) but fallibility in Scripture, which is why, among other reasons, their objectivity becomes suspect by Christian scholars, who believe in biblical integrity and the prophecies attributed to Jesus as spoken by Him, and have been engaged in a tug-of-war of sorts regarding the academic gospel dating, trying to pull the marker back before year 70 (with little success).
As for redaction of material, there is no evidence whatsoever that any of the selected biblical material presented for this argument has been subjected to late, ecclesiastical editing, but are the same words that appeared when quill was first set to parchment over 1,900 years ago.
It must be understood that the scribes who copied Scripture--Jewish or Christian-- took their job very seriously (praying before undertaking their tasks, in fact, for a faithful reproduction), and took great pains to dot each and every "i" and cross every "t."
The contradictions which remain are testimony to that fidelity (i.e. the contradictions must certainly have occurred to them as well, but were preserved as is, nevertheless).
Anyway, the above digression was for the purpose of putting in chronological context any alignment of Paul's stances on marriage, adultery, divorce, and celibacy with the purported words and character profile of Jesus as presented in the gospels (the latter of which are now treated by liberal academia as the eggs laid by chickens like Peter & Paul, and not vice-versa), and also for the purpose of pointing out the flaws in that argument (e.g. What report was Paul correcting for the Galatians if not the one by Luke that is deduced to have first appeared over three decades later, based on the 70 A.D. benchmark?).
Moving on, marriage--heterosexual marriage, mind you-- is sanctified and understood to be a serious bond between husband and wife among the early Christians, i.e. not something that can easily dismissed (or ignored, for that matter, no less "covered-up").
Paul himself was a firm believer in the sin of fornication (i.e. unmarried intercourse) and the sanctity of marriage, and even thought divorce was wrong, as he tells the Corinthians (ca. 53-54 A.D.):
To the married I give this ruling, which is not mine but the Lord's: a wife must not separate herself from her husband...and the husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NEB)
"The Lord's ruling":
The question was put to (Jesus): 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' This was to test him. He asked in return, 'What did Moses command you?' They answered, 'Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife by note of dismissal.' Jesus said to them, 'It was because your minds were closed that he made this rule for you; but in the beginning, at the creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate.'
Mark 10:4-9 (NEB)
So Paul was obviously aware of Jesus' own words on the matter.
When it comes to the feasible accuracy of Paul referencing the very words of Jesus pre-Gospels (or pre-70 A.D.), the academic rationale takes into account the existence of a second, pre-Markan source--the second for the "Two Source Theory"-- that was in circulation for decades and also informed the gospels of Matthew and Luke (which also accounts for the words they share that are not found in Mark).
That second source is referred to as the "Q" source-- from the German quelle
, or "source," as coined by German redaction criticism, or Redactionsgeschichte
(literally "form history," which belongs to the field of literary form criticism).Redactionsgeschichte
was developed in Germany immediately after WWII (perhaps a product of the same type of shell-shocked neuroses that inspired post-WWII Japan to develop the atomic-bomb mutant Godzilla?) and is behind much of the deconstructing autopsies performed on the biblical corpus (as if it were a cadaver and not the Living noli me tangere
Bible) that informs the leftist intelligentsia who then mock or sneer at the Fundamentalist Christians who seem to consider the Good Book--from Genesis to Revelations--a smooth ride from start to finish that spontaneously appeared in Time and Space unadulterated and as is, like DeMille's Yahweh presenting the Ten Commandments to Heston's Moses (wotta movie!)...
...or like the Quran.
True, what Paul wrote (or dictated) up there says nothing about the Lord's own earthly marital status, but the omission indicates that His status was known (it must have been: It is certain that Paul would have learned it from Peter early in the game) and went without saying, which was...
Married, or celibate?
Here's what Paul said about celibacy just prior to his statement above:
All this I say by way of concession, not command. I should like you all to be as I am myself (i.e. celibate); but everyone has the gift (i.e. in Paul's case, celibacy) God has granted him, one this gift and another that.
1 Corinthians 7:6-7 (NEB)
Alright. That only says that Paul practices celibacy--a "gift," mind you, not a shortcoming; a virtue, not a vice-- and furthermore, curiously enough, is sure to emphasize that it is not the Lord's "command," but his own preference, so we're not much closer to getting to the answer (though perhaps closer than immediately apparent).
Paul was indeed a celibate bachelor, but was that role-modeled after anyone in particular?
The other apostles?
Jesus' own blood brothers?
The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches officially do not accept the literal interpretation of what is explicitly said immediately below (and elsewhere) vis-a-vis Jesus' siblings, apparently because it would compromise the Eternal Purity of the Roman Catholic Virgin Holy Mary Mother of God (the pan-gaiac Panaghia in the Greek Orthodox Faith) instead interpreting "brothers" as being uttered in the fraternal context of "brotherly love":
Have I no right to take a Christian wife about with me, like the rest of the apostles and the Lord's brothers, and Cephas (i.e. Peter)?
1 Corinthians 9:5-6 (NEB)
Republicus believes that Paul was indeed referring to the blood-brothers of Jesus Christ, and that they were indeed married, as Paul points out.
So we have Paul discussing both the sanctity of marriage and the virtue of celibacy, as well as drawing attention to his bachelorhood as contrasted to the married Peter, the apostles, and Jesus' own brothers.
Again, the omission of Jesus' own status--in the context of didactic passages about marriage/celibacy--indicates that it was known and went without saying (again, there is no indication whatsoever of any redaction of those passages).
Assuming a later cover-up of a married Jesus, however-- that nevertheless must have been known by his contemporaries, including Paul-- perhaps it warrants suspicion as to why he doesn't reference Jesus' own presumed celibacy when championing his own, as he is not shy about referencing Jesus' own character and behavior when opportune to promote same, e.g. charitable giving when trying to raise funds:
For you know how generous our Lord Jesus Christ has been..."
2 Corinthians 8:9
However, neither does he hold Him up as a paradigm when championing marriage.
And we cannot say that he--a relative late-comer to the faith (in terms of the first generation founding fathers)-- had role-modeled his confirmed bachelorhood after Christ.
Perhaps we need to take a different approach to try and find out what Paul must have known about Jesus' marital status, and that brings us back to the conservatrive versus liberal positions in the Culture War.
The liberal embraces, celebrates, indulges, and unleashes the sex drive as if it were nothing more than a sneeze that must be expelled from the body--as if the primal potency of something that is an echoing force of the divine demiurge and the Prime Directive of biological life (i.e. "Be fruitful, and multiply," Genesis 1:28)is more a symptom of the common cold (which is why sexual relations with a conservative is more a religious, earth-shaking experience and with liberals a sneezing party with tissues, with any resulting conception treated like snot by the latter).
The conservative is just as human as the liberal and has the same biological yearnings, but a long time ago the founding fathers--and
mothers-- of Western Civilization realized--over millennia of Trial & Error-- that the sex drive was a wild beast that had to be tamed, caged, even, for the very sake of civilization.
Like the hunger for food, it could drive people to adopt antisocial measures to satiate the desire, and, once availed, and with the right--or wrong-- combination of biological, psychological/"spiritual," and social factors, could lead to to the equivalent disorder of Gluttony: Lust.
There are good reasons why the church institionalized both Gluttony and Lust as two of the Classical Seven Deadly Sins, vices identified by early Christian thinkers to educate and protect followers from basic human instinct
The Church Father--or "Doctor," one of four--St. Gregory the Great introduced the Seven Deadly Sins (from least to greatest: lust, gluttony, sadness, avarice, anger, envy, and pride) late in the 6th Century, although the inspiration for such classification may go as far back as the Old Testament Proverbs (3rd Century B.C.?):
Six things the Lord hates,
seven are detestable to him:
a proud eye, a false tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that forges thoughts of mischief,
and feet that run swiftly to do evel,
a false witness telling a pack of lies,
and one who stirs up quarrels between brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NEB)
(Unfortunately, as concerns a post that defends the honesty and integrity of Christian tradition and red-flags lust and gluttony, though the list from Proverbs includes two variations of lying, St. Gregory's list excludes deceit altogether, and lust is the least serious, followed by gluttony.)
Republicus knows that it is not fashionable to speak of basic human nature in terms of its "sinful" quality, but suffice it to say that--as has been discussed in other posts and commentaries--he believes that basic human nature is an animal nature, and we only rise above it and stand as civilized humans by the instilling of morals and the taming of it.
The marriage ritual is, partly, in a way, an aknowledgement of that: since the vast majority of people are unable to control it (or even willing to try), "getting married" contains it in a controlled environment of sorts with a willing, significant other:
The husband must give his wife what is due her (i.e. sexual gratification), and the wife equally must give the husband his due. The wife cannot claim her body as her own; it is her husband's. Equally, the husband cannot claim his body as his own; it is his wife's. Do not deny yourselves to one another, except when you agree upon a temporay abstinence...
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NEB)
So sexual desire is not immoral, or a "sin" per se
, no more so than eating or drinking is, but unleashed, predatory, animal lust--or at least the mindless enlavement by it-- is: it's not the best thing for you when left to your own devices, and not the best thing for the objectified person on the receiving end of it when they serve no other purpose.
Importantly, it compromises the Western concept of sovereignty of rational mind over animal body.
And animal lust stems out of sexual desire, which itself is animal instinct, and Paul constantly refers to Christ/God as the balm which soothes animal instinct:
So sin must no longer reign in your mortal body, exacting obedience to the body's desires...It follows, my friends, that our lower nature has no claim upon us, we are not obliged to live on that level...But if by the Spirit (of Christ) you put to death all those base pursuits of the body, then you will live..
Romans 6:12-13, 8:12-13 (NEB)
There it is. Paul does not deny the urges of our "lower natures" (i.e. animal instincts), nor begrudge the indulgement of them (via
marriage)-- even considering them an entitlement, a "rightful due"--but he does not reference the character of Christ as one "obedient to the body's desires," or one "claimed by lower nature," but one who has mastered and rose above them.
It would not make sense for Paul to refer to Jesus that way if the latter, too, was "obedient to the body's desires" and one "claimed by lower nature" only to then present-- and worship-- Him as one "above it all," as the door between animalism and divinity.
It would make no sense for Paul to confidently refer to his own celibate bachelorhood as a "gift" when his peers--like Peter, the other apostles, the siblings of Jesus, and
Jesus Himself--would make him the odd-man out, unless he was immune from criticism on that score because everyone knew of Jesus' own celibate bachelorhood.
Finally, since the Roman Catholic Church--as well as the Greek Orthodox Church-- presumably "knows" things about Jesus that have supposedly been covered up, why is there a policy of celibacy among the clergy?
Who is their role-model?
St. Peter is the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, and he was married.
Therefore, they had to go over his head when pointing out the virtue of celibacy for the clergy to follow.
(A wiseguy will say: "By that logic, who is the role model for homosexual pedophilia recently publicized among the Roman Catholic priesthood? Gay Jesus and the young St. John?" and Republicus will answer: That is a deviation from policy and a misreading of Scripture)
Interestingly, the Roman Catholic clergy--with the married Peter as their head-- are celibates, while the Greek Orthodox priests--who give the celibate Paul equal footing with Peter (if not greater, since the former brought the Word to the Athenians on Areopagos) can be married...
...but only as long as they got married before they were ordained as representatives of Jesus Christ.
Those organizations don't need to peer back nearly two-thousand years to engage in hindsight speculation, but preserve--and safeguard-- words and traditions that originated nearly two-thousand years ago, from the days when Jesus walked the earth.