Sunday, March 26, 2006

In Defense of the Da Vinci Code

It’s easy to see from Mildred Smith’s letter to the editor that she hasn’t even bothered to read the Da Vinci Code before disparaging it. Apparently Ms Smith doesn’t understand the meaning of the word fiction. Fiction a literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact. Fiction is meant to be entertaining and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code certainly is.

She brings up another work of fiction that she approves of The Passion of the Christ.
Apparently anything that portrays Jesus in a manner she approves of is good, and anything that deviants from her beliefs is bad, even if it might be true.

She also states categorically that Jesus did not have a wife or father a child. I wonder how she knows, many theologians admit it is possible that Jesus was married, and a careful review of the scriptures show that they do not state if Jesus was married or not.

Evidence that Jesus was married:
Irenaeus' Doctrine of Recapitulation supports the notion of a married Savior. Irenaeus taught that Jesus Christ symbolically entered every critical stage of human existence and sanctified it. Since family life, including sexuality, is central to our lives, it seems logically consistent with the mission of a Savior to redeem and sanctify this aspect of our experience, as well.

In keeping with the Creeds of the Church, which teach that Christ had two natures: one human and one divine, the offspring of Christ would not have represented a "divine race".

Given the cultural milieu in which Jesus lived and the supporting Biblical evidence, the burden of proof lies with those who do not believe Jesus was married. They must show why Jesus and His parents would have been derelict in their civic responsibilities and not contracted a marriage. Unmarried men were considered a curse to Jewish society. The Bible says that Mary & Joseph were careful to perfectly obey the laws of their people. It also says that Jesus was "subject unto them". Since Jewish culture practiced arranged marriages (a Jewish boy was marriageable at age 16), it is reasonable to assume that Jesus' parents would have performed their parental duties faithfully and arranged a bride for the young Jesus. There are 18 silent years in His life (12 - 30). The Gospel of John tells us that there were many other things, which Jesus did which have not been recorded.

There are hints scattered in the Gospels of a special relationship between Jesus and Mary.

  • If she is the same Mary of Bethany in John 11, then we can explain why Martha arose to greet Jesus and not Mary. Some scholars say she was sitting shiva according to Jewish custom (married women were not allowed to break-off from their mourning unless called by their husbands). In this story, Mary does not come to Jesus, until he calls her.

  • At the Resurrection, when Mary meets Jesus in the Garden, there is a degree of intimacy (see the Aramaic here) which one would expect between lovers, not friends.

  • The Greek word for "woman" and "wife" are the same. Translators must rely upon the context in deciding how to translate it. Sometimes, the translation is arbitrary. When Mary is referred to as a "woman" who followed Jesus, it can just as easily be translated as "wife".

  • Some scholars cite the story of Mary with the alabaster jar anointing the feet of Jesus as the most direct witness to their marriage. It is in all four Gospels and was a story in which Jesus gave express command that it be preserved. This ceremony was an ancient one among many royal houses in the ancient world, which sealed the marital union between the king and his priestess spouse.

Belief in a married Jesus does not require any more faith than a resurrected Jesus. There is biblical support for both beliefs. Searching for answers does not make one sacrilegious, neither does writing a fictional book based on historical data. And before you disparage a book and label it’s author a heretic could you at least read the book first?