Many scholarly accounts have been written about the historical Jesus, his life, and teachings. These often dramatically different accounts are all based on the same primary source, the New Testament. We have very little other information about him or his life. This paper will examine this source for information on the marital status of Jesus and his alleged teachings on celibacy.Some scholars tend to treat the texts of the New Testament as historical documents that relate factual reports of events. This, however, was not the purpose of those texts. Gospels, or good news, were written as a way to spread the teaching of the new Jewish sect, and later, new religion. They were meant to convince people of the validity of the teachings and to bring in new converts. Our modern concept of historically accurate accounts was not a prevailing view in antiquity.
[...] Luke's genealogy for the family of Jesus says the family connection to Bethlehem was twelve generations back (Luke so the census in Judea would not have applied to a family living in Galilee. If the government of Galilee had held a census, the family of Jesus would have been counted in Nazareth, but no such census was taken. Matthew, on the other hand, has a very different nativity story. In Matthew's version Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt because Herod is killing the firstborn sons in Jewish families (Matt. [...]
[...] On the other hand, no one ever remarked on the celibacy of Jesus or the people around him. V. Jesus and Celibacy In the New Testament Jesus is criticized for behavior outside the norm, such as eating with tax collectors (Matt. Mark healing on the Sabbath (Matt. Mark Luke John allowing his disciples to pick food in the fields on the Sabbath (Matt. Mark Luke and to eat without washing (Matt. Mark not fasting (Matt. Mark Luke claiming the authority to cast out demons (Matt. [...]
[...] It is also significant that none of the statements relied on for the argument that Jesus advocated celibacy appear in what is called the Q gospel, the gospel that has been reconstructed from the gospels of Matthew and Luke and is believed to have been written before any of the New Testament gospels. The Q gospel does not say anything about eunuchs or any other possible reference to celibacy, but it does include Jesus' opposition to divorce. This suggests that Jesus was not portrayed as an advocate of celibacy or castration in those early years of the Christian tradition, but he was portrayed as an opponent of divorce, which is much more likely to be in support of marriage than an argument that it is inferior to celibacy. When Paul suggested that people not marry because the end of the world was coming Cor. [...]
[...] 1:22) and the Jewish belief that procreation was an important part of the Jewish covenant with God, it would take a much stronger statement than this to prove that Jesus meant to criticize marriage, and the heart of Jewish religious practice, just because Jesus said marriage did not continue after the resurrection. There is also a reason to doubt the historical accuracy of this story. It would have been extremely odd for Sadducees to ask this question, since the historian Josephus tells us that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. It is possible that a later writer just used the Sadducees as an excuse to attribute some teaching to Jesus. [...]
[...] Since marriage was the norm in the first century and the New Testament does not say Jesus was not married, it is slightly more likely that Jesus was married than that he was not. The New Testament texts also fail to supply any reliable information about the teachings of Jesus on celibacy. All of the texts relied on for the argument that Jesus taught celibacy do not portray Jesus as commenting directly on celibacy. Though a teaching that celibacy was superior to marriage would have been radically different from the teachings of first- century Judaism, there were no contemporary comments on any such teachings from Jesus, as we would expect. [...]
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