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Was Yeshua married? All sides of the controversy

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Some indicators that Yeshua was married:

  • Essentially all adults in Galilee during the 1st century CE were married by the time they reached the age of 18. In all probability Jesus and his disciples were also mostly or all married.

  • Peter is known to have been married. Passages in Mark 1:30, Matt 8.14, and Luke 4: 38 all refer to Peter's mother-in-law. And yet no direct reference to Peter's wife is mentioned in the Bible. Thus, even though there is no reference to Yeshua or his disciples being married, it is quite possible that they were.

  • Judging by Yeshua's knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) he appears to have obtained a comprehensive religious education in Judaism. Marriage was nearly universal for Jewish theologians, scribes, rabbis (teachers) etc. If Yeshua was not married, then he certainly would have been verbally attacked by the Jewish establishment for being single. Although the Gospels record many verbal attacks on Yeshua, none deal with this topic.

  • It is clear that Yeshua had a special relationship with Mary Magdalene, apparently the most important disciple among those half dozen or so disciples whose activities are described in depth in the Gospels. She was allegedly present at the cross during Yeshua's execution by the occupying Roman Army for the crime of insurrection . She is described in all four Gospels as being the discoverer or co-discoverer of the empty tomb. She is mentioned in Mark 16 and John 20 as being the first person to see Yeshua after his alleged resurrection. She is repeatedly mentioned first in lists of names of female followers of Yeshua found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This special relationship might have included a marriage.

  • The Bible mentions that Yeshua, his disciples, and his mother all attended the wedding at Cana. The identity of the couple getting married was not mentioned. Mary, Yeshua's mother, was described as being in a position of authority at the wedding. Usually, when one observes a wedding where a man, his closest friends, and his mother are all present, and where the mother is acting as an organizer, that man is the groom. So, Yeshua might have been the groom at the wedding at Cana.

  • There were three main competing movements within early Christianity: Gnostic Christianity and Jewish Christianity were the main competitors to the third and ultimately successful branch of Christianity. The latter was based largely on the writings of Paul and eventually became the established Christian Church. The Church regarded the Gnostic Gospels as heretical; they were not allowed into the official canon of the Bible. Two of them contained references to a special relationship between Yeshua and Mary Magdalene.

    • The Gnostic Gospel of Mary was written circa 150 CE, about half a century after the last of the four canonical Gospels. One verse mentioned that Yeshua loved Mary Magdalene "more than us;" that is, more than his other disciples. Another verse quotes Peter as saying to Mary: Sister, we know the savior loved you more than any other woman." 1

    • The Gospel of Philip was also written in the second century CE. It contains a passage referring to Yeshua as "master" who had three "Mary's" in his life:

      "Three women always walked with the master: Mary his mother, [ ] sister, and Mary of Magdala, who is called his companion. For 'Mary' is the name of his sister, his mother and his companion.

      The "[ ]" bracket indicates a place where the manuscript is, unfortunately, unreadable.

      The Greek word translated here as "companion" is "koinonos" which can mean a wife, consort, or platonic spiritual companion. 1

  • A romantic or marital relationship between Yeshua and Mary Magdelene formed a major theme in The Last Temptation of Christ movie, and several books including Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code. However, these are only fictional works based on fantasies of their authors and film writers.

  • According to author Christian Piatt:

    "... there are historical myths that a sect of the Merovingians secretly protects the direct bloodline of Christ. It’s an intriguing concept, but again, there’s no actual evidence." 2,3

  • Bernard Starr, writing for the Huffington Post said:

    "All the great rabbis were married and had children. And Jesus and his disciples were dedicated practicing Jews. The notion that Jesus and the 12 disciples would appear, for example, at the wedding in Cana (the occasion of Jesus performing his first miracle -- turning water into wine) as single men and avowed celibates would have been scandalous." 4

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Some indicators that Yeshua was not married:

  • Centuries of Christian tradition has held that Yeshua was not married.

  • No reference to Yeshua actually having being married can be in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).

  • The Gospel of Philip also contains a passage that cites a complaint by a male disciple about Yeshua's behavior with Mary:

    "The companion of the [ ] is Mary of Magdala. The [ ] her more than [ ] the disciples, [ ] kissed her often on her [ ]. The other [ ]…said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us'?" 1

One could argue that if Jesus and Mary were actually married, that the disciple would not have been at all confused why Jesus kissed Mary often. It would be expected behavior.

  • Shannon Moore, writing for said:

    "... I don’t think the idea that Jesus married and had children is probable.

    Despite what we’ve heard and read in recent years from novelists, dreamers, and/or conspiracy theorists, nothing in the Bible indicates that Jesus was married or had any children. Now, while I certainly don’t believe that every detail of Jesus’ life is described in the scriptures, it stands to reason that something as important as a spouse and kids would have merited at least a mention.

    And contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not focus on the family. He said that his teaching would bring division to households, and that we should love God more than our families. Accordingly, Jesus didn’t seem particularly attached to his family.  In three of the gospels, he basically disses his mom and siblings (who are outside waiting to see him), saying, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Harsh!

    Jesus focused on fulfilling his destiny as the Messiah, the Savior of his people. Quoting the ancient prophet Isaiah, he said as much in the synagogue in his hometown: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives…to let the oppressed go free.” All that might be difficult to achieve if you’re trying to keep the wife happy and the kids fed." 2

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Jesus and Mary Magdalene: Did they have a secret marriage?" Y-Jesus, at:
  2. Christian Piatt, "Did Jesus Get Married and have Family?," Opposing Views, 2012-SEP-24, at:
  3. book cover image Christian Piatt, "Banned questions about Jesus," Chalice Press, (2011). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  4. Bernard Starr, "Jesus Married? Not Surprising For a Dedicated Jew," The Huffington Post, 2012-SEP-21, at:

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Copyright 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2012-SEP-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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