Religion and the Media - Part IV
This week, in US News and World Report, several editorials weigh in on the recent coverage of the Da Vinci Code. Ignacio L. Gotz, Stessin Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Hofstra University, gives a very interesting editorial with the claim, "It would be very unusual for Jesus to have been unmarried." This I take a little issue with; agreed, it might have been strange. But, there were many traveling aesthetics / prophets / teachers who took a vow of celibacy. Sure, if Jesus was a craftsman, then it would've been a little strange for him to not have had a family; but there was no "condition" that they be married. It doesn't matter to me if Jesus was married or not, but I think it's unfair to say that Jesus would've been very "unusual" to not have been married.
Gotz is right to point out that "references to Jesus's close relationship with Mary Magdalene are numerous and consistent and should not be ignored." This I wholeheartedly agree with. It's in the text: Jesus was close to Mary M. In fact, I'm almost convinced that she (and perhaps other women) were just as much disciples as the 12 men. Let's face it: Christianity has a long history of marginalization - so it would make sense that Mary M. could have been a disciple of Jesus.
And finally, Gotz states that Jesus's Jewish disciples did not and would not have "attributed divinity to another Jew." Now, I think culturally (and religiously) Gotz is right. However, the followers of Jesus knew there was something special. Sure, there were plenty of healers running around the Roman backwater, but the disciples knew there was something different about this Jesus of Nazareth. However, what is most telling is that, according to the NT, the disciples don't "figure it out" until after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The gospels are riddled with clues that point to exactly this: only in hindsight did they "get it." So, while I think Gotz might be right, I'm not sure he stated the entire story in context.
Granted these are short editorials, but I think there's room for clarification.