Talk:Jesus/Archive 8

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Mary Magdalene as wife of Jesus

It would be informative if we could include some of the "strong" historical evidence that Magdalene was Jesus' wife. Slrubenstein

I fear most of this strong evidence comes from the thriller novel of last year, the Da Vinci Code. You're right; it would be helpful if the evidence could be cited and no value judgments passed as to the strength or nonstrength of the evidence. It might even be better to just state that some see evidence of this and link to a separate Mary Magadalene as wife of Jesus article which presents the various reasons people do or do not accept this view.
This is getting to be sort of a "popularist" understanding of the Bible; with works like the Da Vinci Code, and The Last Temptation of Christ from the last century, and with the decreasing amount of familiarity with the Bible on the part of the general public, it's increasingly common for people to think of Mary Magdalene as "that woman who had the relationship with Jesus." But scholarship doesn't necessarily support that view. Jdavidb 19:59, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Call me a snob, but if it isn't in a peer-reviewed publication or a book published by an academic press, or by an established scholar, I do not think it should be described as "historical evidence." I am sure I would make exceptions, but only with good cause -- and a third-rate novel by a third-rate author doesn't count! Slrubenstein

Although I agree that this is not evidenced except by legend, you may want to do a bit of reading on the "secrets" the Knights Templar kept. Jesus' marriage to Mary was one. I do not consider legend as "strong evidence" by any stretch, but is interesting, regardless of what "scholars" and other historians state in their western mindset. The bottom line is we weren't there and we don't know. -Visorstuff 01:16, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Yes, there are some interesting texts in the non-fiction category that have not passed peer review standards but which do suggest centuries of evidence that the Hebrew royal bloodline did not end with the unsuccessful execution of of the first century monarch. The two most recognized titles are "Holy Blood Holy Grail" and "Bloodline of the Holy Grail." Regardless the merits of these books thesis, the likelihood that European royalty embraced a messianic myth regarding their own bloodlines bears investigating. DontMessWithThis 14:16, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Long before the "Da Vinci Code" and other such books Gnostic texts with mentions of this idea have been floating around. Whether or not she was wife is as debatable as whether or not they even had sexual relations. The Gospel of Thomas is one such Gnostic text that is dated to the mid-1st century. It is not mainstream, and indeed is highly contentious. But I would aver it's not something Brown or some lone author came up with out of the ether. (I don't personally believe it but it's an interesting legend and ought to be noted with less disdain for what texts do support it) --LordSuryaofShropshire 04:00, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)
For how long has "this idea" been floating around? And what is "this idea," specifically? The Gospel of Mary Magdalene has Peter declare that Jesus loved Mary more than other women. What exactly does this mean? That they were married? That they had sex? Couldn't it have meant something else? Based on the text itself I see no evidence that Jesus and Mary were married, nor that they had a child. From what I know, these claims are not found in the Gnostic Gospels, and have been floating around for only a short period of time. Slrubenstein
What sort of love does the original translation talk about? Philia, eros or agape? User:ta bu shi da yu
As is evident from my post I didn't put high emphasis on a connubial knot, which seems unlikely, and I've never heard of a child. But there is clearly mention in the Gnostic texts that they were sexually involved, and this has been a thought 'floating' since the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts. It doesn't, however, seem justified to impute marriage or children. --LordSuryaofShropshire 20:38, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)

Where, exactly, in the Gnostic texts? Slrubenstein

OH, by the way... let's say you and I are chilling with some buddies at the local temple steps. We traditionally pat each other on the back, give a hug, or even have a French kiss-on-the-cheek greeting that is common in our group. Suddenly, a woman, known to us all, comes and greets me, but instead of the usual form of salutation, we osculate. I think anyone in the group would clearly take that, not only in the context of traditional human sexuality, but the customs of the day, as implying a 'sexual relationship.' Do I love her more than you? No... but I love her differently. I think that's the point of the Gospel, that it was apparent that there was a sexual connexion 'twixt the two. Whether we choose this believe this is still ultimately faith-based. It just happens to be that most don't. But belief and propositionally 'sound' conclusions drawn from posthumous accounts don't count as 'fact' by any stretch in either case. --LordSuryaofShropshire 20:46, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)

Non sequitor. First, the texts with which I am familiar do not have Jesus and Mary Magdelene kissing passionately in the manner you describe. Second, you provide a contemporary example. Yes, if something like this ocurred today, in my culture, I would inevitably make a certain inference (although it is very possible my inference would be wrong). But what if it happened in another culture? The past is another culture. It would be a grave error to read actions (including verbal utterances) in the past the same way one reads them today. Slrubenstein

In the Gospel of St. Philip it is written that Jesus, unlike with any of his other friends, disciples or acquaintances, would kiss Mary Magdalene 1) more often and 2) on the mouth. It was commented with curiosity and seen as strange to his disciples (according to Gnostic texts) and this will explain my example of a modern setting. I was paralleling the two, so no, your reading is incorrect; I was not placing anachronistic societal customs in the old Hebrew context. Rather, I was putting it in clear analagous terms, based on the St. Philip Gospel. The Gospel of Mary also mentions that Jesus 'loved her more' than the other disciples. Furthermore, to show you that this is not a recent phenomenon or even something limited to the Gnostics scriptures, I'll mention a few more tidbits. The Catholic Church, about 30 years ago, admitted that there isn't valid Biblical evidence to support the view of Mary Magdalene (henceforth simply Mary) as a reformed prostitute. Martin Luther and Brigham Young (protestantism and Mormonism) both felt that Jesus and Mary were living the couple's life. Just the fact that in three of four NT gospels she is the first to see his rising implies a great kinship and special place that she held which isn't, at the very least, counter to the idea that she was not only his disciple but his lover.
NOW: with all this said, it seems like the historical Jesus is so shrouded that nothing definitive will ever be known (in my opinion) about details of his life. All we have are distant third-person accounts or supposedly accounts written by his disciples in completely non-vernacular languages (which would seem to go against the Jesus ethos of anti-establishmentarianism) penned years and years, often decades, after his death. So, I have no solid opinion. But to plug this as a recent thing Dan Brown and few hippie New Agers started is fallacious. --LordSuryaofShropshire 01:10, Jun 25, 2004 (UTC)
When I read those Nag Hammadi passages it is clear from the following verses that they are spiritual references. Can you give any sources that anyone older than these "New Agers" interpreted it differently? You claim Martin Luther and Brigham Young. Do you have sources? Rmhermen 03:49, Jun 25, 2004 (UTC)
It is not clear at all that his "kissing her more and on the mouth" were 'spiritual references.' He commented on her spiritual wholeness and what not and that in no way contradicts the clearly physical nature of their kissing. I think that yours is a super-conservative and anomalous (putting it lightly) reading of this passage. The rest is very mystic at points but the context of the questions by his disciples is abundantly clear as asking Christ we he was kissing Mary in that manner. His explanation may have been lofty, but the question is clearly asking about actual physical events that they witnessed regularly. As for Luther I read that in a Time article and since then it seems he was making a pedagogical statement that's taken out of context by casuists. But besides that, it is well known that the Mormon Church has for a long time espoused the idea that Christ was married, not only once, but many times, Mary Magdelene among his wives.([1]) It is true that the Catholic Church has change its stance on her supposedly being a prostitute and there have been, from time to time, over centuries, people who believed in their coupling, including the Cathars of the Middle Ages. Anyway, as I said before, I frankly couldn't care less who believes or doesn't and I see him as a brahmachari yogi (Hindu concept of celibate meditative saint). --LordSuryaofShropshire 05:52, Jun 25, 2004 (UTC)

Pharisees -- a request

I have been working extensively on the Pharisees article. Given that the Pharisees play an important role in the Gospels, I'm curious to know what regular contributors to this page think of the work I have done on that page. I am especially interested in the feedback of people who are not especially knowledgable about Judaism. I think most Jews would think that what I wrote is unexceptional and pretty much common knowledge -- but I want to make sure that I have been clear and intelligible for a more general audience. Thanks, Slrubenstein

Race of Jesus

seriously, if nothing shows the inherent bias of wikipedia it is this. you cannot seriously discuss jesus without talking about the ethnicity of jesus.

furthermore, the picture of jesus is of a caucasian man. ridiculous

Right - so, instead of moaning about it, why don't you work to improve the article? Commenting out the picture because you don't like it is just lazy. I am putting it back in because it's an accepted image of how he was even if it's historically wrong. You can write your excellent paragprah on ethnicity and find a good picture of how you think he looked and put it up too, with an explanation of the difference between the historical fact and the accepted image and why this happens. That would be good and interesting work. Moaning and sniping is not.

I am very concerned about any discussion of Jesus' race or ethnicity. Clearly, Jesus was "Jewish." But is this a race or an ethnicity? These words have had different meanings for different people over the past 100 years. What meaning might they have had 2000 years ago? How can we be sure we will not be using these words in anachronistic ways? Slrubenstein

Regarding the picture of Jesus, its source is clearly given; at least doesn't claim to portray exactly what he looked like, only what some 12th century iconographer thought he might have looked like. There are other pictures at Images of Jesus along with some discussion of his appearance. Like the others said, actual constructive contributions to help make these articles better would be more than welcome. Wesley 02:18, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Trying not to be facetious - if Jesus is either (1) an incarnation of God or (2) the Son of God, is it meaningful to talk of his "race"?

Perhaps Christians would take this view, but for most non-Christians who believe he existed, he belonged to some group and had a group identity. As I stated before, I think the reason it is meaningless to talk of his race is that "race" today means something so different from what it meant then that it would be misleading. Slrubenstein

It's a fair question. I think most Christians would agree that Jesus did belong to a group and had a group identity, namely to the Jews living in the Roman province of Palestine around the first century. Traditional Christianity holds that He was both fully God and fully human, and "in his humanity" he was certainly Jewish (in the first-century sense of the word of course); I use that phrase in the sense of the Chalcedonian Creed and the Tome of Leo I on which it's based. Wesley 02:39, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I added a massive amount to the section on this historical Jesus. This is meant to provide a summary of the views of secular historians. I realize it is a view virtually all Christians will reject, but I believe it is a view that must be represented in this article. I did strive to make it clear that it is a point of view and not one that all accept. I have also tried to present it clearly and reasonably. I hope that even people who reject this view will find my presentation of it clear and informative. Slrubenstein

The new discussion on the difficulties determining the date of Passover is good, but I changed 15th of Nisan to 14th of Nisan. Today Jews celebrate Passover as one holiday, but it is really two: the Pascal offering (14th of Nisan) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (A week, starting on the 15th of Nisan). Slrubenstein

Nice to converse with you again SL.
I removed a description of Jesus from early Christian art as "a fresh faced youth with a magic wand" because if this were true Christianity would be very different, and because I suspect its a quote from some guy who sees a picture of Jesus holding a stick and knows he will make money if he publishes a book 'Jesus was a Magician'. Counter-information welcome. DJ Clayworth 15:41, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Argumentive Edits

I rolled back a series of edits that, regardless of whether they are correct or true, seemed designed to be argumentative. Mkmcconn 19:29, 17 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem with these edits was not so much what they said, as the way they were said. They were said as assertions, and articles can only assert facts, not opinions. If the editor(s) would cite sources and attribute these opinions to the sources, then they would be acceptable, no? ChessPlayer 21:04, 17 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my opinion, it makes for excruciatingly dull reading to adopt the form, X says A; Y critiques A; X rebuts Y with B; Y critiques B. This style makes the material read like a debate, rather than information; and, it has the effect of swinging bias back and forth between the opposing sides. The reader should receive what the paragraph or section promises to give, without interruption or rebuttal in that immediate context (eg. the Jewish view of Jesus). The section titled "Jewish view of Jesus" should not have the content, "Christian rebuttal to the Jewish view of Jesus". Mkmcconn 23:24, 17 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That seems reasonable to me, and my comment was not meant to advocate that style. The posters of the material perhaps simply don't know how they are supposed to write material, and how to insert it appropriately into the right place on the page. I'm trying to help them out, so that they don't get treated like vandals. ChessPlayer 00:02, 18 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No one is treating the contributer as a vandal. Mkmcconn is right, the additions were argumentative (poor style) and added nothing ot the article -- regardless of the intentions. For example, if an article says "Some people ..." the very phrasing is sufficient to communicate that opinion in this regard is not unanimous; thus, it is only clumsy and unnecessary to add: "but others disagree." In the case of these specific additions, the contributor was providing reasons, but spurious ones -- it seemed to me that all these points boiled down to this claim:

Whenever the article had something like "People who do not accept the Bible literally as a complete account suggest x," the contributer added something to the effect of (i.e. this was not explicit but implicit in the argument), "but people who do read the Bible literally as a complee account disagree."

Well, of course they do. Mkmcconn deleted it, noting that it was argumentative. If the contributor doesn't understand why or objects, s/she should feel free to ask for further explanation/justification. Slrubenstein

I think Sl's edits removing alternate views of Jesus' parentage are POV. Please revert. We can't be using the Wikipedia to suppress important alternate viewpoints. Tom (hawstom) 18:14, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It is not a matter of POV, it is a matter of organization. I deleted non-Christian views in a section explicitly on Christian views. NPOV in this article is provided by numerous sections, including a section on how historians view Jesus. I think it makes sense to keep them separate. If in the section on Christian views we kept putting in what non-Christians think, then in the other sections we sould have to (for NPOV purposes) keep putting in Christian rebuttals. Not only would this be tedious, it would not serve readers well. Slrubenstein
I deleted non-Christian views in a section explicitly on Christian views. What nonsense. The section as a whole is not about Christian views at all, I pointed this out weeks ago when Slr changed the name to "Christian views," but didn't push it as I was tired of fighting over this silly page. What this section is, is mostly scholar's views from the books Slr has read, with a few other views thrown in, and now Slr is deleting those. The article is already 75% the historical view of Slr's chosen scholars, and I suppose he wants it to be 80% now. ChessPlayer 19:41, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
What is nonsense is the fact that now, as then, you fail to back up anything you say with facts or any reasonably informed view. It makes perfect sense for there to be a section on Christian views of Jesus, and the section in question -- except for the one or two sentences I deleted, hew fairly closely to the NT. It makes perfect sense for there to be a section on the views of critical scholars. My contribution was based on my doing research -- I researched the most well-regarded and influential critical scholars. Chessplayer has done no research, and has yet to discuss any current influential scholar. Aside from Sanders, Vermes, Fredricksen, and do a lesser degree Meier and Crossan, please tell me waht current scholars someone researching contemporary critical and historical scholarship on Jesus should read? Slrubenstein
sigh...I have to go thru the long process of going though the material line by line, and showing that it's not the Christian view that is being argued in the section? Fine...I will do that. Let's start with the first sentence, Jesus was possibly born in Bethlehem, although he may have been assigned this birthplace by early Christians based on that city's status as the presumed birthplace of King David, from whom the Messiah was to descend. So this is a Christian view? That Jesus was possibly born in Bethlehem? No, that's not the Christian view; the Christian view is that he WAS born in Bethlehem. So what view is that he was possibly born there? The SLr's historical scholar's view, as they treat the NT as maybe historical. The rest of the first sentence is clearly not a Christian view, but directly opposed to it, analysing why the NT makes up the myth of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Ok, now next sentence: Gospel accounts state he was brought up in Nazareth; however, it is possible that early Christian transcribers mistook the title "Nazarene" for a location, because the town of Nazareth is not mentioned in contemporary historical sources. This is a Christian view? Perhaps...if the Christian is not of the literalist mind, but is bent on treating the NT as history....but I think its clear that one cannot call this statement a "Christian" view at all. So, in the first paragraph, we have exactly zero statements of Christian's views of Jesus, and several of Slr's historical view. If Slr doesn't yield on this point, are we going to have to go through the next paragraph, and the next, looking for the "Christian" POV that Slr claims the section is about now? ChessPlayer 20:27, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  • Sigh* I am one contributor among many. I did not write the article, no one is an "author" of an article. Moreover, I did not write anything in this section, I only deleted two sentences. The first paragraph does not represent my historical views, and I did not write it. All I did was delete two sentences that I thought pretty clearly were not Christian views. I am not an expert on Christian views. If Chessplayer thinks he can more ably represent Christian views, by all means! If anyone else thinks they can more effectively present Christian views, by all means! Slrubenstein
The point is, the section does not represent Christian views, did not represent them, and was not intended to represent them. The section was not named "Christian views" until you renamed it! And I objected to it at the time, pointing out that renaming it "Christian views" was bogus, as the section was not Christian at all, but predominently from your authors, and mostly of the "historical" view of the NT, the sort that treats this work of religion as if it was history, picking and chosing what is "historical" and what is not. So, first of all, the section should be renamed back to what it was before you changed it, namely just "Jesus' life and teaching"; and secondly, there is no reason for your removal of alternate views. If you want to remove something, remove some of the The historicity of Jesus material.... to the page that already exists for it. ChessPlayer 21:52, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I see a lot of work to be done, but Chess player makes a lot of sense with his concerns. Unless you have the energy to rework the article, maybe you should go back to the old section heading, Sl. Tom (hawstom) 04:57, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Look, I appreciate both of your concerns, ChessPlayer and Hawstom. The problem is, the previous heading made no sense in terms of the content of the section or the structure of the article. There are sections on Jewish views of Jesus, historical views of Jesus, and so on -- there ought to be a section on Christian views of Jesus. Second, this section is not comprehensive. I understand it may not clearly express Christian views, but it definitely does not express the views of critical historians or Jews or Muslims. In fact, the account hews fairly closely to the Gospels. To present it as a general account of Jesus' life is misleading and POV. I think NPOV is best achieved, at least in this case, by sections that distinguish specific points of view. Slrubenstein
If I may contribute to this discussion: I think NPOV as well as inclusion of the "mainstream" Christian perspective can be achieved with some reorganization. Here's my suggestion: Start off with a "Biblical portrayals of Jesus" section. This would describe Jesus as described in the Bible, taking at face value statements about his nativity, miracles, etc. Certainly, apparent inconsistencies between different accounts in the Gospels and elsewhere in the Bible can be mentioned, but critical analysis of the text in light of extra-biblical sources (such as the historical milieu) should be reserved for a later section. Perhaps the "Biblical Jesus" section should have a sub-section for Apocryphal writings regarding Jesus, so we don't get debates about what form of the Bible is being used as a source for this portrayal. Then, other sections could include "Other Christian traditions and beliefs about Jesus," "Non-Christian views of Jesus," "Modern scholars' perspectives on Jesus," etc. What do you think? Alanyst 15:55, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
" That could work, although it may just increase the risk of someone coming along a month from now and being shocked at how POV that section is, particularly if they don't take the time to read the full article. There's no perfect solution, and it shouldn't be that unreasonable to expect folks to read the whole article, even if a number of them won't. BTW, what did the heading used to be again? Wesley 16:17, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I do not support the article giving any account of Jesus's life that is not attributed to whichever group holds that view. There is no view of Jesus which is not the POV of some group, and therefore the article would be taking that POV if it asserts it without attribution. The solution to the problem is the NPOV way: present material by whoever's view it is, with the article taking no side as to who is correct. I assert that the NPOV way is the only way open, as Jimbo has said its non-negotiable.
As for Alanyst's suggestion, I wish to point out that there is already a complete article Christian views of Jesus that is dedicated to what he suggests. I suggest instead of adding material to the Jesus page, we take material off, putting it on its own pages where it belongs, until the Jesus page is nothing more than an introduction to the articles on Jesus on Wikipedia. ChessPlayer 21:34, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Great idea! This has produced good results in the Mormonism articles. Tom (hawstom) 23:19, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
What is the name of the article that the Jesus page might be modelled after? ChessPlayer 00:27, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Well, there are a lot on articles on Mormonism (List of articles about Mormonism). The closest thing to a "hub" article would probably be Mormonism. It is short and has links to other key hub articles, like List of articles about Mormonism. Hope that helps. Tom (hawstom) 17:28, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Graphics Formatting

With my browser and video card, the formatting of Jesus#Date of birth and death starts to turn to crap with windows a little narrower than half the screen. Starting when the first line of the 2nd 'graph of that section wraps after "The Gospels are problematic, because they offer two accounts", instances of "c." in the "Brief timeline of Jesus" start to be superimposed over the text of the section's first 'graph (which are one word per line at that point). As i know nothing about WWW graphics, i won't speculate about fixes, but if someone needs more info to reproduce my problem, i'll answer questions. --Jerzy(t) 17:53, 2004 May 19 (UTC)

life and teaching

We cannot have a section heading that is simply "Jesus' life and teaching." Many people disagree as to what Jesus' life and teaching were. The account here draws largely on the New Testament Gospels, for example. Gnostic Gospels provide different teachings and sometimes different accounts of his life (I am not saying these accounts are "better" than the NT accounts -- just that there are different accounts out there). Historians disagree over elements of his life. Some people do not even believe Jesus existed! So to present a section on Jesus' life and teaching, as if this is what he really taught and how he lived, lacks NPOV. It would be unwieldy to try to present every point of view in this one section. It is an NPOV convention to acknowledge different POVs -- in other words, this is an account of "Jesus' life and teaching" according to whom? Since the account is derived mostly from the NT, I put in "NT." If it is according to someone else, whoever wrote this could change it. But we have to acknowledge the point of view, since people with other points of view do not agree about Jesus' life and teaching. Slrubenstein

I deleted this from the section:

Others have postulated that Jesus might have been the biological son of Joseph or an unidentified man with whom Mary had relations before her marriage to Joseph. One second-century allegation was that Jesus was the biological son of a Roman soldier named Pantheras.

The first sentence is silly -- OF COURSE anyone who does not think Jesus was the literal son of God must think he had some human man as a father. The second sentence at least names a name -- but without attribution lacks credibility. Most people cite the Talmud as a source. Not only is the Talmust not a great historical source, it is by no means clear what the Talmud means when refering to ben Panderas, or why. This is a real stretch. Is there any scholar today who promotes it, seriously? Slrubenstein

Graphics Formatting

With my browser and video card, the formatting of Jesus#Date of birth and death starts to turn to crap with windows a little narrower than half the screen. Starting when the first line of the 2nd 'graph of that section wraps after "The Gospels are problematic, because they offer two accounts", instances of "c." in the "Brief timeline of Jesus" start to be superimposed over the text of the section's first 'graph (which are one word per line at that point). As i know nothing about WWW graphics, i won't speculate about fixes, but if someone needs more info to reproduce my problem, i'll answer questions. --Jerzy(t) 17:53, 2004 May 19 (UTC)

Archived this Talk page

I have archived much of the content of this Talk page to Talk:Jesus archive 7 because it was way too long. If anyone feels that I archived something that was still an open topic, please feel free to retrieve it from the archive page and re-insert it. I tried to leave discussions that had recent activity or seemed to be unresolved, based on my admittedly hasty judgment. Alanyst 05:56, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)