Becky Bratu of NBC News uses the flap over the dubious “Jesus’ Wife” fragment as the springboard for the question: What’s wrong with the idea that Jesus was married?
And what follows is anything but pretty; you get the feeling that, having “dumbed down” the technical issues for the non-specialists in the audience, the experts left themselves with equally dumb responses. Either that, or they all learned their material from non-Christians who had themselves forgotten the historical, traditional Christian beliefs after years of reading Jesus Seminar-style deconstruction.
Before going further, I need to reinforce something I wrote last week in The Impractical Catholic: The most misleading aspect of the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”, which yesterday the Vatican authoritatively rejected as a “clumsy forgery”, is the common representation (even among some of the detractors) that the Gnostics were a Christian sect. The people referred to by scholars as “Gnostic Christians” — a phrase as self-contradicting as “pastel green redness” or “masculine womanliness” — were Gnostics who had adopted characters and terms from the Christian story and crammed them into the Gnostic cosmology.
Cosmology, in a sense, drives theology. The differences aren’t just that the Gnostics liked women and Christians didn’t (which is a false distinction anyway); in the Gnostic universe, the Creator is a demiurge, a lesser emanation of the real First Principle, and a bit of a fool for not recognizing it. Jesus is not human at all, but rather another demiurge who can put his humanity off at any time, like a cheap costume: no hypostasis here. Because the cosmos of the Gnostics is built differently from that of the Christians (and the first-century Jews from whence they came), any similarities between the two are purely on the surface.