Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
December 15th, 2014 by Joel Watts

James Charlesworth responds to (calls out?) “The Lost Gospel”

jacobovici giorgio the lost gospel

The book is written by Barrie Wilson and Simcha Jacobovici; the title is The Lost Gospel. Should we not ask if something “lost” has been found and is it a “gospel”?

In Jacobovici’s video, I stressed that his alleged “lost gospel,” Joseph and Aseneth, is a Jewish pseudepigraphon (a work written in honor of a biblical hero) composed by a Jew in the first century CE (or about then). The document was expanded by Christians who edited it and transmitted it to us in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, Latin (2 versions), Serbian Slavonic, Modern Greek, Rumanian, and Ethiopic. There is evidence that an Arabic version once existed. Clearly, the Romance found many homes and libraries; but no one has claimed or imagined it was a romance between Jesus and the Magdalene. The claim is novel. When I was interviewed, twice (once in Jaffa and once in the Old City of Jerusalem), I said that I totally disagreed with the claim that the composition,

Joseph and Aseneth, could conceivably be a cryptic story of Jesus’ alleged marriage to Mary of Migdal. My resistance has to do only with the narrative of Joseph and Aseneth.

You can find the entire paper here:

Has Lost Gospel Been Found Proving Jesus Married Mary of Migdal? | James H. Charlesworth – Academia.edu.

Charlesworth has previously defended Jacobovici’s claims, so this break is important. One thing Charlesworth mentions is he believes it is clear Jesus and Mary were “intimate.” His position is not because he doesn’t like to think of Jesus as married. He even goes on to say this present novel is more researched than Dan Brown’s book of similar storyline.

Rather, Charlesworth is clear. He echoes well-known scholar, Dr. Robert Cargill, in essentially saying The Lost Gospel is neither lost nor a gospel.

Charlesworth also answers (his own) the question about whether or not The Lost Gospel is indeed an allegory of the marriage of Jesus.

NO. Despite the claims in The Lost Gospel, and the misleading notes to the Syriac translation, Joseph is not a cipher for Jesus. Aseneth is not a veiled Mary Magdalene.

I cannot help but notice the adjective “misleading.”

Personally, I don’t think the canonical gospels, nor the earliest non-canonical (Thomas, specifically), reveal any such marriage of Jesus and Mary. Yet, as some who studies this particular portion of the past, I would find it stranger to believe Jesus lived and died a 33-year-old virgin than to accept his marriage.

To be honest, I sort of picture it as an early death of his wife, in childbirth.

But, if I were to wax romantically, I would suggest Jesus was married to a woman who was later killed by a Roman soldier, Pantera, who raped her and left her for dead. I would then suggest this is what drove Jesus into the desert, where in his insanity, he heard a voice from the heavens telling him he was the messiah, the one to free Israel from Rome.

I mean, the only that separates my fiction from Wilson, et al.’s, is that I will plainly tell you I’m pulling it out of thin air.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

9 Responses to “James Charlesworth responds to (calls out?) “The Lost Gospel””
  1. I have owned James Charlesworth’s ‘The Pseudepigrapha’ Volumes 1 & 2 since they came out, and I respect his scholarship. (I have an M.T.S. degree from the theological seminary of Drew University, 1978).

    As to the Roman Pantera, I saw that name in numerous references to a possible father of Jesus, not the murderer of Jesus’ wife. An analysis of Jesus’ statements pertaining to God as his father, as a reaction to his absentee [earthly] father was made by the Jungian, Edward Edinger in the book ‘Ego and Archetype.’

    The Talmud refers to Jesus as a ‘mamser’ (bastard, or alternately, born of adultery). If it was a teaching of self-emptying and humility for Deity to enter into a human frame of reference, a lowlier birth as this would be unthinkable – the bastard child from a rape/adultery!

    Jesus married? Men were not allowed to speak openly in the Temple unless they were fully adult men, which meant married/sexual. No, it’s not mentioned in the New Testament, but neither is his b’ris or bar mitzvah (he spoke in the Temple at age 12, not 13).

    But, to end this digressive ramble, I am, like theologian-physician Albert Schweitzer, unconvinced of the singular historicity of Jesus of Nazareth in the first place. And as suggested by Rev. J.S. Spong, the New Testament was written as a literary device focusing the prophesies of the Tenach on this figure – in a word, midrash. If midrashic, then hardly historical in any modern sense of journalistic accuracy.

    • 1.) I think you misunderstand my story of Pantera.

      2.) Schweitzer believed in a historical Jesus, but showed that more often than not, we believe in the historical Jesus that suits us.

      3.) Spong is a well-educated idiot.

      • Dr. Mark Abrahams says

        J.S. Spong, a man I have met and conversed with on three occasions, is a highly intelligent man. I have met him and spoken with him on 3 occasions, and read many of his books, ‘Liberating the Gospels’ being my favorite (which he autographed). I discovered that he knows and converses with another scholar whom I respect, namely Ken Wilber. Naming Rev. Spong “a well-educated idiot” is oxymoronic and speaks volumes about you, while saying nothing about the good Reverend.

        • You can be a well-educated idiot. For instance, if you believe in mystical hypnotherapy but hold several advanced degrees. Or if you believe in a non-historical Jesus. Or even you cannot read a simple blog post and understand what it says.

          • Dr. Mark Abrahams says

            Well, I am personally acquainted with mysticism, and I have studied it with well-known professors. Hypnosis on the other hand is a technique which isolates the subconscious levels of the psyche, between conscious and unconscious levels, in which emotional traumas which continue to operate can be removed. There is nothing mystical about hypnosis/hypnotherapy. It operates in a psychical way, and is not a ‘spiritual’ phenomenon.

            Not understanding? I’m here to play, not to prove myself as your irascible tone clearly indicates about yourself. You have already demonstrated a misunderstanding about both mysticism and hypnotherapy, yet I do not get the impression that you are interested in learning anything new, but rather prefer criticizing what you fail to understand.

            You are a type that I have encountered in other forums, and it is a type I do not enjoy interacting with because of its general recalcitrance and inability or unwillingness to perform any kind of phenomenological reduction of his own belief system I was just passing through, having seen the article, but clearly you’d have zero appreciation for the Gnostic Christian view to which I subscribe. With that said, I’ll be leaving. !Adios!

  2. Paul Hosse says

    Dr. Abraham’s comments are pretty much right on in my opinion. I think there’s no doubt that Jesus was married. To be accepted by the community (and considered a teacher), would almost make it a requirement. In fact, he would have been “promised” from the time of his birth and married by the time he was roughly 13 or 14. Personally, I think the most likely candidate was Mary of Magdelene. As for Jesus’ birth, he was certainally illegimate. Again, the most likely reason for that would have been rape rather than adultry. With the Roman Pantara being named, it may be that Mary even knew her rapist (which is common even today). With the revolt in Sepphoris in 4 BCE, it would have been the right time at the right place.

  3. to think anyone of these is mad is a contradictory because there is Evidence for either But i think they seem to fit the evidence to the narrative when it comes to Jesus they go from a book & writings that was written hundreds of years after the fact and then take them as fact.
    When it comes to Ancient Aliens you look at the past and then say did they have the tec to do this in the answer is no then how was it built or done and who built it or helped them and was there an Ancient civilization older than we believe and how technology advanced were their and where did they go.
    But mainstream media and archaeology rather dosen’t believe or don’t want to acknowledge that their findings are all wrong.

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