Friday, September 21, 2012

"Did Jesus Have a Wife?"

I read C.E. Hill's book a couple of months ago on Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy (OUP, 2010) and this book is more relevant now than ever since the news broke a couple of days ago about a coptic text alleging Jesus had a wife. For the first two or three hundred years after the four Gospels were written, many other Gospels have come forward to make certain claims about Jesus or Jesus' teachings and the orthodox Church basically rejected all these accounts or gospels in favour of the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Even long before these four gospels became the canonical gospels in the mid-fourth century, these four gospels held sway in the churches throughout the Roman empire over all the other accounts. By early 2nd century AD, Christians began compiling the four "canonical" gospels into a codex and together with Paul's 14 letters (Hebrews included) became the most popular early Christian writings bound in a codex or received as a collection. From Irenaeus of Lyons, Justin Martyr of mid to late second century to the giant of a scholar who compiled the Hexapla, Origen of Alexandria and Caesarea (185-254AD), these orthodox church fathers defended the four gospels as authoritative texts against all claimants including the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Barnabas and many so-called "gospels".

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