For those of you who not paying attention to the discoveries of what is has been called “the Jesus Tomb”, it’s been utterly fascinating to read as all the Christian archeologists discuss the various artifacts being studied out of it, and the symbolism inscribed on the materials.
I was watching a documentary called Bloodlines the other day by an English filmmaker who loves conspiracy theories. The theory in question this time out is whether Jesus in fact survived the crucifixion and escaped to the south of France where he and Mary Magdalene lived out their days.
As most of you who know me know, I don’t buy conspiracy theories. Most conspiracies, in order to be carried out, require far more competence and discretion than I have ever encountered in real life. I am sure–100 percent—the people and organizations try to manipulate and do deceitful things. I’m just not convinced that most people or most organizations can get–and keep—their sh*t together long to enough to accomplish their aim, let alone keep it a secret if they do, in fact, accomplish their aim.
So anyway, the Holy Blood, Holy Grail–Da Vinci Code stuff about how the Catholic Church suppressed information on the historical Jesus has always bemused me, largely because while I seldom believe conspiracy theories, I love them in the same way I love ghost stories. And in DaVinci’s case, he was so interesting that anything which increased population attention to him was ok by me. And yay! Let’s all study Renaissance art looking for secret code. Better that than watching reality TV.
But the conspiracy? How could the Catholic Church hide Mary Magdalene when it didn’t exist at the time of Christ’s death? His disciples and subsequent evangelists are still discussing the ins and outs of Jewish law and practice long after his death, like Jews, rather than people who consciously think of themselves as a different religion. No need of conspiracy to protect “the Catholic Church” from goddess worship or insurgent gnostic ideas just yet The Romans were trouble enough. The First Council of Nicaea, trying to set doctrine, wasn’t until 335 AD or so, about 300 years after Christ’s estimated death. Erasing documentation or doctrine is one thing, but that group of people would be hardly in the position of rubbing out or hiding a bloodline related to Mary Magdalene.
Whether Christ was married and had a family is another question. That seems imminently likely of a teacher or a leader at the time. So does their loss to history as his group scattered to both evangelize, avoid capture, and make a living in a harsh world.
At the end of this documentary, the documentarian stopped people on the street and asked them if they thought it was possible Jesus had married. The answers weren’t interesting until they hit upon a towering, African American man with a Yankees hat and a rumbling voice. When asked “Do you think it’s possible Jesus was married?” He stopped, took a moment, and said “I guess it’s possible, yeah, yeah I hope he was. I really hope he was. Life’s hard on your own. It makes me happy thinking he might’ve had somebody to look after him.”