Updated February 25, 2012
Could Jesus have been married and a father?
This line of argument is extremely important to those opposed to the proposition that the Talpiot Tomb is the family
tomb of Jesus. They are emphatic that Jesus could not have been married and had a son. This issue arises because
one of the ossuaries is inscribed “Judah, son of Jesus (Yehuda bar Yeshua)”, clearly indicating that this Jesus had a
son. If one concludes that Jesus could not have been married or had a son, then the Talpiot tomb is disqualified as
the family tomb of Jesus. If one concludes that Jesus could have been married and had a son then it preserves the
possibility that the Talpiot tomb could be the family tomb of Jesus.
Arguments for and against – Could Jesus have been married?
The New Testament makes no mention of Jesus being married. If he had been married surely this would have been
revealed in the New Testament. Paul makes it clear that celibacy is the preferred way to live a Christian life
Jewish customs of the time virtually required that Jewish males get married. It is clear that many of the followers of
Jesus did indeed have wives (1 Corinthians 9:5), yet the New Testament tells us almost nothing about them in detail.
We should not be surprised that the same would apply to Jesus.
Besides, the New Testament may be telling us that Mary Magalene is the wife of Jesus. We can see this in 1) the
“anointing” passages, 2) the presence of Mary Magdalene at the crucifixion and 3) her early presence at the empty
tomb. All of these events are consistent with the role of wife. This possibility is dealt with briefly here, but is dealt with
in more detail in the line of argument “The Mariamene Connection” (click here).
Regarding the teaching of Paul on celibacy, it is also clear that when he had a chance to point directly to Jesus as an
example of practicing celibacy, he did not (1 Corinthians 7:7-8). The requirement of celibacy for the priesthood was a
late addition to Christianity and of course, is no longer universally accepted across Christianity.
Arguments for and against - Did Jesus have a son?
Again, the New Testament makes no mention of Jesus having a son. If Jesus would have had a son he certainly would
have taken up an important position in the Jesus movement and this fact would have become known to us.
As with wives, the New Testament is essentially silent regarding the children of the followers of Jesus. We should
expect the same with Jesus.
There is an additional argument for silence. The Romans were well known for not only killing potential troublemakers,
but when it involved supposed crimes against the state as in the case of Jesus, they were well known for killing the
sons as well. This may have lead Jesus and his followers to either keep the identity of a son secret or at least
masked. Regarding the possibility that his identity was masked in the New Testament, there are two possibilities; 1)
the brother named Judah was actually Judah the son or 2) the mysterious “Beloved Disciple” could be Judah the son.
We know that Jews of this time would often name there children after important relatives. Jesus had a brother (unless
he was the son: see above) named Judah. Therefore we should not be surprised to see a son named Judah in a
Jesus family tomb.
It is the editorial position of this site that Jesus could have been married and had a son. The person buried in the
“Mariamene e Mara” ossuary could be Mary Magdalene, the wife of Jesus and the mother of Judah, but the evidence is
The fact that the son is named Judah and that Jesus had a brother named Judah is an important piece of evidence
weighing in favor of the Talpiot tomb being the family tomb of Jesus. This does not necessarily imply that Judah the
brother of Jesus is in reality Judah the son of Jesus.
Associating “Judah, the son of Jesus” with the “Beloved Disciple” is an interesting, but speculative possibility.
See in particular Bibliographic references 7(pgs 30-31), 22 – 24.
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