Saturday, September 22, 2012

Do Gods Have Bachelor Parties?

Whether gods have bachelor parties is a more interesting and potentially amusing question than the one that's been popping up about whether Jesus ever changed his marital status. First off, it has the advantage of prompting slightly more accurate and realistic assumptions. Most people would probably assume you were joking and that you were referring to mythology even if you weren't being silly. Most of the early reports on the discovery of a papyrus fragment that purports to prove Jesus was married were rather light on details and anything resembling scrutiny. Within a few days more details started to emerge and a half-assed attempt at critical thinking.

A few of the more interesting pieces, though not necessarily that impressive either, include:
"Jesus' Wife Papyrus Authenticity Questioned By Scholars" Huffington Post (repost from AP)
"5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'"CNN Belief Blog
"The Gnostic Noise Machine and the 'Wife' of Jesus UPDATED" God and the Machine blog on Patheos

Each piece has at least one or two half-way decent points but overall does not provide much in the way of context or insight. McDonald (God and the Machine) is at various points laughably ignorant and self-deluded. He tends toward being dismissive from a rather sexist perspective.

All fail to even acknowledge the first and biggest assumption that the whole thing is premised on: Jesus' Historicity. More accurately, Jesus' complete lack of historical basis. There is not a single verifiable fact about Jesus. The few aspects of the Jesus narratives that can be checked against the known historical record fail miserably. Basically, arguing about whether he was or was not married is about as useful as speculating whether Papa Smurf secretly had a fling with Hefty Smurf. Christ really is whatever any individual Christian or group of Christians want him to be. There are not set facts or even interpretations to go by.

As for the scrap of papyrus, even if it is proven to be "authentic" will have little real impact. If it is not a hoax it is a single fragment written three centuries after Christ is believed to have lived with no further corroboration. It would be a highly speculative piece of scripture, at best.

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