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[XTalk] Re: Jesus and Celibacy (was: Eunuchery for the sake of the kingdom of heaven)

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  • Nathan McGovern
    ... OK, you caught me. I made a bit of an overstatement. Actually, the Essenes are the only group that we can be sure of advocating celibacy (and, yes, I do
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 6, 1999
      Jeff Gibson wrote:

      >Nathan McGovern wrote:
      >
      >[snip]
      >
      >> To touch back on the original subject of this thread, however, I think it
      >> much more plausible that Jesus was celibate, or at least that he preached
      >> celibacy. This would fit better with Jewish religious movements of the day
      >> (especially the Essenes, which share many--though not all--characteristics
      >> with early Christianity). That's why I wondered whether there is
      >> linguistic backing for a claim that Matt. 19:11-12 goes back to Jesus.
      >
      >Er .. could you please tell me what Jewish religious movements
      >contemporaneous
      >with early Christianity besides the Essenes (if indeed even they advocated
      >what
      >you claim, at least as a lifetime posture) emphasised/practiced/demanded
      >celibacy?

      OK, you caught me. I made a bit of an overstatement. Actually, the
      Essenes are the only group that we can be sure of advocating celibacy (and,
      yes, I do maintain this claim based on War 2.8.13--I hope I'm not
      misinterpreting it). There are other groups in the "seven Jewish
      sects"--the ones that the Church Fathers can't agree on the identities
      of--that may have advocated celibacy, but we can't know this for sure.

      >
      >As to the question of Jesus being celibate, I would urge you to have a
      >look at the
      >book _Was Jesus Married?_ who not only shows that your claim about Jesus
      >celibacy
      >being in tune with Jewish religious movements of his day is unfounded, but
      >makes a
      >pretty strong case that the picture of Jesus as celibate, let alone as
      >advocating
      >celibacy, is extremely unlikely, has no basis in history, and is in fact a
      >distortion of the truth.

      Thanks, I'll check it out. I would like to point out, though, that the
      issues of celibacy and marriage are technically different; just ask
      Gandhiji (not meant to imply that the issues of *lifelong* celibacy and
      marriage are different in Jesus' culture). Actually, I think that Jesus
      may have been married to Mary Magdalene or some other woman.

      Shalom,

      Nathan

      Nathan McGovern
      Franklin and Marshall College
      nm_mcgovern@...
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