The idea that Jesus was married continues to fascinate. Look no further than Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code for evidence. Or indeed Harvard Professor Karen King’s recent discovery of the so called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife – a piece of ancient papyrus that made the explosive suggestion in 2012 that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were man and wife. But most who address the topic either dismiss the possibility or propound conspiracy theories, often of Christian origins.
Approaching the subject from a fresh, historical perspective and without appealing to sensationalist stories or dismissing Jesus’ sexuality on theological grounds, Le Donne places Jesus firmly within his sociocultural context. By investigating gender and marriage norms – as well as a number of social outliers who defied them – he provocatively argues that Jesus might have been married before he was thirty years of age. Le Donne then points to several indicators that suggest that Jesus was a sexual non-conformist and probably was single during his public career. It is a quest that illuminates the humanity of Jesus, while also revealing important connections between ancient sexuality and modern spirituality.