mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF science and philosophy

Jesus, Savior & Family Guy

It's all over the news: Jesus tombs found! Along with his wife and child!!! (Did the "DaVinci Code" get it right???) See the James Cameron documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" on the Discovery Channel!


The whole thing has already been debunked as wishful thinking. But my question is this: what difference would it make one way or another? How would marriage and fatherhood undermine the wisdom of what Jesus taught?

Or maybe it's a good thing that the news give a bit of coverage to J.C. — maybe he's not as newsworthy as Britany or Anna Nicole — but he does have a little of that celebrity buzz.

Interesting historical note: Between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. all the great religions of the world were founded. From Greece to India, secular city states had arisen.

Dislodged from the soil as well as from the old necessities of the hunt, a rather sophisticated urban population had appeared, with a certain leisure, considerable luxury, and time, consequently, for neuroses. Inevitably the new initiators [religious founders] appeared, who had, themselves, in their own experience, faced out the new anxieties: the first systematic psychologists of all time and in many ways, perhaps, the best. And their basic tools were everywhere the same: the old ritual lore, inherited from [the old-time religions]. However, now the chief concern was no longer magical (the weather, crops, abundance of goods, and long years), but psychological (... harmonization of the psyche) and sociological (the integration of the individual with a new society based on a secular... tradition). [Joseph Campbell, "The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology]

Jesus was one among many sages who became popular during that busy era — wandering, teaching sages, "each with his cluster of devotees and each supposing himself to have solved — once and for all — the mystery of sorrow" [Campbell].

Here's my point: there is a common storyline for all the World Saviors who rose during this period: scion of a royal line, miraculously born, whose childhood deeds proclaim his divine character, etc. Among all these guys (Buddha, Mohammed, etc), Jesus is the only one who didn't have a wife and child. In the stories of Saviors, the wife and child are considered impediments to the Savior going off to fulfill his mission — a psychological dilemma he needs to deals with as part of his personal journey.

So why wouldn't it make sense to try to rewrite the Jesus story to show him as a more complex man, who needed to balance his personal life with his job?