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She says Jesus wed
The News Tribune - Tacoma, WA ^ | Wednesday, January 7, 2004 | STEVE MAYNARD

Posted on 01/07/2004 1:04:42 PM PST by johnb2004

The Steilacoom woman pointed to biblical stories as evidence: Mary anointed Jesus in a wedding nuptial and was the first person the resurrected Christ appeared to.

"I believe that the Gospels portray Jesus and Mary Magdalene as a couple," Starbird said. "They were married."

(Excerpt) Read more at tribnet.com ...


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Current Events; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; History; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Orthodox Christian; Other Christian; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Skeptics/Seekers; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: epigraphyandlanguage; faithandphilosophy; godsgravesglyphs; gospelofjesuswife; hewasarabbi; jamescameron; karenking; letshavejerusalem; mariame; mariamne; marymagdalene; rabbismarry; sectarianturmoil; simchajacobovici; talpiot; weddingatcana
More than 10 years ago, Margaret Starbird finished writing her first book, making a controversial claim about Jesus.

He was not celibate. Jesus was married. His wife was Mary Magdalene.

The Steilacoom woman pointed to biblical stories as evidence: Mary anointed Jesus in a wedding nuptial and was the first person the resurrected Christ appeared to.

"I believe that the Gospels portray Jesus and Mary Magdalene as a couple," Starbird said. "They were married."

Many scholars dismiss the idea, saying there is little or no evidence of that. They say Mary anointed Jesus for his eventual burial, not as a nuptial rite.

Starbird, who studied at Vanderbilt Divinity School, forged ahead with a loyal but small following.

Things changed in the spring when "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown hit the best-seller lists. It claimed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and that they had created a royal bloodline in France.

Brown cited the first two of Starbird's five books in his novel as evidence supporting the idea that Jesus was married. Those titles, which Brown said helped inspire his book, are: "The Woman with the Alabaster Jar" and "The Goddess in the Gospels."

That's when the phone at Starbird's house in Steilacoom started ringing like crazy. "That's what put me on the map," she said.

Since then, her speaking engagements across the country - including some at Christian churches - have doubled. Her book sales have soared 10-fold. She was interviewed in November on an ABC News special called "Jesus, Mary and da Vinci."

While still controversial and unorthodox, the idea that Jesus and Mary were married has moved into mainstream discussion. And so has Starbird.

"I take it in stride," she said. "For years, I thought, 'This book isn't going to go anywhere.' I was comfortable with that."

She was a housewife who raised five children, including professional basketball player Kate Starbird. She taught the basics of Catholicism to young people in her parish. Her husband, Edward Starbird, is a retired Army colonel.

Starbird began to study Mary's relationship with Jesus after reading a book in 1985 that suggested Jesus was married.

At first, she said, "I was shocked. I thought it was blasphemy."

Her research and her spiritual journey changed her mind.

Starbird said she believes Jesus and Mary were partners in a sacred union. Their union was an attempt to restore sacred feminine wisdom - a rebalance of gender, Starbird said.

She points to evidence from the Bible:

•The New Testament refers to both Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus. Many scholars presume Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany to have been different people.

But Starbird says they were the same person. She bases her belief in part on what she says was a Roman Catholic Church tradition for centuries and what has been portrayed historically in art.

Starbird said it was Mary Magdalene - the sister of Lazarus called Mary of Bethany - who carried an alabaster flask of ointment and anointed Jesus' head.

Starbird said this ritual is actually an ancient nuptial rite. It is one of only four stories mentioned in all four Gospels, giving it added authenticity.

"It had to be one of the most important events in his life," she said.

This same Mary was thought by some in the Catholic Church to be a prostitute. But Starbird said modern scholarship has rejected that theory.

•Mary and Jesus lived out a sacred partnership - an archetype of the bride, a symbol for the church, and the eternal bridegroom, which is divinity, Starbird said.

By doing so, Mary restores the wisdom of the feminine, called sophia in Greek, and a healthy balance between the feminine and masculine that people can experience today.

"We know Christ was a feminist," Starbird said. "He came to restore women to equality in a society that totally denigrated them."

The subservient role of women, as well as a desire to protect Mary, helps explain why New Testament writers didn't explicitly say Jesus was married, she said.

•A code in the Bible, called gematria, adds evidence that Mary was married to Jesus. This is one of Starbird's most complex points.

Gematria refers to the numerical value assigned to each letter in the Greek alphabet. She said New Testament writers used these numbers to convey special concepts. Starbird added up the numerical value of Mary's title, "the Magdalene," in Greek to be 153. She said this number represents an almond-shaped geometric figure - called the vesica piscis - which is an ancient symbol for the goddess and the sacred feminine.

Starbird, 61, has a master's degree in comparative literature and German from the University of Maryland. She studied at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany, on a student Fulbright scholarship, and later at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tenn.

Starbird, 5-foot-8 with long white hair, speaks in rapid-fire fashion about the intricate points in her writings. While she is a lifelong Catholic, she no longer attends a parish.

Her research on Mary is unusual in its focus on evidence in the Bible. Many academicians are re-examining Mary as an apostle, concentrating on materials from the Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of ancient writings discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. Some scholars believe some of these writings from the second to fourth centuries point to a special relationship between Mary and Jesus.

Was there really one?

"It's hard to say," said Michael Williams of the University of Washington in Seattle.

"The Gospels that made it into the New Testament don't give us evidence of this," said Williams, professor of comparative religion and near Eastern languages. The one exception is the Gospel of John, which highlights Mary in the story of the empty tomb.

There are signs of a special relationship between Mary and Jesus in later sources, said Williams, who has not read Starbird's books. These writings from the Nag Hammadi Library and a related book called the Berlin Codex include references to Jesus somehow loving Mary more than the other disciples. But it's not clear whether these texts are referring to a special role for her as a disciple or a special intimacy, Williams said.

Williams said he had never before heard of the anointing of Jesus being called a nuptial rite. Moreover, he said, it's not clear the Gospel of John account of the anointing is referring to Mary Magdalene. In the other three accounts the woman doing the anointing isn't named. Scholars usually presume Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany to be two different people, Williams said.

A Tacoma pastor who has read Starbird's "The Woman with the Alabaster Jar" and Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" is highly critical of both.

The Rev. David Norland, associate pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Tacoma, helped teach a class at his church in November on the "The Da Vinci Code."

He said he doesn't believe Jesus and Mary had a special, sexual relationship.

"Margaret Starbird and Dan Brown portray themselves in interviews as Christians," Norland said. "But if they believe their own books, which they claim to do, then sex is their sacrament.

"This is definitely not Christianity - of any denomination."

He calls "The Da Vinci Code" a "good piece of fiction, but bad, bad theology."

Norland disagreed with Starbird's contention that Mary and Jesus took part in a wedding nuptial. In the Gospel of John, Mary anointed Jesus with ointment for his eventual burial, not marriage, Norland said. "There's nothing said about marriage in the text."

Starbird said marriage and burial are linked in this anointing.

While the anointing of Jesus shows up in all four Gospels, Norland said he's not certain any of the four accounts are talking about Mary Magdalene or that Mary Magdalene is the sister of Lazarus, Mary of Bethany.

Starbird said John's Gospel, by combining elements from the other three Gospel accounts, makes it clear the Mary who anointed Jesus is Mary of Bethany, who Starbird believes is Mary Magdalene.

She said Norland misses her point. "I'm not talking about sex here," she said. "I'm talking about union at all levels."

The criticism troubles Starbird at times. But she persists in her mission to proclaim Mary as the wife of Jesus.

"It's not just one piece of evidence. It's a mosaic," Starbird said. "She was Christ's partner."

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 steve.maynard@mail.tribnet.com

1 posted on 01/07/2004 1:04:43 PM PST by johnb2004
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To: johnb2004
She taught the basics of Catholicism to young people in her parish.

Now why doesn't that surprise me?

2 posted on 01/07/2004 1:16:21 PM PST by kentuckyusa
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To: johnb2004
Starbird, who studied at Vanderbilt Divinity School,

Isn't that one of the schools that Al Gore attended unsuccessfully?

3 posted on 01/07/2004 1:16:43 PM PST by PAR35
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To: kentuckyusa
read later
4 posted on 01/07/2004 2:02:50 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: johnb2004
Cue the Twilight Zone music when reading this space cadet's quotes!
5 posted on 01/07/2004 2:14:35 PM PST by FormerLib (We'll fight the good fight until the very end!)
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To: johnb2004
Jesus took care of His mother Mary at the cross by turning her care over to John. IF Jesus was "married" He would have done no less for His "wife".
6 posted on 01/07/2004 3:23:22 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: johnb2004
If Jesus was married, wouldn't that fact have been mentioned in Scripture at least ONCE?
7 posted on 01/07/2004 7:44:13 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (Go to the end of the tagline..)
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To: johnb2004
""We know Christ was a feminist," Starbird said. "He came to restore women to equality in a society that totally denigrated them."

I guess all that salvation/redemption/sacrificial theology is just wrong then?
8 posted on 01/08/2004 6:09:11 AM PST by OpusatFR (Al Dean and Howard Gore, the Rainmen, definitely, definitely)
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To: OpusatFR
I guess all that salvation/redemption/sacrificial theology is just wrong then?

C'mon! Think out of the box! I can tell you don't have even one advanced theology degree! ;-)

9 posted on 01/08/2004 6:24:17 AM PST by american colleen
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To: johnb2004
Jesus's bride is the Church, and since Jesus is not an adulterer or bigamist, he couldn't be married to Mary Magdalen, or anyone else for that matter.
10 posted on 01/08/2004 6:30:18 AM PST by NeoCaveman (se habla espanol)
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To: OpusatFR
I guess all that salvation/redemption/sacrificial theology is just wrong then?

Now you're getting it (w/ sarcasm)! That's the idea. Disavow/discredit 'traditional' (always said with a sneer by this crowd) theology and revolutionalize it and update it for the 'new' modern age. There are folks who would like us all to buy into this new age crap.

11 posted on 01/08/2004 7:25:55 AM PST by fortunecookie
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To: johnb2004
Wiccan bump
12 posted on 01/10/2004 9:03:00 AM PST by Dajjal
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To: johnb2004
The level of spiritual confusion just keeps escalating. There must be an antichrist around here somewhere.
13 posted on 01/10/2004 9:26:03 AM PST by man of Yosemite ("When a man decides to do something everyday, that's about when he stops doing it.")
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14 posted on 12/21/2014 9:42:30 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/ _____________________ Celebrate the Polls, Ignore the Trolls)
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To: NeoCaveman

Concur, Amen.


15 posted on 12/21/2014 9:44:50 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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