Did Jesus Have Sex with Mary Magdalene?

Via Tom Rapsas
on Jun 24, 2012
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Mary Magdalene by Goshka Datzov

The companion of the Son is Miriam of Magdala.

The teacher loved her more than all the disciples;

He often kissed her on the mouth…

~ Gospel of Philip

The passage above is from one of the many Gnostic gospels. While most of us are familiar with the four gospels found in the Bible, in the early years of Christianity there were dozens of gospels that made the rounds, each written to declare their own perspective of Jesus’ life and teachings.

As James P. Carse points out in The Gospel of the Beloved Disciple, while the original Christian churches were guided by a rich tapestry of gospels, this all abruptly changed in the year 325.

“Constantine, emperor of Rome, called a conference…to settle the disputes dividing Christendom and threatening the stability of the empire. Four gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—were designated canonical. All others were excluded.”  

As I pointed out in a previous post, there was a determined effort by the early Roman church to destroy every last copy of the banned gospels in order to get all Christians literally on the same page. But in spite of the best efforts of the book burners, many of these texts survive today. A treasure trove of them were discovered in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt.

Among the most interesting passages found in these gospels are those that deal with Mary Magdalene.

As author Thomas Moore states in Writing in the Sand, while Mary was at one time confused with a prostitute by the same name in the bible (it seems intentionally by some haters in the church), she is now recognized by many as a saint—“perhaps the beloved disciple to whom the Gospels never refer by name, and a figure of great importance in the earliest leadership of Jesus’ followers.”

 Levi said to the other disciples: “Surely the Lord knew her very well. That is why he loved her more than us.” ~ Gospel of Mary

There is no doubt that Mary Magdalene was tight with Jesus; several of the Gnostic gospels reveal her to be one of his most trusted disciples. In both the gospels of Mark and John, she is one of the few to watch his execution. She is also the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus, the only one to stick around his burial site after all the other disciples had left, obviously grieving over the loss of someone whose life was so intertwined with her own.

Peter said to Mary, “Sister, we know the savior loved you more than any other woman. Tell us the words of the savior that you remember, which you know but we do not, because we have not heard them.” ~ Gospel of Mary

Over the years, the legend of Mary Magdalene has grown and there have been books written that make the case that she and Jesus were even husband and wife. Several, including Holy Blood Holy Grail, lay out evidence that after the death of Jesus, a pregnant Mary traveled to France, gave birth and began a long line of Jesus’ descendants.

But to me, what is most intriguing is not what happened after the death of Jesus, but the relationship Jesus and Mary Magdalene had in life. As Moore points out:

 “What is shocking about the new view of Mary Magdalene and Jesus, of course, is the implication that Jesus was not celibate. People who see Jesus in an entirely spiritual light may have trouble considering the possibility that he was a sexual being as well. Yet…if you’re going to acknowledge Jesus’ humanity, you have to include his sexuality.”

This sexuality, or a least sensuality is on full display in a bible passage cited by Moore from the gospel of Luke. Here, Jesus reprimands his host for mistreating a female guest in the house, who the host believes to be unworthy of Jesus’ time:

“Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you didn’t offer me water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t kiss me, but the woman hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I arrived. You didn’t offer me oil for my head, but she has poured oil on my feet.” ~ Luke 7:43-46

Drying the feet of Jesus with her hair, kissing his feet and then pouring oil on them? It all sounds pretty sensual. And to me, regardless if he had a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene or not, it presents a Jesus that is easier to relate to, a Jesus that knows first-hand not just the foibles of our flesh and blood experience, but also its pleasures.

I’ll again turn to Thomas Moore for some closing thoughts:

“How you imagine Jesus’ sexuality may depend on how you feel about sex. If you think it’s contemptible or at least a low part of human nature, you may not want a sexual picture of Jesus. If you see the beauty and full significance of sexuality, you may understand how important it is to allow Jesus his sexuality. Anything less acknowledges his incarnation except for sexuality—and that makes no sense.”


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Tom Rapsas

Tom Rapsas is a blogger on inspirational and spirituality issues for Patheos, Elephant Journal and his own site The Inner Way. A long-time spiritual seeker and student of philosophy and religion, his influences include Thomas Moore, John Templeton, Napolean Hill, Ralph Trine and Ralph Waldo Emerson. A resident of the Jersey Shore, Tom lives with his wife, daughter and nine cats. He’s the author of Life Tweets Inspirational & Spiritual Insights That Can Change Your Life, which is now available for Kindle and as a trade paperback. His next book, the spiritual fable Thaddeus Squirrel, will be published in 2014. You can reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @TomRapsasTweets


27 Responses to “Did Jesus Have Sex with Mary Magdalene?”

  1. Enjoyed this provocative article, Tom. Thank you.


  2. Katherine says:

    In my understanding, there is a rather inconvenient hole in the papyrus paper on which Philip was written, leaving the passage to say, "Jesus often kissed her on her ____." Intriguing, eh?!

  3. April Dawn says:

    It's been said that Mary Magdalene was a high priestess of the Isis cult and Jesus an initiate of the mystery school of Osiris. Some of his words actually appeared on temples dedicated to Isis, which were built before his time. It's also hypothesized that his "death" was an enactment of the Isis/Osiris story, and that perhaps he did not actually die on the cross, seeing as how crucifixion is an incredibly slow way to die and he wasn't left long enough, according to Biblical accounts. "The Templar Revelation" has some very interesting research regarding all of this.

    This is one of my favorite areas of studies. Great article.

  4. Lori says:

    I found a much more believable story of both Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and pretty much everyone else of relevance during that time, in Laurence Gardner's "The Bloodline of the Holy Grail". Very academic, and dry, but still tells the story well enough. This post emphasizes Jesus' sexuality, but what of that of the Mary's…Both of them…??

    In general, I am all about learning to embrace the truth of our own humanity in All aspects, both physical and spiritual. And, we simply need to get beyond All of our "myths", one way or another. I honestly don't think we really Need them anymore, and wonder why so many continue to cling to them anyway?

  5. yogasamurai says:

    "Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own
    metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble."

    — Joseph Campbell

  6. krigor says:

    I thought it was just that the apocrypha were written at a later date. And as regards celibacy being equated with spirituality, that is an incorrect assertion — celibacy is equated with the ability to serve all beings and not to be joined in ones concerns with one person only.

  7. […] Did Jesus Have Sex with Mary Magdalene? (elephantjournal.com) […]

  8. […] And I’m cool with that, having recently written about Jesus and sex. […]

  9. Roger Wolsey says:

    A stronger case could be made that Jesus loved John ("the disciple whom Jesus loved") in a special and unique way. He reclined next to Jesus at the last supper and he was the only male disciple to stay with Jesus as he died on the cross. It's all there in the canonical Bible.

  10. Hans says:

    Theory seems probable enough to me. I have never believed in celibacy. But to go further: the son-of-god theory with him dying for our sins seems more unlikely the more I think this over. The canonical bible put together as the Hollywood version of the real story of a wise and charismatic man who was executed by Rome because he became too dangerous.

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