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Jesus speaks of his wife: Now That She’s a Fake

September 22, 2012

Now that fellow bloggers are asking – and answering – “Is the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife a Fake?“. . . ,

Now that somebody is finally calling into question “the Academy’s and Church’s continued exclusion of single persons” – and blogging at least – “Two of the best responses” to the brouhaha . . . ,

It’s time for the perfect elegy.  Jesus said to them (that is, to his disciples), “My wife” . . . ,

And, then, since they were arguing so typically about so many other things (these men), he turned and said to her (or perhaps still to them):

NATURE’S lay idiot, I taught thee to love,
And in that sophistry, O ! thou dost prove
Too subtle ; fool, thou didst not understand
The mystic language of the eye nor hand ;
Nor couldst thou judge the difference of the air
Of sighs, and say, “This lies, this sounds despair” ;
Nor by th’ eye’s water cast a malady
Desperately hot, or changing feverously.
I had not taught thee then the alphabet
Of flowers, how they, devisefully being set
And bound up, might with speechless secrecy
Deliver errands mutely, and mutually.
Remember since all thy words used to be
To every suitor, “Ay, if my friends agree ;”
Since household charms, thy husband’s name to teach,
Were all the love-tricks that thy wit could reach ;
And since an hour’s discourse could scarce have made
One answer in thee, and that ill array’d
In broken proverbs, and torn sentences.
Thou art not by so many duties his—
That from th’ world’s common having sever’d thee,
Inlaid thee, neither to be seen, nor see—
As mine ; who have with amorous delicacies
Refined thee into a blissful paradise.
Thy graces and good works my creatures be ;
I planted knowledge and life’s tree in thee ;
Which O ! shall strangers taste? Must I, alas !
Frame and enamel plate, and drink in glass?
Chafe wax for other’s seals? break a colt’s force,
And leave him then, being made a ready horse?

Oh.  Right.  That wasn’t Jesus complaining about his wife, his lover, (that woman) in Elegy VII.  It was John Donne (whole poem, fragmented poet, “fake” exposer).

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2012 12:04 pm

    Isn’t this just a contradiction that lies at the heart of the Protestant quests for the historical Jesus? (Although, of course, this particular incident is not about the historical Jesus at all — it is about history of Jesus’s reception in the early church.) If one accepts as a matter of faith, then one accepts — so it must be a fact that Moses received the Torah at Sinai, Jesus physically ascended into heaven, Mohammad visited Jerusalem, Moroni gave Joseph Smith the plates, Buddha was enlightened under the tree (perhaps the same tree from which the apple zonked Isaac Newton), Krishna advised Arjuna, etc.

    I see absolutely no reason that one should expect that historical evidence should line up as these powerful truths of faith line up. If one has trouble accepting that these stories are “literally” true, despite the requirements of dogma, then let him or her accept them metaphorically, or homiletically, or mystically. Just don’t write your history books based faith!

  2. September 23, 2012 5:20 pm

    Well said, Theophrastus. The problem is that religious texts intersect with history. These you mention are not just parables and fables and proverbs and regulation. They purport to be historical. When it comes to Jesus, as with Socrates, however, the history delivered from disciples through writings is all mediated through, well, purported disciples. And subsequent
    believers or followers, as a chain of stakeholders, want to lay claim to their teachers. The Tithanos’ Wife post I wrote is to try to illustrate that people are going to argue about the text fragments no matter who is the character of its literature. But disciples especially religious ones (not just Protestants) have their own histories to justify by their texts. The passion in the arguments tends to line up precisely with the power at stake for the arguers. What I’m suggesting is the fervency of the rhetoric coincides with the fear of losing religious power. Religious scholars and bloggers put a lot on the line either professionally/academically or with respect to personal religion and/or reputation. It boils down very little to the literature and its quality.


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