Despite the teaching that Jesus was both man and god, Catholics and conservative Christians positively recoil at the speculation that Jesus might have been married. And that's why the Vatican had a huge hissy fit over "The DaVinci Code" because Jesus was portrayed as a married man. And now that controversial Canadian-Israeli documentary-maker Simcha Jacobovici has published a book which suggests that Jesus was a family guy, conservative Christians are not happy. So are we surprised that the divinely inspired Bill O'Reilly has joined that chorus of naysayers?
On Tuesday night's "Tip of the Day," a daily segment that proffers pearls of wisdom from he who sits at the right hand of father Ailes, O'Reilly reported that a new book has been published which "says misleading about Jesus of Nazareth." In typical fashion, Bill wasted no time attacking the authors as "dubious people who have zero credibility." (Pot meet Kettle?) O'Reilly, in typical fashion, didn't provide any reasons why the authors have no credibility other than his infallible assertions. (The book's co-author, Barrie Wilson, is a professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at York University in Toronto. Unlike Bill, he has a PhD and an extensive background in religious studies. But he did write a book, "How Jesus Became Christian" which posited that Christianity was really a concoction of St. Paul so we can see why Father Bill isn't a fan!)
Bill then attacked one of his and Fox's favorite targets, the liberal media which, as Bill lamented, is "taking [the book] seriously." After playing video of an NBC anchor merely reporting on the "shocking" book, Monsignor Bill shook his head and moaned in disgust. In "making myself very clear," Bill informed us that he and his co-author Martin Dugard (Who is NOT a biblical scholar but a writer and world traveler) wrote "Killing Jesus" and that "there is absolutely no evidence, none at all, that Jesus was married to anyone or had any children." (Of course, there is very little contemporary evidence that Jesus even existed but never mind that...).
Bill noted that some have written that Jesus had brothers and sisters and claimed that "there is no evidence of that either." (What uber Catholic Bill was cleverly doing, in making this claim, was knocking the Protestant belief that the apostle James was, as described in scripture, the brother of Jesus. Bill's Catholic Church has held to the belief that Jesus was an only child because they believe that Mary was a perpetual virgin.)
Rather than quote any real biblical scholars, Bill referenced "Killing Jesus" to prove that Jesus had no siblings. He noted that his research shows that Jesus lived "communally" and, as such, everybody was considered a brother by another mother and "that doesn't mean they were biological" so screw U Protestants.
Bill, whose "Killing Jesus" has been described as not a scholarly tome but an example of "popular piety aimed at reinforcing believers’ faith and stilling their doubts by providing a real-seeming illusion about the myths and legends of the gospels," intoned that Jacobovici's book is "stupid." In a moment of classic irony, O'Reilly accused the authors of just trying to make money and chided the media who "should be ashamed for participating in that." Bill advised his Barcalounger Brigade to - wait for it - "beware of charlatans."
Funny, Reza Aslan, who, unlike Bill is a real religious scholar and who, like Bill, has written a book about the historical Jesus, said that the real Jesus was the exact opposite of O'Reilly's teabagging, tax protesting Jesus. Remind me who is the charlatan here. But hey, Bill O'Reilly says that his research shows that Jesus never married so, as was said in "Plan 9 From Outer Space, "that proves it!"
See, everything I’ve ever seen of Jacobovici places him squarely in an “Everything in the Bible Is Absolutely True and I’ll Gladly Ignore Anything That Says Otherwise” camp. I’ve seen enough of his “The Naked Archeologist” (and, thankfully, he was never literal with that title—there are hosts of TV shows called “The Naked _____” who I wish were far more literal but not Jacobovici; but I digress….) to know he’ll take the most torturous route to prove the Bible is 100% literally accurate.
Now, here’s where the problem lies. Jacobovici does NOT disbelieve anything in the Bible and, as an archeologist, he also has a strong knowledge of how real people lived. He understands the cultural aspects of the Biblical societies and, more importantly, how JEWISH society was in the eras covered in the Bible. And one of the most important aspects for ANY Jewish man was to be married. An unmarried man in that society was suspect—and a dozen or so “single” men* travelling together would certainly have raised more suspicions among the average people. (This, of course, doesn’t actually contradict the Bible as far as Jesus’s ministry is concerned. Women were largely ignored in the Bible but Jesus’s ministry HAD to have attracted numerous women—and there’s actually nothing that definitively states that the apostles were all single men; again, women weren’t important to the various authors of the Books of the Bible. If it hadn’t been for the sheer importance of Mary as Jesus’s mother to the early Christian community, she could’ve been just as relegated to anonymity as “Lot’s Wife” and “Potiphar’s Wife.”) Now, Simcha obviously is working from that cultural aspect and—as I’ve mentioned, he seems to prefer “evidence” that proves his view while ignoring anything that might contradict it.
So, what does this mean for BillO? It means that Simcha believes he’s as 100% correct as BillO does, contrary evidence be damned.
*This use of “single” doesn’t necessarily mean “unmarried” but rather “unattached” or even “stag.”