The Lost Gospel

The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene by Simcha Jacobovici 2014

About the Author
Simcha Jacobovici is a three-time Emmy winning Israeli/Canadian filmmaker, New York Times bestselling author and an internationally acclaimed journalist. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Religion at Huntington University, Ontario, Canada.

About the Book
Waiting to be rediscovered in the British Library is an ancient manuscript of the early Church, copied by an anonymous monk. The manuscript is at least 1,450 years old, possibly dating to the first century. And now, The Lost Gospel provides the first ever translation from Syriac into English of this unique document that tells the inside story of Jesus’ social, family, and political life.The Lost Gospel takes the reader on an unparalleled historical adventure through a paradigm shifting manuscript. What the authors eventually discover is as astounding as it is surprising: the confirmation of Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene; the names of their two children; the towering presence of Mary Magdalene; a previously unknown plot on Jesus’ life (thirteen years prior to the crucifixion); an assassination attempt against Mary Magdalene and their children; Jesus’ connection to political figures at the highest level of the Roman Empire; and a religious movement that antedates that of Paul—the Church of Mary Magdalene.Part historical detective story, part modern adventure, The Lost Gospel reveals secrets that have been hiding in plain sight for millennia.
“I very much enjoyed reading the book and find the major thesis of Jesus’ marriage to Mary the Magdalene very convincing. I also liked the style – very modern and conversational I thought it well-structured and convincing I have always felt that the emphasis on celibacy and the identification of sex with sin and corruption is extremely annoying. It is very much part of the denigration of women and their place in the natural order of things.” — Madelyn B. Dick, Ph.D., Professor Emerita and Senior Scholar, History, York University, Toronto

“Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson have produced a rather impressive collaborative work [that] advances the hypothesis that the text belongs to a form of Gnostic Christianity in which a married Jesus with children was a core tradition that might well trace back to the historical Jesus. The public will find it fascinating, clerics will denounce it, and some academics will likely dismiss it as sensational―but it is well worth a careful read.” — James D. Tabor, Professor of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“The Lost Gospel [is] a tour-de-force, carefully documented. An important contribution to the on-going dialogue about Christian origins.” — Margaret Starbird, author of ‘The Woman with the Alabaster Jar’

“This discovery is potentially the last nail in the coffin of biblical literalism.” — John Dominic Crossan, author of ‘God & Empire’ [Praise for ‘The Jesus Family Tomb’]

Summary of Preface
There is now written evidence that Jesus was married to Mary the Magdalene1 and that they had children together.

Gathering dust in the British Library is a document that takes us into the missing years of Jesus’ life.

Scholars believe that Jesus was born around 5 B.C.E.

We know absolutely nothing about Jesus from the time he was eight days old (his circumcision, according to Jewish law), until he was in his early thirties.

But the fact is that we simply have no information about Jesus’ early years—his upbringing, friends, schooling, or his interaction with family members.

At this point, the mature Jesus announces the “Kingdom of God”—that is, the advent of a qualitative transformation in human history, prophesied by the Hebrew Bible, in which justice will reign upon the earth and the worship of the one true God will be universal.

But what happened to Jesus before this sudden appearance?

So far, we are merely stating that the Christian Bible tells us nothing about Jesus’ early years, and that we have discovered a text that claims that he was married and fathered children.

Not only this, our document indicates that for some of his original followers, Jesus’ marriage was the most important aspect of their theology.

It dates back to at least the beginning of the 2nd century, maybe even earlier, “making it as old as some of the books included in the New Testament canon.”3 The Didache gives us a glimpse into a pre-Pauline Christianity: that is, Christianity before the Apostle Paul reworked it.

There is no mention of Paul’s idea that the bread represents Jesus’ flesh and the wine his blood.4 In similar fashion, we have also found a text that gives us a glimpse into the earliest writings concerning Jesus and his followers.

For our research, we had been mulling over puzzling texts from early Christianity—what they might mean and what new insights they could give us about the various groups that followed Jesus in the earliest days of his movement.

Our discussion included a little-known text that highlights two figures from the Hebrew Bible.5 The figures in question are Joseph, the Israelite of multi-color-coat fame who in the Book of Genesis is sold by his brothers into slavery and ends up as a ruler in Egypt, and his obscure Egyptian wife, Aseneth.

Following up on this idea, we began to explore the possibility that the Joseph in question might be a stand-in for Jesus.

Despite the parallels, however, we realized that we had no smoking gun to justify equating the Joseph of Joseph and Aseneth with the Jesus of the Gospels.

Could Joseph’s partner, Aseneth, turn out to be a stand-in for Jesus’ partner, likely Mary the Magdalene?

If the Joseph in our manuscript is Jesus, what do bees have to do with his wife, whoever she might be?

We looked at each other at the same time and immediately blurted out with the excitement of children: “Could these be the bees and tower we have been puzzling over in our Joseph and Aseneth text?” Suddenly, our text came into sharp focus.

As we went back and forth between statue and text, text and statue, we gradually came to see how the image of Joseph’s partner, Aseneth, was modeled on the goddess Artemis.

As we went through the text systematically, we figured out what the symbols meant by doing something that the few scholars who were familiar with this text had not done—we looked back in time to learn how early Christians understood these symbols.

We examined ancient writings and sermons to see how the first followers of Jesus understood Biblical figures like Joseph.

This detective work took us into the realm of Syriac-speaking Christianity—little understood in today’s world but highly influential in antiquity—as well as into the world of so-called Gnostic Christianity: that is, early Christian mysticism.

Without getting ahead of our story, we eventually realized that our overlooked manuscript—ostensibly about Joseph and Aseneth—was really about Jesus and Mary the Magdalene.

At one point, we realized that our obscure manuscript is really a lost Gospel and that it is less about Jesus and more about Mary.

In other words, Michelangelo depicted Jesus and Mary the Magdalene in the way Cambiasi depicted a Greek god and his divine consort.

According to the various theories, the secret texts reveal Mary the Magdalene’s marriage to Jesus.

More recently, for example, a popular song by U2 (“Until the End of the World,” from their album Achtung Baby, 1991) refers to Jesus and Mary the Magdalene as a bride and groom.

In a song called “Jesus Had a Son” (from their Long John Silver album, 1972), Jefferson Airplane belt out “Jesus had a son by Mary Magdalene.

.” In other words, Jesus’ marriage to Mary the Magdalene is not an unknown idea.

Why was Mary the Magdalene written out, as it were, from the authorized accounts of Jesus’ life?

Reading the document from our new perspective, readers will be startled to learn about the human side of Jesus .

and what this aspect of Jesus meant to his early followers.

The new information gleaned from our lost Gospel will flesh out an aspect of Jesus only hinted at in the canonical texts.

Unexpectedly, through this text, we came across a whole new early Christian movement—one that was vastly different from the Jewish messianic movement led by James, the brother of Jesus, and from the Gentile “Christ Movement” led by Paul which, eventually, became Christianity as we know it today.

In fact, the group of Jesus followers that we’ve rediscovered predates Paul and takes us into a now-lost world that has been inaccessible for centuries.

Today, conditioned by thousands of years of Pauline Christianity, it seems outlandish to talk, for example, of a married Jesus.

However, when we look at the first centuries of Christian development, we shouldn’t make the anachronistic mistake of thinking that everyone agreed with Paul and the version of Christianity that we’ve inherited from him.

The original movements in Jerusalem—the Gnostics, the Ebionites, and the Nazarenes—all disagreed with Paul’s version of Jesus’ message.

However different they are from each other, and however important they think these theological differences are, all five contemporary Christian groupings represent variations on the same theme: Pauline Christianity.

Besides giving us previously unknown details of Jesus’ private life, our text reveals details of his political life.

Specifically, in our manuscript, we uncover the story of a plot against Jesus’ life prior to his arrest and crucifixion in Jerusalem.

Jesus’ enemies also included other powerful people such as the High Priest Caiaphas in Jerusalem, as well as the Roman procurator/prefect Pontius Pilate and members of the occupying power, perhaps as far afield as Rome itself.

The fact is that Jesus and his followers were well aware that the Roman authorities and their Jewish underlings were carefully watching them.

Jesus’ message was radical and seditious: “Coming soon—the ‘Kingdom of God.’” Simply put, declaring that the Kingdom of God was on the cusp of history represented a forceful challenge to the viability and continuity of Roman rule over Jewish Judaea.

Jesus went further: he claimed that many in his audience would live to see the redemption—that is, the end of Roman rule and its replacement by God’s Kingdom.

Jesus’ powerful message tapped deeply into the messianic dream of ancient Israel.

By highlighting an unknown plot against his life, prior to the one recounted in the Gospels, our rediscovered text places the Jesus story back in the historical/political context from which it has been extracted.

What we will soon discover is that encoded documents were not unusual in the world of early Christianity.

It may seem strange to us today, but the early Christians thought the Old Testament—which preceded Jesus—was also a coded text.

When analyzing this particular text, we’re the first to use the actual decoding techniques employed by early Christians themselves.

Paul and his followers were, after all, hostile not only to Mary the Magdalene, but also to James, Jesus’ brother, who took over the leadership of Jesus’ movement after the crucifixion.

After all this, we start making sense of our text by stepping into the world of early Christianity, so as to learn the original Christian approach to understanding scripture.

Finally, we provide another first: an English translation of the oldest surviving manuscript of this ancient writing, the one written in Syriac.12 This translation, along with commentary, is presented as Appendix I of this book so that you—the reader—can judge for yourself what the original narrative says.

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