Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Did Jesus have descendants?

Posted: March 15, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult, Spirituality
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The success of The Da Vinci Code has transformed the question whether or not Jesus had descendents. My own quest for understanding has been a strange journey. It led me to uncover new aspects of Mary Magdalene, the name that is normally given to a person that the Jews call Myriam Migdal and others Mary of Magdala.

Painting of Mary Magdalene with the apostles

A lot has been written about Jesus the Nazarean. The New Testament collects the most important moments of the life of Jesus, placed into four gospels. But these merely attest to Jesus’ public life, to show that he was the promised Messiah for Israel. His private life is thus of only secondary importance. Extra knowledge about Jesus is found in documents that did not make it into the New Testament – the apocrypha. Such documents continue to be found on occasion, such as at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945.
In the Gnostic gospels (part of the material that was “surplus” to the requirements of the New Testament), we find references to a special – intimate – relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. They underline that Peter had a certain aversion and jealousy towards this woman; he refuses to accept that after Jesus’ resurrection, it is to her that He has confided his secret teachings and has made her the leader of the community he has left behind.
Some of these documents, such as the Gospel of Philip, state that Mary Magdalene is the companion of Jesus and there are even references to a descendent: “there exists the mystery of the Son of Man and the mystery of the son of the Son of Man.” This gospel continues, to state that Jesus was able to create and “procreate”, suggesting that his marriage with Mary Magdalene was a “sacred marriage” – which suggests that it was type of a ritual marriage. This could be interpreted in several ways, but one could be that the “sacred marriage” was there to create divine offspring, as in the myth of Osiris and Isis.

These are the type of documents that were hunted down and destroyed by the Church after the Council of Nicea, in the 4th century. This meant that by the Middle Ages, nothing but rumours and legends remained about Mary Magdalene. This begs the question how far one can go to verify any of this information and test it to reality.

Monastery of Sainte Marie de Oia Pontevedra

My first discoveries were made on the “Road of Santiago de Compostella” with Prisciliano, better known as the “Heretic Bishop”, born in Galicia in 340. Prisciliano preached a Gnostic doctrine, which was very popular in the North of Spain and Southern Gaul. It should therefore not come as a surprise that we find repeated references to Mary Magdalene in this part of the world, which also includes Rennes-le-Château, which is largely the town where the debate about the relationship of Mary Magdalene with Jesus would give birth to The Da Vinci Code.

The first discovery was made in the Monastery of Sainte Marie de Oia, in the Cistercian church that dates from the 7th century. The church has a painting that shows the descent of the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, my attention was drawn to its resemblance to the seal of the Knights Templar of the abbey of Notre Dame de Mont Sion. On the other hand, the central character represented Mary Magdalene, surrounded by the apostles, while the Holy Spirit, in the form of the traditional dove, descended to them.

Templar seal of the Abbey of Mont de Sion

Close to where I live, I found another important element. This is the Royal Monastery of the Holy Cross, in Aiguamurcia, in the province of Tarragona. This Cistercian monastery has a number of important artistic works, but what drew my attention was one in one of the two chapels situated at the lower slopes of the Temple, near the entrance gate. This chapel was consecrated to St John the Evangelist and contained a painting of this saint, which nevertheless shows “him” with very distinct feminine traits: long red hair and wearing clothing that we would more expect on a woman than on a man.

Observe the red colour of the hair, as well as dress

When I studied this painting closely, I not only realised it was painted on wood and was an oil painting, I specifically discovered seven icons that were added to the bottom part of the scene. Carefully studying these, I noticed that they depicted various biblical passages concerning Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Even though the central figure on the painting seems to be John the Evangelist, there are numerous details that contradict this. Traditionally, John the Evangelist is depicted much more masculine, with a beard and of a ripe age, carrying a book. We just need to refer to paintings by El Greco, Titian or Velasquez. But the person on this painting is very feminine. And I identify it as Mary Magdalene specifically through the presence of red hair, the type of clothes “she” is wearing, as well as other details that have all been painted red on the painting. But also because in her left hand, she is carrying some of the oils that she is known to have used on Jesus. John the Evangelist has no connection with any anointments.

As we mentioned, underneath the central image are seven, small icons, four of which present Mary Magdalene and the three central and larger icons represent episodes of the life of Jesus: birth, crucifixion and the descent from the cross. To give a detailed description of each individual one would take too long and we will only concentrate on what is central to the current debate. In the central image, the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus, we find a depiction of Mary Magdalene, showing her… pregnant!
I studied this scene from all possible angles to make sure that I was not looking at an optical illusion. But there is no doubt about it… the Magdalene at the foot of the Cross, at the feet of Jesus, with her red hair and a handkerchief, this Mary Magdalene is pregnant: her breasts are enlarged, her belly is in the typical shape of pregnant women. Next to her is a skull, which is typically associated with this saint in iconography, confirming it is she. On the painting appear only the two women that are traditionally identified as the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, which clarifies any remaining doubt about the person who is represented. The third person is the apostle John.
This is the ultimate proof that I needed. Is it possible that I was the first person to notice this? For how long would this hidden message therefore have been on this painting? How many eyes looked at it? And could anyone fail to notice it? All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. And I felt it was vital to look at all other details of this painting.

Mary Magdalene, clearly pregnant, at the foot of the Cross

In the next scene, we can see the descent of Christ from the cross. He is surrounded by several people. From left to right appear May, the wife of Cleophas and the cousin of the mother of Jesus; Joseph of Arimathea with the beard and the typical turban that certain Pharisians wore; Jeanne, sister of the Virgin Mary and aunt of Jesus, who appears to sit on her knees at the foot of the Cross; finally, standing on the ladder that rests against the Cross is a man who could very well Nicodemus.

The descent from the Cross

In the iconography of the descent of the Cross, the author gives us another intriguing reference: everyone who is depicted on this painting seems to be immediate family of Jesus. According to the Law of Moses, it was forbidden to touch the dead, unless if you were very close family, as is confirmed in Numbers 19:11: “He that touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean for seven days.” The same can be read in Numbers 19:14-16, which is corroborated in Ezechiel 44:25: “And they shall come near no dead person, lest they be defiled, only their father and mother, and son and daughter, and brother and sister, that hath not had another husband: for whom they may become unclean.” This therefore confirms the “law”, which states that only the closest family is allowed to touch the dead. This means that the painter underlines the close affinity that Mary Magdalene has to Jesus.

The rest of the iconography also appears to underscore the relationship between Jesus and the Magdalene. But nowhere is the evidence of descendants of them more apparent than in another painting where we see the Magdalene depicted in the presence of two twin daughters!

A pregnant Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross

Mary Magdalene, with two, twin children

She is carrying one child, holding the other one’s hand. It is a clear sign that someone believed this couple had offspring. And it underlines the notion that such a tradition – that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a relationship and that she had children – existed in the past, and was passed on as legend into the Middle Ages.

It is impossible to convey in one single article everything that I conveyed from the painting of this artist. It is something I have set out in my book, but I only need to underline that this Monastery of the Holy Cross belonged to the Cistercian Order, founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux, who was also the man behind the Knights Templar.
These came to the Monastery of the Holy Cross through the military order of the Holy Mary of Montesa, founded in 1319 by King James II of Aragon, to accommodate the Knights of the Order of the Temple that succeeded in fleeing the persecution of King Philip IV of France, with the approval of Pope Clement V. The Knights who managed to flee France took refuge in other orders, such as that of Montesa or Calatrava. They carried amongst them a secret knowledge that the order had acquired from their exposure to various heretical Christian groups. Amongst these secrets was the existence of the “Holy Blood”, which asserted that there was a “royal” descendant from Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Saint Bernard de Clairvaux

The above painting was done in 1603 and shows to us that this tradition was transmitted in Western Europe. It is also a fact that the Cathars in this region had a specific fascination with Mary Magdalene, which other Cathars elsewhere in Europe did not possess, showing that there was a local tradition present in the region – a local tradition that was also adopted by the Cathars, another heretical form of Christianity that had a different interpretation of the Gospels than those found in the New Testament.
I believe that the painting speaks for itself. But we should note that even though the painting takes us back to 1603, there are other and older paintings that show this painting is not unique. Still, this painting had four centuries in which people should have noticed this anomaly, but perhaps we should indeed agree with Hermes who stated that everything arrives in its own and proper time.

Extract from the book « El legado de María Magdalena – The Heritage of Mary Magdalene» by José Luis Giménez

Mosaic of Last supper of Jesus by Giacomo Raffaelli
 In a newly deciphered 1,200-year-old telling of the Passion story, Jesus has supper with Pontius Pilate before his crucifixion. His supper with the apostles (and subsequent arrest) happen on Tuesday instead of Thursday.
CREDIT: Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before.

Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus’ crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text  — and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline.

The discovery of the text doesn’t mean these events happened, but rather that some people living at the time appear to have believed in them, said Roelof van den Broek, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who published the translation in the book “Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ“(Brill, 2013).

Copies of the text are found in two manuscripts, one in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City and the other at the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Most of the translation comes from the New York text, because the relevant text in the Pennsylvania manuscript is mostly illegible.

Pontius Pilate has dinner with Jesus

While apocryphal stories about Pilate are known from ancient times, van den Broek wrote in an email to LiveScience that he has never seen this one before, with Pilate offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus.

ancient text of the Easter story of Jesus.
 A researcher has deciphered a 1,200-year-old Coptic text that tells part of the Passion (the Easter story) with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before. Here, a cross decoration from the text, of which there are two copies, the best preserved in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.
CREDIT: Image courtesy The Pierpont Morgan Library

“Without further ado, Pilate prepared a table and he ate with Jesus on the fifth day of the week. And Jesus blessed Pilate and his whole house,” reads part of the text in translation. Pilate later tells Jesus, “well then, behold, the night has come, rise and withdraw, and when the morning comes and they accuse me because of you, I shall give them the only son I have so that they can kill him in your place.

In the text, Jesus comforts him, saying, “Oh Pilate, you have been deemed worthy of a great grace because you have shown a good disposition to me.” Jesus also showed Pilate that he can escape if he chose to. “Pilate, then, looked at Jesus and, behold, he became incorporeal: He did not see him for a long time …” the text read.

Pilate and his wife both have visions that night that show an eagle (representing Jesus) being killed.

In the Coptic and Ethiopian churches, Pilate is regarded as a saint, which explains the sympathetic portrayal in the text, van den Broek writes.

The reason for Judas using a kiss

In the canonical bible the apostle Judas betrays Jesus in exchange for money by using a kiss to identify him leading to Jesus’ arrest. This apocryphal tale explains that the reason Judas used a kiss, specifically, is because Jesus had the ability to change shape.

“Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man …” This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him. If Judas had given the arresters a description of Jesus he could have changed shape. By kissing Jesus Judas tells the people exactly who he is.

This understanding of Judas’ kiss goes way back. “This explanation of Judas’ kiss is first found in Origen [a theologian who lived A.D. 185-254],” van den Broek writes. In his work, Contra Celsum the ancient writerOrigen, stated that “to those who saw him [Jesus] he did not appear alike to all.”

St. Cyril impersonation

The text is written in the name of St. Cyril of Jerusalem who lived during the fourth century. In the story Cyril tells the Easter story as part of a homily (a type of sermon).  A number of texts in ancient times claim to be homilies by St. Cyril and they were probably not given by the saint in real life, van den Broek explained in his book.

ancient text in coptic language
 Here, part of the text from the manuscript holding the newly deciphered Passion story of Jesus. Found in Egypt in 1910 it was purchased, along with other manuscripts, by J.P. Morgan in 1911 and was later donated to the public.
CREDIT: Image courtesy The Pierpont Morgan Library

Near the beginning of the text, Cyril, or the person writing in his name, claims that a book has been found in Jerusalem showing the writings of the apostles on the life and crucifixion of Jesus. “Listen to me, oh my honored children, and let me tell you something of what we found written in the house of Mary …” reads part of the text.

Again, it’s unlikely that such a book was found in real life. Van den Broek said that a claim like this would have been used by the writer “to enhance the credibility of the peculiar views and uncanonical facts he is about to present by ascribing them to an apostolic source,” adding that examples of this plot device can be found “frequently” in Coptic literature.

Arrest on Tuesday

Van den Broek says that he is surprised that the writer of the text moved the date of Jesus’ Last Supper, with the apostles, and arrest to Tuesday. In fact, in this text, Jesus’ actual Last Supper appears to be with Pontius Pilate. In between his arrest and supper with Pilate, he is brought before Caiaphas and Herod.

In the canonical texts, the last supper and arrest of Jesus happens on Thursday evening and present-day Christians mark this event with Maundy Thursday services. It “remains remarkable that Pseudo-Cyril relates the story of Jesus’ arrest on Tuesday evening as if the canonical story about his arrest on Thursday evening (which was commemorated each year in the services of Holy Week) did not exist!” writes van den Broek in the email.

A gift to a monastery … and then to New York

About 1,200 years ago the New York text was in the library of the Monastery of St. Michael in the Egyptian desert near present-day al-Hamuli in the western part of the Faiyum. The text says, in translation, that it was a gift from “archpriest Father Paul,” who, “has provided for this book by his own labors.”

The monastery appears to have ceased operations around the early 10th century, and the text was rediscovered in the spring of 1910. In December 1911, it was purchased, along with other texts, by American financier J.P. Morgan. His collections would later be given to the public and are part of the present-day Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. The manuscript is currently displayed as part of the museum’s exhibition “Treasures from the Vault” running through May 5.

Who believed it?

Van den Broek writes in the email that “in Egypt, the Bible had already become canonized in the fourth/fifth century, but apocryphal stories and books remained popular among the Egyptian Christians, especially among monks.”

Whereas the people of the monastery would have believed the newly translated text, “in particular the more simple monks,” he’s not convinced that the writer of the text believed everything he was writing down, van den Broek said.

“I find it difficult to believe that he really did, but some details, for instance the meal with Jesus, he may have believed to have really happened,” van den Broek writes.  “The people of that time, even if they were well-educated, did not have a critical historical attitude. Miracles were quite possible, and why should an old story not be true?”

Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor