When Jesus Met Melissa

There was considerable excitement in the Christian theological world when a Harvard scholar announced the discovery of a papyrus fragment that seemed to imply the possibility that Jesus had a wife because it ended with the phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . .’ “.

Naturally the Vatican newspaper has claimed that it is a forgery since their entire structure is based on denying women equality with men, though to be fair, other scholars have questioned its authenticity as well.

Since the fragment is very small, there are other possible interpretations for its words. But Paul Rudnick has the managed to get hold of a much larger segment that tells the entire story of how Jesus and Melissa (that’s his wife’s name) got together and explains the ambiguous phrase in the original papyrus fragment

He kindly provides us with a translation of the full text that begins as follows:

Fine, now you know: Jesus was married and for many years I happily answered to the name Mrs. Melissa Christ. I met Jesus when we were both teen-agers, at a Young Hebrews mixer in Bethlehem. I was there with my best friend, Amy of Nazareth, and we were getting ready to leave, because we were sick of all those chubby Orthodox boys in rough burlap robes and untrimmed sideburns coming up to us and saying things like “I hope you’re not menstruating, because I’d really like to touch you.”

But then, across the room, I saw this beautiful guy with gorgeous flowing hair, wearing a simple white linen tunic and swaying gently to the music with his eyes shut, which was especially impressive because the band consisted of two elderly men rhythmically squeezing a goat.

Read the rest. It’s a very romantic story.


  1. sunny says

    Behead those who insult The Saviour (or something to that effect).

    “since their entire structure is based on denying women equality with men”

    I think it questions the vow of celibacy. After all, one could be married and not treat the wife as anything other than chattel.

  2. davenash says

    I believe the whole phrase is “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife, I haven’t spoken to her in years… I didn’t want to interrupt her.'”

  3. Francisco Bacopa says

    “Melissa” was a pretty common name in the Koine Greek speaking world Jesus lived in. I’m not going to bother looking up the meaning, but I’m pretty sure from my three inadequate semesters of Greek that “melissa” means something like “honeyed” or “yielding honey”.

    As for women having authority to preach, I seem to remember in at least one of the gospels the newly risen Jesus commanded Mary Magdalene to spread the word of what she had seen. Again, too drunk to look it up, but it would seem a direct command from Jesus that a woman should spread the Gospel would override whatever Paul said, or at least that what Paul said was one of those things that Paul said that could be ignored because it is deemed specific to his culture and time.

  4. says

    Sam Kinison had the best sketch about Mrs Jesus, ever.
    “You know Jesus wasn’t married. Because no woman would have her husband leave on a friday night with 12 of his friends, and be gone for 3 days…. no calls, no nothing, then he just comes home.”

    It’d be kinda awkward to be married to jesus. I mean, you’d be having sex with him and going “ooh! oh! christ! ah that’s good!” and he’d be going “what?” “no, don’t STOP you idiot! oh GOD!” Oops! Shades of Larry Niven’s old “man of steel, woman of kleenex” piece.

  5. kyoseki says

    If memory serves, the bit about women holding authority over men is from one of the Timothys, which are generally not though to have been written by Paul, but written sometime during the second century to address issues “of their time” as you put it.

    .. of course that assumes that the reader is rational and not a fundamentalist.

  6. Corvus illustris says

    Allowing for non-SVO word order in imperatives, one could conjecture that this fragment represents the first recorded use of “Take my wife … please” by a Jewish humorist.

  7. Corvus illustris says

    he melissa (or melitta, as in coffee filter) is just “the bee” or “honey”.

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