Saturday, December 6, 2014

What if Joseph and Aseneth were ... Just Joseph and Aseneth?

Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson have published a book called The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus' Marriage to Mary the Magdalene.

British Library manuscript 17,202 which was acquired in 1847 is however not called "Jesus and Mary Magdalene" - it is called "Joseph and Aseneth".

Or rather The Story of Joseph the Just and Aseneth his Wife.

After giving a synopsis which is perfectly compatible with it's being a non-canonical book of on OT event, we have the comment of Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson:

If this story is really referring to the Biblical Joseph and Aseneth, right away we see problems with this text. In this account, Aseneth quickly moves to center [sic!] stage, whereas the Bible makes Joseph the primary figure.

Gospels also make Jesus Christ primary and St Mary Magdalene very secondary, and never mentions any marriage even. One difficulty more and the two difficulties here given also retained. If they can argue this against the identification of subject with Biblical Joseph and Aseneth, why not against identification of subject with Christ and Mary Magdalene?

How about sifting gnats and swallowing camels a bit less?

Bible DOES mention Joseph's wife was Aseneth. And Bible DOES contain names Joseph and Aseneth.

And the difficulties of Asenath (other form of her name) being centre of stage in the manuscript and Joseph being so in the Bible is not a real one. The manuscript very clearly purported to bring more information about their story than the Bible gave.

Would a Jewish text have described Joseph as "God's Son"?

I was interested in nephelim and once tried to look up how Kimchi (sometimes cited by Haydock comment) thought about the Sethite and Angelic scenarios. I found another Jewish site. "Sons of God" could according to it ALSO have been Cainites (taking wives less pious than Cainites started as - a parallel to the Sethite scenario, but a somwhat different evaluation of Nod) OR princes.

Oh ... "bene Elohim" could have been princes? Well, in that case, would not Joseph qualify as a "ben Elohim"? He was a prince.

Plus, the words are the words of Aseneth before the heavenly man (who is not Joseph!) appears to her. I e "before she knew better".

Plus, the text need not have been Orthodox Jewish (if you take the term as extending both to real Orthodoxy during OT and fake Orthodoxy after rejecting the true Christ), it can have been para-Jewish - or the rejectors of Christ can be giving a real interpretation a bad reputation.

In Egyptian Pagan parlance - recall that Aseneth had been raised as daughter of an Egyptian priest - any just man was "son of" the god whose justice he was working. The words need mean no more than "legitimate representative of". So, no, these words do not single the Joseph of the text out as being a smokescreen for Jesus. Unless it is a genuine account from OT times, in which Joseph being called this by Aseneth underlines how he foreshadows Christ. Typology, you know.

And the heavenly ceremony she attends may well have taken place and foreshadowed Christianity, so that Egyptian Jewry, recalling Joseph and Aseneth, would easily accept the Gospel as they did many of them under leadership of Aquila. See Acts.

The question "in what way would future generations find refuge in Aseneth" can be answered different ways by Christians according to whether they believe the text could be genuine or not.

Finding refuge "in her" could mean finding it in her - and subsequent to her in St Mary Magdalene's - example. Of confession and repentance. Her name being associated to this is immaterial.

Or the promise could be a fake because the text is, as far as theology is concerned, a fake. Which does explain why it is not canonical, but so would other scenarios.

Or, if Joseph is a type of Christ - Aseneth is a type of the real Bride of Christ, of the Catholic Church. In that sense the promise of finding refuge in her makes sense, typologically.

Her origins as raised by an Egyptian priest signify then the Gentile conversions to Catholicism.

In 570, a monk could very calmly copy this text without finding his Christian faith in any way compromised by it - and in 14th November 2014 Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson have sunken so low as to get hysteric about why it could not possibly be about Joseph and Aseneth, but simply must be about a physical marriage between Christ and St Mary Magdalene, contradicting the tradition of the Church. Well, in times when "i" or "sqrt(-1)" can be described as a real Mathematical object, we might not be surprised at bad logic in more important places too.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Nicolas of Myra

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