Vanity Fair had Sam Roberts, an obituary writer from the NY Times, come up with an obit for Jesus, as it might have been written 2000 or so years ago.
His father was named Joseph, although references to him are scarce after Jesus’s birth. His mother was Miriam, or Mary, and because he was sometimes referred to as “Mary’s son,” questions had been raised about his paternity.
He is believed to have been the eldest of at least six siblings, including four brothers-James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon-and several sisters. He never married-unusual for a man of his age, but not surprising for a Jew with an apocalyptic vision.
The “about 33” in reference to his age is a nice touch.
A small piece of papyrus with 4th-century writing has turned up recently and the text on it refers to Jesus’ wife.
A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’”
The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”
The article says the papyrus is “probably genuine” but I wouldn’t rule out a forgery financed by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code fortune. (via @Rebeccamead_NYC)
A show like Futurama just can’t stay in the past. It keeps coming back, just like our friend Jesus. So do references to Jesus in the show.
You would think that dropping the J-word would initially be pretty mild and nonspecific, then ramp up. But the first season’s “When Aliens Attack” comes out swinging:
Earth is invaded by Omicronians demanding to see the season finale of Single Female Lawyer, a television show which was accidentally knocked off the air 1,000 years earlier by Fry. Professor Farnsworth explains that the show no longer exists because most video tapes from that era were destroyed during the Second Coming of Jesus in the year 2443. Ken Keeler, the writer of the episode, considered this joke one of the most blasphemous lines in the show, because it suggested that the Second Coming had been and gone and life on Earth had carried on much as before.
The beginning of “Future Stock” has a toss-off reference:
At the Bot Mitzvah, Fry asks a Jewish robot if they don’t believe in Robot Jesus, to which the robot replies, “We believe he was built, and that he was a very well-programmed robot, but he wasn’t our Messiah”.
In “A Tale of Two Santas”, Bender, posing as the murderous robot Santa Claus, is arrested and put on death row. “All of the crew dress up as Santa and Zoidberg dresses up as ‘his friend Jesus’ to attempt to stay Bender’s execution.”
Fry: I’m Santa Claus!
Hermes: No, I’m Santa Claus!
Amy: We’re also Santa Claus!
Dr. Zoidberg: And I’m his friend Jesus.
Mayor: You guys aren’t Santa! You’re not even robots. How dare you lie in front of Jesus?
All of the summaries above and below are from Wikipedia’s “Religion in Futurama” entry:
When the real Robot Santa appears and attacks the crew and the people attempting to execute Bender, the executioner exclaims “Get him, Jesus!” before diving behind an object, and in reference to Benjamin Franklin’s famous remark, Zoidberg replies, “I help those who help themselves.”
On several occasions, Professor Farnsworth uses the phrase “Sweet Zombie Jesus!” as an expression of shock or dismay. These exclamations are usually cut for syndication in the United States. In the DVD of Futurama episode “The Deep South,” a cut scene shows Farnsworth muttering in his sleep about the Zombie Jesus returning at tea-time, when Farnsworth has no food to supply it.
But that Wikipedia entry missed this line from “Less Than Hero”:
Leela: Man, I’m sore all over. I feel like I just went ten rounds with mighty Thor.
Fry: I feel like I was mauled by Jesus.
(All direct quotes from Wikiquote’s Futurama page.)
From a recent issue of the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik surveys a recent selection of books about who Jesus was.
The American scholar Bart Ehrman has been explaining the scholars’ truths for more than a decade now, in a series of sincere, quiet, and successful books. Ehrman is one of those best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins and Robert Ludlum and Peter Mayle, who write the same book over and over — but the basic template is so good that the new version is always worth reading. In his latest installment, “Jesus, Interrupted”, Ehrman once again shares with his readers the not entirely good news he found a quarter century ago when, after a fundamentalist youth, he went to graduate school: that all the Gospels were written decades after Jesus’ death; that all were written in Greek, which Jesus and the apostles didn’t speak and couldn’t write (if they could read and write at all); and that they were written as testaments of faith, not chronicles of biography, shaped to fit a prophecy rather than report a profile.
In the late 1950s, psychologist Milton Rokeach took three patients who believed they were Jesus Christ and made them live with each other for two years.
The early meetings were stormy. “You oughta worship me, I’ll tell you that!” one of the Christs yelled. “I will not worship you! You’re a creature! You better live your own life and wake up to the facts!” another snapped back. “No two men are Jesus Christs. … I am the Good Lord!” the third interjected, barely concealing his anger.