A version of “Mark and John: A Wedding at Cana—Whose and Where?” originally appeared on Dr. James Tabor’s popular Taborblog, a site that discusses and reports on “‘All things biblical’ from the Hebrew Bible to Early Christianity in the Roman World and Beyond.” Bible History Daily republished this article with permission from the author.
There is a very intriguing story, unique to the Gospel of John, about a wedding attended by Jesus and his disciples at the Galilean village of Cana (John 2:1–11). Within the Gospel of John the story functions in a theological and even allegorical manner—it is the “first” of seven signs, the “water into wine” story, but that is not to say it lacks any historical foundation.
The story is part of an earlier written narrative that scholars call the “Signs Source,” now embedded in the Gospel of John much like the Q source is embedded in Matthew and Luke. Many scholars consider the Signs Source to be our most primitive gospel narrative, earlier than, and independent from, the Gospel of Mark. Most readers of John’s gospel concentrate on the long “red letter” speeches and dialogues of Jesus with the lofty language about him as the “Son” sent from heaven, in cosmic struggle with “the Jews” who are cast in a pejorative light. Such elements are apparently a much later theological overlay, as they are absent from this primitive narrative source. The work, at least according to this “Signs Source,” was originally written to promote the simple affirmation that Jesus was the Messiah, the anointed King of the line of David, and to explain how his death was part of the plan of God. This narrative source is written in a completely different style from the later material now in John’s gospel. It moves along from scene to scene with vivid details and in gripping narrative flow.
The elements of the Cana story are fascinating. Jesus and his disciples, who have been down in the Jordan valley with John the Baptist, return to the area to join the wedding celebration. Jesus’ mother Mary (though unnamed in John) and his brothers are already there (2:12), so it seems to be some kind of “family affair.” Indeed, Mary seems to be at some level officially involved in the celebration as a kind of co-hostess since she takes charge of things when the wine planned for the occasion, unexpectedly runs out, indicating either that the crowd was larger than expected or that things became quite festive, or both. Mary turns to Jesus and the rest of the story is well known to everyone—he miraculously turns six stone vessels, filled initially with water, into the finest wine. But beyond the “miracle” or the “sign,” a number of other quite interesting questions arise.
First, one has to ask: Why would the lack of wine be a concern of Mary, Jesus’ mother? And what do we know about Cana? And most importantly, whose wedding was this and why were Jesus and his family present in the first place?
Let’s begin with Cana itself. What do we know about it? Most tourists are taken to the traditional site of Cana (Kefr Kenna) near Nazareth on the road to Tiberias that the Franciscans maintain. The problem is that this location has no Roman-period ruins and most certainly is not the place mentioned in the New Testament. Its veneration began sometime in the Middle Ages. An alternative site, Khirbet Qana, is 8 miles northwest of Nazareth and 12 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It is high on a hill overlooking the Bet Netofa valley. This location has much more evidence in its favor. My colleague and friend, the late Professor Doug Edwards, began excavating there in 1998, and Tom McCollough has carried on his work as time has allowed. What they have found seems fairly decisive, including Second Temple period tombs, houses and possibly a beth midrash or synagogue. Evidence of Christian veneration at this site dates back to the sixth century C.E.
Right after the wedding, according to John 2:12, Jesus goes to Capernaum and with him are his disciples, but also his mother and his brothers. I think that implies the whole family, including the brothers (and thus the sisters) were not only at the wedding but are now traveling with him. They go to Capernaum, where he sets up a kind “residence” or operational HQ, according to the tradition that Mark has received (see Mark 2:1; 3:19; 9:33 and the references to the house and being “at home”). Mark knows nothing of Cana but John mentions it again when Jesus returns from a trip to Judea, where he stirred up a considerable amount of trouble and needs some place to “lay low.” He and his disciples go back to Cana (John 4:46). Why go back there if the first visit was just for a wedding and had no connection to him? I think this is important in that it seems to become for Jesus a kind of “safe house” or place of operations when he needs to retreat to Galilee, much like Capernaum.
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There is definitely a “Jesus connection” to Cana, parallel to the one that Mark reports regarding Capernaum. Peter Richardson of the University of Toronto has written a significant academic article on this point titled “What Has Cana to Do with Capernaum?” (New Testament Studies 48 (2002), pp. 314–331) that I highly recommend. He argues that the significant differences on geographical matters between the Synoptics with their sources and John with its sources—especially the question of Jesus’ “place”—should not be resolved simply in favor of Mark. Cana as a place in John is as significant as Capernaum in Mark. In fact, Richardson argues that Cana served as an operational base for Jesus according to the tradition that John reflects. It is interesting to note that during the Jewish Revolt, Josephus, commander of the Jewish forces in Galilee, made Cana his strategic headquarters for a time (Life 86). Its prime location, overlooking Sepphoris and the cities of the Bet Netofa Valley, made it an ideal location. Also, Jewish tradition locates the priestly family of Eliashib, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 24:19 as one of the 24 orders of Cohanim or priest, as from Cana.
John indicates the connection in the last chapter of his gospel, where he says that the disciple Nathanael, mentioned only in the Gospel of John is from Cana in Galilee (21:2). Nathanael is mentioned earlier in the Gospel of John as an early follower or disciple, associated with Andrew of Bethsaida (1:45). He is most often identified as one of the Twelve, under his father’s name, Bar-Tholomew or “Bar Tolmai” in Aramaic, in Mark’s list of the disciples (Mark 3:18). I find this identification likely.
Given this background all we can do is speculate. I think we can assume that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is somehow involved in the wedding, and since we know Jesus and his disciples—as well as his brothers—are there, it is not a passing event but some kind of family affair. And since he returns to the place when things get heated for him and his disciples in Judea, it is a safe place for him, and one to which he is connected. So whose was the wedding? Or can we even make a wild guess?
Many have suggested that the wedding at Cana was that of Jesus. I find this unlikely. Even though the account is very “allegorical” as it comes to us in John, and it is accordingly hard to derive historical material therefrom, the way in which Jesus shows up with his disciples, when his mother and brothers are already there, indicates to me that the wedding is of someone else. My own guess would be that it is the wedding of either one of his brothers or sisters, since Mary is involved—not, as I read it, as the hostess, but as one concerned with the provisions for the wedding. Since the wedding is held in Cana, my guess is that it could very well be the wedding of one of Jesus’ brothers, perhaps James, to a sister or daughter of Nathanael, thus accounting for it being held in that village. Cana then becomes a place to which Jesus can return, and as with Capernaum, it served as a kind of “home” for him. Regardless, I do think, as Richardson has argued, that we should take John’s references to geographical locations as rooted in some of the earliest traditions we have related to the life of Jesus–even predating Mark.
I have of late become persuaded that Jesus well might have been married, and this represents a change of mind for me that I have detailed in our book The Jesus Discovery. If such be the case, it seems impossible to tell whether he would have been married long before this point in his life, perhaps in his 20s, or whether he chose not to be married into his adult life, and only subsequently did so closer to the end.
Dr. James Tabor is Professor of Christian Origins and Ancient Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Since earning his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1981, Tabor has combined his work on ancient texts with extensive field work in archaeology in Israel and Jordan, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, Masada, Wadi el-Yabis in Jordan. Over the past decade he has teamed up with with Shimon Gibson to excavate the “John the Baptist” cave at Suba, the “Tomb of the Shroud” discovered in 2000, Mt Zion and, along with Rami Arav, he has been involved in the re-exploration of two tombs in East Talpiot including the controversial “Jesus tomb.” Tabor is the author of the popular Taborblog, and several of his recent posts have been featured in Bible History Daily as well as the Huffington Post. His latest book, Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity, has become a immediately popular with specialists and non-specialists alike. You can find links to all of Dr. Tabor’s web pages, books, and projects at jamestabor.com.
Was Mary Magdalene Wife of Jesus? Was Mary Magdalene a Prostitute?
This Bible History Daily article was first republished from James Tabor’s blog on November 16, 2015.
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The existence of a so-called Signs Source is hypothetical. We don’t actually have this (alleged) document. According to James Tabor, a lot of John’s Gospel is theological overlay that came much later. We can’t say that. Even if the Signs Source existed, it would not prove that the theological ideas which we find in the rest of John’s Gospel had not already developed or that Jesus did not say what the Gospel records him as saying. How could it? The Signs Source would not itself be a Gospel, much less an exhaustive account of everything that Jesus said or everything people believed about him at the time.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of “reasoning” that is all too common among liberal scholars. They draw the most widesweeping conclusions from the most tenuous of evidence. Furthermore, it is motivated by an obvious agenda. Tabor does believe what all the early sources tell us about Jesus. He rejects what Paul says and tries to peel away layers of the Gospels until he is left with something that he finds more agreeable. What this really amounts to is that Tabor has invented his own version of Jesus. There is not the slightest epistemological justification for this.
If John had thought that Jesus were married, he would have written the encounter with the Smartian woman differently. As John 4 stands, it’s a play on the Hebrew Scriptures’ type scene of a Jewish bachelor traveling to a foreign land and meeting a woman who will be his wife at a well (Isaac by proxy, Jacob, Moses, and, abortively, Saul).
I also used to think it was the marriage of Jesus and Mary of Bethany, aka Mary Magdalene. But then I remembered that when Jesus was baptized he “began to be about thirty years of age.” When I thought it over I realized Jewish boys became men at about 14 years of age. If Jesus got married, it would have been when he was about 15. If he had a son when he was 16 his son, would be about 14 or 15 when Jesus was 30. So I think the bridegroom was Jesus the son of Jesus, or as we read in old copies of Matthew, Jesus Barabbas.
The wedding at cana wasn’t an actual wedding of two people.. they were attending the spring festival of the marriage between the earth and the sun.
I’ve always been fascinated with the wedding at Cana. Six barrels of water turned to the best wine – 6 thousand years until the wedding feast now coming upon us. The wedding occurring on the 3rd day between humble-not-wealthy people. – Luke 14:18. Six Apostles with him. Who knows about the astonishing miracle? The Servants only, now sending those with an ear to hear to daniel11truth, the torahcalendar.com/ marking the soon end of the 6000 years and the final tribulation. Thanks for the blog
[…] Cana wasn’t on the main express highway. It was up a hill. Interestingly the Cana most tourists are shown may not be the actual Cana, also known as Kefr Kenna is “near Nazareth on the road to Tiberias that the Franciscans maintain. The problem is that this location has no Roman-period ruins and most certainly is not the place mentioned in the New Testament. Its veneration began sometime in the Middle Ages. An alternative site, Khirbet Qana, is 8 miles northwest of Nazareth and 12 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It is high on a hill overlooking the Bet Netofa valley. (taken from this website)”. […]
If we notice by the narration of John “the Mother of Jesus was there”(she is not mentioned by name ever in the Gospel of John! She is referred to as Mother of Jesus or WOMAN). Then John writes “Jesus was invited along with his disciples”. Note that there is no mention of other “younger brothers and sisters of Jesus”. Which is odd because if Jesus was invited and his disciples, why no mention of his younger brothers too? Jesus was single and probably at least 1 or 2 of his “brothers and sisters” where also young and single and living with Mary. These “Jesus brothers” are only mentioned going down to Capernaum as a full entourage. It is obvious that these “brothers of Jesus”
where not at the wedding, never witnessed the miracle and never believed in Jesus like his Mother did. These brothers seems to be cousins, uncles and aunts of Jesus.
There’s a double Jesus deception that includes the Jewish Jesus Messiah who did get married at “Cana” and who is not at all synonymous with God Jesus Christ
If you are still monitoring this feed, I would love to have a separate conversation with you about your suggestion. I have been sitting on that possibility for the past 40 years, but have met few people that could entertain that explanation.
Unsupported claim there is no strife between Christ and the Jews in a Q or “Signs” source. History does not support the claim either. .
HI love this, is it okay to use your map for our website, IsGodREal.com.au
Perhaps an explanation of the miracle is that the host had hidden the good wine where nobody would look, in the water jars. Jesus just figured it out. A little splashing of water would turn it into a miracle.
The above speculations may be as unsupported by solid exegesis as Tabor’s thinking Jesus was married.
I think there are about as many fragments of the ‘signs source’ as the ‘Q source’, if I remember correctly.
Jesus married?! Really? That is crazy. I was enjoying the article till I read that. I am not sure why you think Mary was anything more than just a guest. You are missing the point of the story which I believe is the fact that Jesus began his ministry at the request of his mother. Mary stayed with him to the bitter end.Jesus gave her to John from the cross. If she had other children there would have been no need to do that. She is the mother of all mankind.
I have a response to this too. (sorry if a bit late). Absolutely raving bonkers!
The Cana wedding
(Gospel account: John 2:1-2:12)
My reconstruction of the wedding at Cana ( John 2:1-2:12) illuminates what I believe actually occurred. Hopefully it augments in many ways the thinking of Dr. Tabor whose erudition I hold in the highest esteem. Where we may differ, it is with honest appreciation for the dialogue that leads us along a path toward a shared awareness of the past.
As presented in the Gospel of John, the scenario is strictly for the faithful Christian. The style of the passage is “midrashic,” a lesson-legend with a historical core.
The main elements of the wedding party as they appear in the Gospel of John:
1. His disciples accompany him to the wedding (2:2).
2. Jesus’ mother says, “They have no wine.”
3. Jesus says to her, “What is that to me and you, woman? My hour has not come yet.”
4. (Then) his mother says to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
5. (To the servants) he next says, “Fill the jars with water…” –referring to spigoted hand-washing vessels near the door–and he performs the miracle, turning the water to wine (2:7-2:9).
6. The steward, receiving the wine from the servants, unaware of the “miracle,” tells the groom, “Everyone serves the good wine first and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk (had plenty to drink). But you have kept the best wine until now.”
7. (This was the first of the signs…and his disciples believed in him)… “After this he went down to Kfar Nahum with his mother and his brothers (no mention of the disciples) but they stayed there only a few days” (2:12).
Analysis and reconstruction:
Jesus’ response to his mother’s statement that they have no wine: “What is that to you and to me, woman? My hour has not come yet,” is, in tone, an irritable if not angry rejoinder. Had he said, “Mother, don’t be concerned,” the moment between them would have been respectful and even affectionate.
Several possible explanations exist: 1. This is one among several passages showing that his relationship to his biological family was not equal to his bond with devotees (a Christianizing interpretation). 2. He and his mother weren’t getting along. 3. He was annoyed by Mary’s implied criticism that he had come too late for the guests to care about his (hypothetical) gift of wine.
Certainly, Jesus’ reactions to his family are distant and cool throughout the Gospels. (Note: Although I believe James was a deeply devoted sibling, the evidence of his interaction with Jesus is limited and circumstantial.)
The second and third alternatives–that Jesus and his mother were not getting along–taken together with his annoyance at her dismissive greeting, therefore seems likely. His mother’s anxiety, reflected in the Nazareth-synagogue scene (Mark 3:31-3:35) reveals the family concern that he was acting “crazy.” Criticized for “playing the prophet,” and making a public display of what they considered ridiculous antics, Jesus had expressed his irritation, rebuffing them.
The second part of his response, “My hour has not come yet” is informative. We know this was not referring to his “hour” to help out with the depleted wine supply. Theologically, it has an unmistakeable ring of a future revelation that he is the messiah. (That is, “My time to reveal myself as the messiah has not come yet,” which is plainly irrelevant to a non-messianic context).
Far more credible is her initial reference to wine because, hypothetically, she observed the wineskin he had brought as a gift. Mary, I propose, was actually castigating his tardy arrival, indicating his wine was “too little, too late.” Then, as a logical reaction to Mary’s criticism that they were already out of wine, he might well reply: “What’s it to you and me, woman. It’s not my wedding.”
According to my reconstruction:
Shortly after his abrupt remarks to his mother, he instructs the servants to mix the wine he has brought as a gift into the hand-washing jars which are arrayed near the entrance.
His intention to use ritual washing vessels to dispense wine was in total disregard of the feelings of traditional guests at the party. More than that, it would have been an affront likely to cause their outspoken indignation.
Seeing the servants hesitate, Mary sought a quick resolution of the issue, lest Jesus once again become conspicuous. Therefore, she orders the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.”
After pouring in the wine, the servant brings some to the steward, who tastes it and offers his compliments to the groom.
In the Gospel account (2:10) he says: “People generally serve the best wine first and keep the inferior sort til the guests have become drunk (had plenty to drink); but you have kept the best wine until now.”
In fact, not uncommon in such first century Judean celebratory circumstances, when the wine supply was diminished, increasing amounts of water were added to it. Therefore, early on, the party would have been drinking (perhaps) a fifty-fifty mixture of wine and water (or even a higher percentage of wine), and later, a less tasty mixture with increasing amounts of water.
If some of the guests, or the wine steward himself, commented on the rich mixture, their surprise could well have been (variously): “People generally serve the strongest wine first and water it down later, but we have the strongest wine last,” or, if offered as a compliment to the groom, “Common people save the cheap wine until everyone is drunk but you have saved the best until now!”
Significantly, my analysis of the Gospel account further reveals the water-to-wine “miracle” was a postmortem alteration intended to establish Jesus as a holier version of the high priest in Jerusalem. The Hebrew festival of Sukkot had a central ritual in which water was poured simultaneously with wine on the Temple altar. The water-libation ceremony, as it was called (Tractate Sukkot) enacted the fall seasonal miracle when rainfall, a blessing from God, nurtured the vineyards, miraculously turning to wine.
Every guest at the Cana party who believed Jesus was “playing the miracle-worker” now had a joke at his expense. Though he was not mixing the wine and water to mimic the Sukkot ceremony, the sarcastic interpretation was inevitable. “Look at him now–turning water to wine like the high priest!” (This sarcasm was transformed by the Gospel into reverence and wonder, recording it as “the first of the signs.”)
Judging from what followed, Mary, the disciples who were there, and his supposed own half-brothers (the sons of Joseph being actual cousins if Joseph was not Jesus’ father), were embarrassed.
What did Mary say to Jesus when guests began taking notice? Recreating her words (based on his response upon arriving, “it’s not my wedding,”) I propose she then insisted, “If you keep acting like this, nobody will marry you!” Evidence for her hypothetical remark are the words he spoke which are not repeated in the Gospel version, but seem likely to have echoed the same sentiment as “My hour has not come yet.” In the course of the wedding party, her comment, “if you keep acting like this, nobody will marry you” would very possibly have been met with the retort: “I’m not ready to get married.” (This last line becomes the Gospel rendering, “My hour has not come yet.”) Still, a question arises: In the midst of her discomfort at his perceived “antics,” why should she have chosen to make Jesus’ future marriage an issue? I submit there was a significant reason: If people regarded Jesus as genuinely mad, they would likely believe him to be a “shetuki,” one who had no known father. (The popular saying was, “Shetuki is shetufi”–the one who cannot name his father acts like a crazy person.) Consequently, he would be ineligible to marry a woman of known Hebrew lineage, mixing the “certain with the doubtful” (prohibited by Jewish custom). Causing Mary further anguish, quite naturally, would be the resulting opinion that she had been guilty of adultery (in that his seemingly bizarre behavior indicated Joseph was not his father).
Aside from Mary’s distress, I suggest the moment was also troubling to Jesus’ siblings (setting aside the paternal doubt) and disciples. Here is the evidence: At the outset (John 2:2) we are told, “Jesus and his disciples had also been invited.” At the end of the scene, the passage states (2:12): “After this he went down to Kfar Nahum with his mother, and the brothers.”
Recognizing the timeframe as the fall Sukkot pilgrimage festival (Feast of Booths), I suggest that from this text we may discern who among them intended to make the two-three day journey from Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) to Jerusalem.
According to John 7:3, as the Feast of Booths drew near, Jesus’ brothers said to him:
“Why not leave this place (Kfar Nahum) and go to
(Jerusalem) and let your disciples see the works you
are doing. If a man wants to be known, he does
not do things in secret. Since you are doing all
this you should let the whole world see.”
This remarkable comment by Joseph’s sons, whom he had long-considered his brothers, is sarcasm. The Gospel text which immediately follows leaves no doubt: “Not even his brothers, in fact, had faith in him.”
In what may be the Gospels’ only description of an emotionally hurt Jesus, he tells his brothers: (7:7-7:8) “The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me.” Of special importance, is his use of the word, “cannot.” Assuredly there is a reason why they are “above” the possibility of being hated. Here, I think it is inescapable that he is referring to their pure Hebrew lineage, fixing their status as irreproachably free from the common contempt the society showed those with doubtful origins. In that he says this immediately after the Cana wedding party, I strongly suspect he had learned Joseph was not his father right about then.
In the following discussions, I shall show that the Cana revelation about his doubtful paternity had a subsequent incendiary effect on him. Here is a brief summation:
1. After Cana, he considered his mother an adulteress.
2. He contemplated suicide.
3. He sought lineage purification by John’s immersion.
4. He changed his approach to teaching the disciples, emphasizing the sanctity of Torah as a key to entering the Kingdom of God.
5. He rebuked every sign of reverence for him personally (worrying the temptation to accept such adoration was an evil inclination from his unknown paternal lineage.)
Before fully reconstructing the Cana episode, I must address a misconception engendered by Christian theology. For whatever reason, the typical church interpretation of the word “brothers” is that they were devotees–and not members of his family. Probably because dogma requires Jesus’ have a “family-of-the-faithful,” the role of Joseph’s sons is largely muted. An even superficial analysis of the text exposes the fact the ones referred to in the Cana story were absolutely Joseph’s sons.
First, it makes no sense to tell his so-called family-of-the-faithful, “They cannot hate you.” We all know the grotesque persecution suffered by the early Christians. Second, in expressing their sarcastic insult, “Go to Jerusalem and let your disciples see the works you are doing…”(John 7:2-7:6) the brothers hardly sound like a family-of-the-faithful.
Proceeding further with logical inferences, we should concentrate on the reality that his disciples had gone on without him. Choosing to remain alone, he says to his brothers (restored syntax 7:8-7:9) “Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival.”
In 7:10 the text states he changed his mind and went to Jerusalem by himself.
Is there further evidence that Jesus’ disciples had indeed set out and reached Jerusalem for the Sukkot festival, arriving there before him?
In John 1:36-1:45 the text mentions Jesus’ (supposed) first encounter with John (the Baptist), as well as various disciples. Though the report of the disciples’ presence occurs in an out-of-sequence scene in the vicinity of John’s baptisms, it belongs with the Sukkot timeframe. (Note: It is a consistent kerygmatic intervention that places the baptism of Jesus, as well as John’s witness to his chosen status, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, leaving us to locate it correctly.)
In sum: After the wedding party, now alone in Kfar Nahum (prior to having been banished) Jesus changes his mind (John 7:14) and makes the pilgrimage alone. When he arrives in the vicinity of Jerusalem, he encounters John at the site of his immersion activity. Telling from the related text (John 1:43-1:45), at least several of the disciples are there, including Andrew, Simon, Philip and Nethanael. In John 1:35 we also read, “John stood there with two of his disciples.” Perhaps they were the Zebedees, and others could have been on hand or gone ahead to the Temple mount.
Probably referring to the Sukkot huts, Jesus offers to show the disciples where he is staying, with the narrative concluding: “So they went and saw where he was staying, keeping him company the rest of the day.” This would exactly conform to the traditional custom on Sukkot of “dwelling together in booths.” To fulfill the Torah tradition, visitors and pilgrims were taken in by those who had built the shelters on the hillsides or in their own courtyards.
1. Jesus and his disciples arrive at the Cana wedding party bringing wine as a gift.
2. The party has been underway for some time, and Jesus’ mother greets him, saying: “They have no wine”–a criticism implying that his gift is “too little, too late.”
3. Jesus, apparently aggravated by her tone, as well as still resenting her earlier effort at the Nazareth synagogue to stop him from “playing the prophet,” replies: “What’s it to me or you, woman. It’s not my wedding.”
4. Inside, he hands the wineskin to a servant and tells him to pour it into a spigotted vessel used for hand-washing. (To a Pietist or other strictly observant Jews, such vessels had achieved an aura of holiness, reflecting the belief all houses would need to be pure before God’s Kingdom could commence.)
5. When the servant hesitates, Mary instructs him to “Do whatever he tells you.”
6. After the wine-water mixture, now enriched, is taken to the steward, he tastes it and pays the groom a compliment: “People usually serve the strongest wine first and water it down later, but you have saved the best for last!”
7. Hypothetical: Guests joked, “Look what he has done now, playing the high priest, turning water to wine!”
8. Hypothetical: Comments were made, such as: “Shetuki is shetufi–crazy ones cannot say who their father is.”
9. Dismayed, Mary tells Jesus: (words inferred from his next response):
“If you keep acting like this, nobody will marry you.”
10. Jesus replies: “I’m not ready to get married.” (Echoing his earlier remark, “It’s not my wedding” and “my hour has not yet come.”
11. Hypothetical: Jesus becomes aware that he is not Joseph’s son. (The subsequent events strongly suggest Mary’s warning had “hit home.” Saying he would never marry if he kept up his “antics,” she had basically divulged the truth.
12. The disciples, perhaps unnerved by the apparent family squabble, depart.
13. Jesus along with his brothers (still called that, though, unlike them, he was unrelated to Joseph), left with Mary and went to Kfar Nahum. (Though the Gospels do not say as much, Kfar Nahum was probably the village where one or more of Joseph’s sons lived.)
14. Jesus’ “brothers” show their disgust, blaming him for the scandalous gossip swirling about Mary and the family. They tell him sarcastically:
“Why not leave this place (Kfar Nahum) and go to (Jerusalem) and let your disciples see the works you are doing. If a man wants to be known, he does not do things in secret. Since you are doing all this you should let the whole world see.”
15. His feelings hurt, Jesus replies: “The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me.”
16. Jesus says he will not go to the Sukkot festival in Jerusalem: “Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival.”
17. Disquieting images of his mother as an adulteress pervade his consciousness. (The adulteress brought before him for judgment–considered in my book, “A Documented Biography of Jesus Before Christianity.”
18. Changing his mind after several days, he makes the Sukkot pilgrimage to Jerusalem by himself.
It should be understood that much of Jesus’ teaching prior to Sukkot had been to enable his disciples to join in observing the Jewish holy days (especially Rosh ha-shannah, the New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement). Because God’s Kingdom was anticipated, and considered most likely to occur that very year, 31-32 CE, the seventh of the tithing cycle, known as the “Shemitah, the disciples’ Torah education–and re-Covenanting via the holy spirit–was all the more important.
Abram Epstein, a New Yorker, has served as Director of Education for several synagogues and actively participated in the Manhattan Educators’ Council. His graduate studies at New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center focused on ancient Near Eastern religion and Biblical Judaism. He is a recipient of the university’s prestigious Founders’ Award for Academic Accomplishment and has a screen credit as Historical Consultant for “The Seventh Sign” starring Demi Moore. His books include, “The Historical Haggadah,” “The Matthias Scroll,” “A Documented Biography of Jesus Before Christianity” and most recently, “The Matthias Scroll–Select Second Edition.”
No, my brother in Jesus Christ, not so … the Truth and Light will make all the facts about Himself, known to us after our deaths.
Mr. Tabor says in this article that he believes Jesus was married, and that this was a significant changing of his mind. I can find no scriptural evidences of this. Could anyone please give me a reason why anyone would come to this conclusion ?
Reading the miracle as it has been passed down to us rather than cut into pieces by modern scholars, this “beginning of signs” where Jesus “manifested his glory,” looks back to John 1:14 “we beheld his glory” . . . “full of grace and truth” which in turn looks back to the revelation of God to Moses in Exodus 34 (or the revelation of the divine Word in the Palestinian Targums), as he describes himself to Moses as “full of grace and truth” (rab chesed we’emet). Thus it should be pointed out that this is his first miracle, post-incarnation, and is seen as a continuation of his pre-incarnate works, e.g. the miracle at Cana could be considered in light of the “beginning of signs” in Egypt, where the water was turned to blood (note that the water in John 2 was for purification, just as the water of the Nile, also stored in vessels in the temples, was used for purifictaion). The John 2 miracle is not a plague of course, but more of an “anti-plague,” just as the miracles in the wilderness were a blessing to God’s people. One of the Targums in the plague narrative has God say that the miracles were done so that you may know that I am he, whose Word dwells in the land – same as in John’s Gospel. The wedding is also the beginning of John’s presentation of Jesus as the bridegroom of his people (again, in continuity with his pre-incarnate role as bridegroom of Israel). He steps in and fulfills the duty of the bridegroom, who did not bring enough wine, and Jesus is not like typical men. Then in the next chapter John the Baptist calls Jesus the bridegroom, and in John 4 he meets a Samaritan woman at a well, the place where in the OT Abraham’s servant meets Rebecah, Jacob meets Rachel, and Moses meets Zipporah, and them the Lord meets Israel (Exodus 17); John 4 has numerous parallels to these OT texts, presenting Jesus as (1) servant (like Abraham’s servant, Genesis 24); (2) prospective bridegroom Jacob (according to legend in Palestinian Targums, Jacob lifted the cover of the well and water flowed up and overflowed 20 years); (3) prospective bridegroom Moses (Josephus says that Moses sat down by the well because he was weary from his journey and the time was noon, just like in John 4); (4) divine bridegroom – John 4:26 draws on the last of the “I am he” sayings in Isaiah (52:6). Also of note, in Tg. Neofiti Moses and the divine Word are at the well in Exodus 17; that helps us to see in John 4 the divine Word is now a man, like Moses (but without sin); i.e. the Word has become flesh. Of course, cutting up the Gospel into little isolated pieces, which you think is scholarly, prevents you, and those who pay attention to you, from seeing all this.
All is very good. I had overlooked that Nathaniel was from Cana. I speculated that the wedding was a cousin of Jesus and how it happened that the wine ran out. Unbelievable normally. Some financial disaster happened. The six stone jars were very expensive. Had they been ordered and then the buyers refused to take them. Perhaps the family were merchants of expensive religious goods. Another cousin on the Jordan was saying treasonous things about the king. The wealthy may not have wanted to appear to support the accusation. The Messiah was to provide a vast overflowing about of wind. I have a fictional account of how a wedding was celebrated on the web. http://thesignofconcord.com/uploads/Bk_2_Ch_2_A_Wedding_in_Cana.pdf
In the context of John’s gospel, which I find both buitiful and inspiring, I see:
1. Mary has determined that Jesus’ time has come, though he had not determined yet. Mary turns to the servers and says “so has he says”. Mary is clearly telling us all “do as he says”. This is the last we hear Mary speak in the gospels. A fitting bookend to the first we hear from her as she answered Gabriel “let it be done unto me as God wills”.
2. The six jars: 6×25 gallons = 150 gallons of fine wine. Clearly ample supply. One must keep in mind the significance of the jars: “cleansing” water. Clearly this miracle is a foreshadowing of the conversion of wine into the “cleansing” blood of our lord.
3. It seems to me that at the wedding at Cana, the metamorphosis of Jesus the man into Jesus the man/God, which began in the Jordan river, is completed. It’s a dual ceremony, man and woman (both unidentified) and Christ to the Church. This latter wedding being the basis of every priest taking the Church as bride in ordination.
4. We say “hindsight is 20/20”. However not always so. Cana marks the beginning of Jesus’ miracles, all being witnessed by deciples. However, is seems the deciples are very slow to get the picture. This recurring picture of deciples not getting the picture which in each instance is quite clear to the reader, has us all on edge, “when will they finally see??”
5. John’s gospel culminates with the breathing of the Holy Spirit upon the deciples, and ends in the eating of a meal of fish over a charcoal fire, thus completing the deciples’ conversion to apostles.
It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before finish I am
reading this wonderful piece of writing to improve my experience.
It was clear in KJV that Jesus and his disciples were invited
2 The next day[a] there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”[literally ran out]
4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
[this is related to Jesus death]
5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” [Jesus is Lord]
Please read the context clearly and understand it first before deducing anything
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice [lamb] is that simple. People tend to over complicate things. Learn to submit to the teachings of the bible and not your own understanding
God is God
Isaiah 55:8-9 New Living Translation (NLT)
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
We should not think like God
Be grounded to your creator so that you may know the TRUTH
How dare you! His noodly goodness will not be mocked!
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Jesus is named as the bridegroom at the weddings feast in John 2. In this context no reason to think that it’s only allegorical.
7 **Jesus** saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast **called the bridegroom,**
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but **thou** hast kept the good wine until now.
Jesus leaves Cana and goes to Capernaum with his entire family en toe. There he deals with Pharisees grumbling about the way he heals a paralytic and the words he chooses to say to him when healing the man. Next he is caught dining with tax collectors and sinners and again he is asked to explain his behavior. Following that in Mark 2:18-20, he is asked why his disciples are not fasting, basically “why do John and the Pharisees fast and your disciples do not fast?’ and Jesus answers, “Can the bridegroom party while the bridegroom is with him fast? No.” Then he adds;”The day will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, they will fast on that day.”
I think this is the evidence that it was Jesus who was married at Cana.
There were a number of schools, like we might just say today “rabbi schools,” or “religious schools” back 2,000 years ago. The “advanced” program involved additional training of the grad students, or PhD type students, that went til about age 35 . Some of the religious men didn’t marry until they were 35 years of age after their training, so it’s possible Yeshua wasn’t married at all when he was “hung on a tree.” Also there were chaste marriages in those and earlier times, like Abraham and Sarah or Joachim and St. Anne, until advanced age when angels petitioned the couples to consummate their marriages. Until advanced age, the couples were just “betrothed” to one another. The Essenes often didn’t consummate their betrothals at all, or only once or twice a year as possibly directed by the elders or spiritual advisors of the sect. Joachim and St Anne, the parents of Mary, and perhaps Zechariah and Elizabeth as well might have been Essenes from the settlement north or just outside of Jerusalem after Qumram was closed down. One idea is also that the feast at Cana was the betrothal of St. John to Mary Magdalene, a marriage of celebates, who were understudies of Yeshua and formerly John the Baptizer. Or possibly of Yeshua himself, maybe James the Lesser or Just. I think James might have become a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem as well, either before or after the crucifixtion. It’s important to remember that in these days we have very open kinds of relationships, marriages and remarriages. Hillel the rabbi was more liberal than Jesus in his ideas, but all in all, many of the rabbi didn’t condone remarriage for any reason, or consummating a second marriage in the case of widow hood or divorce, etc. If your husband died you would be “wed” as it were to someone’s family, or as in the case of Mary, betrothed to Joseph for instance as a caretaker, but with a pure and chaste relationship. Widows needed to be adopted in Roman times, or eventually in the Christian sect they became wives and daughters of the church–giving liberally to the origins of the Church itself, and becoming “virgins” or single women without marital status, but with standing and protection by the elders and families. An engagement was a grander celebration than a marriage, which happened 6 months later in the year. Consummation of marriages, or engagements, happened in Nov or Dec often so that births would be 9 months later in AUG or SEP when children would be born with strong bones from the summer sun, and called “kings” or queens. Mary was born on Sept 8th or 9th for instance a bat of David.
My dear brothers and sisters
As I absorb the comments ,I sense not a celebration of a intimate moment that occurred in which the text suggest “Jesus was invited ”
As the gospel suggest that he had been proclaimed by John and baptized by John
“To be the one to Baptiste with the fire of the spirit .”
One might think why Jesus was not askd to preform the ceremony
It is obvious that his mother and disciples recognized his authority
This is classic of what this text really represents
Empty stone jars , different in shape color and design
Each having their own residue inside , impenetrable ,
At this celebration Jesus merrily ask his followers to work together with him to give a drink to all who would partake ,
Having an affect on everyone witnessing .
Yahweh says that you are all created the same
So why do you fight each other
Jesus ultimately does end up getting married to his bride, the church, those that believe he is the Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, condemned to the cross as an innocent man, buried and risen from the dead on the third day by the matchless power of God the Father, and now sits in glory on a throne in heaven ruling a kingdom that is not tangible in the physical sense but spiritual, existing in our hearts, perceived in our minds, and demonstrated through our lives with love, forgiveness, grace and mercy. The final statement John makes concerning the event in Cana says this was the first miracle Jesus performed revealing his glory. John also wrote Revelations and with that in mind we know John writes symbolically. Jesus stated to his mother (woman) at that point, on the third day of this wedding in Cana, His time had not come, therefore it was not his wedding at which point His blood as a wine would be poured out. The wine from the ceremonial cleansing pots represents the cleansing blood of Jesus poured out to wash our sins as Jesus stated at Last Supper. The wedding guests representing Israel may have been, or may not have been, drunk, or desensitized, on the first wine, representing the blood of sacrificed animals over the years. The servants that drew the water that had been turned into wine and knew where it came from represent the Levitical priests who sprinkled the blood on and around the alter during the animal sacrifices. The master of the banquet who judged the wine (Father God?) said to the bridegroom, representing Jesus at his crucifixion, His wedding day when he referred once again to his mother as woman, it was the best saved for last, meaning no more sacrifices needed. All throughout the Old Testament there is a foreshadowing of Jesus, what he would say, do, and ultimately his death and resurrection. I hope everyone who reads my comment is blessed and not offended.
hmm… I cannot believe this…should I call it a fable or incredible story…
Remember that ,all scripture is giving by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, hence, the true interpretation of scriptures is not based on speculations, but on the Holy Spirit …
The Lord Jesus Christ promised his disciples the holy spirit who would direct them into all truths. Why are we now refusing to be directed by the holy spirit into the truth of God’s word? Or we now believe in speculative approach than the holy spirit…
Unless one says anything as one from the Holy Spirit ,it should be ignored fom spiritual considerations
The BIBLE states do not go beyound what is written, all will be revealed in the end of days.
Most all who have commented are men and here’s what your missing. Simply this. If I, being a woman, were an invited guest to a wedding and they ran out of wine, which would be hugely embarrassing for the wedding party, I would ask my son whom I knew could perform miracles to save the day. Don’t overthink this.
The palm tree was originally the “Tree of Life” (Genesis 2:9) in southern Mesopotamia and it was sacred to the Sumerian god of wisdom, Ea, in the first city to gain prominence, Eridu, which is where the “kingship from heaven” descended, according to the Babylonian King List.
There seems to be a clue in Genesis 2:5 as to what the Tree of Life might have originated as; “and every shrub of the field not yet it was on the earth, and every herb of the field not yet had it sprung up.” since we have the interpretation of Philo the Alexandrian that the words shrub and herb at the beginning of the Garden of Eden story allude to things that existed prior to the present, or in other words, the original “Food of the Gods” by Terrence McKenna (p.155):
“Cannabis is anathema to the dominator culture because it deconditions or decouples users from accepted values. Because of its subliminally psychedelic effect, cannabis, when pursued with a lifestyle, places a person in intuative contact with less goal-oriented and less competitive behavior patterns. For these reasons marijuana is unwelcome in the modern office environment, while a drug such as coffee, which reinforces the values of industrial culture, is both welcomed and encouraged. Cannabis use is correctly sensed as heretical and deeply disloyal to the values of male dominance and stratified hierarchy.”
Shrub and herb, meaningless nouns, until you see in the Wikipedia page on “Entheogen” where it quotes the orthodox scholar on the Kabbalah, Aryeh Kaplan, in his beautiful commentary on the first five books of the Bible, “The Living Torah,” as saying that it was cannabis that was the ingredient of the holy annointing oil that usually mentioned in Exodus 30:22 as calamus in translations deriving from the Septuagint version. However, the Hebrew word “kaneh-bosm,” which is interpreted as an aromatic cane, wasn’t exclusively used by the high priest in the temple since all you had to to was be there when it was burned as incense. Perhaps the total detachment from the the process of turning water into wine on the part of Jesus was because, as his intuitive mother seemed to know when she told the caterer in John 2:5, “Whatever he tells you, do.” He may have taken a Nazirite vow to abstain from wine and let his hair grow., which is what one of the meanings of the word “qaneh” would imply; meaning “reed, stalk.”
I’m afraid my familiararity with with the language and culture of the Jewish people is lacking but fortunately “others have labored” (John 4:38) and did the research and here’s an excerpt from “The Hebrew Goddess” by Raphael Patai, p. 99:
“Shekhina (sh’khinah) is a Hebrew abstract noun derived from the Biblical verb ‘shakhan’ discussed above and means literally ‘the act of dwelling.’ These abstract nouns, constructed from the verbal root-letters with the added ‘-ah’ suffix, have the feminine gender. In actual usage, the term Shekhina, when it first appears, meant that aspect of the deity which can be apprehended by the senses.”
The fact that Mary Magdalene is the first witness to the post-mortal and pre-ascension Jesus fits in with the elaborate system developed in the 13th century C.E. book of Zohar where the Shekhina, or Divine Presence, is sometimes referred to in the Hebrew word ‘zot,’ as in “this (zot) shall be called woman, because out of man was taken this (zot) in Genesis 2:23.
The Shekhina is also alluded to in the Song of Songs 3:6:
“Who is this (zot) rising from the wilderness like columns of smoke; perfumed with myrrh and frankincense; with all the powders of the merchant?”
The word for rising is ‘olah’ that is also used in the context of the sacrificial offering on the altar rising with aromatic spices to heaven.
In the Zohar there is frequent mention of the concept of the wedding chamber and in “The Zohar, vol. 1,” by Daniel Matt (p. 68) an example is given of scriptural interpretations among the learned rabbis:
“Rabbi Shim’on said to the Companions, ‘Members of this wedding party, let each one of you adorn the Bride with one adornment.”
Then in the footnote it states:
“On the eve of Shavu’ot (Festival of Weeks), the Companions are invited to adorn Shekhina with new interpretations of the Torah, preparing Her for Her union with ‘Tif’eret'”
‘Tiferet’ means ‘beauty’ and it is the attribute of the third day of creation in Genesis 1:8-13 with the origin of vegetation on earth. The revelation at Mount Sinai is invoked on the day of Shavu’ot, the Greek Pentecost, and in another place in “The Zohar” (p.173) it states:
“So, She is ‘tamar,’ a palm tree – male and female – for one does not rise without the other.”
The word for palm tree, ‘tamar,’ is then compared with the word ‘timerot,’ meaning ‘columns,’ as in “like columns (timerot) of smoke; perfumed with myrrh and frankincense (Song of Songs 3:6), and in the accompanying footnote we are also given the fruit of archaeological research:
“Palm trees are dioecious; male and female flowers grow on separate trees. Male flowers produce pollon while female flowers develope into fruit. As early as 2300 B.C.E., Mesopotamian farmers had learned to hang a male flower in a female tree to enhance pollination. Here Rabbi Shim’on’s point is that Shekhina is called ‘palm tree’ because She and Her male partner are interdependant; becoming fruitful only by joining together.”
I would have to agree with commentator David, given the advantage of archaeological discoveries that has allowed us to see the person of Jesus of Nazareth as a product of his environment not unlike the “fruits of the land” around which the seasonal cycle forms the three most important observances in Dueteronomy 16:16, the festival of unleavened bread (barley harvest), the festival of weeks (wheat harvest) and the festival of booths (grape and olive harvest), which are really the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, respectively. It represents the metabolism of God’s word growing slowly like vegetation, in contrast to the animal impulse of humans to procreate, which is why Mary of Magdala isn’t mentioned at the wedding at Cana due to this being a gospel with hidden allusions to a lost form of gnosis or knowledge pertaining to the spiritual wedding chamber and she still is a presence at the wedding (which is why we are here discussing this) not unlike the Divine Presence known in Hebrew as “shekinah” from the root “sukkah” meaning “to dwell” and is the basis for the word “Sukkot” or “booths” that celebrated Israel’s migration through the wilderness when they dwelt in huts.
We see the link between the wedding at Cana and, “he came again to Cana of Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine” (John 4:46). Prior to performing the second “sign” of healing the son of an official, the discussion was centered on the harvest (John 4:35-38) after his disciples couldn’t figure out why Jesus would talk to the Samaritan woman. This along with Mary Magdalene’s assumption that the ressurected Christ was the gardener/caretaker of the tombs only symbolizes the union between the upper and lower worlds, with the spiritual realm being the male and associated with the Garden of Eden and the physical world being female and that this phenomenon is represented by the male and female followers going to an “upper chamber” (Acts 1:13) on the day of Pentecost, or Festival of Weeks, when some people thought that the people speaking in tongues were “full of sweet wine” (Acts 2:13).
Given Jesus’ advice to His disciples in Matthew 19:10-12, it is highly unlikely any of His disciples married from that point on. Any suggestion that Jesus married is sheer foolishness and immaturity.
I don’t know if Jesus was married or not, but that was normal human behavior then as now. If he was fully human, and wanted people to listen to his message, he would have followed the customs of his time. The Christian scriptures don’t say he went to the bathroom either, but they say he ate, so do you deny that, also?
And the Gospels may have originally spoken of it, but were later scrubbed clean by a church that couldn’t accept that as part of its doctrine.
Whatever people might think about the historian Flavius Josephus, the fact remains that he was among the last of the priests before the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and true to his calling, he had ultimately fulfilled his duty to “safeguard knowledge” (Malachi 2:7). The culture from which Jesus was familiar with was established in the Galilee region by the victors of a rebellion led by a family of priests against tyrannical rule by gentiles who were percieved as barbarians in their attempt to eradicate Jewish customs that were based on the laws of purity. Whether we think pork is ritually unclean is not the issue, but it forms the backdrop to this portion of the gospel of John where every sentence is loaded with information, some of which was lost for nearly two millennium.
I appreciate the efforts of Tabor and others to dig deeper into what what was known by the Jewish Christians at this early stage, since we tend to forget that Jesus was 100% Jewish, and that he also subscribed to the notion of a universal faith that arises from the Hashmonian era in which God “saved his whole people, confening on all the heritage, kingdom, priesthood and sanctification as he promised through the Law…” (2 Maccabees 2:17), and “made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father…” (Revelation 1:6), which became available to through God’s son to the gentiles.
I love to read the comments to Mr. Tabor’s articles. They are almost as funny as the articles themselves!
I agree with Derek. Hogwash to the He was married bit.
Mr. Tabor, why don’t you come right out and say it, that you don’t believe in anything…nothing at all, but you are gaining too much attention, publicity, and money to quit. You in the past have basically said that Jesus was either a big liar, or very deluded; nothing special, just a curiosity of the first century who happened to strike a chord with people. If Jesus was nothing more than some deluded Jew, why do you even bother theorizing, or considering any information about His life? If your purpose is to entertain, you would be of much more benefit juggling, doing stand up comedy, or playing lively tunes on the comb and tissue paper.
Because it is not mentioned with scripture and contrary to His mission.
Christ came to do His Father’s will. He was only about God’s business. He was single-minded about it. A married man will be concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife.
Why is the idea that Jesus was married so appalling?
The town of Cana wasn’t mentioned in the other Gospels, only in John, but Tabor claimed that this account of the wedding pre-dates the other Gospels and I’m inclined to believe that there’s even more to this story. Rather than serving as a mere backdrop to the miracle performed by Jesus, the town of Cana has a history just as this was a scene set at a particular historical stage in Jesus’ ministry that was unique to the Galilee region.
In an essay by Mark T. Schuler entitled “Recent Archaeology of Galilee and the Interpretation of Texts from the Galilean Ministry of Jesus,” the author Mordecai Aviam is quoted from his book, “Jews, Pagans and Christians in the Galilee,” (p.56):
“The Hasmonians repopulated Galilee with Jewish inhabitants, among them Judeans, who probably brought with them knowledge of oil cultivation and the new technology of the mechanized oil press.”
So here we have the foundation of a Judean community at Khirbet Cana during the mid-2nd century B.C.E., along with the lucrative olive oil industry that through archaeological evidence forms the backdrop to the setting at Cana.
The gospels are in agreement that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22) but it is the account in John 1:32-34 that John the Baptist recieved the command from God to watch for the one upon whom the Spirit descends upon and remains, kind of like the dove that Noah sends out that returns with an olive branch, then doesn’t return, having found dry land (Genesis 8:10-12). This completes the unity of the gospel of John with the prologue (John 1:1-3) at the beginning of the Creation in which Genesis 1:2 states that “that Spirit of God was hovering (like a bird) over the waters.”
I think that James Tabor has come to the end of his career and began looking around for something new to say about Jesus.
‘Of late I have become persuaded’ ???
Well mate I will never be persuaded, Jesus came to Earth with a special job to do and I am so grateful he accepted that mission, because I would not be writing this reply.
Editor: You may wish to correct the text in paragraph 5 — Prof. Edwards was Dr. Tabor’s ‘colleague’, not his ‘college’. Also, the last paragraph can be deleted as it is unrelated to the Wedding in Cana episode and serves only as a teaser for Dr. Tabor’s controversial 2012 book which offers a provocative hypothesis not argued or in any way supported in this piece. The essay would be stronger without it.
Blows my mind that anyone would think that Jesus was married simply doesn’t know who He claimed to be or what He said regarding marriage. He is the Almighty God; YHWH Himself; the creator of all things. Do people actually believe that it would be ok for Angels to marry human women? How much less for God Himself to do so? Jesus was fully human but fully God incarnate. In Matthew 19:12 He said “12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”” Do we think that the sinless lamb of God, God Himself couldn’t accept it? His mission down here was to die for the sins of the world and pave a way back to the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Either accept who Jesus said He was or don’t; do you not think that the Pharisees or anyone would have mentioned Him having a wife; It’s ludicrous to even think that. We have so many so called “Learned” men in this world and it’s shocking at times to see that they think they know so much when in reality they know so very little. In his letter to the Corinthians Paul says “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” and again “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,so that no man may boast before God.” God said to love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength and all of our minds” Isn’t it our responsibility if He purchased us with His very life that we at least try to understand who it is we say that we serve. I see such an assault on His character more and more by our “Christian” brethren…let it not be so. Even the Pharisees knew who He was claiming to be and they wanted to kill Him for it.
Oh ! What an article ! I am christian, but it does make me smiling, that such an honourable professor could write such no-interesting at all things about Jesus’ wedding !
If you can, let read the book of an ancient mystic holy woman, Anne-Catherine Emmerich : in it, you shall find real matters to thing about Cana and this story of wedding from new points of vue ! (Visions d’Anne-Catherine Emmerich, perhaps you can find it translated from german in english? I can find it in french, my native language)
Good new work, why not ?!
Some good discoveries have been made following her tellings…for an example, the house of Myriam, mother of Jésus , at Panaghia-Capouli, in 1892, at the mountain Bulbul-Dagh, near Ephese( “La maison de Marie à Ephèse-Histoire de sa découverte” -Extrait du Journal du père Eugène Poulin, lazariste- Pierre Téqui éditeur DVD, 2006) .
Better serious reading as Brown !
Thank you !
Many Christians focus on the hocus pocus — their faith seems to depend entirely on the magic acts (the miracles) as literal historical and supernatural events. But the miracle that Jesus was preaching was that a normal human being could have a personal relationship with the living God. So I believe that the “wine” was the good news (i.e. gospel), NOT a mellow Zinfandel with a fruity bouquet and a hint of oak in its flavoring.
After several paragraphs of sheer speculation about the gospels you have a paragraph that goes from those guesses and assumptions to “Given this background, all we can do us speculate.” So that’s it. Speculating about speculations built on speculations. Such, apparently, is what passes for Bible scholarship at the juncture in time.
I would like to know the textual support for your, and the universal, claim that
Jesus “turned” water into wine in John’s account. It is very important to read
the text with care and not claim beyond its limits. The text says that Jesus ordered
the stone jars filled with water and then said that the bottom valves should be opened.
This does not amount to “turning”. The actual agent of the change from water into
the complex liquid “wine” seems to be left undetermined. Perhaps Jesus understood, with his capacities of “eyes to see and ears to hear,” that it was Spirit that is transformative of a common substance into one held to be much more complex and valuable. To impute this act to Jesus himself raises the question: Why did he, after his baptism, in his desert confrontation with temptation, decline to turn stones into bread? Yes, it was the “devil” that suggested it, but would not that kind of demonstration only have added to the drama of Cana? Jesus specifically declined to
use his power to make a show of “magic”. The Cana story is much deeper and much more thrilling: It is Spirit that will transform all the mundane elements of your life into radiant new value. Let’s not proclaim “magic” after Jesus himself refused to do so!
What is it about you people that you always seem driven to make definitive statements about things that the Holy Spirit was silent about? I am speaking about your absurd statement that the wedding could have been Christ’s own wedding. That speaks absolute VOLUMES about your credentials and your credibility as a so-called archaeological scholar. Read the Word, man. For goodness sakes, the Bible says simply, “Jesus’ mother WAS THERE, and Jesus and his Disciples HAD ALSO BEEN INVITED to the wedding. How you people can jump from that, to the wedding being one for Christ Himself or one of his brothers or sisters is absolutely APPALLING. By your convoluted thinking, if my Mother or I actually attend a wedding, it must be a family member or my own wedding. BRILLIANT!!! Absolutely BRILLIANT!!! I say to you, Sir, you are going to stand before God and have to explain to Him why you have been willing to mishandle His precious Word in this manner. And you will not prevail in that conversation, I can assure you.
I also find this account interesting, also the various wrong assumptions. There would, indeed have been water present – but not for drinking. In Roman days, only animals drank water from cisterns carved out of the local limestone. But it was almost certainly also used for washing (of hands, dishes, etc.). Wine was what people drank – not to get drunk but because it was generally purer that the water. So, in effect, what Jesus did was to utilize clean washing-up water to provide liquid for the guests to drink.
i don’t believe the wedding was James. He was a life long Nazarite and they did not get married. I also lean towards Jesus himself or at the least a brother or sister. Remember he is called a Rabi many times and they were required to be ,married and multioply.
Or the Anchor Bible and Brown????
Hershel… You guys are really fixated on the Jesus’ wife thing. How can you and your magazine be so smart and interesting and well-thought-out and yet miss the larger point about Jesus?
Otherwise this is all interesting. Perhaps the wedding was that of John the apostle. I believe I’ve read this notion. In William Barclay (referring to other writers) perhaps?