Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mary, Jesus, and the Mythical Roman Soldier

Film director Paul Verhoeven is coming out with a biography of Christ. Thankfully it will take some time for it to be translated into English. He trots out the old saw that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier. This idea was first floated by the Jewish leadership in the middle of the first century. There is only one major problem with claim. There weren't many Roman soldiers in the region at the time. The province of Galilee was part of the kingdom of Herod the Great, who had pledged allegiance to Rome. He had his own army. They were locals, not Romans. So the idea of Mary being raped by a Roman soldier, just on the face of it, would be very unlikely. Verhoeven's book is not much of a threat to traditional Biblical scholarship.

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