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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sacred Porn

As you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve been doing some more online research. Just why I decided to do a Google search for “walter fritz hotwife bareback gangbang porn” will become clear in due course. You’ll be relieved to see, however, that the search results are entirely Safe for Work. You can also see that it’s rather old news, dating back three months. However, I only belatedly encountered it in the latest issue of Fortean Times (FT 345, October 2016) – and I’m glad I did, because it’s part of an ongoing (and increasingly bizarre) saga that I’ve been following off and on for a quarter of a century now.

When I first joined the Civil Service in 1991, my boss was a loveable old bloke who was full of eccentric ideas (sadly he’s no longer alive). One of his favourite hobby-horses was the theory that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. At first I assumed this was his own idea (that was the way he presented it), but before long I discovered it was quite widespread in certain circles. I read about it in Fortean Times, and even saw a couple of talks on the subject at FT Unconventions. Then in 2003 Dan Brown put the idea at the heart of The Da Vinci Code and it entered mainstream consciousness.

In its most developed form (à la The Da Vinci Code), the theory goes way beyond Jesus simply being married. It holds that Tantra-style “sacred sex” rituals were at the heart of early Christianity, just as they are in certain forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and many other non-western traditions. If true this would be an astonishing revelation – implying that all round the world, there is an inextricable and fundamental link between religion and copulation.

For a long time, this was just a fringe theory based on speculation and wishful thinking – with no real hard evidence. That suddenly changed in September 2012, when the religious historian Karen King (a professor at Harvard University, just like Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code) announced the discovery of “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”. Despite its grandiose title, this was really just a tiny, business-card-size scrap of papyrus bearing a few words written in an ancient Egyptian language called Coptic. But among those few words was the phrase “Jesus said to them, my wife” – potentially turning conventional Christian scholarship on its head.

Needless to say “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was a controversial discovery. Harvard accordingly subjected the papyrus to a barrage of forensic tests – all of which indicated its authenticity. Strangely (from the point of view of an outsider), the one thing they didn’t bother to scrutinize was the back history of the fragment. Apparently the issue of “provenance” isn’t something academics normally bother about, so it was left to a journalist named Ariel Sabar to do the necessary detective work. His findings are written up in a long article in The Atlantic magazine – and this is where the story starts to get really bizarre.

After considerable effort, Sabar traced the original ownership of “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” to a Florida businessman and amateur Egyptologist named Walter Fritz. The exact nature of Fritz’s “businesses” – some of them at least – almost defied belief. I’m going to have to quote Sabar’s own words here, or you’ll think I’m making it up:
Beginning in 2003, Fritz had launched a series of pornographic sites that showcased his wife having sex with other men – often more than one at a time. One home page billed her as “America’s #1 Slut Wife”.
This was lucrative stuff – at one point about a third of the couple’s income was coming from porn site subscriptions. But it wasn’t just sex and money – there was a spiritual dimension too. Fritz’s wife told Sabar “that she was clairvoyant and had channelled the voices of angels since she was 17” ... and then added “I’m here to do God’s service”. Fritz claimed that during sexual intercourse his wife often muttered phrases in Aramaic – the language spoken by Jesus, which she had no conscious knowledge of.

Although Fritz talked openly about his sexual and pornographic activities, he continued to maintain that “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was the real thing. But after publication of the Atlantic article his credibility seems to have taken a nose-dive, and even Professor King herself now considers that the papyrus is most likely a hoax.

And what about that sacred porn? Sabar says in his article that “all of the sites seem to have been taken down in late 2014 and early 2015 ... but archived pages and free images and videos were easy to find online”. This brings me back to my starting point – the Google search pictured at the top of this post. I tried all sorts of keywords drawn from Sabar’s article – but frustratingly they all led back to that article, or to things written about it. Of course some of the search terms threw up porn images, but nothing I felt sure was Walter Fritz and his Aramaic-channelling wife.

2 comments:

Colin Jones said...

The idea of Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene appeared in the film "The Last Temptation Of Christ" from 1988 but that was supposed to be a kind of alternate reality. I'm always amused how conservative Christians prattle on about "family values" but are appalled by any suggestion that Jesus might have been married or had children. Their messiah was born to a girl who was probably about 14 and married to a man who wasn't her baby's father - then the adult Jesus, rather than settling down and becoming a responsible member of society, chooses to wander around the Holy Land without a job, living off others (scrounging off hard working families !!!) accompanied by twelve men and a prostitute - what a terrible example to set to decent, upstanding Christians everywhere :D

Andrew May said...

Quite right, Colin. There is a lovely (and probably apocryphal) quote attributed to former president Jimmy Carter to the effect that "If you don't want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values - because you don't!"