Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene and the father of two?
That's what a scandalous new book based on an ancient manuscript claims, saying Jesus was not crucified, but instead raised a family. The book, "The Lost Gospel," which will be available on Wednesday, is based on a translation of an Aramaic text found inside the British library, the International Business Times reports.
Professor Barrie Wilson and writer Simcha Jacobovici claim the mansucript reveals secrets of Jesus' family life, the names of his two children and his connection to powerful political figures in the Roman Empire.
"Before anyone gets his/her theological back up, keep in mind we are not attacking anyone's theology," the book begins, according to the Times. "We are reporting on text."
"The Lost Gospel" is based on a translation of the Ecclesiastical History of Zacharias Rhetor, written on treated animal skin, which was brought to the United Kingdom in 1847 when the British Museum bought it from an Egyptian monastery, The Washington Post reported. Scholars scrutinized the document and discarded it as insignificant.
But Wilson and Jacobovici studied the text for six years and believe it has an embedded meaning.
In October, the British Library issued a statement distancing itself from the book, saying it "has no connection with the book other than housing the manuscript used by research for the authors."
The Times reports that Jacobovici has published controversial takes on early Christianity in the past, including a 2002 documentary on the James ossuary, a relic believed to show Jesus had a family. Later, the Discovery Channel named the site one of the top 10 scientific hoaxes of all time.
Jacobovici also worked on the Talpiot tomb, an archeological site in Jerusalem that contained an epigraph above an ossuary translated as "Yeshua bar Yehosef" or "Jesus, son of Joseph." In a 2007 documentary, Jacobovici and film director James Cameron argue that the tomb was Jesus' burial place, but many archaeologists, theologians, language and biblical scholars disputed this claim.