Mary Magdalene at the Feet of Jesus by James Tissot
Mary Magdalene at the Feet of Jesus by James TissotBrooklyn Museum

A manuscript dating back 1,450 years discovered in British Library is behind claims that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and they had two children.

A new book, The Lost Gospel, by Professor of Religious Studies Barrie Wilson and historical writer Simcha Jacobovici, also includes details that there was an assassination attempt on the son of God 13 years before his execution.

On his website, Wilson described his finding of the "ancient Syriac manuscript lurking in the British Museum, dating from the 6th century but translated from much earlier Greek writing. Scholars have known about it for almost 200 years, but have not known what to make of it".

The new book also contains revelations of Jesus' political connections to the Roman emperor Tiberius and one of his top generals, Sejanus.

Theories that Jesus was married have circulated for many years. One of the latest findings in September 2012, was the discovery of an Egyptian papyrus fragment which some scholars believe to be the first explicit reference to Jesus being married.

Scientific testing has verified that the so-called 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife' is not a modern forgery and likely dates from the 8th century.

Harvard University divinity professor Karen L King made an announcement concerning the fragile relic which in an incomplete fragment with Coptic script. The fourth line of the text contains the words "Jesus said to them, 'My wife," followed in the next line by 'she is able to be my disciple.'"

Professor King told the Boston Globe, "I'm basically hoping that we can move past the issue of forgery to questions about the significance of this fragment for the history of Christianity, for thinking about questions like, 'Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter? Why is it that people had such an incredible reaction to this?'"

The Church of England has dismissed claims in the Lost Gospel, saying it is closer to popular fiction than an accurate historical account. "This appears to share more with Dan Brown [author of The Da Vinci Code] than Matthew, Mark, Luke or John," a church spokesman told the Sunday Times.

"It sounds like the deepest bilge," added Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University.