Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
Traditions encouraging a dedicated single life also existed elsewhere in Judaism. Members of the ascetic Jewish sect of the Essenes were known for their emphasis on celibacy (Josephus, Antiquities 184.108.40.206; Jewish War 220.127.116.11-122; Philo, Hypothetica 11.14-18). At Qumran, most appear to have been celibate, although a Dead Sea Scroll about the community suggests some possibility (1QSa 1:4-10) of marriage, women, and children in the messianic times. For those Essenes at Qumran, the point of remaining single was also dedication to God.
I might add a third code later... Research is keeping me busy and Horsley's new collection of articles Paul and the Roman Imperial Order has just arrived but alas, it will be a week before I sit down with that one... ciao, s. D.