A Harvard University professor has unveiled a fourth-century fragment of papyrus she said is the only existing ancient text quoting Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife.
Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, said the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary. King says the fragment of Coptic script is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century.
King helped translate and unveiled the tiny fragment at a conference of Coptic experts in Rome. She said it doesn’t prove Jesus was married but speaks to issues of family and marriage that faced Christians.
Four words in the 1.5 x 3in (3.8 x 7.6cm) fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, King said. Those words, written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, translate to “Jesus said to them, my wife,” King said in a statement.
He added that in the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says: “She can be my disciple.”
Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried even though there was no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. The new gospel, she said, “tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous
debates about sexuality and marriage”.
“From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry,” she said, “but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’s marital status to support their positions.”
King presented the document at a six-day conference being held at Rome’s La Sapienza University and at the Augustinianum institute of the Pontifical Lateran University. While the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio frequently cover such academic conferences, there was no mention of King’s discovery in any Vatican media on Tuesday. That said, her paper was one of nearly 60 delivered on Tuesday at the vast conference, which drew 300 academics from around the globe.
I think the following paragraph exposes just how tenuous this entire dog-and-pony show is:
The fragment belongs to an anonymous private collector who contacted King to help translate and analyse it. Nothing is known about the circumstances of its discovery, but it had to have come from Egypt, where the dry climate allows ancient writings to survive and because it was written in a script used in ancient times there, King said.
And of course, someone takes the inevitable swing at it:
A New Testament scholar claims to have found evidence suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife is a modern forgery.
Professor Francis Watson, of Durham University, says the papyrus fragment, which caused a worldwide sensation when it appeared earlier this week because it appeared to refer to Jesus’s wife, is a patchwork of texts from the genuine Coptic-language Gospel of Thomas, which have been copied and reassembled out of order to make a suggestive new whole.
In a paper published online, Watson argues that all of the sentence fragments found on the papyrus fragment have been copied, sometimes with small alterations, from printed editions of the Gospel of Thomas.
The discovery has already sparked fierce debate among academics, but Watson believes his new research may prove conclusive.
“I think it is more or less indisputable that I have shown how the thing was composed,” he said. “I would be very surprised if it were not a modern forgery, although it is possible that it was composed in this way in the fourth century.”
It’s ridiculous that people actually spend time and money and squander resources on this nonsense. The entire ‘gospel’ is a hoax, unwittingly perpetrated perhaps, but a hoax nonetheless, a compost of stolen syncretism’s and plagiarized back stories that are richly interwoven bullshit. Mental pollution at it’s narcissistic best, masturbatory delusions that people still use to stroke their broken self-esteem.
One can only hope that our species will eventually outgrow this vile, anachronistic nonsense.
I for one, am not holding my breath.
Till the next post, then.