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Did Jesus have a wife?

September 2012
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Papyri are interesting items; without all the various pieces we have with Christian and other ancients texts science of religion would be quite different than it is, including theology.
Now a new papyrus is said to have been discovered, and one that even seems to mention Jesus and his wife: See here for a presentation of the piece. Here are also some relevant questions and answers to those wondering what this is all about.
The scholar, Karen L. King is quite reluctant to what this papyrus might prove:

“1. Does the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife prove that Jesus was married?
No, this fragment does not provide evidence that Jesus was married. The comparatively late date of this Coptic papyrus (a fourth century CE copy of a gospel probably written in Greek in the second half of the second century) argues against its value as evidence for the life of the historical Jesus. Nor is there any reliable historical evidence to support the claim that he was not married, even though Christian tradition has long held that position. The oldest and most reliable evidence is entirely silent about Jesus’s marital status.

I personally finds Jim Davilas’ comment both amusing, and (probably?) to the point:

“My take? I am … wait for it … skeptical. Professor King has done everything right and she is taking a very reasonable line of optimistic skepticism, but there’s one point that I’ve seen no one raise so far and which Professor Bagnall in particular misses in the quote above: this fragment is exactly, exactly, what the Zeitgeist of 2012 would want us to find in an ancient gospel. To my mind that weighs heavily against its authenticity. Of course I hope I’m wrong and that it is genuine, and that is certainly a possibility, but this is equivalent to winning big in the lottery and that should make us nervous. It is too perfect. As Larry Schiffman put it, “The most exciting things are the things most likely to be forged.” My working hypothesis at the moment is that someone who knew what they were doing went to a lot of effort using a piece of ancient papyrus to create a remarkable forgery.”

The rest of his comments are also informative, see here.

Those who are interested in what other scholars and bloggers have said so far, can find a very useful review HERE.

1 Comment

  1. […] and why.Other bloggers who mention it include James Tabor (following up on a post yesterday), Torrey Seland, Tony Burke, Christopher Skinner, Brian LePort, Michael Pahl, Jim West (several times), Eddie […]

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