A paper, this week published in the Harvard Theological Review, states that the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife – a papyrus, Coptic script fragment suggesting that Jesus had a wife – is in fact an ancient document, and not a modern forgery, after study teams from Columbia University, Harvard University, and MIT revealed that tests proved the papyrus to date back between the 2nd and 9th centuries.
When originally presented, in 2012, by Harvard Professor Karen L. King, at a Rome conference, the brownish-yellow, tattered fragment, about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches, caused international uproar – it was written in the ancient Egyptian Christians language of Coptic, apparently a broken conversation between Jesus and his disciples, with only eight lines of text, among which ate the words My wife will be able to be my disciple on one line, and then I dwell with her on the next.
The Vatican Newspaper had of course dismissed the fragment as nothing more than a clumsy forgery, and this so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has beenwidely debated by scholars, with scepticism abounding, but Harvard Divinity School stated that none of the testing has produced any evidence that the fragment is a modern fabrication or forgery – though nor does this fragment provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married but whether women can be disciples of Jesus.
The testing was very thorough, using micro-Raman spectroscopy for determining that the make-up of the ink matched other 1st to 8th century papyri samples, alongside both microscopic and multispectral imaging as well as radiocarbon testing. Having completed the testing, the conclusion was that the fragment is almost certainly a product of early Christians, not a modern forger, according to Harvard Divinity School.
Not that this is universally accepted, by any means, because Brown University professor Leo Depuydt, still maintains the document is a forgery, full of what he calls gross grammatical errors, and employing the same words found in the early Christian text discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945, the so-called Gospel of Thomas. Why people find it so hard to accept that Jesus, if he even existed, could have had a wife seems very odd, because he was only human, after all.
I have been writing for pleasure for half a century, but only started writing for money around 1994. Since then I have had a few thousand articles, stories and poems published on line and in print all round the world.
I am now 63 years old, male, from Burnley in the UK, and apart from writing, I love to read - mainly crime thrillers, conspiracy theory books and science fiction, though I also love films, gardening and chatting with my wife who is also my best friend.
I enjoy feedback from readers, and interaction with fellow writers. Anyone who gets in touch with me will get a reply. I am always happy to read and comment upon the work of others, as I think we writers are something of a definite sub-species of humanity!