Another update to the back and forth about the piece of papyrus that suggests Jesus had a wife.
A faded fragment of papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.
The papyrus fragment has now been analyzed by professors of electrical engineering, chemistry and biology at Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who reported that it resembles other ancient papyri from the fourth to the eighth centuries. (Scientists at the University of Arizona, who dated the fragment to centuries before the birth of Jesus, concluded that their results were unreliable.)
The test results do not prove that Jesus had a wife or disciples who were women, only that the fragment is more likely a snippet from an ancient manuscript than a fake, the scholars agree. Karen L. King, the historian at Harvard Divinity School who gave the papyrus its name and fame, has said all along that it should not be regarded as evidence that Jesus married, only that early Christians were actively discussing celibacy, sex, marriage and discipleship.
King is convinced it’s genuine based on multiple lines of evidence. But that doesn’t seem to change the minds of the many who think it’s fake, created to be controversial.
As Eve Siebert noted here previously: “She does connect the fragment to Gnostic works like the Gospels of Thomas and Mary. It should be emphasized that she does NOT claim the fragment is evidence that Jesus was married, only that it is evidence that some early Christians believed that he was.”
So, that’s just it, the question is regarding the authenticity of the artifact, not its interpretation. It’s still dated centuries after Jesus.
I have no idea. But have your say in the comments. Here are the previous stories on this popular papyrus.