- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Harvard claim of Jesus’ wife papyrus scrutinized
Question of the Day
ROME — Is a scrap of papyrus suggesting that Jesus had a wife authentic?
Scholars on Wednesday questioned the much-publicized discovery by a Harvard scholar that a 4th century fragment of papyrus provided the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.
And experts in the illicit antiquities trade also wondered about the motive of the fragment’s anonymous owner, noting that the document’s value has likely increased amid the publicity of the still-unproven find.
at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome.
The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a 2nd century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary.
Ms. King’s paper, and the front-page attention it received in some U.S. newspapers that got advance word about it, was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday during coffee breaks at the conference.
Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, although there is no reliable historical evidence to support that. Any evidence pointing to whether Jesus was married or had a female disciple could have ripple effects in current debates over the role of women in the church.
Stephen Emmel, a professor of Coptology at the University of Muenster who was on the international advisory panel that reviewed the 2006 discovery of the Gospel of Judas, said the text accurately quotes Jesus as saying “my wife.” But he questioned whether the document is authentic.
“There’s something about this fragment in its appearance and also in the grammar of the Coptic that strikes me as being not completely convincing somehow,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.
Another participant at the congress, Alin Suciu, a papyrologist at the University of Hamburg, was more blunt.
“I would say it’s a forgery. The script doesn’t look authentic” when compared to other samples of Coptic papyrus script dated to the 4th century, he said.
Ms. King acknowledged Wednesday that questions remain about the fragment, and she welcomed the feedback from her colleagues. She said she plans to subject the fragment to ink tests to determine if the chemical components match those used in antiquity.
“We still have some work to do, testing the ink and so on and so forth, but what is exciting about this fragment is that it’s the first case we have of Christians claiming that Jesus had a wife,” she said.
She stressed that the text doesn’t provide any historical evidence that Jesus was actually married, only that some two centuries after he died, some early Christians believed he had a wife.
Wolf-Peter Funk, a noted Coptic linguist, said there was no way to evaluate the significance of the fragment because it has no context. It’s a partial text and tiny, measuring 1.5 inches by 3 inches, about the size of a small cellphone.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow