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Papyrus referring to wife of Jesus

Scientists say papyrus referring to wife of Jesus is no fake

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In September, 2012, a faded fragment of papyrus, which has controversially come to be known as 'The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife', made international headlines when it was unveilled by Harvard Divinity School historian Karen L. King.  The announcement, unsurprisingly, was met with both anger and elation, as well as a great deal of skepticism as it contained a phrase never seen before in any other scripture: " Jesus said to them, my wife…." , and " she will be able to be my disciple", a phrase that stirred debate over whether women should be allowed to be priests.  An editorial in the Vatican’s newspaper declared that the papyrus was a fake, as did a number of other scholars. However, the fragment has now been thoroughly tested by scientists who conclude, in a report published in the Harvard Theological Review , that the ink (actually pigment) and papyrus have ancient origins, and the fragment is not, therefore, a modern forgery.

The papyrus fragment has now been tested by scientists at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), who carried out carbon-dating as well as micro-Raman spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of the ink. The results revealed that: the papyrus can be dated to approximately 700 to 800 AD, it is consistent with other papyri from the fourth to the eight centuries, the carbon black ink (actually a type of pigment) was typical of that used on other papyri of the time, and the text did not show any variations or inconsistencies which would suggest doctoring.

The text is written in Sahidic, a language of ancient Egypt, and the study authors have suggested that it may be a transcription of an earlier Coptic text that was based on a Greek copy made centuries earlier, as many early Christian gospels are. Therefore, a date of 700 to 800 AD does not mean that this was the first time the text appeared.

However, scientific analysis is not always enough to convince some. The Harvard Theological review, is also publishing a counter piece by Egyptologist at Brown University, Leo Depuydt, whose paper predates the scientific analysis. According to a report on the story in the New York Times , Dr Depuydt said that testing the fragment was irrelevant and he saw “no need to inspect it”. He said he decided that it is a fake based on a newspaper photograph of the papyrus in which he saw “grammatical errors”, as well as similarity to writing in the Gospel of Thomas. In a rebuttal, King finds Depuydt’s textual analysis unpersuasive.

Dr King has been quick to point out that the test results do not prove that Jesus had a wife or disciples who were women, only that the fragment is ancient rather than forged. She does hope, however, that the discussion, commentary, and focus can now move on from ‘is it fake?’ to ‘what does all this mean?’

Featured image:  The front of a papyrus fragment from an early Christian codex on which is written the Gospel of Jesus's Wife. Photo credit: Karen L. King

By April Holloway

Comments

now see, your comment is no good either. What makes a work heretical? heresy is by definition something that goes against the current mainstream belief. any work could be considered heretical, especially if it was in opposition to the patriarchal agenda forming in the Early Church, at ANY time in its history. A collection of priests can come together and say, 'we dont like this text, its not in accordance with our view for the Church'. and regardless if it is truth or fiction, instantly heretical. do not write off such works so easily, if you assume, you make an ASS out of U and Me.

It is basically irrelevant when this text was first authored because it is clearly a Gnostic text. And Gnostic texts, beyond the sensational as in this case, have no real value because they were authored by various heretical sects for heretical purposes...It would be akin to someone, 500 years from now, finding a copy of the Mormon book known as "Another Gospel of Jesus Christ," and trying to sell their sensational find to the public as being relevant to the mainstream Church of 2014...

The current set of pseudo-prophecies making their rounds in new books describing a "prophecy" by one one priest made back years ago. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the New Testament, or in fact with Jesus Christ Himself or with His apostles. To try to connect the two, Jesus with this prophecy, then, because the prophecy has not been fulfilled and use that as evidence that Jesus is not divine is asinine. That would be akin to me claiming Luccas said something, then when it doesn't happen for one to argue that Luccas never existed in the first place...

So the Prophecy that the current Pope will be the last might come true after all.

Jesus not so "divine" after all huh?

Ignorance is the negation of knowledge. Knowledge is assumed to be the truth as the light that guides us .. as the highest value of our searches. Hence, ignorance is absolute nothing, the darkness from which it originates all the torment that devastates humanity. Unbelievably, there are those who use it for the purposes of influence, domination and control and spend themselves, to believe their own lies. It seems to me that postures by evil, the dark, Machiavellian purposes, shall prevail and will endure for a long time in the history of our species.

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