BOSTON (AP) — New scientific tests suggest a fragment of papyrus in which Jesus speaks of “my wife” is more likely an ancient document than a forgery, according to an article published Thursday by the Harvard Theological Review.
The text, which is written in Coptic and is roughly the size of a business card, specifically contains the phrase “Jesus said to them, my wife.”
Karen King, a Harvard professor of divinity, says the papyrus probably dates to eighth century Egypt, based on radiocarbon dating and tests on the ink’s chemical composition.
“If it was written in the eighth or even the ninth century, it’s still an ancient document,” she said in a conference call Thursday. “It’s not a modern forgery.”
But, she stressed, the fragment doesn’t prove that the historical Jesus was actually married. Most reliable evidence from early Christianity is silent on Jesus’ marital status, King added.
If anything, she says, the papyrus provides insight into early Christianity’s debates over family life.
“Early Christians were extremely interested in whether or not they should marry or be celibate or whether it was OK to have a family or whether one should remain virginal,” King said.
King said the papyrus, which contains about eight partial lines of text, appears to make the case that mothers and wives can be disciples. Jesus references his mother, wife, and another female as his disciples apparently discuss whether a woman — identified as “Mary” — can join their ranks.
According to King’s translation, the text then reads “Jesus said to them, “My wife …” That is followed in the next line by “… she is able to be my disciple …”
King originally revealed existence of the papyrus in 2012. Calling it the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” her announcement sparked debate among religious and ancient scholars. But publication of her findings was delayed for the tests. King maintains the “gospel” moniker was appropriate.
While the papyrus is too small to discern anything definitive about who composed it, King argued Thursday that the text belongs to a body of ancient texts that illuminate facets of Jesus’ life. “It contains a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples,” she said. “That would normally put it in the category of gospel.”
King hopes the research puts to rest questions about the text’s authenticity.
But Brown University Professor Leo Depuydt, in an analysis also published Thursday by the Harvard Theological Review, was not convinced. He said the text contains grammatical errors that a native Coptic speaker would not make. King suggested in a phone interview that the text is written in an informal style that is found in other ancient Coptic texts.
Others have questioned the mysterious provenance of the papyrus.
King says she obtained the text in 2011 from a donor that wants to remain anonymous. That owner had purchased the text in 1999 from a collector who, in turn, had acquired it in East Germany around 1963.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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