‘Jesus wife’ research leads to suspicions that artifact is a fake

Huffington Post reports: Facing mounting doubts over the legitimacy of a business card-sized Coptic papyrus fragment that appears to quote Jesus Christ discussing his wife, the Harvard professor who acquired the artifact said Wednesday that she stands behind her findings, but is “open to questions about authenticity.”

Karen L. King, the Harvard Divinity School professor whose announcement at a Coptic studies conference in Rome last week about a 1½-by-3-inch fragment inspired “Jesus’ Wife” headlines worldwide, said the badly damaged artifact has been sent for testing. She said the tests should determine if it is from the fourth century as originally proposed, or if parts of it are a modern forgery, as an increasing number of scholars of Coptology and papyrology have suggested.

The fragment, which has eight mostly legible dark lines on the front side and six barely legible faded lines on the back, was never meant to prove Jesus was married, King said, since its writing dates back to hundreds of years after his death. It was intended to highlight that some early Christians may have believed he was married. That would be significant because debates over sexuality and marriage have dominated contemporary discussions about Christianity; the Catholic Church cites Jesus’ celibacy as one reason its priests must not have sex or marry. [Continue reading…]

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