Study Claims Papyrus That Says Jesus Had a Wife is Real

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Study Claims Papyrus That Says Jesus Had a Wife is Real

Papyrus Fragment

The ancient papyrus called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" where Jesus is talking about his wife, has no evidence of forgery according to a report published in the Harvard Theological Review.

New scientific tests conducted by multiple teams of scientists from Harvard University, Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have revealed that there is no evidence of forgery in a text written on an ancient papyrus where it refers to Jesus as having a wife. The papyrus, which is called the Gospel of Jesus' Wife, since it contains phrases that point to Jesus talking about his wife, has been deemed by the Vatican to be a fake back when it was unearthed 18 months ago. The results of a carbon dating exam places the papyrus to eight-century Egypt, which is about 400 years later than what Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, Karen L. King, originally thought it to be. Other tests found the ink's chemical composition used in the papyrus consistent with carbon-based ink used by ancient Egyptians. Furthermore, microscopic imaging reveals no traces of "ink pooling" that critics thought they saw in lower-resolution photos of the fragment, which, if evident, could be proof that the ink was applied in modern times.

However, King states in the study that the Coptic papyrus is not proof that Jesus was married and had a wife, but discussion on whether women can be disciples of Jesus.

The fragment does not provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married but concerns an early Christian debate over whether women who are wives and mothers can be disciples of Jesus.

Below is a complete translation of the text found in the Gospel of Jesus' Wife:

image

Speaking to The Boston Globe, King hopes that talk regarding forgery can finally be put to rest and instead be focused on the papyrus fragment's -- which is roughly the size of a business card -- impact on Christianity.

I'm basically hoping that we can move past the issue of forgery to questions about the significance of this fragment for the history of Christianity, for thinking about questions like, 'Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter? Why is it that people had such an incredible reaction to this?'

The papyrus fragment's original carbon-dating test was conducted by the University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and pegged its date of 400 to 200 years before the birth of Jesus. But researchers have come to the conclusion that the result might be unreliable due to the sample size being too small. The second carbon-dating test was conducted by Noreen Tuross of Harvard and produced a mean date of 741 A.D.

Could Jesus really have been married? More importantly, does it really matter and what does it change in regards to Christianity?

Source: Harvard Theological Review, The Boston Globe via Gizmodo

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Even if it's real it's still hundreds of years after Jesus supposedly died so its historical relevance on Jesus itself is small to none. It may have relevance as a historical document of its time and the state of religion at its time, but this isn't proof of anything directly relating to Jesus and whether he even actually existed.

EDIT: A lot of people seem to be misunderstanding what I meant so Im going to repost my reply to someone else where I tried to clarify.

Since I am an atheist, I think you may have misunderstood my point :). I was saying that this document being legitimate may make it a real historical artifact for its time ( which was well after the time frame where Jesus may have actually lived) as a piece of writing. But it's historical merit for saying anything concrete about Jesus is nonexistant since a) it's way more recent than Jesus so anything it says about him is most likely inaccurate and been passed through dozens of generations of verbal transfer and b) (as far as I know) we dont even know who wrote this or if the person had any authority or real knowledge on the matter so it can't be used as a credible source.

And just to be clear, I'm skeptical that Jesus even existed since there's no historical record of him other than the Bible and writings from hundreds of years after he supposedly died, even though several prominent historians were alive concurrently.

So this papyrus may be a neat artifact that may be a window into the time when it was written, but it says nothing at all about Jesus.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Oh dear, there are some people who are going to get really upset about this. Still, if true this is fascinating both historically and theologically; I really hope we can learn more about it.

TWEWYFan:
Oh dear, there are some people who are going to get really upset about this. Still, if true this is fascinating both historically and theologically; I really hope we can learn more about it.

Yep, I think so, too. As a Christian, I don't know why. If concrete evidence ever cropped up that Jesus had an actual wife, I wouldn't mind it or think less. Just me though.

Alex Co:

Yep, I think so, too. As a Christian, I don't know why. If concrete evidence ever cropped up that Jesus had an actual wife, I wouldn't mind it or think less. Just me though.

Nah, you're not the only one.

TWEWYFan:
Oh dear, there are some people who are going to get really upset about this. Still, if true this is fascinating both historically and theologically; I really hope we can learn more about it.

Uhm little fact. if the name is actually Jesus: it's a fake. Jesus is not a hebrew name. Considering that the earliest account of his life was written at least 40 years after he died (count that as 70years after he was born.
This is basically the whole 'I married elvis in secret' tabloid story. But from 2000 years ago. never mind that one carbon dating test says the thing is 200 years too early and the second says it's 700 years after. so that adds up trol like a 1000 year time span..

If anyone is an authority on counterfeit religious relics it's the Catholic Church. http://instantrimshot.com/

But I think we'll believe the scientists on this one, like with the Shroud of Turin and so many others. This won't make much difference for most people though. People don't generally care about the books of the Bible that aren't recognized as canon by their denomination, even when the books in their own canon refer to books outside it.[1]

Alex Co:

TWEWYFan:
Oh dear, there are some people who are going to get really upset about this. Still, if true this is fascinating both historically and theologically; I really hope we can learn more about it.

Yep, I think so, too. As a Christian, I don't know why. If concrete evidence ever cropped up that Jesus had an actual wife, I wouldn't mind it or think less. Just me though.

honestly I would think that Christians would praise Jesus for having a wife.

I mean, what better way of saying marriage should be between a man and a woman than Jesus himself being married?

but it does seem strange, religion back then was more male centered, so it could be a metaphor that if Jesus had a wife, then she too would be able to be a disciple of the religions.

Wish there was more text to clear things up for it, but at least it isn't a modern day forgery.

and if it is, then someone went through a lot of trouble to make it.

BigTuk:

Uhm little fact. if the name is actually Jesus: it's a fake. Jesus is not a hebrew name.

Or perhaps the translator is just using Jesus in place of the more correct Joshua because most people in the world recognize him by his Greek name?

Just add this to the pile of ancient sources, all written hundreds of years after the supposed life of Jesus, many contradictory. At this point they can't even prove there was a Jesus, however they can prove that the bible itself is a compilation of several different sources, with many editors over many years. Basically, it's quite likely that none of them are accurate in any meaningful way. The bible, the ancient sources, any of it. All of it was written hundreds of years after the fact, from an oral history. Oral histories are notoriously unreliable, they change nearly every generation.

So in conclusion, authentic and accurate are not the same thing. This document is provably authentic, and that's useful. But all that proves is that someone wrote these words in the time-frame. Comparing this to the Bible, yes it's more authentic, but neither is in any way a reliable source of information.

Kalezian:

Alex Co:

TWEWYFan:
Oh dear, there are some people who are going to get really upset about this. Still, if true this is fascinating both historically and theologically; I really hope we can learn more about it.

Yep, I think so, too. As a Christian, I don't know why. If concrete evidence ever cropped up that Jesus had an actual wife, I wouldn't mind it or think less. Just me though.

honestly I would think that Christians would praise Jesus for having a wife.

I mean, what better way of saying marriage should be between a man and a woman than Jesus himself being married?

but it does seem strange, religion back then was more male centered, so it could be a metaphor that if Jesus had a wife, then she too would be able to be a disciple of the religions.

Wish there was more text to clear things up for it, but at least it isn't a modern day forgery.

and if it is, then someone went through a lot of trouble to make it.

The actual report and The Boston Globe's piece has a rather longer read regarding it if you want. =)

And about your statements, in Christianity, having a wife and kids are condoned, since in the Bible, sex isn't some disgusting, taboo thing...provided you do it with your wife, of course. :)

Why would this have any impact on Christianity at all? I mean, it is not like the Christian faith rests on historical facts in any strong way. They are more a group connected by certain values and rituals than one bound by certain historical data.

So what if Jesus had a wife? You think the pope will suddenly say: "Uh, sorry. Guess we'll change two thousand years of tradition and allow women to become priests!" Nope. Not even if Jesus himself stepped out of a time machine tomorrow and would tell him to do it would he actually do it.

Religion can be seen as a business and I don't mean that in any cynical way, just as an analogy. Religion fills a specific need. They sell a product. And the product that Christianity sells - Catholicism most of all - is stability and the illusion of the eternal. That doesn't just mean the metaphysical stuff like life after death, but also the church as an institution. The fact that the church doesn't change is one of their major selling points. It gives people the impression to be part of something bigger than transcends life and death. It has nothing to do with historical facts.

It doesn't matter what you call him; Jesus, Yeshua, Joshua, or whatever. Does this really matter? Will people really be that offended of confused by this? If the entire Bible doesn't mention her once, then does this really alter any messages or anything the Bible has to say?

...Pssh, I don't know. I'm going to a rioting church with popcorn and a lawnchair.

Some Christians are going to deny the validity of this for quite some time, after all, that is their approach to everything that slightly contradicts their archaic dogma“s (evolution, heliocentrism, age of the earth, the Big Bang... to name just a few)

Anyway this is another one of those historic documents written decades or centuries after the fact, so, like most of the Bible, doesn't have any historicity at all.

Jasper van Heycop:
Some Christians are going to deny the validity of this for quite some time, after all, that is their approach to everything that slightly contradicts their archaic dogma“s (evolution, heliocentrism, age of the earth, the Big Bang... to name just a few)

Anyway this is another one of those historic documents written decades or centuries after the fact, so, like most of the Bible, doesn't have any historicity at all.

Actually they are not. As you can see fromt the following list the there are a very large numbers of gospels, including one that says Jesus was gay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gospels . This new fragment will join all the others in having no impact whatsoever.

The current version of the new testament has been in use since the the mid 3rd century AD and was formalised by the second council of Trullan. In other words the version of the new testament that is use today is older than this document.

albino boo:

Jasper van Heycop:
Some Christians are going to deny the validity of this for quite some time, after all, that is their approach to everything that slightly contradicts their archaic dogma“s (evolution, heliocentrism, age of the earth, the Big Bang... to name just a few)

Anyway this is another one of those historic documents written decades or centuries after the fact, so, like most of the Bible, doesn't have any historicity at all.

Actually they are not. As you can see fromt the following list the there are a very large numbers of gospels, including one that says Jesus was gay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gospels . This new fragment will join all the others in having no impact whatsoever.

The current version of the new testament has been in use since the the mid 3rd century AD and was formalised by the second council of Trullan. In other words the version of the new testament that is use today is older than this document.

Um yes? Isn't that pretty much what I said? Why did you quote me?

More importantly, does it really matter and what does it change in regards to Christianity?

Well, it makes Paul look a little daft.

BigTuk:

Uhm little fact. if the name is actually Jesus: it's a fake. Jesus is not a hebrew name.

And do you think this slipped past all the people trying to determine whether the script is real? Or the critics who will look for a way to discredit this (though it has little to no actual impact on Christianity)?

Kalezian:

honestly I would think that Christians would praise Jesus for having a wife.

I mean, what better way of saying marriage should be between a man and a woman than Jesus himself being married?

Well, if Jesus were to actually touch on homosexuality explicitly, I'd think that would be a better way.

Anyway, Not all Christians think marriage should be between a man and a woman, so I'm not sure this would be the reason He was praised.

Besides, maybe "wife" was a colloquialism. >.>

Alex Co:

And about your statements, in Christianity, having a wife and kids are condoned, since in the Bible, sex isn't some disgusting, taboo thing...provided you do it with your wife, of course. :)

Or your concubine, or your slave.

Someone Depressing:
Will people really be that offended of confused by this?

Some people will. I mean, there are some groups who believe that anything that contradicts what they've established is worth a fight. And others who won't care at all. And still others who will likely think "good for Him."

But this isn't necessarily a religious thing. Have you seen some of the stuff that causes protests and riots?

TWEWYFan:

BigTuk:

Uhm little fact. if the name is actually Jesus: it's a fake. Jesus is not a hebrew name.

Or perhaps the translator is just using Jesus in place of the more correct Joshua because most people in the world recognize him by his Greek name?

No 'expert' would willingly perpetuate an error.

Does it really matter?

The bible is a collection of stories, passed down via oral tradition, that eventually got put into text.

The vast majority of it is based on second hand accounts.

This story will do nothing to the currently, established, narrative.

Why wouldn't you let the poor guy have a wife?

The paper books tell you this, the papyrus scroll tells you that. Papyrus is older shit and it's used by the frekking Egyptians, I vote we believe whatever it says!

The papyrus scroll be praised!!!

Zealots should count their blessings. At least he didn't have a husband. Imagine how awesome that would be!

In other news:

Luke Skywalker had a wife.
Master Chief had a husband.
Commander Shepherd had a harem.

Adam Jensen:
Zealots should count their blessings. At least he didn't have a husband. Imagine how awesome that would be!

That would certainly cause a stir. I kind of wish that had been the case.

My lawn chair and bucket of popcorn are ready...

Jasper van Heycop:

albino boo:

Jasper van Heycop:
Some Christians are going to deny the validity of this for quite some time, after all, that is their approach to everything that slightly contradicts their archaic dogma“s (evolution, heliocentrism, age of the earth, the Big Bang... to name just a few)

Anyway this is another one of those historic documents written decades or centuries after the fact, so, like most of the Bible, doesn't have any historicity at all.

Actually they are not. As you can see fromt the following list the there are a very large numbers of gospels, including one that says Jesus was gay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gospels . This new fragment will join all the others in having no impact whatsoever.

The current version of the new testament has been in use since the the mid 3rd century AD and was formalised by the second council of Trullan. In other words the version of the new testament that is use today is older than this document.

Um yes? Isn't that pretty much what I said? Why did you quote me?

Its very simple the new testament is 500 years older this new gospel so no christian will care about this document whatsoever. The only people who will care about this is shouty internet atheists lacking any kind knowledge of the new testament who don't know that its will join all the other so called gospels that are entirely ignored. Just because someone in Egypt wrote a gospel saying Jesus was married 500 years after the current new testament and 700 years later than the new testament gospels were written, isn't going effect with anyone with basic knowledge of the christian faith.

The sooner we get this document under a black light, the sooner Tom Hanks and Nick Cage can team up for a buddy treasure hunting movie!

From what I learned in my most recent theology class, a lot of the early Christian church had an emphasis on the power of women, but most of it was thrown out by the time anything got organized. I don't see why Jesus wouldn't have a wife, and I certainly don't see how it goes against anything else in the Bible.

That said, though, we have texts predating this one that said Jesus rose from the dead, and also did many of his most famous acts the exact same way at two completely different times in his career. I'm not sure we can count these things as 100% reliable.

As a liberal Christian this is somewhat intriguing, but I highly doubt its authenticity, here's the facts. There are around two hundred lost gospels that never made it into a canonical bible. just because it's an old and written on papyrus doesn't mean anything. The old Gnostic Christians liked to tell stories about Christ all the time. In the gospel of ST. Peter, for example, when Christ was resurrected the cross appears at the tomb with Christ and two angels where it and the three stretched (like stretch armstrong) into the sky. I'm just wondering what the significance really is, really if you want discussion for the importance of women in Christianity go to the gospel of Mary Magdelene, who in the old Gnostic faith was said to be Christ's favorite disciple.

You know what I think? It doesn't matter. Jesus' personal life is not our business. Stupid paparazzi thinks that just because he's famous that they have the right to know everything about him. Mind your own damn business.

You know, there really shouldn't be too much controversy over the idea that Jesus had a wife. Jesus made no declarations of celibacy as recorded in the canonical Gospels. What would really be interesting and provoke discussion is if it came to light that he had children, as that raises the question of whether or not his children were born with a sinful nature.

In any case, this paper was dated to the eighth century. Not very convincing of its historicity.

Vigormortis:
In other news:

Luke Skywalker had a wife.
Master Chief had a husband.
Commander Shepherd had a harem.

I could have sworn Marcus Fenix had a husband, not Master Chief (who I thought was rendered non-sexual due to cybernetic enhancements). Either way, good stuff.

As for the issue at hand, isn't it a commonly held belief or, conspiracy or, rumor that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene? Then again, a quick wiki search also mentions how a 13/14th Century Monk liked to think she was married to St. John the Evangelist...There isn't enough here for me to get a good sense of context. I don't know how male-centric religion was back in the olden-days so for all I know this may have been a way of saying 'women can join in because Jesus says so'. It says something about Jesus and Wife but isn't quite explicit enough to say who it was or how many there were...I'm just going to assume this will have little to no impact on Christianity in general only to be surprised when the local news reports on it.

Well, that's very interesting and all, but is there some massive impact that I'm not aware of, even speaking as a Catholic? What, if I might ask, is the big deal?

Sight Unseen:
Even if it's real it's still hundreds of years after Jesus supposedly died so its historical relevance on Jesus itself is small to none. It may have relevance as a historical document of its time and the state of religion at its time, but this isn't proof of anything directly relating to Jesus and whether he even actually existed.

You do understand that everything we know about this guy is from hundreds of years after his death right? Not to mention that the gospels were slapped together in a book after some editing where the more ridiculous chapters were removed, pet dragon anyone?

The thing I find funny about this is how people will argue that it's not valid because it was written after the gospels or after the death of the street preacher that was Jesus. Dabbling in that delicious irony. Maybe this will be the evidence that gets the Catholics to drop celibacy and stop molesting children.

I'd call that the discovery of the century.

1337mokro:

Sight Unseen:
Even if it's real it's still hundreds of years after Jesus supposedly died so its historical relevance on Jesus itself is small to none. It may have relevance as a historical document of its time and the state of religion at its time, but this isn't proof of anything directly relating to Jesus and whether he even actually existed.

You do understand that everything we know about this guy is from hundreds of years after his death right? Not to mention that the gospels were slapped together in a book after some editing where the more ridiculous chapters were removed, pet dragon anyone?

The thing I find funny about this is how people will argue that it's not valid because it was written after the gospels or after the death of the street preacher that was Jesus. Dabbling in that delicious irony. Maybe this will be the evidence that gets the Catholics to drop celibacy and stop molesting children.

I'd call that the discovery of the century.

Since I am an atheist, I think you may have misunderstood my point :). I was saying that this document being legitimate may make it a real historical artifact for its time ( which was well after the time frame where Jesus may have actually lived) as a piece of writing. But it's historical merit for saying anything concrete about Jesus is nonexistant since a) it's way more recent than Jesus so anything it says about him is most likely inaccurate and been passed through dozens of generations of verbal transfer and b) (as far as I know) we dont even know who wrote this or if the person had any authority or real knowledge on the matter so it can't be used as a credible source.

And just to be clear, I'm skeptical that Jesus even existed since there's no historical record of him other than the Bible and writings from hundreds of years after he supposedly died, even though several prominent historians were alive concurrently.

So this papyrus may be a neat artifact that may be a window into the time when it was written, but it says nothing at all about Jesus.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Shoggoth2588:

Vigormortis:
In other news:

Luke Skywalker had a wife.
Master Chief had a husband.
Commander Shepherd had a harem.

I could have sworn Marcus Fenix had a husband, not Master Chief (who I thought was rendered non-sexual due to cybernetic enhancements). Either way, good stuff.

Now see...that's just what they[1] want you to think. They[2] have to say that about the Chief otherwise the dude-bros of the world wouldn't want to play Halo.

It's okay for the dude-bros to fawn and pine over a hyper-masculine character so long as that character is heterosexual or nonsexual. Or so their logic goes.

As for Marcus, he wants Dom to like him. He yearns for his affection. But Dom's pesky wife keeps getting in the way. (I still think Marcus was the one who turned her over to the Locust.)

I guess he'll have to settle for Dizzy. :/

[1] I don't know who "they" are.
[2] Still don't know who "they" are.

So... Does that mean the "second coming" would actually come with a "married" couple holding hands and descending from heaven?

But seriously, if more info about Jesus's wife get discovered, we could make another Jesus movie revolving around her! #hollywoodlogic

REALLY hard to make out anything from those few measily snippets of text...
I mean, Jesus is probably talking about the topic of women, but beyond that is more "anyone's gues" than clear cut meaning.

By the way, most bibles where written 2-3 centuries after Jesus supposedly died, so if this is around 4th century that makes it perfectly valid.

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