Here’s the bottom line from more than 60 pages of studies focusing on a piece of papyrus inscribed with a text quoting Jesus as referring to “my wife”: Months of lab tests show that document is not a modern-day forgery, as skeptics had claimed. The papyrus and the ink go back at least 1,100 years. But despite all that, some of the skeptics will never be convinced.
The studies, published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review, represent the latest chapter in the years-long saga surrounding what Harvard theologian Karen King has dubbed the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. King brought the text into the global spotlight in September 2012, at a symposium in Rome, but the publication of her analysis was held up for more than a year when questions were raised about the text’s authenticity.
For King and other scholars, the point is not to determine whether the historical Jesus was actually married. That’s an impossible task. Rather, scholars are interested in how the various versions of the gospel story influenced the lives of early Christians. Such issues could affect contemporary debates as well: For example, if the early Christians saw nothing wrong with married church leaders, why should we?
“I do hope that the very good work that scientists have done on this will help turn the conversation away from the issue of forgery, and toward the papyrus itself,” King told NBC News.
The fragmentary text, written in an Egyptian Coptic language, is controversial not only because Jesus appears to refer to his wife, but also because it discusses the worthiness of a woman named Mary for what might have been a leadership role. Here are a couple of other intriguing phrases: “she will be able to be my disciple” … “I am with her,” as in “I dwell with her.” TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE AND WATCH THE VIDEO GO TO: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/scientific-tests-show-gospel-jesus-wife-wasnt-faked-n77206