Thursday, September 20, 2012

Doubts arise over claims for ‘Jesus’ Wife’ papyrus

Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding on Tuesday at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a second-century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to "my wife," whom he identifies as Mary.
King's paper, and the front-page attention it received in some newspapers that got advance word about it, was a hot topic of conversation at the conference on Wednesday.
Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, although there is no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. Any evidence pointing to whether Jesus was married or had a female disciple could have ripple effects in current debates over the role of women in the church.
'Not completely convincing'
Stephen Emmel, a professor of Coptology at the University of Muenster who was on the international advisory panel that reviewed the 2006 discovery of the Gospel of Judas, said the text accurately quotes Jesus as saying "my wife." But he questioned whether the document was authentic.
"There's something about this fragment in its appearance and also in the grammar of the Coptic that strikes me as being not completely convincing somehow," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.
Another participant at the congress, Alin Suciu, a papyrologist at the University of Hamburg, was more blunt.
"I would say it's a forgery. The script doesn't look authentic" when compared to other samples of Coptic papyrus script dated to the fourth century, he said.
King acknowledged Wednesday that questions remain about the fragment, and she welcomed the feedback from her colleagues. She said she planned to subject the document to ink tests to determine if the chemical components match those used in antiquity.

Via Doubts arise over claims for 'Jesus' Wife' papyrus - Technology & science