Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

13 April 2014

Africa: Was Jesus Married - and Is It Important?

analysis

Conspiracy theorists are likely to have a field day - and perhaps dig up a few more Dan Brown novels - given the recent declaration that an ancient reference to Jesus' wife may, in fact, be authentic. But instead of quibbling over the details of the prophet's life, shouldn't we be looking at the lessons we can learn from it as a whole?

A faded piece of papyrus unveiled in 2012 by a Harvard Divinity School historian, Prof Karen L. King, is back in the news. It caused controversy when it was named "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife" because there was a line that quoted Jesus saying "My wife... "

An editorial in the Vatican's newspaper said that it was "problematic and controversial" and most likely a "fake". Numerous scholars have questioned its authenticity. However, scientists who conducted tests on the papyrus claim, in the Harvard Theological Review released last Thursday, that the fragment is authentic and not a modern forgery. It has been examined by scholars from a number of disciplines: electrical engineering, chemistry and biology. They agree that it resembles other ancient papyri from the fourth to the eighth century. If this piece of papyrus...

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