Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Jesus' Wife" Not a Modern Forgery

Back in 2012 a piece of papyrus that appeared to contain a fragment of an unknown Gospel was presented at a conference in Rome. The text was written in Coptic and, controversially, included a phrase in which Jesus refers to "my wife." According to official church doctrine Jesus was not married, and an editorial published in the Vatican newspaper declared that the document was likely a modern fake. However, recent testing of the papyrus and ink has found it to be far older than the editorial suggests.

Harvard Theological Review says in the article published Thursday:

"Over the past two years, extensive testing of the papyrus and the carbon ink, as well as analysis of the handwriting and grammar, all indicate that the existing material fragment dates to between the sixth and ninth centuries CE [Common Era]. None of the testing has produced any evidence that the fragment is a modern fabrication or forgery."

Testing by a research scientist at Columbia University, using a technique called micro-Raman spectroscopy, determined that "the carbon character of the ink matched samples of other papyri that date from the first to eighth centuries CE," the Theological Review says.

It is of course true that even the new dating of the text does not necessarily mean that the historical Jesus was actually married, only that the doctrine claiming he was not is more recent than previously thought and was not accepted by all First Millennium Christians. The various Gnostic Gospels contain many unsubstantiated claims about Jesus which may or may not be historically accurate. The "Jesus' wife" fragment also contains a number of phrases that appear in the Gospel of Thomas, a much more famous Coptic text that is part of the Nag Hammadi Library collection and which may be one of the oldest Gnostic Gospels.

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1 comment:

Melissa Lamb said...

I always get a weird feeling that I'm missing something, when I read articles about this little piece of parchment and all the comments that usually follow.

The regular kjv new testament has sooooo many passages about Jesus' 'wife'. How he loves his wife, she's so faithful he's gonna go to his wedding and etc
It's a metaphor for the church. Jesus, Paul and Peter use it. It's like the well known shepherd and sheep analogy all the writers build on to illustrate the relationship between Jesus and individuals. The wife and husband thing is used to portray Jesus'relationship with the church - any collective body of worshipers. I'm certain there's a whole passage in revelation where Jesus goes on about finding out his wife was cheating on him with satan and what a whore she is, image if someone found that scrawled on papyrus in a cave.

I'm not gonna bother putting quotes in as anyone who takes issue can just download a bible free and read the new testament, you can read the whole thing in about 4 hours. That , and probably no one will read this comment lol!

It's really bizarre that neither researchers nor the catholic church have taken this into consideration,or mentioned it publicly in any case. It should be a pivotal consideration in whether this finding is worth giving so much of a crap about. Everyone seems so ready to rewrite theology and psuedo-history over the fact that a book they consider all important even tho they never sat down to read it, may have carried a different msg at one point even tho they don't know what the msg was supposed to be to begin with.

If this little scrap had something about Jesus picking his children-who-were-the-issue-of-his-loins up from day care, or that he came home and his wife made him dinner, then yeah, that's cause to freak out. But sadly for Dan Brown nuts and researchers who want to rewrite the religious foundation of the West or what ever, with their pure awesomeness, it basically indicates nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever. I mean now they have to spend money testing it in labs instead of just auctioning it off on ebay for a nice profit.

I mean…has anyone else noticed this??? Is the world really so poorly educated about things they take to be important that it's this easy to misconstrue such a mega-prosaic statement?

:P