Friday, September 21, 2012

The "Gospel of Jesus' Wife"

A researcher from Harvard recently discovered an ancient papyrus fragment that appears to imply that Jesus Christ had a wife. Karen L. King, professor at Harvard's Divinity school claims that the papyrus fragment from the 4th century (supposedly) is proof that Christ was married.

 It is interesting to note that the fragment has not undergone any testing to verify the date of it.  No one knows the circumstances regarding its discovery.  Despite this, King and others insist that the fragment is authentic and that it seems to be a "Gospel" that may have been torn and disposed of by early Christians who objected to Jesus' marriage.

In a conference in Rome, King had this to say:

"This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’ marital status to support their positions."

The fragment has 8 broken sentences with some words that are faded.  The phrases in question say:

  • “Jesus said to them, my wife.”
  • “she will be able to be my disciple,”
  • “Mary is worthy of it.” 
  • “...she will be able to be my disciple.”
  •  “As for me, I dwell with her in order to...”
In my opinion, this is just another attempt to portray Jesus as another mere human being.  If Christ is not God, then Christianity is useless and meaningless.

Moreover, with this papyrus discovery and the interpretations given to it, the ongoing debate regarding women priests and celibacy will rage on even stronger.  Any Biblical scholar knows that around the 2nd-5th centuries Gnostic sects wrote what are called Gnostic Gospels/Scriptures that have similar accounts that the Gospels found in the Bible have, but also have a Gnostic twist to them.

If this papyrus fragment is indeed authentic (age wise), then the assumed 4th century time frame gives it away as being another Gnostic piece and irrelevant to Christianity.

Catholic Answers apologist James Akins wrote a nice response to it, check it out:
Jesus Wife?  

Also, Jesuit Priest. Father James Martin SJ gave his take on the fragment discovery:
Mr. and Mrs. Jesus Christ?

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