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'Jesus' wife' fragment

Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass., revealed a scrap of papyrus Sept. 18 that purports to refer to Jesus' wife. King said the fourth-century fragment, which contains 33 words and incomplete sentences, presents a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples, and could cause Christians to rethink traditions. King said the fragment reads: "Jesus said to them, 'My wife ...,' " and "she will be able to be my disciple." King allows that the fragment doesn't prove that Jesus was married, only that early Christians discussed it and Jesus may have been speaking figuratively.


Comments

William Hartfelder

William Hartfelder

Posted at 4:53 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/31/2012

Fragments such as the "Jesus' Wife" coptic text are fascinating and, when proven authentic, truly serve to add to our knowledge and appreciation of the rich complexity of the contexts in which our biblical texts and the emerging church came to be.  It is no less fascinating, however, how texts like these are taken literally by the popular press and those who would otherwise be among the most dubious when it comes to the canonical texts.  So, for example, the comment:  "King allows that the fragment doesn't prove that Jesus was married, only that early Christians discussed it and Jesus may have been speaking figuratively."  I am struck by the last phrase which assumes these are indeed Jesus' words. Surely if the Jesus Seminar (remember that group?) were to "vote" on this fragment by their criteria they would never allow that this text would be the words, however figurative, of Jesus himself. Rather, they ought to be seen as words of those who put the words of their own speculative fantasy in Jesus' mouth!  By the way, it can be said this happens to this very day.  There are plenty of "fringe groups" who claim to have the inside track on what God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are really saying and would have us believe and do.  Nevertheless, finds such as this fragment, when proven authentic, are invaluable "windows" into a time and place of great value to our understanding of the origins of Christian faith and life.

Note: William Hartfelder edited this post at 4:55 pm on 10/31/2012.



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