Storyism.net
tell your story, make your mark


Culture

September 19, 2012

Was Jesus married? Controversial new text fragment found to support story of “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”

papyrus fragment of “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”, front

The centuries-old debate about whether or not Jesus Christ was married has resurfaced again recently, thanks to a small fragment of text sent to Harvard’s Hollis professor of divinity, Karen King.

Clearly written on the papyrus scrap are the words “Jesus said to them ‘My wife…'” with a reference to ‘Mary’, presumably Mary Magdalene. Another phrase, “she will be able to be my disciple” is also visible. Two lines later, translators have identified the words “I dwell with her.” In the text Jesus seems to be defending Mary, possibly from a male disciple.

papyrus fragment, back

Written in Coptic in the 4th century, the tiny fragment was made public in Rome yesterday, and the mystery surrounding it reads like something from a Dan Brown novel.

King was first contacted in 2010 by the fragment’s owner via email asking her to translate the text and to keep their identity secret. It was found amongst a bunch of papyrii, and had lain undiscovered for an unknown amount of time before being bought from a previous German collector.

King aquiesced, and presented her findings of what she has called “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” at a six-day international conference of Coptic scholars at La Sapienza university yesterday amidst 60 other papers. Only a small group of experts in Coptic linguistics and papyrology had previously given access to the fragment, and all were in agreement that it is most likely not a forgery although they are inviting further experts to help substantiate or refute the find.

Despite it is usual for the Vatican to cover such academic conferences, no mention of the discovery has been made in Vatican media to date.

she will be able to be my disciple

The fragment is the size of a business card, with 33 words across 14 incomplete lines. It is the first piece of concrete evidence, the only surviving ancient text to suggest that Jesus was in fact married to Mary Magdalen. But Professor King warns that the fragment cannot be taken on face value, as it was probably first written in Greek a century after Christ’s crucifixion before it was copied two centuries later into Coptic, the language of the ancient Egyptian Christians.

In an interview for Smithsonian magazine King said, “The question the discovery raises is, why is it that only the literature that said he was celibate survived? And all of the texts that showed he had an intimate relationship with Magdalene or is married didn’t survive? Is that 100 percent happenstance? Or is it because of the fact that celibacy becomes the ideal for Christianity?”

More information about “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” papyrus fragment is available from the Harvard Divinity School website.

 



About the Author

Evon Koprowski
Brand storyteller, creative strategist, content marketer and all round bon vivant at Red Fortune Media where I growth hack projects for the arts, culture, tourism, technology and social sectors. I'm freelance - if I can help you, get in touch.




 
 

 
the princess bride

The Princess Bride turns 25 – it’s inconceivable but true

“Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles….” This week, The Princess Bride celebrates its debut into the hearts of millions, 25 years ago in September 1987. R...
by Evon Koprowski
0

 
 
cecilia gimenez | storyism.net

Ecce Homo accidental ‘restorer’ Cecilia Giménez now suing for her cut of royalties

Poor Cecilia Giménez. First, trying to do something out of the goodness of her heart, then being persecuted for it when it went horribly wrong. In August this year, the Spanish octogenarian eagerly took to a crumbling fresco i...
by Evon Koprowski
0

 
 
Doctor Who Series 7

Still three days to launch – but BBC is showing Doctor Who Series 7 prequel on Youtube now

The start of Doctor Who’s 7th series is nearly here, and the BBC is giving fans a glimpse of Doctor Who domesticity with Pond Life. Five one minute episodes are being posted on Youtube every day this week, showing what it...
by Evon Koprowski
0

 




0 comments