An Example of Scholarly Restraint?

Maybe you’ve seen the news about the Coptic fragment which contains writing which has Jesus referring to “My wife…” It was amusing to see how many people at work today had to ask me, “Hey, Chitty! Did Jesus have a wife?” My answer was that during his first coming, he came to purchase a people whom Scripture calls “The Bride of Christ,” and when he returns, he and his Bride will enjoy the marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9). So, no, he didn’t marry an
individual during his earthly ministry 2,000 years ago because he is saving himself for his Bride, the church.

There was one curious thing about this fragment making news today: what major Christian holiday is coming up? It’s not Christmas or Easter. Monday did mark Rosh Hashanah for the Jews, but stories like this don’t usually coincide with Jewish holidays.

The timing may be evidence that this fragment is genuine. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think the apparent assertion of the fragment reflects the truth of the matter. But a serious scholar presented it to a conference of peers, submitting it for peer review, besides the fact that it is not being publicized in conjunction with any major Christian holiday.

Here’s what Michael Heiser, who blogs at PaleoBabble, has to say about it:

Now, to be clear, this discovery isn’t PaleoBabble — at least not yet. Karen King is a good scholar. She teaches on the history of early Christianity (which would include Gnostic sects) at Harvard. I don’t believe for a minute she’s faking anything.

read more

UPDATE: Although it is true that this “Jesus’ Wife” papyrus was not heralded in the sensationalistic way which is usually case with the stories breaking the week of Christmas and Easter, questions are being raised about the propriety of the anonymous owner’s intentions in allowing Harvard scholar Karen King to introduce it to the world as she has. After all, according to the NYT article, Dr. King is interested in giving other scholars a chance to “upend (her) conclusions.” Yahoo News informs us of the discussion in progress


2 responses

  1. Does anyone know exactly what the fragment says?

    1. Yes, they do. You can read the full text in the first couple of paragraphs in the New York Times article to which Heiser links from his blog PaleoBabble.

      Also, I just learned that Tyndale House at Cambridge University has posted Karen King’s translation of the entire fragment. That and more may be learned at this link:

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