The following is an article from the Huffington Post, which is not a credible source of much of anything, no less history, religion, philosophy. If you want inflammatory headlines, you definitely want this, and not credible journalism. At the very best I would describe the following as disingenuous, at best complete ignorance of any of the applicable scholarly subject. So read this and then I have my comments following:
“An ancient, business-card-sized papyrus fragment that appears to quote Jesus Christ discussing his wife is real, Harvard University announced Thursday. The fragment caused international uproar when it was revealed by a Harvard historian in September 2012, with prominent academics and the Vatican swiftly deeming it a forgery.
Harvard officials said scientists both within and outside the university extensively tested the papyrus and carbon ink of the badly aged fragment, dubbed the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” The document, written in Coptic, a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, is made up of eight mostly legible dark lines on the front and six barely legible faded lines on the back. The handwriting and grammar were also examined over the last year and a half to confirm its authenticity. Scientists have concluded the fragment dates back to at least the sixth to ninth centuries, and possibly as far back as the fourth century.
The document was never meant to prove Jesus was married, Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King emphasized Thursday. Instead, she argued, it’s meant to highlight that some early Christians may have believed Jesus was married. The distinction is significant because debates over sexuality and marriage have dominated contemporary discussions about Christianity; the Catholic Church cites Jesus’ celibacy as one reason its priests must not have sex or marry.
“The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus — a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued,” King, whose specialties include Coptic literature, Gnosticism and women in the Bible, said in a statement Thursday. “This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family.”
The legible lines on the front of the artifact seem to form a broken conversation between Jesus and his disciples. The fourth line of the text says, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Line 5 says “… she will be able to be my disciple,” while the line before the “wife” quote has Jesus saying “Mary is worthy of it” and line 7 says, “As for me, I dwell with her in order to …”
“The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus…” First, of course women can be disciples of Jesus’. Any who are in Jesus should be His disciples. Who ever said they weren’t? You really have to reread this article with a critical eye.
Because this is an ancient document does not make it factual, the Bible is an ancient document, based on Bible copies going back to at least the 5th century (around the same time as this fragment) we know that the Bible we have today is very well documented. Why is this one fragment credible, and a document (the Bible) that can be traced back to the earliest times not credible?
The proponents of this are trying to say that the rap against this is a forgery. I haven’t read anyone that takes issue with whether it’s a forgery or not, the issue is whether it’s credible. Anyone could write something to be found hundreds of years later, the fact that it was discovered doesn’t make it fact. We are supposed to change all of history, theology because one scrap of paper was found??? Really!!! We have credible evidence of Scripture and writers dating back to the beginning, in straight succession to today. How does one unassociated scrap of paper change anything? During this period there were other writings that have shown to have no basis in fact. My fun example is always the “Gospel of Judas”. Help me out folks, the man was a traitor, he ran off and hung himself, and he still had time to write his gospel? Actually “gospel” means “good news” in Greek, so in Judas’ case it’s “not so gospel”. I don’t know? Fact is there are a lot of people out there with an agenda, with little scruples who will try to make a case out of anything they oppose. Also please note, this was written in Coptic. The language Jesus and His apostles spoke was Aramaic, essentially all their writings were in Greek, which was the common academic language of the time. Coptic is an Egyptian language, relatively speaking, israel and Egypt were a long ways a way. Why something written in a language that had nothing to do with Jesus’ contemporary life, at least four hundred years after Jesus, is being given any kind of credibility is, again, a mystery to me. A scrap of paper, in Coptic no less, doesn’t prove a thing, doesn’t change a thing. Someone back in that time wrote down their opinion, in a country very distant from Israel, and as far as I can tell would have no reason to have any first hand knowledge of Jesus’ life at all. Now Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, Jude, did and they don’t mention anything of the sort. Well yea, I guess we’re going back to fiction in the DaVinci Code. Hey Dan Brown said it was entirely fiction, yet we have people who worship his book/movie. Yea, don’t try to confuse me with the facts, just tell me what I want to believe.