Bart’s Blog

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

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The new Gospel “discovery,” the fragment of the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”:  I’m afraid I don’t have anything much to add to the conversations going on among experts and available to you by a simple Internet search.  If you’re really interested, read around on the net.   But I should say a few things, perhaps, from where I sit. 

First and most important for this post.  The big initial question is whether or not it is authentic.  I am not a Coptic palaeographer or a papyrologist, and so I cannot render an independent judgment.  A palaeographer is an expert in ancient handwriting, and is the kind of scholar who can look at a manuscript or a fragment of a manuscript (very carefully, magnified, from various angles!) and determine whether it is authentic or forged and if authentic when it probably dates from.   A papyrologist is an expert in ancient papyrus, especially papyrus manuscripts, who also can make judgments – based on the physical specimen rather than on the handwriting – about authenticity.   The initial appraisal of the fragment was by Karen King, who is an expert in Gnostic Gospels, but who admits that she is not a palaeographer or a papyrologist.   She did show the piece to two papyrologists….

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