Sorting by


Recent Manuscript Discoveries: A Blast from the Past

As we are nearing the five-year anniversary of the Blog, I have been looking back over some past postings, and this one caught my eye, from 3/30/13 (*four* years ago....).   It's still of interest.  Two things to say about it: "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" is now recognized by everyone to be a modern forgery (it has been proved) (see, e.g.,; and the fragment of Mark's Gospel allegedly from the first century has STILL not been published!   Here is my original post on the two: ************************************************************************ As I am taking a break from my Christological posts for a couple of days, I’ve received several inquiries about other things, including the newsworthy manuscript discoveries announced this past year: what has happened to them? Specifically, what about that Gospel of Jesus’ Wife that was named, announced, and published by Karen King back in September, and what about the first-century manuscript of the Gospel of Mark that Dan Wallace announced but would tell us nothing about in the debate that he had with me in Chapel [...]

2020-04-03T02:30:20-04:00March 31st, 2017|Christian Apocrypha, New Testament Manuscripts|

Newsweek Article on Christmas: Part 1

    In my last post I made an off-the-cuff comment about an article about Christmas that I wrote for Newsweek four years ago (2012).   Someone asked for more information, and I see now that I never posted the article on the blog.  So I’ll post it here in two parts.  Here is the first half: ******************************************************************* This past September, Harvard University professor Karen King unveiled a newly discovered Gospel fragment that she entitled “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”  This wisp of a papyrus has stirred up a hornet’s nest and raised anew questions about what we can know about the historical Jesus of Nazareth, and about whether there are other Gospels outside the New Testament that can contribute valuable information. Few questions could be more timely, here in the season that celebrates Jesus’ birth. The fragment is just a scrap – the size of a credit card – written in Coptic, the language of ancient Egypt. It contains only eight broken lines of writing, but in one of these Jesus speaks of “my wife.” [...]

2020-04-03T02:48:38-04:00November 28th, 2016|Christian Apocrypha, Historical Jesus, Public Forum|

Back to the Forgery of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

Some three years ago now I discussed in several posts the newly "discovered" text called "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" (just search for "wife" and you'll find the posts).  A new development has occurred that makes it almost certain that this text is a modern forgery, done sometime in the last 20 years.  The evidence has been uncovered by Andrew Bernhard, author of Other Early Christian Gospels, and who was one of the first to establish other grounds for seeing the text as something quite fishy, and who has posted several times on the matter on Mark Goodacre's blog (as Mark informed me a couple of nights ago at a reading group).   I asked Andrew to come up with an explanation of the new evidence of foul-play (either by the person who gave the document to Harvard Professor Karen King or by the person who gave it to that other person).  I am very grateful to him for having done so.  Here is what he says: *********************************************************************************************** Confirmation that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife [...]

2020-11-22T14:49:09-05:00September 10th, 2015|Historical Jesus, Religion in the News|

More on Jesus’ Wife!

So here’s a topic I haven’t addressed for nearly a year and a half!  The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.  New developments happened about six weeks ago.   I meant to post on them, other things got in the way, I put it off, so now I’m way behind the times.  But in case you haven’t kept up with the story from other venues, I thought I should say something about it.   It’s all extremely interesting. I won’t review everything I’ve said about the fragment already, but will give just a three-sentence summation of where the discussion stood last time I talked about it on the blog.   In 2012 Karen King, a superb scholar of early Christianity at the Harvard Divinity School (and a colleague and friend), announced that she had been given by an anonymous collector the little fragment scrap of a Gospel written in Coptic.  It was smaller than a credit card and contained eight partial lines of text that cited some words of Jesus, including a reference to “my wife.”  Prof. King planned to [...]

2017-12-14T23:16:21-05:00May 24th, 2014|Christian Apocrypha, Public Forum|

Video: Does It Matter If Jesus Was Married?

As I think I've indicated on the blog before, on January 23, 2014 there was an interesting discussion, on stage, between Karen L. King (Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School), Mark Jordan (Distinguished Professor at Washington University, Saint Louis; he is returning to Harvard next year), and me on the topic "Does It Matter if Jesus Was Married?" The discussion was hosted by the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in the Beam Music Center, Doc Rando Hall, UNLV. The Black Mountain Institute is an International Center for Creative Writers and Scholars. The event was moderated by the former President of UNLV, Carol Harter, who did a very fine job indeed keeping us all on target and on topic. The basic underlying question was: what would a married Christ mean for the theology, practices, and politics of Christian traditions as they grapple with changing times?  I did manage to say a few words about the prior question: *Was* Jesus married? The Black Mountain Institute was motivated to invite us [...]

2017-12-25T12:34:05-05:00February 25th, 2014|Historical Jesus, Public Forum, Video Media|

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Another New Development

In earlier posts I talked about the “discovery” of the tiny credit-card sized fragment of a Coptic Gospel, with several lines of text on it, in one of which Jesus is recorded as speaking the words “my wife.” The text has been named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are heated discussions of the fragment’s authenticity, with a large number of experts contending that it is a modern forgery. We will probably not know for certain until the tests on the ink have been conducted and published. But in the meantime there is one interesting development. In my last post on the topic I discussed an article by Francis Watson of the University of Durham, England, and author of Text and Truth, and Gospel Writing, who argues that every word and phrase of this fragment could easily have been lifted from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas – with one exception: the very phrase that everyone is interested in, “My wife.” Watson’s argument is that someone (recently) who is [...]

2020-04-30T13:31:45-04:00October 13th, 2012|Christian Apocrypha, Religion in the News|

Is the New Gospel Fragment a Modern Forgery?

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been publicly available for only three days now, and already New Testament scholars and scholars of Coptic and Gnosticism are hard at work on it. Most of the effort so far has been in deciding whether it is authentic or forged. And it ain’t lookin’ good for those who think it’s authentic! Some have pointed out that the fragment looks too neat around the edges to be believable; others have noted that the writing looks fake; others have argued that there are grammatical problems; and some have thought that it really is just absolutely too good to be true that of eight lines out of an entire Gospel, with only a couple of words surviving per line, two of those surviving words would just happen to involve Jesus saying “My wife”! As this all is unfolding, I am reminded once again that there are some *amazing* scholars out there who can do  brilliant work on very short notice.   The following was sent out by my colleague at Duke [...]

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

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 [...]

BREAKING NEWS! A Significant New Non-Canonical Gospel Fragment

There is potentially exciting news just out this afternoon. Karen King, scholar of Coptic and Gnosticism at Harvard Divinity School, an expert on the Gnostic Gospels, has just released information about a newly discovered papyrus manuscript – a small fragment the size of a credit card. It is a Gospel fragment of only eight lines. But they are significant lines. On them, Jesus appears to refer … to his wife!! FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, LOG IN AS A MEMBER. IF YOU DON"T BELONG YET -- BETTER JOIN!! Here are the graphics and some links.   This is just breaking news, so I don’t have anything more to say about it. Front of fourth-century papyrus fragment Karen L. King's translation of the 8 lines from the front. Papyrus front text: Karen L. King 2012 Karen L. King's translation of the 6 lines on the back. Fourth-century CE codex in Coptic on reverse side.   Papyrus reverse side text: Karen L. King 2012. And here’s a draft of [...]

Go to Top