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, Roger Bagnall and Anne-Marie Luijendijk.  They are both very good.  Bagnall is one of the top (arguably THE top) papyrologists in the world (although he works mainly with Greek manuscripts; I don’t know off hand if he has done much with Coptic), Luijendijk is a rising star (she does both Greek and Coptic).   They both apparently think the piece is authentic.

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