Karl`s PC Help Forums

The Gospel according to Jesus's Wife
marymary100 - 10-4-2014 at 20:13

no evidence of modern day fraud

Quote:
New scientific tests have turned up no evidence of modern forgery in a text written on ancient Egyptian papyrus that refers to Jesus as being married, according to a long-awaited article to be published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review.

The findings support the argument of Harvard professor Karen L. King that the controversial text, the first-known explicit reference to a married Jesus, is almost certainly an authentic document.






The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was introduced to the world by King at a conference in Rome 18 months ago. The announcement made headlines around the world, and many of King’s academic peers, as well as the Vatican newspaper, swiftly dismissed it as a fake.





King maintains the document was probably part of a debate among early Christians about the role of women, family, and celibacy in spiritual life.

The results of a carbon dating test found that the papyrus probably dates to eighth-
century Egypt, about 400 years later than King originally thought, but still in ancient times.

Other tests found the ink’s chemical composition consistent with carbon-based inks used by ancient Egyptians. And microscopic imaging revealed none of the suspicious ink pooling that critics thought they saw in lower-resolution photographs of the fragment. Such pooling could have offered evidence that the ink was applied in modern times.

“I’m basically hoping that we can move past the issue of forgery to questions about the significance of this fragment for the history of Christianity, for thinking about questions like, ‘Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter? Why is it that people had such an incredible reaction to this?’ ” King said in an interview.






King has never argued that the fragment is evidence that Jesus was actually married. It would have been composed much later than the gospels of the New Testament, which are regarded as the earliest and most reliable sources on the historical Jesus and which are silent on that question.

Still, the latest tests do not prove definitively that the text was written in ancient times. Specialists said, hypothetically, that a highly skilled modern forger could have obtained the right kind of ink and meticulously applied it to a blank piece of ancient papyrus.

Determining the age of the ink using conventional testing methods would destroy the tiny document, roughly the size of a business card. Groundbreaking work by Columbia University researchers may soon uncover a way to date the ink without harming the fragment, which would offer a more definitive verdict about its authenticity.

Meanwhile, the controversy over the fragment seems likely to continue.

Critics have dismissed the fragment as a ham-handed pastiche of bits of the Gospel of Thomas, a noncanonical gospel, mashed together by someone with an elementary grasp of Coptic. One scholar found that the fragment seemed to contain a typo found in an online edition of the Gospel of Thomas, a discovery that some academics said offered powerful evidence of a forgery.

Leo Depuydt, an Egyptologist at Brown University who offers a rebuttal to King’s thesis in the new edition of the Harvard Theological Review, said none of the test results alter his view that the document is a fraud, a modern-day cut-and-paste job with several glaring grammatical blunders that a native speaker of Coptic would never commit.

He believes the forger may have “wanted to put his or her own spin on modern theological issues,” such as the role of women and celibacy in Christianity.

“Nothing is going to change my mind,” he said in an interview this week. “As a forgery, it is bad to the point of being farcical or fobbish. . . . I don’t buy the argument that this is sophisticated. I think it could be done in an afternoon by an undergraduate student.”




Harvard professor Karen L. King introduced her finding in Rome 18 months ago. Her paper is being published Thursday.

Harvard Divinity School granted the Globe, The New York Times, and Harvard Magazine advance access to the forthcoming Harvard Theological Review articles. The three news organizations were allowed to contact researchers involved with the articles, on the condition that they hold publication until Thursday morning, when the Theological Review will be published online, and that they contact no outside sources for comment beforehand.

King began examining the fragment in 2011 at the request of its owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. Its provenance remains mysterious; the owner told King he bought it and five other papyri in 1999 from a collector who said he acquired them in the 1960s in East Germany. An undated, unsigned photocopied note in German accompanying the fragment said that a professor Fecht had examined the papyrus and thought it could be the only text in which Jesus speaks of having a wife.

The fragment appears to be cut from the middle of a larger document; it contains just eight partial lines, written in a crude hand, one of which says, “And Jesus said to them, ‘My wife,’ ” The next says, “She will be able to be my disciple.”

The first line, according to King’s translation, says in part: “My mother gave me life.”

King believes the document may have been copied from a much earlier Greek text, perhaps composed in the second century, and sees it as an important addition to the study of the development of Christianity as it spread through the Mediterranean world.

King said in the interview this week that her thinking about the meaning of the document has evolved somewhat. She originally hypothesized it concerned debates about discipleship, and whether becoming a Christian meant giving up one’s family to join a spiritual family. But in researching what early Christians said about whether Jesus was married or not, she recognized the importance of early Christian controversies about the spiritual advantages of celibacy. If Jesus were celibate, were Christians who were married or sexually active less fully human, or lesser in the eyes of God?

“Now when I come back and read the fragment, it seems the major issue being talked about was that Jesus was affirming that wives and mothers can be his disciples,” King said.

In her Theological Review article, the publication of which was delayed by some 15 months amid a storm of criticism and pending the results of scientific tests, King answers some of the major issues raised by critics.

Depuydt makes the case that there is only an infinitesimal possibility that the similarities between the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife are coincidental.

But King replies that the parallels are not nearly as close as Depuydt and others contend, and that some overlap is not surprising because they address similar topics and because many ancient Christian texts relied upon and responded to one another.

Depuydt says the grammatical blunders he sees in the text could not have been made by a Coptic speaker. One line, he said, appears to read, “An evil man does not he brings.”

“You can’t make sense of it as a fluent Coptic text,” he said. “Then you find out it’s all coming from Gospel of Thomas. Well, case closed.”

But King argues that the grammatical issues Depuydt raises are either errors of his own analysis or that similar grammatical constructions, including the same mistake as the apparent typo in the online Gospel of Thomas, exist in other Coptic texts whose authenticity is undisputed.

In sum, King said, it does not make sense that a forger with poor Coptic and scribal skills could also manage to acquire the right kind of papyrus and ink, and leave no ink out of place at the microscopic level. “In my judgment, such a combination of bumbling and sophistication seems extremely unlikely,” she wrote in her article.

The Theological Review was supposed to have published King’s findings in January 2013. King said it took longer than expected to complete the testing, particularly because she had no budget.

The original carbon-dating test of the papyrus, conducted by the University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, gave a date of 400 to 200 years before the birth of Jesus. Researchers concluded that the result may be unreliable because the sample size was too small.

A second carbon-dating test was conducted by Noreen Tuross of Harvard and produced a mean date of 741 A.D.

The ink testing was done by a team of Columbia University researchers using a technique called micro-Raman spectroscopy to investigate the ink’s chemical composition. The researchers have also studied the ink in many of the ancient papyri in Columbia’s vast collection.

“This looks qualitatively virtually like every other papyrus manuscript we’ve looked at,” said James Yardley, a professor of electrical engineering who helped lead the team.

Roger Bagnall, director of New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and one of the world’s top papyrologists, assisted King with her initial analysis of the fragment.

“I haven’t seen any argument that I find at all compelling that would indicate that it’s not genuine, it’s not ancient,” he said.


the bear - 10-4-2014 at 22:50

But who's to say that the document is an accurate historical account.

If it is true dont you think it strange that a"wife" is not cross referenced in any of the bible books?


Regards the Bear waveysmiley


marymary100 - 10-4-2014 at 23:11

They are not claiming it is a primary source, just that it gives an account about what was being discussed at a later stage. It is not the only document to make such claims. I find all such texts interesting no matter which religion or argument they espouse. Would Jesus being married make it less or more likely that he was a deity? In whose interests would it be to make the women in the bible certain types but not have one of them married to Jesus?

It won't make any difference to me one way or another but I think that if it were eventually proven that Jesus was married, then questions about priesthood would inevitably follow.


John Barnes - 11-4-2014 at 00:15

As our American friend Scholar would say if its not in book its not true, end of jmb


LSemmens - 11-4-2014 at 01:31

The fact that this is, possibly, the earliest reference to a wife, some 700 years after the even, would, to me, indicate that it is irrelevant. Was Captain Cook married? (This, should, at least, be relatively easily verified, as cross referencing, and independent, materials from the era would be available). The canon of scripture was produced from a list of independent documents written over different times all supporting the same hypothesis., so we must accept, at least, some of it as fact. A fragment no larger than a business card cannot contain enough information to either confirm, or deny, its premise.


Nimuae - 11-4-2014 at 07:29

I do not remember ever reading in the bible that Jesus was not married - so why all the fuss? The bible is not a detailed year by year account of his entire life anyway so who knows what he was doing before he began preaching and gathering his followers. It would have been normal - in those times - for a man of his age to have been married and had a family so why not Jesus ? It would certainly make him seem more like a real person.

There is nothing in the bible that compels priests to be celibate either. I believe that was dreamed up by 'the church' to avoid having to support widows and children.


John_Little - 11-4-2014 at 08:47

Quote:
Originally posted by the bear
But who's to say that the document is an accurate historical account.

If it is true dont you think it strange that a"wife" is not cross referenced in any of the bible books?


Regards the Bear waveysmiley


But then who is to say that any of the bible is an accurate historical account? I think the point is that this is prior to the censorship of the bible by later church officials who wanted to emphasise the dominance of males and themselves in particilar.


Katzy - 11-4-2014 at 10:30

What went into the bible was decided upon by a group of men who all had their own ulterior motives.

It should be read as such, surely?


Nimuae - 11-4-2014 at 15:58

Quote:
Originally posted by Katzy
What went into the bible was decided upon by a group of men who all had their own ulterior motives.

It should be read as such, surely?


Very true !


LSemmens - 11-4-2014 at 16:05

Whilst many of your (generally) observations are valid. There is much to support the historical validity of the Bible, whether you believe the basic premise or not. There was nothing in the Bible to forbid marriage or any reference to Jesus' marital status, whether he was married, or not, is irrelevant. His message had nothing to do with celibacy, or otherwise, but more about how you treat your fellow man. It is only when the Roman church under Pope Urban began a series of Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land that things were done, "In the name of God", that God had no part in.


scholar - 11-4-2014 at 23:46

Quote:
Originally posted by John Barnes
As our American friend Scholar would say if its not in book its not true, end of jmb

No, I don't say that. There are many topics about which true statements can be made, which the Bible does not cover exhaustively.

But, the New Testament surely would have mentioned if Jesus had been married. Please recall that Jesus' living family during His ministry was mentioned--His mother, brothers, and sisters--but, no wife. When Jesus was on the cross, soon to die, He gave His mother to John's care--if He had a wife, He would have spoken for her to be cared for, as well. Even Peter is known to have had a wife, because Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law. It is more than improbable that any wife to Jesus would be omitted.


scholar - 12-4-2014 at 00:31

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
The canon of scripture was produced from a list of independent documents written over different times all supporting the same hypothesis., so we must accept, at least, some of it as fact.

It would be more accurate to say that the documents gave independent witness (that is, their human authors each attested to the truthfulness of their content). To call them "independent documents" sounds as if they were written completely separately without any of the authors having knowledge of the others. According to the unanimous testimony of the early church, Matthew wrote first, and his Gospel was distributed. Mark wrote next, having heard Peter's personal recollections as well. Luke wrote after that, and mentions that he read earlier accounts before he wrote his orderly account. John wrote last, years later, and includes much material that the earlier gospels do not.


LSemmens - 12-4-2014 at 01:28

That holds true, only for the gospels, Scholar but not so for the remaining books of the Bible


the bear - 12-4-2014 at 09:00

When a man is without a wife he's incomplete, when he's married he's finished smokin:


Regards the Bear waveysmiley


Katzy - 12-4-2014 at 09:44

Quote:
Originally posted by scholarBut, the New Testament surely would have mentioned if Jesus had been married.


Not it if didn't serve the aims of the compilers, who lived in male-dominated societies and for whom women were little more than chattels.


marymary100 - 12-4-2014 at 10:03

And, let's be honest, in the eyes of some sections of society little has changed on that score...


Nimuae - 12-4-2014 at 10:42

Quote:
Originally posted by Katzy
Quote:
Originally posted by scholarBut, the New Testament surely would have mentioned if Jesus had been married.


Not it if didn't serve the aims of the compilers, who lived in male-dominated societies and for whom women were little more than chattels.



Exactly. waveysmiley


Nimuae - 12-4-2014 at 10:43

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
And, let's be honest, in the eyes of some sections of society little has changed on that score...



Sadly - that is also true !


scholar - 12-4-2014 at 12:55

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
That holds true, only for the gospels, Scholar but not so for the remaining books of the Bible

Actually, no. And, I'm sure you'd agree, if you just thought about it.

Several of the human authors wrote more than one document, so they are not independent. Paul wrote the most, his several letters. John wrote a Gospel, three letters, and Revelation. Luke wrote Luke and Acts. Peter wrote two letters (and reportedly was a source to Mark for Mark's Gospel. In addition, one of the epistles has a section which so closely matches another, by a different author, that it seems likely one is borrowing from the other (or--less likely, in my opinion--each is borrowing from a third source).

I reference the Gospels in my earlier post because they would be the expected place to find mention if Jesus had a wife.


scholar - 12-4-2014 at 13:36

Quote:
Originally posted by Katzy
Quote:
Originally posted by scholarBut, the New Testament surely would have mentioned if Jesus had been married.


Not it if didn't serve the aims of the compilers, who lived in male-dominated societies and for whom women were little more than chattels.

Actually, this is mistaken on two counts.

The first is that the documents were written by people who recorded teachings that went AGAINST the way they had been living, which put them and their own thoughts and lives in an unflattering light. So, the disciples look stupid again and again. They frequently don't understand Jesus' teachings, in stories, and must have Him explain them. When He tells them to beware the yeast of the Pharisees, they think He is talking about bread. Peter tries to walk on water, but doesn't have enough faith. Jesus' hand-picked group mostly deserts Him when He faces crucifixion. Peter denies Him, after saying he never would do such a thing. Saul/Paul's life was turned upside-down when he realized that the One whose followers he was imprisoning to be killed was actually the miracle-working true God of Israel. Jesus' teaching, given in person during His ministry and afterwards through the apostles was first, and His followers conformed to that--painful and humiliating though it might be, in view of their own failures and short-comings. You DON'T see Jesus' teaching edited to agree with what others would find comfortable--quite the opposite, you read in the documents what His teachings were, which left His followers more than uncomfortable. It left them with no hope, with respect to thinking themselves good enough to deserve heaven. They had to depend on faith in Jesus, as God and Savior. Most of the New Testament--including all four canonical Gospels--were universally accepted from the very beginning because they were authentic in their teaching and known to be Apostolic. They were not compiled so much as acknowledged for what they known to be.

[I have read most of the excluded, non-genuine documents. They are not even close in teaching and quality. Comparing them to the genuine Gospels is like comparing fan-fiction written by children to actual television screen-plays of shows like Star Trek. To give an example, one has Jesus as a little boy getting angry at some of the other children and changing them into little goats--does that match Jesus in the real Gospels, who prayed on the cross that God forgive those who arranged to crucify Him?]

And, the New Testament elevates women, in spite of the fact that these ideas were inimical to the prevailing thought of the day. So, women are mentioned for their loyalty to Jesus at the crucifixion. They are the ones who go to the tomb to anoint His body. A woman is the first to see Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well, even though the Pharisees avoided speaking to women in public, especially if the woman was not your own wife. Paul wrote in Galatians that "In Christ, there is neither . . . male nor female."


marymary100 - 12-4-2014 at 15:09

Women are shown in subservient roles and in an unflattering light in the NT. Annointing, serving food, weeping - "Better to marry than to burn" etc etc. Where's the elevation you speak about, exactly?

In earlier times women and their genitalia were venerated. For example, Egyptian and Japanese goddesses would lift their skirts and give a flash of their privates to increase crop yields and ward off evil. Compare that with Tertullian - "Woman is the gate to hell and her gaping genitals the yawning mouth of hell."

You'll forgive me for looking at women's role in the NT with a jaundiced eye.


Katzy - 12-4-2014 at 15:10

Drawing on the opinions of St. Augustine, Pope St. Damasus I, at the Council of Rome in 382, issued a decree which was, appropriately, called, "The Decree of Damasus".

In that, said Pope listed the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments. He then asked St. Jerome to use this canon and to write a new Bible translation which included an Old Testament of 46 books, which were all in the Septuagint, and a New Testament of 27 books.

ROME HAD SPOKEN!

It was compiled by the Roman church for the benefit of the Roman church.

They wouldn't let silly things like facts get in their way, either.

For example, the Gospel of Thomas presents itself as a collection of sayings of Christ as written by Thomas the apostle. The church considers that a few of these sayings are genuine because they were taken from the canonical Gospels. (You see? The other gospels are considered "Truth". Why should one be considered truth and not the other?). Others combine bits of things said in the "true" gospels. Still others are wholly made up, not only lacking any basis in the gospels but also contradicting things taught in them.

That, surely, is opinion stated as being fact.

"Truth" is what the Roman church decided was truth. Facts had little, or nothing, to do with it.


scholar - 12-4-2014 at 20:04

Quote:
Originally posted by Katzy
Drawing on the opinions of St. Augustine, Pope St. Damasus I, at the Council of Rome in 382, issued a decree which was, appropriately, called, "The Decree of Damasus".

In that, said Pope listed the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments. He then asked St. Jerome to use this canon and to write a new Bible translation which included an Old Testament of 46 books, which were all in the Septuagint, and a New Testament of 27 books.

ROME HAD SPOKEN!

It was compiled by the Roman church for the benefit of the Roman church.

They wouldn't let silly things like facts get in their way, either.

For example, the Gospel of Thomas presents itself as a collection of sayings of Christ as written by Thomas the apostle. The church considers that a few of these sayings are genuine because they were taken from the canonical Gospels. (You see? The other gospels are considered "Truth". Why should one be considered truth and not the other?). Others combine bits of things said in the "true" gospels. Still others are wholly made up, not only lacking any basis in the gospels but also contradicting things taught in them.

That, surely, is opinion stated as being fact.

"Truth" is what the Roman church decided was truth. Facts had little, or nothing, to do with it.

Your most important question is, "Why should one be considered truth and not the other?" and has a simple answer--that which is genuine, matching the actual Christian teaching from Jesus and His hand-picked Apostles, is the truth = the true Christian teaching. The accepted books of the New Testament preceded the Decree of Damasus. Saying that Rome determined the New Testament canon because they recognized it is like saying our years are counted as 365 or 366 days because the London Times reckons by those dates. In truth, the year determined what the London Times counts, not the other way around.

The four genuine Gospels have remarkable agreement with each other. (I recall that, years ago, a non-Christian lawyer had the idea of comparing the four Gospels with a view toward discrediting Christianity. He found that, on the one hand, they had the remarkable agreement he was accustomed to finding when different witnesses gave true accounts, in court, of the same events. On the other hand, he found the kinds of small differences which different witnesses will make in their remarks in accord with what seemed more important to them; he didn't find the kind of word-for-word patterned agreement which false witnesses use when they work together to invent a false story. He was convinced of the Christian verity, and published a book of support for the faith, instead.)

Matthew was himself an apostle; Mark had some contact with Paul, but church history says he had more with Peter; and Luke traveled with the Apostle Paul. These accounts are in such detailed agreement that they are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels (synoptic = one view). John's Gospel agrees with the first three, but supplements them--filling in some events and teachings that were not covered by the others. This makes sense--the other genuine gospels had been circulated for years before the Gospel according to John was written. These Gospels have numerous small details that mark genuine eye-witness accounts. For example, Mark's Gospel mentions that, when Jesus showed His glory on the mountain, His clothes became whiter than any launderer could bleach them. This is exactly the kind of expressive detail that would come naturally to a writer who has done laundry. John's Gospel mentions the exact number of fish the disciples caught one time when they saw Jesus, after His resurrection--exactly the kind of detail that would stick in the mind of a former fisherman.

The Gospel of Thomas, on the other hand, is crap. It mainly lists supposed sayings, without any context of events--in contrast to the real Gospels, in which the settings give contextual richness to the meaning. It is pseudoepigraphic, attributing to Thomas's pen ideas which the Gnostics had begun to try to push after his time in Christian guise. The Gospel of Thomas is later, trying to ride the coat-tails of Christianity with different ideas.

One of the false passages I find greatly distasteful is "Any women who makes herself a Man will enter into the Kingdom of God." Rubbish! Jesus would never approve of such a thing.


LSemmens - 13-4-2014 at 01:11

The role of women is anything but subservient, as Scholar has stated, in the new Testament, and in context of the era in which Jesus lived, the women with which he had contact were very liberated. I keep referring to the canon of the entire Bible, not just the New Testament. Read Song of Solomon, sometime, that is certainly not putting women down, but rather putting them on a pedestal to be admired.


Katzy - 13-4-2014 at 14:04

At the time, no. But, when the council of Nicaea did it's thing, how many women were involved? You can count them on the fingers of a man with no hands. ;)


marymary100 - 13-4-2014 at 16:40

Quote:
Originally posted by scholar

... "Any women who makes herself a Man will enter into the Kingdom of God." Rubbish! Jesus would never approve of such a thing.


Because...?

And you've still not said how women were elevated by comparison to earlier versions of belief systems.