Well, the debate continues over whether a historical Jesus really existed, but in the meantime a fourth-century fragment of papyrus manuscript, written in Coptic (below), has appeared suggesting that God Incarnate might have had a wife. I saw this on the evening news, but there’s a fuller description at Live Science and Yahoo News. Live Science reported yesterday:
A Harvard historian has identified a faded, fourth-century scrap of papyrus she calls “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” One line of the torn fragment of text purportedly reads: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” The following line states, “she will be able to be my disciple.”
The finding was announced to the public today (Sept. 18) by Karen King, a historian of early Christianity, author of several books about new Gospel discoveries and the Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard Divinity School. King first examined the privately owned fragment in 2011, and has since been studying it with the help of a small group of scholars.
According to the New York Times, King and her collaborators have concluded that the business card-size fragment is not a forgery, and she is presenting the discovery today at a meeting of International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome.
. . .King has cautioned that the new discovery should not be taken as proof that Jesus was actually married. The text appears to have been written centuries after he lived, and all other early Christian literature is silent on the question of his marital status. [JAC: Yeah, assuming he existed!]
But the scrap of papyrus — the first known statement from antiquity that refers to Jesus speaking of a wife — provides evidence that there was an active discussion among early Christians about whether Jesus was celibate or married, and which path his followers should choose, King told the Times.
. . . The text beyond “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” is cut off.
Pity! Perhaps the next words would have been “. . . is unable to bear children because, being haploid, I am unable to produce sperm.”
Or fill in the blank yourself!