“Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” May Be A Fake

The tiny piece of papyrus that recently sparked controversy for supposedly portraying Jesus talking about his wife is now shrouded in doubt as to its authenticity. Recent suggestions are that the Coptic text on the papyrus was forged by an amateur using a Coptic-English interlinear edition (written by Michael Grondin) of the Gospel of Thomas, since it seems to duplicate a typographic error from that book. The Harvard Theological Review, which was originally going to publish the first article announcing the papyrus’ find, has decided to pull the article from its first 2013 issue.

You can read the fuller story HERE.

UPDATE: Andrew Bernhard has put together a paper outlining how the fragment might have been forged. Click HERE for the paper.

The “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Papyrus Fragment


7 thoughts on ““Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” May Be A Fake

  1. Wow tht is interesting. My first impression when I saw that fragment was, that looks like a fake to me (even though this is not the period I am working on). But after many years of working with artefacts you do get a certain feeling for these things and it often starts with the simple funny feeling in your stomach that tells you, “watch out”. Best wishes Peter

    • Theologically, Gordon, sure. And most believe that, socially-speaking, Jesus was single since the canonical Gospels don’t mention a wife. But it is silent evidence, nonetheless.

        • Not quite, Janise. No evidence is definitely silent, so on that front, you’re right. But how do you show that something didn’t happen or didn’t exist? Silence is actually integral to the argument at that point. You can’t use it as a foundation for a definitive argument, but silent evidence at this point is what you’d expect. So silence isn’t always no evidence.

          In this particular case, the silence about a wife of Jesus in the New Testament is quite a blaring silence, given the reference to other women and relatives of Jesus. While the silence isn’t definitively conclusive (we can’t be 100% sure), it does form a valuable piece of evidence in light of the other women mentioned. In other words, it’s a plausible hypothesis that Jesus was not married, but it is not an established fact.

  2. Pingback: Will the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife be Buried in the Talpiot Tomb?

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