How we know "Jesus' wife" papyrus fragment is fake

In September 2012, a Harvard Divinity School (HDS) feminist professor named Karen King (now age 61) claimed that she had found archaeological evidence that Jesus had a wife.
King specializes in Coptic literature and has published several books on Gnosticism, women in antiquity, and alleged new Gospel discoveries — the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary of Magdala.
As reported by the New York Times, King made that startling assertion at an international conference on Coptic Studies on Sept. 18, 2012 in Rome. The historian of early Christianity said she had identified a scrap of papyrus from the fourth century, with a phrase in Coptic which has never been seen in any piece of Scripture:

“Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ”

Jesus wife papyrus fragment
The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife is a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”
King claims that the provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and that its owner asked to remain anonymous.

Karen King with papyrusKaren King, then age 59, with the papyrus fragment

Since her announcement more than two years ago, King and Harvard have been silent, insisting that more information would be forthcoming and that the fragment was undergoing further “tests.”
But a number of leading experts in ancient Coptic dialects have not been silent, but have denounced the fragment to be suspicious and a fake. (See my post of Dec. 18, 2013, “No archeological evidence that Jesus had a wife“.)
Now, a for-subscribers-only Wall St. Journal article by Jerry Pattengale, “How the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ Hoax Fell Apart,” explains how scholars, notably Indiana Wesleyan University Coptic specialist Christian Askeland, definitively have proven the “Jesus had a wife” papyrus fragment to be a forgery and a hoax.
Here are the reasons:
1. The “Jesus’ wife” fragment is a match — in handwriting, ink and writing instrument used — for an earlier “Gospel of John” papyrus fragment that itself is clearly a forgery.
2. How scholars know the “Gospel of John” papyrus fragment is a fake:

  • The “Gospel of John” text had been directly copied from a 1924 publication because the former has the same line breaks as the 1924 publication.
  • The “Gospel of John” text is written in a peculiar dialect of Coptic called Lycopolitan, which fell out of use during or before the 6th century. But radiometric tests conducted on the “Gospel of John” papyrus fragment by none other than Karen King found that the papyrus plants used for the fragment had been harvested in the 7th to 9th centuries. In other words, the “Gospel of John” text was written in a dialect that didn’t exist when the papyrus it appears on was made!
  1. Since the “Gospel of John” fragment is proven to be fake, so too is the “Jesus’ wife” papyrus fragment because the two fragments are a match in handwriting, ink, and writing instrument used. As Mark Goodacre, a New Testament professor and Coptic expert at Duke University, wrote on his NT Blog on April 25, 2014: “It is beyond reasonable doubt that this is a fake, and this conclusion means that the Jesus’ Wife Fragment is a fake too.”
    All that remains is for Karen King and Harvard Divinity School to admit her purported discovery is a forgery, and to issue an apology — for which I suggest we should not hold our breath.
    H/t Patheos and FOTM’s Seumas
    ~Eowyn
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0 responses to “How we know "Jesus' wife" papyrus fragment is fake

  1. Jesus did not come to Earth to establish a bloodline; He came to redeem humanity. The EXACT SAME ARROGANCE behind the forgers of this “document” was behind the forgers of the Obama “Birth Certificate.”
    This just goes to show us that when the belief of people is weak, there will be those who come in to attack it. We must always start with the historical facts FIRST on any matter.

     
  2. Slowly re-read the BIBLE John Chapter 8: 1-6 ;word for word. Who are the Pharisees accusing? They are accusing Him, Jesus. Now read the rest “slowly” with open eyes and open ears.

     
  3. Considering how influential Jesus was during life, and directly after resurrection, the idea that IF he had taken a “wife”, would have been pretty big “news”. Such an event to be left out of all other writings just doesn’t make any sense. So the “big break” of the “archeology find of the century” just doesn’t match up with all the history during that time that DOES match up. In other words, it’s kind of like finding a M16 rifle, that was built in 1000BC. It just can’t happen.

     
  4. This crapola from fools & idiots never ceases. They must truly think we are even more stupid than they are! Be gone, we are done with you!

     
  5. Jesus gave his purpose in his ministry the moment he began it, having lived as a boy, a youth, learning the carpenter trade, and while surprising the “scholars” at the temple often enough, otherwise lived a normal life until it was his time.
    Once he began his ministry, it was mathematically a straight line, selecting his disciples from his community, friends, and neighbors, and choosing for his mission’s purpose, not any humanly goal we are given record of; that ended with his baptism and the word of God.
    Two thousand years ago, roughly, he spent three years preaching the Gospel that Jehovah stated was his plan for man in the first place, for man to live in peace, as family would, and have God as his King, without men’s intercession, as had constantly returned because we preferred to answer to men than God.
    I am a retired Marine, I married six years into my service, and while our marriage has been good, and lasted, there have been no lack of times our marriage was put second to duty. I’ve often felt I did my wife wrong by dragging her into the Corps along with me, but have always overcome that, knowing she got a good husband and has lived better than she and our kids did before.
    Jesus could not have come for his “Job”, and also come for the beer. He was either son of God, and “the sacrificial lamb”, or he was an insane man, who believed well and hard enough to convince everyone around him he was the “Son of God”, and there for purpose, in time, and to the bloody end.
    We didn’t inherit a way of life, a distinct and valuable set of principles and life choices from the teachings of a crazy man, and we wouldn’t have kept records of his trial, his life before, and his resurrection except that they were so exceptional, no one could possibly keep from marveling over them, and sharing the shock and surprise.
    If we have the hope given to us by God, we have nothing to ever fear. If that hope can be broken, caused discarded, if we can be led into despair, we can easily have our faith stolen. it all comes down to purpose.
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC

     
  6. THERE ARE SOULS THAT ARE GOING TO BE IN ETERNAL REGRET, THAT THEY HAVE NOT ACCEPTED, WITHIN THEIR OWN SOULS THAT YESHUAH IS THE MESSIAH. THEY ARE DOING EVERYTHING, SO THEY THINK THEY ARE, TO PROVE HE IS NOT THE MESSIAH, WHEN INDEED HE IS THE MESSIAH, DIED AND ROSE FOR OUR SINS, AND DEFINITELY VERY SHORTLY WILL RETURN TO INFINITELY ELIMINATE ANY AND ALL EVIL. WHAT A WONDERFUL BUNDLE OF INFINITE UNIVERSES TO LOOK FORWARD TO. NO DEATH AND CEMETERIES, NO PAIN OF ANY KIND, AND AN ETERNAL END TO MATERIAL AND PHYSICAL CONFLICTS AND WARS. AMEN

     

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