By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - A newly revealed, centuries-old papyrus fragment suggests that some early Christians might have believed Jesus was married. The fragment, written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, says in part, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife ..."
Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced the findings of the 1 1/2- by 3-inch honey-colored fragment on Tuesday in Rome at the International Association for Coptic Studies.
King has been quick to add this discovered text "does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married," she wrote in a draft of her analysis of the fragment set to appear in the January edition of Harvard Theological Review. The divinity school has posted a draft of King's article to which AnneMarie Luijendijk, an associate professor of religion at Princeton University, contributed.
"This fragment, this new piece of papyrus evidence, does not prove that (Jesus) was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we're in the same position we were before it was found. We don't know if he was married or not," King said in a conference call with reporters.
"What I'm really quick to say is to cut off people who would say this is proof that Jesus was married because historically speaking, it's much too late to constitute historical evidence," she continued. "I'm not saying he was, I'm not saying he wasn't. I'm saying this doesn't help us with that question," she continued.
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In the accounts of Jesus' life in the Bible, there is no mention of his marital status, while the accounts do mention Jesus' mother, father and siblings. The four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - tell the story of Jesus' birth and early childhood then skip to his short, three-year ministry before detailing his death and resurrection.
The idea that Jesus was married is not a new one.
In other writings about the life of Jesus from antiquity suggest Jesus may have been married to Mary Magdalene, a disciple who was close to Jesus. Author Dan Brown also used the idea of Jesus being married as a jumping off point for the fictional novel "The Da Vinci Code." King dismissed that notion in her call with reporters.
“There’s no indication we have that Jesus was married,” said Darrell Bock, a senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. “One could say the text is silent on Jesus’ marital status is because there was nothing to say.”
Initial dating for the honey-colored fragment by the team of scholars puts the papyrus piece coming out of the middle of the second century.
King is referring to the fragment as the "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" or "GosJesWife" as a short hand for reference, and noting that the abbreviation does not mean this scrap has the same historical weight as the canonical Gospels.
Biblical scholars often use the term gospel to refer to a genre of ancient writings featuring dialogue between Jesus and his disciples, King notes in her paper. The Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Judas are just a few of the ancient accounts about the life of Jesus that Christians do not consider canonical.
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At the conference, King said another professor suggested the fragment could have come from the text of a homily, or sermon, where the writer was using this phrase as a literary device. She told reporters that while she will consider that as a possibility, the fragment is “probably a gospel. Probably from the second century and most close to the Gospels of Mary, Thomas and Philip.”
Bock agreed with the notion that the text fragment shared similarities with those gospels, called the Gnostic Gospels, which were the writings of an early outlier sect of Christians. He said the text could be referring to a "gnostic rite of marriage that is a picture of the church and Jesus, not a real wife."
But he added, "it’s a small text with very little context. We don’t know what’s wrapped around it to know what it’s saying.”
Bock said it’s likely to be a gnostic text if it proves to be authentic. “The whole text needs vetting. She’s doing the right thing to release it and let scholars take a look at,” he said, adding “it’s a little bit like trying to analyze the game in the first quarter.”
“It’s a historical curiosity but doesn’t really tell us who Jesus was,” Bock said. “It’s one small speck of a text in a mountain of texts of about Jesus.”
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The owner of the fragment has been identified by King as a private collector who has asked to stay anonymous. The owner brought the fragment to Harvard have King examine it in December 2011.
King then brought it to the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Roger Bagnall, the institute's director and an expert on papyrus, examined it and determined it to be authentic, Bangall confirmed to CNN.
Ariel Shisha-Halevy, professor of linguistics at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, who was asked to examine the authenticity, according to the draft of the article, told King via e-mail, “I believe - on the basis of language and grammar - the text is authentic. That is to say, all its grammatical ‘noteworthy’ features, separately or conjointly, do not warrant condemning it as forgery.”
Little is known about the origin of the text. Because both sides of the fragment have writing on them, King said it could have come out of a book rather than a scroll.
"Just like most of the earliest papyri of the New Testament and other literary and documentary papyri, a fragment this damaged could have come from an ancient garbage heap," the King says building on prior research by Luijendijk.
King writes "the importance of the 'Gospel of Jesus’ Wife' lies in supplying a new voice within the diverse chorus of early Christian traditions about Jesus that documents that some Christians depicted Jesus as married."
The Smithsonian Channel also announced Monday that it will air a special on King's findings on September 30.
Whenever Jesus is mentioned, the demons squirm and stir. They feel the heat. Do you feel the heat? By your words, I gather that you do.
It is getting pretty warm, but it's probably cause I'm sitting under a cross having bathed in some holy water. I'm not worried about demons though as long as I got my supply of silver bullets and an exorcist I keep in a closet.
Guess I'm not a demon. It's lovely and quite cool here. Have the windows open. Totally comfortable. Your point?
When I was without faith He haunted me until i had no peace. It was fight our flight, but i had no boldness to scoff and mock like you people. I knew to much. You'll all learn soon enough.
"You'll all learn soon enough."
Not if we keep on reading only one book.
Last week the world learned that genetic expression is largely governed by what was previously thought to be "junk dna". Now much of what was written about genetics is simply not true. Humans have 30 timed more "junk dna" than any other animal.
You will learn of the spiritual truth, in like manner, in time.
"You will learn of the spiritual truth, in like manner, in time."
No, I'm pretty sure all that stuff discovered in genetics was done through doing lots of science. It seems like the spiritual truth is acquired through other means than learning. Unfortunately the sitting around and wishing method never got humans anywhere. Which might explain why you think that discovery is from last week, when it was postulated over a year ago.
Junk dna was coined around 2001 when hgp was finishing. It took them 11 years and 125M dollars. They didn't sit around. I don't sit around. I was a subject.
"Junk DNA"? Well, it just might be something like the junk drawer in my kitchen. Those old wine corks, bits of wire, old curtain rings, etc., etc., etc., just might come in handy one day. Scientists know that about junk DNA too.
"Junk dna was coined around 2001 when hgp was finishing".
"Junk DNA" was introduced in 1972 by geneticist Susumu Ohno who noted that the mutational load from harmful mutations placed an upper limit on the number of functional loci that could be expected given a typical mutation rate.
"It took them 11 years and 125M dollars. They didn't sit around. I don't sit around. I was a subject."
Clearly they didn't. however subjects can sit around all they want while their DNA is mapped or encoded Maybe you meant to say that you discovered the term "junk DNA" in 2001?
I initially took interest in copy number variation because of a medical diagnosis that was terminal and genetically caused, or so it was claimed by a leading geneticist in my city. CNV was also ignored as insignificant in 2001, along with junk DNA, when hgp was nearing completion. What was discovered in 2001 was the sheer bulk of these non coding DNA segments in the nucleus. Prevailing theory was that these do not contribute to phenotypic expression and therefore are unimportant. It was inexplicable during hgp was why there was so much of this stuff, when all it could contribute was error in replication and recombination. Now we know the reality, and it will turn current genetic theory upside down. All previous pop sci claims regarding DNA are pretty much caveman babble. Now you know something you didn't know yesterday, Igor.
"It was inexplicable during hgp was why there was so much of this stuff, when all it could contribute was error in replication and recombination. Now we know the reality, and it will turn current genetic theory upside down. All previous pop sci claims r
regarding DNA are pretty much caveman babble. Now you know something you didn't know yesterday, Igor."
Seems like you didn't know that a few hours ago, or you wouldn't be talking about it being recent terminology. What makes you think that I didn't know about this? The idea that at least some of the non-coding DNA might have latent functionality beyond basic gene expression has been around for a couple of decades. Research confirming this is one of the most important discoveries in genetics, but not the "upside down" change.
@2357: "I knew too much"
somehow i highly doubt knowing too much would make you run back to your imaginary friend and his dead beat father.
knowledge is power, fear is normally caused by a lack of knowledge because without knowledge of something you can't understand it.
fear made you run back to what was comforting to you, knowledge gives you the ability to fight fear.
I'm using terminology I've known since high school bio class. Cnv I've know about for 7 years. Maybe you should pay attention next time you're in class. Anyways hold on to them bullets. your demons might task for them.
In Reply in realbuckyball- You certainly are devoting plenty of energy to promote your views on religion and g-d and the lack of their existence. You claim that " The bible is all spin" and it cannot be true because Moses wrote of his own death. Moses wrote what Hashem commanded him to write the parts of the old testament that came after Moses were authored by Joshua. Moses was the greatest and holiest of all the prophets and was the only prophet to recieve his prophecy directly from the almighty. I will ask you to explain the marvel of the human brain and how it is the commnd center of the entire body, is this a naturally occuring phenomenon? And what about how the earth can support life and contains tall of the natural resources to assure humanites survival is this fact also a random occurance? Lastly, can you explain where all the resources and raw materials have come from that go into every single item that man has created? Hashem's creation emanate from thin air where man needs ingrediants to create something-can you please explain that?
Ever saw the way the brain works?It is not done by god.
Accretion of the earth.
LOL Are you serious? Really? Come on tell me you're not actually serious.
"You certainly are devoting plenty of energy to promote your views on religion and g-d and the lack of their existence."
INo, i think he;s fairly certain that religion exists.
"I will ask you to explain the marvel of the human brain and how it is the commnd center of the entire body, is this a naturally occuring phenomenon? And what about how the earth can support life and contains tall of the natural resources to assure humanites survival is this fact also a random occurance? Lastly, can you explain where all the resources and raw materials have come from that go into every single item that man has created?"
Obviously the only rational explanation is that an all knowing and all powerful being, who is invisible and who requires that people worship it at the penalty of eternal punishment just puffed everything into existence. Of course for some reason it did a poor job, not making enough resources to last, or making so many imperfections in our central nervous system. In fact, earth is so perfect for human existence that microorganisms, natural disasters, and extreme weather kill millions.
Where did the ingredients come from to make gods? If gods can just exist why can't the universe?
In Reply to MDAT and hawaiiguest- I put forth my questions in a debatable format and all that you could must e in response to my questions were. "Ever saw how the brain works ?it was not done by g-d. "Accreation of the earth" and
Hawaiiguest has this to say" Lol-really tell me that you are really not serious?" Both responses lack any susbstance and if you want to be a critic at least have an intelligent counter point of view. Not that I expected anything much more from such lame brains anyway.
David, could you please translate your post into something resembling English?
Using god for science is wrong.Materials be came present after the big bang as atoms.Eventually processes started which created rock.Our planet came together with many materials,such as gold,platinum and others.When a rainforest dies when it dries up,gets buried and compresses to form coal.Oil is made from sea organisms that die and get buried.The brain uses algorithms to process information.God does not need to be included.
I"I put forth my questions in a debatable format and all that you could must e in response to my questions were. "Ever saw how the brain works ?it was not done by g-d. "Accreation of the earth" and Hawaiiguest has this to say" Lol-really tell me that you are really not serious?"
I think whther the format of the questions was debatable is very debatable in itself. Almost as debateable as "where did something so powerful as creater of everything come from." That the earth is far from perfect for humans and brain is amazing in other species as well, but very imperfect even in humans is also very debateable, but somehow assumed in your questions.
In Reply to MDAT and hawaiiguest- I put forth my questions in a debatable format and all that you could must e in response to my questions were. "Ever saw how the brain works ?it was not done by g-d. "Accreation of the earth" and
Hawaiiguest has this to say" Lol-really tell me that you are really not serious?" Both responses lack any susbstance and if you want to be a critic at least have an intelligent counter point of view. Not that I expected :
"Both responses lack any susbstance and if you want to be a critic at least have an intelligent counter point of view. Not that I expected anything much more from such lame brains anyway."
I wonder what kind of substantive answer there is to a question about the amount of gold owned by a leprechaun or the change rate the tooth fairy uses when visiting Mexican children.
Prayer changes things,
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!` ,
Then pray for some imagination.
"Prayer changes things,"
By wasting collosal amount of time while making people think they are doing something good or constructive. And in one Templeton Foundation study prayer was potentially harmful for those patients aware of being prayed for.
The bible does indeed state the Jesus was married. In the wedding at Cana, Jesus poured the wine. Any Hebrew will tell you that only the groom pours the wine in a Jewish wedding.
John 2 says nothing about him "pouring" wine. It says he told the waiters to serve it.
Buckminister Fuller would be proud.
I hope so. I named myself after him. :)
I can just make out the words on either side – "take" and "please!"
No wonder he wanted to die.
Please ask yourself: If all the historical, scientific, and prophetic statements in the Bible are true and accurate, then what about what the Bible says about your having eternal life (or death) and about the choices you make (or do not make) now that can affect your eternal future? It is in your best interest to study it and find out what God requires of those who would be His children (Romans 8:14-16).
Do you not think it is worth examining the Bible to see if it is, in fact, the Word of God, and to see what you must do to receive eternal life from God?
So, without studying it, one cannot receive eternal life from God? Because that leaves out millions of human beings now and throughout history who simply have/had no access to the bible.
The Bible has mistakes and inaccuracies. We KNOW that it does.
" If all the historical, scientific, and prophetic statements in the Bible are true and accurate..."
They are not. Next.
"Do you not think it is worth examining the Bible to see if it is, in fact, the Word of God, and to see what you must do to receive eternal life from God?"
U.S. top scientists will get right on it. As soon as they finish their research into giant beanstalks to solve the world hunger problem and geese that lay golden eggs to fix our economy.
A mighty big "if" ya got there, Duke
I just burned my toast and it says on it " tell em I was not married" she was a one night stand that's all .
A one night stand like his dad and Mary?
A one night stand like his dad and Mary
Was that Joseph or the neighbor next door?
There are a number of other ancient inscriptions that have provided valuable insights into biblical history from a non-biblical perspective. Among these are the Gezar Calendar, the Samaria Ostraca, the Siloam Inscription, the Lachish Letters, and numerous Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions. (These can be examined in translation, with reference to the originals, in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James B. Pritchard, 2nd ed., Princeton: Princeton University, 1955, pp. 320-24; 3rd ed., 1969, pp. 653-62.) Among the most important of these are the royal inscriptions of the Assyrian and Babylonian kings. We have inscriptions of the Assyrian kings Sargon II and Sennacherib describing their sieges of Samaria in 721 and Jerusalem in 701, respectively, as well as inscriptions relating the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar's conquests of Jerusalem in the latter years of Judah's existence before the exile.
On the other hand, something written 300 years after Christ died in Coptic, isn't proof of anything.
Yahweh came from the Enuma Elish, the Flood from the Gilgamesh Epic. Hell without Sumeria, there would be no Bible.
R.D. Wilson who wrote “A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament” pointed out that the names of 29 Kings from ten nations (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and more) are mentioned not only in the Bible but are also found on monuments of their own time. Every single name is transliterated in the Old Testament exactly as it appears on the archaeological artifact – syllable for syllable, consonant for consonant. The chronological order of the kings is correct and the Bible can be trusted.
And Spider-Man comics take place in New York, which is a real place. Captain America and Wolverine fought in WW II, which was a real event, so that must mean everything in them is true, including the existence of the superheroes.
And the Roman records, even the ones listing the Emperors who were the sons of gods, are all accurate too? How about all the stories about Davy Crockett wrestling bears? King Arthur perhaps? England is a real place with real kings, so why not? Let's believe everything that the ancients ever wrote!
Except the Kings of Edom, which Moses supposed wrote about, lived after him. And their ordering is wrong. And Moses "yelled" across the river, and Moses wrote about his own death, and burial, etc etc etc. You cannot trust it at all.
What's wrong Duke ? You calling your Bible College, and asking for a refund for the Apologetics tuition, you wasted ?
I think it would be fantastic if he was married.
It's unbelievable people still believe in Christianity in the modern world in the year 2012.
If man were so enlightened then why did atheists like Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao, kill more people in the enlightened 20 century, than in all the religious wars combined? Man knows nothing but ignorance and arrogance.
1) Stats for that?
2) Are you taking into account the purges commited in the name of religion, such as the inquisitions, salem witch trials, etc.?
I guess I can't distinguish between the excesses of the various atheists you mention and the people who've been motivated by religion. People reach into their imaginations and find incredible resources for evil. Religion is pre-packaged and has a longer provenance. Maybe that's the difference. It's a tried and true basis for evil.
Correlation is not causation. Religion caused more deaths as atheists by FAR. Morality does not arise from Religion Religion appropriates already extant cultural norms.
If it is Coptic and, centuries-old, and not in the original texts, then I don't believe it.
By that standard, you cannot believe anything in the Bible.
Sure you can believe the Bible. For example, until 1993 there was no proof of the existence of King David or even of Israel as a nation prior to Solomon. Then in 1993 archeologists found proof of King David's existence outside the Bible. At an ancient mound called Tel Dan, in the north of Israel, words carved into a chunk of basalt were translated as "House of David" and "King of Israel" proving that he was more than just a legend.
The fact that places or people mentioned in the Bible have been verified archeologically has no bearing on the veracity of the supernatural stories put forth in that book.
Mount Olympus (and many other places mentioned in their legends and myths) really exists in Greece. Does that mean that 12 gods really live there? Dickens' "The Christmas Carol" fairly accurately portrays the places and conditions of 19th century England. Does that mean that the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come were real? All sorts of fiction and fantasy stories are set in real places.
The Bible is a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.
There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings or supernatural events in that book.
By that standard, the fact that Olympus exists, you must accept that Zeus is true.
Nope. The fact that some historical sites are verified, in NO way validates ANYTHING the bible says about the sites.
The Bible is all spin.
"My Wife" = Bride = The Church. It's a reference that all Christians should know.
Ashura = Yahweh's wife. Something also Judeo-christians should know.
Of the myriad stories about Jesus, this is one of the most poetic and meaningful to today's world where celibacy has become such a terrifying social issue in the Roman Catholic Church. If you wonder how the Jesus myth was first propagated you might enjoy my novel THE MESSIAH MATRIX. The essence of the myth is the ability of every human being to rise above the beast within and aspire toward the divine.
This is a beautiful, albeit fictional account of the love story between Jesus and his wife Mary Magdalene. When I read it, I had a meaningful experience that gave me true hope and inspiration.
So as fiction it wouldn't be out of place in the bible then?
Jesus had to have been married and had lots kids, cause the way a lot of preachers and politicians talk one would think they are directly related to him.
OR, he could relate if he liked boys. Little boys.
Romans10:13 For "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Calling on the name of the Lord is the secret not only to our salvation but also to our enjoyment of the Lord's riches. Beginning with Enosh, the third generation of mankind, and continuing all the way down to the New Testament believers, God's chosen and redeemed ones enjoyed Christ's redemption and salvation and all His riches by means of this secret (see note 211 in Acts 2).
How cute, it's another bible verse troll.
Oh Lord Jesus I love you and believe into you! Continually live in me and mingle your Spirit with my spirit. Build us up as your Body you bride to be..Abba Father we adore thee!
What a wonderfully irrelevant post Veronica.
God's chosen and redeemed ones enjoyed Christ's redemption
God's "chosen" ones? I love this one. Because, a perfect and loving God would exhibit favoritism among his equal creations? Are you special, relative to someone born to a place in the world where they've never heard of christianity? Think of a primitive tribesman who lives in the rain forest jungle of South America. He is a creation of God, equal to you in terms of God-given human life and the value of it. He will never come to know the traditions of christianity, because he'll have no exposure to them. You think he has no chance at salvation? Why? For not following the teachings of christianity? He's never heard of them. Does God not love him quite as much as he loves you?
Veronica: Free people do not need salvation, slaves do
Unless he's out to trick us about the most important thing in life, there would be no "secret" about anything. You're god is a sneaky b.a.s.t.a.r.d.
"Does God not love him quite as much as he loves you?" Apparently not, Madtown. And it gets worse. People are predestined for salvation "before the foundation of the world". No one has effectively refuted that people are similarly predestined for hell.
Yup, the jerk created them for hell. Some god they got there.
"But I do not permit a woman to teach or to assert authority over a man, but to be in quietness"
To teach here means to teach with authority, to define and decide the meaning of doctrines concerning divine truth. For a woman to teach in this way or to exercise authority over a man is to leave her position. In God's creation man was ordained to be the head, and woman to be in subjection to man (1 Cor. 11:3). In the church this ordination should be kept.
What a backwards load of HOGWASH!...
Why ? It just reflected the culture that wrote it. It's all relative to the culture. Now if you book actually said ONE thing which did not concur withe the culture it came from, we might have to take notice. There is NOTHING unique about your book, that did not arise from it's culture.
Zafro. You need to learn English.
Zafiro, what an extraordinary piece of editing, you should win an academy award. of course it would be mostly for not really telling the truth. everyone, please google ny times text of obama speech in Chairo Egypt. Zafiro, you are a fraud, but nice try.
To Timothy, First off, I love you as a Brother in Christ. Second, please don't think that I am in any way lecturing or talking down to you as I am not, but... To Blaspheme the Holy Spirit means to ascribe the power that Jesus performed on earth not to Gods doing but to Satans credit. He used this because in the gospels, the Temple Priests accused him of casting out devils by the king of the devils or in other words, by Satan. By their words, they condemned themselves to hell, because it was a total, complete unacceptance of God and his son, yet another will come in his own name that they will accept ( the antichrist). I hope that makes sense and I expect you to correct me if I may not completely relay an understanding properly in the future posts should we meet again. Until then, God Bless you and your family.
P.S. This is to answer another comment, not from you, But wether you concur or not, please don't hesitate to state so, that being said...Jesus is in the saving business, and yes you will be forgiven of all sins EXCEPT the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Again God Bless you and your family with all abundance is my prayer.
In your opinion, can a human being be "saved" without accepting Jesus?
p1965wi, well said amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! amen!!!!!!
Blasphemy. How can anyone slander or libel a non-existant being? And why should it matter?
So if we don't buy the Satan crap, (which was NOT in Genesis), then we cannot "ascribe" anything to him.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.