By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) – The Vatican on Friday appeared to push back on a recently publicized piece of papyrus that appears to show an early Christian referring to Jesus' wife, with its newspaper calling the fragment “a fake.”
“Substantial reasons would lead us to conclude that the papyrus is actually a clumsy counterfeit,” the Vatican’s newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said in a Friday editorial by the newspaper’s editor.
“In other words, in any case it is a fake,” wrote L'Osservatore Romano editor-in-chief Gian Maria Vian.
The fragment referring to Jesus wife was written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, and says in part, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife ..."
The paper is generally thought to reflect the views of Vatican officials.
5 Questions and answers about Jesus’ “wife”
Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King announced the findings of the 1.5- by 3-inch honey-colored fragment earlier this month in Rome at the International Association for Coptic Studies.
King was 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.
"This fragment, this new piece of papyrus evidence, does not prove that (Jesus) was married, nor does it prove that he was not married,” King said in a conference call with reporters earlier in the month. “The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that.
“So we're in the same position we were before it was found,” she continued. “We don't know if he was married or not."
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.
Opinion: What fascination with Jesus’ “wife” tells us
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.
In its Friday editorial, the Vatican newspaper took aim at what it said was a media campaign to spread word of the papyrus despite questions about its authenticity.
“American media outlets had been alerted, a preventive press conference by Karen L. King held to prepare a global scoop which was immediately put into question by the experts,” the paper said.
– CNN"s Hada Messia contributed reporting from Rome
I have spent a great deal of my professional life in the study of the Gnostic Gospels. As it turns out, the majority of “prophets” contributing to these scriptures was quite illiterate and most likely drew pictures to explain their wisdom.
Needless to say, transcribing pictographs to verse was a tough task for the monks in those early centuries.
Moreover, Jesus was the worst of the lot. This poor man could not even draw stick figures in the sand and apparently could not be trusted with anything sharp enough to draw with. As the story goes, Jesus would have to play a primitive form of "charades" while his scribes tried to guess his meaning.
Most scholars agree that this is why these books were omitted from the Holy Bible.
Please present your credentials, "Doctor." I smell a PhD in BS.
No most scholars agree that the gnostic books were written by a group of people that were not affiliated with the apostles and the form of Christianity that arose from Jesus himself. Furthermore, the gnostic books were written much later–too late for anyone to take them seriously. Not to mention that they are just weird. Jesus is a ghost like figure that doesn't leave footprints and people try to touch him and his hand passes through. They were rejected because they were ridiculous.
The only historical value that the gnostic gospels have is that they are a glimpse into an early psuedo Christian sect that adopted elements of Christianity and mixed it with eastern religions. They tell us nothing of historical value about Jesus himself. Any historian worth his salt will tell you that.
You would know all this if you were a real scholar.
doesn't matter, in this case, we're talking about whether or not a specific piece of cloth is authentic. which no one knows. because it's never been scientifically examined by anyone. not even the person who found it. there was a recent article about this in the UK news. she claims it is too small to cut a piece off for carbon testing. she says it will ruin the "artifact". i only put it in quotes because at this point there is no evidence that it is real. if it is dated and truly deemed ancient. then we can start discussing the message seriously. until then, it's all academic.
“Substantial reasons would lead us to conclude that the papyrus is actually a clumsy counterfeit. In fact anyhting that is counter to what we believe in must be a clumsy counterfeit.” the Vatican’s newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said in a Friday editorial by the newspaper’s editor.
An editorial written in the Vatican Newspaper does not reflect any official position of the Church. L'Osservatore Romano does not speak for the Vatican.
Whether it is write or wrong, this article is the belief of a guy who wrote in that newspaper. Get your facts straight.
Stop saying "Vatican Says" everytime someone writes in their newspaper. These journalists are just comical.
It seems like any time a person makes an assertion and then has to say "FACT" afterward might as well be saying "Even though I can't prove what I'm saying you better not try to convince me of anything else. If you do I will start crying and stomp my feet!"
Hard to believe a Harvard professor would be involved in something fake. After all, isn't Elizabeth Warren really Cherokee?
Yeah. It's as unbelieveable as those at the Vatican lying
Lying about what? What did the Church do to you to make you hate it so?
There is real irony when the Church calls something FAKE!
This reuters article seems to at least have more details:
thanks for the link ME II....This article is a much better representation of the facts...CNN is pathetic, yet here I am reading their nonsense again lol..
This highlights a problem any honest Christian must confront in their faith. The only books in the bible that talk about anything Jesus did during his life in any detail are the four gospels. The Old Testament obviously doesn't and Paul hardly mentions Jesus' life on Earth (despite the obviously core role Jesus plays in Pauline theology), Acts and Revelations have virtually nothing either.
When it comes to evaluating Jesus' life, we have only the four canonical gospels. AND the oldest versions we have date from the early fourth Century. Between the originals being written and the oldest copies we have, who knows what changes were introduced. We know, for example, that the last 12 verses of Mark are faked, as is the story of Jesus and the adulteress in John. In short, we do not know what the original gospels said – and they are our sole source for information about Jesus.
Second, the originals were written by second or third generation Christians recording events that occurred during the lives of their parents or grandparents. They were written about 35 (Mark), 50 (Luke and Matthew) and 60 (John) years after Jesus died. What are the chances that the originals even accurately recorded his life? Bear in mind that they were written by committed members of (what was then) an obscure religious sect, a demographic hardly known for textural accuracy when recording events about their leaders.
The credibility of what has come down to us today as the 4 canonical gospels would be highly suspect, even in the absence of their extraordinary claims about miracles and other supernatural events (which, by the way, were consistent with other such claims being made for other people in the region at the time). When that is factored in, any thinking person would seemingly have to dismiss the gospels as being accurate records of Jesus' life.
I think the depiction in the gospels of the interactions between Jesus and the Jewish religious establishment of his day may have captured something genuine.
Do you so easily discard the oral traditions of societies to which you are not philosophically opposed?
Generally, hearsay is unreliable.
What of the deuterocanonical texts?
Bill Deacon: "Do you so easily discard the oral . . ."
Well certainly Oral Roberts – for sure...
Bill – of course. Oral "traditions" are called "traditions" for a reason. The liklihood is that the stories associated with Jesus were embellished to the mythical dimension they now have as they swirled around the Mediterranean for a few generations. This was a religious sect swapping tales about their executed leader in the late Iron Age Mediterranean region.
And what do you think they add, Doc? With the possible (and disputed) exception of the infancy gospel of Thomas, they post date MMLJ, no? And, generally, they contain even more implausible claims, no?
Perhaps you're missing the point?
Considering told the disciples to go out and teach the word.
The message was more important than the messanger.
And perhaps why we see, the fanatical belief of Muslims that Mohammed was the only true prophet
instead of a Warlord spreading a message of submission.
And while he proved to the world who he was at the crucifixion, his message well outlasted his 32-33 years.
A message of faith and freedom is going to carry more weight than one that requires the point of a sword.
Put's a bit of perspective on it.
The Old Testament is full of prophecies (Isaiah for example) that coudl be about no one ofther than Jesus. The New testatment is a fullfillment of the Old. The Gospel is not an account of His Life, but the Message of how He wants us to live. As for the accuracy of the Gospels, let's not forget that His Mother lived in St. John's house after the crucifixtion/resurrection and decribed the early life of Her Son to the Apostles. Who would know Him better than Her?
Martin Luther deleted them from the Bible and a lot of Protestants don't know they exist, much less read them. They disagreed with Luther's opinions of theology so out they went. He also tried to get rid of Relevation and change the wording of a couple others to support his Faith Alone idea.
Hey Jack! just got into DIY over here for my vaping needs. I orerded some cinnamon red hot flavoring from perfumers apprentice. When i mixed up my batch (20% flavoring, 50/50 VG/PG, 12 mg), the entire mix turned cloudy (immediate). The site says their cinnamon red hot flavoring is water soluble. Do you know what could be causing this?
Creepy thrashing nags.
In other news, the National Big Foot Organization declared the most recent findings of Sasquatch foot prints to be fake.
Did you hear the one about the Canadian that minded its own F'n business?
You won't the ass hole thinks its opinion is relevant to someone somewhere. News flash to doc vestipuke if your opinion was worth something your own country could use it as it is no one needs your bull sh it.
Dodney, did you hear the one about the useless little sh!t that never contributed anything to the conversation?
Hello Cap'n Sayin' Atheism Isn't an Angry Pervert Rangerfield
I see you've ceased assigning your distinctive polemics to their respective usernames.
You've become a lazy troll, sir.
You LIE! Big foot is not, nor has he ever been, married! ...
The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:
"Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
"Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degnerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"tina" deganerates to:
"captain america" degnerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"nope" degnerates to:
"2357" degenerates to:
"WOW" degnerates to:
"fred" degnerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
"pervert alert" or "...."
and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this ho mophobe as
the disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".
I wouldn't call Rodney lazy, very insightful and truthful, brutally honest but accurate.
A never disproven idea is that the Sasquatch are Nephilim:
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
"We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
"A never disproven idea is that the Sasquatch are Nephilim"
And a never proven idea are Sasquatch. Nice try Chad, you dishonest ignorant troll.
They declare the fragment a fake but venerate dozens of saints on account of highly improbable "miracles". Typical.
All I will say on this is investigate the miracles and try to explain them yourself.
Prayer changes things
"Prayer changes things"
Proof please. Randomized controlled trials.
You are here.
Please don't feed the prayer troll.
Not to worry we all will avoid you, phony jesus / hal / truth be trolled and all your other names
I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".
I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:
I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
by the Alzheimer's Disease Society
Not that it really matters either way, but I wonder what these "Substantial reasons" were? The article didn't seem to say.
There is most likely only one reason ( at least at this point as they couldn't possibly have run tests on it yet) and that is it doesn't agree with the story in the bible.
The 'Substantial' reasons were that the Pope said it was a fake.
"Watson, who has previously worked on identifying forged gospels, said it was likely to be an ancient blank fragment that was written over in the 20th or 21st century by a forger seeking to make money."
I would have thought that particular scenario would be fairly easy to spot. Mainly new ink, or ink absorption. Oh well.
He's only speculating though. He doesn't know for sure.
Lol, someone else posted when this topic first came up that it looked like it was written with a Sharpie. Wouldn't it be hilarious if that was the case?
This fragment, this new piece of papyrus evidence, does not prove that (Jesus) was married, nor does it prove that he was not married,”
Exactly. Why is it such a big deal, that even in the 4th century there were people who thought Jesus was married? They still lived hundreds of years after he died! I think the Vatican could have just ignored the whole thing and it would have been a lot less damaging to the Catholic reputation. We didnt't know, we still don't know and we might never know for sure whether Jesus was married. So what?
On what grounds is the Vatican calling this a fake? Did they get the piece of papyrus and test it in some way? What evidence points to it being a fake, or real, what ever the case may be?
I expect some supernatural being personally told Pope-a-Dope that it was a fake.
Agreed. For the Vatican to claim "fake" without scientific backing makes me think that they are very worried about the real findings. It would have been safer to say that nothing is determinable by incomplete words on a 1.5" X 3" papyrus scrap, or that it is irrelevant because it is not supported by canon. Then again, this could just be the media twisting words.
They have been calling anything they didn't put in the bible fake for 1700 years. Why stop now?
The idea that Jesus was married is nothing new – particularly from Coptic sources.
While the notion of a married Jesus has lots of theological implications for the carefully constructed house of cards that is Catholic doctrine, I'm surprised that they see this piece of appocrypha as any different to countless other writings designated as appocrypha through the ages.
The 'modern' church is careful to distance itself from many so called 'relics'. For example, it not recognize the authenticity of claims made of the shroud of Turin, saying that at best this, like so many other relics, inspires devotion.
Clearly the fragment belongs with all the other fakes the Vatican collects.
I'm sorry, I meant "canon", not "fakes".
If some Italian Muslims pulled a Libyan Embassy move on the Vatican, and crammed an RPG up that Christian Fascist Pope's rear end I would give serious thought to converting to Islam
You'd have to or you'd be next
Oh man, that would be the start of another 30 Years' War between Christianity and Islam and that would be horrendous. As amusing as it sounds at first glance, no thanks.
And here was me thinking that the Thirty Years' War was fought between Catholic states and Protestant states! ;)
I was making a comparison. I'm not an idiot.
Just because you knew you were making a comparison doesn't prove you aren't an idiot.
Why am I not surprised that you would agree with radical Islamic terrorists?
Lol, true. Let me clarify: I'm not an idiot when it comes to religious warfare.
T'was but a pun, no assertions of idiocy were implied intentionally or otherwise.
OH good you got the joke 8)
The RCC is basically fake so what else is new.
Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.
The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".
Current RCC problems:
Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!
The Roman Catholic Church did not invent atonement. That was the Jews, i.e. Passover, and the Chruch continued the tradition.
They also did not invent Sin, that was the snake/serpent in the Garden of Eden. If you don't belive in Original Sin how do you explain Baptism?
There is probably no greater expert on fake religious items than the RCC, given the number of their relics that have been proven to be fakes, and the most massive fake there is – The Babble!
The Bible isn't fake. It's fiction. There's a difference.
I agree The Babble is fiction. It also is a fake in that it is allegded to be the word of some god.
Why would the Vatican go out on a limb to claim that it's a fake unless there is something to it? Wouldn't it be safer to claim – accurately, no less – that nothing is determinable by an incomplete scrap?
As is sometimes noted disparagingly, the Church is often slow to make pronouncements on suspected relics and icons. Sober judgement requires consideration so for a public announcement to be made indicates that there is veracity behind it. I'd like to keep tabs on the story and see what the scientific community has to say ultimately. But that won't happen. As the truth comes out and supports the Vatican's side, the story will simply go off radar. Who lit that mosque fire in Joplin anyway?
what's your implication with the Mosque fire in Joplin? That it has moved beyond its 15 minutes of fame in the 24 spin cycle that consitutes 'news'? Was there ever any likelihood that the local country sheriff was going to round up the good ol' boys of Joplin who committed this crime (assuming it was in fact arson again)?
@Bill Deacon: "indicates that there is veracity behind it"
Wait, so I'm to evaluate whether the fragment is authentic or not based on the fact that the Church hierarchy is deliberate on such matters? Trust us, we take our time, you know?
I guess I'm a bit slow today, what are you trying to imply by the reference to the Joplin Mosque burning?
"My Wife... I do not have one"
"My Wife.. is my dog"
"My wife.. If I ever find one, will really have to like Tai Food."
"My Wife... he is always good to me"
why am i not surprised that the vatican would throw their two cents in. lmfao
Why not? You did.
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Check your meds.
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.