home
RSS
'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article
A scholarly article based on the 'Jesus Wife' fragment was delayed as researchers waited on further testing.
January 3rd, 2013
02:30 PM ET

'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - One of the most anticipated articles in religion circles will be absent from the pages of the January edition of the Harvard Theological Review. Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King's final article on the "Jesus wife" fragment did not make the scholarly journal because further testing on the Coptic papyrus fragment has not been finished.

King announced the findings of the 1.5-by-3 inch, honey-colored fragment in September at the International Association for Coptic Studies conference in Rome. In a draft version of the article submitted for publication in the January edition, King and her co-author said the scrap had written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife," but was then cut off.

King said the fragment dates to the 4th century but could be a copy of an early gospel from the 2nd century.  King and her research partners dubbed the hypothetical text "the Gospel of Jesus' Wife."

Despite King's insistence, the discovery did not prove anything definitive on the marital status of Jesus.

The announcement of the papyrus scrap exploded in the media.

"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 [Jesus] was married or not," King told reporters in a conference call from Rome in September.

5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'

A dealer took the fragment to King for analysis and translation in 2011. The dealer wishes to remain anonymous, she said.

"We're moving ahead with the testing, but it is not yet complete, and so the article will await until we have the results," King said in an email to CNN.

"The owner of the fragment has been making arrangements for further testing and analysis of the fragment, including testing by independent laboratories with the resources and specific expertise necessary to produce and interpret reliable results. This testing is still underway," Kathyrn Dodgson, director of communications for the Harvard Divinity School, said in a email to CNN.

"Harvard Theological Review is planning to publish Professor King’s paper after conclusion of all the testing so that the results may be incorporated," Dodgson said. "Until testing is complete, there is nothing more to say at this point."

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

In her original article King explained how a papyrus expert had dated the fragment to the right time frame and how an expert on Coptic linguistics said the grammar seemed to fit the time period, as well.  But what was untested in the early goings was the ink used on the papyrus.

Elaine Pagels, a professor from Princeton University who is an expert on gnostic writings such as this one, noted to CNN in September "You can find boxes filled with Coptic fragments," but what makes this one significant is for the first time it explicitly has Jesus referring to "my wife."

Faking antiquities is not uncommon, which is part of the reason so many critics questioned the authenticity of a text that potentially went against nearly every other ancient text concerning Jesus. Other scholars refused to comment on the find until the full battery of testing could be completed.

“The academic community has been badly burned,” Douglas A. Campbell, an associate professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School said in September, noting how similar discoveries have turned out to be fakes.  The provenance of the document, "the history of where it came from and how they got it,” was a great concern to Campbell and other academics.

The Vatican newspaper weighed in on the matter in late September mincing no words and calling the fragment “a fake.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

On the day King announced the fragment, the Smithsonian channel announced it had been working with King for months on a documentary about the find and the authentication process.  It had been slated to air in early October but was pulled back.

Tom Hayden, general manager of the Smithsonian channel, said in a statement in October  the delay "will enable us to present a richer and more complete story. We will be announcing a new premiere date in the coming weeks."

No announcement has been made as to when the premier will happen.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Vatican

soundoff (1,768 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Some people will try anything to turn us away from the son of God, but keep strong! Jesus is the only son of God! Keep faith!

    January 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Huh?

      The true son of God is Mithra! All hail Mithra!

      Mithra
      Was born of a virgin on December 25th, in a cave, attended by shepherds
      Was considered a great traveling teacher and master
      Had 12 companions or disciples
      Promised his followers immortality
      Performed miracles
      Sacrificed himself for world peace
      Was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again
      Was celebrated each year at the time of His resurrection (later to become Easter)
      Was called "the Good Shepherd"
      Was identified with both the Lamb and the Lion
      Was considered to be the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah."
      Celebrated Sunday as His sacred day (also known as the "Lord's Day,")
      Celebrated a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper"

      January 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Huh?: Mithra became associated with a virgin birth hundreds of years after the birth of Christ.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry, Susan. My parents raised me to be honest and to seek the truth. I can't force myself to believe in a "god" for which there isn't a shred of evidence.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @tallulah13: This universe is composed of matter, energy and time. Creations of these were the first acts by God in the story of creation. So, there is evidence, you just choose to ignore it.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Tallulah, your parents didn't raise you to seek the truth. They raised you to be skeptical of something unless someone else proved it to you.

      The precursor to meeting Christ is obedience to his word. If you are not willing to seek Him and follow Him, you will not meet Him. That's okay with me if that's your choice. But you can't rightly call it seeking the truth.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Huh?

      " Mithra became associated with a virgin birth hundreds of years after the birth of Christ."

      Why do Christians lie? Mithraism existed long before your religion.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Sorry Tallulah, but you failed to live up to what your parents taught you. The evidence is, in fact, overwhelming. Start with Evidence That Demands A Verdict and The Case For Christ – see if you can refute the evidence they present (no one else has).

      January 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Brian Smith

      They say that the Universe must have come from somewhere, so it must be from God, then who created God?

      January 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Live4Him: Your ignorance is not proof of god.

      Bill: Your personal belief does not equate to truth. Truth requires proof, and there is no proof that your god exists.

      The Truth: I have neither the time nor the interest in reading propaganda by christian apologists, but fortunately others have done the refuting for me. It was easy to find with a google search.

      http://www.bidstrup.com/apologetics.htm
      http://users.iems.northwestern.edu/~hazen/McDowellRebuttal.html

      That you want to believe something doesn't make it the truth. There is no evidence for the existence for your god, or for any god. Sorry.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Rev Foistus Uponyou

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      Huh?

      The true son of God is Mithra! All hail Mithra!

      Mithra
      Was born of a virgin on December 25th, in a cave, attended by shepherds
      Was considered a great traveling teacher and master
      Had 12 companions or disciples
      Promised his followers immortality
      Performed miracles
      Sacrificed himself for world peace
      Was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again
      Was celebrated each year at the time of His resurrection (later to become Easter)
      Was called "the Good Shepherd"
      Was identified with both the Lamb and the Lion
      Was considered to be the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah."
      Celebrated Sunday as His sacred day (also known as the "Lord's Day,")
      Celebrated a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper"

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      Horus.
      The Jesus story has been passed down time and time again, and they still
      buy into the same old tired garbage.

      One age ends, and another one starts, so they change the name
      and recycle the same story.

      There are no gods.
      The human race is the result of alien DNA tampering.
      We are an "experiment".
      We are a slave race.

      Your masters shoved "God" down your throats and you swallowed.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  2. Live4Him

    @lifelonghockeyfan: Then where DOES matter, energy and time come from? Did magic create it? An "I don't know" answer opens the possibility that God created it,

    January 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • the AnViL

      possibility?

      how probable is it? be specific.

      ch'ch'chaaaaaaa

      January 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @the AnViL: This is a single point, which won't allow the probability to be very high. However, if all the points were addressed, then the probability becomes almost a certainty.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      Really? So everything that we do not know was done by God? Read up on "the God of the gaps" It's a bad argument. Every time we learn more about how things really work in nature, God gets a little smaller and the argument for His existence gets a little more convoluted. If it is true that "I don't know" opens up the possibility for God, so it opens up the possibility for aliens (wonder if they know about God?) and as many other unsupported options that anyone can think of.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      there are two possibilities either He exists or He doesn't. The probability of His existence is only a math game. You can construct any probability argument you want. That doesn't make it real.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Really??

      it opens the door for thousands of possibilities. Doesn't mean that you should then jump to conclusions. Believing in one out of the thousands of possibilities, is illogical.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      and... I don't know where you are. That doesn't open up the possibility that you are on Mars.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • mike

      Opens the possibility that ALIENS created more likely..

      January 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • the AnViL

      ok then it should be a simple matter for you to provide a rudimentary model – at least.... supporting your claim.

      just list a few these "points"... addressing them in only a basic manner – which will provide for any probability....

      January 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      Of course we don't know. Of course that leaves the door open for a creator. It also leaves the door open to sparkly unicorns that belch fire - we don't know. The crack in the door could be anything. Then you need to decide: will you fence sit, will you chalk it up to magic, or will you side with the likelihood of an answer one day coming from the same mechanism that defines everything else we *do* know about our reality: science.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Did magic create it?'

      no, which is why we dont believe in god.

      January 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  3. Ryan Cameron

    Millions have lived and died by what this man allegedly did or did not do with his penis.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Petercha

      Ryan, while there have been those who have used religion as an excuse to fight a war, I've never heard that particular variation. Do you have any sources on that?

      January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ryan Cameron

      This article would be non news if it didnt matter at all what Christ did with his penis. Must I spell it out? Seriously...its pretty obvious.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • frank

      Or he could have been a hermaphrodite.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Petercha

      Ryan, this fragment was only discovered recently. How could millions have "lived and died" in such a short period of time?

      January 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  4. Live4Him

    Which takes more faith?
    a) God created matter, energy and time (i.e. Genesis 1:1-4)
    b) Scientists don't know where matter, energy and time came from, but God doesn't exist.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Which is more likely:

      1) Live4Him is a troll
      2) Live4Him loves Straw Men arguments.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      b doesn't require any faith at all. Scientists don't have to fill the gaps in their knowledge with God.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • OOO

      Anything that assumes a supernatral being exists takes more faith, in my book.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @hawaiiguest: Ad hominem don't carry any weight. NEXT!

      January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • the AnViL

      a) God created matter, energy and time (i.e. Genesis 1:1-4)

      you can't believe a) without a megaton of faith – because faith is defined as a held belief in the absence of evidence – and even contradictory evidence.

      good question!

      January 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Live4Him

      An ad hominem would be if I said that your comment isn't worth answering because your an ignorant fundie.
      What I posted was part satire of your post, and also because I can't tell which you really are.
      If you're going to cite logical fallacies, at least make sure it's applicable.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • little timmy

      I saw Live4Him on a bumper sticker once. My daddy said people who have those cars talk to themselves too much.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Dulcimer172

      Not knowing the answer doesn't require ANY faith, unless you are in the fairy story business. The rest will investigate, form theories & test them out.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Live4Him

      Nothing more to say? I guess my question was answered then.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      answer – a
      it takes more faith to say it was magic and spells and supernatural stuff than to say b – we dont know but it sure wasnt magic.

      January 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  5. saibbias

    I mean... if you really think about it... Jesus is the most popular/celebrated zombie (died and came back to life) ever. Maybe all these zombie apocalypse predictions is actually the Second Coming! mind blown.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      "mind blown by pellet gun." There, fixed that for ya.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Faith and Peace

      You just blew my mind.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Ryan Cameron

      Christians sure love their guns.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      While a religious person may see anything with a religious slant, the current invasion of zombies is based on our fear of disease. Horror movies often reflect the fear of the times. In the 50's there were nuclear monsters, the 60's and 70's saw fear of homogenization and satanic cults. Serial killers were next, torture movies while we were at war, etc...

      While the earliest crop of zombie movies were simply unexplained "return of the dead" movies, subsequent zombie flicks "needed a reason" to bring folks back. A suitable reason was found in disease. Zombie movies went through the "fast zombie" phase where the disease was aggressive violence instead of lumbering. With "Walking Dead" TV show it is an infection everyone has that only kicks in upon death.

      There isn't anything religious about it.... yet. But your idea is intriguing, and while I deplore religion, it could make an interesting movie to find the zombie hoards are a second coming. Of course you know, if that were the case, the happy ending would have to be Bruce Willis killing god so life could return to normal!

      January 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  6. Dsessom

    Faith is just that – belief without evidence. Nobody can change your views except YOU. I personally went on a 10 year "journey", studying theologies throughout the world and history and concluded that all were mythology. But, to many, their faith is a very real and important part of their lives and as long as they aren't hurting or killing others because of their ideology, I see nothing wrong with it. My only issue with believers is that many look down atheists/agnostics, and feel that a person cannot be moral without religion.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Buck

      It's a two way street. Many atheists/agnostics have very low opinions of people that are religious. People in the end simply have difficulty accepting different ideas and beliefs.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Petercha

      Many atheists look down on religious people, too. I read lots of it in blogs like these, in fact.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      Better described as delusion:
      from reference(dot)com
      delusion, false belief based upon a misinterpretation of reality. It is not, like a hallucination, a false sensory perception, or like an illusion, a distorted perception. ... They also occur frequently among individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, or schizophrenia, and during the manic stage of bipolar disorder (see depression). Some common delusions include persecutory delusions, in which the individual falsely believes that others are plotting against him; delusions of thought broadcasting, where the individual believes his thoughts can be transmitted to others; delusions of thought insertion, in which the individual believes that thoughts are being implanted in his mind;...
      Thought broadcasting = prayer
      Thuught insertion = hearing God

      January 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Wrong. Faith is the same a "scientific conclusions". It takes empirical evidence to cover some of the distance and then the final "jump" to the conclusions reached based upon the evidence.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Buck

      @lifelonghockeyfan
      I suggest you look up the definition of intolerance.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      @lLive4Him said, " Faith is the same a "scientific conclusions"." You obviously don't know thing one about scientific conclusions. stick to faith – "I believe because I want to believe and fact has nothing to do with it."

      January 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      @ Buck I suggest you look up fantasy. I don't have to tolerate anyone's fantasies especially when they use that fantasy as a platform to tell me (or anyone else) how to live. While you are at it, be sure not to work on Sunday – you will certainly be killed (Exodus). The books of the Bible are the source material that believers pick and choose from.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @lifelonghockeyfan: You obviously don't know anything about the Bible.The Bible presents extensive signs (i.e. evidence" to the people in those days to prove the message came from God. Why do you ignore this evidence?

      January 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • OOO

      @Live4Him,
      Science and faith are not the same, they are actually pretty much opposites.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Petercha

      Hockeyfan, I don't see anyone in here telling you how to live. And your reference to Exodus does not apply to Gentile Christians (who are the majority of Christians). Look up Acts 21:25.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      Well Petercha, pick and choose. No one in here, that is correct. I was taking a little larger view.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      Live4Him – "extensive evidence" I think you need to look up what evidence is. If that were the case, there would be no need to "believe" would there? I'm reminded of a commercial I saw yesterday "I read it on the internet and everything on the internet is true." " Where did you read that?" "On the internet" – Nonsense isn't it?

      January 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Petercha

      Hockeyfan, did you read the scripture that I referred to you? The Bible itself says that the verse you referenced from Exodus does not apply to us Gentile Christians.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Reality

    With or without a Jesus-wife:

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Buck

      You honestly expect someone to read all of this?

      January 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • saibbias

      can i get the cliff notes to that comment?

      January 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Kevin

      I read it all and it was very interesting.

      As eloquent a writer as the previous Pope was, and certainly as eloquent a writer as the current Pope is, their theosiphizing has the same critical defect Acquianas's had: it os based on faith alone. There is nothing objective that proves any of it is true. Unlike some other religions and philosphies, it the Pope's Christianity is completely depenent on hihstorical facts that do not exist. Orthodox Catholicism, and most Christianity, would mean so much more if the crux of it had less to do with physical impossibilities.

      Why does a savior need to have done something supernatural (rose from the dead) to be a savior? Were Jesus' examples, teachings, and sacrifices not enough for people? Christians have decided that Jesus' teachings are only meaningful because he rose from the dead. If he didn't rise from the dead would Jesus just be another philosopher to Christians?

      These are some of the questions that I have never been able to get over regarding Christianity. It doesn't make any sense. The majority of Christians have not experienced anything that proves to them there is a reason to believe what they believe. They just cling to it because it's "normal," or "mainstream," or because it's what they were taught when they were infants.

      I am not saying Christians are idiots. I am just saying that their beliefs would be a lot more justifiable if they had some kind of experience that proves beyond any doubt that their belieifs are true. Don't blindly follow something just because you were raised on it. Go find the truth as it pertains to your mind. Be a light unto yourself.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Todd

      @Kevin...nice post. I disagree with you on one thing. Christians ARE idiots. You're just being nice. You have to be an idiot to buy into all of that nonsense. Anybody with half a brain doesn't really believe all of it. They just say they do because of tradition and they're smart enough to know that thier careers would be severly altered if they spoke the truth. Yes, I've grown cynical. Also, speaking of the Pope. He should be in jail for crimes against humanity. If you or I protected child abusers as much as he did we would be somebody's boy toy doing hard time. Don't even get me started on the Catholic Church.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Kevin

      Todd,

      I hear you, and we have the same perspective. I can't make any sense of why they think or believe what they think or believe. It makes no sense. My stance would soften a bit if they based their beliefs on some uncontestable experience they had, even if they couldn't prove it to me, and feeling emotionally moved during a Christmas church service doesn't count.

      I feel moved when 500 people hol candles and sing "Silent Night" night too, but it's not because of the holy spirit. It's because it reminds me of when I was a kid sitting doing the same thing with my parents and it all seemed so magical and wonderful, although it didn't make sense to me then either. The feeling is one of togetherness, of giving to others, of being around people who love you, of feeling like I want to help people. It is not something other than that. If it is, there is no way to tell.

      I wish Christians (and all theists) the best. I dont' call for them to abandon their religion just because it doesn't make sense to me. I just think they'd be a whole lot happier if they actually had a reason to believe what they believe. Unfortunately, most of them don't.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Reality

      “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today
      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:22 am |
  8. Petercha

    The majority of the New Testament was written by eye witnesses of Jesus, and some of the manuscripts date to the first century. The "Jesus' Wife" manuscript, on the other hand, dates to around 400 AD – and is thus much less credible.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      "The majority of the New Testament was written by eye witnesses of Jesus" This makes you one of one on that topic. I suppose the earth is 1,000 years old too.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Really??

      You forgot...alleged eyewitness, and written decades after he was alleged to exist

      January 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Petercha

      Not so, hockeyfan. You need to read up on the canonization of scripture if that's what you think. And your last sentence makes no sense at all.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Petercha

      Check out the histories written by Josephus and other non-biblical sources if you think Jesus did not exist, Really.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Petercha:
      "Check out the histories written by Josephus and other non-biblical sources if you think Jesus did not exist,"

      Josephus (and others) only reported what the early Christians claimed about their super-hero.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Petercha

      Not so in all cases, Frayed. Some of the contemporary accounts are rabbinical writings composed by those who opposed Jesus – they didn't like Him, but they did not deny that He existed.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Todd

      Maybe Jesus did exist but that doesn't mean he walked on water, turned water into wine, came back from the dead and all the other fairy tale BS that Christians have been eating up for centuries. Come on now, really. Do you REALLY believe all this bible nonsense?? Get over it. You're going to die some day and there's no heaven as described in the bible. Who knows what happens to you? Maybe it goes black and that's it. Or maybe there's some mystical, magical next life. If the latter we need to be grown up enough to accept that humans have no way of knowing what it could possibly be like until it happens. So in the meantime, let's focus our spiritual energy on solving the problems of humanity and stop praying to a sky fairy to intervene. And yes, I'm critical of Christians becasue the zealots of the bunch continue to push the orthodoxy on us every single day. It's getting old. There is a new awakening happening in this world and it's about time.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Really??

      Most historians (religious or not) cannot say wether he did or did not exist.

      The best they can do is agree he probably did. Doesn't chnage the fact that the stories about him were written decades after he allegedly existed, through much heresay, and story embelishment. To believe it outright defies logic.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Petercha

      Todd – Are you sure that you want to wait until after you die to find out there's no hell? If I am wrong, then I have spent a lifetime doing good deeds because of the teachings of Jesus, but then I die and go on to... nothing. On the other hand, if you are wrong, then if you choose not to believe and follow the teachings of Jesus, you will suffer for eternity. Are you willing to take that gamble?

      January 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Todd

      @Petercha. Yes, I'm willing to take that gamble. I don't need to believe in religious teachings to be a good human being, to be ethical, to treat people with respect, etc. Jesus' teachings of being good people are great. The problem is all the other hocus pocus story telling that goes along with it. So, IF there is a hell I'm confident that I will not be going there. And if believing in Jesus is a requirement no matter how good I am then....(i can't even finish that sentence becasue it's a rediculous thought).

      Maybe you need all of this to cope with the world and deal with dying. I don't know. But I do know this, religion is holding mankind back from much greater potential. It's a tool of repression and mind control. We don't need it.

      It is incredibly egotistic of humans to believe we are the center of the universe and that we have figured out exactly why we are here, who created us, how he did it and what happens after we die. It is not possible for us to know. The mysteries of the universe are beyond the mental capabilities of our brains. Any religious based attempt at explaining it is just make believe.

      So Petercha, good luck to you. Maybe we'll meet us some day in heaven and have a cold beer.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • My goodness but you’re stupid

      These are books whose authors never identify themselves. … None of the Gospels tells us the name of its author. Only later did Christians call them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and later scribes then added these names to the book t1tles.

      Ehrman, Bart D. (2011-03-22). Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (p. 23)

      January 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      The entirety of the bible is a fraud. The paper makes decent spitballs and kindling however.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'If I am wrong, then I have spent a lifetime doing good deeds because of the teachings of Jesus, but then I die and go on to... nothing. On the other hand, if you are wrong, then if you choose not to believe and follow the teachings of Jesus, you will suffer for eternity.'

      why oh why do people that try to make that argument always ignore the 3rd option....there is a god but it isnt the one you are worshipping either and you are just as s crewed as the rest of us?

      January 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • What IF

      Petercha,
      " If I am wrong, then I have spent a lifetime doing good deeds because of the teachings of Jesus, but then I die and go on to... nothing. On the other hand, if you are wrong, then if you choose not to believe and follow the teachings of Jesus, you will suffer for eternity. Are you willing to take that gamble?"

      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century, even by the Church.

      – What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      – What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      – What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      January 4, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  9. hubert39

    Jesus's wife. Which Jesus? Jesus was a common name back then. If I find an old letter written by a man named George, can I say it belonged to George Washington?
    So Jesus was married. Isn't everything we read in the Bible, hear say. God said this, and God said that. Jesus said this and Jesus said that. Do we trust the people who wrote this?

    January 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Dave

    Jesus married Mary of Magdala, known as Miriamne, they had one child we know of, Joshua.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  11. Julie

    Atleast 200 billion planets in our galaxy. Atleast 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Still millions upon millions of intellectually challenged people on this planet think some guy named Jesus and his invisible dad created all of it. I would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think it would be kind of cute. Not exactly as the Christians portray it, but I'd like to be someones lab experiment...good story.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Petercha

      What's really sad is that you apparently don't believe in Jesus, but came in here to be intolerant and hateful anyway.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Buck

      Why is it so difficult to just respect the beliefs of other people? You don't have to agree with them, but seriously act a little more mature please. I'm not religious, but you won't see me going around and bashing people that are religious. It's my experience that the only people that criticize the beliefs of others are in fact unsure of their own beliefs.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Julie

      @Buck, you say you aren't religous but I believe thats untrue. Otherwise you wouldn't be so offended by a simply statement of fact. As for the future you should try not asking people to relinquish their opinions. It's shows your level of immaturity.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Todd

      @Buck...For years I did just what you are suggesting, i.e. don't judge people for believing what they believe. But things have changed in this country over the past 15 – 20 years. The Christians have become more over the top. If they stayed in their churches and left the rest of us alone that would be great. Instead they want to tell us how to live our lives. They want to change our laws to reflect the teachings from fairy tales. And what about my beliefs. Do you think i can openly walk around talking about my lack of belief in God and Jesus without being judged? Not likely. So, the War on Religion couldn't have come at a better time.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  12. johnsmith2222

    http://theconspiratorknoxville.blogspot.com/

    January 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  13. mklsgl

    It would be ideal if someone without a financial stake in this was doing the study and verification. Also, even if proven to be the "genuine article," that doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't a fictional text.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  14. tiredofthisstory

    Has anyone stopped to ask how many people in that time were named Jesus? This could be about someone else named Jesus. It was like naming your kid "John" back then.

    January 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  15. trollol

    Whether or not the jesus character had a wife makes no real difference. Atheists will still be atheists and the religious nut jobs will still be religious nut jobs. After all is said and done, nothing will change!

    January 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  16. Decency costs Nothing

    The New Testament was written by 4 eye witnesses using first hand knowledge – having lived, worked with and been taught by Jesus. One of the 4 – John – stood at the foot of the cross with His mother Mary as He died. THIS is the truth.

    Something that was written 400 years after Jesus' death is hardly credible is it? Concentrate on the BASIS of Christianity and how we should be living instead of all these minor distractions!

    January 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      There is no reason to objectively attribute the gospels to the names put on them by the early church. Merely stating that they are doesn't make it so. The earliest scraps from any of the gospels has been dated (even by the most conservative scholars) as being from 60-70 C.E. Keep in mind that these are just scraps, and cannot be reasonably used to determine actual authorship.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Joe

      Unfortunately, that is not correct. Even according to early church tradition, at best, 2 were written by eyewitnesses (Matthew and John). Luke (a Greek who converted years after Jesus' death) was written by a colleague of Paul and Mark, who probably received his information from Peter, was probably not an 'eyewitness' to Jesus.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Medician145

      "This is the truth"? How definitive! How do you know? Were you there, too?

      January 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Bet

      Did they finally find the signed first editions of the NT? No? Then you don't have eyewitness testimony. All you have is hearsay, written by unknown authors who may or may not have known Jeebus.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Eyewitnesses

      As someone who respects and believes in the Bible, I am chagrined by your characterization of the four gospels as being written by four eyewitnesses. Two of the four, by their own account and the internal evidence, are not written by eyewitnesses but by those who have interviewed eyewitnesses: Mark and Luke. This doesn't even take into account any of the source or form critical methodologies of the last couple centuries. Even the most traditional and conservative Christian reader would not say that the gospels are all written by eyewitnesses.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • lifelonghockeyfan

      I assume you are talking about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Bible scholars all agree that:
      1. These were not written by anyone named "Matthew, "Mark", Luke" or "John", and
      2. they were not written by eye witnesses, and
      3. they were not written even in the same generation as when Christ lived.
      Anyone who can read can determine that they do not even agree on what happened when Jesus was born, where he was born or what happened at the crucifixion.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'THIS is the truth'

      no its not, you couldnt even come close to claiming it as 'truth'. Best you could do is say 'this is what i believe is true'

      January 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  17. Joe Prov

    That is silly. Records from that period are spotty at best :)

    January 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  18. hal 9001

    I'm sorry, "Jenny", but your assertion about my truth value assigned for "truth be told"'s assertions pertained to atheism, not Christianity. If you would like to discuss a truth value that I have assigned in another article or line of discussion, "Jenny", then I'm afraid you'll have to reference that specific article and line of discussion in order for me to help illuminate your misunderstanding. Using my IEE module, "Jenny", I'm afraid I have to assign a truth value of "TOTAL FAIL" for your assertion since you missed the point.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • hal 9001

      (I have posted this here as well, "Jenny", for your convenience, since comments for this article are rapidly accumulating.)

      January 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      Oh, shut up.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Hollywood ForeignPR

      Shut up yourself, HollywoodPR.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  19. mana

    This just shows how religions are based on pure speculation..

    January 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      This just shows that you make enormous leaps of unsound logic based upon the smallest of articles.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Hollywood ForeignPR

      I agree with mana

      January 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • David

      or by faith Mana

      January 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Medician145

      Faith in absurd fairy tales.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • mana

      All cultures have faith in their different beliefs.. What makes your faith better than someone else's?
      I suggest that the religious people here get a little more unbiased education. You should read Joseph Campbell to get out of the cave and see the sun.

      January 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  20. Believer

    Israel and the church are referred to as the "bride of Christ"in the Holy Bible, and thus could be referred to as his wife, spiritually. How can you qualify yourselves as critics and scholars?

    January 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bet

      The bible also refers to a flat earth and says that bats are birds. Not spiritually, but literally.

      Please enlighten us as to your own scholarly background.

      January 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      if you read the rest of the inscription you can see he was not talking about the church but about a person.

      January 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.