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Newly revealed Coptic fragment has Jesus making reference to 'my wife'
September 18th, 2012
03:28 PM ET

Newly revealed Coptic fragment has Jesus making reference to 'my wife'

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.

Read this story in Arabic

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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Jesus

soundoff (4,539 Responses)
  1. slaythedonkey

    EDon't get off track here! It is the radical muslims that need to be focused on, not some cryptic message like this!

    September 19, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  2. Reality

    Married? So what? It does not change the following:

    – only for the new members of this blog:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    September 19, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • myway

      There's a question, if the Jesus story has any truth at all, if he was born into poverty or not. New archeological research has it that Galilee may have been a thriving place due to a large influx of wealthy Greek immigrants. It would explain why Jesus knew the Greek language and therefore may have had knowledge of Greek philosophy, such as cynicism and other factions (not to mention that he was supposed to have lived in Egypt for some time in his youth). Greeks and others moved to Galilee escaping roman taxation because the region was not entirely integrated into the roman empire. That's why Jesus was relatively safe as long as he limited his teachings to Galilee. It could also mean being a carpenter was a lucrative business due to a healthy pace of upper end home building. Once Jesus entered Jerusalem, which was firmly under roman control, well, we all know what happened then.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  3. Evenstar13

    I wonder, why do athiests even bother with CNN's Belief page? I mean they don't belive in God, so why bother with a page that deals with peoples faith?

    September 19, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • John

      why are you writting about and making a post focusing on atheists on a beliefs page?

      ouch.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Chat Pata

      Don't tell me you didn't like fairy tales when you were little. When we grow up, we replace fairy tales with religion. It is all about fun for us. That is why I read Greco-Roman Mythology, Geetas, Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) Greek Bible (New Testament), Arabic Bible (Koran), Punjabi Bible (Garanth Sahab) and even American Bible (Book of Mormons). I enjoy but just don't believe it.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  4. ViK100

    I believe what's in the Gospel. Jesus was married to the Church. Period.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Rem1061

      Yeah, to bad that the bible leaves out all of the "gospels" that didn't/don't agree with what the Pope wants the world to see and know. Remember the story of Daniel in the lions den? Try the Gospel of Mary where she is thrown to the lions, Daniel wasn't squat compared to that. But the "Church" didn't want Mary’s message spread around because it empowered women and that just was not on. The Bible as we know it was put together to control not to enlighten.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  5. MichalS

    The name Joshua (Jesus) was pretty common in those times. How do they know it's about THIS Jesus?

    September 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      Can't think of another Jesus whose name was so Holy that it was abbreviated with a special abbreviation known as a nomen sacrum, or sacred name. If you look in the dead center of the image above, you'll see what look like the letters IC with a bar over them. That is Jesus name.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Chat Pata

      His real name was Yesoo also pronounced Yeshu, Yeshua, Joshua, Esau, in Hebrew, Jesus and Isaus in Greek, Jeezuz in English, Hesoos in Spanish and Isa in Arabic.

      Yes it was the most common name among Jews those days because their king Joshua (who butchered the entire Cananites including newborns, and took their land) was their hero. Following his tradition, the Anglo Christians butchered entire natives in Australia and North America to take their land, while the Hispanic Christians did that to Central and South America. Now Evangelicals want to do this to Middle East to take their oil wells for themselves, and their land for Israel.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • LOL

      What?! I thought we were helping those countries out from under oppressive dictatorships! You mean, all this time we've been taking their oil?! Well, it's no wonder we're not having an economic crisis!

      September 19, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  6. John

    shaking my head at everyone asking "how credible is this?". the real question is "how credible is religion?".

    September 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  7. David Taylor Jr.

    Jesus would not have been married. God cannot marry a human and raise the status of that human above others.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Why not? he tagged mary and had a human son.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • David Taylor Jr.

        No that is not what happened.

        September 19, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • mike

      So there is something God can't do? That's new.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:36 am |
      • David Taylor Jr.

        It's not that He can't do it, it is that He does not go against His nature. Just like He cannot sin.

        September 19, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Rem1061

      Then what did the Lord do to Mary, the mother of Christ? If that wasn't raising her status I don't know what is. She is rather fondly thought of in the Catholic Church I believe.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:38 am |
      • David Taylor Jr.

        You assume that the Catholic Church is the same as the Christian Church. It is not.

        September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • ephoist

      During that period in history, it would have been VERY unusual for him to NOT be married and have a job/skill. If he didn’t, others would wonder why not and they would have had very little respect for the man and thus not listen to him. It would have been EXPECTED that he contribute to society and be married at his age. Why are people so against the possibility? He came down from Heaven AND BECAME MAN! Lighten up people... its ok... it doesn’t make him fillable!

      September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am |
      • David Taylor Jr.

        It would also be very unusual for someone to raise themselves from the dead, but He did it.

        September 19, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Kris

      IF a historial Jesus lived (and there is no hard evidence of an actual contemporary "within living memory" historical Jesus), as a Jewish man and Rabbi, he would have indeed sought a wife and attempt to have children.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • David Taylor Jr.

        You forget that He often refuted the Jewish leaders of His day.

        September 19, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Chat Pata

      "God cannot marry a human" because he does not need to marry a women to bang her. He does it outside the bond of marriage.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:56 am |
      • David Taylor Jr.

        Can we be respectful please?

        September 19, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  8. Chat Pata

    Finally some proof that Jesus was not gay. How credible is this evidence?

    September 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • dinkusmcgee

      oh, about as credible as MAD magazine!

      September 19, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      Apparently only as credible as your ideology will allow these days. It has several well known scholars associated with it. Granted, Karen King is a member of the infamous Jesus Seminar.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  9. Man Who Sold the World

    Have they tried dating the ink on the papyrus? I realize they dated the papyrus itself and it is authentic, but what if someone forged the message itself?

    September 19, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Rem1061

      Right, someone found/stole some 1800 year old parchment and what SCRUBBED IT CLEAN? Do you wear an aluminum hat to protect you from the government psi's also?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      I believe they have or will be testing ink. Read King's full report at the link below.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Man Who Sold the World

      And yes, I scrub my tin foil hat regularly, I can't be having those psychic spies stealing my mind's elation now can I?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Chat Pata

      Carbon dating has proved beyond a shred of doubt (carried by different laboraties around the world), that the shroud was a fake. However Christians continue to discredit this technology. What makes you think they will accept carbon dating for this? Oh because it will prove Jesus was not gay?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Man Who Sold the World

      @Chad Pata
      They won't believe anything that wasn't minted in a leather bound book with a bazillion pages in it, but that doesn't mean this artifact doesn't have historical significance.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  10. HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

    Methinks the Catholic Church was a government church from the get go. Peter the first pope? The circ umcission apostle? So Rome's first assembly was 95% Jewish? Strange!.....From Paul, ......'Rom 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.'.....There's that unlucky 13.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Chat Pata

      Christianity was just another sect of Judaism, until Constantine hijacked it by adding Greco-Roman mythology to it (e.g. Jesus human son of top god Jehovah replacing Hercules human son of top god Zeus), and pagan festivals (e.g. Christmas replacing Yule, All Saints Day replacing Halloween, Valentine's Day replacing Juno's day, Easter replacing harvest festival. With with the fat representative of corporate world called Santa, Christianity is now a complete fairy tale.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      chat pata, a little impulsive, are you?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  11. AF

    Welcome to Christianity under Obamacare!

    September 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • KHLiving

      What in the world does Obama have to do with this, good grief, get a life!

      September 19, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Chat Pata

      What he is saying is that Obama cares, and that is why he is bringing back Christianity to what Jesus said i.e. about caring for the 47% that Romney does not care. LOL.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • angryersmell

      Pray it covers brain cell transplants.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  12. John

    Typical CNN...has an atricle like this on christians, has an article protecting muslims, and then has another making romney look like a freakin retard. This network is democrat and retarded.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Rem1061

      Agree with everything except #3, Romney made himself look like an idiot, he didn't need any help sticking his foot in his mouth. All Politicans need to get it through their thick money/power grubbing heads that the mic is always on.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Rev.Richard

      Sounds like a mirror image of FOX News on the GOP side.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  13. dinkusmcgee

    My wife did what? Just finished giving me a blowjab???

    September 19, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • trav

      repent or perish

      September 19, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  14. Stu

    Of course its not evidence that historical Jesus was married because there is still no evidence that historical Jesus existed.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Correct

      September 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      The "no evidence" for an historical Jesus claim is only held by conspiracy theorists and UFOlogists. There is plenty evidence, atheist extremists just dismiss it all with a simple wave of the hand.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • noel

      I suppose you have records of everyone that has ever existed, please provide.

      September 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  15. Henny The Young Man

    What's missing are the words before and after My Wife. The words on either side are: Take and Please. Turns out Jesus was the first stand up comic.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  16. Lexx

    Jesus also to referred to the people of the church as his wife

    September 19, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Kyle

      He referred to the church as his bride.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • ephoist

      who told you that? Thats simply not true.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  17. Epignosis

    HEAR ALL , JESUS IS INDEED MERRIED AND HIS WIFE'S NAME IS "THE CHURCH".

    September 19, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • nottolate

      That's absolutely true.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Read your bible for once. Jesus didn't support organized religion.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If we only knew which church, we could eliminate some 37,999 denominations of Christianity.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • trav

      Tom Tom the least one,

      Religion is manmade. Religion is death. He supported His followers and the sinners, not the religious people. people sure dont know the bible

      September 19, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      liar..

      September 19, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      liar...

      September 19, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Call the fire dept.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  18. myway

    If this fragment is being taken seriously, why not take all early Christian scripture discoveries, such as the Nag Hammadi Scriptures, equally serious? The Nag Hammadi Scriptures represent evidence the bible as we know it was created from various Christian scriptures floating around the Roman Empire during the first 3 centuries AD.

    Some of the alternative gospels among the Nag Hammadi Scriptures clearly reference Jesus having relations with females. Why were these texts excluded from our bible? Because Emperor Constantine wanted to create a comprehensive final collection of scriptures uniting a fragmented and unorganized Christendom.

    Romans were the greatest organizers of their time. That led to the First Council of Nicaea where the emperor assembled Christian leaders from the entire empire to settle a key question: Was Jesus born divine or did he become enlightened due to an ascetic lifestyle a la Buddha and similar preceding religious figures. It was decided Jesus was born divine. Just like the Roman emperor, it was Jesus' birth right to be the head of the Christian church, a typical and convenient roman idea.

    Therefore all competing texts depicting Jesus as a normal mortal were purged and banned as heretic, and Gnosticism was declared unchristian. If caught with such heretic texts it could mean torture and death for the violators. That's why alternative bible scriptures were hidden in remote places.

    In other words, the true model for our Christian religion and teachings was not created by Peter and Paul, it was created by Constantine (and his scribes) who also declared himself the supreme Christian church leader. We still have that leader amongst us today. We call him the Pope.

    Another myth: Christianity was not declared the sole roman religion as many believe. Constantine simply integrated it with pre-existing approved religions. That's why Christmas became a winter solstice Holiday. I guess the Romans didn't want their subjects to have too many religious days off. Therefore new Holidays were combined with old ones. The roman Christians gladly complied. After all, a little compromising was a far better deal than fighting off hungry lions in a gruesome Coliseum show.

    The same happened with Easter and other Holidays. Why would the Easter Bunny appear at the same time when Jesus ascended? There is no answer for that because the Romans arbitrarily merged the Christian ascension Holiday with a popular pagan spring fertility Holiday. You can't knock roman efficiency.

    (In case you're wondering, the European Gnostics, aka the Cathars, were finally hunted and killed in a search and destroy mission decreed by the pope during the early 13th century. It is referred to as the Albigensian Crusade. I'm sure in retrospect the Roman Christian church realized it was a bad PR move to kill off fellow Gnostic Christians even though technically they were heretics. So the entire affair was largely excluded from historical teachings. It was used and somewhat resurrected by Dan Brown for his hit novel The Da Vinci Code, and books by other authors such as The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.)

    September 19, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • nottolate

      You're right about the RCC being Gnostics. They are heretics who never were authentic Christian and the RCC really got its start in 139 AD by heretics.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Stu

      Theodosius the first issued decrees that effectively made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine had nothing to do with it.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Rem1061

      That was an excellent presentation of the the truth. To bad half the ones on here will make fun of it and the other 1/2 will start screaming about how you are denying God. Maybe they should take note of the name on the bible the 50ish age folks grew up with (like me) THE KING JAMES VERSION, not the "whole" bible, just the parts that the King wanted in it.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @nottolate
      If it weren't for the Vatican, Christianity today would be about as populat as Zoroastrianism.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • rkdres

      Good point about Nag Hammadi. The fact remains that Christians will only believe what they WANT to believe, regardless of any thing that contradicts those beliefs...

      September 19, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • nottolate

      "If it weren't for the Vatican, Christianity today would be about as populat as Zoroastrianism."

      @Doc Vestibule

      Hey genius,

      Its 2012 and you have access to hugh amounts of data right at your fingertips. So how bout finally using it instead of being lazy? We find you in 2012 still toting the party line instead of looking up this stuff yourself. The RCC was born of Gnostics in 139 AD when the bishop of Rome was excommunicated at a synod for re-admitting heretics. He then prononced himself the first pope after being excommunicated.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      'Mar 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and [of] the leaven of Herod.'.......False religion and false government.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      So, myway writes what he believes to be canonical truth and ensures his written text to his friends to pass on. They do so, and keep it well protected in their community, but I and others write 1000 variants that distort myway's message. These variants are rejected by myway's friends and therefore his community and are lost to time. Eventually CNN reports that 1000 equally valid variants of myway's message have been discovered. In spite of his community's insistence, others insist that the erroneous variants must also have also been written by myway.

      There you have it.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @nottoolate
      So you don't think the Catholic church's centuries of aggressive expansionism had anything to do with your messiah's popularity?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • ephoist

      Very well researched and stated- thanks Myway. Its a pity the information youve passed along here is lost on so many...

      September 19, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • myway

      To clarify, Constantine decriminalized Christianity effectively allowing it at as a state religion. Under Theodesius I the RCC was made into the sole roman religion.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  19. Cadiz

    Are there any Christians out rioting over this or storming embassies?

    September 19, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The only difference between and Muslim and a Christian is a few hundred years of secularist training them to be civil.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      True,TTthOO. Christians are so apathetic these days. I suggested a new Crusade to Rainer. He hasn't responded.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • smokin1011

      As soon as everyone picks up the kids from school.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I wonder if sweet Jesus, meek and mild, approved of some of the wonderful devices created by His worshippers to help heretics see the error of their ways.
      The pear, the heretics fork, the judas cradle, the branks, the bre/ast ripper, the iron maiden, the strappado, to name a few....

      September 19, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • trav

      blind blind people

      September 19, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  20. Felicitations

    Every time an archaeologist finds an object with the words Mary or Jesus on it they immediately assume it is Mary the mother of Jesus and Jesus the Christ. Mary was a common name. In fact in the New Testament there are three different women all named Mary. Jesus was called Yeshua, also a common name. The scrap of papyrus is interesting simply because it is ancient.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Armchair Scholar

      Scholars aren't half as dumb as people think. As far as anyone knows, out of all the Jesuses back then, only the name of one of the was so holy as to be abbreviated in sacred texts as a nomen sacrum, or sacred name. Look at the center of the above image, and you'll see what look like the letters IC with a bar over them. That is Jesus name.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:55 am |
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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.