Vatican newspaper calls fragment referring to Jesus' wife 'a fake'
The fragment is written in Coptic, a language used by some early Christians.
September 28th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Vatican newspaper calls fragment referring to Jesus' wife 'a fake'

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

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Vatican

soundoff (2,552 Responses)
  1. Outside The Vatican

    "Every human is born through the sinful seed of his/her father and for this reason everyone that becomes Born of God needs to repent " from the site (http://www.aworlddeceived.ca) some fundy was yelling about. Great start to feeling good about yourself, eh?

    September 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  2. Chuck Anziulewicz

    Of course the Vatican would know for sure. Hell, they probably have the mummified body of Jesus himself stored away in a vault somewhere.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  3. astralweeks

    Didn't know they used Sharpies back then.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  4. Sara

    So, a religion which is based upon fake and mythical comic book superheroes says that tthis piece of papyrus is fake?


    The irony and hypocrisy are so very rich!

    September 29, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  5. David N

    They may have forged it themselves so they could come in and save the day! Too cynical? Can you be when this organization makes a claim about anything?

    September 29, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  6. MIchele

    Yeah, and we believe them because the Vatican is SO honest and trustworthy!

    September 29, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • barbfore

      Certainly more honest than CNN!!!

      September 29, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  7. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    So, a religion which is based upon fake and mythical comic book superheroes says that tthis piece of papyrus is fake?


    The irony and hypocrisy are so very rich!

    September 29, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  8. Bman

    If your jilted lover happens to be the pope, He'll throw you in a dungeon and break out the inquisition tools. Ask Paolo Gabriele if you don't believe me.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • David N

      Sounds like their style. But, I suppose I should look into it.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  9. t. anthony

    Why does the Vatican's response not surprise me? Take it at face value: It is an antique fragment that makes an unexpected statement. Should it ever turn out to be true, it will require about 1600 years worth of backtracking by the patriarchic historical church. If unproven, it remains an intriguing bit. If disproven, which seems unlikely without substantive evidence, then it leaves a question, but nothing more than that. Meanwhile, the Vatican feels another assault on its shifting reputation and is predictably nervous.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  10. Gerry

    This argument over the authenticity of this papyrus is laughable considering Jesus himself is a fictional character. I cannot believe in this day and age that mythological characters with super powers are considered real.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  11. Sandra

    Of course the Vatican would say it's fake. It would prove that Historical Jesus existed. The deified by Vatican Vote version, and all the mythology built around him did not.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  12. sybaris

    Wow. The faithful once again providing evidence to the public illustrating religion and the worship of god(s) as the filthy perverted disease of the mind that it is.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  13. Just another theory

    If Christ had a wife then catholic priests could get married theologically .... The highest kingdom requires marriage to obtain it....

    September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • JosephPreistlyUU

      if it's 1500 years old, then what is the difference between a "real" one and a "faked" one?? you know...besides one being in conflict to what you teach...and therefore "fake"

      September 29, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • David N

      Me thinks I detect Mormonism.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  14. Dzerres

    So is most of the Catholic dogma, so what?

    September 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  15. geopat

    Of course it is a fake! The vatican either destroyed all the corroborating scripture centuries ago or have them locked up deep in the vaults.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  16. Bill

    If Jesus is the son of God, he could have married any time it pleased him. Why all the fuss, does it changes anything? Vatican was always a very narrow minded establishment, changes in the church happens every five hundred years and that is like pulling a tooth.

    September 29, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  17. AvdBerg

    Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and neither is there salvation in any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

    The Jesus figure portrayed in the above article is not the true and living God that came into this world in the name of Jesus Christ to deliver people from the spirit of this world (1 John 5:4).

    Please read the article ‘Repent’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca and learn what it means to repent. It means a lot more than what by nature you have been made to believe.

    Are those that are referred to as ‘Christians’ by the media really the followers of Jesus Christ or do they follow after a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and why is there so much division amongst religions? Please read on.

    The above mentioned article by Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    They are spiritually blind and the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:15).

    In order for anyone to be able to understand the Word of God they must repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God (Acts 26:18). Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi do not know what spirit they are of (Luke 9:55).

    The Word of God is not to be interpreted (2 Peter 1:20) and it is the discerner of every thought and intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor 2:15).

    Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).

    September 29, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Salvation

      True, indeed!!!

      Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and neither is there salvation in any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

      September 29, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • agathokles


      September 29, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • mama kindless

      You have a lot of references there to stuff Paul wrote. We have as much reason to trust him as we have in trusting this Joseph Smith. Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle". And Revelation?? Please, everyone knows that junk was written by someone who was high as a kite. Might have even been bad food, but back then, all kinds of things could make a man go crazy and start seeing things. My goodness. St John the Dopehead, evidently.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      AvdBerg you have been deceived by Satan and have cut yourself off from the Body of Christ. You have separated yourself from God's mercy. AMDG

      September 29, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Never were so many deceived by so little... pure made-up garbage!

      September 29, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Primetime

      mama kindless posts reveal it is a tool in the hand of satan

      September 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • jesus is false

      jesus christ licks salty balls

      September 29, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Outside The Vatican

      I'm certainly happy that you have the franchise on the Ultimate Truth.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • JosephPreistlyUU

      ...and your ramblings on mormanism has to do with the topic at hand, HOW??

      September 29, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Bman

      What a boor. Where's the butler? That's what I'm talking about.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Ken

      Not buying what your selling. Never have, never will, until you get at least a shred of evidence.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • mcalleyboy

      Old Testament is crystal clear and it states there will be no other Gods but me I am a jealous God so there should never have been a New Testament made, it also makes it clear that Israel is the chosen one and basically nobody else.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • truth be trolled

      Uh oh, somebody has awakened Carrie's grandpappy ("Primetime").

      Clearly, another disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      September 29, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  18. comrade

    They can call it a fake because the Vatican has the real text about Jesus's wife hidden in their library.

    September 29, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Rick

      Just another lie added to the fairy tale. The BuyBull is full of them....as are ALL RELIGIONS.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  19. Old Sailor

    Exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and with the devil so busy, why are they dancing?

    September 29, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  20. lindaluttrell

    I can assume then, that the HRC sent in its OWN experts to discredit this...

    September 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
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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.