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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. WreckemTech

    Oh, well the Vatican said it's a fake then it must be. Kind of like the time they told everyone Galileo was crazy for trying to prove the Earth isn't flat. Only believe what the funny hat tells you to believe. Jesus didn't have a wife and all of those nasty boys seduced those poor priests. Always believe the Shroud of Turin is authentic, even though carbon dating proves it to be a forgery. Praise to the almighty.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's not what the Church said about Galileo. If you choose to remain ignorant that's your business but stop spreading it around.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • James PDX

      With blasphemy like that, you might wind up going to heck. You know, heck, that place where people who don't believe in god go.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • WreckemTech

      I like how you don;t say the other points were ignorant. Only the most obscure one. Stop spreading around your myths as the truth. Conservative blog troll.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • James PDX

      Bill, perhaps he was posting in the form of a parable and you shouldn't be reading it so literally.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  2. hindu source of hindufilthyracism

    Word Puke ism is based on Latin word Puki, Pe or Pa, Te, or Ta, meaning from stomach and throat base word for Sick in English, Upchuck, blowing chunks or spewing, meaning, worshiping at the porcelain thrown or a sweaty 180 filthy, infection of puke absolute, such as flu, or Food poisoning, in disregard diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge, One who takes a s.h.i.t to be in violation of his body without his consent, considering himself to be dying, the truth you drank too much tequila, same as in barfing, denier it doesn’t work, word projectile vomiting ism is based on Latin word vomi, icky, smelly, horrible, icky, to be in a pool of sick and HeavenSent, to be dumber than the fluids leaking from your ravished body to both of them, watery eyes, a noun in missing work, puke in your nose, way of making you even sicker, as in word “ralph”, a self-violating or a ja.panese p.o.r.n.o, otherwise known as a freak ism, a sadist. Puking is not an accident but a way to clear the crud from your mutilated absurd ism digestive system, defiance to the Lysol and filthy towels you will use.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  3. Tombstone

    There are other gospels that do tell of his marriage, or so I'm told. I'm telling ya, I believe everything I'm told, without questioning it, like a christian. NOT !!!

    September 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • ?????

      for those that think christians are the only ones that "blindly" have belief, please enlighten me on your version on how the world came to be? Please don't tell me the "big bang" theory....as it can't be proven....there is no way to test it or replicate it therefore it cannot be proven....you are blindly believing what a group of men (scientists) are telling you. Its called faith. for those of you who don't know what that means....firm belief in something for which there is no proof. you have faith as well. Although not in the same thing I do.

      September 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  4. larry5

    It does not matter what this fragment is it has to be determined to be a fake. There's no other answer for religions that have thousands of years invested in their culture. A wife does not fit so by definition it's a fake.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Baalzabarber

    Santa Clause calling BS on the Easter Bunny...nice

    September 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  6. Hells bells

    No one needs to be saved. What will it take for your reprograming, the book was written 200 years after he was dead.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  7. Argle Bargle

    The Vatican is a greater fake than a fragment of parchment. Revelation 17:5

    September 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  8. PigBodine

    Jesus's wife was quoted as saying the vatican is a fake.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Zeppelin

    I like how he doesn't support his position with any evidence whatsoever. Kinda similar to how Catholics usually go about things.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Scottish Mama

    Inquisition, Inquisition, Inquisition.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  11. topperG

    mr. jesus's marital status was his own business.......it certainly doesn't bring gas prices down below $2....

    September 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  12. Michelle

    OF COURSE the Vatican is going to say that.

    September 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  13. Heaven Eleven

    Question for the atheists on this blog. What will it take for you to see the light? How can you be convinced to find Jesus and be saved? I want to help you!

    September 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      How about actual evidence that something supernatural even exists, then proof that the israelites had it right, then proof that jesus died and came back three days later?

      September 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      The one who can not help himself, how your fabrication Jesus can help any one ELSE., I CAN NOT DO ANY THING ON MY OWN. SHEAR HINDUISM, CONTRADICTION.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Dude-O

      Deliver unto me a pie, of rhubarb and cherry; and yea I shall sayeth I have glanced upon the divine. My address to follow.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Heaven Eleven

      @hawaiiguest

      I can't convince you if you are not willing to open your heart to Jesus. Once you have a personal relationship with Jesus and are born again, you will understand that Christ lives. First you have to humble yourself before God.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Hells bells

      You ae getting personal with a dead man. Think about it. You are brainwashed to believe. The book was written by men not God or Jesus. It is fiction.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So I have to believe in god to believe in god. Gee what's that called again? Oh yea circular reasoning.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Huebert

      Move a mountain.

      Matthew 17:20
      He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

      September 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Matt

      thats a stupid question...how about what would convince you that Allah is great and mohummed is the way?? If you figure that out then you'll probably understand why your talkking BS.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • seyedibar

      Any shred of evidence he ever existed would be nice. I tend not to believe in people that your average history professor thinks is fictional, especially if the only tales of his life involve magic, sorcery, zombies, talking animals, etc.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • James PDX

      Easy. God can drop by and pay me a visit. It should be no problem for God to prove his existence.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Heaven: What would it take to convince you Thor or Odin or any of the other thousands of gods were real? What would it take to convince you that the Easter Bunny or unicorns or leprahauns or Santa or fairies or the tooth fairy were real?
      What you're quite obviously not getting here is that most of us were believers and we were able to take a step back, examine the evidence and realized how it really doesn't meld with reality. When we see the evidence for your god's existence, we will then be willing to reconsider our position, until then there is no reason to believe.
      The bible was written by men, inspired by men...there is no evidence to support that it was inspired by a god. There is no evidence for numerous things within the bible-heaven, hell, jesus, garden of eden, noahs ark, angels, souls, satan.
      We choose to believe as the peer-reviewed evidence is put forth, we do not take one book and accept it as the complete truth.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Did you hear the one about the bull sh it Canadian that keeps trying to pass itself off as one of us ?

      September 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Its baaack and twice as useless here as it is in its own country.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      cappie/dodney is back how interesting. For a while there we were spared the useless idiocy of that poster, and now we are subjected to comments that not only show how moronic he is, but also how useless a human being can actually be.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Dodney: Again, really??? Have you failed to clue in to the fact that we simply are not going away? Pretty silly question given how damn clueless you truly are! I don't recall the Vatican being directly linked to the USA nor do I recall this beign a USA only site.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Observer

      Heaven Eleven,
      What can I do to convince you that Jesus was an ordinary man who lived an exceptional life and that the universe is governed by a set of physical laws that can be observed and tested. It is time for us to take responibility for our own lives and morality and quit expecting salvation from elsewhere. I want to help you.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Mark

      Heaven eleven, just shut up. You people are pushing your sick views on everyone else, claiming it it your right because of your beliefs. Why don't you start acting on what your religion tells you to do-help the poor and sick and those who need real help. If you set a good example, perhaps someone would respect your beliefs. Maybe.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:46 am |
  14. mike

    The only "fake" in this story is the Vatican's moral authority. The Vatican is the last bastion of misogyny and perverts.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Adevilson

      You know what else is fake? The fcuknig bible!!!

      September 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  15. Marco

    So...they fail entirely to mention the "SUBSTANTIAL reasons" it's considered a counterfit. Nice. ;p

    September 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  16. Scottish Mama

    Just wondering was the vatican saying that because they have done a scientific study that the papyrus is a fake or sight unseen.
    Since the bible was not written by God or Jesus, many of the authors were omitted, and is incomplete, then the vatican must have some other divine knowledge us mere mortals do not.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  17. Doc Johnson

    I can tell you after many and many years of research of my own, including a number of papers, that there is much that does not get told in popular academia.

    For example, Jesus tells us that his father and mother "have not spaketh a single word in two years plus three. This sounds like a man scorned to me.

    How can we prove marital troubles in the home of Jesus? Reading from Mary (Magdalene), she says, "when Joseph's gaze met mine I felt a burning deep within...." She goes on to discuss Jesus' jealousy and rage.

    Is it possible Joseph never forgave Mary for her affair, and Joseph and Jesus were competing for Mary Magdalene’s affection?

    September 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      Lets see what your research has to say about following, TRUTH OR NOT, doc?
      hINDUISM ABSURDITY IN BOOK OF hINDU MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, LABELED AS BIBLE, CRUCIFIXTION, BUT CRUCIFICTION IN REALITY.

      According to book of Mithra ism savior ism called bible, factious figure claimed to be like Jonah,
      Jonah jumped in to sea, JONAH WAS ALIVE
      Jonah was swollen by fish, JONAH WAS ALIVE
      In the belly of fish, JONAH WAS ALIVE.
      Fish spitted out Jonah on beach, JONAH WAS ALIVE.
      JONAH NEVER DIED, NOR DID, FABRICATED FIGURE JESUS, ACCORDING TO BOOK OF hINDU MITHRA ISM, PAGAN ISM, SAVIOR ISM LABELED BIBLE. HE NEVER DIED ON SIGN OF hINDUISM, RACISM CROSS, AS FOLLOWER OF HINDU MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY CLAIM TO hIND FOOL HUMANITY IN TO GENTILE ISM, SLAVERY OF hINDU JEW'S, CRIMINAL SELF CENTERED, DENIERS OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE.

      According to book of hindu Mithra sim, savior ism, Christianity bible factious figure Jesus trans figured in to another person on front of his dispels. By account of book of hindu Mithra ism, bible factious figure Jesus was arrested by Romans for pesictution at his last supper by information given by Judas, but as they claim, factious Jesus kissed Judas with smile and Judas smile in return,
      BUT JESUS TRANSFIGURED IN TO JUDAS AND JUDAS TURNED IN TO FORM OF JESUS, IF THEIR CLAIM OF TRANSFIGURATION IS TRUE, ONE ON TRIAL AND HINDU, RACIST CROSS WAS NOT FACTIOUS JESUS, THEY CLAIM BY THEIR HINDU FABRICATED BOOK BIBLE BUT JUDAS, AND THEY PRAY TO JUDAS AS THEIR GOD, AND JUDAS AS THEIR MITHRA, SAVIOR.
      SO MUCH FOR THEIR BOOK OF HINDUISM ,LIES BIBLE TO BELIEVE IN. ONE HAS TO BE A hINDU TO BELIEVE IN HINDUISM, LIES AS TRUTH.

      FOR TRUTH ABOUT BOOK OF HINDUISM, RACISM CALLED BIBLE PLEASE VISIT limit is the truth.com and click on word Choice to open file on website.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  18. nlcatter

    just like the shroud of turin

    September 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  19. redlace

    This is pretty cool – a major fairy tale proponent calling out an equally invalid alternative fairy tale. Faithers just don't know when to let it go . . .

    September 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  20. Scottish Mama

    The world is flat and the inquisition was recruiting potential followers.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
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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.