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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. Doc Johnson

    Most of you have turned in your papers. Five minutes to go then pencils down.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  2. Akheretic

    The Vatican is a fake, so it's a wash......

    September 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  3. Jim

    And there are, and never have been, pedophiles in the catholic church.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Scorth

      You're a liar, Jim. And a troll. Go die in a fire.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  4. Kiler

    Why would the Catholic Church be so threatened by the news that Jesus may have been married? The early priests were married. Jewish rabbis are allowed to be married. Jesus was a rabbi, not a modern priest.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I suspect that it boils down to control. You see if someone is able to prove that the Vatican was wrong on ONE issue, then the door opens that the Vatican could be and most probably was, wrong on many, many others. Deny, deny, deny... it is afterall the Christian way, right?

      September 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Realist

      because they like the idea jesus liked men. The pope and bishops would look even more foolish being gay if they found out jesus was straight.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  5. OwlBore

    Funny, after 2000 years, suddenly out of thin air comes an ancient papyrus with written evidence that Jesus had a wife. I expect it will vanish almost as quickly as it appeared. By the way, what do atheists say when facing imminent death? Oh My God..... Nevermind?

    September 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      @OwlBore

      I would ask an atheist what they say, but they are uh....all dead. Dipsh!t.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Towelie

      OwlBore, do you wanna get high? Have you ever got head from a towel?

      September 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @OwlBore, my question to you would be this. Does it really matter what an atheist says when dying? What is important is what he said and did as a living human being. Trust me, I know many Atheists who live a more "Christlike" life than any Christian could ever hope to live, and yet these people do not acknowledge a Jesus in any way.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Gerard

      Owlbore, Divide 19 by the number of joi-nts you smoked before posting, then subtract 3.923 and multiply the result by the voices in your head.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    Humble yourself and ask Jesus for forgiveness. Jesus told us he would give you reprobate minds. My camel-toe has it's own real estate listing. After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus.

    Amen

    September 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent Army

      Get your itchy ears over here and humble yourself before God! Join today!!

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq6FsOCdadI&w=640&h=360]

      Stay Carnal! Amen.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Realist

      enjoy your fantasy.. I do hope you stay away from kids

      September 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent Blog

      Hello and welcome to the HeavenSent blog. This is YOUR opportunity to voice your HeavenSent opinions!

      Please frame your posts to best preach to Atheists about the dangers of a Godless life-style.

      Here are some suggested key words and phrases to get you started:

      Hey-Zues
      Personal worm that feeds off them, is never quenched, for eternity
      Believing the lies of satan that they will be collectively mini-gods
      Do as the atheists do in this country to ensure the USA goes belly up
      Too blind to see His truth whether I write it in street language or scripture form
      Jesus told us to send r-apists and murderers back to Him
      Atheists lie when they talk about freedom of speech
      He ran off all the Christians from the other site he oversaw
      That will be the end of you
      Itchy Ears
      God doesn't have favorites
      Carnal
      You're a putz, cough fool
      Liar against His truth
      Abide in Jesus' truth
      Prideful
      Stay on the wrong side of the gulf until you are blotted out for eternity
      Tommie Tom
      Scotty
      Minions of satan
      Prayer changes things
      Talmud
      Man-made lies of the talmud
      Jesus’ letter, the Bible
      God’s truth
      Jesus’ truth
      The truth
      Jesus Christ's truth are resurrected to eternity
      I am flying with Evil
      Boo hoo
      I know from Moe Curly of the 3 stooges that nothing works
      Truth
      Those that believe in Him go with Him to eternity
      Lies lies lies
      Fat drippings
      Personal worms
      Horrors, earth quakes, floods, disasters are God's wrath against all of us
      You fools doing evil
      You atheists
      Smug atheists
      Prideful atheists
      Amen
      Throw away that users manual
      Prayer really works
      No eyes to see or hear His truth
      Blotted out for eternity
      Burn burn burn for all eternity
      Writing your filth
      True Christians
      The liar satan
      Snakes in your Belly
      Athiests at CNN
      They are blocking my posts again
      Dead bones
      Logic?? I don't require a single shred to define my beliefs
      You must like worms
      Pay no attention to the small minded fools that got their brain fried
      Read back through the previous articles for over a year dummy
      I know you atheists to be fools
      Notice who is most quoted in the Golden rule. Jesus Christ's wisdom
      You believing something doesn't make it true
      I'm not holding my breath
      You own those labels
      Humble yourself and ask Jesus for forgiveness
      Reprobate minds
      Jesus told us he would give you reprobate minds
      After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears
      Satan's lies causes confusion
      Atheists write this garbage
      Satan is death
      You are fooling yourself if you don't tell gays they suffer for eternity
      Tortured for eternity
      Pathetic
      Blame it on the Christians for having the guts to tell idiots God's truth
      Your father Satan
      End of days taught in Jesus' truth is nothing new to Christians
      Another rock. Nothing new under the sun
      You insist on your lies having wings to fly
      You are still a pigeon
      The entire MO behind the atheist is to throw out as many lies and see what sticks
      Debating is the atheists game
      Satan impregnated Eve with Cain
      I know you atheists to be fools
      Christians are on these articles to ensure Jesus Christ's truth is posted
      Start your walk with Jesus
      Blinded by satan's lies
      Test from God. Do you have what it takes to pass?
      Serpent is just one of the multiple names of Lucifer aka satan
      The big bang and evolution are lies against Jesus’ truth to cause doubt, creating confusion
      Satan's lies are built on quick sand foundation
      What part of Jesus' truth is clarity and satan's lies are confusion do you not comprehend?
      There are no flaws in His word
      Jesus' truth stands for eternity
      Get over your obsession with me
      Lions and tigers and bears, oh my
      Rocks, everywhere on this site, rocks
      Seeds of Jesus falling on rock.
      Stepping over His seeds that get blown by the wind to find their way to fertile grounds
      Typical of swines trampling
      It's obsessive compulsion to grab at any straw to give a reason not to learn or understand
      Go back to posting under my handle and answering yourself
      Scott
      Get a life and try to grow
      Singular swine using multiple handles.
      You still continue to refuse to learn your heritage
      I've posted the answer numerous times
      I'm glad the line from the movie Secretariat sticks in your mind
      Statistics prove that the more devout someone is, the higher IQ they have
      Read the Bible. It is 100 percent accurate in every facet
      It makes me smile to know that people will be tortured in hell for eternity
      He steals their handles to write his evil
      You atheists steal my handle to post your evil will
      Reap the sword of the Lord Jesus when He returns
      Stealing our handles
      Why are you lying?
      Get an education to His truth
      What's your point small god savior?
      I expect foolish thinking from an atheist
      Jesus’ wisdom is roaring it's ugly head throughout the world
      Another Pharisees jealous that Jesus is God and not them
      The atheist that hijacks my handle to spew their lies
      Hhmmm, confused?

      Remember….Muslims, Jews and Atheists need not apply!

      Amen.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      You are either a cleaver Troll or a scary Fundie... either way, you scare me...

      September 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  7. me

    "Substantial reasons..."

    Translation. This evidence goes against everything we have believed, so it must not be true.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  8. Bombastic

    I'll bet the babe was his cousin.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  9. gene brady

    The fakes have been entrenched in the Vataucan for century's. The Church hates women so much that they wi8ll never give credit to Jesus being married and ESPECIALLY to Mary Magdalene, "The Apostles Apostle" because the "Apostles"ust didn't
    "get it" and everything Jesus said to them had to be explained in detail to them by her. 37 years after Jesus died, those same dolts began writting the bible!!!! Written by the uninformed and ignorant.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Realist

      the pope and bishops wanted to make jesus gay,, as they are

      September 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Read the Bible. It is 100 percent accurate in every facet. It makes me smile to know that people will be tortured in hell for eternity. I let my 12-year-old daughter smoke at the table in front of her kids. You will reap the sword of the Lord Jesus when He returns.

      Amen.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Realist

      wow, heavenbent,, you were sure brainwashed. Your post reminds me of a cultural anthropology class where we studied those who worshiped volcanoes. Your fear aligns with theirs quite well.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @realist

      I expect foolish thinking from an atheist. Jesus’ wisdom is roaring it's ugly head throughout the world. My daughter was born on the pool table in the back yard. Another Pharisees jealous that Jesus is God and not them.

      Amen.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Realist

      ok,, it's your fantasy. Run with it. At least leave kids alone

      September 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Heads Up

      Realist,

      These @HeavenSent posts are parodies. Read carefully... then ignore.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      "expect foolish thinking from an atheist. Jesus’ wisdom is roaring it's ugly head throughout the world. My daughter was born on the pool table in the back yard. Another Pharisees jealous that Jesus is God and not them.

      Amen."

      Did ANY of this make sense to you. Seriously, his wisdom is Roaring???? Where your child was born has what, again, to do with Jesus? There are certain terms we use in psychology for people like you... sheesh

      September 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Realist

      thanks, heads up. Guess the camel-toe was the give away. I've seen many hot ones

      September 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  10. Heaven Eleven

    I mistakenly omitted Muslims from m post below, allow me to correct it: I think it is wonderful that this article has brought so many people together on this blog over the last two days. Muslims, Atheists and Christians alike. I just want to extent the olive branch to you Muslims, atheist people. You are lost but you will be found, check with front desk. I will pray for you and I know the good Lord will look after you all Muslims, Atheists. Praise Him for holding secretes so long!

    September 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Realist

      I liked it when eve wore the olive leave,, now that was se-xy

      September 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Heaven Eleven

      Everyone knows you are a fake and meanie!

      God never holds secretes !!

      September 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Realist

      you are a meanie, heavebent. A hater too. I notice that among the religious who are confused and need religious buddies. You are much like an alcoholic who's in denial and lies about his problem with his drinking buddies.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  11. FU

    Jesus is fake, hence any literature about him will be fiction..

    September 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Realist

      that's pretty well known among the brightest of people. Jesus was a catholic church concostion

      September 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      FU, because it is fiction does not make it fake. That does not make any sense at all.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Towelie

      I don't even know what goin' on......

      September 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  12. blessedgeek

    Communist party of China denying news as western propaganda.

    Fox News paranoid denying all major polls of Obama-vs-Romney, saying that Fox New is one True poll of the election.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Realist

      that's even funnier than the gay pope in his dress

      September 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Gerard

      @Realist,

      Well I think the Pope's dress looks FABULOUS

      September 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Realist

      how about his ruby red shes and ruby red hat? No wonder women aren't allowed, the pope and bitc-hops don't like the competi-tion

      September 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  13. Sally in the Front Row

    I finished my Test Dr. Johnson!! Please grade, I hope I did good.

    May I have your attention class. This is your exam; True or False:

    1. False, duh
    2. False.
    3. True.
    4. True
    5. Very True
    6. True
    7. False silly
    8. True
    9. True!
    10. I hope False!
    11. False
    12. True"
    13. True
    14. True I hope LOL
    15. False
    16. True
    17.False LOL
    18. False
    19. False – party on!
    20. False
    21. True
    22. False
    23. True
    24. True
    25. True – I hope!
    26. False

    September 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Heaven Eleven

      Sally, I really don't think any of these are true.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Doc Johnson

      Well Sally, you have made some mistakes. Perhaps you need to stay after school so we can review.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  14. Bill in Tennessee

    It's a mistranslation of an ancient joke... it should read, "And Jesus said, 'Take my wife...PLEASE!' " Ba-dump-bump, ching!

    September 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Congratulations Bill! You are our 1000th blogger to make that stupid joke!

      September 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  15. Gerard

    Have they carbon dated it? Wouldn't that be an important piece of information in the article? Good that they foresaw CNN though (3rd last line).

    @Davec, the words Mary and Jesus are not in English, as English is only about a thousand years old, give or take.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • BOb

      The point is, it was written 400 years after the time of Jesus. So, as the researcher says, it is no more valid than something written today.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Gerard

      Bob, Good point, but wasn't there a convocation of some sort in the 4th Century where the Christian Church made major changes/proclamations regarding its tenets? That was also 400 years after the fact. So what's good for one...

      September 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  16. BigDog

    Its a fake. OMG, you are kidding................

    September 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Realist

      just like the pope and bishops..

      September 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  17. Heaven Eleven

    I think it is wonderful that this article has brought so many people together on this blog over the last two days. Atheists and Christians alike. I just want to extent the olive branch to you atheist people. You are lost but you will be found. I will pray for you and I know the good Lord will look after you. Praise Him!

    September 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Realist

      I'm better than your jesus, I'm still alive

      September 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @realist

      You are too blind to see His truth whether I write it in street language or scripture form. I bag my feces in Glad bags because the door to my bathroom is blocked by my clothes-dryer. Atheists lie when they talk about freedom of speech. They only want to distort Jesus' truth.

      Amen.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Realist

      that is just tooooo silly

      September 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Shelly

      Jesus is alive and you, unfortunately are spiritually dead.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • inthegrae

      Believers and atheists, you're all kcuffin morons.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Realist

      I'm a Realist, not an atheist. Realist see religion as pure childish behavior

      September 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  18. Davec

    OBVIOUIS fake, besides, I didnt see the words Mary or Jesus in it.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Realist

      the entire bible is pure crap. The pope and bishops pasted, cut out and added to it. They made jesus a gay guy and unmarried. That's why the pope, cardinals and bishops are all gay

      September 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Lynn

      Why are athiest so angry? If they don't believe why is so important to want to prove jesus other than who he was...the son of god.
      as for this post...
      Realist

      I'm better than your jesus, I'm still alive

      Jesus is alive:) Why so angry Realist???

      September 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Realist

      that wasn't anger,, that was simply fact. So when your teacher taught you math, he/she was angry? How silly you are

      September 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Bill in Tennessee

      You read Coptic or Aramaic?

      September 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Mittens' 47% = Veterans, Grandma and the Disabled (you know, Jesus' folks)

    Perhaps the Catholic Church should spend more time getting rid of priests who abuse children than worrying about whether Jesus had a wife ...

    September 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Realist

      the worst crimes were the cover ups by the popes, cardinals and bishops. If they instead cared for the child, that would have proven they are good. The opposite is true.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Lynn

      Everyone has their god, yours is the government.

      September 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  20. HeavenSent

    Humble yourself and ask Jesus for forgiveness. Jesus told us he would give you reprobate minds. My camel-toe has it's own real estate listing. After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

    Amen.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:35 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.