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April 10th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

Study: 'Jesus' wife' fragment not a fake

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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(CNN) - A team of scientists has concluded that a controversial scrap of papyrus that purportedly quotes Jesus referring to "my wife," is not a fake, according to the Harvard Theological Review.

"A wide range of scientific testing indicates that a papyrus fragment containing the words, 'Jesus said to them, my wife' is an ancient document, dating between the sixth to ninth centuries CE," Harvard Divinity School said in a statement.

Scientists tested the papyrus and the carbon ink, and analyzed the handwriting and grammar, according to Harvard.

Radiocarbon tests conducted at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology produced an origination date for the papyrus of 659-859 CE, according to Harvard. MIT also studied the chemical composition of the papyrus and patterns of oxidation.

Other scholars studied the carbon character of the ink and found that it matched samples of papyri from the first to eight century CE, according to Harvard.

"None of the testing has produced any evidence that the fragment is a modern fabrication or forgery," the divinity school said.

At least one scholar sharply disagrees, however, calling the papyrus scrap "patently fake."

Unveiled by Karen King, a Harvard Divinity School historian, in 2012, the scrap has sparked a heated debate over Christian history, archaeological accuracy and the role of women in the church.

The fragment, which is about the size of a business card, contains just 33 words, including: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …" and "she will be able to be my disciple." 

Though she dubbed the fragment, "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife," King said that the papyrus does not prove that Jesus was actually married - just that ancient Christians discussed the possibility.

"This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus's marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family," King said.

Other Christians have suggested that Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically in the sentence fragments quoted in the papyrus. Some New Testament writers refer to the church as "the bride of Christ."

King and other scholars said they are equally intrigued by Jesus' mention of a female disciple.

"The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus—a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued," King said.

5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'

The Harvard Theological Review also published on Thursday a sharp-worded rebuttal to King's hypothesis by Leo Depuydt, a professor of Egyptology at Brown University.

"I personally—and I am not sure whether I share this feeling with anyone—experience a certain incredulity pertaining to how something that is at first sight so patently fake could be so totally blown out of proportion," Depuydt writes.

Depuydt's criticism centers on the fact that the papyrus scrap contains a grammatical error in Coptic - one that mirrors a similar miscue in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas.

The chances that two ancient works would have the same mistake are minuscule, the scholar said, strongly suggesting that the author of the"Jesus' wife" scrap copied from the Gospel of Thomas.

“As a forgery, it is bad to the point of being farcical or fobbish," Depuydt told the Boston Globe. "I don’t buy the argument that this is sophisticated. I think it could be done in an afternoon by an undergraduate student.”

The Vatican's newspaper has also called the papyrus fragment a fake. “Substantial reasons would lead us to conclude that the papyrus is actually a clumsy counterfeit," L'Osservatore Romano, said in an editorial in 2012. 

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

King and Harvard acknowledge that "nothing is known about the discovery of the fragment." King has said it was given to her by an unnamed donor. 

"All the known data about its origin and circulation need to be publicly disclosed and thus made available for scholarly discussionas is the norm in the handling of manuscripts. Is there some reason we cannot just be told?" Depuydt said.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • History • Jesus

soundoff (2,539 Responses)
  1. olliepee2014

    Satan is ever vigilant.

    April 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Here let me fix that for you "Satan is non-existent"

      April 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • revtim128

      Yes, that was what it took to make me worship Lucifer: a scrap of ancient text that infers that Jesus was like most men of his day, including rabbis, and was married. Despite that fact being completely and utterly irrelevant to both Jesus' teachings, and to the faithful's belief that he was the literal son of the almighty creator, now I must completely reject all goodness and being my worship of the Fallen One.

      HAIL SATAN!!!!!!

      April 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • skytag

      So is Santa. He's keeping a list and checking it twice.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  2. Drake

    Alright, it's not a fake, but who wrote it – Dan Brown's grandpa???

    April 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Salero21

      Good guess!!

      April 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  3. Salero21

    Whaaat!! OMG More Evidence on top of more Evidence that atheism is absolutely, completely and Totally out of whack!! The Evidence is Overwhelming!!!

    April 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Are the anti-psychotic meds wearing off again?

      April 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Salero21

        Sometimes takes one to know another huh! Unfortunately for you yet again is not the case. Truth DOES NOT PREVAIL in TruthPrevail1!!

        April 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • Angelica

      You're an idiot. This has nothing to do with atheism. Moron.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      sorry? you are getting this from where now?

      April 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • gwenusian

      What it proves is the Church edited the original gospel in an effort to control the masses. Remove influential women from history and distort the truth. You are in essence a part of a cult.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • revtim128

      So proof that someone wrote about Jesus is proof that god exists?
      There were even older writings of Zeus and Osiris. So you must worship them too, right?

      April 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • djangoboy

      Once again, your post is More Evidence on top of more Evidence that YOU is absolutely, completely and Totally out of whack!! The Evidence is Overwhelming!!!

      April 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
    • skytag

      The evidence is overwhelming that you're mentally ill. Better that you're here were we can keep an eye on you than have you go on a shooting spree.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  4. unsername1

    proof or no proof, it is hard to believe people hanged around unmarried in those days, unless something was seriously wrong with the guy..........so you decide:
    1) Jesus was a normal person and married, or
    2) Jesus was a weirdo and unmarried

    choice if yours.

    April 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      Or 3) Jesus was God, had a bride and had a greater purpose than common man.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
      • SeaVik

        4) Jesus could walk on water, turn water into wine, and rise from the dead.

        This is fun making up ridiculously impossible answers!

        April 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • djangoboy

          1,2,3,4, in order of likelihood.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Impossible for man, sure.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • skytag

        Not this one.

        April 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
    • dave32264

      Since Jesus was a Rabbi (He was Jewish, which most Christians either forget or ignore), it would have made perfect sense that he would have been married.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • Angelica

        Exactly. They frowned upon unmarried Rabbis.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
      • Salero21

        Your Absolute Ignorance of What and Who Jesus The Christ is, does not surprise to me!

        April 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          lol please enlighten us all on how you know exactly who Jesus was?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Angelica

          Your absolute ignorance on everything doesn't surprise anyone at all.
          Brush up on the use of capitalization, asshat.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • dave32264

          And your ignorance of Rabinic law and laws of the times does not amaze me either. Who was Jesus then? Were you there in Judea 2000 years ago?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Salero21

          @ demonic Angelica,

          OMG another agent from the GRAMMAR GESTAPO OF THE INTERNET; The Legal enforcement Branch of atheism. She/he is going to pick and poke me with toothpicks yelling to me while saying DIE DIE DIE, till I die and be no more.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • johnbiggscr

          'Jesus The Christ'

          is that anything like Howard the Duck?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " demonic Angelica"

          There you go again sally, great Christian rep you are...keep it up, you only hurt your own ilk.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Angelica

          I notice you frequently break the 3rd Commanment, too. And you broke the 9th by lying about me. You're a well-rounded hypocrite, aren't you, Salero?

          April 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • Vic

        http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/10/study-jesus-wife-fragment-not-a-fake/comment-page-3/#comment-2985958

        April 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • Salero21

      Or..
      3) You're a Weirdo whether married or unmarried.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Or jesus simply didn't exist or he did but was nothing more than a man...this article is merely pointing to the legitimacy of a piece of ancient writing, it is not evidence for this jesus character or a marriage.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • Salero21

        "this article is merely pointing to the legitimacy of a piece of ancient writing, it is not evidence for this Jesus character or a marriage."

        Hum I could probably agree with that and with that alone. If it wasn't because Truth does not prevails in TruthPrevails1

        April 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          sally: You silly infantile minded child...go seek out your nurse and ask for the injection of your anti-psychotic meds, the delusions you are suffering from get worse with every post you make...now be a good troll and run along.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Angelica

          The article, which you didn't read, said the same thing, idiot.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Daniel O. McClellan

          Maybe you can calm down a little bit and stop accusing everyone of being an idiot. You can read the actual articles themselves here:

          http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=HTR&volumeId=107&seriesId=0&issueId=02

          Do that and you'll see this CNN article is not that accurately representing the whole story. That doesn't make the CNN writers or editors, or you or anyone else an idiot, though.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Angelica

          I'm talking about this one. And you must be new; this guy never reads any of the articles posted here.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • skytag

          Daniel, Salero21 is a known troll here, a real nut job.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
    • randy1289

      are you married ?, weirdo.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • transframer

      Jesus is God so marrying as an issue doesn't apply to him. It does apply to false prophets like Muhammad

      April 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • religionismanmade1

        prove jesus is god. you cant stop thinking you can and you know cuz you dont.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • johnbiggscr

        are you suggesting prophets didnt marry?

        April 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • skytag

        Your guy is real, everyone else's is false. How does that make you sound any different than everyone else?

        April 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Oh? What about the "wholly human" part?

        April 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      A weirdo? Pretty harsh. He may have just been a gay man.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
  5. jamesroyalty05

    Just because a text is old doesn't mean it was inspired the Holy Spirit. Thats the credentials for accurate scripture. The Holy Bible old and new testaments were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Yes man had a hand in the production of it, but that devalues it to today's people none because of its inspiration, which the Holy Spirit leads into all truth. The Bible in itself today does not contradict itself so I believe even the books when put together was a divine inspiration from the Holy Spirit because of this fact. And with the books of the Bible having been written over a time of 1500+ years by numerous authors in various places, that testifies that the hand of God was in putting it together.

    April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Holy Ghost Writer?

      April 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Ghost Writer in the Sky

        April 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
    • randy1289

      you are mostly correct, it does amaze me however,, how it is that the vatican as well as some biblical scholars are wired as though they are from the dark ages.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
    • otoh2

      james,
      "And with the books of the Bible having been written over a time of 1500+ years by numerous authors in various places, that testifies that the hand of God was in putting it together."

      - Numerous authors who ALL read (or otherwise knew about) what came before.
      - Various places - ALL within about a 200 mile radius of Jerusalem - no big whoop.

      It bespeaks nothing about the 'hand' of any god.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • religionismanmade1

      " The Holy Bible old and new testaments were inspired by the Holy Spirit"

      LOL prove it please.....

      April 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • religionismanmade1

      " And with the books of the Bible having been written over a time of 1500+ years by numerous authors in various places, that testifies that the hand of God was in putting it together."

      No sorry it doesnt....also MEN edited the book. learn the history of the bible please.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • dave32264

      And one thing you forget. We don't have original texts. We have copies of copies of copies etc. The earliest full NT texts we have are 4th century. The stuff we have from earlier is fragmented and doesn't always jibe with later texts. Then there is the fact that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John continually contradict each other. Hardly the work of some perfect deity.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      'Just because a text is old doesn't mean it was inspired the Holy Spirit. Thats the credentials for accurate scripture'

      No, its not the credentials at all, its merely the claim made by believers as to elevate their religious book above other religious books.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • skytag

      "Just because a text is old doesn't mean it was inspired the Holy Spirit. Thats the credentials for accurate scripture."

      Belief in the Holy Spirit comes from the Bible, which you know is "accurate scripture" because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The circular reasoning here is dizzying.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
  6. mimedicalmj

    I guess they haven't seen this: http://youtu.be/Kla-BcN8u8Q?t=18s

    April 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • rjclark07

      That video lost all credibility when it said that Jesus was born on December 25. Jesus wasn't born on Dec 25

      April 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
      • religionismanmade1

        if christians actually read the bible they would know this.....SAD

        April 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • djangoboy

          They do read it, they just don't think critically while doing so. Most continue to see it through the lens of what they were taught in Sunday School.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          lol no django....they read it selectively....you would be hard pressed to find christians who have read and understood the book cover to cover.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • djangoboy

          I think we're saying almost the same thing. They do indeed read it selectively, only paying attention to the parts they were taught about or seeing them in the way they were taught so see them. For instance, it's amazing how many people don't realize that there are two distinctively different and contradictory creation stories in Genesis.

          April 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Not really. After describing the attributes of the Egyptian god Horus, he states: "These attributes of Horus, whether original or not, seem to permeate many cultures of the world, for many other gods are found to have the same MYTHOLOGICAL structure." [emphasis added]

        He then proceeds to draw parallels between Horus and other ancient gods or god-men such as Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, and finally Jesus. When he says that Jesus was born on December 25, he is merely stating that as part of the tradition about Jesus that parallels the story of Horus, not stating it as fact.

        April 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
  7. Concert in an Egg

    Proof that the bible is not the word of god is easy to find. Does god explain the universe? No. Does god explain that waves need a medium to travel through? No. Did god explain that epilepsy was caused my neural misfirings in the brain? No. Did god explain anything that was either believable or interesting? No. What kind of god doesn't know anything? None. There is no god, just ignorant goat herders that believed in demons.

    April 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • joedriver1001

      OH wacko – do you really believe it GOD explained all science as we understand it today that anyone would have comprehended what he was talking about. Hell we don't even understand it today... Come on man Jesus spoke to those in the only way they could understand and it has lasted 2 thousand years... You're a joke.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        So you are suggesting that the all knowing creator of the universe inspired the bible JUST for the ignorant people who wrote it, correct? If so, why are we debating this dusty old relic? Why does not god speak to us in a language WE can understand?

        April 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • ausphor

          God don't tweet, don't e-mail and god don't know how to use a computer, he is training though in another few thousand years He may catch up. Goat herder gods are hard to train. Verbal diarrhea is on purpose.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • religionismanmade1

        LOL calling someone else a joke when you believe the MEN who wrote the bible (none personally knew Jesus BTW, just wrote about him 50-100 after his supposed death) is LAUGHABLE.....thanks for getting me through my day

        April 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • johnbiggscr

        'do you really believe it GOD explained all science as we understand it today that anyone would have comprehended what he was talking about'

        are you suggesting that the supposed all powerful god couldn't come up with a way to explain it so people would understand?

        April 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • poeticverbs

      hahahaha...so you believe in the devil???!!!

      April 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        No, why do you ask such a strange question?

        April 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • Vic

      Does McDonald's give you the recipe of the mighty Big Mac while you are gorging and indulging in it?!

      The Bible is not meant as today's Empirical Science book, rather, a Testimony to God and His Covenants with man, while it well describes the creation of the universe and life in it, hence the "Origin" of all things.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        So god is Ronald McDonald. Interesting theory...

        April 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • johnbiggscr

          that would make satan the hamburglar wouldnt it?

          April 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • skytag

        Fairytales don't explain anything.

        April 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  8. Daniel O. McClellan

    This headline is incredibly misleading. The released publications contain research that shows the papyrus and the ink were tested and shown to be ancient. Those invested in the authenticity of the text are promoting the interpretation of these data as supporting that authenticity, but those authors also published in the journal issue who are not invested in its authenticity have pointed out that the tests support no such data. Most critical to the authenticity of the texts, the ink on the papyrus was carbon dated to 400 BCE. That's roughly 600+ years before the text is purported to have been written, and just under 500 years earlier than the actual life of the individual it purports to describe.

    The tests do not support the authenticity of the text. Please don't circulate such misleading headlines.

    April 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • Angelica

      Wow. I took it to mean the fragment itself wasn't fake. I didn't impute the contents as being real; just the age of the fragment.
      But then, I'm not an idiot.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • joedriver1001

        that's a matter of opinion

        April 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Angelica

          We're going on opinions? You're an asshole.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • joedriver1001

          Thank you

          April 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Angelica

          Quite welcome.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • Daniel O. McClellan

        The article is very clearly suggesting that the text included on the fragment is authentic, not only that the material is ancient.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Angelica

          Daniel,
          It clearly states that the fragment is authentic, not the content of the fragment as being authentic.

          Is it the headline you're complaining about, or the article?

          April 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • Daniel O. McClellan

          Yes, and the word "fragment" refers to the text fragment, not the papyrus fragment. Additionally, we don't classify pieces of papyrus as "authentic" apart from texts they carry. We classify just the material remains as "ancient" or "modern." I suggest you read up a bit more on the scholarship and the terminology we use.

          April 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
    • Vic

      In 2012, the papyrus was carbon-dated to the fourth century CE. Now, it is carbon-dated to between the sixth and ninth centuries CE.

      CE: Christian Era, aka Common Era.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • noahsdadtopher

        Anytime you see an article using CE or BCE you can as.sume bias.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • Angelica

          So how do you describe the two eras?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          BC and AD

          April 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Angelica

          Why would you use the dating system of a 6th Century Catholic canonist?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Daniel O. McClellan

          That's not true at all. CE/BCE was developed by Christians, and most scholars use it these days because it is a more universal system than BC/AD, which isn't used correctly anyway by the vast majority of people who use it.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Right. Because Christians prefer His name be pulled out of everything.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • joey3467

          No, a bias would be changing the calendar some 500 years after the death of Christ and then complaining that people who don't even believe in your god use a different set of abbreviation as if it actually matters. If anything using CE and BCE is more inclusive, and less biased than insisting that everyone in the world use a Calendar based the Christian god just because at some point in the past Christians had enough power to do whatever they wanted.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • djangoboy

          Excuse me, but the use of BC/AD seems to imply a bias, i.e., that the supposed date of the birth of Jesus is so central to the ENTIRE WORLD (including non Christians) that it deserves to be the centre of our timekeeping as well. Never mind that Dionysius Exiguus, who developed what came to be known as the Gregorian calendar, missed the mark by several years. Jesus almost certainly was not born in the year 1, more likely somewhere around 6-4 BCE (or BC, if you insist).

          April 10, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
      • ausphor

        Vic
        You will find that if scientists make a mistake, they will admit the mistake and correct the record. Now if you are an apologist and misrepresent a scientists information, such as dinosaur soft tissue, they will continue telling their lies ad nauseam.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
      • Daniel O. McClellan

        There are two articles in the HTR issue giving radiocarbon dates, and one gives 200–400 BCE and the other gives 600–900 CE. Both differ wildly from the original dating offered by King.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • esaggese

      That's interesting, but I don't see any references in the study that justify what you just claimed. they said the papyrus is from 659-859 CE, not 400 BCE.
      Where is your data coming from?
      Anyway, the claim is not that Jesus had a wife (most rational people know the difference between "it is written somewhere" and "it is true"). The claim is that it is not a forgery. It may very well be a piece of paper written by a novelist in 900 CE, and it is still not a forgery.
      But for some reason, when certain people read about something making claims that go counter to claims in similar pieces of papyrus they choose to believe, they get very nervous.
      Calm down. It is not as if we had an authenticated marriage certificate of Jesus with his holy DNA imprinted on it (did Jesus have DNA?). It is just a piece of papyrus making claims, it just turns out it is not a fake. No reason to be nervous or scared.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • Daniel O. McClellan

        The entire journal issue is available here:

        http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=HTR&volumeId=107&seriesId=0&issueId=02

        As you can see in the table of contents, there are two articles providing results from radiocarbon testing. One gives 200–400 BCE as the date, the other gives 600–900 CE. Both use the same control, which is roughly the same in both tests. I think I said above the ink was tested, but it was actually the papyrus. Brain fart.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • steelontarget

          The 300-400 is the flawed University of Arizona sample which everyone acknowledges was a sampling error.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Daniel O. McClellan

          Where does "everyone" acknowledge this?

          April 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
      • Daniel O. McClellan

        By the way, my concern is for the accurate representation of scholarship in the media, not for any theological issues. In my own scholarship I would actually side with the probability that Jesus was married. I am involved with a group that assesses the way artifacts and texts from the ancient world are portrayed in the media, however, and we make an effort to correct misrepresentation and sensationalism where we find it.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
    • steelontarget

      Actually you are being misleading. You are referring to 1 of the 3 carbon dates that was done at the University of Arizona. The researchers there came up with a 300 BCE date which they acknowledged was a sampling error based on their inability to properly clean such a small sample piece. The other 2 tests came up with the same answer of between 700-800CE. n

      Please stop trying to mislead people about the fact and ask yourself why are threatened by this new information?

      April 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
      • Daniel O. McClellan

        Actually you are being misleading. You are referring to 1 of the 3 carbon dates that was done at the University of Arizona. The researchers there came up with a 300 BCE date which they acknowledged was a sampling error based on their inability to properly clean such a small sample piece. The other 2 tests came up with the same answer of between 700-800CE. n

        Please stop trying to mislead people about the fact and ask yourself why are threatened by this new information?

        I have to disagree on several counts here. First, I'm not threatened by new information. I love it when new discoveries subvert the status quo and force us to reinterpret everything. It's the best part of my job. Second, there are four actual test results published in the HTR issue. There are two separate radiocarbon tests, only one of them from Arizona (by Hodgins), and none of the result were ever claimed to be contaminated, as far as I can tell. Perhaps you can point me to the publication that qualifies those results. It certainly doesn't appear in any portion of the current HTR issue. The other two tests were (1) a microspectroscopic analysis that was only able to conclude the oxidation of the control fragment was slightly higher (the result of environment more than age), and (2) an analysis of the ink that was only able to show it is consistent with other ink known to date between 500 BCE and 1000 CE.

        April 10, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
  9. auntiekale

    His wife? What about Mom?! Didn't she get stuck by some deity?

    April 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      You mean Mary was 'bushwahacked?"

      April 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • rogerthat2014

      People will say almost anything to avoid getting stoned.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • rogerthat2014

        Unless of course you're Cheech or Chong.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
  10. ugetthefacts

    probably the silliest of beliefs is that a god sent down his only son to be tortured and killed. Religious love the cruelty and punishment stuff. Then again, they thought volcanoes and earthquakes were punishments when they wrote the bible. It would make sense for them to make up the jesus stuff.

    I suppose that's how the superst!tion began,, lack of knowledge and fear. And it remains that way today.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • auntiekale

      Creeeeeeeeepyyyy, riiiiiiiggghhhhttt???

      April 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • joedriver1001

      You're full of IT and will burn in hell

      April 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • doobzz

        Spoken like a true loving Christian.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • joedriver1001

          Cool thank you

          April 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • doobzz

          LMAO! Delusional.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • joedriver1001

          Yeah that's about all you can do is LYAO

          April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • doobzz

          So I am lying? You aren't a true loving Christian and just enjoy spouting off hateful threats? It's so hard to know the difference. My bad.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • esaggese

        Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Show it.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the threat of hell...how very frightening coming from someone who follows the vindictive god of the bible!! Grow up!

        April 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • religionismanmade1

        scary....that crap only works on kids and the feeble minded.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • tired-of-america.com

      Worshiping a zombie is a little weird. What do you expect from religious people though. They all have a screw loose.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • joedriver1001

        From your name you're the one with a few loose screws

        April 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
      • djangoboy

        And didn't he tell his followers to eat flesh and drink blood? Creepy.

        April 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
  11. Moneyart

    6th to 9th century is waaaaay after the gospels were written. Any person who has studied old texts knows that there were a lot of forgeries and heresies from the early period. just because it is old does not mean it is accurate or true.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • steelontarget

      The same of course can be said of the bible itself. Nothing that was ever written about the character Jesus was written first hand or Abilene was alive. It is all hearsay and Bronze Age illiterate story craft.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
      • steelontarget

        or while he was alive.

        Stupid auto spell check.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • joedriver1001

        And that's true because you know so much.

        April 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          most biblical scholars agree that the people who wrote about jesus lived after his death and never personally knew him.....study the history of the bible and you would know this.....sad

          April 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • steelontarget

          No its a widely accepted fact. Try reading the bible and you would realize this.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
    • Angelica

      Sure. And who authenticated the writings that you hold stock in?
      Who left out the writings what contradicted the given agenda?

      Where are the writings that Jesus Himself authored?

      April 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • joey3467

        It does seem strange that the alleged son of god couldn't manage to write anything for himself.

        April 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • otoh2

          Yeah, or at least to have cast a magic spell on those originals so that they would not rot and need to be miscopied, mistranslated and misunderstood.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
  12. Concert in an Egg

    Now we know what happened to the Holy Grail too.

    Jesus gets married, wraps up the cup and "mazel tov!!" CRUNCH

    Two mysteries solved.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
  13. bizmarky

    Wouldn't it be funny if they translated it to "My wife...PLEASE, TAKE MY WIFE!"

    April 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      That's 2 so far that I have counted.

      April 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • esaggese

      She made me do it.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
  14. harrisonhits2

    The bible is a book written by men for the purpose of keeping those people in power over others. Nothing more nothing less.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • scottca07

      The bible is also a rather disgusting collection of violence-po-rn.

      April 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • Moneyart

        Not the Christian Bible.

        April 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Because the account of Christ's crucifixtion is ever so bright and cheerful?

          April 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • doobzz

          Did you rely just use the No True Scotsman fallacy on a book? LMAO!

          April 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Angelica

          OMG, facepalm'!!

          April 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • djangoboy

          Excuse me, but the so-called Old Testament (aka Hebrew Scriptures) is part of the Christian Bible.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      Which people are in power over which people?

      April 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • joey3467

        The people in power used it to keep the poor in check. They could point to the bible and tell them not to worry about what their lot is in this life because after they die they will live in paradise for eternity. Unless of course you break one of our rules. For people who literally have nothing and no real hope of ever having anything this can be a powerful force.

        April 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
  15. scottca07

    This is no different than finding an ancient writing about the wife of Zues.
    They are nothing but mythologies written by ancient imbeciles without an ounce of knowledge about the natural world.
    People who still believed lightning was thrown by giants in the clouds..

    That some people actually believe this childish nonsense today is utterly shameful.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • esaggese

      There is a difference. While it is almost certain that Zeus didn't exist (even as a mere mortal), there is a reasonable chance that a guy named Jesus existed at that time, that he made some of the things that are claimed about him, and even that he thought he was the emissary from God. he may have even been a good guy for all we know.
      Claims about a fictional character (e.g. "The Avengers" movie) are different from claims about a potentially real character about which other fiction has been written (e.g. Imoteph, Moses and, well, Jesus).

      April 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
  16. paliotti

    I can hear the cries of all the christians. Now, can the priests marry so they stop screwing little boys?

    April 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • scottca07

      Having a wife won't stop them from doing that.
      They do have to keep up with catholic traditions after all.

      April 10, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
      • Angelica

        You do know that the majority of pedophiles are hetero men, right?

        April 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • mtylerjr

      Just remember that the whole "priests cannot marry" was a Roman addition to Christianity in the 4th-5th century with the chaos of Constantine militarizing the church for defense against enemies of Rome – not part of the original teachings of Christ. Some non-Roman-Catholic Christian churches actually encourage priests to marry – especially those trying to get back to the Pre-Constantine church doctrines.

      April 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  17. jott75

    First of all, to believe any of this... you would have to believe in the bible. So no interest here. I don't believe in fairy tales.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • fausto

      And yet you and the other proselytizing atheists feel compelled to both read this story and submit a comment. Why bother? If someone else believes or finds interest in both the bible or Jesus, what's it to you?

      April 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • doobzz

        Because there are bible believers who want to have their delusions encoded into civil law.

        April 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Did it ever occur to you that many atheists are also very interested in Jesus AND the Bible? They just don't happen to believe many of the claims made about either one.

        April 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • joey3467

        It means nothing until the person says that everyone should live by the rules in the Bible. If you want that then I expect you to prove 100% that the bible is the inspired word of god. Of course you will have to prove this without using the bible.

        April 10, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
  18. Russ

    "...fact: of all the gospels in early Christianity, only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are dated to the first century. Sure, there are minority attempts to put books like the Gospel of Thomas in the first century-but such attempts have not been well received by biblical scholars. Thus, if we really want to know what Jesus was like, our best bet is to rely on books that were at least written during the time period when eyewitnesses were still alive. And only four gospels meet that standard."
    -Michael J. Kruger

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/19/the-far-less-sensational-truth-about-jesus-wife/

    April 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • djangoboy

      And eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • Russ

        @ django:
        so do you discount virtually all of ancient history as well?

        April 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
  19. lunchbreaker

    So supposing an old man was on his death bed as Jesus was being Crucified. A disciple was on his way to tell the man about Jesus, but the man dies before the message got to him. Does the old man go to hell?

    April 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • transframer

      Not necessarily because he didn't know about Jesus. But those who know and reject him go to hell

      April 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • joey3467

        Then if you actually care about other people you shouldn't tell them about Jesus because they might not believe it and end up in hell.

        April 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • transframer

          Maybe, but knowing Jesus is also their (maybe only) chance to go to heaven.

          April 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
      • mickmastergeneral

        I see, Transframer. So everyone who doesn't share your religious beliefs has done something so unimaginably wicked that they deserve to be tortured for all eternity. Hey I have an idea...maybe you should convert; radical Islam is very receptive to your way of thinking.

        April 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • transframer

          Radical islam is totally the opposite of Christianity and my way of thinking. Islam is about killing and torturing people in this world, while Christianity is about loving and caring people and let the God be the judge in the other world

          April 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • Angelica

          Yeah, and radical Christianity is all about suppression of human rights and crimes against gays.

          So there's that.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • transframer

          Angelica,
          There is no such thing as "radical Christianity". If they are doing evil things, like crimes against gays, they are not Christians at all, even if they think or claim it. Jesus message is clear and simple: love your neighbor. That doesn't leave room for anything else.

          April 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          So let me get this straight –
          Violent, radical Islamists = True Scotsment.
          Violent, radical Christian = Not true Scotsmen

          Double standard anyone?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          " while Christianity is about loving and caring people and let the God be the judge in the other world"

          Unless you are gay....stone the gays.

          April 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • inaphish

          Let's not forget the "loving and caring" Scotsmen who burned heretics and "witches" (the Inquisition in Europe, the Puritans in New England, etc.)

          April 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        Well, suppose he died 3 minutes before Jesus was dead and did not have a lamb to slaughter?

        April 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
  20. ugetthefacts

    charlie manson reminds me of jesus

    April 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      In what way?

      April 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • doobzz

        A delusional but charismatic homeless dude who gathered a bunch of other misfits into a "family" and tried to instigate a revolution.

        And then there's Charles Manson...

        April 10, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
    • Angelica

      Hr certainly thought he was Jesus.

      April 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
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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.