A Response to the Claim Made in a Supposed Fourth-century Papyrus Fragment
September 21, 2012
Earlier this week, headlines announced that a new discovery shows Jesus was married. These bold claims are based on the discovery of a papyrus fragment written in an ancient Egyptian language known as Coptic. According to the translation by Dr. Karen L. King, the tiny fragment contains these words: “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife’ . . .” Of course, without the surrounding context or any other copies of this document, it is practically impossible to determine what this writing is really about. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume this text should be understood in a straightforward manner and that Jesus was not using the term wife metaphorically. If true, should we start believing that Jesus was married? Not at all! The papyrus is likely from the fourth century AD—three centuries after Jesus died and rose. Even as a scholar known for her favorable treatment of various non-canonical texts, King advised that this does not prove in any way that Jesus was married, only that some early groups had a tradition that Jesus was married.
Continue reading five key reasons to believe Jesus was not married.
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