Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School, view f...

Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School, view from Divinity Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King agrees that the fragment, written in Coptic, she analysed,

“does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we’re in the same position we were before it was found. We don’t know if he was married or not.”

In the previous postings I mentioned already that when we look at the accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible and the many non-religious writings of the early centuries, there is no mention of his marital status, while the accounts do mention Jesus’ mother, father and siblings.

Darrell Bock, a senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminar said:

“There’s no indication we have that Jesus was married. One could say the text is silent on Jesus’ marital status because there was nothing to say.”

Bock agreed with the notion that the text fragment shared similarities with the Gnostic Gospels and said the text could be referring to a gnostic rite of marriage but

“it’s a small text with very little context. We don’t know what’s wrapped around it to know what it’s saying.”

King writes:

“the importance of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ lies in supplying a new voice within the diverse chorus of early Christian traditions about Jesus that documents that some Christians depicted Jesus as married.”

In “Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh” and “Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage” I pointed out to the Wife of God, indicating the Book of books speaks about God being married to Israel, but this being spiritually talking about the relationship of Jehovah God with His Chosen People, Israel, or the Israelites, the religious Jews. From the Old Testament text we can understand that Jehovah God cast Israel off as a wife, and that it was impossible for Him to marry her as a “virgin” (Jeremiah 3:1-18; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 2; 3:1-5). We can see what faithless Israel has done and find God giving her the notice or her certificate of divorce and having sent her away because of all her adulteries.

“She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.” (Jeremiah 3:8 ESV)

"Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, &quo...

“Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him…” (Photo credit: -Reji)

God had made a promise to Abraham, that his seed would multiply and God would make a people for Him out of his descendants. God always keeps to His promises. One of them, at the beginning of human history,just after the foundation of the earth, was also that He would provide a solution for the sin the first man and woman (the 1° Adam and Eve) committed. There He indicated already His special relationship with the human beings, and planned for a son to whom He would give the throne to restore the paradise and bring to fulfilment the clean and safe Kingdom of God (the 2° Adam).

” And [Psa. 102:25-27 says “Thou, Yahweh/Adonay/Jehovah”], “Lord, in the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hand. (11)  They will be destroyed, but you will remain. And they [i.e., the heavens and earth] will all wear out like an article of clothing. (12)  And you will fold them up like a robe, and they will be changed like an article of clothing. But you will stay the same and your years will never end.” (13)  But which one of the angels did God ever say [this] about [Psa. 110:1], “You should sit at my right side until I put your enemies [in full subjection] beneath your feet?”” (Heb 1:10-13 AUV)

“So [then], we [Christians] should pay closer attention to the things we have heard, so that we do not drift away from [believing and practicing] them. (2)  For if the message spoken through angels proved to be binding [Note: This is a reference to the Law of Moses. See Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19], and every violation [of it] and disobedience [to it] received a just penalty, (3)  how will we escape [punishment] if we neglect such a great salvation? [For it was] first announced [to people] by the Lord and then confirmed to us [i.e., the writer and other Christians] by those who heard Him [i.e., the original apostles]. (4)  God also testified, along with those people, by [giving them] both signs and wonders and various miracles, and by [supernatural] gifts distributed [to them] by the Holy Spirit, as He desired. (5)  For God did not place the coming inhabited world [Note: “The coming inhabited world” here probably refers to the present Christian age. It was viewed as “coming” from the perspective of Old Testament times], under the control of angels [and] that is the world we are talking about.” (Heb 2:1-5 AUV)

With regards to which of the angelic messengers “emissaries”, none where invited tocome to sit next to God, but His son Jeshua (Jesus Christ), who was first lower than the angels (remember God is, was and always shall be the Most High) was placed higher after his resurrection and invited to come to sit at the right hand of God to become a mediator between God and man. In case Jesus was God he could not be sitting next to himself nor take on the duty of mediator or intermediary. His position as arbitrator for man and woman would be of no value either when he would have been God and the end judge of it all. The third party has to be someone other than the principals who are involved in a transaction. In the Bible is also written that he would hand over the Kingdom of God to his Father. In case he himself is the same person as the Father there is no use nor any possibility to hand over the Kingdom to himself.

But in the text in front of us we hear about the world to come: the New World. The angels are ministering spirits, servants, with no royal dignity; having a subordinate role of serving God. God’s concern is not with angels, but with us, and He accordingly sends those angels or messengers of God, to bring help to those who will inherit salvation.

“And if children, then also lawfully-allotted ones, lawfully-allotted ones surely of God, moreover, lawfully-allotted-with the Anointed One, if- we -wholly suffer-with Him, in order that, we may also be given splendor-with Him.” (Romans 8:17 AS )

In the Old Times God shared His passion with His people, who kept stubborn and did not want to recognise the Promised One, the Christos, or Christ the Messiah. God placed Jesus in a higher position than His angels and by doing this God’s glory becomes Christ’s glory and finally, in measure, our glory also, because in him, Jesus Christ, we can be saved and become part of the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul brings some ‘with’ words in his 8° letter to the Romans (8:1-39), that testify of what we are and what we do jointly with Christ. There it is said the Anointed One should be from-within us, being lawfully-allotted ones,  joint-heirs with the Anointed, even when we ourselves still dare to groan inside ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the ransom of our body, we may find not such an adoption, becoming children of God, but also finding the redemption of the body we still have here on earth. (In this world.)

God did not spare His own son Jeshua, but delivered him up for us all. (Romans 8:32) This Jesus is raised up, and is actually at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:34) In the Old World the angels were in charge.

” Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, And see the reward of the wicked.  (9)  For thou, O Jehovah, art my refuge! Thou hast made the Most High thy habitation;  (10)  There shall no evil befall thee, Neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent.  (11)  For he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.  (12)  They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:8-12 ASV)

But now God choose a cornerstone in His son, to whom angels already came to minister him in his lifetime (Matthew 4:11; cp Matthew 26:53)

” You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,  (8)  putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  (9)  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:7-9 ESV)

We all share in flesh and blood, the same as the son of God Jesus Christ partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the evil, the adversary of God. For ages God’s People where thrown through and fro and often did not make a proper choice. Because of His great dissatisfaction god was not inclined any more to keep the bond of His ‘marriage’ with them alone. Too many times the Israelites were  ill-disposed to their Creator. They often behaved unlawful and that hurtled the Most High in such a way that He allowed His son to provide a New Covenant, to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:15).

God renewed His bond or covenant with His son and with the Spiritual Israel, which had to become the Church of God, the Body of Christ where the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus) would be the cornerstone, to bring the lovers of God close to Him and to put down the adversaries or hostile ones, their necks under his foot.

Besides the heavenly Bride, the transfigured, translated, and risen Church, reigning over the earth with Christ, there is also the earthly bride, Israel, in the flesh, never yet divorced, though for a time separated, from her divine husband, who shall then be reunited to the Lord and be mother Church of the millennial earth, Christianized through her. Note, we ought, as Scripture does, restrict the language drawn from marriage—love to the Bride, the Church as a whole; not use it as individuals in our relation to Christ, as Rome does in the case of her nuns.” { All the Women of the Bible » Chapter 4. Symbolic and Representative Bible Women » The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife}

In his teaching period Jesus explained that some people may prefer to stay single “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12). We should understand that by choosing celibacy to have more time to devote to proclaiming and living out God’s kingdom. They would find earthly responsibilities, such as those that go with marriage and parenting, a hindrance to their kingdom calling. This is similar to the situation of the disciples who were called away from their professions (fishermen, tax collectors, etc.) in order to follow Jesus with singular purpose. As I mentioned earlier such people consider themselves as married to Christ. They have taken Christ as their “bride“, like Jesus preferred to stay single and be the spouse or “wife of God“.

We always should remember that the Old Testament uses a lot of metaphors, and marriage is such one of them. Early Christians also used such metaphors to describe the relationship between celibate believers and Christ. Nuptial imagery is commonly used to describe salvation and heaven in the New Testament; and later Christian martyrs are sometimes called or portrayed as brides of Christ.

In the most difficult book of the bible, the apostle John describes in his vision the marriage scene in which the Bridegroom makes His Bride His wife. The ones who accept Christ as the son of God and their saviour may be glad and rejoice, and give honour now to him they wanted to follow and God raised out of the dead. He, the Lamb of God has now been taken up in heaven where the marriage of the Lamb took place. The ‘new’ wife of God or the wife for us in heaven has made herself ready in the presence of the one who is presented in fine linen, clean and white, like so many women their wedding dress. For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, the ones who are set-apart from the world.  The followers of Christ may become part of the new Israel, the new chosen people of God, though they might have been gentiles, they are now called righteous and also sons  and daughters of God. We should know that blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus Messiah. We all better listen to the true sayings of God.  We best remember what He has done for us and whom He provided for us and how we should worship that only One True God,the Father of Jesus, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;  (8)  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  (9)  And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”  (10)  Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:7-10 ESV )

A woman, of course, only becomes a wife on the completion of her marriage to the man to whom she has been engaged or espoused. In this age of Grace, the church is the affianced Bride of Christ. At the marriage of the Lamb, she becomes His wedded wife (Ephesians 5:22, 23; 2 Corinthians 11:2). { All the Women of the Bible » Chapter 4. Symbolic and Representative Bible Women » The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife}

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The "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

Conclusion

Professor King has devoted much of her scholarly career to making a case that the early church falsely constructed an orthodox understanding of Jesus that minimized the role of women. Back in 2003 she released The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, in which she argued that at least some ancient texts pointed to Mary Magdalene as an apostle. In 2012 she told the writer for Smithsonian: “You’re talking to someone who’s trying to integrate a whole set of ‘heretical’ literature into the standard history.” {It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship}

King saying

“it does not make sense that a forger with poor Coptic and scribal skills could also manage to acquire the right kind of papyrus and ink, and leave no ink out of place at the microscopic level.”

in her judgment may be right that “such a combination of bumbling and sophistication seems extremely unlikely” and that the world has a genuine old manuscript. But this does not mean it is a worthy “gospel” fragment or a sacred text.

King said.

“Is Jesus talking about a real wife, or the church, or a sister-wife? Who is the Mary—his mother, his wife, or some other Mary entirely?”

As I tried to explain in these 10 chapters is that we might understand it that when we would like to translate it with “wife” we should understand it to be a “woman” or female person in the bond of covenant-ship of being a pupil or follower of Christ.

What also might be important is that certain conservative ideas about the role of women in church herewith would be contradicted. If the papyrus fragment reflects religious writing copied from earlier texts, perhaps ones in the fourth century, it would speak to early Christian concerns about the role of the family in the early Church, which famously called upon its adherents to put aside family and civic loyalties, King suggests.

“This is not evidence that Jesus was married. We don’t know,”

Professor King originally interpreted the document as a debate about celibacy and had said:

“But early Christians were extremely interested in questions about whether they should be married or be celibate.”

Last month she added:

‘Now when I come back and read the fragment, it seems the major issue being talked about was that Jesus was affirming that wives and mothers can be his disciples,’ she said in an interview earlier this week.

The Harvard Divinity School writes:

If ancient, this tiny, damaged fragment provides tantalizing glimpses into issues about family, discipleship, and marriage that concerned ancient Christians. The main topic of the dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is one that deeply concerned early Christians, who were asked to put loyalty to Jesus before their natal families, as the New Testament gospels show. Christians were talking about themselves as a family, with God the Father, his son Jesus, and members as brothers and sisters. The particular focus in the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, however, is on women: his mother, Mary, his wife, and a female disciple. The disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy, and Jesus states that “she can be my disciple.” These signs indicate some controversy over whether women who are sexually active (mothers and wives) can be disciples of Jesus. Other early Christian writings defend marriage and reproduction against fellow Christians who think virginity and celibacy are required for all, or who argue that “women are not worthy of life.”

This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what role claims about Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family. The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife makes it possible to say that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married. This conclusion potentially has significant implications for the history of ancient Christian attitudes toward marriage, sexuality, and reproduction.

I agree with professor King that the papyrus may show that there were early Christians for whom …

“sexual union in marriage could be an imitation of God’s creativity and it could be spiritually proper and appropriate.”

For her the so-called ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ may have been thrown out

“because the ideas it contained flowed so strongly against the ascetic currents of the tides in which Christian practices and understandings of marriage and sexual intercourse were surging.”

This representation of Jesus as a man with earthly passions and needs has not survived in the doctrines of the established churches, which emphasise celibacy and asceticism as a spiritual ideal. We as Christians should remember how Jesus preached equality between man and how we all had to love each other becoming one, united. Men and women equally united in the lord Christ Jesus, having the bride Jesus, him married to spiritual Israel, the Church.

The John papyrus fragment (right) comes from the same anonymous owner as the Gospel of Jesus's wife and has the same line breaks as a papyrus transcribed in 1924 (shown on left). The papyrus and Gospel of Jesus's Wife have similar ink and writing styles, suggesting the latter is a fake.

The John papyrus fragment (right) comes from the same anonymous owner as the Gospel of Jesus’s wife and has the same line breaks as a papyrus transcribed in 1924 (shown on left). The papyrus and Gospel of Jesus’s Wife have similar ink and writing styles, suggesting the latter is a fake.

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Find in this series:

 Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

 Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

 Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

 Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

 Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment  in Egyptian Coptic

 Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

 Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

 Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

 To be continued with:

The Bride New Jerusalem

 

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Additional reading:

  1. God’s promises
  2. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  3. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  4. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  5. Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News
  6. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  7. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  8. God’s salvation
  9. Written to recognise the Promised One
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Messiah
  13. One mediator
  14. Slave for people and God
  15. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  16. Kingdom Visions of Rainbowed angel, Lamb in Mount Zion
  17. The Song of The Lamb #1 Visions, symbols and suggested meanings
  18. Accommodation of the Void
  19. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  20. Angels
  21. Father counterpart of the mother
  22. Invitation to all who believe
  23. Belief of the things that God has promised
  24. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  25. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  26. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  27. United people under Christ
  28. Fellowship
  29. What’s church for, anyway?
  30. Church sent into the world
  31. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  32. Misleading Pictures
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  35. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  36. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  37. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  38. Signs of the Last Days

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Please find also of interest:

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is Still as Big a Mystery as Ever
Given that King announced the discovery at a professional conference and immediately made preliminary test results and high-resolution photographs available to the world, it is difficult to know what she could have done differently.   Certainly a more somber title—something in Latin perhaps—would have conveyed more nuance and garnered less attention, but getting attention for the discovery and the field was King’s aim. It used to be the case that papyrus discoveries were routinely announced on the front pages of the Times of London, but things have changed. It’s tough out there when you’re not a Kardashian, and a catchy title and clear message can go a long way. It’s rare for scholars to pass up the opportunity to reach a broader audience when the opportunity presents itself, even if that means giving up some precision.

It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship

Last week, the Harvard Theological Review released a much-delayed series of articles on the fragment. After a series of investigations undertaken by diverse scholars, the general judgment claimed by Professor King is that the fragment probably is not a forgery — or at least that it dates back to ancient times. The analysis suggested that the fragment dated from about four centuries later than Professor King had first suggested. This would place the fragment, if authentic, in the context of eighth-century Egypt — hundreds of years after the New Testament was written and completed.

The language used by the national media in reporting the story this time reveals the lack of confidence now placed in the fragment. The Boston Globe reported that the tests “have turned up no evidence of modern forgery,” but the reporter had to acknowledge that at least one of the scholars writing in the Harvard Theological Review insisted that the fragment is not only a forgery, but an amateurish effort. The New York Times ran a story that featured a headline announcing that the fragment “is more likely ancient than fake.” Note the uncertainty evident even in the headline.

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship,”
One British newspaper notes that the claims about a married Jesus seem more worthy of fans of Dan Brown’s fictional work, The Da Vinci Code, than “real-life Harvard professors.” If the fragment is authenticated, the existence of this little document will be of interest to historians of the era, but it is insanity to make the claims now running through the media.

No Evidence of Modern Forgery in Ancient Text Mentioning Jesus’s Wife,”
Specialists said, hypothetically, that a highly skilled modern forger could have obtained the right kind of ink and meticulously applied it to a blank piece of ancient papyrus.

Determining the age of the ink using conventional testing methods would destroy the tiny document, roughly the size of a business card. Groundbreaking work by Columbia University researchers may soon uncover a way to date the ink without harming the fragment, which would offer a more definitive verdict about its authenticity.

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ likely isn’t a modern forgery, scientists claim
The Vatican has previously said that the document is most likely a modern forgery, but scientists from Columbia University, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say their analysis strongly suggests that it is indeed part of an ancient manuscript and that it wasn’t edited or tampered with. The researchers used micro-Raman and infrared spectroscopy to analyze the composition of the ink, looking for clues as to whether it may have been applied after the original document was damaged.
“There is absolutely no evidence for that,” Timothy Swager, an MIT chemistry professor who worked on the project, tells the New York Times. “It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible.” The researchers dated the fragment to between the sixth and ninth century AD, noting that it bears a strong resemblance to other texts from that era.

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Is Real: What Now?
As with all scholarly work on the ancient world, it seems impossible to ever fully resolve disputes over the text and its interpretations. This isn’t the last word on the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, but it is a fragment of understanding about how early Christians saw their savior.

No Forgery Evidence Seen in “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” Papyrus
One report in the journal, by epigrapher Leo Depuydt of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, claims grammatical errors dog the text and concludes, “The author of this analysis has not the slightest doubt that the document is a forgery, and not a very good one at that.”

Overall, he suggests that the papyrus was forged from a copy of the ancient Gospel of Thomas text, discovered less than a century ago in Egypt.

King refutes those criticisms in a response in the journal, arguing that the grammar errors are misinterpretations by Depuydt. She also argues that writings similar to the Gospel of Thomas were then prevalent in the eastern Mediterranean, so words from that gospel would not necessarily be a sign of forgery.
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In the journal reports, a chemistry team led by MIT’s Joseph Azzarelli concluded that the age of the papyrus scrap matches that of a verified Gospel of John papyrus from antiquity. The team relied on microspectroscopy of the papyrus, which found the fragment only slightly less oxidized—aged by exposure to air—than the verified gospel.

Likewise, Columbia University’s James Yardley and Alexis Hagadorn looked at the pigments in the ink on the fragment. They found it similar to “lamp black” ink used on other ancient texts.

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’: Doubts Raised About Ancient Text
In an effort to confirm the origins of the papyrus and discover its history, Live Science went searching for more information about Laukamp and his descendents, business partners or friends.

Our findings indicate that Laukamp was a co-owner of the now-defunct ACMB-American Corporation for Milling and Boreworks in Venice, Fla. Documents filed in Sarasota County, Fla., show that Laukamp was based in Germany at the time of his death in 2002 and that a man named René Ernest was named as the representative of his estate in Sarasota County. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

In an exchange of emails in German, Ernest said that Laukamp did not collect antiquities, did not own this papyrus and, in fact, was living in West Berlin in 1963, so he couldn’t have crossed the Berlin Wall into Potsdam. Laukamp, he said, was a toolmaker and had no interest in old things. In fact, Ernest was astonished to hear that Laukamp’s name had been linked to this papyrus.

Is the ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ a fake after all? Fresh doubts cast over ancient papyrus that suggested Jesus was married after another in the collection with the Same handwriting is proved to be a forgery
Fresh questions over the authenticity of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ papyrus have been raised after a text from the same collection written in the same handwriting was proved to be a fake, experts say.
Debate over the fragment’s authenticity is set to continue as some will no doubt question these latest findings.
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Additional tests showed that the ink’s chemical composition is consistent with other inks used by the ancient Egyptians, while microscopic imaging found no suspicious ink pooling that critics of the papyrus said was evidence of the ink being applied in more recent times.

At the same time, other papyri from the collection were tested for means of comparison. One of those was a fragment from the canonical Gospel’ of John written in a rare ancient dialect of Coptic known as Lycopolitan. A Lycopolitan version of John, which was first published in 1924, is now available online.
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Many people over the centuries have tried to work out a ‘bloodline’ for possible descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Many historians agree that there is no historical, biblical, archaeological or genetic evidence to support the idea.

New clues cast doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

Once we started carbon-dating papyrus, forgers started using authentically ancient papyrus. Once we discovered how to identify ancient ink by its chemical composition, forgers started creating precisely the same ink.

Like steroids in sports, it’s safe to assume that the best bad guys are always one step ahead of the science.

And yet, the dating of the papyrus and ink did shift the burden back on to the doubters. And just this past week, they seem to have discovered something as close to proof as we can really expect in cases like this.
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Add to this the fact that the carbon dating of the John papyrus puts it in the seventh to ninth centuries, but Lycopolitan died out as a language sometime before the sixth century. No one wrote anything in Lycopolitan in the period in which this text would have to be dated.
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This forgery was detected not through lab analysis but through good old-fashioned humanities-based detective work. This was Sherlock Holmes, not “CSI.”

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Looks More and More Like a Fake

Just recently, Christian Askeland, a research associate with the Institut für Septuaginta-und biblische Textforschung in Wuppertal Germany, revealed new information that casts further doubt on the papyrus’ authenticity. His work is set to be published in the journal Tyndale Bulletin and is currently posted on a blog.

Askeland analyzed a second papyrus that, according to documents published in the Harvard Theological Review, was also purchased by the anonymous owner from Laukamp. It was presented to Harvard as a papyrus believed to be genuine.

This second papyrus, which has writing on two sides, includes text from the Gospel of John — and is a fake, writes Askeland, its lines being copied from a papyrus published in 1924. In addition, the researcher notes this papyrus has similar handwriting and ink to the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, making it likely that the Jesus’s wife papyrus is also fake. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

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  • Centuries-Old Document Stirs Up Jesus Marriage Debate (fox8.com)
    A newly revealed, centuries-old papyrus fragment suggests that some early Christians might have believed Jesus was married. The fragment, written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, says in part, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …”Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced the findings of the 1 1/2- by 3-inch honey-colored fragment on Tuesday in Rome at the International Association for Coptic Studies.
  • ‘Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife’ Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Experts Say (huffingtonpost.com)
    “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, whose specialties include Coptic literature, Gnosticism and women in the Bible, said in a statement Thursday. “This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family.”The legible lines on the front of the artifact seem to form a broken conversation between Jesus and his disciples. The fourth line of the text says, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Line 5 says “… she will be able to be my disciple,” while the line before the “wife” quote has Jesus saying “Mary is worthy of it” and line 7 says, “As for me, I dwell with her in order to …”
  • The Great Debate: Death and Taxes Matthew 22:15-33 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    Jesus has boldly claimed authority as Israel’s Messiah by His triumphal entry, His cleansing of the temple, and His possession of the temple for His teaching and healing ministry (Matthew 21:1-17). It is while Jesus is ministering in the temple that His adversaries,  the religious elite of Jerusalem  choose to challenge Him publicly, demanding that He declare the source of His authority for all He has been doing (Matthew 21:23).
  • did jesus kill himself (or, maybe, have himself killed)? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Famously, some liberal theologians suggest Jesus only submitted to the cross after his example was wasted on the folk. Or, some suggest he was the first martyr. Neither of this, I think, does justice to what I am going to propose in my new dissertation. If we allow for the moment that devotio means, in its simplest form, “self-sacrifice,” then we can allow for an exploration of suicide as a form of devotio even if the proper term is not used.
  • The revelation of Jesus that John saw and heard (correctunderstandingofshinchonji.wordpress.com)
    The revelation that John saw, heard, and recorded is the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rv 1:1). Anyone who learns this revelation of Jesus is not learning from mere men; he is learning from Jesus and the angels coming in his name (Jn 14:26; Rv 10). This revelation contains prophecies and their fulfillment (Jn 14:29; Rv 21:6). The prophecies record the events of betrayal, destruction, and salvation (2Thes 2:1-3). The fulfillment of Revelation includes battles and the handling down of judgment (Rv 13; Rv 12). Revelation describes the war between God and the devil, and the battle between God’s promised pastor and the pastors of the devil (Rv 12).
  • Psalm 2 (The coming reign of Jesus on Earth) (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
    the scenario of Psalm 2:2 shows that the rulers of the earth are aware not just of God but also about Christ his anointed One. It means that the around that time (which will soon come) most people will have the Gospel preached to them as a witness. So there will be some rulers who will try to go against the Gospel teachings.
  • The Bible backs same-sex couples: Point by point, why conservatives are wrong (salon.com)
    If the essence of marriage involves a covenant-keeping relationship of mutual self-giving, then two men or two women can fulfill that purpose as well as a man and a woman can. But is lifelong commitment between two adults sufficient for realizing a Christian basis for marriage? Or is there something unique about heterosexual relationships that prevents same-sex couples from truly illustrating Christ’s love for the church?
  • The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife ~ A Rogueclassicist Perspective (rogueclassicism.com)
    We also saw some things from the Smithsonian, which may have added some gravitas to the story:

    … and it became apparent that this was connected to a documentary on the subject which was funded by the Smithsonian and which will appear on the Smithsonian Channel later this month.

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Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

In the text that is coming to be known as the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” the Harvard researcher Karen King rightly points out that new items of information about the historical Jesus are not to be expected from it.

Front of the papyrus "the Gospel of Jesus's wife"

A growing number of scholars have denounced the business card-sized papyrus as a fake, with recent op-eds appearing in The Wall Street Journal and on CNN. Meanwhile, Harvard University, which announced the papyrus’ discovery, has fallen silent on the artifact, not responding to requests for comment on new developments suggesting the find is a forgery.

The document has the disciples talking to their master-teacher Jesus introducing questions about, respectively, leadership, the end, and the kingdom of heaven. In the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” the abbreviation of Jesus’ name (the nomen sacrum) to =ic takes the same form as in the Thomas examples.

English: Gospel of Thomas or maybe gnostic Gos...

Gospel of Thomas or maybe gnostic Gospel of Peter (see talk page). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to my opinion in case the text has been really constructed out of small pieces – words or phrases – culled from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, in other manuscripts from that Gospel we should find it back. I do find it strange that certain saying where not discovered yet but can cope that new elements can be found which would set sayings 30, 45, 101 and 114 in new contexts. This is most probably the compositional procedure of a modern author who is not a native speaker of Coptic.

Francis Watson has done a line-by-line comparisons of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (GJW) and the Gospel of Thomas (GTh) and focused only on the recto side of the fragment that King has transcribed, translated and edited. Underlinings in Coptic texts and English translations highlight identical wording in Thomas and the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.

He writes:

It will be convenient to take lines 3 and 4 of GJW together:GJW3-4].arna maria~m =mpsa =m moc a [n? ] . . . . . / peje =ic nau ta hime m~=n [] “deny. Mary is n[ot]* worthy of it…” [ ] . . . . . Jesus said to them, “My wife and*… [arna, “deny”, occurs twice in GTh in the injunctive form, marefarna , “let him deny” (GTh 81; 114). {GTh 47.17; 51.5.}

In the second case, the object of renunciation is “the world” (pkocmoc); in the first, the verb is unqualified: “Let the one who has power deny [marefarna]”. While the gap preceding arna in GJW 3 might be filled with the injunctive and pronominal prefixes (maref- or mareC- ), it is unclear how that would make sense when it is the disciples who are speaking, rather than Jesus himself. The primary model for lines 3-4 is GTh 114: GTh 51.18 peje cimwn petroc

GTh 51.19 nau je mare mari ham ei ebol =nhyt=n

GTh 51.20 je =nc hiome =mpsa an =mpwnhpeje =ic

(Simon Peter said / to them, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” Jesus said …”)

Here the author or compiler of GJW has taken four elements from GTh 114, reversing the order of the third and fourth of them. “Mary” is directly linked to “not worthy of…”, and the intervening reference to “women” now follows the introductory formula, “Jesus said”, where it is changed to “my woman” , = “my wife” (tahime). (hime is one of a number of variant spellings listed under chime in W. E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary , Oxford: OUP, 1939, 385a. There are also variant spellings of the plural, of which Thomas’s chiome is one.) {The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed, Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K, First posted, 20 September 2012 Revised, 26 September, 2012}

After this Jesus speaking either of a woman, the woman, a wife, the wife or his wife, he continues with what we also can find in the Thomas gospel “She will be able to be a disciple to me”. In case Magdalene would have been more than a pupil to him and would have build up a personal relation with him, I doubt if Jesus would use the loanword ma;ytyc  meaning “to be or become a disciple”.

The front side of folios 13 and 14 of a Greek ...

The front side of folios 13 and 14 of a Greek papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Luke containing verses 11:50–12:12 and 13:6-24, P. Chester Beatty I (Gregory-Aland no. P 45 ). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The phrase as a whole is a Coptic equivalent of the Lukan ou0 du/natai ei]nai/ mou maqhth/j (Lk.14.26, cf.vv. 27, 33), which the GTh passage probably echoes. In Luke, however, the Coptic text uses different although synonymous formulations.(=mmns[om etrefrma;ytyc nai (Lk.14.26); =mmns[om etrefswpe nai =mma;ytyc (Lk.14.27); mmns[om =mmof etrefswpe nai =mma;ytyc (Lk.14.33). {The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed, Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K, First posted, 20 September 2012 Revised, 26 September, 2012}

The origin of the verbal phrase in GJW 5 appears to lie in GTh 101, along with GJW 1. {The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed, Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K, First posted, 20 September 2012 Revised, 26 September, 2012}

“26 « ወደ እኔ የሚመጣ ሁሉ አባቱንና እናቱን፥ ሚስቱንና ልጆቹን፥ ወንድሞቹንና እኅቶቹን፥ የራሱንም ሕይወት እንኳ ከእኔ አብልጦ የሚወድ ከሆነ የእኔ ደቀ መዝሙር ሊሆን አይችልም። 27 የራሱን መስቀል ተሸክሞ የማይከተለኝ፥ የእኔ ደቀ መዝሙር ሊሆን አይችልም።” (Luke 14:26-27 Amharic87)
“እንዲሁም ከእናንተ መካከል ያለውን ሁሉ ለእኔ ሲል ያልተወ ማንም ሰው የእኔ ደቀ መዝሙር መሆን አይችልም። »” (Luke 14:33 Amharic87)

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, he is unable to be My taught one. “And whoever does not bear his stake and come after Me is unable to be My taught one. (Luke 14:26-27 The Scriptures 1998+)
“So, then, everyone of you who does not give up all that he has, is unable to be My taught one.  (Luke 14:33 The Scriptures 1998+)

He who comes to me and does not put aside his father, and his mother, and his brothers, and his sisters, and his wife, and his children, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple to me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow me, cannot be a disciple to me. For which of you, who wishes to build a tower, does not at first sit down and consider its cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? Lest after he has laid the foundation, he is not able to finish it, and all who see it will mock him, Saying, This man began to build, but he was not able to finish. Or which king, who goes to war to fight against a king equal to him, would not at first reason, whether he is able with ten thousand to meet the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while he is far away from him, sends envoys and seeks peace. So every man of you, who would not leave all his possessions, cannot be a disciple to me.  (Luke 14:26-33 Lamsa NT)

Jesus invites everyone to come after him, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters, and his disciples should know that nobody is excluded to become one of his disciples. Likewise Mary Magdalene gave up her won community and left Magdala to be close to her master, she was accepted as equal to the male disciples, though they did not like it at first. They also had to learn they did have to give up their prejudice against women and should work at their inclination for those Jesus had called.

Jesus his disciples had to learn that their attitude could not stay the same as in the world they were living in. They had to give up their ordinary customs and judgements over people. Mary Magdalene had probably learned what she had to put aside or had to give up, and what she could gain by “giving up the world” to become a ‘full disciple‘ of Jesus. As such she could become as ‘woman’ a ‘wife’ in the Body of Christ. In such a way we could also look at it how the Catholic Church understood it for their priests and monks. They became spouse of Jesus Christ.

I do belief we have to understand the wrong translation of ‘wife’ in this way. I would prefer to use the more correct translation ‘woman’, but those who would prefer to use the word ‘wife’ should see it in that context, Mary Magdalene like other women becoming a ‘wife’ in the Body of Christ, like the sisters in a monastery by their vows found themselves “married to Christ”. It is not a ‘literal’ marriage, or having the female person becoming the sexual partner of Christ, but having the female becoming the spiritual partner of Christ Jesus, like males also should become spiritually connected with Christ, becoming ‘one body’. This is not literally by having sex with Jesus, but being united in thought or spirit. Like Jesus is one with God, we also do  have to become one with Jesus and through him also becoming one with God.

Watson writes:

The eight lines of GJW recto are derived from the Coptic GTh, virtually in their entirety, making dependence certain – a highly unusual form of dependence on words more than sense. The compiler has used a “collage” or “patchwork” compositional technique, and this level of dependence on extant pieces of Coptic text is more plausibly attributed to a modern author, with limited facility in Coptic, than to an ancient one. Indeed, the GJW fragment may be designedly incomplete, its lacunae built into it from the outset. It does not seem possible to fill these lacunae with GTh material contiguous to the fragments cited. The impression of modernity is reinforced by the case in line 1 of dependence on the line-division of the one surviving Coptic manuscript, easily accessible in modern printed editions. {The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed, Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K, First posted, 20 September 2012 Revised, 26 September, 2012}

When researchers may find some modernity in the material I do hope more energy and time shall be put in further examination. Further investigations and fresh considerations could bring more clarity. But according Watson it seems unlikely that the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” will establish itself as a “genuine” product of early gospel writing.

Even if GJW were to be accepted as a 4th century Coptic text, Dr King’s claim that it derives from a Greek original from the 2nd century would be impossible to sustain, along with her attempt to reconstruct an original historical context for it. Where a text is so manifestly dependent on another text in translation, it makes no sense to postulate dependence on an earlier original. {The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed, Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K, First posted, 20 September 2012 Revised, 26 September, 2012}

he said with his thanks to Richard Bauckham for emphasizing this point. In Watson’s view, however, a 4th century Coptic origin is equally unlikely.

A modern parallel to the author’s collage technique may be seen in the composition of the Secret Gospel of Mark passages which – as I have argued at length elsewhere – are to be attributed, along with the letter in which they are embedded, to their alleged discoverer, Morton Smith. {Francis Watson, “Beyond Suspicion: On the Authorship of the Mar Saba Letter and the Secret Gospel of Mark”,JTS 61 (2010), 128-70, esp. 139-42, 167-69. See also Stephen C. Carlson, The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith’s Invention of Secret Mark, Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2005. For the full text of the Clementine letter that incorporates the secret gospel excerpts, see Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and the Secret Gospel of Mark, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973}

As I have shown, Smith’s composition is itself inspired by an explicitly fictional gospel fragment known as the Shred of Nicodemus which features in an otherwise forgotten novel by James M. Hunter, The Mar Saba Mystery (1940). {F. Watson, “Beyond Suspicion”, 161-70}

Both the American scholar and the Canadian novelist create their fake gospel texts from fragments of genuine texts: Mark in the one case, Mark, John and the Old Testament in the other. Perhaps the author of GJW was inspired by the Secret Gospel ’s compositional procedure, which was noted soon after its publication although the correct conclusion was rarely drawn from it.
The Jesus of the Secret Gospel likes to consort naked with young men at night, while seeming hostile to women. {Mar Saba Letter, II.23-III.14; III.14-17 (references are to page and line numbers); see F. Watson, “Beyond Suspicion”,135-36.}

By contrast, the new gospel fragment has Jesus speak disconcertingly of “my wife”. Has this new heterosexual Jesus been created to complement Smith’s homosexual one? {The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed, Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K, First posted, 20 September 2012 Revised, 26 September, 2012}

Jesus wife payrus transcriptJesus wife papyrus translation

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Preceding articles:

Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment  in Egyptian Coptic

To be followed by:

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

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Find also:

  • Oh Look- Harvard Is Pimping ‘The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ – It Must Be Easter! (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
    Thanks, Harvard, for devolving to the level of the History Channel and the Discovery Channel and The Discovery Channel Canada and being willing to sensationalize a trinket of modern invention.
    +
    Read the essay here by Leo Depuydt from
    Brown University who states what nearly all knew from the beginning, the doc is a forgery.
    We’ve seen this movie too many times, esp. around Easter and its a shame that Harvard went to so much trouble going along with it.
  • New evidence casts doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    one of the typographical errors in an online edition of the “Gospel of Thomas” is replicated, uniquely, in the Jesus’ wife fragment.
    +
    Add to this the fact that the carbon dating of the John papyrus puts it in the seventh to ninth centuries, but Lycopolitan died out as a language sometime before the sixth century. No one wrote anything in Lycopolitan in the period in which this text would have to be dated.
  • Jesus Wife Gospel the Real Thing (writedge.com)
    The testing was very thorough, using micro-Raman spectroscopy for determining that the make-up of the ink matched other 1st to 8th century papyri samples, alongside both microscopic and multispectral imaging as well as radiocarbon testing. Having completed the testing, the conclusion was that the fragment is almost certainly a product of early Christians, not a modern forger, according to Harvard Divinity School.Not that this is universally accepted, by any means, because Brown University professor Leo Depuydt, still maintains the document is a forgery, full of what he calls gross grammatical errors, and employing the same words found in the early Christian text discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945, the so-called Gospel of Thomas. Why people find it so hard to accept that Jesus, if he even existed, could have had a wife seems very odd, because he was only human, after all.
  • Misogynist Paul, Peter’s Boyfriend, Is the Founder of Christianity! (venitism.blogspot.com)
    Historians believe Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene.  In apocryphal texts, Magdalene is portrayed as a visionary and leader of the early movement whom Jesus loved more than he loved the other disciples. Several Gnostic gospels, such as the Gospel of Mary, written in the early 2nd century, see Mary as the special disciple of Jesus who has a deeper understanding of his teachings and is asked to impart this to the other disciples.In Gnostic writings, Magdalene is seen as one of the most important of Jesus’ disciples whom he loved more than the others. The Gnostic Gospel of Philip names Magdalene as Jesus’ companion. Gnostic writings describe tensions and jealousy between Magdalene and other disciples, especially misogynist Peter, boyfriend of Paul.
  • ‘Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife’ Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Experts Say (huffingtonpost.com)
    Although the peer-reviewed paper will now be published in the academic journal and was posted online on Thursday, the criticism is likely to continue. For one, the journal will also run an article by Brown University Egyptology professor Leo Depuydt, who says the fragment is a fake. In the paper, published online Thursday, Depuydt points to grammatical mistakes that he says a native Coptic writer would not make, as well as similarities to another well-known non-canonical biblical text.
  • Jesus Chooses the Twelve Disciples // Jesus Teaches and Heals (travismikhailblog.wordpress.com)
    In these days he went out to the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.  And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles;
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas Explained (wholesalecostumeclub.com)
    As the story goes, from the mid 1500s to the early 1800s Roman Catholics in England had to practice their faith in secrecy. To help the children remember the doctrines of Catholicism and other important facts of the faith, they  wrote this carol as a catechism song with each day of Christmas symbolizing a religious reality.
  • ‘Jesus wife’ text no fake – expert (independent.ie)
    Brown University professor Leo Depuydt, in an analysis also published by the Harvard Theological Review, was not convinced. He said the text contained grammatical errors that a native Coptic speaker would not make. Prof King suggested that the text was written in an informal style found in other ancient Coptic texts.
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