Monday, October 1

Jesus “Wife” Papyrus: An Elaborate Hoax

According to a report in both the Guardian and the New American, the much-ballyhooed discovery of a  supposedly ancient fragment of papyrus is in fact a fake, say multiple scholars and experts.

According to the September 18 issue of the UK's Guardian newspaper, Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard University, said the fragment is from the third or fourth century AD and contains text in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary. “King helped translate and unveiled the tiny fragment at a conference of Coptic experts in Rome,” said the report. “She said it doesn't prove Jesus was married but speaks to issues of family and marriage that faced Christians.”
But a host of Bible scholars have refuted that notion, saying that the relic is probably little more than an ingenious hoax. Professor Francis Watson of the UK's Durham University, who studied the fragment, said the papyrus is actually nothing more than a a patchwork of texts from a non-canonical Coptic-language Gospel of Thomas, which have been reassembled to suggest that Jesus had a wife.
In another piece, the Guardian reported, “Watson argues that all of the sentence fragments found on the papyrus fragment have been copied, sometimes with small alterations, from printed editions of the Gospel of Thomas.” Watson said that he would be “very surprised if it were not a modern forgery, although it is possible that it was composed in this way in the fourth century.”
Interesting, isn't it? The discovery and translation of the papyrus garnered big headlines all over the mainstream press and on the internet--but, it's debunking has hardly warranted a peep (and even then, only with a nod to unnamed Vatican experts). It's time CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, et al started "snopsing" themselves.

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