Papyrus Referring to Jesus’ Wife Is More Likely Ancient Than Fake

by Rachel Baker on April 10, 2014

This is a fascinating find. Though the idea that maybe Jesus was married may make people queasy, there is nothing keeping one from having an open mind about the possibilities. Think about this from the historical perspective vs the religious perspective.

The test results do not prove that Jesus had a wife or disciples who were women, only that the fragment is more likely a snippet from an ancient manuscript than a fake, the scholars agree. Karen L. King, the historian at Harvard Divinity School who gave the papyrus its name and fame, has said all along that it should not be regarded as evidence that Jesus married, only that early Christians were actively discussing celibacy, sex, marriage and discipleship.

“I took very seriously the comments of such a wide range of people that it might be a forgery,” Dr. King said in an interview this week. She said she is now very confident it is genuine.

“When you have all the evidence pointing in one direction, it doesn’t make it 100 percent, but history is not a place where 100 percent is a common thing,” Dr. King said.

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