Just In Case You’re Fairly Blind and Can’t Look at the ‘Jesus Wife’ Fragment and Know it Isn’t Ancient…

There’s more evidence that the thing is a piece of bogus rubbish- kindly provided by the scholar who lives up to the first syllable of his surname, Mark Goodacre

Line 1 of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment copies a typo from a website interlinear of Coptic Thomas

And now a little more detail.  One of the difficulties with the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment is that it appears to be dependent, on every line, on words and phrases from our one extant Coptic text of the Gospel of Thomas (See Francis Watson’s articles; see too Leo Depuydt’s forthcoming report; see also Andrew Bernhard).  The difficulties that this poses for the authenticity of the fragment are serious (see my reflections).

Serious indeed.  I sure hope that any of the folk still holding out false hope that the fragment is authentic (or meaningful) will read Mark’s entire post as well as Stevie Carlson’s remarks (always cogent, that Stevie C.)

Another ‘Jesus Wife’ Fragment Disclosed!!!

Wow, once the floodgates open, they really open!!!!  I do so appreciate Tom Bolin pointing this out on the FB-

Late last night, during a lavish banquet at an exclusive address in Chelsea, my Indiana Jones moment finally arrived. A mysterious man approached our dinner table and handed me a small box. “It’s a gift. Just for you–” he said, and vanished.

“Who was that?” I asked my dinner companions. “He said his name was ‘Grant,’ but he smiled mischievously as he said that,” reported one onlooker. Clearly “Grant” was a pseudonym, and a clever one at that. For what this middle man had given me was truly a gift.

By asking around at the fundraiser, I learned that this new papyrus — hereafter P.Chelsea 1 (or P.Chels. 1 for citation) — had been “granted” to me by an anonymous collector. Since I have recently been blogging so much (too much, I fear) about new papyri, this anonymous collector thought I would be the perfect person to evaluate the contents of P.Chelsea 1. My editio princeps is forthcoming in the premier journal, Collecteana: L’Revue d’Année Papyrologique (CRAP), but my initial commentary follows below the photo-

See the link above for the writer’s commentary.  Here’s mine-

And the best thing about this fragment?  It’s JUST as authentic as the earlier one!  (And yes, some things deserve to be mocked).

Harvard Theological Review Won’t Publish the Fake ‘Jesus Wife’ Papyrus

From Dan Wallace

News flash: Harvard Theological Review has decided not to publish Karen King¹s paper on the Coptic papyrus fragment on the grounds that the fragment is probably a fake.” This from an email Dr. Craig Evans, the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia University and Divinity College, sent to me earlier today. He said that Helmut Koester (Harvard University), Bentley Layton (Yale University), Stephen Emmel (University of Münster), and Gesine Robinson (Claremont Graduate School)–all first-rate scholars in Coptic studies–have weighed in and have found the fragment wanting. No doubt Francis Watson’s comprehensive work showing the fragment’s dependence on the Gospel of Thomas was a contributing factor for this judgment, as well as the rather odd look of the Coptic that already raised several questions as to its authenticity.

Honestly, I don’t see how anyone simply looking at the fragment can imagine it to be ancient. It’s absolutely a modern fake. There’s no question. Look at the papyrus. Look at the ink. Look at how dark the ink is. The ravages of time are in no way evident.

This thing is a fake and it seems to me that only those wishing to 1) assert the ‘importance’ of ‘ancient gnostic texts’ for modern Christianity; or 2) out and out fraudsters will continue to support its ‘authenticity’.

In a New Video King Completely Ignores the Fact that the ‘Jesus Wife’ Fragment Lacks Provenance

Over at Smithsonian a video snippet.   In it King talks about the notion of Jesus being married to Mary and about the fragment, of which she admits wondering about the authenticity.  But she completely bypasses and utterly ignores the fact that the thing lacks provenance.

This is the central issue.  And it is one that we ignore to our peril.  Until the question of provenance is settled, the object remains completely meaningless.  The context of the sentence itself is indeterminate and the wider context of the historical and archaeological setting are completely lacking.

These questions must be answered or this will simply devolve into a money making scheme by whoever brought the thing to light.

I Have ‘Arrived’: I Made Mention by the BBC

Who knew…  Anyway, it’s really all down hill from here.  Mention by the BBC?  I can die now.

Harvard divinity professor Karen King unveiled the 4th-Century Coptic script at a conference in Rome. She said researchers had identified the words “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife'”, which might refer to Mary Magdalene. Christian tradition holds that Jesus did not marry – but Ms King said in early years it was subject to debate. The provocative find could spark debate over celibacy and the role of women within Christianity, she added. But the announcement sparked scepticism from some theologians. Jim West, a professor and Baptist pastor in Tennessee, said: “A statement on a papyrus fragment isn’t proof of anything. It’s nothing more than a statement ‘in thin air’, without substantial context.” Wolf-Peter Funk, a noted Coptic linguist attending the same conference as Ms King, said there were “thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things,” and many questions remained about the fragment.

It’s good to be so beloved.  Take that. Tilling!