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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Will ‘Jesus’s Wife’ Parchment Alter Christianity?

Probably not, but it's fun to consider "that man" coupled with what logically must have been known as "that woman."
Mr & Mrs JesusWalkingOnWater

Photo Credit: Yori yanover

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The Harvard Theological Review is still hesitating to proceed with publishing a long-awaited article on the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a tiny bit of papyrus that, if authenticated, would be evidence that at least some early Christians believed Jesus was married, the Harvard Crimson reported.

The article was originally scheduled for the Review’s January 2013 edition, but according to Kathryn Dodgson, director of communications at Harvard Divinity School, was held back for more scientific testing of the controversial papyrus.

The discovery was first announced at a September conference in Rome by HDS professor Karen L. King. The papyrus fragment contains a Coptic phrase that translates to “Jesus said to them, my wife…”

Just for the record, he didn’t say, “Take my wife… please…”

Since then, the Vatican and academics have denounced the artifact as a forgery, pointing to the grammatical similarities between the fragment and another ancient document, the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. These similarities, scholars argue, suggest that the papyrus was not written in the fourth century.

I, for one, am delighted at the prospect that “that man,” as our sages have traditionally referred to the aggressive lad from Nazareth, managed to find himself a nice wife and settled down. Or, rather, if he had found himself a nice young woman, he probably won’t have done all his shenanigans that landed him nailed to a stretch of wood outside Jerusalem—if we accept that event as historic fact.

Of course, if he did get married – were there offspring? Also, if Mr. J. got married – shouldn’t that let all those priests and nuns off the hook? That could be an enormous improvement for them, I should think.

Kathryn Dodgson wrote in an email that once she receives the results of that analysis, King will incorporate them into the article for the Harvard Theological Review.

Analysts are still testing the ink on the fragment to confirm that it dates from the fourth century, like the papyrus itself—which has already been tested.

But scholars have said that even if the scientific analysis confirms the ink’s age, it still doesn’t mean the papyrus is authentic.

Gregory E. Sterling, dean of Yale Divinity School, said that little is known about the circumstances of the fragment’s discovery. The papyrus comes from the collections of an anonymous donor, rather than from an archaeological dig, making authentication that much more difficult, he said.

Other scholars pointed out similarities between King’s papyrus and the Gospel of Thomas.

“It really is unbelievably close to the Gospel of Thomas,” said Mark S. Goodacre, an associate professor at Duke University and an expert on early Christian texts. “We’re talking about literally every word, with a few gender changes.”

Janet A. Timbie, an expert in Coptic language and literature at the Catholic University of America, said that the fact that two texts are extremely similar does not necessarily disprove the fragment’s authenticity because “people often rework material in the ancient world.”

But Timbie’s opinion still is that the text was faked.

Prof. Sterling remarked that, even if it is authentic, the papyrus “would tell us something about the fourth century, but not about the first century. This just shows how people later thought about this.”

In that sense, the story about the discovery of the papyrus is more likely to tell us something about the 21st century than anything else…

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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32 Responses to “Will ‘Jesus’s Wife’ Parchment Alter Christianity?”

  1. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Fake? When you're talking about Mr J, there's a whole lot of faking and shaking going on. When they found Mr J's bones, they said it was a fake (not his) and when they found documents disproving the common beliefs, they are also fakes. The Rambam, who was not fake nor did he publish any thing fake, stated and wrote that Mr J was a fake (false prophet) along with his successor, Mr Mohammed.

    This subject has been shaked so many times that Neal McCoy could sing his song to it.
    Shake it to the left.
    Shake it to the right.
    On Mr J’s wife don’t make a mistake.
    Maybe you better go and ask the snake.

  2. Joe Pelletier says:

    What a incredibly blasphemous article.

  3. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Oh, BTW, Yori, nice picture. Any reason why not to make her hair blond, eyes blue and his robe blue? They wore jewelry in those days; so, it would be nice to put on some long ear rings, wedding rings and to make it current maybe show a couple of studded nose, eye and lip jewelry. Maybe all that extra weight would make her sink from walking on water. Also, scale her down by 4 or 5 times so as to have a daughter trailing behind her. In the corner, have a standing snake with an apple on his head and camera taking a picture of them both.

  4. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Joe Pelletier, don't take it so bad. Yori is a creative graphics artist for the JPress, writes good articles and if you read very carefully, he really is very careful to NOT offend anyone. Myself, as you can see that I’m not so careful for I grew up with xtians most of my life and was tortured by them; so, I don’t mind telling the world the truth about their false prophet. If the truth hurts then, you have a chance of change to correct yourself so as to recognize the truth. If you didn’t feel hurt, then you would be considered completely lost and hopeless. You might learn where we are coming from: http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jewsandjesus/.

  5. Will Shackleford says:

    A 4th century gospel alter Christianity? You are being serious…right? 4th century? Have we sunk to the level of the National Enquirer with regard to religious studies? Next we will be "seriously examining" the reports that Yeshua was an alien… jeeez

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    It will make no more difference to christianity than the protocol of the elders of zion did judaism.

  7. Ruth Hirt says:

    These theories are all lies. Form a team of researchers. Who is Dan Brown? Pierre Plantard? the Catholic priest Jacques Sauniere? That is a good start to know Brown's aims : to hit a fictional sensation to be a best seller. That's all. One can strew lies but just for a time, lies are self-destructive.

  8. Although, I don't know about the elders of Zion.

  9. Gil Gilman says:

    the blood libel hoax

  10. Another attack on Christianity is all I see from this article and the use of the term,'Mr. Jesus' and other insulting language is most offensive.

  11. Rose Galston says:

    …Oh Come On! The customary age of marriage for Jews in the days of JC was in the "Young Teens"…anyone NOT married would have been looked down on…Especially a 33 year old living with his mother!

    Anyone surprised by this story is a fool!

  12. Dana Betz says:

    I, as did the journalist, Yori Yanover, doubt the authenticity of the so mentioned papyrus. I am, however, greatly disappointed in the editors of the Jewish Press for publishing Mr. Yanover's poorly written article which speaks so hatefully about Jesus and of Christianity. What WERE the "shenanigans that landed him [Jesus] nailed to a stretch of wood"? From what I have read, from reliable sources (which I do believe), Jesus told people to follow Torah, to love God and to love neighbors. It is sadly true that many in the last 2000 years have claimed to be followers of Jesus, but in fact did NOT follow the Word and were unkind, cruel, and even murdered Jews, God's chosen people. I would like to see the Jewish Press use their platform to be a voice of truth and kindness, "doing unto others as they would like to have others do unto them". Shalom.

  13. Liad Bar-el says:

    Dana Betz: “I am, however, greatly disappointed in the editors of the Jewish Press for publishing Mr. Yanover's poorly written article which speaks so hatefully about Jesus and of Christianity.”

    I think Yori Yanover did an excellent job of keeping his cool after over 2,000 years of xtian persecution.

    Dana Betz: “What WERE the "shenanigans that landed him [Jesus] nailed to a stretch of wood"? “

    Maybe you should relearn what happened that got him nailed to the cross. Desecrating the Shabbat and teaching others to do the same. In fact there were so many “shenanigans” that he did to show that he was totally against the Torah and the “Rabbis” of the day that he could have done what happened to Adam after sinning. Adam was born circumcised and after sinning, his foreskin grew back. To this day Mr. J's followers don’t honor circumcision.

    Dana Betz: “I would like to see the Jewish Press use their platform to be a voice of truth and kindness, "doing unto others as they would like to have others do unto them". “

    Maybe you should read more articles in the JPress for Yori Yanover is probably the main and strongest writer in the Jpress who is supporting and defending those who are promoting the successor of Mr. J, Mohammed’s Islamisation. (If you find that term Mr. J offensive, then your feelings are unfounded for it is against Jewish law to even mention the name of an idol and Mr. J has become a well-known idol). You and your religion has played an important part in world’s history with the crusades, supporting Nazism, then arose Communism and now rising is the Islamic ideology which your American President is establishing in the USA (United States of Arabs) with his support of the Muslim Brotherhood who wants to destroy Israel.

    Lastly, you should honor Yori Yanover more than your pope for your pope worships one of the worse Jews who has turn millions upon millions of people away from the truth and you can start this honor to Yori by first posting an apology.

  14. Liad Bar-el Where in the Torah is written that Adam was "born" and "circumcised"? Jesus was convicted by the romans for treason.

  15. Cynthia Hillard says:

    Well said.

  16. The inclusion of Jesus in invocations is quite common as it was in the invocation for president Obama. When I was a young Rabbi, I would complain. I have come to the conclusion that this is a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY and those offering the prayers which include Christ or Jesus , just do not care what the rest of us think.. I have bowed out of the local interfaith Holocaust service, because it was a custom to include Hatikvah at the end, but now some Christian groups object as they support the Palestinians and the Muslim Imams would either sit or leave during the Hatikvah. Perhaps interfaith Holocaust programs no longer make sense, at least to me. I do not need the stress of seeing disrespect being afforded to Israel and nor do I wish to compromise by leaving Hatikvah out. This is a personal choice and I DO NOT ADVOCATE ANYONE NOT PARTICIPATING IN ANY INTERFAITH HOLOCAUST SERVICE. I INTRODUCED INTERFAITH HOLOCAUST SERVICES IN 1974 AND WAS ONE OF THE FIRST IF NOT THE FIRST TO DO SO. This was a difficult decision for me based on personal principle. The interfaith Holocaust memorials started as well intentioned way for the Jewish people and other groups to pause and reflect on man's capacity to perpetuate unbelievable cruelty against his fellow and to commiserate as a group and others, with the Jews and hopefully prevent this nightmare from reoccurring. Over the years it was understandably modified to include other victims of genocidal mass killings, though these mass killings were not really analogous, as the Nazis were obsessed at not just killing Jews as a competing group, but Hitler desired to eliminate our creed and it's pervasive influence on humanity, particularly Christian doxy. As a result of Muslim participation and twisted liberalism, this is morphing into a twisted canard where Israel is being blamed for perpetuating ethnic killings against the Palestinians as the Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. One can understand the Islamo-Nazis belief system with a quote from the Talmud. We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG, CHILD OF Holocaust survivors and a refugee born in a D.P. camp.

  17. Dennis White says:

    let there be love. Shalom

  18. Anya Khan says:

    Gil, I could hug you..I love this post

  19. Anya Khan says:

    Liad Bar-el Wow are you a bigot or what? Pity

  20. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Say Will Shackleford, if you don't accept that fact that we found Mr. J's bones, then you probably believe as most xtians do that he rose from the dead. If he rose from the dead, then what's the big deal about having a wife in the 4th century? In fact, you could find someone who is claiming to be Mr J's wife even today if you look hard enough. Start by looking in the Philadelphia Mental Hospital.

  21. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Hey friend, look in the Talmud for your answers and the reason why you should NOT use/say Mr J's name.

  22. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Right on Rose! "anyone NOT married would have been looked down on…Especially a 33 year old living with his mother!" ……and an unmarried mother at that. Sounds like a cover-up to me of her and the man she was traveling with at the time.

  23. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Ruth: "…lies are self-destructive." Trinity Univ still teaching to worship 3 gods…self-destruction has already happened and you don't know it.

  24. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Take a look at Liad's answer to Dana Betz below.

  25. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Dana said: "I would like to see the Jewish Press use their platform to be a voice of truth and kindness." There is a wise Talmudic saying, Dana, that those who are kind to the cruel are cruel to the kind. If the Jewish Press didn't call a spade a spade, it would be cruel to the kind. Sorry if you don't understand this but maybe you'll learn it in another life time for it requires much study.

  26. Yeshau did not have a wife. Got it! Cheryl Semrau

  27. Dennis White says:

    I agree, it matters not! It's the teaching that matters. Shalom.

  28. It amazes me that you still cast stones at the Messiah that came to Save you. It was like you that wrote this, that nailed your precious redeemer to the cross. I Pray that you soon figure this out. The love and compassion he has given to me, is just the same he has for you, even as you jest and doubt him. I hope there comes a day, that you see the error of your ways. The alternative to you repenting is something I wish on No one.

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