Home » Vatican News » Vatican paper weighs in on “Jesus’ Wife” papyrus, declares it a fake, faults Harvard
Vatican paper weighs in on “Jesus’ Wife” papyrus, declares it a fake, faults Harvard
The Vatican newspaper has added to the doubts surrounding Harvard University’s claim that a 4th century Coptic papyrus fragment showed that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married, declaring it a “fake.”
The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article Thursday by leading Coptic scholar Alberto Camplani and an accompanying editorial by the newspaper’s editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, an expert in early Christianity. They both cited concerns expressed by other scholars about the fragment’s authenticity and the fact that it was purchased on the market without a known archaeological provenance.
“At any rate, a fake,” Vian entitled his editorial, which criticized Harvard for creating a “clamorous” media frenzy over the fragment by handing the scoop to two U.S. newspapers only to see “specialists immediately question it.”
Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding last week at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a 2nd century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary.
The issue has had resonance since Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, and any evidence to the contrary would fuel current debates about celibacy for priests and the role of women in the church.
As such, it’s not surprising that the Vatican would challenge the claim. [More]