51 Comments

Jesus’ Wife fragment judged a fake

“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.

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51 comments on “Jesus’ Wife fragment judged a fake

  1. [...] Jesus’ Wife fragment judged a fake « Daniel B. Wallace. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint [...]

  2. It’s great to see those who pursue true scholarship instead of attempting to use scholarship primarily to advance an agenda. Kudos to the Harvard Theological Review and others. I sure hope the hoopla surrounding this has caused some to have a deeper desire to know who Jesus actually is based on the evidence we do have (the Bible).

    • God can definitely use it for His glory can’t he ?

    • And as always, “true scholarship” is the stuff that supports the speaker, and “scholarship primarily to advance an agenda” is defined to be stuff that goes against the speaker’s agenda. I see no reason smear Karen King here. Part of true scholarship is the freedom to advance outrageous hypothesises and the freedom to be honestly wrong. Tying yourself to the Bible is not true scholarship.

      • No and no. True scholarship would be to go not go to the media before any other expert. What’s usually done is the material is provided to multiple experts in isolation in the different relevant fields so they can give their own results without being biased by someone else’s pronouncement. The researcher can then treat these separate appraisals as independent confirmations or negations of each other.

        She went to the media, presenting information not within her field of expertise, instead of doing what she ought to because she knew it wasn’t likely the fragment would prove genuine. Therefore, she decided to use it as a way to garner media attention instead of as a scholarly resource.

        Now your own bias is even less veiled. This is nothing more than sensationalism. Do you believe jurors should be able to watch the sinecurist media during trials? I would hope not. If you can understand the importance of the judicial method, surely you ought to be able to understand the importance of the scholarly method.

      • Not sure where you’re coming from but it seems the evidence suggests that the bible is a very good place to start. “True scholarship” in this instance seems to be those scholars who are tied to highly regarded institutions and have reputations for doing their research.

        Why is it that the bible always comes up trumps in these debates?

      • KAR, claiming that you know that “she knew it wasn’t likely the fragment would prove genuine” is slander. You can’t know what’s in another’s head. I for one would rather give her that benefit of the doubt; once again, true scholarship is the freedom to bring outrageous hypotheses and make claims that may later be proved wrong, all without having personal attacks being made upon one’s self.

        Media exposure in scholarship is a complex question. But you do no good by attacking her and me and claiming it’s about agendas; a lot of evil has been done in scholarship by people who would attack the person instead of discuss the issues at hand.

        Tim, the Bible is an awful source for information on the history of what is written on a fragment of ancient papyrus. True scholarship is not about which institution you’re from; it’s about how you work a problem. Being careful and precise about studying a problem, not jumping to conclusions, realizing that people unfairly privilege the preconceptions and working against yours, those are things that are part of scholarship and anyone can do.

  3. I wonder if the media will be as excited about reporting this latest development as they were its “discovery.”

  4. [...] Dr. Daniel B. 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. [...]

  5. Let’s be honest here for a minute- no one who has looked at the papyrus can say, with a straight face, that it bears the marks of antiquity.

  6. [...] Coptic papyrus fragment referred to as the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is a modern forgery or fake. See for instance the blog post by Alin Suciu and Hugo Lundhaug.Craig Evans is among those [...]

  7. [...] everything; hold fast what is good. UPDATE 9/26/12: It’s a fake! Share this:EmailFacebookPrintPinterestMoreStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  8. It’s a wonderful thing to be a Christian. Whether this thing was a fake or not, we are so deeply awash in tens of thousands of mss testifying to the authentic Jesus, there was never any real threat to the faith. Even if a 4th century storyteller wrote it, it would still be as flimsy as if a 21st century storyteller did the writing.

    In this case I have to say the best part is the dashed credibility of Professor King – we could use a little more shame in the liberal, unbelieving community of scholars.

  9. [...] Wife" fragment determined to be FAKE Here is an update on the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" fragment recently in the news. Daniel Wallace says that [...]

  10. I disagree with Justin’s opinion regarding unbelieving and liberal scholars. Within the right context, clearly, guilt and regret can be salutary – in fact there can be no salvation where there is not repentance! But I seriously doubt that the multiplication of guilt, shame, etc., have a salutary effect in and of themselves where the Gospel is not present. Perhaps Dr. King is surrounded by the Gospel, but I suspect that in those seminaries where the Gospel light has dimmed or been snuffed out, it’s the Gospel, and not shame, that is needed most.

    Blessings.

  11. I disagree with Justin’s opinion regarding unbelieving and liberal scholars. Within the right context, clearly, guilt and regret can be salutary – in fact there can be no salvation where there is not repentance! But I seriously doubt that the multiplication of guilt, shame, etc., have a salutary effect in and of themselves where the Gospel is not present. Perhaps Dr. King is surrounded by the Gospel, but I suspect that in those seminaries where the Gospel light has dimmed or been snuffed out, it’s the Gospel, and not shame, that is needed most.

    Blessings.

  12. [...] Daniel B. Wallace.  (Read his earlier analysis of this document, “Reality [...]

  13. [...] Quoted from Dr. Wallace's Blog at: Jesus' Wife Fragment Judged A Fake [...]

    • Now that’s very interesting! The news and rumors about this fragment are flying around so fast now (the news is only 8 days old and the media is aflame with the discussion of it) that it’s hard to keep up with what’s what. I’m sure in time it will all be figured out.

  14. Y’all boring my lungs!

  15. Even if Jesus was married, how would that take away from his ministry and foundation of salvation?

    • It wouldn’t. But such a revelation would lend support to those who wish to cast aspersions on the canonical Gospels, raising a number of questions about the motivations behind their omission of this fact–and what else might have been omitted.

    • It would compromise the view that Jesus came with a specific mission and a specific ministry. If he was married and had a family, his primary mission would have been toward them.

  16. Justin is right, there are no conservative scholars who are unbelievers. Way to lump everyone into one of two categories.

  17. Reblogged this on The Way I See It and commented:
    Well, well, well…

  18. [...] According to Daniel B. Wallace, the Harvard Theological Review has decided not to run the Professor King article concerning the gospel of Jesus’s wife because the fragment on which King’s article relied has been deemed a fake. Better luck next time, Professor King. [...]

  19. Is not the Church the bride of Christ? Is Jesus a bigamist? Baloney!

  20. [...] Daniel B. Wallace: “News flash: Harvard Theological Review has decided not to publish Karen King¹s paper on the [...]

  21. Harvard Theological Review was the modern Wise King or Magi they absolutely knew the fact that there is no significant truth about Jesus Wife their heart was filled with holy spirit….Amen….!!!!!!!

  22. We have to be careful what we say and what we feel because feelings can be liars. The real authority is the BIBLE. It was the scholars of the day that convinced everybody that JESUS needed to be crucified. We have to be careful that we become so smart that we don’t listen to the real authority GOD speaking through the BIBLE!!!!. Darwin East

  23. [...] HT: Daniel B. Wallace.  (Read his earlier analysis of this document, “Reality Check.”) Share this:TwitterEmailFacebookDiggPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  24. Reblogged this on the long way home and commented:
    hmm… did you hear about that fragment found recently that talked about Jesus’ wife?

  25. I read all the early reports about this fragment. Emphasis on the word ‘fragment’.

    I am not qualified to pass on ‘authentic’ or ‘fraudulent’ in terms of the bit of papyrus. However, from the wording published the fragment doesn’t say anything. There isn’t a single complete sentence manifested, simply some words taken out of context of even a simple declarative sentence.

    Even if perfectly legitimate, it has no meaning. None. I’ll save my angst and heartburn for something a bit more concrete.

  26. [...] aunque todavía falte para tener certeza al respecto. Tanto así que este miércoles 26 corrió la noticia de que la Harvard Divinity School no publicaría el artículo de King el próximo mes de enero como [...]

  27. [...] aunque todavía falte para tener certeza al respecto. Tanto así que este miércoles 26 corrió la noticia de que la Harvard Divinity School no publicaría el artículo de King el próximo mes de enero como [...]

  28. [...] “News flash: Harvard Theological Review has decided not to publish Karen King⊃1;s paper on the Coptic papyrus fragment on the grounds that the fragment is probably a fake.” This from an e…  [...]

  29. [...] one.” New Testament Manuscript Scholar, Daniel Wallace, also posted the following on his blog5: “News flash: Harvard Theological Review has decided not to publish Karen King¹s paper on the [...]

  30. [...] Jesus’ Wife fragment judged a fake. Share this:FacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Categories: Real, Uncategorized | Leave a comment [...]

  31. “Judged a fake” It would seem to make sense that this should have been well studied before going to the media if the intention was scholarly.

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