Thursday, September 20, 2012

Theological Notes From All Over (An Occasional Series)

From yesterday's New York Times:
A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife ...’ ”

The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”

The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at the International Congress of Coptic Studies by Karen L. King, a historian who has published several books about new Gospel discoveries and is the first woman to hold the nation’s oldest endowed chair, the Hollis professor of divinity.

The provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and its owner has asked to remain anonymous. Until Tuesday, Dr. King had shown the fragment to only a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic linguistics, who concluded that it is most likely not a forgery. But she and her collaborators say they are eager for more scholars to weigh in and perhaps upend their conclusions.

Even with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.

To quote George Harrison in Help!, I don't want to knock anybody's religion, but. So let me just say this about Jesus -- he was good, but he was no Flying Spaghetti Monster.

If you know what I mean.

That said, here's a little pop quiz that only appeared on the web version of the Times story.

"This scroll, according to Harvard's Karen King, contains the passage: 'Jesus said to them, 'My wife …'".

A) '...I think I'll keep her.'

B) '...take her. Please.'

C) '...shall be John Entwistle's best song for The Who, though "Success Story" is pretty rockin'."

My money's on C), of course.


buzzbabyjesus said...

D) He was referring to a tranny whore.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Honey, going to the stoning, could you please put the oven on 325 at 4:30 before you head off to cure some lepers? Thanks, babe. I mean, Babe."

steve simels said...

Incidentally, I think it's interesting that a new Gospel of Jesus is less controversial around here than snarky comments about Grand Funk Railroad.


FD13NYC said...

Jesus and the Bible was fictional. Grand Funk was real. Don't mess with The Funk!

Sal, that was funny.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Music is older and more interesting than the Bible, or Jesus.

FD13NYC said...

Hey bbj, we'd better watch it. We'll be hit with the John Lennon curse. People will start burning our records.

JZ said...

It will actually be interesting to see how The Vatican reacts to this...I'm sure they will initially dismiss it, but if the fragment can be positively to being 4th century or earlier they will have some thinking to do over the long term...

Anonymous said...

Steve, I think you should take this down ASAP before you incite people to take to the streets, throw rocks and jump up and down yelling with their fists in the air...

buzzbabyjesus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buzzbabyjesus said...

According to Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, In "The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception"(1991), an arm of the Vatican suppressed access to the scrolls from their discovery in 1947 until 1987.
These guys also wrote, "Holy Blood Holy Grail"(1982), which was the inspiration of "The Da Vinci Code", which suggested that Jesus married, had children and fled the holy land for Europe. The reasoning being that Jesus the human and his family became difficult to reconcile with his supposed divinity.
That Jesus was married is supported by Michael Grant's "Jesus An Historian's Review Of The Gospels" (1977). Now I'm going to play some Grand Funk.

cthulhu said...

Maybe one of the lost parts of the scroll also talked about Jesus's apostle Whiskey Man, and how he had the Ox beside him when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

MJConroy said...

I like the post I saw elsewhere that said "I hope it says Jesus was married to a black dude!"