Francis Watson on the Coptic Fragment about Jesus’ Relationships

Mark Goodacre links to Francis Watson’s short piece that suggest that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a fake. My gut feeling was that the fragment sounded like a hodge podge of Gospel of Thomas and maybe Gospel of Philip, but I’m no Coptologist. Yet Watson gives a line by line discussion of the fragment and its comparison with Gospel of Thomas.

I won’t say that it is a slam dunk, but I think Watson has put forward a very good case for its inauthenticity. But again, the jury is still out.

On the topic of Francis Watson, take note of his forthcoming book Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (Eerdmans, 2013). Here’s the blurb:

That there are four canonical versions of the one gospel story is often seen as a problem for Christian faith: for, where gospels multiply, so too do apparent tensions and contradictions that may seem to undermine their truth claims. In Gospel Writing, Francis Watson argues that differences and tensions between canonical gospels represent opportunities for theological reflection, not problems for apologetics. In exploring this claim, he proposes nothing less than a new paradigm for gospel studies — one that engages fully with the available noncanonical gospel material so as to illuminate the historical and theological significance of the canonical.

  • Frederik Mulder

    In light of the 2009 SBL “confrontation” between NT Wirght and the contributers to Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage (Francis Watson’s chapter being “Veritas Christi: How to get from the Jesus of History to the Christ of Faith …”). this work is probably a must read… Wright felt the book came dangerously close to some form of docetism…


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