When Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King announced in 2012 that a 2nd century fragment of papyrus containing the words “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’” had been found, speculation was rampant. Was Jesus really married? Would that change Catholic doctrine preventing priests from marrying? Who officiated that wedding? You get the idea. (The papyrus also supposedly quoted Jesus as saying “she will be able to be my disciple.”)
At the time, King and her colleagues were quick to point out we didn’t actually know anything:
“This fragment, this new piece of papyrus evidence, does not prove that (Jesus) was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we’re in the same position we were before it was found. We don’t know if he was married or not,” King said in a conference call with reporters.
Yesterday, news broke that the “ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.”
What does that mean?