Coptic Fragment of Jesus’ Wife

Coptic Fragment of Jesus’ Wife September 21, 2012

The blogosphere is a buzz with reports of a Coptic fragment that allegedly depicts Jesus referring to “my wife.”

The most helpful stuff I’ve read on the topic is:

Karen King’s original paper describing the fragment: “Jesus Said to Them: ‘My Wife …’: A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus”

Simon Gathercole, Did Jesus Have a Wife?

Craig A. Evans, The “wife” of Jesus

Larry Hurtado, “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife … Maybe … Maybe Not

April DeConick, Did Jesus Have a Wife?

My own terse remarks would be:

1. The authenticity of the fragment is still an open question.
2. Calling a fragment a “Gospel” just because it reports Jesus’ words in it is a bit of a stretch.
3. The fragment is reminiscent in many ways of the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, and Gospel of Philip.
4. Some second century groups, especially Valentinian Gnostics, regarded Mary as a consort of Jesus, but of course that was bound up with their view of marriage as a metaphor for a Gnostic cosmology.
5.  The value of the fragment for determining the historical Jesus’ relationships to any woman is nil.

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