Coptic Text Mentions Jesus’ Wife

Coptic Text Mentions Jesus’ Wife September 18, 2012

The New York Times, the Harvard Gazette, The Huffington Post and other media outlets are breaking the news that Karen King, a scholar well known for her work on the phenomenon usually referred to as “Gnosticism,” has come into possession of and has been studying a Coptic papyrus fragment which is likely to be authentic, dates from around the 4th century, and has Jesus mention his wife. UPDATE: King has posted online a pre-publication version of an article she has written about the text.

It is important to note that this is clear evidence only of one thing, namely that the author of this text, centuries after the time of Jesus, believed that Jesus had been married.

Anything beyond that is speculation, although there certainly do seem to be points of intersection with, or echoes of, other previously known extracanonical texts referring to Mary Magdalene.

Having made the above points, I should add that many people find the idea that Jesus was married inherently unbelievable, and there is no reason why they should. It may be that thinking of Jesus being married makes him seem too human. But that is not inappropriate, given the evidence.

See also posts by John Byron, James Tabor, Jim West, and Joel Watts.

UPDATE: Steve Caruso shared this video featuring Karen King talking about the find, its context and its significance:

UPDATED: April DeConick (twice), Michael Heiser, Brian LePort, Tim Henderson, the CNN Belief Blog, IO9, The Lead, Ken Schenck, Jared Calaway, Paul DilleyJ. K. Gayle, Larry RothfieldDeirdre Good, Henry Neufeld and Bart Ehrman (for subscribers) have also posted about this piece of news.


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