Dating Jesus’ Wife

Dating Jesus’ Wife September 28, 2012

Discussions continue in the blogosphere about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. The most important thing to work out, if we can, is the date of its composition – dating the text is important both in terms of figuring out whether the text is authentic, but also, if authentic, what period in history it tells us about.

The text seems to depend directly on the Gospel of Thomas in Coptic, and thus is unlikely to be a Coptic translation of an earlier Greek text, if it turns out to be authentic.

Some will remain skeptical of the authenticity of the fragment even if analysis of the ink suggests that it is ancient. But then the question will be whether a forger who took the trouble to forge ancient ink would not also have written the text in a manner more like what an ancient scribe would typically produce.

At the moment, it does not seem that there is any evidence available that decisively points in one direction or the other. But perhaps some readers disagree? Perhaps the most interesting and important question to ask is what evidence, if any, would persuade you that the text is most likely inauthentic or most likely authentic.

What do readers think? How would you answer the questions above?

For more on this topic around the blogosphere, see the posts by Jim DavilaBrian LePort, and of course, the Vatican (HT Jim West)

UPDATE: CNN also mentioned the Vatican’s reaction, as did Skeptic, while also linking to a post on the blog Skeptical Humanities. Paul Barford tells why he feels that the authenticity question matters. Bill Heroman tells why he thinks Jesus remained single. Florin Paladie offers reflections on the wife of Jesus and authority.

UPDATE: Tony Le Donne interviewed Mark Goodacre about the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” There are also spoof posts, one by Michael Peppard about another fragment concerning Jesus’ wife, the other by Jeff Gill on the possibility that Jesus had a dog.

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