What has Jesus’ Wife to do with Christopher Rollston?

What has Jesus’ Wife to do with Christopher Rollston? October 18, 2012

Having referred in my previous post on this subject to an “obituary” for (the Gospel of) Jesus’ Wife, I am running out of possible humorous references. I can still offer a further update at some point that utilizes the Dead Parrot Sketch, once it becomes absolutely clear whether the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is nailed to its perch. As for the title of this post, read on to find a link about who connects Mrs. Jesus and Christopher Rollston, and to learn (to no one’s surprise) that there is no real connection, other than of the sort made in my ridiculously sensationalist headline.

Among those who’ve posted updates about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife are Mark Goodacre, Bob Cargill, and Tommy Wasserman. Loren Rosson has responded to Hershel Shanks’ piece, while James Tabor agrees with Shanks.

On a related note, Alin Suciu reblogged a post at Faces and Voices about an authentic fragment among the Rylands Papyri, of the Gospel of Mary. And Timo Paananen posted a review of Klauck’s Apocryphal Gospels.

On another topic I’ve blogged about several times recently (and which Simcha Jacobovici has tried to connect to the topic of the authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife – to which see Joel Watts’ response), Fred Clark has mentioned the case of Christopher Rollston in a post on how evangelicals pick and choose in seemingly bizarre and inconsistent ways which issues to ignore and which to focus on. And last but not at all least, Thom Stark has posted a series of letters from students of Rollston’s to the administration at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, as well as some statements from that administration which seem not to bring clarity to what is going on, or why.

UPDATE: There is relevant discussion of the evidence for plagiarism, and what it does and does not prove, on the Gospel of Thomas discussion group list-serv. Bob Cargill discussed the way Emmanuel Christian Seminary apparently first tried to release a statement about Christopher Rollston. And finally, Joel Watts has a live interview with Jesus’ wife – who reminds me in certain respects of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama…

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  • Susan Burns

    Which link should I follow to discover the connection between Rollston and GJW?

    • As I indicated, there isn’t really one. But Simcha Jacobovici mentions the Rollston case in an attempt to suggest that censorship and bias are the reason why an increasing number of scholars doubt the authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment.

      • Susan Burns

        Sorry, I misread the OP. However, I did read the Shanks article but also the Watson article of September 27 which is openly biased. Watson states in the preamble that he cannot imagine Jesus using the words “my wife” because Jesus is incarnate and offers salvation to all. According to Watson, being married would prevent Jesus from being our Saviour. Watson openly telegraphs in the preamble that he expects his analysis to conclude that GJW is a forgery. He then states in his analysis that the intention of the compiler (forger) is to subvert Jesus and the church community. Only in the academic discipline of Biblical Scholarship can researchers be so openly biased and still have their conclusions deemed authoritative. But maybe I misread Watson as well.

        • Brian

          Really? You might want to read it again… http://markgoodacre.org/Watson2.pdf

          Sounds like you took someone’s word for it.

          • Susan Burns

            You will have to be less obscure for me to understand your insult.

      • Susan Burns

        Another example of scholarly bias of GJW would be the blog of Jim West. He immediately discounted its authenticity because of lack of provenance. The term he uses is “worthless”. In the next post he ponders the lessons to be learned from the Hazon Gabriel. Since the Hazon Gabriel is also unprovenanced I can only assume West’s criteria for authenticity is biased.

  • anthony

    The connection between the Emmanuel controversy and the Jesus’ Wife fragment controversy is that they are both controversies that have not been in my kitchen. (Hey, if you can homage Monty Python, I can homage Cliff from Cheers).

  • Susan Burns

    In The Bible and Interpretation article, Watson states, “That Jesus did in fact practise an ascetic renunciation of sexuality is entirely plausible, in a historical context that did not share the modern conviction that a life without sex is a life unfulfilled.” The historical context is actually the opposite of this statement. Marriage was the most important obligation that a 1st century Jew could accomplish.