That is what is written in Coptic on a tiny (1.5 x 3 inch) papyrus fragment dating from the fourth century, according to Harvard University professor Karen King, an expert on the history of Christianity. These few words — part of a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples — had the potential to upend beliefs about marriage and family subscribed to for centuries.
Specifically, the fragment says “Jesus said to them, my wife” and “she can be my disciple.” King emphasized that the fragment does not prove that Jesus was married but “tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage.” She speaks about the papyrus in this video:
King presented her translation at a six-day conference of Coptic experts in Rome. The findings of her paper (one of some 60 presented) were not reported on Vatican media.
Other scholars have attested that, based on the fragment’s language, handwriting and a chemical analysis of the ink, it appears to indeed be authentic and not a forgery. King says she hopes that other scholars will examine the papyrus.
Other experts in early Christianity have been urging caution, noting that it is unclear where the fragment is from and contending that its mention of Jesus’ wife is not meant to be taken literally. Gnostic texts of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries use “the language of intimacy to talk about spiritual relationships,” says Bible scholar Ben Witherington III, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
While the experts engage in scholarly dispute, enjoy ten responses to the newly discovered “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”
@WritesRights: “WWJD? Whatever #jesuswife tells him to…”
@Laurab4: “Look. I don’t care who your Dad is; You still have to take out the trash. #jesuswife”
@jeffjarvis: “You think your mother is so special.” #jesuswife”
@amendlocke: “You quit your job, then you tell me to consider the lilies? #JesusWife”
@LanceMannion: “No, you never told me the one about the Good Samaritan. How does it go?” #JesusWife back when they were dating.”
@hannesario: “YOU were the one who told me I shall love my neighbor.” #JesusWife”
@RobertJKennedy: “I don’t care if it’s the Last Supper. I’m not doing those dishes. #jesuswife”
@glennwsmith: If Jesus had a wife, and they didn’t have kids, did his org’s insurance cover birth control? http://t.co/JEoTqNaE #jesuswife”
@hannesario: “I feel like you’re trying to hide me from the historians.” #JesusWife”
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