In the News: Did Jesus have a Wife?

Papyrus fragment: front. Karen L. King 2012

This is a site about reading the Bible and given that the news has been talking about ancient texts concerning Jesus, I thought I’d offer a few resources on this talk of Jesus having a wife based on an old coptic manuscript:

A bit of overview from Christianity Today

An academic response to it from Near Emmaus

Harvard’s own site on the finding

One quick point I’ll make. Don’t let talk of authenticity fool you. Authenticity in this sense means that this fragment is believed to be an ancient text. It’s not a hoax written in contemporary times. This does not mean that the content is necessarily true.

I could grab a piece of paper and write on it that I have a unicorn. In a thousand years, if that paper were to survive and someone found it, it would be an authentic ancient writing. They could say that it was truly written in the early 21st century. But does that mean that I have a unicorn? Of course not.

There were many different schools of thought and religions that wanted to associate Jesus or a follower of Jesus with their beliefs. But just because scholars call something a gospel does not mean it truly is.

Do We Read to Understand?

After reading a paragraph, a chapter, or a whole book, are you able to turn around and summarize what you’ve just read? It’s a great practice to jot down notes in the margins as you read, just as a simple exercise to make sure you’re actually processing the words that pass before your eyes. Then on the larger scale, we should ask ourselves the obvious questions after the completion of a book, “What did I just read?” Here is a short attempt at answering the question in a more roundabout way from the site Near Emmaus. He is attempting in just a couple paragraphs to describe the reason that Paul wrote Romans, and in so doing gives broad strokes of description about the whole book.

Here is just one line, but go to the site for more:

This epistle addresses the Adamic problem including Jews and Gentiles. Paul uses this problem to show the glory of the salvation found in those who have followed Abraham’s model of faith which is now encapsulated in those who call Christ “Lord”.

Give it a shot yourself after a chapter or section. See if you can very briefly boil down some of Paul’s arguments as you read. It’ll help you to better understand and retain these words of Scripture.