If you read the papers, watch television or get your news from the Internet, you have probably seen or heard something regarding the recently announced ‘discovery’ of a papyrus fragment claiming that Jesus (yes, Jesus of Nazareth) was married. For all the fuss, you’d think that this was the first time anyone had ever suggested that Jesus might have had a wife but clearly it isn’t (I’m still sure he didn’t). So what does this mean? Is it interesting? Certainly. Does it cast doubt on Christianity and the Bible? Uh, no. Currently, most scholars who study ancient Coptic (that is, Christian Egyptian) writing believe that this is a total fake, but even if it turns out to be real, there isn’t much chance that it changes much of anything at all.
For a quick run-down of some excellent blogs, you can look at The Biblical World, written by Dr. John Byron at Ashland Seminary. Dr. Byron presents reminds us to use caution in jumping to conclusions before the scholarly community has even had a chance to look at the fragment and respond. He then provides a healthy collection of links to other blogs where you can learn more, if you are so inclined.
You might also go to Dr. Ben Witherington’s (Asbury Seminary) blog where he quotes from an analysis by Simon Cathercole, an expert on such documents. If you are really interested, the link to Cathercole’s blog and the complete text of his comments is among Dr. Byron’s links.
Ben Witherington quotes Simon Gathercole
If you aren’t really much into reading you can see and hear Dr. Witherington’s comments here.
Long story short, as much as the media seems to be in a feeding frenzy over ‘Jesus’ Wife’, it really isn’t likely to a big deal at all.