Support the news

Harvard Scholar's Claim Of Jesus' Wife Scrutinized

This article is more than 7 years old.
The fourth-century fragment of papyrus Harvard professor Karen King says is the only existing ancient text quoting Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife. (Courtesy Karen L. King)
The fourth-century fragment of papyrus Harvard professor Karen King says is the only existing ancient text quoting Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife. (Courtesy Karen L. King)

Scholars are questioning the authenticity and significance of a much-publicized discovery by a Harvard professor who says a fourth-century fragment of papyrus has provided the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.

Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding Tuesday at a conference on Coptic studies in Rome. Her paper, and the front-page attention it received in some U.S. newspapers, was very much a topic of conversation during the coffee breaks at the conference Wednesday.

Wolf-Peter Funk, a noted Coptic linguist and co-director of the francophone project editing the Nag Hammadi Coptic library at Laval University in Quebec, says there were "thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things" and that many questions remain unanswered about the Harvard fragment.

This program aired on September 19, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news