Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jesus' Wife? Really?

"Jesus was married. None. There is nothing about Jesus being married in the canonical gospels, in apocryphal gospels, in the church fathers, or anywhere else. Even if this new gospel claims that Jesus was married, it is out of step with all the other credible historical evidence we have about his life." ~ "The Far Less Sensational Truth about Jesus' 'Wife'" Michael J. Kruger, Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC

I am sure many of you have read the recent articles that have been entitled things like "Jesus said, 'My wife'" or "A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus' Wife." Somehow discoveries like this seem to get a lot of media hype. I suppose it is because the media cannot get enough alternative versions of Jesus' life and love to give them historical value equal to the NT Gospels. (I have written about this type of discovery and media reaction here.)

Below I am going to give you some resources that go into much more depth than I do, but here are a few things to remember. First, this fragment is from the fourth century AD (Update: recent studies push it back to the eighth or ninth century AD). That means it was written about 300 (Update: 700-800) years after Jesus incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension. Even if this fragment were to be authenticated, it was written way too late to take seriously. Even Karen King, the scholar who revealed the fragment, gives this caution. Furthermore, we have no way to identify the genre of literature from which this fragment came. We have no idea whether the original author was even claiming to record history. Given its date and the lack of information about its genre, giving this fragment historical weight is somewhat analogous to a historian fifteen-hundred years from now discovering fragments of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and publishing a paper entitled "Ancient US President Lincoln May Have Slayed More Than Just Slavery," even though all historical evidence points to the contrary. There is no reason to give credence to this fragment when the full NT Gospels (dated to the first century!) and all other earlier historical evidence all indicate the contrary.

If you want more detailed information, here are some resources:
By His Grace,

1 comment:

A. Taylor Rollo... said...

Well this did not take long: I as I said above, even if the fragment were authenticated, it should not be taken seriously. Well, it looks like it cannot even make it past the protasis of my statement.