Did Jesus have a wife? An ancient papyrus fragment makes a reference to Jesus’ wife according to a September 18 New York Times report. Not only did this Fourth Century document mention a wife for the Son of God, but it also referred to a female disciple. This debate has obviously been raging for over a thousand years.
Dr. Karen L. King, the Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard Divinity School, made the discovery, which she presented in Rome. Be sure to check out the video of Dr. King discussing the find. The papyrus fragment is roughly the size of a business card, and it has eight lines of writing in Coptic that is legible using a magnifying glass. She believes this marks the first time that Christians debated over whether or not Jesus was married.
One phrase in the ancient document said,
“Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”
Yet another phrase said,
“she will be able to be my disciple.”
These certainly seem different from what the Gospels of the New Testament say about Jesus and his life. If this were proven to be true, it could rock the Catholic religion because they use the example of Jesus for their priests, which means they are unmarried, and no women are allowed.
Of her exciting discovery, which she dubbed “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” Dr. King said,
“This fragment suggests that some early Christians had a tradition that Jesus was married. There was, we already know, a controversy in the second century over whether Jesus was married, caught up with a debate about whether Christians should marry and have sex.”
All the scholars who have viewed the small document believe that it is authentic. In fact, they do not believe it would be possible to forge. Dr. Bagnall said,
“It’s hard to construct a scenario that is at all plausible in which somebody fakes something like this. The world is not really crawling with crooked papyrologists.”
Even so, nobody believes that this document confirms that Jesus did indeed marry. Some others even believe that this document is suspicious or even fake. However, they have not studied it.
What do you make of this newly discovered copy? Do you believe that Jesus really had a wife, or is this just a debate that people had during the century it was copied? If he did have a wife, does this change anything about your own beliefs or religion? Does it matter at all to you whether or not Jesus was married?