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Author Topic: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'  (Read 2887 times)

Lokabrenna

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Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« on: September 19, 2012, 11:20:11 am »
Quote
A papyrus fragment from the fourth century contains a phrase in which Jesus refers to "My wife," which a U.S. scholar says is the first evidence supporting the belief among early Christians that he was married, The New York Times reports.


http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/09/18/jesus-wife-papyrus-fragment/70000625/1#.UFnhNa766zW

An interesting find, I'm excited to see how other scholars weigh in on this!

iulla

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 12:30:33 pm »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;74453
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/09/18/jesus-wife-papyrus-fragment/70000625/1#.UFnhNa766zW

An interesting find, I'm excited to see how other scholars weigh in on this!


That is interesting, thanks for the link :]

It looks like that's the actual fragment on the top of the page, too, so that's a huge bonus.

This will probably set off a huge controversy and arguments in the Church.  Another article has the scholar say that "The meaning of the words 'my wife' is beyond question...these words can mean nothing else".  Hmm.

I'm always pretty skeptical about translations of ancient documents, but if they had multiple people confirm that it means one thing, then I guess it's more believable.
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Lokabrenna

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 12:57:31 pm »
Quote from: iulla;74465

This will probably set off a huge controversy and arguments in the Church.  Another article has the scholar say that "The meaning of the words 'my wife' is beyond question...these words can mean nothing else".  Hmm.

 
Actually, I don't think it will. The Church will just say "Well, HERETICS believed those things, and we kicked their asses, so nyah nyah nyah!" and that will be that. I'm not sure this will change anything, it will only reinforce what scholars have been saying for years.

dionysiandame

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 01:58:29 pm »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;74468
Actually, I don't think it will. The Church will just say "Well, HERETICS believed those things, and we kicked their asses, so nyah nyah nyah!" and that will be that. I'm not sure this will change anything, it will only reinforce what scholars have been saying for years.


Either that or, if there's a way to wing it, "my wife" will become a euphemism for "the church" much the same way "laying the plumbing" is a euphemism for having sex. :ange:
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Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 02:48:18 pm »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;74468
Actually, I don't think it will. The Church will just say "Well, HERETICS believed those things, and we kicked their asses, so nyah nyah nyah!" and that will be that. I'm not sure this will change anything, it will only reinforce what scholars have been saying for years.

Yep - that's what they say about the Gnostic documents (which aren't far off from showing something similar, about Mary Magdalene - and the role those documents give her is far more interesting than 'wife'). And the churches are technically right - there's no specific evidence that the earliest churches believed these things. What's interesting is that there do seem to have been Christians who believed in the Gnostic texts in the second century, which was really very early. This is a later text - it's quite conceivable that different mystery cults had gone in slightly different directions with these ideas by then.

I absolutely love the variety that seems to have characterised early Christianity. It shows the role of political power in  standardising doctrine in more recent time i.e. the last Millennium or so.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 02:49:12 pm by Naomi J »
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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 02:56:41 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;74474
Either that or, if there's a way to wing it, "my wife" will become a euphemism for "the church"

 
I think it already is in some circles; if Christ is not wedded to Church per se, then He is married to the body religious, the Church in a different sense.

If all else fails the new find can be labelled as another of de Debbil's deceptions.
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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 10:34:47 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;74482
I absolutely love the variety that seems to have characterised early Christianity. It shows the role of political power in  standardising doctrine in more recent time i.e. the last Millennium or so.

 
If you dig a bit more, you'll find that it also shows the role of political power in standardizing doctrine quite a lot earlier than just the last millenium - that goes back at least as far as the 5th century CE.

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Sophia C

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Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 08:09:26 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;74541
If you dig a bit more, you'll find that it also shows the role of political power in standardizing doctrine quite a lot earlier than just the last millenium - that goes back at least as far as the 5th century CE.

Sunflower

Hence the 'or so' (I was posting quickly, late at night). Indeed it does go back to the 5th Century. And before, when the church fathers started arguing against the 'heretics'.
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Sophia C

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Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 11:01:58 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;74453
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/09/18/jesus-wife-papyrus-fragment/70000625/1#.UFnhNa766zW

An interesting find, I'm excited to see how other scholars weigh in on this!

The responses are starting to come in - I suspect this one is from a Christian. Does raise some interesting questions though - especially where the papyrus came from.

http://www.religionnews.com/faith/beliefs/five-big-questions-about-the-jesus-wife-discovery
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iulla

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 04:27:03 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;74592
The responses are starting to come in - I suspect this one is from a Christian. Does raise some interesting questions though - especially where the papyrus came from.

http://www.religionnews.com/faith/beliefs/five-big-questions-about-the-jesus-wife-discovery


And another article, by Reuters.  The editor of the Vatican's newspaper thinks that the fragment is fake.  I'm really not surprised that that's the stance they're taking.

Some other scholars from all over the place think that it's fake, but others think it's the real deal.
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Castus

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 10:22:49 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;74453
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/09/18/jesus-wife-papyrus-fragment/70000625/1#.UFnhNa766zW

An interesting find, I'm excited to see how other scholars weigh in on this!

As Jon Stewart said, the fragment means nothing because it's cut off. It could be anything from "My wife? No, I'm not married." to "My wife, if I ever find one, has to like Thai food." Personally I wouldn't be surprised if he was just taking about the church or something. But It really doesn't mean anything then another piece of evidence that will be fought over until no conclusion is reached and it's forgotten again.

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2012, 10:58:13 am »
Quote from: Castus;75466
As Jon Stewart said, the fragment means nothing because it's cut off. It could be anything from "My wife? No, I'm not married." to "My wife, if I ever find one, has to like Thai food." Personally I wouldn't be surprised if he was just taking about the church or something. But It really doesn't mean anything then another piece of evidence that will be fought over until no conclusion is reached and it's forgotten again.

 
I've been reading blogs of some biblical scholars who think it's either a fake, or a fragment of the Gospel of Thomas. Which led me to this article. Interesting that they're only now sending it for tests - *after* making the announcement about it.

This is one of the blogs I read that has had some interesting things to say about why it might be a fake. It also links to a couple of scholars who think it might be authentic.

Reportedly, the academic journal that was originally going to publish Dr King's paper on the fragment has now decided against it, because they think it's a forgery - although that could be hearsay. Presumably they'll rethink if tests make it look authentic.
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beith

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 11:46:29 am »
Quote from: Naomi J;75471
I've been reading blogs of some biblical scholars who think it's either a fake, or a fragment of the Gospel of Thomas. Which led me to this article. Interesting that they're only now sending it for tests - *after* making the announcement about it.

 
I realize this is a pretty old thread, but there's an update on the papyrus at CNN (not my favorite news source, but that's where I see it).

Article is here and links to various educational institution announcements from what I can tell.

The first half the article mentions that tests show the papyrus and characteristics of the ink are consistent with it being aged to 659-859 CE or first to eight century CE, by different institutions.

The second half contains a rebuttal by Leo Depuydt, professor of Egyptology at Brown University.  The article links to the actual publication, but quotes:

Quote
I personally—and I am not sure whether I share this feeling with anyone—experience a certain incredulity pertaining to how something that is at first sight so patently fake could be so totally blown out of proportion


I found this update quite interesting and wanted to hang it here.  My knowledge on such things is pretty non-existent.  I'm more apt to believe in the carbon dating and scientific analysis of the document.  However, Depuydt points out that there is a Coptic grammatical mistake that is extremely unlikely to have been in the document naturally (i.e., not a faked document), the same mistake being in the Gospel of Thomas.

Any thoughts from those who are more knowledgeable about such things than I? (This means anyone with any knowledge, basically. :) )

DavidMcCann

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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 05:07:28 pm »
Quote from: beith;145028
I'm more apt to believe in the carbon dating and scientific analysis of the document.

The dating shows that the papyrus is old and the ink is the sort used in antiquity, but not when the writing was added. These days, no forger would be silly enough not to use authentic materials. There's a good collection of links here
http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/04/jesus-wife-fragment-appears-real

The real point is that if the papyrus were genuine, it wouldn't be very interesting: all sorts of weird and wonderful things have been written. Think of the docetists, who believed that Jesus didn't actually have a material body and that the crucifixion was an illusion. A document written hundreds of years later saying he had a wife whom all the early sources forgot to mention is nothing beside that. Of course, if the first dating to about 200 BC were accurate, that would be interesting.

It would be interesting to see the rest of the document. Jesus was a common name. There was a Jesus son of Ananias who was arrested by the Sanhedrin in 62 AD for blasphemous prophesies, for example.
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Re: Ancient Papyrus Fragment Refers to Jesus' 'Wife'
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 06:26:08 pm »
Quote from: beith;145028

Any thoughts from those who are more knowledgeable about such things than I? (This means anyone with any knowledge, basically. :) )

 
It's certainly interesting, but I don't think it will shake the foundations of the Church or anything.  It looks like the document has been verified as "real," but that just means it wasn't made up by a modern person.  It an be a genuinely old document from the right time and place, but all that means is someone at that time and place chose to write this thing--it doesn't mean that it's actually about the Jesus in question, or that it was a true statement, or tell us the context.  So people who don't want to consider the possibility won't, and people who want to believe the famous Jesus had a wife will feel justified, and most people--devout and otherwise--will file it in the same place they put every other artifact or bit of scholarship on this sort of thing, which is not caring or knowing at all.  Specialists will probably continue to get information about the thing, but it will also fade into obscurity until it's just specialists arguing about it in pretty short order.
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