A previously unknown scrap of ancient papyrus written in ancient Coptic is pictured in this undated handout photo. The fourth-century text provides the first known piece of evidence that some early followers of Jesus proposed that he was married. CNS ph oto/Karen L. King, courtesy Harvard University

Easter ‘news’ follows a predictable pattern

  • April 23, 2014

Earlier this month, the international wire services carried a story involving a fragment of papyrus written in Coptic that suggested Jesus may have referred to “my wife” in speaking to a group of followers.

I’ll leave it to scientists to debate the age of the ancient artifact and to theologians to comment on whether the marital status of Jesus is a core Christian teaching. What’s disconcerting, though, is that 99.9 per cent of Christians seem to believe these types of stories.

Karen L. King of Harvard’s Divinity School first presented the small piece of papyrus in 2012. It had an inscription that read: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife….’ ” King was ecstatic, as were many in the media. But not everyone was so giddy. Some scholars say the text probably refers not to a wife as a spouse, but to the Church as being the “bride of Christ.” Others, like those at the Vatican, say simply it is a fake.

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