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Jesus’s Wife papyrus is a modern fake

A New Testament scholar from Durham University says the papyrus fragment I posted about earlier this week, which references Jesus’ wife, is a modern fake. [Thx to Sebastian for the heads up]

He does not directly criticise Professor Karen King, of Harvard, who presented the fragment at a conference in Rome this week. He says she has done a very good job of presenting the evidence and images of the disputed fragment. He believes the papyrus itself may well date from the fourth century, but the words, he says, clearly show the influence of modern printed books.

In particular, there is a line break in the middle of one word that appears to have been lifted directly from modern editions of the Gospel of Thomas, a genuine Gnostic or early Christian text.

It is common for words to be broken in the middle in ancient scripts, like Coptic, which were written without hyphens, he says. But it is most uncommon for the same break to appear in the same work in two different manuscripts.

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Story: Andrew Brown, The Guardian | Photo: Rose Lincoln/EPA

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