Earlier this week two news reports flashed across TV’s around the world. First, rice will kill you. Second, new evidence has emerged that Jesus was married. It makes one wonder if the billions of Christians who eat rice and read the bible will stop consuming either.
Within the last decade claims have been made about the discovery of Christ’s tomb, James’s ossuary, and now a papyrus fragment, smaller than a credit card, implying that Jesus was married. If you’re keeping score the first two items in the above list have been proven inauthentic.
Karen King, the scholar investigating the papyrus, has long been a critic of the traditional historical understanding of early Christianity. However, in spite of this and the title of the papyrus fragment, the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”, King acknowledges that this discovery has little value when it comes to telling us about the actual life of Jesus.
In the weeks leading up to the mid-September announcement, King worried that people would read the headlines and misconstrue her paper as an argument that the historical Jesus was married. But the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was written too long after Jesus’ death to have any value as biography—a point King underscores in her forthcoming article in the Harvard Theological Review.