SEE UPDATE: It has become revealed that this fragment is almost certainly a fraud. But, if you’re still bothered by it, check out the links below.
There has been a bit of an uproar about a 4th Century Coptic Manuscript which purportedly provides evidence that Jesus had a wife. Apart from the fact that it is 4th century and therefore a few hundred years after the events and during primetime for Gnostics making up facts about Jesus to undergird their own theological leanings, many seem to think this is somehow evidence against Christianity. Well, here are some great responses to the discovery.
Reality Check: The “Jesus’ Wife” Coptic Fragment- Daniel Wallace, an influential NT scholar, comments on the discovery. He really gets into some great textual-critical details here. I would say this is one of the more important responses. I highly recommend this response.
Durham University professor calls the “Jesus had a wife” manuscript fragment a forgery- Yep, folks, we might be cutting this one off pretty quickly. Some analyses are suggesting fragment is actually a hoax, and the arguments seem pretty decisive. See the next post:
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a Fake Gospel-Fragment Was Composed- This is a very interesting post which you can find Francis Watson, a professor of religion and theology at Durham University making a concise argument in a PDF which argues that the fragment is a fake. It’s a fascinating article, and perhaps destroys the whole controversy at the start. (To be fair, the late purported date of the fragment does little for me, anyway.)
New Coptic Fragment Says Jesus Was Married- A summary of skeptics’ attitudes towards historicity.
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife?- Glenn Andrew Peoples has a simply fantastic discussion of the implications of this discovery. One of my favorite lines: “Prepare yourself. Suddenly, people are going to read a sensational article about a tiny scrap of parchment and become experts on early church history.”
Did Jesus Have a Wife?- A post which focuses on the authenticity of the document and the implications if it is indeed authentic. Another great response.
SHOCKING New Evidence Reveals 4th-Century Coptic Christians WONDERED If Jesus Was MARRIED!- What is the historical significance of the discovery, assuming it is genuine? A few very good, concise points.
So What if Jesus did Have a Wife?- Definitely an alternative approach. John Byron notes that Christians could grant that Jesus was married without somehow undermining the core doctrines of Christianity. This one is really interesting and I’m sure will be controversial. While not a response to this article, Aggie Catholics has a very different view of the implications of the discovery, while denying that it has historical import other than as showing the beliefs of Gnosticism: Proof That Jesus Was Married?
The Wife of Christ and the Bride of Christ- This post looks at the discovery from a more presuppositional type approach. We know the Bible is reliable, so what should we make of this discovery?
Stop the presses! Jesus was married! Oh no!- Carl Olson at the Catholic World Report comments on a number of issues with jumping to conclusions about the text. I found this one particularly insightful about how the discovery is being portrayed in the media.
Quick Thoughts on the New Jesus Wife Text- Darrell Bock, a prominent NT scholar, shares his thoughts on the implications of the text. It’s highly informative and concise.
Was Jesus Married?- A reflection on the way the media portrays stories like this along with an examination of the importance of the document and apologetics.
Get Ready for A Wave of Gnostic Looniness Again- James White notes that the discovery was made by a woman who loves to sensationalize gnosticism.