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Mrs. Jesus

There’s a little controversy in the Christian world about a fragment. The bit of papyrus has written on it a reference to someone named Mary as the wife of Jesus, the legendary founder of Christianity. Some people are asserting that the fragment is fake, because the grammar doesn’t seem quite right.

Wouldn’t that criterion of authenticity make the writings of most students fake?

wife of christMany Christians presume that the legendary Jesus was different than almost all other men in that he never had sex and was not sexually attracted to women. In what appears to be an attempt to mollify these Christians, the Associated Press, writing about the little text, cites a professor as suggesting that, “the fragment, which she called the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, doesn’t prove Jesus was married, only that some early Christians thought he was.” But then, the entire New Testament doesn’t prove that Jesus ever existed, only that some early Christians thought he did.

As for authenticity, it has been accepted by most academic analysts of the Bible that the people who were initially claimed to have written many of the books of the New Testament were, in fact, not the authors at all. In fact, like a cheap paperback, the books of the New Testament seem to have been written by teams of writers and editors.

So, what does it matter if the “fragment” actually comes from where it was initially said to have come from? Would that make it any more fake than the New Testament?

There have been many modern Christian writings that assert that Jesus was married. What makes them less authentic than the New Testament?

Is it where a piece of writing comes from that makes it matter?

3 thoughts on “Mrs. Jesus”

  1. Bill says:

    What is often more interesting than the content of religious texts…which, like everything else touched by humans are doctored, spun, plagiarized, garbled, and frequently just pulled out of somebody’s ass…is our reaction to them. It is amusing to observe how a scrap of waste paper of unknown provenance, with the words “Jesus’ wife” scrawled on them by some unknown Joe Six-Pack, has thrown the church into a tizzy.

  2. tamerlane says:

    Following the Council of Nicaea, 325 a.d., all gnostic gospels & other writings that contradicted the Rome-based Trinity sect were scrubbed.

    Eusebius completed (c. 335 a.d.) the task by compiling a spurious history of the early Church Fathers. Any extant earlier texts were destroyed, so no manuscripts exist from before the 4th century. All traces of early christian writers lead back to Eusebius.

    Paul of Tarsus’ epistles, allegedly written c. 70 a.d., are only mentioned by Marcion c. 140 a.d., who is first mentioned by Eusebius two centuries later. Polycarp’s existence is ‘proven’ (sic) by a letter to him by St. Ignatius. The only proof of St. Ignatius’ existence is a letter to him from … Polycarp. Or rather, the contents of the alleged letters, as transcribed by Eusebius.

    Biblical scholars admit that 6 of the 13 Pauline epistles are later forgeries, written to bolster particular heresies or views. Yet their only reason for deeming the other 7 as legit is because they happen to bolster their own views.

    Further, the field’s dating methodology is riddled with tautologies — the dates they ascribe to the gospels are derived solely from the content of those same gospels. Outside confirmation is either totally lacking, or contradicts the dating. A complete absence of consilience.

  3. Tom says:

    Like Bill said, it’s people’s reaction to religious information that leads to trouble. The fundies of the world seem to gravitate toward aggressive behavior, using their beliefs as their enabling worldview.

    Here’s an example of a Christian fundie who went a bit over the edge in her parenting:

    Now, you may point to the fact that she’s bipolar, but she’s also a fundamentalist. It’s like pointing out that the unibomber was a brilliant mathematician, in the sense that normal mathematicians don’t go around killing people (some just melt down during class and take their clothes off: )

    and most Christian fundamentalists don’t go around killing people – okay, some do, but i wouldn’t say most – and most bipolar people don’t go around killing people either.

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