Magazine article The Christian Century

Journal Holds 'Jesus' Wife' Item for More Relic Testing

Magazine article The Christian Century

Journal Holds 'Jesus' Wife' Item for More Relic Testing

Article excerpt

The Harvard Theological Review is postponing publication of an article on the papyrus fragment in which Jesus seems to refer to his wife, raising further doubts about a discovery that sparked immediate curiosity when it was announced last September.

The article by Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King was scheduled for the HTR's January edition. It was expected to provide answers to questions that had been raised about the relic's authenticity soon after King announced the discovery to select national media at an international conference of biblical scholars in Rome.

King told CNN, which reported the latest development on January 3, that the article has been delayed because testing on the fragment is not complete.

A spokesperson for Harvard Divinity School, Kathryn Dodgson, said in an e-mail on January 4 that the owner of the papyrus--whose identity has not been disclosed--"has been making arrangements for further testing and analysis of the fragment, including testing by independent laboratories with the resources and specific expertise necessary to produce and interpret reliable results."

Dodgson said the HTR is still planning to publish King's article "after conclusion of all the testing so that the results may be incorporated. Until testing is complete, there is nothing more to say at this point."

King has said the fragment is from a fourth-century codex written in Coptic that may have come from an earlier, unknown gospel. The receipt-sized slip of papyrus contains just 33 words spread across 14 incomplete lines and quotes Jesus referring to "my wife" before the sentence is cut off. …

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