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Jesus said to them, “my wife….”

Jesus said to them, “my wife….”


A new text recently discovered seems to indicate that Jesus referred to himself as having a wife. From a Harvard Divinity School press release:

Four words on a previously unknown papyrus fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Harvard Professor Karen King told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies today.

King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the existence of the ancient text at the Congress’s meeting, held every four years and hosted this year by the Vatican’s Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome. The four words that appear on the fragment translate to, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” The words, written in Coptic, a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, are on a papyrus fragment of about one and a half inches by three inches.

“Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim,” King said. “This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’s marital status to support their positions.”

A draft of King’s paper is here.

Q and A is here



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Bill Dilworth

I happened to watch a TiVoed episode of the Daily Show from last week, and he poked fun at the idea that the two words “my wife” we’re taken as proof of anything, supplying a couple of examples of other possible readings: “My wife, if I ever marry, will have to love Thai food” and “My wife? No, I’m not married.”

Bill Dilworth

John, that’s it! He was talking about the Church! Mystery solved…

Kurt Wiesner

I can’t help but crack up whenever the “was Jesus married” question comes up, amused by the idea that for the early followers of Jesus, his marital status must have been embarrassing. A unmarried Jewish male in his thirties??? Poor Mary! What did she do to deserve such a fate?!!!

John B. Chilton

Wait a minute. Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride of Christ. So this is saying he came back and they got married?

Bill Dilworth

Oh, and I loved this quote from King: “Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim…” As opposed to all the reliable historical evidence concerning the rest of his biography, I suppose?

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