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from www.dailymail.co.uk – The discovery of a scrap of papyrus that claimed Jesus had a wife has caused a holy row of words in the Vatican.
The fragment of fourth-century papyrus that read ‘Jesus said to them, “My wife”‘.
The next line said, ‘…she will be able to be my disciple…’ had historians and religious leaders clamouring to both prove and deny its credibility.
But now the ‘revelation’, written in ancient Coptic, has been branded a fake by the Vatican, ABC News reported.
They also criticised Harvard Divinity School for bringing attention to the ‘discovery’.
If the papyrus was true, and proved that Jesus was married instead of celibate, it could undermine the foundations of the Church’s teachings.
The ‘wife’ in the paper is believed to refer to Mary Magdalene, a loyal follower of Jesus.
Karen L. King of Harvard Divinity School had the papyrus examined and believed that the fragment was probably genuine – although it did not categorically prove Jesus was married.
But a furious Vatican has dismissed the find as a fake in an editorial in their newspaper.
Alberto Camplani, a Coptic scholar wrote the stinging piece ‘At any rate, a fake’ which dissected the discovery and questioned its authenticity ABC News reported.
The editorial also criticized Harvard for contacting the media about its findings.
The early Christianity professor, who works at Harvard, created the stir by announcing the finding early last week at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome.
She does emphasise that this ‘does not provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married.’
But she does say it proves people questioned Jesus’ marital status, and her paper will now be scrutinised by the Harvard Theological Review, a peer-reviewed journal.
The journal is waiting for test results on the fragment’s ink to help determine its authenticity.
The Vatican has been joined by a British scholar in calling the ancient papyrus a ‘fake’.
New Testament scholar Professor Francis Watson of Durham University says the fragment, which caused an international sensation this week, is a collage of texts from the Gospel of Thomas, copied and reassembled out of order.
The 8cm by 4cm fragment supports an undercurrent in Christian thought undermining centuries of Church dogma.