If you've got a Facebook or Twitter feed (or a friend who mass-emails) you've probably heard that, according to the New York Times and Harvard, Jesus Christ had a wife. Proof came recently in the form of a tiny scrap of papyrus, written in Coptic and dated to the Fourth Century of the Common Era. (I'm still not sure what's Common about the Era in which we live, but thank Zeus, we can at least pretend it has nothing to do with the Jesus about Whom we're still talking.)
The scrap contains the phrase "Jesus said to them, 'My wife . . . '" before ending unceremoniously with a fibrous tear. And somehow, if the NYT and Harvard are to be believed, this changes everything. And it does—if by everything we mean nothing at all.
The occasion of this revelation by the NYT's Laurie Goodstein is the fragment's coming-out party on Tuesday at the International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome, in the form of a paper by Harvard Divinity School's Karen L. King. It should come as no surprise that Prof. King is one of those gynder-studies gals and that "the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple." Miz Goodstein informs us that "These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say." Oh, "but they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage."
See? A little fragment from some heretical sect scribbled 300 years or so after Jesus lived can validate Chick Priests and Gay Marriage, right? And this is just the latest, SCHOLARS SAY, in a series of Big Finds by Scholars, that indicate a Raging Debate that has Raged and Roiled for centuries, right?
Take a quick gander at Professor King's paper. Page one will suffice to show you the way this deceitful language finds its way into the left-wing depository that is Academia.
the fragment does provide direct evidence that claims about Jesus’s marital status first arose over a century after the death of Jesus in the context of intra-Christian controversies over sexuality, marriage, and discipleship. Just as Clement of Alexandria (d. ca 215 C.E.) described some Christians who insisted Jesus was not married,1 this fragment suggests that other Christians of that period were claiming that he was married.
A handy footnote attached to Clement of Alexandria says "See Stromateis III, 6.49." If you do see that, you'll find that Clement of Alexandria is in no way addressing whether some Christians insisted Jesus was not married. Instead he is combatting certain heretics who gave false reasons as to why Jesus was not married, at least in an earthly way.
There are some who say outright that marriage is fornication and teach that it was introduced by the devil. They proudly say that they are imitating the Lord who neither married nor had any possession in this world, boasting that they understand the gospel better than anyone else. The Scripture says to them, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Further, they do not know the reason why the Lord did not marry. In the first place he had his own bride, the Church; and in the next place he was no ordinary man that he should also be in need of some helpmeet after the flesh.
Again, this misrepresentation (lie) designed to create a false historical dilemma appears on page one of Scholar King's Groundbreaking World-Changing Paper. It's the sort of academic navel-gazing nonsense that today's Ivy League divinity schools engynder, and upon which the likes of "the Luce Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst, and the Graves Foundation" dump cartloads of money.
Never mind the fact that the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and the literature attesting to Him, have been studied and debated long before Scholar Karen L. King entered the scene—indeed long before the so-called Quest for the "Historical" Jesus began. (Incidentally, when a stupid film about the Quest for the Historical Muhammad gets made—by a Copt, no less—people die.) Somehow today, a scrap smaller than a sheet of toilet paper proves that our Lord was married to a woman and, ergo, Christians should baptize sodomy and make women pastors.
Are you as glad as I am that today's scholars are so very objective in their pursuit of the truth?
Aaron D. Wolf (1973-2019) was Chronicles' executive editor. His writings have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He was a frequent guest on Issues, Etc. (Lutheran Public Radio) and The Paul Youngblood Show (nta.fm), and has appeared on several other radio programs, including The Tom Clark Show (Wisconsin Public Radio) and Extension 720 With Milt Rosenberg (WGN).