Several years back, Dan Brown struck gold with “The DaVinci Code,” a novel that hinged on the notion that Jesus was married and had children.
The story caused a fervor, but folks eventually calmed down.
Now Jesus’ marital status is back in the news.
This time it doesn’t involve a novelist. Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are nowhere in sight. Instead, today’s story focuses on a tiny scrap of damaged papyrus and the Harvard historian who translated it.
On Tuesday, historian Karen L. King spoke in Rome to reporters from The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Harvard magazine. King, an expert in Coptic literature, showed reporters the snippet of papyrus and announced that she had deciphered some provocative phrases, including: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife’” and “she will be able to be my disciple.”
The papyrus and the writing on it appear to be genuine. They may date back to the late 2nd century.
King said there is no other possible translation for the section that says “my wife.”
No other known texts from antiquity refer to Jesus being married, according to The Times. Similarly, the Bible makes no mention of a female disciple.
But don’t dust off that copy of “The DaVinci Code” yet. Although the document apparently is genuine, the text itself isn’t proof that the historical Jesus was married. As King told The Times:
“This fragment suggests that some early Christians had a tradition that Jesus was married. There was, we already know, a controversy in the second century over whether Jesus was married, caught up with a debate about whether Christians should marry and have sex.”
The full story can be found here.