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.
If you like “Ancient Aliens,” then you probably recognize Giorgio Tsoukalos’ name. If not, you’ll definitely recognize him when you see his face. He has a distinctive look: Skin that glows orange, dark hair that rises from his head in improbable curls.
Tsoukalos, who has the best job in the world, produced and appears in many episodes of the History Channel’s hit show. He travels to exotic locations around the world and poses questions for which there are no real answers. He usually tries anyway, and his default answer is “aliens.”
“Ancient Aliens” is the most speculative program on television. And nobody speculates as much as Tsoukalos, who says things such as “I don’t think that Atlantis sank; I think that Atlantis lifted off” and “It wasn’t God. It wasn’t angels. They were extraterrestrials.”
Now he’s become a full-fledged Internet meme.
A friend sent me these last night. They seem like things Tsoukalos would really say.
Is Bigfoot real?
That’s what researchers at Oxford University in England and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland hope to find out.
The Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project is taking a scientific approach to the Yeti myth, trying to “entice people and institutions with collections of cryptozoological material to submit it for analysis,” according to wired.co.uk. “Anyone with a sample of organic remains can submit details of where and when it was collected, among other data.”
Samples can include teeth, scat or body parts, but scientists are mainly interested in hair, according to the project website. That doesn’t mean you should grab that clump of hair you found in the woods last year and send it out via airmail. Instead, you should send the researchers your contact information, a physical description of what you’ve got, photographs if you have them, an explanation of how and where you obtained the material, your guess as to what it is and a statement saying that you’re authorized to share the material and they’re welcome to publish their results.
If they’re interested, they’ll send you a sampling kit. Don’t send remains without hearing from the team first; they won’t be tested, and they won’t be returned.
Materials will be accepted through September. After that, the most promising samples will be subjected to genetic testing.
The results will be published in a peer-reviewed science journal.
Many cultures have legends about giant beasts that walk upright and stalk the forests. Tales of Sasquatch and Bigfoot abound in North America, including variations such as the Skunk Ape (Florida) and the Ohio Grassman. In other countries, the creatures are known by such names as Orang Pendek (Southeast Asia), Yeren (China), Mande Barong (India) and Almas (Asia/Mongolia).
Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics from Oxford’s Wolfson College, told wired.co.uk: “Theories as to their species identification vary from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus widely thought to be extinct, to as yet unstudied primate species or local subspecies of black and brown bears. …
“Mainstream science remains unconvinced by these reports both through lack of testable evidence and the scope for fraudulent claims. However, recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification. It is possible that a scientific examination of these neglected specimens could tell us more about how Neanderthals and other early hominids interacted and spread around the world.”