Professor: Jesus talks of wife in ancient script
BOSTON (WHDH) -- A Harvard University professor has unveiled a fourth century fragment of papyrus that she says is the only existing ancient text that quotes Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife.
Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, says a tiny piece of papyrus from a fourth-century scribe refers to Jesus as a married man.
“The most exciting line in the whole fragment, however, is the sentence, ‘Jesus said to them,’ his disciples that is, ‘Jesus said to them, my wife,’” King said.
Jesus identifies the woman as Mary. King is quick to point out it doesn’t prove Jesus was married. Instead, she says it sheds light on the debate by early Christians on whether they thought Jesus was celibate, and which path they should follow.
It also could reinvigorate the age-old debate about priests remaining celibate.
“It’s quite clear evidence, in fact, that some Christians probably in the second half of the second century -- that’s between about 150 and 200 A.D. -- thought that Jesus had a wife.
King unveiled her find in Rome on Tuesday.
The fragment was brought to the Harvard Divinity School last December. King says she spent countless hours whether it’s real -- and she says it is.
People 7News spoke with remain skeptical.
“I think if they believe that, it would be in the Bible, and it’s not,” one woman said.
“It doesn’t affect my faith at all, in any way,” one man said.
The next line from the reference to Jesus’ alleged wife reads, “She will be able to be my disciple,” which could potentially have implications in women’s role in the Catholic Church.