A Recently Found Coptic Manuscript Refers to Jesus’ Wife

The New York Times reports that a Coptic manuscript (dated to the 4th century) reports Jesus speaking about “my wife.” The fragment is small (smaller than a business card) and reads “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”.

You can read a forthcoming article in the Harvard Theological Review (due Jan 2013) here by Karen King. King begins her essay with some wise precautions. She writes,

“This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife. It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition only in the second half of the second century. Nevertheless, if the second century date of composition is correct, 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.”

Below is a picture of the fragment.

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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