Vatican Claims Papyrus about Jesus' Wife is Fake: Harvard's Coptic Text a 'Clumsy Forgery'
The Vatican is claiming that an ancient papyrus fragment that a Harvard scholar says contains the first written mention that Jesus Christ may have had a wife is a fake. The Vatican's daily newspaper jumped into the highly charged academic debate surrounding the recently discovered piece of Coptic text, claiming it is a "clumsy forgery." Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, unveiled the 4th-century artifact which she says is the only existing ancient text quoting Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife, whom he identifies as Mary. Tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, although there is no reliable historical evidence to support the claim and the idea that he was married resurfaces regularly in popular culture. Any solid evidence pointing to whether Jesus was married or had a female disciple could have ripple effects in current debates over the role of women in the church, since they are not allowed to become priests in the Catholic Church owing to Jesus only choosing men in biblical texts.