Jesus’ Wife???

4:10 pm Jesus Christ

The headlines read, “Ancient papyrus fragment refers to Jesus’ ‘wife.'”  Karen King, a Christian scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, presented a papyrus fragment from the fourth century that contains a phrase in which Jesus refers to “My wife.”  The fragment consists of eight lines of black ink, written in Coptic, which include the phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…'”  Several observations need to be made concerning this “find.”
First, the authenticity of the fragment has not been proved.  Roger Bagnell, director of the Institute for the Study of Ancient World in New York said that it is likely authentic.  The provenance of the fragment is a mystery.  Its owner has asked to remain anonymous.  Only a small circle of experts have concluded it is not likely a forgery.  The final verdict has not been given.  AnneMarie Luijendijk, who co-authored the paper with King said the fragment’s poor condition suggests it was found in a garbage heap.
Second, the fragment does not prove that Jesus was married.  We already know of this controversy through Gnostic writings in the second century.  This was a topic of discussion a few years ago when The Da Vinci Code was published. The Da Vinci Code was written by Dan Brown.  It is a fictional novel.  In it, Brown claims that the Gnostic Gospels (such as the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary) are the earliest Gospels and that they have been suppressed by church councils (Da Vinci Code, p. 231).  The Gnostic Gospels are a group of books discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi, Egypt.  Fifty-two texts were recovered, dating from approximately AD 350 (first published in English in 1981).  Neither the Gospel of Philip nor the Gospel of Mary existed during the time the New Testament Gospels were written.
Gnosticism refers to a body of related teachings, both ancient and modern, stressing the acquisition of gnosis (Greek for knowledge), or secret, inner, esoteric knowledge.  The knowledge sought is not strictly intellectual, but mystical.  This gnosis is the knowledge of ultimate reality particulary one’s divine essence and origin (New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics, p. 288).  Gnostics deny that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for sin.  They teach that Jesus was resurrected, but not physically.  Gnosticism is a form of mysticism.
Brown appealed to the Gospel of Philip as a source of information about Jesus being married.  The Gospel of Philip states, “And the companion of the (…) Mary Magdalene (…loved) her more than (all) the disciples (and used to) kiss her (often) on her (…)”  The relevant portion of this book has many gaps.  The bracketed portions reflect gaps in the manuscripts.  The use of this text in an attempt to prove that Jesus was married is completely false.
The New Testament books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not mention that Jesus was married or that He fathered any children.  The historical account of Jesus’ life is truth–historical truth!  The false view of Gnosticism cannot overthrow the truth.

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