Artifact Hints Jesus May Have Had a Wife, but Settles Nothing

By ABC News

Apr 11, 2014 10:46am


A new possible clue in a mystery dating back 2,000 years is further stoking one of the hottest debates in Christianity.

A tiny, faded papyrus fragment covered in lines of ancient script was first brought to light in 2012 by Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King, and it certainly created a big commotion.

“The most exciting line in the whole fragment is the sentence, ‘Jesus said to them,’ to his disciples that is, ‘Jesus said to them, ‘my wife …,’” King explained in a video posted to Harvard’s YouTube channel.

The words “my wife” immediately conjured images of “The Da Vinci Code,” which argued that Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “The Last Supper” painting shows Mary Magdalene seated at the right hand of Jesus, a sign that she was his wife.

The Vatican and many experts called the document dubbed “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a fake, as the scrap of papyrus was given to professor King by an anonymous collector. King then put it in her purse and brought it around to experts, as seen in a 2012 Smithsonian documentary that has aired in France, but was postponed for airing in the United States until further research was done on the document’s authenticity.

“It’s really a remarkable moment,” King said.

Was Jesus Married? Ancient Papyrus Mentions His ‘Wife’

But now, two years after King’s original revelation, she is revealing the results of their scientific tests, and they suggest the ink and the papyrus are likely not modern forgeries, but are, indeed, ancient.

Some experts, however, still say they disagree with the findings.

Either way, everyone agrees the text, even if it is real, wasn’t written until centuries after Jesus died.

“What this does not mean is that Jesus had a wife,” King said. “It’s not evidence for us historically that Jesus had a wife.”

While the document doesn’t prove “The Da Vinci Code” was factual, it may prove that even the early Christians were debating the issue that is so emotional because it would force us to rethink one of the most revered men in history.

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