There continues to be a lot of interest in the small papyrus fragment that Karen King and others have now made public that is purported to have a reference to the wife of Jesus. I expect to see seminars about this at the November meetings of the venerableEvangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. This mini-doc is now being called the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife or GJW. I’m sure it will be a Hollywood blockbuster next year, starring Russell Crowe or Tom Hanks as Jesus, maybe with Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston as the wife.
My friend, Dr. Jeff Miller of Milligan College, posted a comment on this blog that contained a link to a scholarly analysis of this by Francis Watson that some of you may have missed, so I want to bring this to your attention. It is on Mark Goodacre’s site:
There was also a more popular article in Time magazine this week that case doubts on the authenticity of the GJW, “Did Jesus Have a Wife?” Unfortunately, this is available only in print or online to subscribers. Most of the major newspapers have articles on this written by someone who is conversant with the current scholarly discussions, so a google search can yield many resources.
I have done a lot of reflection on how we got to where we are in this sort of debate concerning a married Jesus. The Gospels that made the “canonical cut” are silent about the marital status of Jesus, and this is most plausibly interpreted to conclude he had no wife. The New Testament also contains some additional historical detail about Jesus in Acts, the writings of Paul, the book of Hebrews, 2 Peter, and perhaps in Revelation and other books. This information is meager compared to the Gospels, but agrees with them in being silent about Jesus’ marital status. I thought it might be helpful to diagram the historical possibilities as I see them:
Nebraska Christian College