Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Four little words vs 2,000 years of unbroken tradition and witness

Four words in the 1.5-by-3-inch(3.8-by-7.6-centimeter) fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, King said. Those words, written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, translate to "Jesus said to them, my wife," King said in a statement.

Let me get this straight.  Four words on a scrap of papyrus, dated more than four centuries after Jesus, not in Greek or Aramaic or even Hebrew, of unknown origin, with an unknown author, addressed to unknown recipients, without attestation elsewhere, and unclear in its meaning... and that means, according to liberal scholars, Jesus had a wife!!

You can read the whole article here. Boy does it get my goat when one unattested voice is allowed to challenge what the Scriptures, Tradition, and the Church has consistently held.  But, then again, why should things be different on this point than the ordinary skepticism the media (we hardly need the adjective liberal anymore) treat established Christian truth, doctrine, and belief.

Now we will need to argue with them all over again as if we must prove again the truthfulness of the faith and its historicity every time some kook challenges it or some mysterious fragment of papyrus dating from a much later period suggests something else.  Never mind the fact that wife, as with sister, were terms that were often used in allegorical, symbolical, and affectionate terms without meaning the physical relationship which is the meaning we generally presume.

Oh, well... here we go again!

Update:  Read a good response by Dr. Jeff Gibbs of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, at Concordia Theology Today... 

You can also read a good response to the so-called evidence for this claim here.

UPDATE:  One scholar thinks this whole thing may be a forgery.  Read him hear in shorter form or there in longer form.


roger said...

Wanted to read the whole article but the site stated that I did not have permission to be there??

Carl Vehse said...

Here's a link to Harvard Professor Karen l. King's paper, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’”: A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus.

Also read Concordia Theology's article, An Ancient Manuscript and Jesus’ Wife? by Jeffrey Gibbs. (HT: Rev. Guillaume Williams)

The NYSlimes gives the news a hyped headline, "A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife," while burying deep in the text the admission: "The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question, she said."

SKPeterson said...

Nothing more than hackneyed and over-hyped academic irresponsibility.

Janis Williams said...

Before we dump the whole thing into the sewer, I have to say prof. King isn't jumping in the stew yet. Yes, I know, she probably will, but I have to give her kudos for not saying we're sure Jesus had a wife.

Don't these things usually come out around Christmas and Easter? What; are we doing Hallow'een/All Hallows, now?

The onslaught is never ending, but isn't it funny how the same things (Jesus' bones, Jesus marital status, etc.) seem to be the only "weapons" in the arsenal of the postmoderns (aka liberalism with a face lift)?

Jonathan said...

Jesus does have a wife—she's the Church!

Anonymous said...

Can't the world views of the non-Christians stand on the merits alone?

Why do so many non-Christians feel the urge to attack Christians and Christianity at every opportunity?

Carl Vehse said...

Anonymous said... "Why do so many non-Christians feel the urge to attack Christians and Christianity at every opportunity?"

Because their master bids them to, just as he bids them to vote for Obama.