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Jesus wife papyrus: Jesus said, ‘My wife…she will be able to be my disciple’

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The Jesus wife papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been proven to be real and not a forgery. The ancient papyrus contains the words “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife...’ she will be able to be my disciple.” The words found on the papyrus are shaking up the Catholic Church because not only do the words express that Jesus was married but that he allowed women to become priests, reports The New York Times on April 10.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” papyrus has only a size of “4 by 8 centimeters,” but when Karen L. King, a historian at Harvard Divinity School, presented the piece (written in Egyptian Coptic) at a conference in Rome in September in 2012, the Vatican was quick to declare the paper to be a fake. New Testament scholars claimed that when using the word “wife,” it really referred to the “bride of Christ” -- which is the church.

To test the authenticity of the small Jesus wife papyrus and to prove that it was not fake, professors of electrical engineering, chemistry and biology at Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, analyzed the papyrus. They found that it resembled other ancient papyri from the fourth to the eighth centuries. The papyrus is most likely a “4th-century papyrus.”

The test results of the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” were published in the Harvard Theological Review journal on Thursday. The ink and papyrus are indeed ancient and are not a modern forgery. “James T. Yardley, a professor of electrical engineering, said in an interview that the carbon black ink on this fragment was ‘perfectly consistent with another 35 or 40 manuscripts that we’ve looked at,’ that date from 400 B.C. to A.D. 700 or 800.”

The Jesus wife papyrus, which was named “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” by Harvard Divinity School historian King, was apparently torn from a much larger text and seems to express ideas that are not seen in the New Testament, reports Reuters. While it has been proven by scientists that the papyrus is not a forgery, no one knows so far who wrote the words -- “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife...’ she will be able to be my disciple.”

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