Gospel of Jesus' Wife
The ""Gospel of Jesus' Wife"" is a papyrus fragment with Coptic text that includes the words, ""Jesus said to them, 'my wife...'"". It was presented by Professor Karen L. King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, at the International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome on 18 September 2012. King maintained that the papyrus contained a fourth-century Coptic translation of ""a gospel probably written in Greek in the second half of the second century."" Already at the Rome Congress, doubts were expressed about the authenticity of the text, and the current consensus is that the text is a modern forgery, though written on a scrap of ancient papyrus.Professor King and AnneMarie Luijendijk, an associate professor of religion at Princeton University, named the fragment the ""Gospel of Jesus's Wife"" for reference purposes but have since acknowledged that the name was inflammatory. King has stated that the fragment ""should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married"". Luijendijk and fellow papyrologist Roger Bagnall of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University reviewed the fragment and determined that it was likely authentic. According to Luijendijk, it would have been impossible to forge.Following King's announcement on 18 September, 2012, further doubts about the authenticity of the text were presented on line and in print. The Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano stated that the text was a ""very modern forgery"". Georgeos Diaz-Montexano and César Guarde-Paz of the University of Barcelona promptly published (on 18 September 2012) an English edition of the first paleographical report, contesting its authenticity on paleographical grounds. Professor Francis Watson of the University of Durham also argued that the text was a fake, created by borrowing words and phrases from the previously published Gospel of Thomas. Other scholars subsequently showed that the text had textual mistakes (including a typographical error) identical to those made only in a particular online modern iteration of corresponding texts.In defense of the text's authenticity, Ariel Shisha-Halevy, Professor of Linguistics at Hebrew University and a leading expert on Coptic language, concluded that the language itself offered no evidence of forgery. King also found examples from a new discovery in Egypt that has the same kind of grammar, showing that at least one unusual case is not unique. While some experts continue to disagree about the other case, King notes that newly discovered texts ""often have new spellings or grammatical oddities which add to our knowledge of the Coptic language."" See further below, ""Authenticity.""In April 2014, analysis of the papyrus and the ink showed that the papyrus itself is ancient and dates to between the sixth and ninth centuries. Scientists and scholars from the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, in New York, Princeton University, University of Arizona, Harvard University in conjunction with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Columbia University, MIT and more determined that ""scientific testing provides no indication of modern fabrication (""forgery""), but does consistently offer positive evidence that the fragment as a material artifact is ancient.""However, while the papyrus itself is ancient, further analysis has suggested that the text itself includes additional errors that suggest it is not authentic. In particular, Christian Askeland, a Coptic specialist at Indiana Wesleyan University, has shown that the fragment is ""a match for a papyrus fragment that is clearly a forgery."" This second fragment, containing part of the Gospel of John, belongs to the same anonymous owner, and is now overwhelmingly considered a fake. Askeland argues that the text of this was written by the same person, in the same ink, and with the same instrument as the Gospel of Jesus' Wife. Professor King said, ""This is substantive, it’s worth taking seriously, and it may point in the direction of forgery. This is one option that should receive serious consideration, but I don’t think it’s a done deal."" The Atlantic reported that ""even though King herself has refused to declare the case closed, for all practical purposes, judgment has been passed on the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife: it’s a fake.""