A Marriage Made In Heaven? Ancient Papyrus Fragment May Refer To Jesus’ Wife

Now here’s a question. What do you get for the groom who has everything? Apparently disciples of Jesus may have faced that dilemma after analysis of a centuries-old papyrus fragment refers to the “wife” of Jesus — possibly Mary Magdalene. The fragment, written in Coptic, states “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …”

Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King discussed the finding in the January edition of Harvard Theological Review. She stressed that the fragment does not conclusively show Jesus was married.

The bible speaks of Jesus cleansing Mary Magdalene of “seven demons” but not then marrying her. She has often been cited as the only female disciple of Jesus. Also missing are other common matrimonial clues like biblical jokes about the “old ball and chain” back home or going out with for a guys night out. However, one can easily imagine a band playing Proud Mary” by John Fogerty with the disciples singing alone:

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river


Source: CNN

61 thoughts on “A Marriage Made In Heaven? Ancient Papyrus Fragment May Refer To Jesus’ Wife

  1. Malisha,
    I am aware that the Mormons weren’t in existence yet and that many sects allowed multiple wives, just trying to add a little sarcasm. I guess too little!🙂

  2. Gene and MespoLXXIILXXIILXXII,

    It would make a great episode of Celebrity Death Match. Don’t count out Jesus—remember he took down Satan in an episode of South Park (not to mention saving Santa from the Iraqis in another episode—who could forget his immortal words: “My children, you should know something… I’m packing.”)

  3. “Historically there are no contemporary references to Jesus. Only the monk inserted forgery in Josephus “History of the Jews”. – You are, of course totally discounting that the Bible itself is contemporary which is problematic.

  4. Chris,

    That is correct. I was giving sources external to the religious movement. Did I miss one?
    The point used by historians in this matter is that there were one other major person operating doing similar miracles, etc who was widely noted in
    documents which have survived. But nothing at all on Jesus.
    You understand I presume the nature of the comparison.
    Even a comparatively minor person called the “Egyptian” who led a revolt within the jews of Israel which was quashed, and he was executed.

    One can assign credence to the Bible as a post-factum recording of tales told by believers some decades after his death. But by historians concerned with the existence of Jesus the man, this is not accepted.

    • “Even a comparatively minor person called the “Egyptian” who led a revolt within the Jews of Israel which was quashed, and he was executed.”

      ID707,

      You are quite right in this comment about the difficulty of contemporary sources establishing that there was a Jesus. My own take based on much I’ve read is that Jesus did exist, but was mythologized into the “Son of god” by Paul, who never knew him. The “Moshiach” (Messiah) longed for by Jews at the time was to be their King who God would designate to lead them to rid themselves of oppression. While the “Moshiach” (referential to Moses) would
      have supernatural aid from God, he was nevertheless human in all respects. My surmise is that Jesus was a revolutionary leader, claiming Mosaic descent,
      whose revolution failed and he was crucified by the Romans for treason. One
      must remember the “mocking” writing on the cross about him purporting to be the “King of the Jews”. In Roman edicts regarding lands under their rule, only
      Caesar was allowed to appoint Kings, therefore Jesus’ claim was treason.

      As for those using their “bible” as proof, the best evidence is that the “Gospels were written years after Jesus’ death by people who had not directly known him. When Constantine established the “Roman Church” at the council of Nicaea 320 AD, many changes were made to the original “Gospels” and to Paul’s writings in order to make it all acceptable to the Romans. All religions would seem to have a nub of somewhat historic truth as laid down by their founding prophets (Though I’m not sure of Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard and Syung Yung Moon) which their successors in power then alter in order to establish the discipline which controls the believers.

  5. MikeS,

    I thank you for your information and opinions.
    The mystery of Jesus, even if the Bibles recording of him is taken as fact, is deep with many contravening
    issues and views on the human plane.

    Many in most religions have said: Show yourself. He has yet to do it to a crowd. Until then I remain a skeptic of all religions.

  6. John Isner,

    I can understand your enthusiasm—at least I think it was what you expressed. I felt similarly when reading about the Gospel of Thomas, etc and the Hammadi manuscripts.

    However, reading about the agnostics of the time by a lady professor at Harvard cooled my enthusiasm.

    Shall we say that the ME (my summary) was a fermenting pot of religious invention at that time.
    Agnostics in effect said that each man could make up his own religion. Many took early christianity as a starting point. Establishing schools and drawing paying students was one motive, just as it was in the Greek academies.

    The Holy Apostolic church said of course that that’s no way to run a religion, with new crackpot ideas competing with old crackpot ideas every other week. And they won.

    Wish I could give you the name of the Harvard professor. But check out the agnostics. The manuscripts are thought to be genuine, and hidden when christian monks attacked these agnostic retreats.
    But proof of Christ? No, sorry no support here for Jesus as a man.

    The irony is that what we know is that which was written by their major enemies, catholic bishops, etc.
    So what is read in terms of description was written by ther enemy. And the winners write history as they will.

    • I enjoy this blog, and read virtually every post, but when it strays to religious topics, I am aghast at the bad history, wrong history, speculation masquerading as fact, and outright anti-religious bigotry that crop up in the comments. It is discouraging to read those on the left sounding like Tea Partiers discussing the Constitution.

  7. Mary Magdalene was what most people think she was. I don’t believe in the last supper. I also don’t believe in demons.

  8. Onlooker from Troy bleated:

    “You mean that the bible might not contain the absolute, error-free history of the world? OMG! LOL

    How otherwise intelligent people (and of course the endlessly ignorant and gullible too) can give themselves over to these myths is forever beyond me.”

    It’s actually stood the test of time better than anything else. If you would read the scriptures and have an understanding of it beyond the shallow atheist website level, you might gain some wisdom.

  9. Hubert Cumberdale,

    I don’t frequent “shallow atheist website level”. Those I leave to you.

    However if you read the essays written by Lucretius, Einstein. Carl Sagan and Salman Rushdie—-plus many more in Hitchens’ “the Portable Atheist” you will find a good, well-written introduction of sufficiently deep level.

    Then I think you may be qualified to understand the atheist position.

    As to the qualities of the Bible, I would compare them to any multi-author book. Polished in places, but hardly well-written, conceived, and obviously not bearing a
    divine inspiration. IOW, rather plebian. But if that is in you tastes, then that is your choice. You are like all
    of us can choose at will.

  10. Matt J,

    Interestingly, Jesus believed in demons. Many don’t realize that. And for example he quieted the waters, he waa in his mind using his God given powers to drive out the demons which made them unruly. And since his fellow men there did to believe, then they were amazed.

    What is they had consulted the weatherman instead. What would we be reading today?

  11. “Lots of possibilities. Unfortunately they did not have cell cameras then. But then our way of recording is at least as ephemeral as papyrus.”

    ‘At Least’? I prefer to believe ‘Far More’…

    Everything is digital now…Imagine for a second that we lose power, completely, as in we lose the ability to harness or create electricity.

    How much digital information is lost in an instant, which is not stored in some other non-electric media?

    We find papyrus with legible words written in languages we can sort of dechiper…future archeologists will find thumb-drives that will be non-sensical widgets or jewelry.

  12. idealist707 1, September 21, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Hubert Cumberdale,

    I don’t frequent “shallow atheist website level”. Those I leave to you.

    However if you read the essays written by Lucretius, Einstein. Carl Sagan and Salman Rushdie—-plus many more in Hitchens’ “the Portable Atheist” you will find a good, well-written introduction of sufficiently deep level.

    Then I think you may be qualified to understand the atheist position.
    —————————————————————————————-
    Who do you think built those stone structures?

  13. idealist707 1, September 21, 2012 at 3:06 am

    What is they had consulted the weatherman instead. What would we be reading today?
    ——————-
    Your own stupidity.

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