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. With respect to the Harvard researcher’s views on the
    Coptic fragment.

    Would it be correct to ascribe it to contending “Christian” views, or more correctly to Agnostic views? Or was there a clear distinction when it was written? WTF WAS Constantine endorsing?

    Only religious support for state power, of course. As many others have said. As all rulers before him too. He did not want to compete on Roman divinity of Caesars, nor the praise of local jokels. Look what’s succeeding on the franchise market. Let’s see what deal can I make. Offer my wife’s hand in searching after Jesus remains, etc.

  2. A biblical-timey message from god came to me as they did to George II.

    Remembering Malisha’s point that extramarital sex was OK but NOT adultery. And now reading of Almah in Wiki, then god spoke to me.

    “Thou shall not plow another man’s field unless you are prepared to pay for the issue thereof.”

    Copyright asserted, etc 2012. 😉

  3. rafflaw 1, September 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Interesting video.
    Yeah, wives that are also mothers can boil the cabbage down.

    I highly recommend them.

  4. Malisha,

    Spinning further on your comment:

    What denies that Jesus did not have muzzerim (?) children? He was popular with the ladies, for evolutinary approved reasons. And what says that Paulus, was not a “natural child of Jesus,
    adopted by a Roman citizen, who on the way to
    Damascus had his vision. Etc etc.

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

    Historically there are no contemporary references to Jesus. Only the monk inserted forgery in Josephus “History of the Jews”.

  5. Rafflaw, all men were entitled to multiple wives back then, and there WERE no Mormons yet. Most men could only AFFORD one wife, if that. 🙁

  6. mespo,

    I’ll take that bet. Thor is a badass, but his power is derivative of Woden’s whereas Jupiter (also a master of thunder and lightning) is a primary like Woden. I’ll give the edge to one who creates a thing over one who merely can control a thing in a combat situation. Get ready to rumble!

  7. DHM Carver,

    It would behoove you to learn more about the society Jesus was born into. A good jew, which he was or intended to be, did not remain without a wife so long as Jesus is said to have done.
    He was aware of the ills of the “world”, but surely did not strive against experiencing real manhood as defined by his society.

    He said: Overgive all else and follow me, and they did. But what says that his wife did not follow with him, and was a source of strife, as can happen when wifey has opinions too. “Don’t forget the women without rights”, she said.

    All that is written in the holy gospel has one main thrust: to establish a pastoral apostolic church with world dominance. Necessary tales to support this purpose are simply made as needed.

  8. I am with you Mespo. Jesus may have had many family members and if he was really a Mormon, he could have many wives too!
    Interesting video.

  9. Darren Smith,

    Yeah. And translating from Arameic (Jesus times langurage, not Hebreic) manuscript to Greek gave us “maiden” rendered as “virgin”, We see what that mistake has given us.

  10. Apparently the snippets of text that have been translated say:


    not [to] me. My mother gave me life…

    The disciples said to Jesus…

    deny. Mary is worthy of it.

    I said to them, “my wife…

    She will be able to be my disciple…

    Let wicked people swell up…

    As for me, I dwell with her in order to…

    an image…


    There was obviously missing text everywhere in between these snippets, and even these snippets are ambiguous in many ways. Yet nothing about what any of them or all taken together MIGHT MEAN proves or disproves anything about whether or not Jesus was married. And to me, the question is interesting in that (a) it puts into play a lot of the silly notions not only about Jesus as a historical figure but also about Jesus as a religious symbol; and that (b) although it doesn’t matter at all, at this point, whether he was “married” or not, the authenticity of the archeological item reported on by the Harvard Professor is, like the question of Jesus’ marital status itself, probably one of those mysteries that can never be solved but that can always be a vehicle for fascinating debates, testing both the quality and the limits of “knowledge.”

  11. In all fairness, if this was a Coptic text it was probably part of a Gnostic tradition where terms like this take on metaphorical meaning; in Revelation, for example, Jerusalem is portrayed as Jesus’s bride.

    What is more interesting is the possibility that the “virgin” birth is a mistranslation, and that the original term meant “young woman.”


    This squares with accounts from, for example, the Gospel of Thomas, which makes no attempt to portray Jesus as supernatural (beyond being a divinely inspired prophet).

  12. DMHCarver:

    “Professor, I rely on you NOT to peddle more ahistorical nonsense without at least some qualifiers. The document, which postdates Jesus’s death by a few centuries, does not refer to Jesus’ wife. And the professor who made the discovery has qualified her discovery far more than your statement that she “stressed that the fragment does not conclusively show Jesus was married.” You are a lawyer and scholar — it would behoove you to be more careful with your words.”


    Who cares? It’s like debating who would win a fight Thor or Jupiter or Jesus. BTW my money is on Thor. He’s got the hammer down! Jupiter is not very accurate with those thunderbolts and Jesus was a gentle carpenter or stonemason or whatever. It’s cartoon wars.

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