Karen King, a Harvard Divinity School professor, says that in the papyrus text Jesus refers to "my wife," whom he identifies as Mary. King said that in the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says "she can be my disciple."
Rome and Boston
Scholars are questioning the authenticity and significance of a much-publicized discovery by a Harvard scholar who reported that a 4th Century fragment of papyrus has provided the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.
Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding Tuesday at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. Her paper, and the front-page attention it received in some U.S. newspapers, was very much a topic of conversation during the coffee breaks at the conference Wednesday.
Wolf-Peter Funk, a noted Coptic linguist and co-director of the francophone project editing the Nag Hammadi Coptic library at Laval University in Quebec, said there were "thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things," and that many questions remain unanswered about the Harvard fragment.
King, an expert in the history of Christianity, said the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to "my wife," whom he identifies as Mary. King says the fragment of Coptic script is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century.
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