Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriach delays Egypt visit    Egypt stocks soar on Telecoms dispute resolution    Reaction to Man Utd sacking David Moyes    Petrojet punish Zamalek for defensive woes to go eight points clear    Syrians arrested while attempting to illegally emigrate    More video evidence presented as Al Jazeera trial resumes    Ahly striker Meteb detained after argument with police officer    Incarcerated 6 April leader calls for international review of Protest Law conviction    Morsi and Brotherhood leaders appear in court for espionage trial    Port Said Massacre retrial hearing postponed    Global Telecom Oks $350 mln Loans to Bangalink, Mobilink    Foreign Currencies Vs Egypt Pound - Early Tuesday    Popular Socialist Alliance calls for immediate release of detained members    Mideast consortium agrees $500m National Petroleum Services buy    Dubai to sell 15-year benchmark sukuk Tuesday    Ministries of Housing and Communication cooperate to establish smart villages in new cities    Anti-harassment campaign intervened in 17 harassment cases during Easter    At least 17 drown in Sham El Neseem celebrations    Crimea Tatars say leader banned by Russia from returning    Biden: Russia must 'stop talking and start acting'    Art Alert: Omar Khairat at Cairo Opera    Egypt's PEC to begin accepting objections to presidential candidates    Streaming TV case before US supreme court on Tuesday    30 Morsi Loyalists Given 3.5 Years In Jail For Illegal Protesting    U.S. Force In Afghanistan May Be Cut To Less Than 10,000 Troops    Nine Killed In Attacks In Pakistan's Volatile Northwest    Energy subsidies reform to take effect in July: PM    Ex-Army Chief El-Sisi Ahead Of Sole Competitor Sabahi Before Presidential Race    Egyptians Celebrate Ancient Festival Of Sham El-Nessim    Death count in ferry sinking tops 100    Egypt's Sinai: Mapping Terror    Elneny misses out on cup title again    VIDEO: Koka unlucky as Rio Ave thrashed at Porto    Fahmy and Fatah discuss negotiations and Palestinian reconciliation    Boy flies California to Hawaii in jet's wheel well    Art Alert: Guitar, cello and piano at the Arabic Music Institute    A very ancient Egyptian Easter: Sham El-Nasim    VIDEO: Ahli claim uncomfortable lead over Difaa    30 Morsi loyalists given 3.5 years in jail for illegal protesting    Aesthetics-minded Americans decry Paris love locks    Erdogan Challenges Social Media In Top Turkish Court    El-Sisi Challenging To Retain Time Magazine's Reader Poll    Hundreds Still Missing In Deadly Korea Ferry Accident    Egypt's Government Pulls Film Starring Arab ‘Sex Symbol', Awaits Review By Censors    Ashour leads home hopes into second round at El Gouna    Ministries Battle over Future of Cairo's Mubarak-era Building    Mawwell launches the first crowdfunding platform targeting EMEA market    Bollywood Love Story brings magic of India to Egypt    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.




Your friends recommend

Critics scrutinize claim that ancient papyrus suggests Jesus had a wife
Is a scrap of papyrus suggesting that Jesus had a wife authentic?
Published in Ahram Online on 20 - 09 - 2012

Scholars on Wednesday questioned the much-publicized discovery by a Harvard scholar that a 4th century fragment of papyrus provided the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.
And experts in the illicit antiquities trade also wondered about the motive of the fragment's anonymous owner, noting that the document's value has likely increased amid the publicity of the still-unproven find.
Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding Tuesday at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a 2nd century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to "my wife" whom he identifies as Mary.
King's paper, and the front-page attention it received in some U.S. newspapers that got advance word about it, was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday at the conference.
Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, although there is no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. Any evidence pointing to whether Jesus was married or had a female disciple could have ripple effects in current debates over the role of women in the church.
Stephen Emmel, a professor of Coptology at the University of Muenster who was on the international advisory panel that reviewed the 2006 discovery of the Gospel of Judas, said the text accurately quotes Jesus as saying "my wife." But he questioned whether the document was authentic.
"There's something about this fragment in its appearance and also in the grammar of the Coptic that strikes me as being not completely convincing somehow," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.
Another participant at the congress, Alin Suciu, a papyrologist at the University of Hamburg, was more blunt.
"I would say it's a forgery. The script doesn't look authentic" when compared to other samples of Coptic papyrus script dated to the 4th century, he said.
King acknowledged Wednesday that questions remain about the fragment, and she welcomed the feedback from her colleagues. She said she planned to subject the document to ink tests to determine if the chemical components match those used in antiquity.
"We still have some work to do, testing the ink and so on and so forth, but what is exciting about this fragment is that it's the first case we have of Christians claiming that Jesus had a wife," she said.
She stressed that the text, assuming it's authentic, doesn't provide any historical evidence that Jesus was actually married, only that some two centuries after he died, some early Christians believed he had a wife.
Wolf-Peter Funk, a noted Coptic linguist, said there was no way to evaluate the significance of the fragment because it has no context. It's a partial text and tiny, measuring 4 centimeters by 8 centimeters (1.5 inches by 3 inches), about the size of a small cellphone.
"There are thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things," said Funk, co-director of a project editing the Nag Hammadi Coptic library at Laval University in Quebec. "It can be anything."
He, too, doubted the authenticity, saying the form of the fragment was "suspicious."
Ancient papyrus fragments have been frequently cut up by unscrupulous antiquities dealers seeking to make more money.
An anonymous collector brought King the fragment in December 2011, seeking her help in translating and understanding it. In March, she brought it to two papyrologists who determined it was very likely authentic.
On Tuesday, Harvard Divinity School announced the finding to great fanfare and said King's paper would be published in January's Harvard Theological Review. Harvard said the fragment most likely came from Egypt, and that its earliest documentation is from the early 1980s indicating that a now-deceased professor in Germany thought it evidence of a possible marriage of Jesus.
Some archaeologists were quick to question Harvard's ethics, noting that the fragment has no known provenance, or history of where it's been, and that its current owner may have a financial interest in the publicity being generated about it.
King has said the owner wants to sell his collection to Harvard.
"There are all sorts of really dodgy things about this," said David Gill, professor of archaeological heritage at University Campus Suffolk and author of the Looting Matters blog, which closely follows the illicit trade in antiquities. "This looks to me as if any sensible, responsible academic would keep their distance from it."
He cited the ongoing debate in academia over publishing articles about possibly dubiously obtained antiquities, thus potentially fueling the illicit market.
The Archaeological Institute of America, for example, won't publish articles in its journal announcing the discovery of antiquities without a proven provenance that were acquired after a UNESCO convention fighting the illicit trade went into effect in 1973.
Similarly, many American museums have adopted policies to no longer acquire antiquities without a provenance, after being slapped with successful efforts by countries like Italy to reclaim looted treasures.
Archaeologists also complain that the looting of antiquities removes them from their historical context, depriving scholars of a wealth of information.
However, AnneMarie Luijendijk, the Princeton University expert whom King consulted to authenticate the papyrus, said the fragment fit all the rules and criteria established by the International Association of Papyrologists. She noted that papyrus fragments frequently don't have a provenance, simply because so many were removed from Egypt before such issues were of concern.
She acknowledged the dilemma about buying such antiquities but said refraining from publishing articles about them is another matter.
"You wouldn't let an important new text go to waste," she said.
Hany Sadak, the director general of the Coptic Museum in Cairo, said the fragment's existence was unknown to Egypt's antiquities authorities until news articles this week.
"I personally think, as a researcher, that the paper is not authentic because it was, if it had been in Egypt before, we would have known of it and we would have heard of it before it left Egypt," he said.


Clic here to read the story from its source.