A text dubbed the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been accused of forgery. However, a recent analysis suggests that writings from the ancient scrap of papyrus are authentic.
“A wide range of scientific testing indicates that a papyrus fragment containing the words, ‘Jesus said to them, my wife’ is an ancient document, dating between the sixth to ninth centuries CE. Its contents may originally have been composed as early as the second to fourth centuries,” said the Harvard Divinity School, according to a statement.
This piece of history has gone through several tests in order to determine its authenticity. Researchers from the University of Arizona note that since the fragment of paper is so small, carbon dating has been difficult. However, further analyzation by professors of electrical engineering, biology and chemistry at Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, show that the fragment dated back to long before the birth of Jesus.
As many officials have speculated the veritability of this controversial, ancient text, professor of Egyptology and ancient Western Asian studies, Leo Depuydt, believes it was forged. Depuydt said the responsible party may have used lampblack ink in modern times. However, no evidence of forgery has been discovered via infrared microspectroscopic analysis, among other examinations.
Harvard Divinity School historian, Karen L. King, who unveiled the scrap in 2012, believes it to be authentic.
“When you have all the evidence pointing in one direction, it doesn’t make it 100 percent, but history is not a place where 100 percent is a common thing,” she said, via The Boston Globe.
However, King notes that she does not believe that the manuscript’s authenticity shows evidence that Jesus was married.
“The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus – a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued.”