|Evidence that Jesus was married|
(Scroll down for video) New evidence was discovered this week that Jesus was married.
A little faded papyrus fragment contains evidence that Jesus may have been married and addressing his wife.
The fragment, with only eight lines of text on the front and six lines in the back, is a dialogue of the fourth century, written in the Coptic language, between Jesus and his disciples. In it, Jesus speaks of "my wife", according to Harvard professor Karen L. King, who discovered the fragment.
"The most exciting sentence of the entire fragment is where Jesus tells his students ‘my wife’," King said in a video posted on the YouTube channel of Harvard. The next line of text reads: "She will be able to be my disciple.”
"This is the only existing ancient text that explicitly describes Jesus as referring to a woman," King wrote in his article on the discovery.
The discovery, if validated, could have important implications for the Christian faith. The belief that Jesus was not married is one reason why Catholic Church priests are not allowed to marry. It could also have implications for the role of women in the church, as it would mean that Jesus had a female disciple.
For centuries, there has been a debate about the possibility that Jesus was married, and many believe he might have had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, who is mentioned prominently in the New Testament.
Speculation was even the subject of Dan Brown's bestseller, The Da Vinci Code.
King insists that the new discovery "provided no direct evidence that the historical Jesus was married."
However, King writes, "the fragment does provide direct evidence that the claims about the marital status of Jesus first emerged more than a century after the death of Jesus in the context of intra-Christian disputes about sexuality, marriage, and discipleship.”
In the years after Jesus' death, Christians debated what the right way to follow the example of Jesus and lifestyle were. King says that the parchment could simply mean that some Christians believed after the death of Jesus that he was married during his lifetime.
While working to determine whether the papyrus was a fake, King said he was particularly interested in investigating also the first time someone says that Jesus did not have a wife.
"I was surprised to find that it is right from the same period in which we found this passage," said King. That means it was not long after the death of Jesus that the issue was first raised about whether Jesus was married and this little snippet seems to indicate that he was.
King presented his research at the X International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome.
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