Friday, April 11, 2014
So Jesus Didn't Have A Wife?
In September 2012, Karen King, the Holland Professor of Divinity at Harvard University published the Gospel of Jesus Wife papyrus scrap and cause a virtual firestorm of controversy among Christian scholars. The buzz was loud and sweeping. Everyone was talking about it, thinking about it, and blogging about it. And some were critically examining it.
The world wants desperately to believe that the Christian message is considerably inaccurate. The notion that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, the only way to heaven, that He is a loving, gracious, but equally demanding Lord is not an idea that resonates with unbelievers from any age of culture, especially modern ones.
So it comes as no surprise that when a Harvard scholar publishes evidence that contradicts the Christian story, everyone who is looking for a reason not to believe, hoping that they can keep their sin and autonomy after all, latches onto it with extreme hope and rapturous delight. The unbeliever thought that Karen King had rescued the world community from the Christian gospel with her evidence that Jesus actually had a wife. The world was wrong and now stands not only disappointed, but numb with embarrassment.
Professor King had argued that the scrap was dated to about the 4th century. However, upon closer examination, it appears the date is more like 650-870. This is incredibly late and serves as a major embarrassment for King. In addition, it appears that the scrap was actually cut and pasted together. There are also problems with the handwriting as noted by one paleographer. The handwriting lacks clear parallels, making analysis extremely difficult.
Leo Depuydt has said that the document is a forgery and that the forger rearranged several sentences in the Gospel of Thomas and unintentionally left evidence of his fraudulent work. The evidence is simply overwhelming that the GJW document is a fraud. So, does this mean that Karen King will apologize, recant, or admit to her poor scholarship in this case? Unbelief is a very powerful motivation for rejecting the truth claims of Christian theism. Apparently, Professor King thinks that since there remains an infinitesimally small chance that the scrap is authentic, that this virtually guarantees it is. The evidence is in and all the scientific tests put to this document shows that it is not authentic and clearly demonstrates we have no reason to believe it is authentic.
Now, if this gives you great comfort where anxiety existed over this particular claim, I would submit that it is paramount that you reexamine your faith. Moreover, I believe you would benefit from a very rigorous examination of your view of Scripture as well as the way in which you interpret it. If your faith is in God, then your confidence in the fidelity of Scripture does not rest in science. It rests in the faithfulness and trustworthiness of God. You should read an article like this and not be surprised, even a little. Those people that know Scripture know that Jesus never had a wife. Moreover, we do not care if a first-century manuscript showed up claiming that Jesus was married. We would rule it out as false, not based on scientific investigation, but because it contradicts Scripture. If science dictates what you will and will not believe from Scripture, then Jesus is not your God, science is. And if science is your god, you my friend, are an idolater.
Authentic Christianity passionately holds to the highest view of Scripture. Christians are the ones running around always talking about the Bible. You can hear them answer every question beginning with "the Bible says." They are radical in how often they employ Scripture in their discussions. In fact, authentic Christians rub people the wrong way because they are always going back to the Bible for their answers. They appeal to the Bible to settle disagreements and disputes. No method that places the Bible aside for the sake of conversation and argument is a safe or proper method where the Christian is concerned.
Good science always agrees with the divine revelation of Scripture. Any science that calls into question the fidelity of Sacred Scripture deserves to be called into question itself. Have faith in God. (Mk. 11:22)