Dr. Paul Dilley on the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Announcement

The so-called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife"

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”

Here’s a blog post from my University of Iowa Classics and Religious Studies colleague, Paul Dilley, who was at the Coptic conference in Rome when the big announcement was made.

He writes:

Professor Karen King of Harvard presented a tiny, poorly-written portion of a manuscript page, owned by a private collector, which features a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples in which he mentions “my wife.”  King, working with Professor AnneMarie Luijendijk of Princeton, has made a draft of their editio princeps, English translation, and study of this “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”, forthcoming in Harvard Theological Review, available for download:


They suggest that the text was written in the second century, citing denials that Jesus was married by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian of Carthage, as well as parallels with other apocryphal texts usually dated to this era; this is certainly a plausible hypothesis.  But regardless of the original date of composition, it seems to me that Jesus’s marital status would have been an even more poignant topic for debate among Christians in Late Antiquity, after the rise of the ascetic/monastic movement, with controversies about the relative value of celibacy and marriage occupying center stage.

It will be interesting to see the case made for the authenticity of the fragment and translation of the text, as well as whether the fact that the manuscript is unprovenanced, was acquired from an antiquities dealer, and that the present owner wants to sell the document to Harvard adversely affects the credibility of the discovery.

And check out Dr. Dilley’s blog, Hieroi Logoi: Digital Resources for Religion in Late Antiquity, when you get a chance and add his valuable blog to your blogroll.

6 Responses

  1. Hey Bob – I made a couple of posts about the translation of one of the lines in the fragment, marerōme ethoou šafe ne (operating under the assumption that the fragment isn’t a forgery):

    http://semitica.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/let-wicked-people-swell-up-marerome-ethoou-safe-ne-retroverting-an-enigmatic-coptic-phrase-in-the-gospel-of-jesuss-wife/ (part 1)

    http://semitica.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/further-speculation-on-the-greek-original-of-safe-swell-in-the-gospel-of-jesuss-wife/ (further)

  2. […] Chandler (who makes a comparison with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Michael Heiser, Bob Cargill and Chuck Grantham have also posted about this.Media outlets that mention this include the […]

  3. I’ll believe it when another fragment is found that says, “Take my wife — PLEASE.”

  4. But where I found a correct translitteration of text? Because it seems that correct trascription is not “I have a wife” but “Wife for me is everithing join me in aeon”. That change all the sense of this text, redimensioning the annoying announce over che marriage of Jesus, that is historically unproved and unsolvable.

  5. […] it is to dispell the old ones.See also:James McGrath: “Jesus’ Wife”Bob Cargill: “Dr. Paul Dilley on the ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Announcement”Eric Marra[pdo: “5 questions and answers about Jesus’ ‘wife’”Daniel […]

  6. […] a truly academic put down see Dr. Paul Dilley on the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Announcement and for sensible posts covering the announcement willing to take it more seriously The Gospel of […]

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