Gospel of Jesus' Wife papyrus not a forgery, researchers say

The front of a papyrus fragment called the Gospel of Jesus' Wife. It contains the words,

The front of a papyrus fragment called the Gospel of Jesus' Wife. It contains the words, "Jesus said to them, my wife." On April 10, 2014, Harvard University researcher Karen King said testing has shown the fragment is not a forgery and dates back to sometime between the sixth and ninth centuries. (Karen L. King/Handout/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:50 PM ET

An ancient papyrus fragment that contains the words, "Jesus said to them, my wife," is real and dates back to between the sixth and ninth centuries, a researcher at Harvard University says.

Karen King has been studying the artifact since the fall of 2012 after it came to light in December 2011. She said radiocarbon tests as well as handwriting and grammar analysis show the tiny fragment has not been tampered with.

Twice in the fragment dubbed the Gospel of Jesus' Wife, Jesus speaks of his mother, his wife, and a female disciple — one of whom may be identified as "Mary."

King said the fragment does not prove Jesus was married, but rather affirms "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," King said in her study.

The findings were published in April's edition of the Harvard Theological Review.


Videos

Photos