“Substantial reasons would lead one to conclude that the papyrus is indeed a clumsy forgery,” the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said in an editorial by its editor, Gian Maria Vian. “In any case, it’s a fake.”
That sounds definitive. Just one problem. They were wrong.
According to a paper filed in the Harvard Theological Review, the papyrus is ancient and not a modern forgery. So what makes this papyrus so special?
The center of the business-card-sized papyrus, which features just eight lines of text on the front and six lines on the back, contained the bombshell phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’
“She will be able to be my disciple,” said the next line. And then: “I dwell with her.”
Indeed. So this doesn’t prove Jesus had a wife. It doesn’t prove she was a disciple. But it does prove that at least one person writing in Coptic, an ancient Egyptian language, believed that he did. It would certainly make more sense if he did.
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