Is the ‘Jesus Wife’ fragment a fake?

Harvard Divinity professor Karen King says she is “open to questions about authenticity” regarding the papyrus fragment she presented at a conference last week that raised questions about the marital status of Jesus.

The Huffington Post reports that Helmut Koester, a professor emeritus of Harvard Divinity School who specializes in early Christianity and early Christian archaeology, has said that he is “absolutely convinced that this is a modern forgery.” New Testament scholar Craig Evans blogged at a biblical history site, Near Emmaus, Wednesday that he thought “the papyrus itself is probably quite old, perhaps fourth or fifth century, but the oddly written letters are probably modern and probably reflect recent interest in Jesus and Mary Magdalene.”

While King contends that she presented the discovery in order to spur research into its authenticity, Evans said in an interview, “It’s usually the science that precedes the big announcements. These things aren’t usually left untested, especially where a papyrologist has not uncovered it in Egypt.”

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