Scholar: Ancient 'Jesus' Wife' Papyrus Lacks Context

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Harvard researcher professor Karen King unveiled an ancient scrap of papyrus that quotes Jesus as saying "my wife" and "Mary" -- a possible reference to Mary Magdalene. 

Some say the fourth century fragment, with its 33 words spread over 14 lines, could send shock waves through Christianity.

But Jerusalem-based New Testament scholar Claire Pfann said it doesn't tell us anything about Jesus and his followers, noting that the context in which the papyrus was written is missing.

Blasphemy or healthy religious debate?  What do you think about the new claims of Jesus having a wife?

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Click play to watch the updated CBN News report followed by comments from Dr. Corne Bekker, a Regent University professor who has done extensive research on the historical accuracy of the Bible.

"It probably tells us more about discussions that are going on among Christian groups in Egypt at that time than it tells us anything about Jesus in the first century," Pfann said.

"This is a fragment that talks about church history and is of great interest to church historians, particularly those who are dealing with Egyptian Christianity," she added.

King said she believes the fragment was part of the discussion about the role of women in the early church.

"Professor King, herself a very eminent church historian and Coptic scholar, does not feel that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married," Pfann said. "And she certainly doesn't feel that this particular fragment would ever prove that in one way or another."

"She feels that this particular fragment is dealing much more with the issues of women's roles in leadership and in authority in Egyptian Christian community sometime in the fourth century," Pfann added.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem

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