Religion Magazine

Jesus' Wife Fragment Round-up

By Goodacre
There are several items of interest on the Jesus' Wife Fragment that have emerged over the last few days or so and I hope readers won't mind if I draw attention to these in a "round-up" post.  If I have missed anything important, please comment and I'll add those too.
At this point, almost all of the important discussion about the fragment is taking place in the blogs and social media.  Today, there is a sign that the tide is turning, with CNN's Belief Blog featuring the following piece:
New evidence casts doubt on 'Gospel of Jesus' Wife'
Opinion by Joel S. Baden and Candida R. Moss, special to CNN
This is a clearly expressed, very useful piece that will bring people who have not followed recent developments up to speed.  Well done to Candida and Joel.  Incidentally, and this is just a sidenote, the piece illustrates the forgery of the Coptic John fragment using the graphic I produced for the NT Blog, including my caption, though without acknowledgement (which I don't mind too much -- the key thing is that the article gets this information out there).  [For the original, much clearer version, see here.]
Up to this point, the media at large had not caught up with the latest developments, with the exception of an excellent piece by Charlotte Allen:
The Deepening Mystery Of the 'Jesus' Wife' Papyrus
Charlotte Allen
Allen's post helpfully follows up on her earlier Weekly Standard piece, The Wife of Jesus Tale, which bucked the rather triumphalistic tone of the broader media coverage that somewhat prematurely announced the fragment's authenticity earlier in the month.  Her latest piece incorporates the key insights found in Christian Askeland's post and Alin Suciu's post, also discussed here (with illustration) in which the "sister" to the Jesus' Wife Fragment, a piece of Coptic John, shows very clear signs of modern forgery.
My favorite line in Allen's post is "This is getting into monkeys-with-typewriters territory."  She concludes with a call to Harvard Divinity School and the Harvard Theological Review to reveal everything that they have about the fragment.  Given the increased difficulties about the provenance of the fragment, it indeed seems essential now to release these materials, especially the undated, unsigned hand-written note in which Prof. Fecht is alleged to have associated the fragment with Jesus' marriage.
Meanwhile, Andrew Bernhard has three new "News Briefs" in which he sets out the case for the forgery of the Jesus' wife fragment with admirable clarity, including graphic representations, which regular readers will know is something I greatly value:
The Gospel of Jesus's Wife: A Key to the Patchwork Text
Andrew Bernhard
The Gospel of Jesus's Wife: Internet Forgery
Andrew Bernhard
The Gospel of Jesus's Wife: Missing Evidence of Antiquity
Andrew Bernhard
Also of key importance is a fresh post from Christian Askeland in which he clearly and carefully discusses the new fragment, with pertinent observations and helpful graphics:
The Forgery of the Lycopolitan Gospel of John
Christian Askeland
And before bowing out of the discussion, Alin Suciu offers some further useful reflections:
The Gospel of Jesus' Wife Papyrus: Final Reflections
Alin Suciu
There are several other helpful and interesting pieces also worth studying.  Gregg Schwendner has uploaded several useful "work in progress" articles to academia.edu.  Not in particular:
The "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" as a Questioned Document: What Would Simulated Ancient Writing look like?
Gregg W. Schwendner
Chart comparing the letter forms in GJW and the Simulated GJohn
Gregg W. Schwendner
Christopher Jones has an excellent piece that I have been meaning to mention for some time, also on academia.edu:
The “Jesus’ Wife” Papyrus
The "Jesus' Wife" PapyrusChristopher Jones.
And note also his earlier useful contribution, Clement of Alexandria and the Celibacy of Jesus
Further, Michael Grondin is continuing his coverage of the latest developments:
The Jesus' Wife Fragment: 2014 Update
Finally, for the time being at least, Carrie Schroeder has a most helpful discussion of the issues in an interview over on the Jesus Blog:
Interview with Caroline T. Schroeder re: Jesus' Wife Fragment

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