Religion Magazine

Tentative Chronology on Coptic "Jesus Wife" Fragment

By Goodacre
I am grateful to Stephen Goranson for this updated version of his tentative chronology on the Coptic Jesus' Wife Fragment:
Tentative chronology on Coptic "Jesus Wife" fragment
Stephen Goranson
[Items in brackets refer to a claimed Demotic Gospel of Thomas.] Corrections welcome.
2nd century: suggested date of a Greek "gospel" Vorlage
2nd-4th c.: claimed date of a Coptic Gospel of John ms in the same collection (claim before C14 tests give probable date about four centuries later)
4th century: claimed date of ms (claim before C14 tests give probable date about four centuries later)
[1875 Feb. 4 claimed presentation in New Orleans of a papyrus in "Unknown" language (actually Demotic)]
[1875 claimed publication of ms in (an unattested) proceedings supplement of New Orleans Academy of Sciences]
1923: March discovery of a Coptic Gospel of John codex, Qau el Kebir, Egypt; soon brought to England
1924: Herbert Thompson, The Gospel of St. John According to the Earliest Coptic Manuscript (London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt, University College, 1924)
1945: Nag Hammadi mss discovered
1956: Coptic gnostic papyri in the Coptic Museum at Old Cairo, P. Labib. Facsimiles
1959: The Gospel According to Thomas. Guillaumont, Puech, Quispel et al. Coptic & English
1961: G. Fecht in Orientalia suggests Nag Hammadi Gospel of Truth was composed in Coptic not Greek
1963: claimed date Laukamp purchased in Potsdam, East Germany. But Smithsonian Nov. 2012 reported: "(In a later e-mail [from collector to King], however, the story seemed to change slightly, with the collector saying that the papyri had been in the previous owner's possession--or his family's--'prior to WWII.')"
1970-1981: P. Munro Director of the Kestner Museum, Hannover
1977: Nag Hammadi II facsimile published
1981: June ff Munro Professor in Berlin
1982: July 15 letter from Munro to Laukamp (claimed), giving remarkably early date to Coptic Gospel of John ms
1982-1983: Karen King at Free Uni., Berlin
1982: "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" published
1983: new Egyptian antiquities law
1983: T. Lambdin, Introduction to Sahidic Coptic
1987: Fecht Festschrift, Form und Mass
[1990 claimed facsimile of New Orleans Demotic papyrus, with poor or misleading translation submitted from US to Discussions in Egyptology, Oxford]
[1991 Mark J. Smith retranslates the Demotic, containing Gospel of Thomas logia]
[1991 Demotic text recognized as a hoax by, among others, Leo Depuydt. See Financial Times, May 18 and 25]
1995: Munro ill, reportedly stays in Hannover (C.E. Loeben obituary)
1997: claimed purchase from German-American collector according to Smithsonian Nov. 2012
1999: Nov. 12 claimed purchase from H.-U. Laukamp according to HTR 2014
2002: Hans-Ulrich Laukamp death according to Owen Jarus, Live Science April 22, 2014 (and not 2001 as in K. King 2012 HTR draft page 3; and not Dec. 3 2000 [death of a Dane, Gerhard Laukamp] as commented on a Nov 29, 2012 NT Blog post)
2002: Nov M. Grondin posts Interlinear Coptic Thomas; see his account.
2003: The Da Vinci Code published
2003: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala published by King
2006 MayDa Vinci Code film
2006 Dec. 13: Gerhard Fecht death (in Hamburg?). An undated unsigned handwritten note claimed "Professor Fecht of the opinion that this could be evidence for a possible marriage." (Compare King in HTR 2014 158 that "no serious scholar considers [the ms] to be evidence of the historical Jesus's marital status.")
[2007 Jan. 7 death of Alessandra Nibbi, editor of Discussions in Egyptology]
2007 Feb.: S. Jacobovici, The Jesus Family Tomb
2007 March 4: TV The Lost Tomb of Jesus
2009 Jan. 2: Peter Munro death (not 2008 as HTR 2012 draft p.2)
2009 July: K. King to Harvard
2010 July 9: email, collector to K. King; she suspects "forgery"
2011 June: email, collector again to King, contacting her "before I sell it"
2011 Dec.: ms to King; she (sometime) titles it "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" (According to Smithsonian, the collector had already introduced it as "a Gnostic gospel that appeared to contain an 'argument' between Jesus and a disciple about Magdalene.")
For some more recent dates, see M. Grondin, A Question of Content; NT Blog; Evangelical Textual Criticism Blog and Harvard Theological Review April 2014.

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