Does an Old Scrap of Paper Indicate That Jesus Had a Wife?

A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School says that a Coptic passage on a scrap of papyrus from the fourth century contains the phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” The New York Times reports that, until recently, the historian, Dr. Karen L. King, had only shown the scrap to a small circle of experts to determine the likelihood of the artifact’s authenticity.

The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”