Archeologists Debating Jesus' Relationship Status Again

Harvard Professor of Divinity Karen King has unearthed a fourth-century scrap of parchment that is re-igniting the Davinci Code debate regarding Jesus' relationship status. According to King, the parchment reads, "Jesus said to them, 'my wife ...'" She says this piece proves some early traditions believed that Jesus was married, saying, "This new gospel doesn't prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus' death before they began appealing to Jesus' marital status to support their positions." The parchment will undergo a few further tests to determine its validity, but two independent experts have already varified its age.

In the meantime, The Atlantic is pointing out that canonized Scripture already refers to Jesus' wife multiple times: the Church. Were the parchment's validity authenticated, it would not be outside of the accepted tradition of Jesus referring to himself as a bridegroom ...



Anonymous commented…

Oh RELEVANT, please don't drag anthropology into this mess. There are no archaeologists involved in this discovery, and the original article never makes such a claim. King's degree is in divinity, NOT archaeology. Contrary to popular belief, they don't hand out shovels with every doctoral degree and tell you to "get to diggin' up finds."

An archaeologist would, if you'll pardon the language, puke all over this parchement of King's because the language of the article suggests it was found in a private collection. Artifacts mean nothing in the world of archaeology if they are presented without proper context, in this case a time, place, and space from which the document came.

Perhaps you were confused by the Times article referring to King and associates as historians? Again, no archaeologists involved there. Historians analyze text, archaeologists analyze physical objects. Artifacts.

So again, I beg you, leave the poor archaeologists out of this.

Steven Linn


Steven Linn commented…

I'm not sure I agree with your supposition that "no archaeologists [were] involved there."

A parchment with writing on it is still a physical object. If an archaeologist did in fact find this, how can you say archaeology had no involvement? What you seem to be saying is that historians are the ones conducting the digs which lead to these discoveries. If not, then archaeology did in fact play a part.

To quote wikipedia, "archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind."

Because someone wrote on this piece of paper, it does fall under the guise of "human activity in the past." Because religion is cultural and we're talking about a material object, it also falls under "material culture."

While there may be no evidence to support that the claim that a career archaeologist found this artifact, this does not mean that archaeology as it is defined was not at play here. You could even say that a historian is a type of archaeologist.

Still, there's no reason to be so perturbed as to comment with such obvious angst and animosity toward RELEVANT. I don't think they made a TECHNICAL error, but perhaps it is LESS correct to say Archaeologists found this.



Stephen commented…

If God saw that it was not good that man be alone, why would the gospels not mention anything about the wife of Jesus? Oh, wait, they did! He wasn't alone! He was the Son of God.

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