The internet has been abuzz the past 24 hours with the story of Jesus’ wife. Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Harvard scholar, Karen King, has released the results of her study of a fourth century Coptic fragment that, as far as we can tell, represents the first ancient reference to Jesus’ wife. The presentation on the Harvard Divinity School website has several pictures of the fragment along with a nicely produced little video. Of course, as a result of this discovery, people are going to raise the obligatory questions about Jesus being married, having children, etc. I think most scholars are going to agree that this fragment has very little historical value as it relates to Jesus. The historical value is rather found in its attestation to a discussion that we know was going on in the early centuries of the church (viz., “Was Jesus married?”).
I also find it interesting that the first line of the fragment echoes Gospel of Thomas logion 101, line three. The Coptic text is not identical to Gos.Thom. 101, but it is very close. I look forward to seeing where this discussion will go.