'Gospel of Jesus' Wife' Mystery Has New Twist
The answer may lie in the ink
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2015 8:00 AM CDT
This Sept. 5, 2012, file photo shows a fragment of the papyrus in question.   (AP Photo/Harvard University, Karen L. King)

(Newser) – Since Harvard University professor Karen King first reported in 2012 her discovery of what appears to be an ancient papyrus in which Jesus is suggested to have a wife, the authenticity of the so-called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" has been the subject of much claim and counterclaim. Even the very ink is hard to test because the papyrus scrap is so small. But now LiveScience is reporting that new ink research conducted at Columbia University suggests the document is not a forgery and could indeed date back to ancient times, though researchers aren't revealing more until their peer-reviewed findings are published. King isn't saying much, either, though she did write in a letter in the Biblical Archaeological Review that "when discussions and research are ongoing, I think it is important, however difficult, to stay open regarding the possible dates of the inscription and other matters of interpretation."

Meanwhile, new documents have surfaced perhaps countering the argument that the person who sold the Coptic-language papyrus to the anonymous person who passed it on to King wasn't in fact in possession of it. King said last year that the anonymous owner provided her with a photocopy of the contract for the sale of six "Coptic papyrus fragments, one believed to be a Gospel," from the German in question, Hans-Ulrich Laukamp, dated Nov. 12, 1999, and signed by both parties. A LiveScience reporter has since found seven signatures on five publicly available and notarized documents belonging to Laukamp, which at least provides the opportunity to verify the authenticity of his signature. The British Museum, meanwhile, is in possession of a Syriac-language manuscript dating from AD570 that is said to be a copy of an older document suggesting Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife, reports news.com.au. (This book claims Jesus had two kids with Mary Magdalene.)