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The Gospels of Jesus’ Wife // and of Jesus’ literal Mother and Jesus’ literal Brothers // !!!

September 18, 2012

Today, many are reporting Karen L. King’s report of what she’s calling the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”

Here, hear King telling us for yourself (and listen to her on this video starting around second 20 all the way to 30). Listen to what she says,

The most exciting line in the whole fragment, however, is the sentence “Jesus said to them (to his disciples that is), Jesus said to them, ‘My wife’//…”

Now, look for yourself at King’s own website:

The most exciting line in the whole fragment!

The most exciting line in the whole fragment, however, is the sentence ‘Jesus said to them (to his disciples that is), Jesus said to them, “My wife’//…”‘ — Karen L. King


This news of the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” based on the fragment is just as exciting as the news of that “Gospel of Jesus’ Mother and Brothers” based on other fragments of text. Specifically, we might recall the “whole fragment” from the 1894 Scrivener New Testament (TR1894), more specifically Minuscule 705:

Jesus said to them, "My Mother and Brothers...."

Jesus said to them, “My Mother and Brothers….”

Here’s that transcription:

ειπεν προς αυτους μητηρ μου και αδελφοι μου//  !!!

Here’s the translation:

(Jesus) said to them (to his disciples that is, Jesus) said to them, “My Mother and My Brothers…”//  !!!

And to view the video, Please View

View Minuscule 705 and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

What this surely implies, however, is that Jesus was actually talking about his mother literally and actually also about his brothers literally. Yes, it’s a whole fragment. However, does it have to imply that Jesus was referring to anybody else? Surely not!! Pure excitement!

Today’s Secondary Sources:

Harvard Professor Finds Scrap of Papyrus Suggesting Jesus Was Married

A reference to Jesus’ wife?

Mr. and Mrs. Jesus? What did the earliest Egyptian Christians believe?

Harvard professor identifies scrap of papyrus suggesting some early Christians believed Jesus was married

A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife

The Inside Story of a Controversial New Text About Jesus

Did Jesus Have a Wife?

4th century Coptic text fragment mentions the wife of Jesus.

Coptic Text Mentions Jesus’ Wife

Jesus’s wife

And the day’s not even over yet!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2012 7:42 pm

    Jesus wife? Of course! The wife is the bride, my sister, my bride. Do the disciples fast when the bridegroom is with them? I am slightly perplexed that this speaker is not aware of the bridal aspect of the Scripture, let alone its exploitation within the Gnostic literature.

    What I wonder was the rest of the sentence? Or was there any?

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    September 18, 2012 9:26 pm

    Surely Jesus is talking about his sibs when he says “adelphoi.”

  3. September 19, 2012 1:40 am

    I’m not sure where you got the “King’s own website” reference; I seem to be looking at a different page.

    However, I did see her paper here. It is notable for all the qualifications it begins with:

    Published here for the first time is a fragment of a fourth-century CE codex in Coptic containing a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples in which Jesus speaks of “my wife.” This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife. It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition only in the second half of the second century. Nevertheless, if the second century date of composition is correct, the fragment does provide direct evidence that claims about Jesus’s marital status first arose over a century after the death of Jesus in the context of intra-Christian controversies over sexuality, marriage, and discipleship. Just as Clement of Alexandria (d. ca 215 C.E.) described some Christians who insisted Jesus was not married,1 this fragment suggests that other Christians of that period were claiming that he was married.

  4. September 19, 2012 6:24 am

    > Bob, Just brilliant. Yes, “Jesus said, ‘My wife…'” may be metaphorical. And for many many men, says one of my own teachers, Sister Carolyn Osiek, this may be problematic.

    >Suzanne, Surely so! At least when Luke’s Jesus is talking in this Greek text, saying και αδελφοι μου, he is referring to his siblings, to his sisters and his brothers (perhaps literal and problematically metaphorical).

    >Theophrastus, Thanks for linking to King’s essay and noting her very important qualifications about how “not” to read this fragment. Seems that yesterday’s headlines and essays, and several of today already, completely bury her suggestions. It is her Harvard Divinity School’s research page that I’m calling her own site (and now I’ve remembered to link to it in the blog post):

  5. Dana Ames permalink
    September 19, 2012 4:17 pm

    Is adelphoi used at all in C1 literature to indicate sibling-by-blended-family or cousin?

  6. September 19, 2012 6:13 pm

    Dana, Thanks for the question, but I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking. In reply to Suzanne, my comment above links to a few posts she’s written on the plural inclusive Greek phrase for siblings. Maybe she can offer the answer to your query here.

    Here’s an update from Suzannne! —

  7. September 19, 2012 9:07 pm

    Here’s my take: Jesus has a wife and is able to keep her. See my extended comment here with an image taken from Exodus 25:4

  8. September 21, 2012 12:48 am

    What the garbage of Gnostic writings has to do with the true gospel of salvation? Where is the good news in them? ….

  9. September 21, 2012 11:01 am

    Thanks for your additional short comment. Did you intend to link to your “extended comment”?

    We see that the comment you’ve left here for us is one you’ve made elsewhere. Please note that I’ve taken the liberty to edit your comment, retaining your rhetorical questions but eliding your answers that so very harshly attack Dr. King and her character. Blog readers here at BLT should easily enough find your words elsewhere, and so do see how I’m not really interested in censoring you. Nonetheless, you should appreciate the fact that we want all readers to be free to judge, whatever the source, so-called “garbage … writings.” Your writings, your comment at the other blogs, for example, can still be found; it’s still showing in full, for instance, at the following blogsite: And what we all should note there, in that blogpost by RT News, is the fair and unbiased direct quotation of Dr. King, in which she says:

    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. One cannot overrule that it might be him saying “my wife as a church,” but in the context where he’s talking about “my mother” and “my wife” and talking about “my disciple,” the one thing you would not say is that the church would be “my disciple.”

    In this context, “gospel” clearly refers to “the literary extract of the early Christian oral tradition about Jesus, i.e. a book.” (as so defined in the entry “gospel” in The Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible).

  10. September 21, 2012 11:13 am

    Kurk – I had some trouble with commenting – both technical – and from a politeness point of view. Sorry. It seems this morning that this fragment is now possibly a fake. We really are having fun here, aren’t we? My own missing link is here, a warning to me to listen before typing. It could be that late in my life I am trying to pull too many threads together into one post…


  1. Coptic Text Mentions Jesus’ Wife

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