A New Testament scholar claims to have found evidence suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife is a modern forgery.
Professor Francis Watson, of Durham University, says the papyrus fragment, which caused a worldwide sensation when it appeared earlier this week because it appeared to refer to Jesus’s wife, is a patchwork of texts from the genuine Coptic-language Gospel of Thomas, which have been copied and reassembled out of order to make a suggestive new whole.
In a paper published online, Watson argues that all of the sentence fragments found on the papyrus fragment have been copied, sometimes with small alterations, from printed editions of the Gospel of Thomas.
The discovery has already sparked fierce debate among academics, but Watson believes his new research may prove conclusive.
“I think it is more or less indisputable that I have shown how the thing was composed,” he said. “I would be very surprised if it were not a modern forgery, although it is possible that it was composed in this way in the fourth century.”
His paper claims the work was assembled by someone who was not a native speaker of Coptic, which is a polite way of saying that it is modern. [emphasis emphasized by me]
Oh these kids today with their fake papyri and married messiahs. Get a haircut you hippie freaks! AND GET OFF MY LAWN!
[Watson] believes this is a forgery comparable with a papyrus fragment that caused a scandal in the 1970s by being presented as a variant of the Gospel According to Mark, in which Jesus spent the night with naked youths.
It’s like you just don’t know who to trust anymore.
Now I’m sure this comes as a stunning surprise to my readers, who were getting ready to hand in their offering envelopes and sign up for membership in their local chapter of American Atheists. Or The Episcopal Church. Whichever was closest.
In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan: Distrust, then gloat.