The Vatican has finally commented on the recent emergence of a papyrus fragment that questions Jesus’ marital status, and not surprisingly, the Catholic Church has concluded the work is a fake. The discovery first came to the attention of scholars last week after Harvard Professor Karen Kane unveiled it during a Coptic Studies conference in Rome last week. It reads, “Jesus said to them, my wife”.

Almost immediately after the presentation, many experts began publically expressing their doubts, and in a lengthy editorial for the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, editor Gian Maria Vian took it a step further, calling the entire thing a clumsy forgery.

According to Reuters, the letters are very clumsily written, and they rearrange a portion of a more famous Coptic text. A solid number of scholars seem to be of the opinion that a forger probably wrote the words sometime in the last century on a piece of papyrus that dates to the 4th century, but a small number of scholars aren’t ready to totally discount the find yet.

Even if it ultimately proves authentic, which seems unlikely at this juncture, it doesn’t prove Jesus was married. It only shows that Christians were discussing a possible marriage in the 4th century, which is more interesting than it is Earth-shattering. King herself pointed this fact out in her presentation.

It’ll likely take years before enough studies and tests can be done to push most of the scientific community toward a consensus. In the mean time, it’s still an interesting topic of conversation, whether the Vatican thinks so or not.



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