Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Discovery Suggests Christ had a Wife, and Female Disciple...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty
  -vs- Tyranny


Photograph by Laura King

A Harvard historian of early Christianity may set the Christian Church, especially Roman Catholic Church on their head. In identifying what she believes is a fragment of a 4th century Coptic papyrus parchment with reference to Jesus having a wife she may be setting the stage to renew old debates within Christendom.

New York Times CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”

The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”

The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at an international meeting of Coptic scholars by the historian Karen L. King, who has published several books about new Gospel discoveries and is the first woman to hold the nation’s oldest endowed chair, the Hollis professor of divinity.

The provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and its owner has asked to remain anonymous. Until Tuesday, Dr. King had shown the fragment to only a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic linguistics, who concluded that it is most likely not a forgery. But she and her collaborators say they are eager for more scholars to weigh in and perhaps upend their conclusions.

Even with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.

The discussion is particularly animated in the Roman Catholic Church, where despite calls for change, the Vatican has reiterated the teaching that the priesthood cannot be opened to women and married men because of the model set by Jesus. Emphasis mine. {Read More}

Discussions should prove to be interesting, and heated between those who believe the Coptic scriptures to be the more accurate and the more conventional Christians and fundies. Assuming of course the legitimacy of of the parchment can be verified.

Via: Memeorandum

23 comments:

  1. It's not new. That fragment may be a "new discovery," but the subject is quite old, going back to the second century.

    There is a long chain of writings beginning from the time Christ walked the earth. The narrative we are familiar with is a fairly cogent strand.

    This other stuff is interesting, and would be moreso if other historical documents concorded with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. However, I have always found the First Council of Nicaea... Date 325 AD... quite intriguing. More so for that which it chose to discount and thus severe from the accepted history of Christ than that which the council thought they got right.

      Just the observations of one who is an atheist yet enjoys what history has to offer.

      Delete
  2. myself, i see it as an intriqing find but without context to indicate the intent behind it i must be sceptical about any conclusion one might derive from it especially in light of Jewish traditions at the time.
    and yes, i can see why you'd be interested more in the beliefs that were discounted given your atheistic beliefs. do you have any evidence to the fact that any of those discounted beliefs were, in fact, truths?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no proof, neither do you. Your proof is based on faith.

      I did not say the Coptic scriptures were in fact right or true, I simply find it intriguing that men a couple centuries plus after Christ's death made decisions that essentially supported their own prejudices.

      Delete
  3. The Bible itself says that false stories were set afloat to keep people from turning away from the priests. They continue yet today. I'll bank my eternity on Jesus. Others may do as they wish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'll bank my eternity on Jesus. Others may do as they wish."

      As it should be Gorges.

      Delete
  4. "I have no proof, neither do you. Your proof is based on faith."

    Not just on faith, Les, but also historical scholarship. There are extra-biblical writings going back to Irenaeus and Ignatius and before. They all cohere and accord with one another. This is not proof, but it and other evidence point to a common understanding that has endured until today.

    The whole Jesus faking his death and running off to France with Mary Magdalene is almost as old as the story of Christ itself.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, c'mon, there are piles of gospels out there, and who knows what's been lost to time. I read about this today, and thought, "yeah, no news here." But of course, like you Les, I find it a fun subject.

    The Bible as most people know it today, was generally assembled in the third century, translated many times over and from multiple degrees of translation.

    There are piles of other significant literature from the period, and much of it has relation to the Bible, but not nearly all.

    Meanwhile, there are followers of the God of Abraham, in the hundreds of millions, with all sorts of sects and branches and liberal or conservative angles, by the thousands.

    Today, most American non-den "Christians" no more understand there own religion than anyone else who took a few minutes to look at it.

    JMJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a reason MOST do not take the time to read and fully understand their own religion. It is, simply stated, very difficult work. I know first hand, I've read the ENTIRE Bible.

      The reality is that MOST people prefer to go to church, or synagogue, or mosque, and have the learned ones instruct them in the "proper way" to believe the "faith."

      Was it not so that at one time long ago the Roman Catholic faithful were not to have their own copy of the scriptures?

      Doctrinaire religion has always intrigued me. Primarily because it is like government, all about human influence, human control, and ultimately human power. All things the real life flesh and blood MAN who was responsible for creating a world religion without ever writing a single word would be diametrically opposed to. In my never humble atheistic opinion.

      Now, true spitituality? That's something I can get my arms around...

      Delete
  6. without proof, Les, your own decisions are based upon your own prejudices and biased opinion.
    and i wouldn't be too quick as to declare that my proof is based upon faith without recognizing that any proof you have in regards to the issue is based upon the same faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I did not say the Coptic scriptures were in fact right or true, I simply find it intriguing that men a couple centuries plus after Christ's death made decisions that essentially supported their own prejudices."

      What about the above is in disagreement with what you stated.

      As to proof Griper it really is not important. You see for me believing or not believing in a supreme being, or whether or not Christ had a wife, or whether there was a female disciple of Christ is the free choice each individual should exercise. Unlike the religious zealots of every faith I respect the right of each to believe as they choose.

      Delete
  7. I wonder when Christians are going to riot, kill and maim over this story? How dare these people disrespect the Prophet!

    Oh, wait, wrong religion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! There is always humor to be found in the truth, Yes?

      Delete
    2. Not so long ago, that's exactly what would have happened.

      JMJ

      Delete
    3. How long ago, JMJ? And who in the world is committing violence in the name of religion in today's world? Is it too hard to admit just who that is?

      Delete
  8. The church has cherry picked the stories that went in, or came out of the Bible. The Bible is as much a "fictitious" document as FOX news telling "fictitious" stories about Obama. They had reason to hide, invent, or push certain passages that make up the Bible. Early Christians were very much into violent oppression and forced following of their religion, much more so than the extreme Muslims of today. The Bible is a good book, a real page turner, and every page you turn contradicts the page you just read. You can find passages in the Bible that confirm and deny any subject in the human world. It's a little hard to take on pure faith, that which tries to instruct millions on how to live and worship, based on stories that have been oral tradition for thousands of years. Gossip is a good example of how stories get "changed" by the time they go through just a few different humans retelling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The Church has cherry picked the stories that went into the Bible."

      True

      "The Bible is as much a "fictitious" document as FOX news telling "fictitious" stories about Obama."

      Partially true.

      "They had reason to hide, invent, or push certain passages that make up the Bible."

      I assume you speak of the Council of Nicaea when you refer to "they." Essentially a true statement.

      "Early Christians were very much into violent oppression and forced following of their religion, much more so than the extreme Muslims of today."

      This statement is as much conjecture and opinion as it has truth. Yes, the Church was prone to galvanizing power over the individuals life both spiritually and through the power of government. As to comparing to modern day Muslim Extremists, that is a leap and you have given no supporting facts.

      " The Bible is a good book..."

      The New Testament is. Even though I am an atheist I do not deny the value of Christ's accepted teaching for many.

      "... a real page turner, and every page you turn contradicts the page you just read."

      True, there are contradictions. Your statement is however a stretch and the degree is a matter of opinion.

      "You can find passages in the Bible that confirm and deny any subject in the human world. It's a little hard to take on pure faith, that which tries to instruct millions on how to live and worship, based on stories that have been oral tradition for thousands of years."

      Agree fully.

      "Gossip is a good example of how stories get "changed" by the time they go through just a few different humans retelling."

      Again in full agreement.

      With all that said perhaps it is time to turn to the Koran to see how much of the above applies to Islam. The religion of Peace founded by a man of war whose modern disciples are following his teaching to 1) convert the infidels to Islam, 2) failing conversion to subjugate them to the law of Sharia, or failing both 1 and 2 to kill them.

      This is the 21st century and neither extreme fundamentalist Judaism, Christianity, OR, Islam has a place in the lives of enlightened people.

      Toodles.........................................................................

      Delete
    2. What an asinine comment from anon...

      "Early Christians were very much into violent oppression and forced following of their religion, much more so than the extreme Muslims of today."

      Got evidence?

      Delete
  9. The pope himself lead the Crusades, you know the killing and torture of non believers.
    A better book of tales, is the Brothers Grimm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said, I do not debate with fools... Anon

      Delete
  10. he has a good chucjle over this comment;
    "Unlike the religious zealots of every faith I respect the right of each to believe as they choose."

    Les, you are as much of a religious zealot as those you accuse and on some issues moreso.

    as for respect i see very little sign of it in you when it comes to religious beliefs. you consider your atheistic beliefs to be "superior" and those beliefs of a theist as being "inferior".

    and the reason being is that you consider rational thought which you attribute your atheistic beliefs as being superior to thought of faith which you have attributed to theistic beliefs many times.
    and i am not the first to point this out to you over the years. i am just more honest and direct in pointing it out without being politically correct in my choice of words.

    your contempt for theistic beliefs as well as your contempt for theists is well documented in your posts even if you try to hide that contempt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laughing out loud with the best guttural laugh I’ve had in months over your comment.

      I will respond point by point to your delusion Griper.

      “"Unlike the religious zealots of every faith I respect the right of each to believe as they choose."

      This is ironclad truth, irrespective of your faulty personal perception.
      “Les, you are as much of a religious zealot as those you accuse and on some issues moreso.“

      Opinion, only personal opinion; please provide proof positive of this. That’s right, you can’t.

      “as for respect i see very little sign of it in you when it comes to religious beliefs. you consider your atheistic beliefs to be "superior…"

      Ya got me here Griper. I absolutely do consider my beliefs superior, that’s why I have them. But they are superior for me and fellow atheists only. Any more questions Griper?

      “… and those beliefs of a theist as being "inferior"

      See directly above and visualize the inverse.

      “and the reason being is that you consider rational thought which you attribute your atheistic beliefs as being superior to thought of faith which you have attributed to theistic beliefs many times.”

      Yes, I consider rational thought to the existence of arguments having a basis in reality and or scientific supportable evidence superior to rational thought based on faith alone.

      “and i am not the first to point this out to you over the years. i am just more honest and direct in pointing it out without being politically correct in my choice of words.”

      And your point is? Please keep it relevant.

      “your contempt for theistic beliefs as well as your contempt for theists is well documented in your posts even if you try to hide that contempt.”

      Again opinion based solely on your erroneous perceptions. I have NO contempt whatsoever for theistic beliefs or for theists. I respect the right of every theist to believe as they wish. In fact if they didn’t believe as their conscience dictates I would not respect them.

      So Griper, all I ask is YOU afford me the same respect and right to choose my beliefs. And please, continue to challenge me as well as my beliefs and principles. For you see I am secure in my beliefs and principles as well as accepting you are secure in yours.

      So, does that mean we should no longer challenge and question? For if it does we are truly lost and there is no human hope for realizing greater truths than any of us may, or may not already know.

      A pleasure as always my friend…

      Delete

As this site encourages free speech and expression any and all honest political commentary is acceptable. Comments with cursing or vulgar language will not be posted.

Effective 8/12/13 Anonymous commenting has been disabled. This unfortunate action was made necessary due to the volume of Anonymous comments that are either off topic or serve only to disrupt honest discourse..

I apologizes for any inconvenience this necessary action may cause the honest Anonymous who would comment here, respect proper decorum and leave comments of value. However, The multitude of trollish attack comments from both the left and right has necessitated this action.

Thank you for your understanding... The management.