New tests of the ink used on an ancient papyrus known as the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife have suggested it might be authentic, adding fuel to an ongoing debate as to the nature of the document.
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, a fragment from a larger text written in Coptic, is called so because it contains the words “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’”, and also mentions the name ‘Mary’, which some scholars have taken to refer to Mary Magdalene, Live Science relates. The document was discovered by Karen King from Harvard University who dated it, although tentatively, to the fourth century CE. Later tests performed on the fragment which is about the size of a calling card revealed that it may have been produced some 1,200 years ago, between the sixth and the ninth century. The ink was also analysed, with the results pointing towards its origin at the same time. Now, new tests have been carried out by scientists at Columbia University, and these tests support the earlier results.
The research team that ran the tests is not saying much about the results until a paper on the topic gets published. It will take a lot of conclusive evidence however, to convince those in the opposing camp that the gospel is indeed an authentic document that reveals a belief at the time among some people that Jesus Christ was a married man. The doubters many followers in scientific circles; over the last year a lot of investigative work has been done on the origins of the gospel, as scholars and journalists try to trace it back from its initial discovery.