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Is the "Jesus's wife" papyrus a forgery? And other queries.

Thanks to all for the great comments and questions in the multiple threads below. I’ll take up a few of those and some I received in response to my Washington Post piece. But before that, I want to respond to something else.

Esteemed New Testament scholar Francis Watson appears to have built a coalition of naysayers: he argues that the new papyrus is a forgery. The Guardian picked up this story, and other esteemed commentators, such as Mark Goodacre and Andrew Sullivan have propagated this opinion through their wide-reaching blog platforms. I am fully aware of modern forgeries, and I am skeptical of new, sensational finds, as are all of you. It is of course possible that this fragment is a forgery of a modern pen on ancient papyrus. It’s possible that some portion of the ink will be analyzed to try to date it. Until that happens, though, here is a response to the naysayers.

1. All Francis Watson demonstrates is that this fragment shares some verbal similarity with sayings in the Gospel of Thomas—that’s it! There is no logical step that makes the text a modern forgery. All the words except one (shafe—”to swell”) are extremely common. Furthermore, we know that other collections of Jesus sayings were in circulation in antiquity. The Greek fragments in P.Oxy. 1, 654, and 655, which have significant overlap with the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Thomas (but also differ in many details), are ancient examples of the genre. Are the naysayers prepared to call those Greek fragments modern forgeries? If not, why not? What’s the difference?

1b. Watson’s argument about the “line break” cannot bear the weight he places on it. Manuscripts written in scriptio continua break words up all the time, and the word in question is among the most common words there is: na-ei (“to me, for me”). Moreover, the preposition na is not even present but a proposed reconstruction of the previous line (albeit a reasonable one).

2. It’s hard to overstate how common the vocabulary of this fragment is (again except for shafe, to swell) in Coptic and in early Christian texts. Showing direct textual dependence of common words and phrases is almost impossible—in any language, at any time.

3. And yet there is one word that does not match its use in the Gospel of Thomas or its first entry in Coptic dictionaries, and it’s the crucial word under discussion: wife (hime). The most common version of this word is s-hime (with an aspirated h). Why would our alleged forger choose a less common version of the headline-grabbing word, and also diverge from the Gospel of Thomas at precisely this instance?

4. If a modern forgery, how does one produce the back (verso) of the papyrus? Perhaps this is easily done; I’m not an expert at forgery. But it can’t be avoided that the verso has ink traces that look quite authentically faded through abrasion over time.

5. And now for an argument from ethos (“character”), as was done in ancient rhetoric: Do the naysayers personally know Roger Bagnall? It seems unlikely, the way in which they dismiss this veritable Dean of Papyrology’s autoptic evaluation of the fragment. Roger Bagnall is in a group of two or three people on earth whose papyrological opinions are universally respected. Roger Bagnall could not be less of a sensationalist. He is as serious, sober, and critical of a scholar as there is. He is one of a few papyrologists that other top papyrologists contact for help. And he reads papyri every day. Every day. (Thus endeth the encomium.)

For those reasons, I am skeptical of the naysayers. Personally, I don’t have much at stake in whether the papyrus is authentic or not. But nothing I’ve seen even suggests, much less demonstrates, that this is a modern forgery.

Now on to other varia that came up during the threads:

On the topic of all Jewish men were married: Of course, the vast majority of men were married. But that proves nothing about Jesus. First, he was a charismatic, itinerant, miracle-worker. Like John the Baptist, he wasn’t normal. Second, he wasn’t exactly known for his support of traditional family ties. In all the Synoptic Gospels, even the domesticated Luke, Jesus questions or straightforwardly denigrates family ties, all the while emphasizing the new spiritual family under his heavenly Father.

On papyri as just rubbish: One of the unique features of papyrology is that it allows us to see a cross-section of ancient society (even if it’s mostly of the societies of Ptolemaic, Roman, Byzantine, and early Arab Egypt). Almost all other historical sources only preserve the history of upper classes and only of public life. Papyri, because most of them have been discovered in trash heaps, afford unique opportunities to see lower classes and also snippets of private life (shopping lists, classroom handwriting exercises, etc.). To denigrate a find just because it’s a scrap of papyrus is ignorant: the Oxyrhynchus papyri contain Homer, the Bible, letters of bishops and monks, alongside tax receipts, domestic lists, quotidian letters, and so on.

On the appearance of the fragment: The materials and hand are not very remarkable. It’s not a practiced hand, but so what? Neither was Paul’s (Gal 6:11). Handwriting was and is a techne. You might think today of typing. Some people are finger-poking typists. That doesn’t make them dumb or deviant, just as elegant, effortless, and rapid typing do not make one smart or mainstream.

On the rectangular shape: It appears to me, as I said already, that if authentically ancient, this fragment has been cut by a middle man in order to sell multiple parts for a higher price. As to the charge of why did he or she cut off after “my wife...” when certainly the rest could have garnered a higher price: The answer is that almost certainly the middle man didn’t know what the text said. Hardly anyone in the world, even antiquities dealers in the Middle East, knows Coptic. That being said, this whole event does make one wonder, if authentic, whether the rest of this papyrus will turn up and be sold for a very handsome sum.

On which Mary is mentioned: Unfortunately for historians, there are lots of Marys in general in antiquity and late antiquity. Tal Ilan did a prosopographic study that showed about half of all Jewish women in Palestine in the Second Temple period had some form of either the name Mariam or Salome. More recently, Stephen Shoemaker has argued that the Mary in question in the noncanonical literature does not necessarily refer to the Magdalene. The Gnostic “Mary,” he argues, was a composite figure that drew on the identities of both Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. And we know from the canonical Gospels that Jesus was also close with the family from Bethany, which included a Mary of its own. So yes, lots of Marys, but the Magdalene has remained central due to her unique combination of claims on apostolic authority (perseverance in discipleship at the cross, witness to the empty tomb, and especially her private resurrection appearance and role as apostola apostolorum).

On the charge of sensationalism: In my first post, I defended Karen King’s roll-out of the scholarship. I still think the landing page on the Harvard Divinity School website was very well done, and her making available her article manuscript in advance of publication deserves special praise. I’m not sure I would have done that -- it was very gracious. That being said, I have two reasons for beginning to be critical: first, the title of the fragment seems to invite sensationalism. The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” doesn’t describe the text accurately. I think back to the first papyrus of this kind, P.Oxy. 1, which was published in 1897 and titled simply Logia Iesou. That’s accurate: “Sayings of Jesus,” about which we don’t know much else. For this new fragment, how about “Sayings of Jesus about Family Relations.” Not as sensational, to be sure, but more accurate.

Second, I hadn’t known at first about the plan for a television special. It’s hard to maintain a scholarly sensibility about the discovery with a cable TV special. Again, on the whole, I am still very positively disposed toward how Karen King presented the discovery, with two minor quibbles, only one of which may have been in her control.



Commenting Guidelines

On the topic of all Jewish men were married: Of course, the vast majority of men were married. But that proves nothing about Jesus.Nor does it disprove anything. Were the apostles married? First, he was a charismatic, itinerant, miracle-worker.No. First, he was a carpenter. Like John the Baptist, he wasnt normal.The neighbors who commented on him in Mark 6 seemed to think he was normal, or had been, up to that point. "Is not this the carpenter?" Second, he wasnt exactly known for his support of traditional family ties.He attended a wedding with his mother and took care of the wine shortage at her request. (Was that one of his sisters' weddings?) As he was dying, he saw to his mother's protection by the beloved disciple. In all the Synoptic Gospels, even the domesticated Luke, Jesus questions or straightforwardly denigrates family ties, all the while emphasizing the new spiritual family under his heavenly Father.The gospels were written years after Jesus' life. Many things were left out. Certain things were added or emphasized to suit the needs of the writer, editor, community leader, etc. Certain things that survived have been de-emphasized, distorted, and/or ignored by churchmen down the centuries. ("Call no man father," e.g. "Do not multiply words like the gentiles do." "When you pray, go into your closet." "Do this in memory of me." Etc.)Just as we can't know if Jesus was or was not married, we cannot know if he really went home with his parents after being lost in the temple and really was subject to them. We cannot know if he really related the parable of the prodigal son being welcomed back into the family. We cannot know if he really loved the Lazarus/Mary/Martha family and delighted in spending time with them. He didn't denigrate Peter's family; he cured the mother-in-law. He didn't denigrate the Zebedees. Saying he "denigrates family ties" is like saying he had a wife. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Michael, James McGrath agrees with you about Watson's theory ... ... On the topic of all Jewish men were married: Of course, the vast majority of men were married. But that proves nothing about Jesus. First, he was a charismatic, itinerant, miracle-worker. Like John the Baptist, he wasnt normal. Second, he wasnt exactly known for his support of traditional family ties. In all the Synoptic Gospels, even the domesticated Luke, Jesus questions or straightforwardly denigrates family ties, all the while emphasizing the new spiritual family under his heavenly Father.But, Jesus really was different than John the Baptist - he wasn't an ascetic (Matthew 9:14).And he very often spoke in terms of marriage/bridal imagery, and his first miracle took place at a wedding.

"all Jewish men were married But how many were the Messiah? Someone commented on an earlier post, if he were married, he wasn't much of a family man, always on the road, etc. I think that's true. It seems like he could redeem the world or he could raise a family, but it would be hard to do both well. And I imagine it would be challenging for a woman to be married to God.

Good response, Gerelyn.

Michael, thanks for these posts - they're great!

At a discussion last evening of historians, archivists, and academics who seemed to know something about papyrus and ink, there seemed to be a consensus that this was a forgery. The course of the discussion: 1. looked similar to forgeries previously seen by one of the guests, in particular, the snippet means the forger doesn't have to produce a larger document; 2. the words referring to Jesus' wife look to be of a different "ink" than the other words (by someone claiming to have an copy enlarged on computer); 3. Harvard has announced it will not be publishing the findings; 4. the scholar herself has declined to accept it as genuine while awaiting study by others.I would say none of the discussants had the least interest in whether or not Jesus was married. Though they seem to accept that he actually existed!!!

Gerelyn, You appeal to various Gospels to make interesting points, but in doing so you reduce them to giving historical, rather than rhetorical points of view. Is he a carpenter, or a carpenter's son? In Mark he is Mary's son; in John he is called the son of Joseph, and his mother's name is never mentioned. You are also accepting his mother's presence at the cross, which occurs only in John, along with the unnamed and still unknown "beloved disciple;" whereas elsewhere all his disciples fled. Gospels make theological points, and only accidentally do they give us history. For example, in exactly what year was John the Baptist executed? It could be as late as the mid-30s, throwing off all our dating of Jesus' ministry.Arguing about Jesus from the Gospels is a very tricky enterprise.

Michael, thank you for the Shoemaker piece, and for all your comments on this topic. I particularly appreciate your remarks on the identity of Mary since you1) mention Mary of Bethany. Shoemaker looks at the Pistis Sophia, which takes place on the Mount of Olives (where Bethany is) and has Martha, but not her sister unless she is MM or the Mother of Jesus.2) credit MM for witnessing all three credal events, the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus. It bothers me that Karen King argues that the Gospel of Mary is by MM because of discipleship and resurrection themes, and the 2 accounts of MB are about discipleship (the better part) and the raising of her brother. Not the same as MM, but awfully close.

Hi, Michael:Agree that arguing about Jesus from anything -- gospels, bits of papyrus, private revelations, etc. -- is tricky. Agree that the gospels don't agree on details. Agree that it's particularly useless to imagine the gospels are history or biography instead of . . . sermons, theology, etc. In Mark, the first gospel, the neighbors say Jesus is a carpenter. Not a carpenter's son. Agree that his mother is at the cross only in John, but in Matthew and Mark there are "many" women, looking on from a distance. (Were they neglecting their families by being "always on the road?")I think it's funny how some of Karen King's fellow scholars are revealing their . . . jealousy? ----------Hi, Margaret: If those "discussants" were not interested in "whether or not Jesus was married," what was the point of the discussion? What word on the fragment, other than WIFE, is of interest to anyone? They reached a "consensus that this was a forgery?" Amazing.

Gerelyn: when did you switch your opinion to "maybe yes, maybe no"? You used to insist that Jesus was obviously married and only people hiding ulterior motives (misogyny, professional jealousy...) would say otherwise. Now you're agreeing that the marital status of Jesus is not something we can know -- the very position you used to deride -- and yet you continue to impute ugly motives to everyone but yourself. What you're doing is called trolling, and you've done enough of it on this subject.

G: If those discussants were not interested in whether or not Jesus was married, what was the point of the discussion?" The point was forgery as far as I could tell, and showing off their expertise on papyrus, forgeries, etc.Believe it or not, I think there are even many Catholics! who don't care whether or not Jesus was married. In fact, what difference does it make one way or the other?As one of the guests pointed out the real theological issue was whether he was God!

Hi, Margaret: Agree that it should make no difference. (So why does it, iyho?)Googling "Jesus wife" brings up only 304,000,000 leads. (The one at the top from Time is interesting, imho.) Weird how something so unimportant has resulted in sooooo many words, discussions, threads, comments, (angry e-mails), reactions, consensuses, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

G: Why? The media love the story. Catching out Christians in counterfactuals is a great game.But, of course, scholars may have a genuine interest in the matter.

We've got several extant Gnostic texts. Let's take The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ, shall we? In one of the sections, Jesus plays hide and seek with some boys. Some women throw the boys into a furnace, but Jesus transforms them into baby goatskids. Then Jesus transforms them back into boys, unharmed by the furnace.So was there an "intriguing debate in early Christianity" about child Jesus transmuting humans into animals? No. [These were Gnostics saying this stupid stuff. HELLO? heretics, anyone?]Why not? If you take this piece of maybe-forged-maybe-authentic-but-clearly-Gnostic fluff as something serious to discuss, why not the transmuting Jesus?There's nothing intellectually honest about this topic. Nothing.

"And I imagine it would be challenging for a woman to be married to God." one in Jesus' time took him for God--the Trinitarian debates were far in the future. But...what an intriguing thought. To be married to someone "like us in all things but sin..." Imagine how the idea of having to live up to that husbandly status could pressure ordinary marriages: "I bet JESUS never left the seat up...""Do you think Jesus would just leave his socks on the floor like that?""Honey, would you be kenotic for once, and wash out your own d@*& coffee cup?"But seriously folks--we just do not know much of anything about Jesus' early life. The infancy narratives were added decades after his death, and are not found in the earliest gospel. He could have been married, unmarried, or widowed by the time of his public ministry. It'd be odd to have no mention of a wife in the gospels if he was married. It'd be odd, but not impossible, to be a rabbi and unmarried. And as I mentioned before, Paul, the author of the earliest NT texts, uses himself, not Jesus, as an example of celibate life. Since Paul wasn't ignorant of the stories of Jesus' life, it'd be very odd for him to reference himself instead of Jesus if Jesus was, in fact, a life-long single man. Was Jesus widowed? Seems to be the category most folks simply don't consider. But why not? A wife who died in childbirth, e.g.? What is relevant for us today is how our understanding of Jesus' life affects our understanding of what it means to be his disciple now. Further, what the papyrus would substantiate--if it is genuine--is a plurality of understandings in the early Christian community about Jesus' home life. And, just as with so many other aspects of the tradition, we have tended to assume that only the version we have received ever existed, or ever had theological merit. Not so. And if we're invited by the plurality of opinions (on so many issues) in the early Church to see our tradition as much wider than we may have been taught as children, perhaps we might be gentler with pluralism in the contemporary Church.

Why? The media love the story. Catching out Christians in counterfactuals is a great game. But, of course, scholars may have a genuine interest in the matter.---Agree that media, including Commonweal, love the story. (How many threads have there been on it? How many comments?)Agree that scholars may/should have a genuine interest in the matter. What I find odd, however, is that some "scholars", including those you met with last night, could arrive at a consensus that the papyrus is a forgery, even though they haven't seen it, handled it, examined it, etc.The scholars Karen King called in, "who spent hours analyzing the papyrus and the ink" " concluded that it was authentic and probably fourth century."

Thanks to M.M @L.Fulham for an inspiration: the year of J.Baptist execution, Paul's celibacy example.Luke 14:20@25 -nor in others gospels.Why? Would it be a pre-Luke tradition that Jesus renounced personally from own experience his own family ties? Contra: Nazareth'sscene,Mk6:1nn(@parallels) does not mention anything on his wife? Normal?Anyway, Mk 1:4.9 proves that Jesus after his conversion started a Mission like Jeremiah@other celibates died as a political rebel: "The king of Jews", but was resurrected @is alive .Alleluja!ps. I see some scholars here: can you check somewhere (libraries) the historical reports on riots at the past at H.Masses regarding 1Cor 11:26.Why? Jan 27, A.D.2001 at Domaniewska 20, Warsaw I was attacked after an Echo: the witness of the Word (from the liturgy day)@ the celebrant fell at the altar@did not finish the mass; he was taken to Emergency Room.Unfortunately he recovered @went to Police (Warsaw-Mokotow) Polish criminal code(disturbing liturgy). For some mysterious reasons the Judge (Warsaw,Mokotow District) cancelled the case though it should be finished this year: 10 years formal procedure @the warrant to arrest me when crossing the border).It refers to 1 million Neocatechumenat movement; it took me 2 years to discover it is a...sect!!! Anyway: the Event at liturgy is a....natural or supernatural? Greetings from NeoGalliean fighter/anti-Nazi-Communist descendant (J7:52)

Most of you don't seem to take the fully himan aspect of Jesus' nature very seriously. He's supposed to be like us in every way except for sin. Why would Jesus being married have made him a bad husband/father when that seems to be the life the disciples lived too, as well as itinerant rabbis? He had all the other types of human relationships, including loving friendships, and we don't ask how anyone could have managed to be God's friend. It almost seems that what really bothers people is that Jesus might have had a romantic/sexual relationship.

The term "naysayers" is a bit dramatic. Skeptics is probably better. You are strangely quite on the defensive for the authenticity of the text.1) First of all, authenticity stems from the weight of all the combined evidence, so you can't go through each argument against authenticity and shoot them down. The Greek fragments of Thomas basically repeat what was later found in Egypt. And they don't make claims about Jesus' wife. And they pass other tests for authenticity. That this new text looks like a pastiche of other texts is quite striking. A fragment that reveals and conceals but just happens to reveal what this Da Vinci Code generation wants to know? 2) Hime is not uncommon. It's found in several dialects. What's strange is how clear the words are. Often in papyri the words or section you really want to read were lost long ago. We're very lucky here. Why would a forger use a "supposedly" less common word not found in Thomas? Well, obviously to accomplish the goal of the forgery, to introduce the idea of Jesus' wife.3) On ethos, do you know people like Stephen Emmel? He thinks it looks less than genuine.Have a look at what some other papyrologists have said:

To Abe J: Thanks for a link. Jesus had a "wife" or not- a similar problem in 2Cor 12:7 "thorn"- what does it mean? A conscience scrupulousness of Paul (on past persecuting Christians) or internal enemies called "dogs" (Phil 3:2)? Scholars are divided. From personal experience I prefer the second answer: enemies- dogs.

"So why compare this forgery to the Gospel of Thomas...?"A.M.D.We'll soon find out. That's the great thing about scholarship. Scholars won't be negligent about this. King will have to ride out the storm or gale as it were. My hunch is that she believes she is on to something, thence the impatience, the discontent (that won't be the ruin of her career). And if she is wrong, well, she can always repent, repent forever.

I've read that Tertullian said that Paul had been castrated, and that was the thorn. I say it's none of anybody else's business.

Dear Abe Johnson, 1. I think all the Coptic scholars commenting on this are skeptics, including me. I haven't heard anyone in the scholarly community act like a "true believer," and I'm certainly not trying to act that way. Rather, I was pushing back against what emerged as a sudden wave of apparent consensus, based on Francis Watson's argument. The papyrus may be a forgery, but I don't think demonstrations of its overlap with Thomas are the way that will be proven. My point about bringing up the P.Oxy. Greek fragments of Jesus' sayings was because though "basically" the same, as you say, they are different on details at many points (e.g., logia 2, 5, 30, 36). My point is merely that we have other real ancient fragments that look a lot like Coptic Thomas but not exactly like Coptic Thomas. 2. I guess we see this "hime" evidence differently. I think it's more likely that a forger would use the most common form of the word if it's the word that he or she wants to be recognized right away. But I don't claim to have much knowledge about the psychology of modern forgery. 3. Yes, I know Stephen Emmel, and many of the other people cited in news stories. Emmel and Funk are just two of the giants of Coptic studies who are suspicious of the text. Several of us younger scholars active in the discussion met at the first summer Coptic papyrology event in 2006 in Vienna. And yes, Alin Suciu is another young expert hot on the trail of this discovery. I'm been much more persuaded by arguments related to paleography than I have been by those related to content. And yet, there are lots of magical papyri from Coptic Egypt with unusual, semi-trained handwriting. This fragment, if authentic, could fit in that genre, with the "let a wicked man swell..." as in "grow tumors" and die. These kinds of curses are found in magical papyri, which were written on the whole by less formal "hands." Overall, I'm not a true believer, and I have no stake professionally, and certainly not spiritually, in this. But nor was I persuaded by the "it's a pastiche of Thomas" argument that seems for the time being to have won the day.

I really enjoy all the theory debunking and conspiracy weaving when something new like Karen Kings papyrus fragment. Its necessary and proper. I just wish that it wasnt so initially jaundiced. We need the debates because the myths surrounding Jesus, his life and ministry, need to be deconstructed anew if Christians are ever to free Jesus and the Spirit from the spent derived ideology sourced in orthodoxy.Im still amazed that Kings papyrus fragment may have been sliced into small bits in order to increase its price, and presumably other fragments, on the antiquities market. Right there is a big credibility problem for me.I do favor a vigorous debate about the position and role of Mary Magdalene in the primitive beginnings of the Christian faith. Her ambiguous appearance(s) in the NT only beg more questions and speculations. Whatever her true identity and relationship to Jesus are critical if future Christians will ever be able to put new flesh on old bones. Kings papyrus is yet another opportunity to look at familiar narratives with new eyes perhaps revealing new trajectories in our understanding of the earliest Christian communities.For instance: This past Holy Week, CBS Sunday Morning featured a segment on art historian Thomas de Wesselows The Sign which ably argues that the famous Shroud of Turin with its ghostly images of a crucified man could be seen as the very source of the seminal beliefs in the Resurrection [especially the Shroud can ever be truly authenticated, and its chain of custody unravelled].The rise of a cult centered on a belief in the Resurrection is what gave birth to the church. If Jesus is not raised, then our faith is in vain. (1 Cor 15:14) Whatever is the ultimate significance of this artifact, de Wesselows novel consideration of the Shroud as an art object enables him to enrich new interpretations of Mary Magdalenes role at the empty tomb, and ultimately in the proto-Christian community.If these new inquiries, new archeology are encouraged and given ample consideration, then we may have stumbled upon new support, new sparks for renewed faith and practice at a time when both are diminishing, if not virtually extinguished.

I don't believe King presented this well. She should have waited until others examined the fragment, esp. ink analyses. Calling it the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" is tabloid scholarship at its best (or worst). Nothing in the text warrants that title or the assumption of a "gospel" genre. At the end of the day I think far too many people attempting to recover "lost Christianities" have hidden but giant theological agendas (no matter how sober and objective they claim to be) and really have giant misconceptions about ancient (so-called) "catholic" theology--this is especially true for the issue of Christ's humanity in early Christianity.1. Other "editions" or other copies of ancient texts may look similar, but they contain enough differences to warrant the claim that an ancient scribe wrote them independently or at least deliberately deviated from an earlier copy. This fragment is thoroughly dependent on Thomas.2. Again, hime is not uncommon. I've seen both spellings in the same document (and in different kinds of documents for that matter).3. Emmel and Suciu doubt the authenticity of the fragment based on paleography, among other things.Yes, a lot of strange hands can be found in magical papyri, Greek and Coptic. But none like this, and few, if any, with real concern about Jesus' marital status. Some Gnostic or apocryphal texts speculate on bridal chambers and rituals which signify spiritual realities. See Suciu's latest post on the strange syntax of the line you quoted (let a wicked man swell up). On whether the pastiche argument is persuasive, it depends on whom you place the burden of proof. You can't assume the authenticity of the text and wait for others to disprove it. If you want to argue that it is something more than a mere pastiche drawn of Thomas drawn by a modern amateur, you have to prove that another explanation accounts for its existence.

As Jesus was dying on the cross he addressed both his mother Mary and John his apostle by saying Mother behold your son referring to John and John behold your mother referring to Mary. He made no mention of a wife, Mary Magdalene was there also.It is inconceivable that had there been a wife he would not have asked his mother or John or both to look after her. Or would he not have asked his wife to look after his mother?Some 400 years after Jesus's death and resurrection an unknown scribe attributes the word 'wife' to Jesus on a bit of papyrus and academics and quasi-biblical scholars are off and running to answer the 'was He ' or 'wasn't He" married. For all practical purposes and logical thought Jesus answered that question Himself from the cross.

On Matthew 19:12 by H.Wansbrough O.S.B in : A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed.R.Fuller, Nelson, London, 1969- it would support my recent post: Jesus after his conversion (Mk 1:4@9) quit ALL family ties inc.a wife (@child?- Talpiot tomb) to live a celibacy like Jeremiah, Elijah@others ps. the priest, R.C who hit me at riots at H.Mass (Fr.Zyzniewski,the pastor of Parish but not a celebrant is already dead as I warned him)