“Jesus’ Wife Allegations Are ‘Misleading Tripe:” Hurtado
As a follow-up to my initial observations yesterday, I’ll offer a few more to underscore where I think things are at this point.
- First, let me reiterate that all references to “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” are completely misleading tripe. What we have is a purported small fragment with several incomplete lines on each side, in which one line contains the words “my wife” ascribed to Jesus there. If the fragment is authentic (i.e., from some Christian hand ca. 7th-10th century CE, as per the Harvard radio-carbon test), only God knows what it was. But it’s totally mischievous to claim that it comes from some “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”. We have a “Jesus’ Wife fragment.” That’s it.
- The most recent palaeographical, chemical and radio-carbon tests reported in the latest issue of Harvard Theological Review support the conclusion that the writing material is old, that the ink seems composed per…
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Careful analysis — countering a lot of speculative publicity.
From an initial (and rapid) reading of the articles in the latest issue of Harvard Theological Review about the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment, I’ll offer the following preliminary thoughts. (I had planned to pursue another project today, but an email early this a.m. alerting me to the HTR publications drew my attention to this “breaking” story.)
First, I’ll speak to Malcolm Choat’s preliminary observations about the fragment from a papyrological and palaeographical perspective. (Choat is a recognized figure in these matters, with special expertise in things Coptic.) I note that essentially Choat concludes that he wasn’t able to find “a smoking gun,” i.e., some clear indication of inauthenticity. I was particularly impressed with his note that there didn’t appear to be any ink-traces on the part(s) of the fragment that seem to have suffered damage. So, either the damage happened after the text was written, or else a supposed forger damaged…
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Craig Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, has written another outstanding volume. Blomberg is a committed evangelical, but not one with a closed mind. As he says in his preface about the environment of Denver Seminary (quoting Vernon Grounds, former president of the school), “Here is no unanchored liberalism—freedom to think without commitment. Here is no encrusted dogmatism—commitment without freedom to think. Here is a vibrant evangelicalism—commitment with freedom to think within the limits laid down by Scripture.” Blomberg’s writings have always emulated this philosophy. His research in the secondary literature is consistently of superb quality, and his discussions of problem passages and issues, especially in the Gospels, is always well informed. Rather than clutter the narrative with documentation, Blomberg has wisely used endnotes instead of footnotes (though I personally prefer footnotes, I understand that most readers see them as a distraction). This book has nearly…
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