The Da Vinci Code Lives!


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 …'”

Dan Brown proven effing right! In all seriousness, pretty interesting. Though I had to ignore this admonition:

Dr. King said she wants nothing to do with the Code or its author: “At least, don’t say this proves Dan Brown was right.”

Sorry, I could not resist.

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    wild stuff (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 02:32:26 PM EST
    Much of the context, therefore, is missing. But Dr. King was struck by phrases in the fragment like "My mother gave to me life," and "Mary is worthy of it," which resemble snippets from the Gospels of Thomas and Mary. Experts believe those were written in the late second century and translated into Coptic. She surmises that this fragment is also copied from a second century Greek text.

    The meaning of the words, "my wife," is beyond question, Dr. King said. "These words can mean nothing else." The text beyond "my wife" is cut off.  

    For reasons I cannot explain, the words (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 02:38:50 PM EST
    that popped into my head were, "can't live with her - can't live without her."

    ::yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to hell::


    Ha! or: Take my wife. Please! (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 02:42:49 PM EST
    Lets not forget... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:20:15 PM EST
    Rodney Dangerfield, took Henny's torch and ran with it...

    "My wife and I were happy for twenty years.  Then we met."

    "During sex my wife always wants to talk to me.  Just the other night she called me from a hotel."

    "My wife made me join a bridge club. I jump off next Tuesday."

    "I'll tell ya, my wife and I, we don't think alike. She donates money to the homeless, and I donate money to the topless!"


    or, "I just got back (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:27:13 PM EST
    from a pleasure trip.  I took my mother-in-law to the airport."

    Stop. The Coptics will riot. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:06:34 PM EST
    or, " I came home and there was the car in (none / 0) (#25)
    by DFLer on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:22:34 PM EST
    the middle of the living room. I asked my wife, How did the car get in the living room? She said, I took a left at the kitchen."

    The Gnostic Gospels still causing (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:05:19 PM EST
    trouble for orthodoxy.

    Paging Elaine Pagels.  Or, I suppose texting Elaine Pagels...

    Yes, I'm surprised that this is a surprise (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:49:26 PM EST
    to many people.  Pagels' work has been widely read (as has that of others about the Gnostic gospels).  

    This is really interesting (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:05:42 PM EST
    early Christians were all over the map on everything, including celibacy.  I flip open Peter Brown's book sometimes just to get a breath of fresh air and historical reality on these issues that still play a huge part in many people's lives (and mine too, whether I like it or not).

    Still I don't recall any sect in that book saying Jesus had a wife.  Hmm...

    Wish Jesus had said "My husband...." (5.00 / 8) (#13)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:41:13 PM EST
    that would really blow their minds!

    Better yet... (none / 0) (#17)
    by unitron on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:44:34 PM EST
    ..."My wife's other husband..."

    And to think (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:55:30 PM EST
    that Nikos Kazantzakis was condemned and anathematized by the Greek Orthodox Church for his speculations in The Last Temptation of Christ that Christ had human desires, and imagined getting down off the cross and living a normal, human life, including sex.
    Can Kazantzakis be reburied now, in a Greek Orthodox cemetery?  Not that he would have cared, one way or another.    ;-)

    Not to Mention... (none / 0) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:02:51 PM EST
    ...all the kids who were on the receiving end of sexual frustration from the celibate in the church.

    Not that the Greek Orthodox (none / 0) (#23)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:14:56 PM EST
    have never had any problems with child molesters (as do Protestants, as well) at least our priests, unlike the Roman Catholic priests, can marry.  Which presumably leads to less sexual frustration.  
    Not that I know what goes on, or doesn't go on, in the bedrooms of our priests and their wives......  

    Ah, but a close friend, an observant (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 06:47:33 PM EST
    Greek Orthodox, tells me of the scandal in her church.  Priest and a woman married to someone else.  

    Oh, yes, this happens (none / 0) (#44)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:43:23 PM EST
    Although, in this case, at least they were both adults. Broken vows, and considered a sin by the church, but he didn't have sex with a kid.

    My wife and I (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:32:58 PM EST
    frequently watch shows on ancient civilizations on The History Channel, and I, ever the skeptic, often ask, how can they be sure of their interpretation?  E.g. subtle differences in Spanish come to mind.

    Similarly, who's speaking Coptic nowadays?  That nut from a few days ago?  How can we do anything but guess as to true meaning?  Maybe the scholars here can help shed some light.

    Then there's this line:

    The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived

    is the equivalent of aliens discovering the remains of a Coca-Cola can in the ashes of Earth 1000 years from now and assuming we all liked Coke.

    But we do like Coke (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:40:24 PM EST
    I prefer Pepsi (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:53:53 PM EST
    Commie (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:10:44 PM EST
    I like Mexican Pepsi (none / 0) (#61)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 08:02:51 AM EST
    with real cane sugar instead of HFCS.  But, since its a buck a bottle, I don't drink much of it!

    Amen... (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:07:48 AM EST
    those aliens will wonder why the peoples north of an imaginary line used such a crappy sweetener...silly humans.

    Silly humans... (none / 0) (#65)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:08:40 AM EST
    corn is for pigs (and cows).

    I like (none / 0) (#73)
    by Zorba on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 08:03:03 PM EST
    Kosher for Passover Coke.  Also real cane sugar, no corn syrup.   ;-)

    Sugar is (none / 0) (#48)
    by womanwarrior on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:19:47 PM EST

    It is for me (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:33:58 AM EST
    I haven't had much to do with it since my early 20s.  I like to bake but because of that seldom do.  We rarely have candy.  My kids were never given candy as treats and don't have much taste for it.  My children were also not allowed to drink any soda until they were 5 yrs old, only waters, milk, and real juice.  I see toddlers with a can of soda and it makes me shudder.

    Too true (none / 0) (#29)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:46:36 PM EST
    I know very little about the Coptic language, but I do know a fair amount of Greek.  If you look at the New Testament in Greek, and then look at some of the English translations (or so-called translations, in some cases), many of them are off the mark in a lot of ways.  
    Coptic is the liturgical language of the Coptic Christian churches, so the people hear it, anyway, every Sunday when they go to church, and the priests, at least, are trained to read it.

    Copttic seminaries' faculty and students (none / 0) (#35)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:52:04 PM EST
    speak it, wouldn't you think?

    Fair point (none / 0) (#40)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:02:48 PM EST
    but the same as that spoken/written during the time of Jesus?

    I defer to your learned experience.


    Actually, (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:23:43 PM EST
    the Coptic version is only one of the available versions of this intriguing statement.

    The oral history was largely dependent on people who spoke varying dialects and sometimes suffered from deterioration hearing.
    And so by the time the person writing it down in 400 got to it, there is some question as to what was in fact said.

    Aramaeous of Troy is quite sure that the Lord said, "My pipe.." while Craniatomus of Astoria reports it as, "My fife". "

    Another similar fragment which uses the phrase, "My wife..." goes on to say something about wanting a fur coat, but the authenticity of this has been generally discounted.


    <snort> Thanks (none / 0) (#53)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:09:54 PM EST
    for the punchline (and for the erudite discussion before you just had to do it, didn't you?).

    Yes. (none / 0) (#59)
    by lentinel on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:37:11 AM EST
    I had to.

    The HennyYoungman made me do it.


    linguists (none / 0) (#54)
    by markw on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:14:10 PM EST
    Ever heard of linguists?  There are actually people who specialize in ancient Copt language.

    More like... (none / 0) (#60)
    by unitron on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:46:26 AM EST
    ...those alien archeologists assuming it mean Washington and Lincoln preferred Coke to Pepsi.

    Although "written later" could easily mean copied at a later time from an earlier work which may itself have been a copy of an even earlier work.


    Henny Youngman (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:10:24 PM EST
    Go on, it turns out he was Henny Youngman:  " take my wife, please"

    Nun's all over the world have been (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 02:45:55 PM EST
    cheated on!  I'd be mighty pissed about a 100 years ago :)  Or is the whole church the bride of Christ?  I can never get all this stuff straight like a biological algebra problem.  I know I'm supposed to be able to, but it doesn't work for me.

    No, the church is (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:14:32 PM EST
    not the Bride of Christ, the church is supposed to be the Body of Christ.  At least, in Eastern Orthodox theology.  I assume the same is true of Roman Catholics, and probably most Protestant denominations.

    You've got it right, Zorba. (none / 0) (#36)
    by caseyOR on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:54:38 PM EST
    The Roman Catholic Church calls itself the Body of Christ. Nuns are Brides of Christ. That is why every nun wears a wedding band on the appropriate  finger of her left hand.

    Bad grammar again too (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 02:46:51 PM EST
    I'm hopeless

    Jesus married a prostitute (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:39:41 PM EST
    Been the rumor forever.

    What makes his character more rich and human and complex and meaningful will not doubt drive "christians" largely insane.

    So be it.

    A shoe!!!!

    (Monty Python, Life of Brian, anyone? Beuller?)

    Only my favorite Monty Python! (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:42:53 PM EST
    Not forever; only the rumor (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:51:02 PM EST
    for a millennium and a half or so, since the men of the Catholic church promulgated it to push women in the church out of power -- power that they did have in its early centuries in many sites.

    To me that makes no sense (none / 0) (#66)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:45:08 AM EST
    If the church fathers pushed to have a prostitute that close to Jesus, I would be amazed.  Their natural instinct would be to NOT have her be a prostitute, but a more "virtuous" woman.  Hell, the left the virgin birth in, the prostitute thing is PERFECT after that. Because it is so gawdamn INCLUSIVE.

    THEY left the virgin birth in (none / 0) (#67)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:45:46 AM EST

    It is not definitive (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by sj on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:32:31 PM EST
    that Mary Magdalene was the prostitute that Jesus rescued.  My personal feeling is that she's been maligned for centuries.

    In "The Gospel According to the Other (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:00:01 PM EST
    Mary," music by John Adams, text by Peter Sellars, the "other" Mary is Mary Magdalene, and she is Martha's sister.  Heresy!

    The Catholic Church has (none / 0) (#47)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:46:53 PM EST
    rejected the idea that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

    That idea was hatched when Pope Gregory simply misread the Gospel of Luke, conflating two unrelated verses.  


    It has been hypothesized... (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by sj on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:51:35 PM EST
    ... that the misreading was deliberate with the intention of diminishing her role and influence, and that of women in general.

    Blessed are the cheese-makers? n/t (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:40:20 PM EST
    What's so special about the cheese-makers? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:42:28 PM EST
    Okay, here's the bit (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:42:03 PM EST
    The woman in that scene is at least a (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:52:32 PM EST
    little more compassionate than the Romneys...

    Here it is... (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 03:53:52 PM EST
    Oh, it's blessed are the MEEK! Oh, I'm glad they're getting something, they have a hell of a time.

    God I forgot how good it was (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:18:20 PM EST
    I need to NetFlix or Hulu it tonight.

    I watch it a lot (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:23:03 PM EST
    it is the right combination for me of meaningful satire and  silliness. An old friend and I greet eachother with 'I have a fwend in Wome.'

    "How I Got Over" (none / 0) (#26)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    i might find it interesting, if it weren't (none / 0) (#37)
    by cpinva on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:54:59 PM EST
    something written 400 years after christ died, by someone who couldn't have possibly had first-hand knowledge. as it is, the new testament, only agreed on in 325, during the first council of nicea, only includes works written at least 50 years after his death, if not later. the reason there are no contemporaneous works is because nearly all the apostles were illiterate fishermen. paul, having been a relatively high-ranking roman soldier, was probably literate, but there's no indication any of those presumed close to jesus were keeping diaries or journals. heck, there's two (or three) different versions of jesus' birth. if you can't agree on that, there isn't much hope for anything more complex.

    jesus, being a good jewish boy, probably would have been married, by at least his late 20's, definitely by his early 30's, mom would have wanted grandchildren.

    Oral history (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by sj on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:37:09 PM EST
    has a long and honored tradition.  Not saying that it's necessarily accurate, but was probably more "accurate" when given from one person to another than our current talking heads.  Who actually prefer to ignore history.

    Yes, studies of mnemonic devices (none / 0) (#55)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:41:58 PM EST
    that I've read, comparing orally transmitted history with records available, amaze in terms of the ability of the brain.  Post-Gutenberg print culture, our society lost a lot of that ability, sadly, but it is still evident in oral cultures.

    Of course, the apostles were not present (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 06:50:03 PM EST
    at the birth of Jesus.  Luke was a physician.  Matthew a tax collector.  Yes, some were fishermen, but not all.  

    viva los pescadores... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by fishcamp on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:32:06 PM EST
    Viva (none / 0) (#50)
    by CoralGables on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:38:02 PM EST
    los colas de amarillo

    of course they weren't present at his birth, who (none / 0) (#58)
    by cpinva on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:54:53 AM EST
    suggested otherwise?

    most were fishermen, none indicated they were keeping contemporaneous accounts, all were written well after the fact. the tale of christ's birth would have had to come direct from one of the 4 principals involved: mary, god, joseph or jesus. being just born, but both god and man, jesus probably had his version. mary's version conveniently explains her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, which joseph went along with. god did not respond to requests for his position on the issue, though many voice mail messages were left.

    presumably, jesus would probably have said something to his disciples, about the facts of his conception and birth, and the cencus taking would have been common knowledge, explaining how they ended up in a barn, instead of inn (no room, they weren't poor). unless jesus told each one this story individually (possible, i suppose), and simply changed minor details, you'd think all of them would pretty much the same story, when committing it to papyrus. and yet, they don't.

    however, in fairness, it was 300 years later, after all of these gospels had been translated, written and re-written who knows how many times, that they were finally incorporated into one doctrine. it's certainly possible that all started out exactly the same, and were just changed, ever so slightly, each time they were re-translated/written. and then there's the issue of the King James version, which mangled the gospels even more. absent locating the original written versions, and properly translating them, we'll probably never be certain.

    politics and patriarchy form the basis of the doctrine, so women (except for mom) having little authority or major involvement, isn't at all surprising.

    the point i was making (and i did have one) was that all of the bible was written long after the major players had expired, with no record (so far, anyway) of any of them having left a first-hand, written record of their experiences. everything in the bible depended, initially, on oral tradition, before someone thought to write it down. so many languages, different words meaning the same thing, or the same word meaning different things, poor translations (just bad work or intentional) all have contributed to confusion about many areas, the wife issue being one of them.


    Rashomon. (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:25:26 AM EST
    I don't understand (none / 0) (#68)
    by me only on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 11:37:43 AM EST
    Luke was not an apostle.

    The gospel of Matthew does not actually name the author.  It is unlikely the writer was an apostle.


    It is generally accepted that the (none / 0) (#69)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:07:18 PM EST
    authors of Luke and Acts are the same person....

    But that still doesn't make (none / 0) (#70)
    by me only on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:16:30 PM EST
    him an apostle.

    True, the only author of the four Gospels (none / 0) (#71)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:21:32 PM EST
    who was not, unless he was a replacement apostle like Stephen.

    The Gospel according to Matthew (none / 0) (#72)
    by me only on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:50:29 PM EST
    was most likely NOT written by the apostle Matthew.

    I can see why you said that (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 08:57:49 PM EST
    I meant to refer to the attribution to an apostle.....

    I agree with you that Matthew, Mark and John were not written by those apostles....


    Interesting essay taking the whole thing apart (none / 0) (#51)
    by vector on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:44:08 PM EST
    Well worth a look, for anyone interested in this "controversy" - http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/does-new-document-prove-that-jesus-had-a-wife


    Sounds right to me. (none / 0) (#75)
    by brodie on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:09:37 AM EST
    Probably other ancient docs out there being hidden from the public -- perhaps at the Vatican -- or which the authorities have destroyed as too heretical and socially subversive, which suggest the same, and more.

    Like Jesus (Immanuel probably) survived the cross, made his way, with family, to Damascus, Anatolia and then to India where he lived a very long life of teaching, marrying and having children, perhaps with one of his female disciples.  Certainly there's a fair amount of circumstantial evidence to suggest the post-crucifixion India scenario.  More evidence for that than for the xtian church miraculous resurrection version of events.

    It's possible the truthful version -- evidenced in this latest story -- will be slowly parceled out over the decades, or longer, in order to slowly acclimate the religious public to the honest facts.  Sort of a slow time-release capsule approach that's not too socially disruptive.

    Well, yes (none / 0) (#76)
    by LeaNder on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:29:44 AM EST
    there is a certain competetive advantage to chosing an invisible and almighty G-d, and not a traciable human chosen by this invisible as a son. But how much evidence do you think a single surviving document has? Would have today?

    Would it theoretically make a difference in the Christian message if Jesus was a married man?
    Could this explain he had more sympathy for prostitutes, like Magdalena?

    Admittedly I did not look at the other responses, so forgive if this is repetitive. ;

    a traciable (none / 0) (#77)
    by LeaNder on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:30:55 AM EST

    not looking at the rest.

    But let me add,this type of literature always sold well.


    in chosing (none / 0) (#78)
    by LeaNder on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:32:16 AM EST
    in chosing not "to" chosing