The Vatican newspaper has added to the doubts surrounding Harvard University’s claim that a 4th century Coptic papyrus fragment showed that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married, declaring it a “fake.”

I'm not surprised. In fact, what does surprise me is that the Vatican doesn't condemn the New Testament as a fake as well. I mean, all those references to the brothers and sisters of Jesus and the scandalous assertion that it was James, the brother of Jesus, who founded the Church, and not Peter, are just completely unbelievable as there is no way Mary ever had sex in her life (well, maybe a bit of heavy petting with Joseph, but nothing penetrative).

But there is one thing I don't understand. How can the Holy Family be held to be the epitome of the true family by a religion that believes that you are not married unless you've copulated with each other at least once? In fact, how can that same religion claim that gay people can't get married to each other because they are unable to consummate their marriage when it spends so much time venerating a woman who, according to their own catechism, couldn't have ever consummated her own marriage.

Talk about wanting their cake and eating it too.

I'm confused.



  1. Would these be the same bishops who require celibacy when Holy and Infallible Scripture plainly states that bishops must be married with children?


  2. I think that it is likely that it’s a fake. I have seen some entries in the rogueclassicism site that point out that nearly all the lines cited come from other sources verbatim (including the Gospel of Thomas), and also point out that the chances that one side of the papyrus is quite legible while the other one can’t even be read with filters and modern photographic techniques are vanishingly small.

    I was a student of Morton Smith’s when he “discovered” the Secret Gospel of Mark in 1973. Gay religious groups and other people were ecstatic: finally, evidence that Jesus was gay! The fact that Morton had made the whole thing up, which was proven pretty conclusively around 5 years ago but which we all thought likely even back then, has made no difference to some. They like the conclusion so much that they ignore the provenance.

    Could Jesus have had a wife? I wouldn’t have any objection to that (or perhaps he had a husband…) However, this piece of papyrus is pretty certainly a modern fake and is not proof of anything except that someone is a pretty incompetent forger.