Francis Watson of the University of Durham has provided a six-page analysis (PDF) of the Coptic fragment which seems to say Jesus was married. This is the most in-depth examination I have seen yet. Professor Watson concludes that

The text has been constructed out of small pieces – words or phrases – culled mostly from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas (GTh), Sayings 101 and 114, and set in new contexts.

This is most probably the compositional procedure of a modern author who is not a native speaker of Coptic.

Among other scholars weighing in, see Gary Manning Jr., Darrell Bock, Christian Askeland, Michael Kruger, Peter Williams and Simon Gathercole, Dirk Jongkind, Daniel Wallace.

HT: Scot McKnight

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16 thoughts on “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a Fake Gospel-Fragment Was Composed”

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  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Grateful for this collection of resources.

  3. Karin says:

    The six page analysis PDF link didn’t work – thanks for checking into this.

  4. Phil says:

    I have no idea why Justin Taylor chose to title his blog post “How a Fake Gospel-Fragment was Composed.” This is simply not true, and no one has shown that.

    What Francis Watson is arguing is that the fragment is more likely to be fake than to be genuine. But no one has proven it to be a fake.

    (Indeed, this COULD be done, for example, if you were to date the ink used to after 1956–when the Coptic text it is allegedly based on was printed. I don’t know whether dating of the ink has happened in this instance, or, if it has happened, why that information is not part of the story.)

    Here is more information (written by Francis Watson).

    http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/

    1. Phil says:

      Opps. I see that Justin Taylor is simply using Francis Watson’s own title. My apologizes.

      (Although this makes me wonder why Francis Watson used that title!? As it is clearly not true.)

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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