I think the least important thing in this photo is the papyrus.
A fragment of papyrus smaller than the size of a piece of toilet paper has been discovered. Several partial sentences have been translated. Most interesting is the one that reads, “Jesus said to them, my wife…” Harvard Professor of Divinity Karen King is treating this as if a legitimate find; something to be taken serious.
I’m skeptical. And so should the professor. Isn’t that what is taught at Harvard; critical thinking? It should be viewed the same way as a headline from a tabloid in a check-out; “Obama Kids Doing Coke.”
First, what must be exposed is the complete lack of understanding of what the Bible says about Jesus’ life. Four life accounts of Jesus portray him as unmarried (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). To find something that says otherwise should be received with skepticism if not downright rejection.
It is said to be a writing from the fourth century. That said, the only reliable source reference available would be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Yet, this seems to deviate from that source. It’s like Stephen King writing a book in old English and claiming it to be written by Shakespeare.
If possible that this scrap of a manuscript is quoting a conversation believed to have come down through three hundred years from a source other than the Bible it must have recognized references from some place in the Scriptures. Indeed, Jesus referred allegorically to himself as a bridegroom and to the congregation of his disciples as his wife or bride, but never in a civil or physical sense. (Matthew 9::15; Mark 2: 18-20; Luke 5: 33, 34; John 3: 25-30; Revelation 21: 1-9) The Apostle Paul makes the same inference. (2 Corinthians 11.2; Ephesians 5:23)
Revelation 22: 18, 19 seems to indicate all that is written to that point is final and what is written after is to be disregarded. The fragment came along at least three hundred years after the edict in Revelation.
What is Harvard Professor of Divinity Karen King’s reason for raising the issue? I suspect it is the same reason that every year a prehistoric bone or bone fragment is found and declared the ’missing link.’ From that bone an entire human or subhuman is constructed. The bone found and fragment of parchment are analogous. From the fragment a new Gospel is formed?
Departments of Paleontology and their professors are under tremendous pressure to produce – something, anything! ‘My goodness there is all that endowment money allocated to your departments you better do something with it besides educate. Go find something that shows you are discovering new things.’
Yes, for a Department of Divinity not to come up with something new can make an endower wonder ’maybe I should hand my musty old money over to Paleontology.’
King and AnneMarie Luijendijk, an associate professor of religion at Princeton University, will present their ’bone fragment’ in the January 2013 issue of Harvard Theological Review journal. Let’s see, in 1966 Time Magazine had an issue “God is Dead.” It was an old idea, but dug up like an old bone and given credence by seven theological scholars two of which from Harvard and Princeton. Strange how those universities could produce critical thinking on God’s existence, but not on the validity or canonicity of a fragment of papyrus.
There is something deeper going on here. For the past one hundred and fifty years, give or take, the academic world has mounted an assault against religion, the Bible, and God. It seems as if logic would tell us that these things are either not needed, unreliable, or does not exist than why all the effort by the academic world to discredit and marginalize them? Could it be that the entire Department of Theology is a ruse?
Then again, who pays attention to the Schools of Theology at these academic egg factories anyway? Nobody. Maybe they just want attention. It must be tough teaching God at a university that does all it can to dismiss God. Can you imagine going to one of those academic social gatherings and trying to explain or defend God to them? But, if you could attend passing out a copy of the Harvard Theological Review to everybody with your work featured you just may be able to sip imported coffee or wine with the real academics.
Maybe it’s just all about attention.