An incomplete manuscript written in Coptic Egyptian language has been studied by Harvard Professor Karen King. The fragment suggest that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, a finding that contradicts Catholic teachings. Her findings were presented at a conference in Rome.
No doubt this is controversial and will spark skepticism, considering it is from a liberal university professor with strong feminist leanings.
But neither the language nor the papyrus’ apparent age was particularly remarkable. What had captivated King when a private collector first e-mailed her images of the papyrus was a phrase at its center in which Jesus says “my wife.”
The fragment’s 33 words, scattered across 14 incomplete lines, leave a good deal to interpretation. But in King’s analysis, and as she argues in a forthcoming article in the Harvard Theological Review, the “wife” Jesus refers to is probably Mary Magdalene, and Jesus appears to be defending her against someone, perhaps one of the male disciples.
“She will be able to be my disciple,” Jesus replies. Then, two lines later, he says: “I dwell with her.”