Ancient writing claiming Jesus had a wife stirs controversy

Ancient writing claiming Jesus had a wife stirs controversy

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

A tiny scrap of ancient paper is stirring up a lot of controversy.

Written by an early Christian in the 4th to 8th century, it suggests Jesus had a wife.

Some people sharply dispute it, while others say they don't care one way or another and it doesn't alter their view of Jesus Christ.

This piece of papyrus was first revealed by a Harvard Divinity School historian a couple of years ago.

Scientific tests done on the ancient paper by researchers at Columbia, Harvard and M.I.T. conclude the paper does not appear to be a forgery.

But because it suggests something not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, it's getting a lot of attention.

The ancient paper -- a couple inches on a side at the most.

The translation: "Jesus said to them, my wife... she will be able to be my disciple."

We reached out to a local pastor who doesn't believe it.

"To me, the canon is closed and so what we have is the 27 books of the New Testament," said Senior Pastor Brian Goodman of the Foothills Baptist Church.  "The weight of the whole witness of the early church is that Jesus was not married."

The Harvard Divinity School Historian who has been studying the paper says it shouldn't be taken as evidence Jesus got married, but instead that early Christians were concerned with questions about marriage, sex and celibacy.

The so-called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" certainly got people talking.

"I think Jesus did not have a wife because the Bible says he didn't have one, but sometimes there is scientific evidence showing us other things," said Amanda Malek-Ahmadi.

Would it alter her beliefs in any way if it turned out he had a wife?

"Absolutely not," she replied.

"Jesus was really cool.. whether he had a wife or not doesn't matter to me.  Son of God," said Mick Petersen.

The Catholic Church weighed in on the issue.  The Vatican newspaper called the ancient paper a fake.

Some people interpret the ancient paper's reference to Jesus having a wife as actually meaning the bride of Christ was the church itself.

The Harvard historian says this is a possible interpretation.

Follow this story: Papyrus mentioning Jesus' wife likely not a forgery

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