Copy Editor Meets “Jesus Wife” Fragment
OK, first, let’s just get this out of our system…trying saying “papyrologist” four times in a row, very fast, without giggling a lot. OK, good. Now for more giggles read this from my friend Anthrony Sacramone, via his blog STRANGE HERRING, which you must put in your “daily blogs I (should) read list.”
“There’s something about this fragment in its appearance [Office Depot watermark] and also in the grammar of the Coptic[repeated use of "groovy"] that strikes me as being not completely convincing somehow,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.
Another participant at the congress, Alin Suciu, a papyrologist at the University of Hamburg, was more blunt.
“I would say it’s a forgery [you idiots]. The script doesn’t look authentic” [it's printed with an IBM Selectric] when compared to other samples of Coptic papyrus script dated to the 4th century, he said.
[Dr. Karen] King acknowledged Wednesday that questions remain about the fragment [which Target did you buy this from, the one on Hillside?], and she welcomed the feedback from her colleagues. [I'll kill you bastards if I get the chance] She said she planned to subject the document to ink tests to determine if the chemical components match those used in antiquity [which, as we know, stretches from the days of the Pharoahs right up to the Coolidge administration].
“We still have some work to do, testing the ink and so on and so forth, but what is exciting about this fragment is [all the attention I'm getting and] that it’s the first case we have of Christians[Gnostics] claiming that Jesus had a wife,” she said.
She stressed that the text, assuming it’s authentic, doesn’t provide any historical evidence that Jesus was actually married [I never said that and please stop spreading the rumor that I did], only that some two centuries after he died, some early Christians believed he had a wife [which is good enough for me to get into the New York Times].
Wolf-Peter Funk, a noted Coptic linguist, said there was no way to evaluate the significance of the fragment because it has no context [although it will be featured on Letterman tonight]. It’s a partial text and tiny, measuring 4 centimeters by 8 centimeters (1.5 inches by 3 inches), about the size of a small cellphone [which it references repeatedly, which is also weird].
“There are thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things [I know, I wrote most of them],” said Funk, co-director of a project editing the Nag Hammadi Coptic library at Laval University in Quebec. “It can be anything [like Jell-o].”
He, too, doubted the authenticity, saying the form of the fragment was “suspicious.” [why is half the text X'd out with the word "stet"?]
And if it is proved a forgery, you will still hear from some quarters: “But why would someone fake this if they didn’t already have reason to believe others would believe it to be true? Why is that? Because … it’s true—and the forgery proves it!”
As with the Jesus Seminar, the standards of scholarly rigor drop precipitously the closer you get to anything that might resemble the so-called Jesus of faith…