Dan Brown fans, be warned: King makes no claim for its usefulness as biography. The text was probably composed in Greek a century or so after Jesus’ crucifixion, then copied into Coptic some two centuries later. As evidence that the real-life Jesus was married, the fragment is scarcely more dispositive than Brown’s controversial 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code.
I wish I could say the Smithsonian article is “sober,” but it does include silliness like this:
The announcement at an academic conference in Rome is sure to send shock waves through the Christian world.
The papyrus was a stunner …
The question the discovery raises, King told me, is, “Why is it that only the literature that said he was celibate survived? And all of the texts that showed he had an intimate relationship with Magdalene or is married didn’t survive? Is that 100 percent happenstance? Or is it because of the fact that celibacy becomes the ideal for Christianity?”
To that last question, the answer might be that the group that held such beliefs was infinitesimally small – so small and influential that it never became necessary for the Church formally to repudiate it – and that they had few texts to survive or to be destroyed by the Wicked Papists.
And for those who feel “shock waves,” you really need to get out more, and maybe dabble a bit in ancient Christian history. There were people believing weird things almost from the beginning, the Gnostics of various stripes being prominent among them. The only thing that surprises me is that this is apparently the first text that (maybe) says Jesus had a wife.
The Lawyerist has a list of homophonic blunders, against which your spellchecker is powerless.
Impressions of Las Vegas:
- Nobody seemed to be having fun outside on the strip.
- Marriott gave me a very nice room at a reasonable price and then charged $12.95 per day for internet access.
- It is possible, even in the desert heat, to chill a hotel room down to meatlocker temperatures.
- Extremely good customer service by almost every waiter, waitress, front desk clerk and so forth. An Italian restaurant, Piero, next to the hotel, had servers who could fake sincerity amazingly well.
- The scale of the place is inhuman and hostile. One plaza (opposite the Bellagio, from which to watch the water show) felt almost habitable by homo sapiens.
- I think I saw four hookers (excluding those on flyers). Unfortunately, two of them were, or were being presented as, under aged.
- Unlike the places I want to return to, next time with Mrs. Tipsy, I won’t miss Vegas for a second and would never inflict it on my longsuffering wife.
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