In a world of Twitter-driven social revolutions, contemporary historians have an array of material to reference, collect, and access in order to formulate the details of any given event. We live in a time where everything Wikileaks at one point or another because our society strives to share with a tangible, mobile ease.
So when Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King revealed the discovery of a chunk of papyrus from the 4th century that hints that Jesus might have been married, one gets to wondering what other little pieces of history are waiting to be discovered and rattle the foundations of our established doctrines.
The papyrus was brought to King in 2011, but has yet to be scientifically tested for authenticity. Still, King presented the piece to other scholars who confirm it is not a fake. The Post-It size fragment is missing lines and has plenty of faded parts that even computer enhancement could not make out. From what can be made out, and the part that has scholars in an uproar says "Jesus said to them, 'my wife'" in the Coptic language.
How much of an effect could the possibility of Jesus being married have on contemporary Christianity?
"If Jesus had a wife, then there is nothing extra-Christian about male privilege, nothing spiritually dangerous about the sexuality of women, and no reason for anyone to deny himself or herself a sexual identity," said Michael D'Antonio, for The Huffington Post.
Regardless, if the papyrus does turn out to be a real gospel or a fake, it does not prove that Jesus was married, nor to whom. This fragment could be one of many lost personal accounts from a time where information was shared orally, and therefore lost in translation.
Imagine what it would be like to be married to Jesus. You couldn't go anywhere without him gathering a crowd or teaching people how to fish, and nevermind winning an argument – he would just speak in allegories until you conceded. Still, it could be fun since he seems to have a high tolerance for pain, and there is the whole water to wine factor.
Image by studiobeerhorst, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.