This document that will supposedly “send jolts through the world of biblical scholarship” according to Smithsonian magazine contains a mere 30 words split between fragments of three sentences. One of them reads, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’” That’s it. We have no idea what the original document was. Was it claiming to be history? Or was it fiction? Irony? We don’t know. Nor do we know what it was trying to say. All that has been seen is one fragment of a sentence. It was written in Coptic (not Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, the languages Jesus and his followers knew) in Egypt supposedly some 300 years after Jesus lived. No matter what it says, it would make no reliable statement about the real events of the life of Jesus whatsoever. Let me restate that for emphasis. This document makes no reliable statement about the real events of Jesus’ life whatsoever. To make matters worse, we don’t even know if it is authentic. Two of three authorities consulted by the Harvard Theological Review have already expressed doubts about its authenticity.
If Jesus were married that would not change the truth of Scripture. But this is no evidence that he was married. Neither are the ancient Gnostic texts for that matter. Dr. Albert Mohler says of the publicity over this little document, “this is sensationalism masquerading as scholarship.” If the papyrus eventually is documented as genuine it will be of some relatively small interest to historians of the fourth century era, but little else. It will not have any impact on what we know to be the history of the life of Jesus. Just thought you might like to know.