Sunday, November 29, 2015

ETC Blog and GJW in the Boston Globe

The ETC Blog found its way onto the front page of the Boston Globe today as part of a surprisingly well-written article on the current state of doubt about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Speaking of Christian Askeland’s blog post on the John fragment (this one, I assume), the Globe writer says that “for many scholars who had been withholding judgment, Askeland’s insight tipped the balance in favor of forgery.”

As far as info about the fragment, I don’t see anything new. What was new—at least to me—was an admission from Karen King that it could be a forgery and an update from Malcolm Choat who seems to favor forgery now.
“I’m open that, in the end, it might be a modern production,” King said in an August interview. “But right now, the important thing is process.”
And this about Choat:
Finally, this month, Choat, the Australian papyrologist, returned to Cambridge to study the Harvard papyri on his way to a conference in Atlanta.
He spent more than eight hours inspecting the papryi at the Houghton Library, supervised by a member of the library’s staff.
In one spot on the John fragment, Choat detected ink where it shouldn’t be. In another area, ink was absent where it should have been present.
Wrong dialect, line breaks that exactly replicated another manuscript, and now, misplaced ink: To Choat, the most logical explanation was forgery.
The line that really stood out to me though was this one: “For now, though, it is hard to find anyone who will defend the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife as authentic.”

You can read the whole article at the Boston Globes website.

King with GJW.


  1. It is a reasonably good article. And they spelled our name correctly.

  2. I think Lisa Wangsness did a very good job in this article. Not that I agree with everything. For example, the first picture caption (for which she may not have been responsible) begins by calling GWJ "Fragment of a fourth-century codex..." If we accept the second C14 test, that's about four centuries too early, for the papyrus material. (And might "medieval" now be a better word choice--for the papyrus material-- than "ancient"--even though ancient can be used in a broad sense too? The ink might possibly be modern, perhaps 2009-2010.) And whether the papyrus was from a "codex" or not would seem to be an open question. The science article in NTS (with HTR critique) might have been noted along with the mentioned but unexplained future ink article. And that HTR science reports were apparently (2013-2014?) later than the 2012 announcement. And that 2 of 3 HTR expert readers raised serious doubt, as did Rome conference attendees. And that a collector owner who wrote "before I sell it" might also be called a dealer. And "confirmation bias" might merit a mention. But this article is a constructive step, imo.

  3. Yes, I think that she did a good job. It's good to know that some journalists really research and get to grips with the issues and can make reasonably judicious judgements.