Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Karen King Resurrects Dan Brown

Update: See link at bottom. As some expected, the papyrus has been declared a fake by experts.

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Every time some nutty thing pops up, I know it without watching the news because I get at least 3-4 messages about it right away. That was the case with the latest fad find, announced by scholar Karen King, of a papyrus that said Jesus had a wife.

As usual, the right answer is: So what? The papyrus is dated to the 4th century,  and so it tells us nothing because it has earned no privilege over the canonical sources. Anyone who thinks so has a lot more work to do than go, "Whoop, there it is!"

I'll add a comment from one of my longtime contacts, who actually went to Harvard:

Good grief, what a joke. I never took a class with [King] when I was at Harvard because I was friends with some of her students. In short, a lot of nonsense. The methodology is this: make the evidence usable for contemporary political concerns--the negotiation of social power. What frankly pisses me off is that she knows this doesn't really tell us anything about Jesus (though, given her predilections, this doesn't stop her from exaggerating the significance of "gender" and "sexuality" in the early Church): she just uses the fragment to stir up a controversy whose framework she's rather fond of. In other words, the under-informed reader doesn't have a whit of understanding regarding Scripture or Tradition, but she or he does know that "renowned" scholars are taking the notion of a married Jesus (and, by implication, a centuries-long wide-scale cover-up of truth on the part of the Church) quite "seriously" . . . all of which goes some way in proving that I was right in what I said a few years ago: Harvard should change its motto from "veritas" to "utilitas."

That about sums it up...except for this.

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