Did Jesus Have a Wife?
A newly discovered fragment of Coptic writing suggests some early Christians believed Jesus was married. In a paper presented at the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies, Harvard Divinity School historian Karen L. King notes that the papyrus is the â€œonly extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife. It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition only in the second half of the second century. … If the second century date of composition is correct, the fragment does provide direct evidence that claims about Jesusâ€™s marital status first arose over a century after the death of Jesus in the context of intra-Christian controversies over sexuality, marriage, and discipleship.â€
As The New York Times reported: â€œEven with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.â€