A recently uncovered fragment of ancient papyrus makes the explosive suggestion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were man and wife, researchers say. The 8cm by 4cm fragment supports an undercurrent in Christian thought that undermines centuries of Church dogma by suggesting the Christian Messiah was not celibate. The centre of the fragment contains the bombshell phrase where Jesus, speaking to his disciples, says ‘my wife’, which researchers believe refers to Magdalene.
In the text, Jesus appears to be defending her against some criticism, saying ‘she will be my disciple’. Two lines later he then tells the disciples: ‘I dwell with her.’…continue reading
If genuine, the document casts doubt on a centuries old official representation of Magdalene as a repentant whore and overturns the Christian ideal of sexual abstinence.
It elaborates an ancient and persistent undercurrent in Christian thought that Jesus and Magdalene were in fact a couple, as picked up by Dan Brown in the plot of his best-selling thriller The Da Vinci Code.
The incomplete manuscript, written in the ancient Egyptian Coptic language, has been studied by Karen King, Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard University, the oldest endowed academic seat in the US.
Professor King was to present a paper on the discovery today at an international conference on Coptic studies in Rome after conducting extensive tests and research to establish the document’s authenticity.
She told Smithsonian Magazine that the fragment casts doubt ‘on the whole Catholic claim of a celibate priesthood based on Jesus’ celibacy.’
She added: ‘What this shows is that there were early Christians for whom … sexual union in marriage could be an imitation of God’s creativity and generativity and it could be spiritually proper and appropriate.’
Jesus and Mary Magdalene when he appeared to her