Biblical Archaeology Review 39:4, July/August 2013

Strata: In Their Own Words: Stop The Presses: Report on “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Due Out Mid-Summer

On September 18, 2012, Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School revealed the existence of a small papyrus fragment in Coptic from a fourth-century apocryphal gospel that contains a reference to Jesus’ wife. Professor King called the document the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.”

King is clear that this is no indication that Jesus was in fact married, only that perhaps some people in the fourth century thought he had been. King wrote a long scholarly article on the fragment, which was accepted for publication by the prestigious Harvard Theological Review (HTR)—and then withdrawn from publication. HTR wants to make sure, we are told, the text isn’t a forgery, even though two leading Coptic papyrologists have pronounced it authentic.

Nothing has been heard from HTR since—except that the new issue of HTR came out without Professor King’s article.

So what’s been happening since the article was withdrawn? I thought I could find out. So I wrote to the director of communications at the Harvard Divinity School. The following exchange ensued.—H.S.

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