Biblical Archaeology Review 41:5, September/October 2015

Queries & Comments

Another Explanation—Not a Forgery

Hershel Shanks’s article, “The Saga of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’” (BAR 41:03) sparked a conversation in my family concerning the proof that the fragment is a forgery—that the forger had copied every other line of a known manuscript (Codex Qau) of the Coptic Gospel of John (CGJ).

Could it be that the scribe was not a forger but an ancient copyist, copying not from Codex Qau, but from another copy of the CGJ that had line lengths double that of Codex Qau? If so, that it was the same copyist would suggest that the fragment about Jesus’ wife was likewise an ancient copy of an archetype we have not previously seen.

If so, it would not be a forgery.

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