CTS Professor Offers Response to
Gospel of Jesus’ Wife
FORT WAYNE, IN (CTS)—In the last several days much has been circulated concerning a small, papyrus fragment of Coptic text which has been dubbed the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife by Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School. These types of “finds” always create quite a stir and that is why Dr. Charles Gieschen, Academic Dean and Professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, has studied this material and offered a brief analysis of its significance. His response may be read and downloaded at www.ctsfw.edu/response-to-the-gospel-of-jesus-wife.
Dr. Gieschen, who earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan (1995) where his studies included the Coptic language and Gnostic writings, is an excellent resource for this topic. He has examined the digital image of this fragment, King's article and some early feedback of other scholars. His brief response walks the reader through the history of the fragment, discusses the various interpretations and comments on the import of the fragment. Dr. Gieschen concludes, “This fragment, therefore, may assist us in understanding the teaching of a Gnostic group concerning Jesus and His marital status, but it does not help us to understand the teaching of the historical Jesus or His actual marital status.”
The best place to look for early and historically reliable evidence of Jesus' life, as Dr. Gieschen notes, is the four canonical Gospels. This fragment does nothing to displace the testimony of these Gospels that Jesus supported marriage as a divine institution, but was not himself married.