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The Gospel of Jesusí Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship
http://www.albertmohler.com ^ | September 20, 2012 | Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Posted on 09/22/2012 7:35:40 AM PDT by daniel1212

The whole world changed on Tuesday. At least, that is what many would have us to believe. Smithsonian magazine, published by the Smithsonian Institution, declares that the news released Tuesday was “apt to send jolts through the world of biblical scholarship — and beyond.” Really?

What was this news? Professor Karen King of the Harvard Divinity School announced at a conference in Rome that she had identified an ancient papyrus fragment that includes the phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” Within hours, headlines around the world advertised the announcement with headlines like “Ancient Papyrus Could Be Evidence that Jesus Had a Wife” (The Telegraph).

The Smithsonian article states that “the announcement at an academic conference in Rome is sure to send shock waves through the Christian world.” The magazine’s breathless enthusiasm for the news about the papyrus probably has more to do with advertising its upcoming television documentary than anything else, but the nation’s most prestigious museum can only injure its reputation with this kind of sensationalism.

A Fragment of a Text, an Even More Fragmentary Argument

What Karen King revealed on Tuesday was a tiny papyrus fragment with Coptic script on both sides. On one side the fragment includes about 30 words on eight fragmentary lines of script. The New York Times described the fragment as “smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass.” The lines are all fragmentary, with the third line reading “deny. Mary is worthy of it,” and the next reading “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” The fifth states, “she will be able to be my disciple.”

The papyrus fragment, believed to be from the fourth century, was delivered to Professor King by an anonymous source who secured the artifact from a German-American dealer, who had bought it years ago from a source in East Germany. As news reports made clear, the fragment is believed by many to be an authentic text from the fourth century, though two of three authorities originally consulted by the editors of the Harvard Theological Review expressed doubts. Such a find would be interesting, to be sure, but hardly worthy of the international headlines.

The little piece of ancient papyrus with its fragmentary lines of text is now, in the hands of the media, transformed into proof that Jesus had a wife, and that she was most likely Mary Magdalene. Professor King will bear personal responsibility for most of this over-reaching. She has called the fragment nothing less than “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” — a title The Boston Globe rightly deemed “provocative.” That same paper reported that Professor King decided to publicize her findings before additional tests could verify the fragment’s authenticity because she “feared word could leak out about its existence in a way that sensationalized its meaning.” Seriously? King was so concerned about avoiding sensationalism that she titled the fragment “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife?”

This is sensationalism masquerading as scholarship. One British newspaper notes that the claims about a married Jesus seem more worthy of fans of Dan Brown’s fictional work, The Da Vinci Code, than “real-life Harvard professors.” If the fragment is authenticated, the existence of this little document will be of interest to historians of the era, but it is insanity to make the claims now running through the media.

Professor King claims that these few words and phrases should be understood as presenting a different story of Jesus, a different gospel. She then argues that the words should be read as claiming that Jesus was married, that Mary Magdalene was likely his wife. She argues further that, while this document provides evidence of Jesus’ marital status, the phrases do not necessarily mean he was married. More than anything else, she argues against the claim that Christianity is a unified body of commonly-held truths.

Those familiar with Karen King’s research and writings will recognize the argument. Her 2003 book, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, argued that another text from the era presented Mary Magdalene as the very model for apostleship.

A Preference for Heterodoxy

The thread that ties all these texts and arguments together is the 1945 discovery of some 52 ancient texts near the town of Nag Hammadi in Egypt. These texts are known to scholars as Gnostic literature. The texts present heretical narratives and claims about Jesus and his message, and they have been a treasure trove for those seeking to replace orthodox Christianity with something different.

Several ambitions drive this effort. Feminists have sought to use the Nag Hammadi texts to argue that women have been sidelined by the orthodox tradition, and that these Gnostic texts prove that women were central to the leadership of the early church, perhaps even superior to the men. Others have used the Nag Hammadi texts to argue that Christianity was diverse movement marked by few doctrinal concerns until it was hijacked by political and ecclesiastical leaders, who constructed theological orthodoxy as a way of establishing churchly power in the Roman Empire and then stifling dissent. Still others argue that Christianity’s moral prohibitions concerning sexuality, and especially homosexuality, were part of this forced orthodoxy which, they argue, was not the essence of true Christianity. More than anything else, many have used the Nag Hammadi texts as leverage for their argument that Christianity was originally a way of spirituality centered in the teachings of a merely human Christ — not a message of salvation through faith in a divine Jesus who saves sinners through the atonement he accomplished in his death and resurrection.

Professor King, along with Princeton’s Elaine Pagels, has argued that the politically powerful leaders who established what became orthodox Christianity silenced other voices, but that these voices now speak through the Nag Hammadi texts and other Gnostic writings. Writing together, King and Pagels argue that “the traditional history of Christianity is written almost solely from the viewpoint of the side that won, which was remarkably successful in silencing or distorting other voices, destroying their writings, and suppressing any who disagreed with them as dangerous and obstinate ‘heretics.’”

King and Pagels both reject traditional Christianity, and they clearly prefer the voices of the heretics. They argue for the superiority of heterodoxy over orthodoxy. In the Smithsonian article, King’s scholarship is described as “a kind of sustained critique of what she called the ‘master story’ of Christianity: a narrative that casts the canonical texts of the New Testament as a divine revelation that passed through Jesus in ‘an unbroken chain’ to the apostles and their successors — church fathers, ministers, priests and bishops who carried  these truths into the present day.”

King actually argues against the use of terms like “heresy” and even “Gnostic,” claiming that the very use of these terms gives power to the forces of orthodoxy and normative Christianity. Nevertheless, she cannot avoid using the terms herself (even in the titles of her own books). She told Ariel Sabar of Smithsonian, “You’re talking to someone who’s trying to integrate a whole set of ‘heretical’ literature into the standard history.”

Orthodoxy and Heresy: The Continual Struggle

Those who use Gnostic texts like those found at Nag Hammadi attempt to redefine Christianity so that classic, biblical, orthodox Christianity is replaced with a very different religion. The Gnostic texts reduce Jesus to the status of a worldly teacher who instructs his followers to look within themselves for the truth. These texts promise salvation through enlightenment, not through faith and repentance. Their Jesus is not the fully human and fully divine Savior and there is no bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead.

Were these writings found at Nag Hammadi evidence of the fact that the early church opposed and attempted to eliminate what it understood to be false teachings? Of course. That is what the church said it was doing and what the Apostles called upon the church to do. The believing church did not see heresy as an irritation — it saw heterodoxy as spiritual death. Those arguing for the superiority of the Gnostic texts deny the divine inspiration of the New Testament and prefer the heterodox teachings of the Gnostic heretics. Hauntingly, the worldview of the ancient Gnostics is very similar, in many respects, to various worldviews and spiritualities around us today.

The energy behind all this is directed to the replacement of orthodox Christianity, its truth claims, its doctrines, its moral convictions, and its vision of both history and eternity with a secularized — indeed, Gnositicized — new version.

Just look at the attention this tiny fragment of papyrus has garnered. Its few words and broken phrases are supposed to cast doubt on the New Testament and the doctrines of orthodox Christianity. A tiny little fragment which, even if authentically from the fourth century, is placed over against the four New Testament Gospels, all written within decades of Jesus’ earthy ministry.

“The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife?” Not hardly. This is sensationalism masquerading as scholarship. Nevertheless, do not miss what all this really represents — an effort to replace biblical Christianity with an entirely new faith.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Evangelical Christian
KEYWORDS: epigraphyandlanguage; faithandphilosophy; godsgravesglyphs; gospelofjesuswife; gospelofjohn; hewasarabbi; jamescameron; jamesossuary; jesustomb; jesuswife; johnchapter2; karenking; letshavejerusalem; losttombofjesus; mariame; mariamne; marriageatcana; marymagdalene; naghammadi; rabbismarry; revisionism; sectarianturmoil; simchajacobovici; sourcetitlenoturl; talpiot; talpiottomb; weddingatcana
Michael Kruger also brings us back to the bottom line in this issue.

This is just one more aspect of the "cunningly devised fables," (2Pt. 1:16) Gnostic nonsense seen in Da Vinci Code ,"by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." (Eph. 4:14)

While it would not be sin for the Lord to be married, this is not found nor inferred in Scripture, while Gnosticism was a later and diverse development, with radically perverse ideas.

1 posted on 09/22/2012 7:35:49 AM PDT by daniel1212
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To: boatbums; metmom; caww; presently no screen name; smvoice; HarleyD; HossB86; Elsie; wmfights; ...

Ping.

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship


2 posted on 09/22/2012 7:38:34 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: daniel1212

Even if true she wasn’t 9 year old.


3 posted on 09/22/2012 7:45:09 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: daniel1212

Yep - the words “wife” and “bride” are used as analogies vs. His situation. They reflect a sacred relationship of two-way fealty and not a human familial bond. To consider this “revelation” as anything but tripe is to ignore the parables He used.


4 posted on 09/22/2012 7:45:29 AM PDT by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: Venturer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSwG9Tojg9I


5 posted on 09/22/2012 7:52:31 AM PDT by nonliberal (Graduate: Curtis E. LeMay School of International Relations)
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To: daniel1212

This was one of the silliest things that they’ve come up with yet. Everybody knows that the world was awash in faux “gospels” during the first few centuries, and Christian scholars were certainly well aware of it at the time. This is why the councils devoted themselves to building a canon, or set of approved scriptures, and ignored the rest of the nonsense out there.

But I guess that wouldn’t sell a TV program...


6 posted on 09/22/2012 7:53:19 AM PDT by livius
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To: daniel1212

There is no Gospel of Jesus’ wife, Jesus did not have a wife.


7 posted on 09/22/2012 7:54:49 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw

Earlier this week, I was reading one of the threads about this, and more than half the Freepers posting on it either said He probably did have a wife or they didn’t care if He did. Amazing.....


8 posted on 09/22/2012 7:59:22 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: daniel1212

All this shows is how far Harvard has fallen. Obviously this woman was given a job in their divinity school, a hotbed of radical heresies, because she is a radical feminist.


9 posted on 09/22/2012 7:59:22 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: svcw

Jesus has no wife...He has a bride!


11 posted on 09/22/2012 8:03:36 AM PDT by MarDav
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To: Patton@Bastogne
.


"What Mormons really believe" ...


YouTube link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HSlbuli7HM




Do you have the "courage" to watch this ?


Choose you this day whom you shall serve ... the Great I AM ... or Myth Romney's promises of more money ?



.
12 posted on 09/22/2012 8:06:29 AM PDT by Patton@Bastogne (Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin will DEFEAT the Obama-Romney Socialist Gay-Marriage Axis of Evil)
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To: CatherineofAragon

Amazing, is not the word I would use, but it kinder.


13 posted on 09/22/2012 8:07:50 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: MarDav

Bingo!


14 posted on 09/22/2012 8:08:18 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: daniel1212

It’s amazing how a little bit of knowledge makes people so ignorant.

I’ve tried explaining to many people about how Gnosticism emerged at least 200 years after Jesus, and by then the apostolic church had already organized itself.

Of course most of those people tend not to appreciate that Dan Brown’s books are in the Fiction section either.


15 posted on 09/22/2012 8:09:06 AM PDT by Shadow44
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To: CatherineofAragon

Another example of how people want to make God into their own image.


16 posted on 09/22/2012 8:23:03 AM PDT by dragonblustar (Allah Ain't So Akbar!)
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To: svcw

Yeah, there are more words I could think of.....


17 posted on 09/22/2012 8:27:37 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: dragonblustar

I agree....either that, or they have a lack of understanding of His divine nature and His mission in the first place.


18 posted on 09/22/2012 8:32:37 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: daniel1212

They wish.....

It’s not going to send shockwaves through the world.

It’s just another pathetic attempt so slander Jesus. Nothing new under the sun.


19 posted on 09/22/2012 8:33:58 AM PDT by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: daniel1212
To tell the truth I didn't feel any “jolts” going through my world and the earth didn't shift when I first read about a little piece of papyrus ending up in some professor's hands.

To be generous it might actually be from the 4th. cen. but then as now a lot of garbage was written and some survives.

Or the thing could be a fake a collector got burned on as happens all the time.

20 posted on 09/22/2012 8:35:12 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: daniel1212

He did have a bride, the Church.


21 posted on 09/22/2012 8:37:29 AM PDT by strongbow
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To: count-your-change

It’s crazy to put any credibility into something written 400 after the fact. If I write something stupid about the 1600’s, are they going to give it credibility in another 2000 years?


22 posted on 09/22/2012 9:06:48 AM PDT by aimhigh
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To: daniel1212

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/does-new-document-prove-that-jesus-had-a-wife/
“Does New Document Prove That Jesus Had a Wife?” by Jimmy Akin


23 posted on 09/22/2012 9:11:17 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: daniel1212

Wow. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Do these fools not realize with this revealation they have utterly destroyed the homoesexual’s meme that Jesus and his disciples were gay?
They can’t have it both ways.


24 posted on 09/22/2012 9:13:30 AM PDT by Wiser now (Socialism does not eliminate poverty, it guarantees it.)
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To: Shadow44
I’ve tried explaining to many people about how Gnosticism emerged at least 200 years after Jesus ...

Way too late ... 1 John is clearly written to combat gnostic influences ... that was written in the 1st century. There were already false teachers in Pauls day ...

25 posted on 09/22/2012 9:16:14 AM PDT by dartuser ("If you are ... what you were ... then you're not.")
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To: daniel1212

The Nag Hammadi gospels are neither as old as the Biblical gospels nor anywhere as well substantiated! Based upon internal and external evidence (comparison of fragments and quotations, historical correlations, examination of textual families, etc.) the Biblical Gospels are dated to the first century. Thousands of actual manuscripts exist today, many of which date prior to 200 A.D., including a fragment (writing materials of Biblical age did not last long) of the gospel of Mark. There are also fragments of other New Testament books such as Acts, which are dated to have been written around 50 A.D., and a fragment of the gospel of John dated at 125 A.D. or earlier. Nearly complete copies of both Luke and John exist which are dated from between A.D. 175 and 225.

In contrast, the manuscripts of the Gnostic Nag Hammadi library, which gospels were written 100 to 200 years apart, and discovered hundreds of miles apart, and were copied between A.D. 350-400, with most Gnostic literature being written between the late 2nd to the 5th century. No evidence exists to show that any of these books were written before A.D. 150.

In part of Dan Brown’s “spin cycle” he says that the Aramaic word for “companion” (used in regards to Mary in the Gnostic gospel) literally meant “spouse.” Not only is this translation denied by various Aramaic scholars, but even more critically, the Gnostic gospel of Phillip (in which this was found) was not even written in Aramaic, rather it was written in Egyptian Coptic, which may have been a translation from Greek!

Even in the Coptic translation found at Nag Hammadi, a Greek loan word (koinonos) lies behind the term translated “companion.” Darrell Bock observes that this is “not the typical . . . term for ‘wife’“ in Greek.{28} Indeed, koinonos is most often used in the New Testament to refer to a “partner.” Luke uses the term to describe James and John as Peter’s business partners (Luke 5:10). Michael Gleghorn ©2006 Probe Ministries www.probe.org/content/view/127/169/


26 posted on 09/22/2012 9:23:42 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: Patton@Bastogne

Thanks


27 posted on 09/22/2012 9:26:07 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: Shadow44

Damnable Dan Brown


28 posted on 09/22/2012 9:26:59 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: Wiser now

Oh, they have shown that such logic things is not a problem, as they show in forcing sex into passages it does not belong, both in present life and in Scripture, and i was recently contending with such that do: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=13051555&postID=5099811203095067142&page=1&token=1348330594815&isPopup=true


29 posted on 09/22/2012 9:42:40 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: dartuser

I wasn’t fully aware of that, thanks for sharing. I was basing off of the dating of the Nag Hammadi library and the associated sects like Valentinus’ followers.

All I really remember was the incredibly jarring sexual imagery that was used abundantly in most of the texts, and the inverting of people like Judas and the Serpent as being good against the evil demiurge.

I feel like if most people actually bothered to read the actual texts of Gnosticism, that they’d be turned off quickly to such bizarre beliefs.


30 posted on 09/22/2012 9:50:40 AM PDT by Shadow44
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To: Shadow44

See 26 above


31 posted on 09/22/2012 10:17:56 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: Patton@Bastogne

I won’t cite your entire #10, I’ll only say that I agree with it.


32 posted on 09/22/2012 11:03:53 AM PDT by Holly_P
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To: daniel1212

No scholarship there.

This is depressing to anyone capable of thought.

The very gnostic Coptics were well known for their rejection of reality.


33 posted on 09/22/2012 12:35:28 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: daniel1212

A lot of predictions were made about Jesus prior to His birth.

A lot of information was presented about His life here on earth.

His own teachings are available for us to read.

Where in any of this, did He or anyone else reference his wife or anything similar to a wife?

If He had a wife or even a girl-friend, there would be references to it. Every person writing about Him would have referenced His relationship.

We are admonished to live a Christlike life. How do we do that if a major part of His life is left out?

We will have the servants of Satan with us until Christ returns to claim the righteous as His own.

His teachings about forgiveness, salvation through faith, and kindness to our fellow man, are what are important. Anything else can be sorted out in the new earth, where we’ll have eternity to study the perfection that rescued our pathetic selves.

The one thing I accept as bed-rock truth, is that we are not God forsaken. He sent His Son to save us.

How cool is that!


34 posted on 09/22/2012 1:01:50 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Imagine how bad these global protests would be, if Obama hadn't won us so many new friends.)
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To: daniel1212

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks daniel1212. Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


35 posted on 09/22/2012 1:43:09 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: daniel1212

I love Dr. Mohler. He is a needed voice of reason against this theo-buffoonery.


36 posted on 09/22/2012 6:14:34 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All.)
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To: svcw

I believe Israel is referred to as an Adulterous Wife, and the Church of believers (both Jew and Gentile) are categorized as His Bride.


37 posted on 09/22/2012 7:46:11 PM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: aimhigh

More importantly, the thousands of doctrines available to the most elementary student of Scripture fly in the face of this purported manuscript, written on a parchment smaller than a business card.

The bulk of Scripture would far more disprove the legitimacy of the document than be counterchecked by it.

The announcement does indicate a significant lack of scholarship at the Harvard Divinity School. Good justification to discount their perspective.


38 posted on 09/22/2012 7:54:34 PM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The MSM overall disagrees.


39 posted on 09/23/2012 4:09:37 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: All; daniel1212
We have to Remember when this Jesus's Tomb or wife nonsense starts that his name was common. Jesus is the Greek for Joshua in the Hebrew.

Everybody in these times knew of a Joshua/Jesus. So if someone finds a legitimate or bogus name on a parchment there are numerous to number Joshua/Jesus's from these times.

40 posted on 09/23/2012 8:41:14 AM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: johngrace

How dare you disagree with liberal revisionists from Harvard. And in which none of the students obey the early requirements: http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/HARVARD_LAWES.HTML


41 posted on 09/23/2012 7:32:40 PM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: daniel1212

I just read it. Sad that it started out with such Christ faith principles. So sad. Now dictators have gone there.


42 posted on 09/23/2012 8:10:36 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: daniel1212
This piece of poor scholarship is not as bad as Dan Brown's book which was fiction masquerading as fact.

Even an ardent "Let's prove Christianity wrong" advocate will admit that a small fragment of a text written 300+ years after Christ with no complete sentences cannot be taken to definitely mean anything....

43 posted on 09/24/2012 2:04:43 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: daniel1212

Given that the “researchers” can provide absolutely no provenance for this fragment the odds are overwhelming that it is a fake. We don’t know when it was found, where it was found, who found it or the circumstances of its discovery. Like I said, most likely a fake.


44 posted on 09/24/2012 3:52:11 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: daniel1212

Well, their timing is a bit off. They usually save this kind of “OMG, this Changes Everything” “Blockbuster” to hit the headlines just before Christmas and Easter, don’t they? To the MSM, this must be Christmas in September.


45 posted on 09/24/2012 5:58:48 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All.)
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To: circlecity

Like as with many prohomosexual polemicists, a text can mean pretty much whatever they want it to mean.


46 posted on 09/24/2012 11:14:56 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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