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‘Jesus’s wife’ papyrus likely fake, scholar says

Jun 23, 2016

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A Harvard professor who rocked the musty world devoted to studying early Christianity when she presented a tiny swatch of papyrus that referred to Jesus as married now concedes the fragment is probably a fake.

Karen L. King’s acknowledgment about the papyrus she’d named “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” came after the Atlantic magazine’s website published an investigative article that delved into the background of the fragment’s owner, Walter Fritz, a Florida man.

“It appears now that all the material Fritz gave to me concerning the provenance of the papyrus . . . were fabrications,” King told the Globe Friday. Her interview with the Atlantic the day before marked the first time she had said the fragment is probably a forgery.

She said in the Globe interview that she could not be “utterly definitive” until scientific tests proved the fragment was fake or someone confessed to forging it. Fritz told the Atlantic he didn’t know whether it was genuine, and he denied forging it.