Report: Scientists authenticate papyrus fragment referencing Jesus’ wife

(JTA) — A papyrus fragment referring to the wife of Jesus is likely authentic, scientists believe.

An article published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review said scientists at three universities who analyzed the fragment, called the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, reported that it resembles other ancient papyrus documents from the fourth century to the eighth century.

The journal also published a peer-reviewed paper on Thursday by Harvard  historian Karen L. King, who discovered the fragment, and a rebuttal by Leo Depuydt, a professor of Egyptology at Brown University, who believes it is a fake.

The  fragment, which was brought to light in 2012, says “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …,’ ” as well as the words “she will be able to be my disciple.” It opened a contentious debate in the Catholic Church on whether women can serve as priests.

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