Leo Depuydt still believes that the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is “hilarious” and “patently fake.” His article in the Harvard Theological Review is online as is Karen King’s response. Some excerpts are given in The Washington Post. Christianity Today runs an interview with Nicholas Perrin of Wheaton College about what it all means.

A fascinating new exhibition will be opening next month at the British Museum on mummies and what we know about them from the latest technology. The changing graphic on the museum website provides a preview. This AP article has more details.

Luxor Times has photos of antiquities recently stolen from the Luxor Temple.

Barry Kemp has posted a report from the latest season of excavations of the Great Aten Temple in

King Tut began his US tour in Kansas City this week. He will be in San Diego in time for the annual meetings.

Some excellent Zondervan e-resources on sale until tomorrow:

The full list is here. The first two are particular favorites of mine. All 5 volumes of ZEB for only $34 is very good, though this resource may be more difficult to use in electronic format than in print form ($121).

HT: G. M. Grena, Jack Sasson

Tell el-Amarna Small Temple of Aten from west, tb010905318
Small Temple of Aten, Tell el-Amarna
Photo from Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

From the New York Times:

A faded fragment of papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.
Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’ ” Too convenient for some, it also contained the words “she will be able to be my disciple,” a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests.
The papyrus fragment has now been analyzed by professors of electrical engineering, chemistry and biology at Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who reported that it resembles other ancient papyri from the fourth to the eighth centuries. (Scientists at the University of Arizona, who dated the fragment to centuries before the birth of Jesus, concluded that their results were unreliable.)
The test results do not prove that Jesus had a wife or disciples who were women, only that the fragment is more likely a snippet from an ancient manuscript than a fake, the scholars agree. Karen L. King, the historian at Harvard Divinity School who gave the papyrus its name and fame, has said all along that it should not be regarded as evidence that Jesus married, only that early Christians were actively discussing celibacy, sex, marriage and discipleship.

The full NYT article is here. The Harvard Theological Review article is available for free download here.

An initial radiocarbon analysis dated the fragment to 404–209 BC; a second analysis gave a mean date of AD 741. King concludes with a date in the 7th or 8th centuries AD. As far as being a reliable witness to 1st century events, it is not. The author notes that the fragment should be studied in light of the Muslim view that prophets were usually married.

In King’s reading, “The main point of the GJW fragment is simply to affirm that women who are wives and mothers can be Jesus’s disciples.”

Previous posts about this subject:

Somebody Once Believed Jesus Had a Wife

Articles on Jesus’ Wife


A new article in the Open Journal of Geology strengthens the case for the authenticity of the inscription on the James Ossuary. The article was written by Amnon Rosenfeld, Howard R. Feldman, Wolfgang E. Krumbein and is available for free download. The abstract gives a sense for the technical detail involved in the study.

An archaeometric analysis of the James Ossuary inscription “James Son of Joseph Brother of Jesus” strengthens the contention that the ossuary and its engravings are authentic. The beige patina can be observed on the surface of the ossuary, continuing gradationally into the engraved inscription. Fine long striations made by the friction of falling roof rocks continuously crosscut the letters. Many dissolution pits are superimposed on several of the letters of the inscription. In addition to calcite and quartz, the patina contains the following minerals: apatite, whewellite and weddelite (calcium oxalate). These minerals result from the biogenic activity of microorganisms that require a long period of time to form a bio-patina. Moreover, the heterogeneous existence of wind-blown microfossils (nannofossils and foraminifers) and quartz within the patina of the ossuary, including the lettering zone, reinforces the authenticity of the inscription. 

The James ossuary was on display at the Royal Ontario Museum from November 15, 2002 to January 5, 2003.

HT: G. M. Grena


The Book and the Spade has a two-part interview with Kenneth Bailey on the biblical account of Jesus’ birth. (Direct links: part 1, part 2)

Of the James ossuary inscription, Gabriel Barkay says, “It is an authentic inscription.”

The Washington Post reports the Christians who are coming to Bethlehem and the Christians who are leaving.

Ferrell Jenkins takes a moment out to describe the blogs he reads and more.

The Israeli State Comptroller’s report on the illegal excavations on the Temple Mount has been kept secret, until now.

A report in a Knesset committee this week described Israel’s failure to protect ancient wooden beams on the Temple Mount.

Fox News suggests six unusual ways to visit the Holy Land.

Scholars are now studying graffiti left by medieval pilgrims at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

The ASOR Blog has a roundup from the broader world of archaeology.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle


Robert Deutsch is suing the Israel Antiquities Authority for $3 million.

Leen Ritmeyer points to a Washington Post article and detailed graphic of the Temple Mount.

Seth Rodriquez shares an animated map that shows who controlled the Middle East from 3000 BC to present.

The story of Eilat Mazar’s discovery of gold coins and medallion near the Temple Mount and how she kept it secret is recounted by Israel HaYom.

The Egyptian Museum is open, but King Tut is all alone, according to an update in the Washington Post.

The first winter storm in Israel brought snow to Mount Hermon and a rise in the level of the Sea of Galilee.

HT: Jack Sasson

Graphic from The Washington Post

The James Ossuary has been released by the Israel Antiquities Authority to the owner Oded Golan. Matthew Kalman explains how police contamination of the James Ossuary was a factor in the the verdict of “not guilty.” Ninety antiquities on sale in a Jerusalem auction were returned to Egypt last week. Nir Hasson reports on antiquities dealers in Israel who are fighting governmental efforts to force them to use a computer database. Haaretz: How a Canaanite goddess conquered ancient Egypt The Biblical Archaeological Society is providing open access to its seven articles on Lachish in honor of the opening of the fourth expedition. The Catholic Herald runs a recent interview with Jerome Murphy-O’Connor. Leen Ritmeyer shares some of his own reflections. The Book and the Spade re-runs an interview from 2008. Ritmeyer shares a screenshot of a digital picture of ancient Jerusalem from the forthcoming iMax 3D movie. HT: Joseph Lauer, Jack Sasson