Latest on Jesus Wife Text

Darrell L. Bock's picture

The clock ticks on the assessment process. The latest is whether or not the report by Karen King will be published by the Harvard Theological Review or not, since many are now suggesting the text is a forgery (at least the nature of the ink on an old fragment is being questioned). 

Here is the latest report:


Darrell, I hope you are doing well. I enjoyed the recent Culture-Making seminar with Andy Crouch at DTS. but my question is on another theme. I have a good friend who is going through something of a faith crisis and is interested in knowing where to turn to find extra-biblical source material that would validate the historicity of the New Testament. Could you direct me to a decent bibliography that would be helpful? Thanks, Dave Smith, San Antonio.

Darrell L. Bock's picture

It is important to remember that the early church existed in a corner of the Roman empire in its earliest years (so it is like asking about what happens in Guam in discussing the USA). There are some ancient secular sources for the faith. Josephus writes of John the Baptist and Jesus in Book 18 of the Antiquities. Tacitus discusses Christians in his Annals. Suetonius may refers to Christians in his work on Claudias in his book Twelve Caesars. Pliny the Younger writes about Christians to Trajan in his Letter 97. These sources confirm very basic elements of the faith. As for modern discussions, books by Ben Witherington, Craig Keener, Craig Evans, Craig Blomberg and myself treat these issues. My book, Who Is Jesus, discusses 12 key events in Jesus' life and shows by more secular rules why these events can be seen as authentic.

I had a nice long chat with Janet Timbie, our coptologist at Catholic University. She refered me to Alin Suciu's blog for just about real-time updates on the text in question.

The broadened investigation into the text the past two months has produced several observations from experts in different fields.

- different sized handwriting on the recto and verso

- the epsilon of line 6 appears to be brushed on, when a reed seems to have penned the rest of the text

- For a fragmentary text, all the lines are grammatically sound. We would expect words ending some lines to be interupted.

- The lines of the text appear to be excerpts taken right out of G.Thomas (Watson's article on Mark Goodacre's blog summarizes this well)

- the ink testing might be ultimately be inconclusive since there are modern means to closely replicating ancient ink.

- There are more recent observations about the first line that I can share if any of this is actually news to you.



Darrell L. Bock's picture

All helpful. Trevor. You might check this out for information.

Hi Brother Darrell.

Sorry if this is the wrong place for this inquiry, but I thought you might be able

to help out. I just saw a book by an australian, Ian Ross Vayro (studied classical history

and archaeology). Have you or any others

heard about him and his "uncovering the truth"? He's written the books, They Lied to Us At Sunday School, God Save us From Religion, etc. These two especially talk about

how the core doctrines of christianity (e.g. crucified gods, triune gods, saviour/atoning gods)

stem from similar beliefs all throughout sumerian, egyptian, ANE (and even asian) history etc and the church

just took these and made up the stories. It sounds a whole lot like the whole ANE history

- origin scenario. If you have any info at all, or can put me to good scholarship etc that

has fought through that whole area that would be great. He also goes into how the church

"corrupted and manipulated" scripture to fit their ideas - the usual. Sorry for the annoyance,

but any info would be great (especially about the ANE origins debates)

Thanks, Grant 

Darrell L. Bock's picture

These claims are old. Check out Chris Forbes at the Centre for Public Christianity (Just google it. Watch the Britiah spelling). Go to videos and look for "Zeitgeist". It gets at this stuff.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Blog Category: