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Re: [GTh] new gospel fragment

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  • steve oxbrow
    Creating a bit of a furore in the mainsteam UK press and the CofE.   Creating a bit of a furore in the mainsteam UK press and the CofE.
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 20, 2012
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      Creating a bit of a furore in the mainsteam UK press and the CofE.  
    • Jack Kilmon
      Hi Ian: Mine is a suspicion of forgery, not a declaration. I can only see a photograph of the recto. It does appear from the photo that the papyrus is
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 21, 2012
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        Hi Ian:
             Mine is a suspicion of forgery, not a declaration.  I can only see a photograph of the recto.  It does appear from the photo that the papyrus is ancient, easy to obtain or harvest from an ancient document.  I do agree that it seems that “forgery!!!” was an automatic charge from some camps for anything that smacked of a Jesus connection.  The most extreme example being the multimillion shekel IAA witch hunt on the James Ossuary which I supported as genuine from the beginning IF there was ancient patina in “....achuiy d’yeshua.”  There was so it was (genuine). The “Mrs. Jesus” papyrus is suspicious to me because of questionable origin, anonymous ownership, a scissor cut and a clumsy hand that does not appear to be written by someone who normally writes Coptic.  In short, just what I can see in the photograph.  Fortunately it will come out on examination of the ink. There is enough smeared that a microsample can be obtained without compromising the script.  Something is fishy!  Of course, I may be wrong but that’s what the science is for.
         
        Jack Kilmon
         
        From: Ian Brown
        Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:04 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] new gospel fragment
         


        I don't know that Fox News is the best source for critical commentary on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife (or anything else for that matter).

        Jim Davila over at PaleoJudaica offers up a slightly more thought out critique and reasoning as to why he thinks it's a forgery (http://paleojudaica.blogspot.ca/2012_09_16_archive.html#3011145523435557232), but it seems to me people are missing some key points here.

        First, Roger Bagnall, one of the papyrologists King showed the fragment is convinced it is 4th century for several reasons which are outlined in he draft of King's article. The most convincing being (to my mind, anyways), that the ink on the back side of the papyrus fragment is faded in a way that can only suggest a long aging process. A process that is next to impossible to forge (unless the forger started 1600+ years ago).

        Additionally, while those dismissing it as a forgery are focusing legitimate issues (or at least semi legitimate issues) such as the handwriting, the clean cuts that make sides of the fragment, and yes, MAYBE even the post Da Vinci code excitement around new gospels, especially ones that depict a married Jesus, it seems the goals of dismissing this as a forgery are the same old goals of insulating some notion of the historical Jesus seems in danger every time new texts come to light.

        The reality is GosJesWife probably tells us nothing about the historical Jesus, but who cares. It tells us that in the 4th century (and possibly in the 2nd century, if it is indeed based on a Greek original) people were talking about, and copying stories about a married Jesus, and that's pretty cool.

        Ian Brown
         

        From: Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...>
        To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:04:59 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] new gospel fragment

         
        Hi Mike:
            It looks as if I am not alone in my assessment of the Mrs. Jesus text.
         
        They have the same misgivings we do.
         
        Jack
         
        Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:11 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] new gospel fragment
         


        [Jack Kilmon]:
        > I have a problem with a papyrus fragment that is perfectly
        shaped,
        > no provenance, anonymous owner and in the most atrocious Coptic
        > hand I have ever seen.  I think I will wait for the forensic and
        paleo-
        > graphic examination.
         
        With respect to the inscription, some of the writing in NH Codices V
        and VI is pretty bad, but I think you're talking about the thickness of
        the lettering. King's draft paper has this to say about that:
         
        "The overall character of the handwriting is functional, neither a formal
        literary hand nor a purely documentary script. It is legible, but not
        regular, let alone elegant. Indeed, based on viewing low resolution
        photographs, the third reviewer described that hand as "clumsy and
        labored". [Roger] Bagnall, too, when he first observed the script
        judged it to be an unpracticed, messy hand, perhaps even by a modern
        forger, but on further observation and reflection concluded that the
        problem was the pen of the ancient scribe. In our initial conversation,
        he suggested that it appears to have been blunt and not holding the ink
        well, resulting in the wide letter and thick strokes that appear." (p.7)
        (my editorial comment: the problem may be the pen, but whose pen?)
         
        As to the shape of the fragment, it isn't perfect, but the top does
        appear to have been cut. This would be the case if the top of the
        fragment was the top of a leaf, but AFAIK it would be quite unusual,
        if not unheard-of, for writing to commence at the very top of a page
        with no margin at all. You (Jack) would know more about that.
         
        "... Bagnall suggests that the regularity [in the shape of the fragment]
        may have been caused by an antiquities dealer cutting or tearing a
        larger page into sections in order to have more pieces for sale." (p10)
         
        Perhaps so, being as how strange things happen in the world of
        antiquities-dealing, but it is curious that this particular fragment happens
        to contain the words "my wife". Somewhere along the line, before it
        got to King, someone must have understood the wording and known
        its value. If the fragment is genuine, and other pieces of the ms are
        out there somewhere, one might be tempted to entertain the hope of
        their some day being joined, but I somehow suspect that that hope
        will never be realized.
         
        Cheers,
        Mike G.


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