“Jesus’s Wife” Scholar Admits: Where There Are Flames, There May Be Fire

Partially conceding the bloody obvious, Harvard professor Karen L. King said the following to the New York Times:

This is substantive, it’s worth taking seriously, and it may point in the direction of forgery. This is one option that should receive serious consideration, but I don’t think it’s a done deal.

The “this” she’s talking about is the fairly clear evidence that the John fragment, which matches the “Jesus’s Wife” fragment, is a fake.

Laurie Goodstein, NY Times religion reporter and PR flak for revisionist Bible scholars everywhere, is still desperately trying to salvage her scoop, even if that means deploying sleazy innuendo. The discoverer of the forgery, Christian Askeland, made the mistake of being Christian and hanging around with the wrong sorts of people.

Let’s play follow the bouncing code words!

Dr. Askeland is an evangelical Christian who is also affiliated with Indiana Wesleyan University, an evangelical college in Marion, Ind., and the Green Scholars Initiative. That organization was founded by the Christian owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores to study a collection of biblical artifacts amassed by the family for display in a Bible museum they plan to build in Washington.

You know, if she keeps blowing that dog whistle, she’s going to lose her hearing. We get it, Laurie: “Ignore this God-bothering twit.”

It’s worth noting at this point that none of Goodstein’s coverage of Pseudo-GJW has ever pointed out King’s own bias as someone deeply invested in revisionist Biblical scholarship.

Goodstein obviously even questioned Askeland about what she assumes is his bias:

However, Dr. Askeland said his doubts about the Jesus’ Wife fragment were not prompted by any concerns about the unorthodox content because “there are many gospels, many texts, that say all kinds of things about Jesus.” Instead, it was the appearance of the fragment — the handwriting, the ink, the letter forms: “Whoever wrote it had different ways of writing the same letter,” he said.

Still spinning, she includes the following section later in the story:

Malcolm Choat, a Coptic expert at Macquarie University in Australia who cautiously contradicted the doubters in his paper last month for the Harvard journal, said in an interview that the new evidence was “persuasive,” but “we’re not completely there yet” — until the John and Jesus wife papyruses can be studied in person or using high-resolution images to understand their relationship.

Larry Hurtado adds this clarification to that section of the story:

Although cited in a recent New York Times article as still entertaining the authenticity of the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment, Malcolm Choat actually grants the force of the recent analyses that appear conclusively to show that the Coptic Gospel of John fragment is a fake.  And he grants also that this strengthens considerably the likelihood that the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment is fake as well. (This based on email exchanges with him as of today, 06 May.)

The spin machine is finally beginning to grind to halt with this one.

Related: This is a good piece on the lessons learned from the whole incident.