CAIRO – After two years of extensive search and tests, scientists have asserted that they found no evidence of forgery in the ancient papyrus referring to Jesus marriage, a discovery expected to challenge a Christian belief that Jesus was not married.
“Over the past two years, extensive testing of the papyrus and the carbon ink, as well as analysis of the handwriting and grammar, all indicate that the existing material fragment dates to between the sixth and ninth centuries CE (common era),” the Harvard Theological Review was cited by The Daily Telegraph.
A scrap of an ancient papyrus written in ancient Egyptian Coptic that reads “Jesus said to them, my wife” was unveiled in September 2012 by Karen King, a Harvard academic.
The scrap, which is smaller than a business card, also includes a saying that “she will be able to be my disciple”.
King had presented the fragment at a six day conference in Rome, but significantly her contribution was not reported at the time by either the Vatican newspaper or Vatican radio.
The document sparked furor after being swiftly denounced as a fake by both King’s academic peers and the Vatican.
The scientific research was carried out by academics, including biologists and chemists, from Harvard, Columbia University and MIT.
“None of the testing has produced any evidence that the fragment is a modern fabrication or forgery,” Harvard Review concluded.
Most Christians and the Catholic Church have long maintained that Jesus was not married.
But some Christians have believed otherwise, with the idea of Jesus marriage surfacing on a regular basis.
In 2003, Dan Brown’s best-seller “The Da Vinci Code” triggered uproar among Christians after claiming that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children.
The Bible does not mention a word about the marital status of Jesus.
The four Gospels do not tell anything about Jesus marriage, only speaking about his birth, early childhood and then skip to his short, three-year ministry before detailing his death and resurrection.
An earlier fatwa by Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, says that the Qur’an is silent regarding the issue of Jesus’ marriage. The Sunnah, likewise, does not speak about Jesus’ marriage before he was lifted up to heaven.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur’an, Jesus is called “Isa”. He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
As for his crucifixion, Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but was lifted up to heaven.
Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth before the end of time to restore peace and order, fight the Anti-Christ (Al-Masih Al-Dajjal) and bring victory for truth and righteousness.
The true followers of Jesus will prevail over those who deny him, misrepresent him and reject him.