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Harvard scholar promoting Gnostic heresy papyrus fragment

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Author Topic: Harvard scholar promoting Gnostic heresy papyrus fragment  (Read 2715 times)
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« on: October 12, 2016, 10:27:24 pm »

This is from the October 2016 Fortean Times magazine.

the gospel of jesus’s
wife [ft294:4]

At a conference
in Rome on 18
September 2012,
Prof Karen King,
Hollis Professor
of Divinity at
Harvard Divinity
School and a prominent New
Testament scholar, announced the
existence of a papyrus fragment
with a text in (Egyptian) Sahidic
Coptic appearing to offer
evidence that Jesus was married.

The faded fragment, 4cm by
8cm (1.6in x 3.1in), has a text
scattered across 14 incomplete
lines, translated as follows: “not
[to] me. My mother gave to me
li[fe]”; “The disciples said to
Jesus”; “deny. Mary is worthy
of it”; “Jesus said to them, My
wife”; “she will be able to be my
disciple”; “Let wicked people
swell up”; “As for me, I dwell
with her in order to”; “an image”;
“my moth[er]”; “three”; and
“forth which”. Though Prof King
called the fragment “The Gospel
of Jesus’ Wife”, she emphasised
that the text didn’t prove that
Jesus was married or that, if he
were, that his wife was Mary
Magdalene – only that “some
early Christians had a tradition
that Jesus was married”. In
any case, it was welcome news
for fans of The Holy Blood and
the Holy Grail and Dan Brown’s
notorious pot-boiler.

Almost immediately after
Prof King’s announcement, the
Vatican newspaper labelled
the papyrus “an inept forgery”.
Some experts in papyrology and
Coptic linguistics attested to
its authenticity; other begged
to differ. In April 2014, Harvard
announced the results of carbondating
tests, multispectral
imaging, and other lab analyses:
the papyrus appeared to be of
ancient origin – between AD
659 and 859, or possibly earlier
– and the ink had no obviously
modern ingredients. However,
the text itself was tracked down
to an interlinear translation of
the Gospel of Thomas published
online in 2002. Phrases from this
had been lifted and chopped
up to make the phrases in the
fragment, something that showed
up in a very unusual word-break,
and one of the words had a
missing letter that was found
only in the PDF description.
Furthermore, the lettering
was suspiciously splotchy, the
grammar poor.

A wonderfully persistent
researcher called Ariel Sabar
has now traced the papyrus’s
provenance and in June 2016
published his findings in The
Atlantic magazine. The forger
turned out to be Walter Fritz, a
smooth-talking German living in
Florida, who contacted Prof King
in 2011, showing her the papyrus
and requesting help in its
translation and authentication.
He claimed to have bought it and
five other Coptic papyri from
Hans-Ulrich Laukamp in Florida
in 1999. The latter had allegedly
acquired them in East Germany
in 1963. Laukamp was a rather
simple-minded alcoholic who
died in 2002. His relatives denied
he ever possessed any papyri,
and also insisted he was in West
Berlin in 1963, unable to cross
over to the Communist side, and
was in Germany attending his
dying wife when Fritz claimed to
have bought the papyri from him
in Florida.

Fritz studied at the Free
University in Berlin around
1988, took a job as a tour guide
at Berlin’s Egyptian Museum,
backpacked around Egypt, and
studied Coptic. Following the fall
of the Berlin Wall, he blagged his
way into the directorship of a new
museum of East German history
in the old Stasi HQ in East
Berlin in about October 1991,
but disappeared in the Spring
of 1992 after exhibits started
to go missing. He then popped
up in Florida as a director of
an auto-parts company. Sabar
discovered that Fritz bought the
domain name gospelofjesuswife.
com on 26 Aug 2012, more
than three weeks before Prof
King publicised the papyrus.
Confronted with the revelations
concerning Fritz, Prof King has
now admitted that the fragment
is a forgery.

In 2003 Fritz had launched a
series of pornographic websites
that showcased his wife having
sex with other men – often more
than one at a time. One home
page billed her as “America’s
#1 **** Wife.” There was no
charge, but the men had to agree
to Walt’s filming. The couple’s
work belonged to a fetish genre
called “hotwife”, built around
fantasies of cuckolded husbands
powerless to stop their wives’ lust
for other men. Sabar reported:
“On one of his wife’s sites…
passages from Goethe, Proust,
and Edna St. Vincent Millay are
interspersed with philosophical
musings on Jesus’s teachings, the
slippery nature of reality, and
‘the Perfection of Sluthood.’” She
also would babble in a language
Fritz supposed to be Aramaic
while they were having sex. She
herself claimed that she had
been a clairvoyant since the age
of 17, and had been instructed
by angels to do everything she
subsequently did. Int. NY Times,
11 April 2014; Live Science, 25 Aug
2015; Catholic Herald online, 17
June 2016; Church Times, 3 July
2015, 24 June 2016..
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