Monday, October 8, 2012

Doing a Radio Interview Tomorrow Night About the Jesus Wife Fragment, Gospel Forgeries

I am only mentioning it here because I use my blog as a hypomnema - a 'notebook' where I scribble down thoughts and things I am working on.  I meet some people at discussion groups on occasion and they bring forward one of the 3500 posts I have written in the last three years like it was written in stone.  The reality is that I started this blog just before the death of my father.  I don't know what the connection is other than I probably became very aware of my own mortality.

Instead of polishing things to perfect I thought I would just throw stuff against the wall - so to speak - and see not only what sticks in my little world, but because of the magic of Google, see what how ideas might develop in other people's worlds.

In any event, I have been thinking about what I am going to say.  As everyone else has been connecting Karen King's discovery to the Mar Saba document I will probably end up discussing both.  The reality is that only a test of the ink will establish with certainty if either manuscript is ancient.  As much as Francis Watson wants to recycle the same arguments for both texts there are a number of significant differences between the two discoveries.

The most obvious of course is that motive is clear for the Jesus Wife Fragment.  Unlike Morton Smith who found a manuscript, photographed it and ultimately left it where he found the text, the anonymous owner of the Jesus Wife Fragment clearly stands to make a lot of money from the notoriety surround the text.  I don't think anyone can argue that Karen King is part of this conspiracy.  While there have been scholarly forgeries in the past, most examples I can think of (= Simonides) are connected with a plot to make money.  It is hard to believe that either Karen King or Morton Smith should be view as anything less than exemplary scholars.

To this end, I think I will connect my discussion of both discoveries to the account of the creation of man in the Book of Genesis.  Secret Mark because chapter 10 of the gospel makes that explicit in Mark 10:2 - 11. The Jesus Wife Fragment because our inherited conception of marriage is developed from the same material.

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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