Updated April. 12, 2014 05:51
Scientists who tested a fragment of papyrus known as the "Gospel of Jesuss Wife," have concluded that it is very likely authentic. The New York Times reported Thursday that professors at Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed the papyrus fragment for about two years and have reached a conclusion that both the ink and papyrus are "very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery."
There have been continued controversies over the authenticity of the papyrus since it was unveiled by Karen L. King, a Harvard Divinity School historian, in 2012. The 7.6-centimeter-by-2.8-centimeter document contains a never-before-seen phrase: "Jesus said to them, `My wife...`" It also contained the words "she will be able to be my disciple," touching off a debate over whether women should be allowed to be priests.
Although the Vatican has recently called the papyrus scrap was a modern forgery, the scientists agree that it is real. The analysis team consisting of scholars in electrical engineering, chemistry and biology used infrared spectroscopy and reported that the papyrus is similar to others dating from 400 B.C. to A.D. 700 or 800. King said she was certain of the papyrus`s authenticity.
However, scientists say the document does not prove that Jesus had a wife. King also said that the papyrus cannot be seen as decisive evidence that Jesus was married, noting that the document was probably part of a debate among early Christians about celibacy in spiritual life, marriage, sex and the status of apostles.
The New York Times reported, however, that the study result would not convince those who have doubts that the papyrus is real, citing its "gross grammatical errors" and unclear source.