The Story Behind the Jesus’ Wife Fragment Fraud

Jim West directs our attention to (in his words) “this damning essay” in The Atlantic that “sheds light on the fraud perpetrated on segments of the gullible public by the publication of the ‘Jesus Wife’ nonsense fragment.”

The essay amounts to an unflattering portrait of Karen King of Harvard University, the scholar who brought the fragment to the public eye. The major blemish is King’s failure (or perhaps apathy toward) doing the detective work necessary to establish the fragment’s provenance. Ariel Sabar, author of the article, observes, “The owner of the Jesus’s-wife fragment, whoever he was, had told King a story about where, when, and how he’d acquired it. But the closest thing he had to corroboration was a photocopy of a signed sales contract.”

That ain’t good.

Sabar does the grunt work of tracing the particulars of the story and “what lies beneath” the fragment’s origin. It’s too bad that couldn’t have been done at the beginning.

 

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