According to The Huffington Post, a newly discovered papyrus fragment includes the words "Jesus said to them, 'my wife.'" The fragment is believed to be from the fourth century, and has captured Harvard professors’ attention.
The scroll was found by Karen L. King, Harvard Divinity School professor. It is the size of a business card, and the writing imprinted on it is in Coptic. Scholars are calling this find "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife."
This baffling discovery goes against Christian tradition, but researchers have said that there was no evidence to support the claim that Jesus had never been married.
King revealed her theory at the International Congress of Coptic Studies, in Rome.
“From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’ marital status to support their positions," professor King said at the conference in Rome on Tuesday.
The quote "Jesus said to them, 'my wife'" appears in a section where Jesus is preaching to his disciples. In this part of the text, Jesus also mentions his mother twice. He refers to one of the two women as Mary, and presents her as a potential disciple.
“She will be able to be my disciple,” the text reads.
There has been a lot of debate about whether or not the text should be deemed a Gospel. Some believe the term “wife” refers to the Christian church instead of a specific person.
King replies that her assumptions are based on the context and the phrasing.
"One cannot overrule that it might be him saying 'my wife as a church,' but in the context where he's talking about 'my mother' and 'my wife' and talking about 'my disciple,' the one thing you would not say is that the church would be 'my disciple,'" she argues.
The text is believed to be part of a book, due to the fact that it is written on both sides. Scrolls were only printed on one side. Coptic language experts concluded that it was written by Egyptian Christians before the year 400, and that it is most likely a translation of an earlier Greek text.