On Fragments & Alleged Forgeries
As I predicted, “the beat goes on” further in the rapid-fire blog-postings about the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment, and now also the fragment said to have come in the same batch of items lent to Prof. King, this one a bit of Coptic Gospel of John.
For my part, I was surprised and puzzled to learn that the two items sent for Carbon 14 and ink testing were both from the cache of items put into Prof. King’s hands. I had assumed that the testing of the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment had been done alongside a fragment of a papyrus of independent provenance, to use the latter as a control-item for testing ink, etc. Quite what value there was in the first place in having the lab compare two items from the same cache of papyri escapes me.
But the more serious matters are those alleged by Askeland and Goodacre. If the papyrus fragment of Coptic Gospel of John was actually copied from a published transcription of a manuscript, making the fragment a fake, then that raises doubts further about the authenticity of the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment in the same batch of papyri.
(Update: Thanks to Jan Bremmer for drawing my attention to comments by Prof. Christopher Jones here. )
Things seem to be moving very rapidly. Perhaps by the time of the Smithsonian documentary on the “Jesus’ Wife” fragment (to be aired in the USA on 05 May, apparently), the situation could be altered considerably!