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How a mysterious man fooled a Harvard scholar into believing the 'Gospel of Jesus' Wife' was real

September 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Cambridge, MA - 09-13-12- Karen L. King (cq) Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, in her office with a papyrus fragment of the gospel of Jesus' wife. (Globe staff photo / Bill Greene) Section:metro, reporter: wangsness, Topic:papyrus

In 2012 scholar Karen King announced the academic discovery of a lifetime: a scrap of papyrus, purportedly from the early days of Christianity, in which Jesus refers to a woman as "my wife." A new book says King was fooled by a brazen forgery.

(CNN)In 2012 Karen King, a prestigious scholar at Harvard Divinity School, announced the academic discovery of a lifetime: a scrap of papyrus, purportedly from the early days of Christianity, in which Jesus refers to a woman as "my wife. "

The "Gospel of Jesus' Wife," as King called it, was exposed by scholars as fake, and the prestigious professor's name has become a watchword for academics hoodwinked by con men.

In 2016, after journalist Ariel Sabar published an article in The Atlantic uncovering the ownership history of the "Jesus' Wife" fragment, King herself publicly acknowledged the papyrus is likely a forgery.

Four years later Sabar is back with the fascinating full story in his new book, "Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus' Wife. "

CNN recently spoke to Sabar about the Gospel of Jesus' Wife, whether anyone still believes it's real and what might have motivated the forger.

It's safe to say that there is no scholar that I know of anywhere who is defending the Gospel of Jesus' Wife as authentic, not even Karen King.

And King is a scholar of Mary Magdalene, right?

The Gospel of Jesus' Wife squared that circle for King.

That provides, in two fragmentary lines of Coptic, an answer to a question Karen King had been asking her whole career.

The owner of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is Walter Fritz, who most scholars regard as the forger.

Initially Karen King brushed off the mysterious man with the supposedly ancient papyrus fragment.

It's a really enigmatic pivot that Dr. King makes right around the time Harvard's president questions whether the Divinity School is pulling its weight at the university.

and she announced the divinity school would be spared on the very same day Dr. King landed on the front page of The New York Times by unveiling the Gospel of Jesus' Wife in Rome.

It references Sabar's 2016 article in The Atlantic and says, in part: "Reached for comment by The Boston Globe after publication of the Atlantic article, Professor King was quoted as stating that 'It appears now that all the material [owner Walter] Fritz gave to me concerning the provenance of the papyrus . . .

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