Did Jesus Always Know He Was God – On a wet November afternoon, I pulled off Interstate 75 through a stretch of Florida pine forest tangled with vines. My GPS was honing the home of a man who I thought might hold the key to one of the strangest scientific mysteries of recent decades: a 1,300-year-old piece of papyrus that says, “Jesus told them my wife.” The fragment, written in ancient Coptic, was discovered when noted Harvard early Christian historian Karen L. Shockwaves began when King spoke at a conference in Rome in September 2012.
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Did Jesus Always Know He Was God
Never before in any ancient manuscript has Jesus been married. The lines of the papyrus are incomplete, but they describe a dialogue between Jesus and the apostles about whether his “wife” – perhaps Mary Magdalene – was “worthy” to be a disciple. His main message, King argued, was that “women who are wives and mothers can become disciples of Jesus.” She thought that this passage was probably rooted in ancient debates about whether “marriage or celibacy is the ideal way of life for a Christian” and, ultimately, whether it is possible to be both sexy and chaste.
God The Father
King called the business card-sized papyrus “the gospel of the wife of Jesus.” But even without that exciting title, it would have shocked the world of biblical studies. For centuries, Christian traditions have debated whether the wreckage is genuine or, as a growing number of scholars argue, an outrageous modern forgery: Jesus’ celibacy helps form the basis of priestly celibacy, and an all-male cast of his apostles has long been mentioned. . To justify restrictions on women’s religious leadership. Especially in the Roman Catholic Church, the New Testament is seen as a divine revelation given by a long line of people – Jesus, the 12 apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Pope and finally the priests who carry the word of God to the parish pews. Today
King showed the papyrus to a small group of media a few weeks before its announcement—The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and the Smithsonian Magazine and Smithsonian Channel—on the condition that no material was published prior to her presentation in Rome. The Smithsonian did me the long favor of sending me to meet King at Harvard and then follow her to Rome. I was the only reporter in the room when she announced her discovery to her colleagues, who reacted with admiration and disbelief in equal measure.
Over the course of several days, suspicions grew. The Vatican newspaper called the papyrus “an unforgivable forgery”. Scholars have turned to his blog to point out obvious errors in Coptic grammar, as well as phrases that appear to have been taken from the Gospel of Thomas. Others felt that the text was suspiciously in step with the rise of religious egalitarianism and the conspiracy around the idea of a married Jesus, popularized by The Da Vinci Code. The controversy hit the news all over the world, including the article on these pages.
However, a year and a half later, Harvard released the results of radiocarbon analysis, multispectral imaging and other laboratory analyzes: it turned out that the papyrus was of ancient origin, and the ink did not contain clearly modern components. This does not rule out fraud. An aspiring craftsman can find a clean scrap of centuries-old papyrus (perhaps even on eBay, where old papyri are regularly auctioned off), ancient recipe ink blends, and fashionable passable Coptic type, especially if he or she has a bit of scientific knowledge. preparation. But scientific findings have complicated the forgery case. The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has been subjected to—and has withstood—more difficult lab tests, inch by inch, than almost any other papyrus in history.
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But skeptics have identified other problems as well. Among the most damaging was a curious typographical error that appears both in the “Jesus the Wife” fragment and in the 2002 edition of the Gospel of Thomas which was posted online, offering an easily accessible source for modern cut-and-pasting forgeries.
Along with King and his critics insisting on the primacy of their evidence, I wonder why no one has done a different kind of test: a thorough examination of the chain of papyrus ownership.
King has certainly granted the current owner’s request for anonymity. But in 2012, after she deleted his name and gave details, she sent me the text of the email exchanged with him. I noticed that there were a number of minor inconsistencies in the account of how he got hold of the piece. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to do about it. But years later they still bored me.
The American Association of Museums’ Guide to Origins Research warns that investigating the provenance of an object is “not unlike detective work”: “One can spend hours, days, or weeks following a trail that leads nowhere.” However, when I started digging, I discovered more than I could ever have imagined – a labyrinth of secrets and lies that stretched from the industrial districts of Berlin to the swinger scene of Southwest Florida, from the halls of Harvard and the Vatican to the headquarters of the East German Stasi.
Did Jesus Have A Wife?
The owner of the piece of Jesus’ wife, whoever he was, told the king the story of where, when, and how he got it. But the closest he had to confirm this was a signed photocopy of the sales contract. The contract records the purchase of six Coptic papyri in November 1999 from a man named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp. The contract stated that Laukamp himself purchased the papyrus in Potsdam, communist East Germany, in 1963.
The owner also provided King with a scanned photocopy of a 1982 letter to Laukamp from Egyptologist Peter Munro of the Free University of Berlin, i.e. a copy of the copy. Munro wrote that his colleague looked at the papyri and thought that one of them gave the text from the Gospel of John.
The only written reference to the papyrus of Jesus’ wife appeared on another scan, an unsigned, undated handwritten note. He says that Munro’s colleague believed that “the fragment … is the only instance in the text in which Jesus uses direct speech in reference to a wife”, which “might be evidence of a possible marriage”.
Perhaps conveniently, all the players in this story were dead. Peter Munro died in 2009, a colleague he allegedly consulted about the papyri died in 2006, and Hans-Ulrich Laukamp died in 2002. As such, King also declared the scrap’s history unknown. “The lack of information about the origin of the invention is unfortunate,” she wrote in a 2014 Harvard Theological Review paper on papyrus, “because such information is known to be highly relevant.”
Jesus In Christianity
But was there a lack of information? Or just a lack of investigation? The owner, for example, was still alive and knew Laukamp personally, as King told me in 2012. In an email to King, the owner wrote that Laukamp “brought [his papyrus] back when he moved to the US.” This suggests that Laukamp sold them while living in America.
The owner of the papyrus claimed to have bought it from an auto parts manager named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp.
I went through public documents and found only one American city that was ever the home of Hans-Ulrich Laukamp. In 1997, a German couple named Hans-Ulrich and Helga Laukamp built a one-story stucco house with a swimming pool in Venice, a city on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
I found people who knew the Laukamps and they told me that the couple were heavy smokers and didn’t speak English; He lived alone in an enclave of middle-income “active seniors”. Helga worked in a laundry, and Hans-Ulrich was a toolmaker who never completed high school—not the kind of experience I expected from a manuscript collector.
The Teachings Of Jesus Christ
Perhaps Laukamp would never have left their little Berlin apartment if it had not been for a stroke of luck at the end of their lives. In 1995, Laukamp and his friend Axel Hertzsprung, a fellow instrumentalist, started a business together. ACMB Metallbearbeitung GmbH, or ACMB Metalworking, won a lucrative contract to manufacture brake components for BMW and soon began to earn around $250,000 a year.
Then in the mid-50s, the Laukamps bought a Pontiac Firebird and forced Hertzsprung and his wife to build a vacation home next door in Florida, where the Laukamps hoped to one day retire. But those dreams vanished as soon as they landed in the Sunshine State. Helga was diagnosed with lung cancer and Hans-Ulrich took her to Germany, where she died in December 1999 at the age of 56. The company filed for bankruptcy in August 2002, and Hans-Ulrich died four months later at the age of 59. After lung cancer metastasized to his brain.
Looking through the public records of his company, I came across a curious detail. Four days after Laukamp’s wife died in a Berlin hospital, his auto parts company opened a US branch using an office building address in Venice, Florida. Moreover, Laukamp and Hertzsprung were not the only leaders of American business. There was a third person named Walter Fritz who came to Florida from Germany at least four years before the other two.
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