Jesus’ Wife? Female Disciples?

Was Jesus married?  Did he have female disciples?  Karen King, professor at Harvard Divinity School, reveals the existence of a fourth-century Coptic papyrus fragment that contains a phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”  Just below this line is the statement, “she will be able to be my disciple.” King dates this fragment to the fourth century and hypothesizes that it is a Coptic translation of a second-century Greek text. While it thus likely does not offer evidence about the historical Jesus, King thinks the papyrus may be additional evidence for early Christian debates about Jesus’ marital status and female discipleship.  It is of course also possible that the rest of these sentences could reveal a metaphorical understanding of Jesus as a bridegroom and the church as bride, as found, for instance, in Ephesians 5:23-24 and Revelation 18:23; 19:7-9; 21:2, 9.

Historian Says Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife