[4th Century] Papyrus Refers to Christ’s Bride
Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ , so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish [Ephesians 5:24-27]
Edit: with a h/t to the Duke. It will be tempting for some overly friendly individuals to want to grant the benefit of the doubt to the frequently anti-Catholic New York Times. That’s not our purpose here. They’ve never been lacking for malice toward the Catholic Church, and this time is no exception.
A little research and perhaps a stronger religion desk would have left this story where it belongs.
The document in question was written nearly four centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection and is fragmentary, referring to Christ’s “wife”. The article in the Times doesn’t address the fact that Christ is often referred to as bridegroom or the spouse of the Church, but He is indeed referred to that way in Christian writing. And it didn’t stop the journalist from speculating about possible changes in the Church’s teachings.
Unfortunately, there will be a lot of confusion over this from Huffpo:
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ”
The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”
The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at an international meeting of Coptic scholars by Karen L. King, a historian who has published several books about new Gospel discoveries and is the first woman to hold the nation’s oldest endowed chair, the Hollis professor of divinity.