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« Answering Controversy as an Ambassador | Main | Logic & Religion »

September 18, 2012


Ah, but we know that it's accurate because the further away from the life of Jesus the more reliable the document is, and

. There was only one person named Jesus so it must mean "Him"!

Don't be such a doubter. Atheists know how to interpret Scripture better than anyone else.

Prediction: Some of the same people who have claimed that Jesus never existed will jump all over this, hailing it as evidence against Christianity.

Of course, a God who has the capacity to divinely inspire human authors such that they produce texts which are infallible revelations of His will is not in any way bound by such concerns as "proximity to events."

I think it is just your dogmatic naturalistic assumptions that lead you to dismiss the miraculous inspiration of this papyrus out of hand.

I'm skeptical and I'm also not a bible scholar, so let me ask a dumb question...

Could a reference to "wife" in such a document be derived from "bride of Christ"?

By the way, you know what they say about dumb question..."There are no dumb questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots".

"They weren't considered authoritative because they were far removed from Jesus life and the authorship couldn't be traced to an eyewitness."


They were rejected because they were heretical!

A quick point: the papyrus almost certainly is speaking about Jesus of Nazareth, the same one as the Bible. Someone made a similar point (that it could be another Jesus) on Daniel Wallace's blog, and this was his response:

No, I think Jesus of Nazareth is definitely in view. Notice the fourth line down, midway: the nomen sacrum IC is used, an abbreviation for “Jesus” when referring to the Lord.

However, I think the date is very important and telling. Additionally, does the biblical Gospels ever say that Jesus was not married? I am inclined to think he was single, but so what if he was married? How does that alter any important biblical doctrines?


The "bride" of Christ, in the theology of the gospel writers, is the church. For Jesus to have a bride in the normal sense would detract from that theology.


I think you're responding to my comment not Austin's. If so, you may not have understood my question. I understand "bride" is a metaphor for the church. I am asking is it reasonable to think that "wife" (in the context of this supposed discovery) is a derivative of the bride metaphor? Did the coptic loose something in translation?


The Church Fathers and the Catholic Church today would agree with you, as that's been the consistent Catholic commentary on this subject over the past week.
But also I have to add the bride of Christ has never been taken as a metaphor by the Catholic Church, but a reality.

However, according to Melinda's chrono-'logic' (which has more in common with Mormonism than Traditional Christianity) the assumption is that Catholic Church and the Fathers are wrong, or certainly not authoritative.

Yet, all my Evangelical friends think their capacity to interpret scripture is more authoritative than those back then. They believe they don't need any authority to make sense of it and love showing me verses which backup their viewpoint - and the brighter ones try using Greg's 'Never read a bible verse' and think that solves it.

For example, I bet Melinda believes when she reads scripture she's capable of making perfect sense of it, without Apostolic Tradition.

So also, you get RC Sproul making stupid comments like "An fallible collection of infallible books" when it comes to the people who decided the Canon at around the same time as this fragment. So, the Fathers had authority to decide and close the Canon, but not to judge the heresy of the various gnosticisms around at the same time?

Evangelicals pick-and-choose which teachings of the Fathers they'll accept and which they'll reject (based on agreement with their own subjectivist interpretation). That's a classic liberal viewpoint - and chronological hubris - that we know better than those Fathers back then. They can't have their cake and eat it.

So, for example, although there are proof texts as long as one's arm as evidence that 'faith alone' is untenable (particularly in James which Luther wanted removed from the Canon), Evangelicals think they know better and accuse us of 'works righteousness', and still hold on to a notion that is not scriptural, even on the most literalist interpretation.

That is, they are working from a 'tradition' yet deny it, or ignore (or are even ignorant of) the fact and are not reading scripture without the interpretive lenses of their tradition.


I think the solution here is to offer whether or not any Christian who is a Catholic really belongs to Christ, and, whether or not any Christian who is not Catholic, but is some form of some "other" Christian brand, really belongs to Christ. If the answer to each is, "Yes, there are Catholics and Non-Catholics who belong to Christ and who will, after dying, join Him" then it would seem that belonging to Christ trumps belonging to any particular denomination.

If you mean to argue that any and every professing Christian who delights, truly, in some other brand of Christianity other than Catholicism will, upon dying, be eternally turned away by Christ, then perhaps you should be honest enough to state that? Or, if you do not believe that will be the case, then why all the fuss over denomination A or B or C as it really is something “else” which trumps all of those?

What I mean to ask you is, do you believe in your heart that all Non-Catholic Christians are eternally lost? Or, perhaps, do you believe they will be sent to a purgatory of some sort until they come around to Catholicism?

I suppose, as I have asked you, you deserve my answer. I hold that there are those who belong to Christ whom we would almost, not fully perhaps, or perhaps fully, dam as cursed in our own evaluation of their souls, and, there are all sorts of saved souls whom He is bringing from all sorts of backgrounds who are currently in the midst of various denominations, non-denominations, and even in the midst of un-churched settings in which those we consider to be freaks and bastards are found sitting in prison cells, bars, whore houses, drug rehab centers, and orphanages with nothing more than a few pages ripped out of a Bible and a cry for help, and who yet belong to Him. These are not Catholics, nor Protestants, nor anything at all: they are merely Christ’s. All of these, these Catholics, Protestants, Churched, Un-churched, Bastards, and newly converted whores and detoxing freaks will, should they die this moment, join Christ in Love’s Kingdom.

So, again, what I mean to ask you is, do you believe in your heart that all Non-Catholic Christians are eternally lost should they die this moment? Or, perhaps, do you believe they will, should they die this moment, be sent to a purgatory of some sort until they come around to Catholicism and only then enter into Heaven?


Lest you try to cheat or dance around the issue, we must consider the fate of all those millions who have died over the past 2000 years under the name of some Protestant or Non-Denominational flavor and who, when they had considered Catholicism, had found it wanting in some way and had thus turned to some Protestant flavor or Non-Denominational flavor instead. What is the fate of all those? Are there ANY of these who are in Heaven? None?


My response was meant for Austin, as his question was whether or not Jesus being married could affect doctrine.

Your suggestion is a possibility, but I don't think it would be the case. It would be helpful to know if "bride" and "wife" each have their own word in Greek, or if they are represented by the same word and the exact meaning is determined through context.

The tension of kingdom theology that runs throughout the gospels is one of "already/not yet". When bride/bridegoom analogies are used, it seems to be the "not yet" side of the coin. The bride waiting in anticipation of the coming bridegroom is a picture of the future consummation of the kingdom fulfilled in Christ's return. In light of this, it would be incongruous to suppose that Jesus would refer to his bride (the church) in the present-tense as a wife, as this new discovery seems to suggest.


In Ephesians 5 it talks about the church as the wife of Christ and the word in greek is gynē, which is a woman whether virgin or married or of any age. In other words, the church is Christ's woman (the one made from him to be his helpmeet as Eve was for Adam). This is very much "already". The church is "already" the body of Christ, made from him, to be his hands and feet in the earth.

The "not yet" is the bride, in greek the word nymphē, who is the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven after there is a new heaven and new earth. But look at Rev. 21:9. It says the bride, nymphē, is the lamb's wife, gynē.

So surely it's possible that in the fragment Jesus is referring to the church when he says "my wife" (at least from my perspective without knowing the relationship between the Coptic word in question and it's relationship to the Greek).


Your knowledge of Greek is helpful, thank you. Yet in each of the texts you mention (Eph. 5 and Rev. 21), Paul and John's bride/wife/church necessarily postdates Jesus. The inception of the church is Pentecost; it would be anachronistic of Jesus in the gospels to refer to the future church to be founded at Pentecost as his present wife. The Holy Spirit forms the church in Acts and carries her through to this day. Even the marriage analogy Paul draws in Eph. 5 shows in verses 25-27 that the wife undergoes a washing/purification ritual that is initiated by Jesus' death "so that he might present the church to himself in splendor...that she might be holy and without blemish." This again sounds like pre-wedding ceremony material, looking forward to a consummation. In ancient thinking, it is the consummation that makes the marriage.

I can't say that the writer of the text in question did not intend to show Jesus referring to the church as his wife. That may have been exactly how it was intended to be taken. I just think it odd and maybe even unorthodox in light of the preserved tradition.

Is there a good place to keep up on those fragments that are found to support the bible?

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