Finding Fragments…Fueling Fact or Fantasy?

Earlier this week, various news and media outlets buzzed with the reports of the discovery of what appears to be a fragment from a 4th-century codex, written in Coptic (Sahidic).  What is the reason this 4cm x 8cm sampling of antiquity is gaining so much air time?  Well, at one point, it appears to read, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . . she will be able to be my disciple.'”  Of course, this is red meat for another media blitz that claims, once again, that there is a possibility Christians have never had the full story about the person of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Michael Kruger, professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) and author of Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012), has written an excellent piece over at The Gospel Coalition’s site that is well worth reading in its entirety. When it’s all said and done, Kruger points out one simple and often overlooked fact in the discussion of authentic and apocryphal manuscript studies, saying:

…of all the gospels in early Christianity, only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are dated to the first century.  Sure, there are minority attempts to put books like the Gospel of Thomas in the first century—but such attempts have not been well received by biblical scholars. Thus, if we really want to know what Jesus was like, our best bet is to rely on books that were at least written during the time period when eyewitnesses were still alive. And only four gospels meet that standard. (emphasis original)

**You may also want to check out Al Mohler’s article, “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship”.

(HT: Carlton Wynne)

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