So, I have tried multiple times to link this article to my Facebook page:
However, I keep getting blocked. Why? Apparently, “Some users of Facebook have reported abusive content in this article.” ABUSIVE?! I find this incredible: here is a fascinating new piece of scholarship that might reveal something interesting about the early Christian communities, and some Christians [I assume] don’t even want to talk about it/hear about it/think about it, because it suggests there was a tradition in the early church that Jesus had a wife. Note, no one is saying he actually HAD a wife–this fragment is from centuries after Jesus’ life [4th century, to be exact], so it reveals more about what was of concern to Christians [What was the place of marriage in a life of faith? Was celibacy really the most faithful option? What was the role of women in the church?] than about what “actually happened.”
Christians do themselves no favors when they appear so close-minded and defensive to scholarly work. What are we afraid of? Rather, we should welcome whatever we can learn about the early church, as it helps us paint a richer, fuller picture of the diverse followers of Jesus, and the difficult issues they were struggling with as they were building a new religious tradition. These new questions help us see Scripture with fresh eyes, and invite us anew into the life of Jesus and his disciples. How can that be a bad thing? Who knows where this will go, or what the final word on this small scrap of papyrus will be, but in the meantime, it is fun and exciting to learn more, think new thoughts, and reflect more deeply on who Jesus was, what his ministry and life were like, and how the early church grew out of the witness to his resurrection. Who wants to block something as rich and rewarding as that?