Sunday, December 20, 2015

NT Pod 76: This year's Christmas episode

The Christmas episode of the NT Pod has landed!

NT Pod 76: The Magi in Matthew's Gospel

This time with sleigh bells! And Johnny Cash! And Ella Fitzgerald! And me yabbering on about Matthew 2.1-12.

You can find it in the usual places -- at podacre, on iTunes, on Stitcher, on your RSS reader, and (if it ever updates) Duke's iTunes U.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I. Howard Marshall (1934-2015)

I was sorry to hear of the death of I. Howard Marshall over the weekend. He was 81. Marshall was a prolific scholar and he will be fondly remembered, especially the generations of evangelical students he trained at the University of Aberdeen.

I was lucky to get to know him a little after his retirement because he was a regular at the British New Testament Conference. He had been president of the society, and his name was on the bank account. He always showed great humour when I asked him to sign all our cheques. He said that he enjoyed spending other people's money.

Prof. Marshall was always encouraging and gracious to younger scholars. I remember in particular his kindness in providing feedback on a paper I gave on the first beatitude, which later became Chapter 7 of The Case Against Q. He was not at all convinced! Like most evangelicals of the day, including his teacher F. F. Bruce, he was wedded to Q. I have often consulted his commentary on Luke, which may be his finest and most important book.

I first saw Prof. Marshall on TV, when I was a teenager. He was interviewed for the Channel 4 programme Jesus: The Evidence, which also featured Geza Vermes, Helmut Koester, Werner Kümmel and Morton Smith. I have extracted the minute or so that features Howard Marshall and uploaded to Youtube here:





It was something of a cause célèbre at the time among evangelicals that Prof. Marshall only received a minute or so compared to the many minutes given to Geza Vermes, George Wells and others!

There is also a lecture on Youtube from Acadia University:





It is from 2002 (uploaded in 2012) and the topic is "The Interpretation of the Bible and Development of Theology." Over on Biblical Studies Online, Deane Galbraith has gathered together a series of Prof. Marshall's lectures from 1991, the Moore College Lectures on A Fresh Look at the Acts of the Apostles:

I. Howard Marshall on the Acts of the Apostles

There have been several tributes to Prof. Marshall online, including Ray Van Neste in Gospel Coalition, Darrell Bock, also on Gospel Coalition, Michael Bird on Euangelion, Stanley Porter on Domain Thirty-Three. There are comments also on Jim West's blog and James McGrath's blog. Please let me know in comments if I have missed anything.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Gospel of Jesus' Wife Latest: Boston Globe Update

The Boston Globe today presents a thorough, well-researched, and fair update on the saga of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife:

The Case of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife Still Isn't Closed
Lisa Wangsness

Regular readers will of course know of my own interest in this topic, and I am pleased that Lisa Wangsness has returned to the topic after over three years. It is worth bearing in mind that she is one of the three reporters given special access in the early stages back in September 2012. What is truly impressive is the research that she has put into this piece.

She has interviewed me, Karen King, Malcolm Choat, Andrew Bernhard, Christian Askeland, Tony Burke, Caroline Schroeder and several others. But more importantly, the graphics contribute really impressively to explaining the case for forgery.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Dietmar Neufeld (1949-2015)

I was so sorry to hear of the death of Dietmar Neufeld on September 9. Dietmar Neufeld was professor in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern & Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia. Although I did not know Prof. Neufeld well, I had a high opinion of his work and I'd like to add some reflections here.

Neufeld has made important contributions to several areas of scholarship on the New Testament and Christian origins, as well as reaching out into several related areas. His reputation in the field was established through his membership of the Context Group, but he also became well known by those working on the Johannine epistles. His first authored book, Reconceiving Texts as Speech Acts: An Analysis of 1 John (Leiden: Brill, 1994) was well received. When he offered the manuscript of his second authored book, Mockery and Secretism in the Social World of Mark’s Gospel, to the Library of New Testament Studies book series (published by Bloombsbury / T & T Clark in April 2014), we enthusiastically accepted it for publication in the series.

In many respects, this is his most impressive work. In it, he tackles one of the most vexed issues in New Testament scholarship: how do we make sense of the elements of secrecy in Mark’s Gospel?  He brings his social-scientific perspective to the work and engages in a detailed study of mockery in the Graeco-Roman world, and uses these insights to reinterpret the characterization of Jesus and his disciples in Mark’s Gospel.  I thought it an original, stimulating take on the subject.  I also found  valuable his nuanced, critical discussion of recent trends in the study of orality and literacy in the ancient world, in which he resists some of the emerging over-simplifications and clichés in scholarship in this area.

One of the values of Neufeld’s work was its scope. Where so many in the field are so narrowly focused, Neufeld's interests ranged widely, covering the Synoptic Gospels (especially Mark), Paul, Revelation, the Johannine epistles, the apocryphal Life of Adam and Eve, and more. Further, Neufeld talked and wrote about issues in education, pedagogy and translation.

He will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The End of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Forgery Debate

Guest post by Andrew Bernhard

[PDF of this blog post available here]

For nearly three years, there has been considerable controversy and confusion about whether a business-card sized papyrus fragment dubbed the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is an authentic ancient artifact or not. The current scholarly consensus already holds that the fragment is forgery. In addition, a recent development has confirmed that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a forgery created using a specific internet edition of the Gospel of Thomas. It seems that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife forgery debate has finally come to an end.


The Patchwork Forgery Theory

Shortly after Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School unveiled the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife at an academic conference in September 2012, a scholar named Francis Watson pointed out that the text appeared to be little more than a “patchwork” of words and short phrases culled from the lone surviving manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas in Coptic (a form of the ancient Egyptian language). Building on the work of Professor Watson and other scholars (including Alin Suciu and Hugo Lundhaug), I soon suggested that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife could have been created by someone with limited knowledge of Coptic using a specific modern edition of the Gospel of Thomas prepared by Michael W. Grondin.

As I researched the textual relationship between the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, I began to collect evidence that ultimately convinced me that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was indeed prepared by someone relying directly on the PDF edition of Grondin’s Interlinear Coptic/English Translation of The Gospel of Thomas posted online in November 2002. I discovered that the textual similarities between the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and the Gospel of Thomas were overwhelming. Basically, to create the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, all a forger would have had to do was “cut and paste” text from the Gospel of Thomas, switch a few masculine pronouns to feminine (a single letter change in Coptic), and place two key Coptic words (meaning “Mary” and “my wife”) into the “patchwork” text to create its “sensational” content. The only other change that would have been needed was the simple deletion of the two-letter Coptic word meaning “not” in line 5.

The figure below illustrates the relationship between the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and the Gospel of Thomas. It presents the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment: text that appears to have been copied verbatim from the Gospel of Thomas is underlined (double underlined if it might easily have differed). Parallels to the Gospel of Thomas (with their manuscript page and line numbers in parentheses) are noted beneath the Coptic text. The Coptic pronouns that appear to have been changed from masculine to feminine are printed in green italics. The Coptic words not copied verbatim from the Gospel of Thomas that look like they have been specifically inserted into the “patchwork” text are printed in bold red: “Mary” (line 3) and “my wife” (line 4).


Every single line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife contains one or more snippet(s) of text found in close proximity to each other in the Gospel of Thomas; indeed, for each individual line, the relevant snippets always appear in a single screen view of the PDF of Grondin’s Interlinear at 100% size on an average-sized laptop. In addition, the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife contains at least five suspicious features (denoted by superscript Latin letters in the figure above):

(a)   Line 1 of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife unexpectedly shares a line break with the lone surviving Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas: both split the same word in the same place. This could be explained as a coincidence, or it could be attributed to a forger’s dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear. As a line-by-line edition of the lone surviving manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas in Coptic, Grondin’s Interlinear repeats all of that manuscript’s line breaks.

(b)  Line 1 and the corresponding passage in Grondin’s Interlinear both unexpectedly omit the required direct object marker (ⲙ-) before the final word visible on the line. This Coptic grammatical error might reasonably be compared to writing “She played the dog for me” rather than “She played with the dog for me.” A few other ancient manuscripts do contain an analogous mistake, but the Coptic grammatical error could also be attributed to a forger’s dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear. The 2002 PDF version of Grondin’s Interlinear omitted the direct object marker by accident as the result of a typographical error (unlike any other version of Grondin’s Interlinear).

(c)   Line 4 unexpectedly omits the Coptic word ϫⲉ (je), which would function something like a comma and an opening quotation mark in English. This omission could be explained as non-standard (if not completely unattested) Coptic grammar, or it could be attributed to a forger’s dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear. A forger might well have omitted the Coptic conjugation by accident because it is separated from the (seemingly complete) Coptic phrase meaning, “Jesus said to them” by a line break in Grondin’s Interlinear.


(d)  Line 6 presents a relative clause (ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ) after a non-definite noun (ⲣⲱⲙⲉ) in violation of Coptic grammar. This grammatical construction has only been explained as "a rare attestation of an as yet only partially understood phenomenon" (without any examples from ancient manuscripts provided), but it could also be attributed to a forger’s dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear. In its original context in Grondin’s Interlinear, the relative clause (ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ) follows the appropriate kind of noun (ⲡⲉϥⲉϩⲟ) in accordance with standard Coptic grammar.

(e)   Line 6 also contains a verb that has been conjugated twice (that is, the single verb in the line has been modified by two verbal prefixes); * as a result, the line is ungrammatical. The text could be compared to an English statement something like, “Let no wicked man does bring.” When the pertinent words from Grondin’s Interlinear are juxtaposed, the ungrammatical line of Coptic text makes perfect sense . . . in English:



The following table summarizes the different explanations that have been offered to explain the suspicious textual features of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife:



While all five of the suspicious textual features of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife could hypothetically be explained if the papyrus fragment were an ancient artifact, it is startling that so many suspicious textual features appear on a papyrus fragment so small that it contains just seven lines of text with more than a single word. The simplest (and most persuasive) explanation for these suspicious textual features is that they are all the result of a forger’s dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear.

[For my full analysis of the relationship between the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and Grondin’s Interlinear, see the July 2015 issue of New Testament Studies (Cambridge University Press).]


"This" in the English translation given to Professor King

In early April 2014, Harvard Theological Review released an issue devoted primarily to the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Shortly after, Mark Goodacre and I were reviewing information that had been published about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife soon after it was first unveiled in 2012. Each of us noticed the following passage in the first Gospel of Jesus’ Wife article published by Smithsonian:

[The owner] sent along an electronic file of photographs and an unsigned translation with the bombshell phrase, “Jesus said this to them: My wife…” (King would refine the translation as “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife … ’”) (emphasis added)

The appearance of the word “this” in the translation of the most notable line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was odd because nothing in the Coptic text of the papyrus fragment corresponds to this word. After discussing the matter, Professor Goodacre and I realized that “this” was apparently a translation of the unexpectedly absent Coptic conjugation ϫⲉ (je) in line 4, and the word was mistranslated as “this” . . . just as in Grondin’s Interlinear.

We concluded that the “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife that the owner of the papyrus fragment had given Professor King was almost certainly dependent on the English of Grondin’s Interlinear, just as we believed that the papyrus fragment itself was almost certainly dependent on the Coptic text of Grondin’s Interlinear. But we did not have access to the owner’s “translation” at the time, so we had no way to test our theory.

I noted our observation in a PDF on my website and commented on it again in my 2015
New Testament Studies article on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (
abstract; pages 347-348, 355).


Confirming Evidence of Forgery: The Release of the Owner's "Translation"

On August 27, 2015, Professor King generously released the English “translation” that the owner had provided her, and it is dependent on the English of Grondin’s Interlinear (just as we had predicted). The extensive verbal correspondence between the owner’s “translation” and the English of Grondin’s Interlinear cannot reasonably be attributed to anything but direct literary dependence.

The owner’s “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife displays evidence of dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear in every line with more than one word. It includes repeated English “translations” of Coptic words not even present on the papyrus fragment itself, incorrect translations of Coptic text, and distinctive translations as well – all of which can be traced back to Grondin’s Interlinear.

For example, compare the pertinent passages in Grondin’s Interlinear with the transcription of the first line of the owner’s “translation” of the Gospel of Thomas:





The English words and word order in both Grondin’s Interlinear and the first line of the owner’s “translation” are identical, but they should not be. The word that means “for” appears in the Coptic text of Grondin’s Interlinear, but it does not appear in the owner’s Coptic transcription of line 1 (or on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment). Grondin has placed “ - - - ” beneath the word ⲅⲁⲣ (gar: “for”) and inserted the English word “for” in parentheses before “my mother” in his translation, presumably because he preferred to use English (rather than Coptic) word order. The person responsible for the owner’s “translation” has obviously not translated a Coptic word meaning for from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife because no such Coptic equivalent is present. Obviously, the word “for” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear.

This observation and many others like it demonstrate that the owner’s “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is not an actual translation of the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment; it was prepared by someone incapable of translating Coptic who borrowed straight from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear

[For a more detailed discussion of the evidence that the owner’s “translation” borrowed directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear, see my recent blog posts here and here.]


Conclusion

We can now be confident not only about the modern origin of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife but also about how the text itself was prepared. The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was created simply by “cutting and pasting” text from the Gospel of Thomas, switching a few pronouns, and inserting the key Coptic words meaning “Mary” and “my wife” into the “patchwork” text. In addition, the modern forger has left many “fingerprints” on this purportedly ancient text: detailed analysis of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has revealed that it contains at least five suspicious textual features that are most persuasively explained by a forger’s dependence on the Coptic of Grondin’s Interlinear.

On the basis of the theory that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment was prepared by someone using Grondin’s Interlinear (and the presence of the single word “this” in a seven word excerpt from the owner’s “translation”), we were able to predict that this “translation” would show direct dependence on the English of Grondin’s Interlinear. Our prediction has now been confirmed by the recent release of the owner’s “translation.”

It is not plausible that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment was created independently of the owner’s “translation.” Both must have been prepared after 1997, when Grondin’s Interlinear was first posted online (two years before archive.org recorded its existence). I suspect that they were prepared using the PDF version of Grondin’s Interlinear posted online on November 22, 2002. The first line of the papyrus fragment appears to repeat a typographical error found only in this version of Grondin’s Interlinear; also, using either of the graphical versions (page-by-page or saying-by-saying) would have required flipping back and forth between graphics online in a manner that would have made the forgery more difficult.

I think it is now safe to assert that the legitimate Gospel of Jesus’ Wife forgery debate has come to an end. Ideally, any ongoing research efforts related to the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife will be focused on identifying the person(s) responsible for the forgery. The still-unidentified individual who brought the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife to Professor King also provided her with at least two more documents suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was examined by a pair of German scholars in Berlin in 1982 (fifteen years before it could have been created), as well as an obviously forged Coptic papyrus fragment containing a part of the Gospel of John. I hope that scholars can work together to prevent the dissemination of additional forged papyrus fragments that could disrupt historical research.




* In technical terminology, the single infinitive in the line has been modified by two conjugation bases.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Forger and the “Translator”

Guest post by Andrew Bernhard

Since the recent release of the “translation” that the owner of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife gave Karen King and the revelation that it is directly dependent on the English of Grondin’s Interlinear, a few questions have been asked about whether someone might have used Grondin’s Interlinear to translate an authentic ancient papyrus fragment. The answer is, quite simply, “No.” The person responsible for the owner’s “translation” must have been involved in forging the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment (either as the actual forger or by working very closely with the person who was).

There are two basic reasons that I can make this assertion with confidence. First, the “translator” made some remarkable – even incredible – observations about the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife for someone who had extremely limited knowledge of Coptic. Second, nobody would attempt to translate a papyrus fragment of unknown content using an interlinear translation of another text.


Remarkable Observations by the “Translator” about the Coptic Text

The owner’s “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is actually an interlinear translation – that is, it presents a transcription of each line of Coptic text on the papyrus fragment with English translations in between the lines.


Examining the transcribed lines of Coptic text reveals that the person responsible for the owner’s “translation” was not well-acquainted with this ancient language. This person did not even know the language well enough to be able to distinguish between similar-looking letters of the Coptic alphabet: the letter delta is repeatedly used in place of the letter janja in the transcription (twice in line 2 and once in line 4). Yet, this person still managed to make some remarkable observations about the text.

For example, in line 6, there is a scribal error: it appears that the copyist made a mistake that could not be satisfactorily corrected in attempting to write epsilon-iota. Roger Bagnall, AnneMarie Luijendijk, Karen King, and everybody else who viewed images of the papyrus fragment for nine days after they were available online apparently failed to recognize this error, until the trained eyes of Coptic papyrologists Alin Suciu and Hugo Lundaug called attention to it. I argued at length on pages 341–42 of my New Testament Studies article (on the basis of comparative measurements of practically every epsilon and iota on the papyrus fragment) that the third-from-last character in line 6 is some kind of epsilon-iota hybrid (an attempted correction of a mistake), and Coptic papyrologist Malcolm Choat affirmed that the identity of this character should indeed be regarded as uncertain.

Meanwhile, the person responsible for the owner’s “translation” had already noted the scribal error by writing “(Sic!)” at the end of the Coptic transcription of line 6. Someone who had not yet mastered the Coptic alphabet could have not realistically recognized a scribal error that scholars initially failed to observe . . . unless this person was directly responsible for the error (or informed by the person who was).


Translating a Text of Unknown Content with an Interlinear of another Text

Realistically, nobody would ever attempt to translate a papyrus fragment of unknown content using an interlinear translation of another text. First of all, anybody with the ability to decipher and translate a Coptic papyrus fragment would use a dictionary to look up unknown words; a translator would want to determine the precise meanings of the words on the papyrus fragment in their actual context, not in the context of another text. Second, if the content of the papyrus fragment were unknown, it would be impossible to know whether all the words and phrases needed for translation could even be located in the interlinear; and, if they could, it would still be very difficult to find them (especially the phrases, which could not simply be looked up in an index). *

Professor King, who has studied Coptic and whose research focuses on early Christian literature not included in the New Testament, initially failed to recognize that the text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was almost entirely derived from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas. Francis Watson, who actually suspected that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was dependent on the Gospel of Thomas, did not even succeed initially in identifying all the pertinent parallels between the two texts. It took the efforts of scholars trained in Coptic collaborating internationally to determine that the text of every line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife could be traced back to the Gospel of Thomas. Ultimately, it took years of analysis with an electronic, searchable text of the Gospel of Thomas to identify precisely which passages in the Gospel of Thomas had been used to create the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.

For someone who knew barely any Coptic to translate the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife using Grondin’s Interlinear, it would have been necessary to locate the approximately 30 Coptic words in the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife found in different passages scattered throughout the more than 3000 words of the Gospel of Thomas. Locating the pertinent text needed to translate the papyrus fragment using Grondin’s Interlinear would have been complicated by the fact that three of the Coptic words are only partially preserved on the papyrus (at the start and end of line 1 and at the end of line 3) and two (meaning “Mary” and “my wife”) do not appear verbatim in Grondin’s Interlinear at all.

Further, the person preparing the “translation” would not only have needed just to locate individual Coptic words but also phrases consisting of two, three, and four words; and not all of the phrases in the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife appear in identical form in Grondin’s Interlinear. Some have been modified by a letter or two. In three of the phrases, third-person singular masculine pronouns have been altered; in one, the two-letter Coptic word meaning “not” has been deleted in the middle of the phrase. It is simply unimaginable that a person with only minimal knowledge of Coptic could have identified the pertinent passages in Grondin’s Interlinear that could be used to “translate” a papyrus fragment of unknown content.

[To give the reader a sense of how difficult it would have been for someone with minimal knowledge of Coptic to use Grondin’s Interlinear to translate the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, I have prepared my own edition of Grondin’s Interlinear (with Michael Grondin’s permission). In this edition of Grondin’s Interlinear, I have highlighted all the pertinent passages in the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. I suspect that anybody who glances at this annotated edition of Grondin’s Interlinear will be able to see the essentially insurmountable challenge that a person would have faced in locating all the pertinent passages in Grondin’s Interlinear that could be used to create a “translation” of a papyrus fragment of unknown content.]


Conclusion

There can be little doubt that the person responsible for the owner’s “translation” was involved in forging the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment (either as the actual forger or by working very closely with the person who was). The “translator” made observations about the Coptic text of the papyrus fragment that someone who did not know Coptic well could not realistically have made without being a participant in the forgery. In addition, it seems undeniable that the “translator” could only have used Grondin’s Interlinear to prepare a “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife if this person already knew precisely which passages had been used to forge the papyrus fragment. The “translator” was clearly involved in forging the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment (either as the actual forger or by working very closely with the person who was).

--
 *  The owner’s “translation” is obviously not based on an understanding of individual Coptic words: it “translates” words not even found on the papyrus fragment as a result of misunderstanding phrases as they are translated in Grondin’s Interlinear.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: “Patchwork Forgery” in Coptic . . . and English (Recap)

Guest post by Andrew Bernhard


[Unicode Coptic Font available here. If you are having trouble seeing the Coptic, there is also a PDF of this post available here.]

On Thursday, Karen King generously posted online the “translation” of the
Gospel of Jesus’Wife that the owner of the papyrus fragment provided her. All seven lines containing more than a single word in the owner’s “translation” show obvious dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear:

  • Line 1. The Coptic text in this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife does not include a word meaning “for,” but this English word is included in the owner’s “translation”; Grondin’s Interlinear presents the word “for” in the exact same place as the owner’s “translation” does in the corresponding passage.
  • Line 2. The Coptic conjunction ϫⲉ (je) in this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is rendered incorrectly as “this” in the owner’s “translation”; Grondin’s Interlinear translates ϫⲉ as “this” in the corresponding passage.
  • Line 3. The Coptic infinitive ⲁⲣⲛⲁ (arna) in this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is rendered bizarrely – and arguably incorrectly – as “abdicate” in the owner’s “translation;” Grondin’s Interlinear translates ⲁⲣⲛⲁ as “abdicate” in the corresponding passage.
  • Line 4. The Coptic conjunction ϫⲉ (je) is unexpectedly missing from this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, but it is still rendered (incorrectly, as in line 2) as “this” in the owner’s translation; Grondin’s Interlinear includes ϫⲉ with the English translation “this” beneath it in the corresponding passage.
  • Line 5. The Coptic ⲛⲁϣ (naš) in this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is rendered incorrectly as “can” in the owner’s “translation”; Grondin’s Interlinear translates ⲛⲁϣ as “can” in the corresponding passage.
  • Line 6. The Coptic ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ (marerōme) in this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is rendered incorrectly as “no man” in the owner’s “translation”; Grondin’s Interlinear translates ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ as “no man” in the corresponding passage.
  • Line 7. The Coptic ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ (anok tišoop) in this line of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is rendered distinctively as “I exist” in the owner’s “translation”; Grondin’s Interlinear translates ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ as “I exist” in the corresponding passage.

While a number of additional features of the owner’s “translation” suggesting that it was prepared from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear could also be mentioned, I think the representative sample above will suffice for the discussion here.

The bottom line is: the extensive verbal correspondence between the owner’s translation and Grondin’s Interlinear cannot be reasonably attributed to anything but direct literary dependence, especially since the owner’s “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife includes repeated translations of Coptic words not even present on the papyrus, incorrect translations of Coptic text, and surprisingly distinctive translations as well (all of which are clearly attributable to Grondin’s Interlinear).

Given that the owner’s “translation” was just released on Thursday and Grondin’s Interlinear has been online for more than a decade, the direction of literary dependence must be from Grondin’s Interlinear to the owner’s “translation” (not vice versa) The owner’s “translation” is not actually a translation, it was prepared by someone (with extremely limited knowledge of Coptic) who depended directly on the English of Grondin’s Interlinear. There is no other plausible alternative.

For a more detailed analysis of the owner’s translation, please see the preceding blog post.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: “Patchwork” Forgery in Coptic . . . and English

Guest Post by Andrew Bernhard


[Unicode Coptic Font available here. If you are having trouble seeing the Coptic, there is also a PDF of this post available here.]

Building on the work of Francis Watson and a number of other scholars, I argued in an article in the July 2015 issue of New Testament Studies that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is essentially a “patchwork” of words and short phrases culled from the lone extant Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi Codex II), prepared by a forger using Michael W. Grondin’s PDF edition of this manuscript that was posted online on November 22, 2002. I suggested that someone had basically “cut and pasted” Coptic text from Grondin’s edition, switched third-person masculine singular pronouns (“he,” “him”) to their feminine equivalents (“she,” “her”), and placed two key Coptic words (meaning “Mary” and “my wife”) into the “patchwork” text to give it “sensational” content.

As I pointed out, in addition to the overwhelming textual similarities between the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and the Gospel of Thomas, the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife contains at least five tell-tale signs of its modern origin – including the apparent replication of a typographical (and grammatical) error from Grondin’s 2002 PDF edition. For a concise summary of my article, please see pages 351–355 of my article (especially Figure 6 on p. 352 and Table 1 on p. 353 for information about the tell-tale signs of forgery in the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife).

In my article, I also noted that a Smithsonian article released on the day that Karen King first publicly unveiled the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife mentioned that the owner of the papyrus fragment had also provided Professor King with an English translation of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. The Smithsonian article quoted only a single line from the owner’s translation, but it seemed to provide additional evidence of a direct link between the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and Grondin’s 2002 PDF edition of the Gospel of Thomas.


The Release of the Owner’s “Translation”


Professor King has graciously made the translation that the owner of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife provided her available online within the last day, and I wish to express my sincere appreciation to her for doing so. I believe this critical document that the owner gave her provides further decisive evidence that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is indeed a modern forgery derived from Grondin’s 2002 PDF edition. I hope that the regrettably divisive debate that has taken place over the past few years about the antiquity of Gospel of Jesus’ Wife can now conclude – hopefully, with a unanimous consensus that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is indeed a modern forgery.

My analysis of the English translation that the owner gave Professor King indicates that it is not an actual translation of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife; it seems to have been prepared by someone relying directly on the English translation provided in Grondin’s 2002 PDF.

At the outset, I must note that both the owner’s “translation” and Grondin’s 2002 PDF edition of the Gospel of Thomas have a rather surprising similarity: both are interlinear translations (that is, they include English translations in between the lines of Coptic text). The figure below places the owner’s translation beside the pertinent excerpts from Grondin’s Interlinear (see Figure 6 on p. 352 my of article for the key to which passages from Grondin’s Interlinear are presented in the figure). Both the “translation” and Grondin’s Interlinear have been annotated to facilitate understanding of the commentary beneath.








Preliminary Observations


Line 1.  The “translation” includes the word “for,” but there is no corresponding Coptic word for in the text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Grondin’s Interlinear includes “for” in parentheses in the same spot as the “translation” because the Greek loan word γάρ (“for”) follows ⲧⲁⲙⲁⲁⲩ (“my mother”) in the Gospel of Thomas (and Grondin presumably preferred English word order for his translation). It seems clear that “for” in the “translation” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment.

Line 2. The “translation” glosses that ⲇⲉ (sic ϫⲉ) means “this.” In the present context, the Coptic conjunction ϫⲉ should function something like a comma and a quotation mark at the start of a direct statement in English, and ϫⲉ would never be translated as “this” in any context. Grondin’s Interlinear uses the English word “this” as “filler” translation for ϫⲉ (i.e. to fill blank space beneath the word and indicate that it had not merely been overlooked). It seems clear that “this” in the “translation” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment.

[The person responsible for the “translation” does not seem to have been familiar enough with Coptic to distinguish between the letter delta () and the letter djandja (ϫ), as delta has been incorrectly used in place of djandja in the words ⲡⲉϫⲉ and ϫⲉ.]

Line 3. The “translation” renders ⲁⲣⲛⲁ as “abdicate.” While the word might (rarely) be translated this way if warranted by context (and translator preference), it would ordinarily be translated as “deny” (cf. Karen King’s translation). It seems clear that “abdicate” in the “translation” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.

[It is curious that the Coptic text of the “translation” has the second-person singular pronominal affix (translated correctly) instead of the third-person singular masculine pronominal affix ϥ found in the Gospel of Thomas. This is especially curious because it appears that was originally written on the papyrus and then the third-person feminine singular pronominal affix was written over it.]

Line 4. The “translation” includes the word “this” for which there is no corresponding Coptic word; the “translation” also introduces a quotation idiosyncratically with a colon. In Grondin’s Interlinear, the Coptic conjugation ϫⲉ is separated from the phrase meaning “Jesus said to them” by a line break. It seems clear that whoever copied the papyrus accidentally omitted ϫⲉ, and it seems equally clear that “this” (an incorrect translation – following Grondin’s Interlinear, as in line 2) of the missing ϫⲉ in the “translation” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear (complete with the colon also found there) rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment.

[Again, the person responsible for the “translation” does not seem to have been familiar enough with Coptic to distinguish between the letter delta () and the letter djandja (ϫ), as delta has been used incorrectly in place of djandja in the word ⲡⲉϫⲉ.]

Line 5. The “translation” indicates that ⲛⲁϣ means “can,” but ⲛⲁϣ is actually future tense and should be translated “will be able to.” Grondin has made a mistake in his translation, and the “translation” repeats the same mistake. It seems clear that “can” in the “translation” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.

[The person who prepared the papyrus changed ϥ to , changing the third-person masculine pronominal affix to its feminine equivalent. The “translation” consequently has “she” rather than “he.”]

Line 6. The “translation” indicates that ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ means “no man,” but this is not an accurate translation of Sahidic Coptic. In standard Sahidic, ⲙⲁⲣⲉ- is the prenominal jussive conjugation base; the noun ⲣⲱⲙⲉ means “man.” So a translation of the Sahidic text ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ might be something like, “Let man...” But the Gospel of Thomas does not use fully standard Sahidic orthography: it includes some dialectical features of Lycopolitan. As a result, ⲙⲁⲣⲉ- can function as the prenominal negative aorist conjugation base (in place of the standard Sahidic ⲙⲉⲣⲉ-), as it does in the pertinent passage in Grondin’s Interlinear. Thus, Grondin has translated ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ with the functional equivalent, “no man.” It hardly seems plausible that a “translator” who could not distinguish between two letters of the Coptic alphabet (delta and djandja) would have understood ⲙⲁⲣⲉ- as a Lycopolitan conjugation base in a text labelled as “Sahidic.” It seems abundantly clear that “no man” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment.

[The “translation” indicates a copyist error in line 6 of the papyrus with “(Sic!)” at the end of the Coptic text. The peculiar appearance of the third-from-last character in the line 6 was first noted by Alin Suciu and Hugo Lundhaug in 2012. As argued in detail on pages 341-342 of the most recent issue of New Testament Studies, the copyist appears to have made an uncorrectable mistake in attempting to write epsilon-iota. It now seems undeniable that the line was intended to read ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ ϣⲁϥⲉⲓⲛⲉ. Such a line of text is simply ungrammatical in Coptic because a single infinitive (ⲉⲓⲛⲉ) cannot be modified by two conjugation bases (ⲙⲁⲣⲉ- and ϣⲁϥ-) . . . but, when the pertinent Coptic words are juxtaposed from Grondin’s Interlinear, the line makes sense in English.]

Line 7. The “translation” indicates that ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ means simply, “I exist.” Usually when an unnecessary personal pronoun (such as ⲁⲛⲟⲕ) appears in a Coptic text, a translator will indicate that there is some kind of special emphasis on the pronoun (cf. Karen King’s translation of the start of the line as, “As for me, I . . . ”); also, the infinitive ϣⲟⲟⲡ might be translated in a variety of ways (cf. Karen King’s translation: she translates it as “am,” indicating in a footnote that “exist” or “dwell” are alternative possibilities.) It seems clear that “I exist” in the “translation” has been copied directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment.

[“Within” should presumably be just “with” (“within seems most likely to be a typographical error similar to “Gosple” or “Centruy” in the heading of the “translation.”) The person who prepared the papyrus changed ϥ to , changing the third-person masculine pronominal affix to its feminine equivalent. The “translation” consequently has “her” rather than “him.”]

Summary

The connection between the owner’s “translation” and Grondin’s Interlinear now seems undeniable. The evidence for the dependence of the Coptic text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife on Grondin’s Interlinear was presented in my article in New Testament Studies. Now, the newly available “translation” that the owner gave to Professor King provides astonishing additional evidence for the dependence of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife on Grondin’s Interlinear . . . in English! All seven of the lines containing more than a single word in the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife in the owner’s “translation” appear to show clear evidence of dependence on Grondin’s Interlinear.  

In line 1 of the owner’s “translation,” the English word “for” appears when there is no corresponding word in the Coptic text on the papyrus fragment from which it could have been translated . . . and the word “for” appears (in parentheses) in Grondin’s Interlinear in the same place as it does in the “translation.”

In line 2, the Coptic conjunction ϫⲉ is mistranslated as “this” . . . just as it is in Grondin’s Interlinear.

In line 3, the Coptic infinitive ⲁⲣⲛⲁ is translated oddly as “abdicate” (rather than “deny”) . . . just as it is Grondin’s Interlinear.

In line 4, the Coptic conjunction ϫⲉ is missing AND mistranslated as “this.” It appears that the forger forgot to copy ϫⲉ onto the papyrus fragment because it is separated by a line break from the phrase “Jesus said to them” in the pertinent passage in Grondin’s Interlinear . . . but the mistranslated word still appears in the “translation.” Also, a colon is used to introduce a quotation . . . just as in Grondin’s Interlinear.

In line 5, the Coptic ⲛⲁϣ is translated incorrectly as “can” (rather than as the future “will be able to”) . . . just as in Grondin’s Interlinear.

[The person who prepared the papyrus changed ϥ to , changing the third-person masculine pronominal affix to its feminine equivalent. The “translation” consequently has “she” rather than “he.”]

In line 6, a non-Sahidic translation of ⲙⲁⲣⲉⲣⲱⲙⲉ is given (“no man”) . . . just as in Grondin’s Interlinear. The Coptic text on the “translation” indicates that there is a scribal error in the second half of the line . . . just as many have argued since the error was first pointed out by Alin Suciu and Hugo Lundhaug. It now seems clear that the intended Coptic text for this line was ⲙⲁⲣⲁⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲑⲟⲟⲩ ϣⲁϥⲉⲓⲛⲉ . . . grammatical nonsense in Coptic that only makes sense in the English of Grondin’s Interlinear.

In line 7, ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ϯϣⲟⲟⲡ is translated simply as “I exist” . . . just as it is in Grondin’s Interlinear.

Arguing that every single line of the owner’s “translation” can be connected to the English of Grondin’s Interlinear (via translations of phantom words, mistranslations of Coptic text, distinctive translations of Coptic text, and even usual English punctuation) by coincidence seems utterly absurd. It now appears certain that the owner’s “translation” of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was prepared directly from the English of Grondin’s Interlinear rather than actually translated from the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (it contains translations of two words that are not even present on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment!).

With the now overwhelming evidence that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is dependent on Grondin’s Interlinear in Coptic . . . and English, I think it is now reasonable to assert simply that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was forged using Grondin’s Interlinear. Given this assumption, the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment must have been forged sometime after November 2002 (when the PDF version of Grondin’s Interlinear containing the typographical/grammatical error also found in line 1 of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was put online) and before the Summer of 2010 (when it was first brought to the attention of Karen King).


Monday, August 24, 2015

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: A Call for Closure


Guest post by Andrew Bernhard
Whodunnit?           

That’s the big question that remains unanswered about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, and I must confess that I’m a bit confused as to why. It seems clear to me that the person who originally brought forward this tiny papyrus fragment could probably shed quite a bit of light on its mysterious origins. Yet, the identity of this individual remains shrouded in secrecy.

While Karen King granted anonymity to the self-identified manuscript collector who brought her the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (and has honorably kept her commitment), I would suggest that the situation has now changed materially. At this point, it seems very likely that the still unidentified owner of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife provided Professor King with at least six fake documents (both ancient and modern) . . .  and lied about where he or she obtained the papyrus fragment.


The Documents in Question

The owner of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife appears to have provided the following documents that are fake (that is, not what they were purported to be):

1. The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment.
This was purportedly a papyrus fragment copied in antiquity, but it appears to be a recent forgery prepared by someone who “cut and pasted” words and short phrases from a unique PDF edition of the only surviving Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas posted online in November 2002 (“Grondin’s Interlinear”). Basically, to create the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife using material from the Gospel of Thomas, the forger only had to switch third person masculine singular pronouns to their feminine equivalents (a single letter change in Coptic) and place two key Coptic words (meaning “Mary” and “my wife”) into the “patchwork” text.[1] There are also at least five tell-tale signs of forgery – including the apparent repetition of a typographical error from “Grondin’s Interlinear” – in the text of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (see my article in the July 2015 issue of New Testament Studies, especially pages 351-355, for more details).

2. The Gospel of John papyrus fragment. 
This was purportedly a papyrus fragment copied in antiquity, but it appears to be a recent forgery prepared by someone who copied from Herbert Thompson’s 1924 edition of the Qau codex (online since approximately 2005). Christian Askeland has provided a number of reasons for believing this fragment is a forgery, notably observing, “The forger skipped every other line of Thompson’s text when copying it onto his papyrus fragment … [but] failed to skip a line when he had to turn two pages of Thompson’s edition.” The two fragments share SEVENTEEN line breaks. As Stephen Patterson commented, “The John MS is clearly a forgery. The line breaks make this impossible to avoid . . . the John MS must be a modern forgery.” Michael Peppard has indicated that he believes scholars “have definitively shown that [the Gospel of John fragment] is a forgery.”

 
Note: the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and Gospel of John fragments appear to be in the same handwriting. Roger Bagnall was the first to observe the similarity in handwriting, stating “the two (fragments) are very similar and are likely to have been produced close in time.” Askeland then systematically demonstrated that they are in the same hand, and his view has been publicly endorsed by Stephen Emmel (paragraph 19), Alin Suciu, and Carrie Schroeder; as far as I know, nobody qualified to judge Coptic handwriting has ever disputed Askeland’s finding.

  
3. A contract for the sale of “6 Coptic papyrus fragments, one believed to be a Gospel” (dated November 12, 1999; signed by Hans-Ulrich Laukamp and the owner).
This contract purportedly documented the acquisition of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment, but it includes a suspicious handwritten note on it: “Papyri acquired in 1963 by the seller in Potsdam (East Germany)” (p. 31). The note is suspicious for two reasons. First, as Owen Jarus has reported after interviewing the representative for Laukamp’s estate, “Laukamp did not collect antiquities, did not own [the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife] papyrus . . . [he] was a toolmaker and had no interest in old things.” Second, as reported on page 80 of the November 2012 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, “[i]n a later e-mail (from the owner to King) . . . the story seemed to change slightly with the collector saying that the papyri had been in the previous owner’s possession – or his family’s – ‘prior to WWII.’”

4. A typed letter to H. U. Laukamp (dated July 15, 1982; signed by Peter Munro).
This letter purportedly relates to the Gospel of John fragment, but it suspiciously indicates that (Gerhard) Fecht suggested the Coptic fragment might be dated as early as the second century and apparently failed to note a unique feature of it – the Lycopolitan dialect in which it is written (p. 31, n. 107). As an accomplished linguist of ancient Egyptian, it is hard to imagine Fecht not knowing that there is no evidence for the existence of Coptic in the second century. As Bentley Layton notes on the first page of his Coptic Grammar, “The written attestation of standardized Coptic Egyptian begins with Biblical manuscripts dating to about A.D. 300, shortly after the translation of the Christian Bible into Coptic.” In addition, it would be astounding if Fecht had viewed the Gospel of John fragment and failed to comment on the Lycopolitan dialect. In 1982, there was only one known Lycopolitan manuscript of the Gospel of John (the Qau codex), and Fecht certainly would have recognized this dialect: he published a three-part, 90-page analysis of the Gospel of Truth (from Nag Hammadi) in the journal, Orientala (1961-1963) . . . and the Gospel of Truth is preserved in Lycopolitan.  
 
5. A handwritten note in German (unsigned, undated).
This note purportedly indicates that Fecht viewed the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment (presumably in 1982), but it suspiciously states, “Fecht is of the opinion that this could be evidence for a possible marriage” (p. 31). As an accomplished scholar, Fecht had both studied and published on both the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and early Christian writings. As Karen King has noted, “[N]o serious scholar considers [the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife] to be evidence of the historical Jesus’s marital status” (p. 36) It would be truly extraordinary if Fecht had.[2]


Note: Gerhard Fecht and Peter Munro were Egyptologists at Freie Universität in Berlin in the 1980s; Munro contributed a chapter to Fecht’s 1987 Festschrift. Everyone named in the “supporting documentation” for the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is deceased. Laukamp reportedly died in 2002, Fecht in 2006, and Munro in 2009.

Obviously, assuming that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was forged after 2002, the owner of the fragment can’t have acquired it in the late 1990s from a man who died in 2002 and no documents indicating that scholars examined it in 1982 in Berlin can be authentic.


6. An English translation of the fragment.
According to the first Smithsonian article about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, the owner “sent along an electronic file of photographs and an unsigned translation with the bombshell phrase, “Jesus said this to them: My wife…” (King would refine the translation as “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . .’”)” But the English given for line 4 doesn’t actually appear to be a translation of part of of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.

In line 4 on the papyrus fragment, the Coptic conjunction je (which would function something like a comma and a quotation mark at the beginning of a quote in modern English) is strangely missing, and so King rightly refined the “translation”. Yet, the unexpectedly missing conjunction is apparently “translated” . . . incorrectly . . . just as it appears in the English of “Grondin’s Interlinear.”

As the figure below shows, in “Grondin’s Interlinear,” the seemingly complete phrase meaning “Jesus said to them” is separated from the conjunction je by a line break, and Michael Grondin has used “this” as a “filler” in his interlinear beneath the Coptic word (although je would never actually be translated this way).


It looks to me like a forger accidentally omitted je in preparing the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment, and the “translation” itself is based directly on the English of “Grondin’s Interlinear.” Indeed, although only the “translation” of line 4 has been released to date, it seems highly probable that the “translation” the owner provided is actually a patchwork of words and short phrases “cut and pasted” from “Grondin’s Interlinear” in English.


A Call for Closure

I do not think it is unreasonable at this time to call for closure with respect to the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.  “[T]he piles of evidence suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus's Wife is a forgery” mentioned by Joel Baden and Candida Moss in The Atlantic have now been systematically presented in detail in the most recent issue of New Testament Studies (Cambridge University Press). And as I have explained above, it seems quite clear to me that the person who brought the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife to Karen King has some serious explaining to do.  

I sincerely regret that Professor King has had to endure personal attacks on her integrity made by some forgery proponents using inexcusably hostile rhetoric. I also respect that she has maintained her personal commitment not to the identity of the owner of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife for so long. I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to her for having suffered through what has almost certainly been an excruciating ordeal. 

Nonetheless, I have become convinced that identifying (or at least trying to identify) the forger may be the only way to bring an end to the strange saga of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. This will require that Professor King identify the owner (as she has said she can legally), make the three supporting documents cited in her article (p. 31) available for public inspection, and release the English translation given to her with the papyrus fragment. We need access to anyone who may have been involved with what now seems to be an obvious forgery, and we need all potentially pertinent evidence to be made available.

I hope that I will have the opportunity to collaborate with Professor King (and, perhaps, many others) on the task of holding the dishonest person who produced the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife accountable for his or her actions.



[1] The only other change made was the simple deletion of the two letter Coptic word meaning “not” in line 5.

[2] Documents 3-5 have not yet been made available for public examination, so the analysis given here is based on the description in Karen King’s 2014 Harvard Theological Review article about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.