A colleague and friend responded to my post about the papyrus fragment which appears to speak of Jesus’ wife. She approaches this ancient scrap of paper from a different perspective that is important for all of us to keep in mind. She writes:
“I decided I had to write about this unsettling Coptic text fragment after my otherwise thoughtful husband (also a Presbyterian minister) said to me last week, “Well who cares if Jesus had a wife? What difference would it have made?” I was surprised at the heat with which I answered him. I said something to this effect, “Are you KIDDING? Women have beenoppressed by the church for over 1600 years. Partly because of Jesus’ supposedly celibate example, women have been considered to be defilers, impure, the thing you have to avoid if you want to have a serious relationship with God. You don’t think that if Jesus had had a wife, especially a wife who was equal to the male disciples, that the Roman church would have developed differently? That maybe it wouldn’t have been the all-male celebrate hierarchy that it is, suppressing the rights of women TO THIS DAY?” Welcome to our breakfast table. It’s fun. But I’m grateful for that conversation, because it made me realize how seriously I take this little fragment.”
You can read her whole sermon here.