Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

letters

Reactions to Jesus papyrus only scratch surface of its meaning

In regard to “Vatican: Jesus papyrus is fake” (Page A1, Sept. 29), it is important to understand that in 2012, unlike 1412, the Vatican has no authority to determine the authenticity of ancient manuscripts. Harvard professor Karen King should be commended both for the transparency of her research and for the conservatism of her theory about the reference to Jesus’s “wife.”

Far from a claim about the historical Jesus, King explains that the fragment would pertain to the many interpretations of Jesus and disciples flourishing more than a century later. Most scholars still believe the historical Jesus practiced some kind of celibacy.

Continue reading below

Newspapers would clearly like to elide this discovery with Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.” But this is quite unfair. Closer attention to what King actually says will reward anyone interested in this strange Coptic fragment.

David Frankfurter

Boston

The writer is professor of religion and the appreciation of scripture at Boston University.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week