The papyrus fragment named “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been mired in controversy since the day Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding of the ancient text at an international congress on Coptic studies, in Rome, in 2012.
Questions were raised about the authenticity of the document, which measures only about one-and-a-half inches by three inches. According to Reuters, the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in an editorial by its editor Gian Maria Vian,Â called it “a clumsy forgery” and “fake.”
But a new study backed by several tests now suggests that the piece of document â€“ containing the words “Jesus said to them, my wife” â€“ is indeed very ancient, dating between the sixth and ninth centuries CE.
For two years, researchers carried out a number of tests, including two radiocarbon tests, microscopic imaging, and micro-Raman spectroscopy, to examine the fragment.
One of the radiocarbon tests indicated that the piece of papyrus must have originated from some time between 659 and 859 CE. Using micro-Raman spectroscopy, researchers confirmed that the ink’s carbon character matched with similar samples of other old papyri fragments. The handwriting was examined, and imaging scientists assessed the damage caused to the document to examine if there was a possibility of the document being forged or doctored.