Friday, September 28, 2012

Christian Askeland on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife: Forgery?

This short video presentation from Christian Askeland on the question of the authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife fragment deserves a blog post of its own:


"This video attempts to graphically illustrate some peculiarities of the Jesus' Wife Gospel which have persuaded Coptologists that the fragment is in fact a modern forgery. The presentation is targeted to a non-academic audience."

The video is about the length of an episode of the NT Pod, so it won't take too much of your time.


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

The problem I see with using the technical aspects of handwriting is the assumption that every ancient person wrote exactly the same.

I find that comparing letter construction to be useless in determining what is authentic and what is a forgery.

I can see testing the paper/parchment and type of ink but how a letter is written is not good evidence. In my life I have yet to see anyone write exactly the same even when taught by the same teacher.

Anonymous said...

As a P.S.-- We can use the construction of letters when comparing documents to see if they were written by the same person BUT we have no knowledge of the author of this fragment nor any other documents with which to compare to see if it really is a forgery or not.

As it stands, authentication is by mere subjective opinion if the fragment passes the other technical tests for age,etc.

Christian Askeland said...


I think that you are misconstruing the point of the video. I am saying that (1) the script lacks the organic characteristics of other literary scripts, (2) the writing device is not like those used in antiquity, and (3) the readability of the narrative is frighteningly good. This could be an authentic fragment, but, if it is, it looks like no Coptic literary manuscript now known.

I am not optimistic about more 'scientific' tests. The papyrus is probably ancient, and I am not sure what testing the ink will reveal. If the ink is carbon-based (as black ink from antiquity was), does that mean that the fragment is ancient ... or that the modern forger incorporated charcoal?

Naturally, every ancient person did not write "exactly the same." However, none of them seem to write their literary manuscripts in slashed characters with the equivalent of a marker or paintbrush.

Imagine receiving an official bill from the IRS, written in crayon with a child's handwriting.

Susan Burns said...

Imagine a forger going to all the trouble to get ancient paper and ink but not an adequate calligrapher.