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September 19 2012

The Inside Story of a Controversial New Text About Jesus


According to a top religion scholar, this 1,600-year-old text fragment suggests that some early Christians believed Jesus was married—possibly to Mary Magdalene

Harvard researcher Karen King today unveiled an ancient papyrus fragment with the phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” The text also mentions “Mary,” arguably a reference to Mary Magdalene. The announcement at a religious studies conference in Rome is sure to send shock waves through the Christian world. The Smithsonian Channel will premiere a special documentary about the discovery on September 30 at 8 p.m. ET. And Smithsonian magazine reporter Ariel Sabar has been covering the story behind the scenes for weeks, tracing King’s steps from when a suspicious e-mail hit her in-box to the nerve-racking moment when she thought the entire presentation would fall apart.

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