Well, for several days the media was full of the “new evidence” that Jesus was married.
Of course, it did nothing of the sort, but it turns out that the fragment in question has even more fundamental problems than that.
Like, being copied from a PDF off the internet. Seriously.
Not only does the alleged Gospel fragment strongly resemble the Gospel of Thomas in terms of language and content (however brief), but it contains an unusual typo – the very same typo that an online version of the Gospel of Thomas contained. For more detail, see the analysis over at Mark Goodacre’s NT Blog.
What is especially interesting is that Mike Grondin, who produced the online interlinear translation of the Gospel of Thomas, chimes into the conversation himself, adding:
Having consulted my records, I am now quite sure that anyone copying the mistake at line 50.01 of the pdf version of my interlinear must have done so no earlier than 11 Nov 2002. Prior to that, my website contained a set of gif images, wherein line 50.01 was correct.
Not only can we identify that the composer of this fragment used the Gospel of Thomas, but it appears that we can actually identify exactly which copy they used – a smoking gun that would often be impossible to discover. This is looking like a very recent forgery indeed.
I make 2 predictions:
- This will not be circulated at anything like the rate the original story was.
- Point (1) will lead to several skeptics being caught not being very skeptical themselves.