One of the news items making the rounds in the past 24 hours is a piece of 4th-century papyrus that contains a reference of Jesus saying “My wife.” My initial reaction to this when I first read it was to shrug and think to myself that it is no more proof of a marriage than their actual existence. Of course the public eats this stuff up so what can you do. I forwarded the link to the LH inbox to use this week’s FLD and forgot about it. Then this morning, however, the Stiefel Freethought Foundation posted a different article than the one I previously read and they called out a choice quote that really made me laugh.
The BBC article 'Wife of Jesus' reference in Coptic 4th Century script quotes Jim West, Baptist pastor from Tennessee, a professor at a theological college, and biblioblogger saying:
“A statement on a papyrus fragment isn't proof of anything. It's nothing more than a statement 'in thin air', without substantial context."
There is actually a lot you could glean from that statement theologically, but all I really have to say is “That my friends, is irony.”