I have been tracking (although not very closely) the discussions about the “Jesus’ Wife Fragment.” It seems that a lot of the initial luster of the announcement has worn off, at least among the scholars. Even initial supporters seem to be backing off the PR hype that occasioned the announcement. I will not go into analytic detail here. Others have done that admirably. I am sure books will soon emerge or journal articles which will deal with the technicalities involved. What I do want to do is mention a few questions that have emerged in my mind as I have looked at that issue.
First, I wondered right away about the timing of the raising of this issue. Usually the so-called “Jesus issues” like the Da Vinci Code, the Gospel of Judas, etc., seem to be published between Christmas and Easter when interest in Jesus is at a peak in Western culture. In this case, however, there is no book release. It was a scholar’s paper issued at a conference. This probably explains the difference in timing. The scholar was putting it out there for other scholars to look at. This is the normal process of scholarly research. In that sense, there was no PR hype to the same level as the other examples I’ve raised. This may also explain why the issue died down quicker than the others since scholars of all theological positions have questioned the genuineness of this fragment.