Much of the scholarly world has had strong suspicions about the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment being a modern forgery written on old papyrus fragments.* As more information has emerged from Harvard, all the fragments in the associated collection are looking more iffy. Even the alleged provenance of the alleged former owner looks iffy. The supposed former owner apparently had little chance to obtain such things and wasn’t at all interested in history or art or old religious texts, much less stuff that’s rare and hard to find.
However, this week scholars got a chance (as part of a scientific report on the GJW ink) to look at one of the associated fragments: a bit of the Gospel of John written in the same hand, with the same ink, on the same kind of papyrus as the Wife fragment.
Christian Askeland noticed that the “sister fragment” apparently copies a particular 1924 critical edition of a particular Coptic language Gospel of John, right down to the line breaks. The only things modified are a couple of letters, but the modifications make no linguistic sense except as a forger’s attempt to impress. Other scholars overwhelmingly agree with his identification.
That just about wraps it up for this one.
Found via Paleojudaica.
* There are some indications that the GJW fragment was written on papyrus older than the Roman Empire, because it’s a lot easier to buy ancient Egyptian papyrus bits than Roman Egyptian ones. Oooooops.