For the most recent developments please scroll to the bottom of this post where I will be providing updates.
Contrary to what we’ve reported on this blog (see “Update on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”) Daniel Burke of Religion News Service says in “Harvard Theological Review: Gospel of Jesus’ Wife NOT Rejected” that Harvard Divinity School spokesperson Jonathan Beasley is more hesitant regarding the report that the Harvard Theological Journal will not publish Karen L. King’s paper on the subject, writing:
“”Dr. King’s ‘marriage fragment’ paper, which Harvard Theological Review is planning to publish in its January, 2013, edition – if testing of the ink and other aspects of the fragment are completed in time – will include her responses to the vigorous and appropriate academic debate engendered by discovery of the fragment, as well as her report on the ink analysis, and further examination of the fragment.”
Emphasis: “if testing of the ink and other aspects of the fragment are completed in time”. (Something Charles Halton said should have been completed prior to any report about this fragment being mentioned to the media, see “Reflections on the ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Saga”).
I have emailed those who have said they have heard that the Harvard Theological Journal is not going to publish the article to see if I can get further clarification. Personally, I don’t have access to people like Jonathan Beasley or Gesine Robinson, so I will have to wait until I know more to clarify whether the report posted here was premature or negated by a subsequent decision.
Update #1: I found Jonathan Beasley’s email address and I sent him the following inquiry:
Hello Mr. Beasley,
My blog was one of the first to report that the Harvard Theological Journal was unlikely to publish Karen L. King’s paper on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, but the Religion News Service reports that you have said that this is not the case. I want to make sure that my blog relays accurate information. Can you confirm that the Harvard Theological Review has not made a definite decision yet? Thank you for your assistance!
As soon as I receive a response I will relay it.
Update #2: Jonathan Beasley replied saying the following:
Hi Brian: There’s nothing more to say other than what we’ve already told RNS, which you’ve already posted on your blog.
Therefore, according to the spokesman of Harvard Divinity School, there has not been an official decision made regarding the publication of Dr. King’s article. That will not happen until further testing is done on the document, most specifically the ink.
This doesn’t seem to contradict what Craig A. Evans was told by Gesine Robinson, but it does appear to temper the absolutism suggested by the earlier reports here.
Update #3: Craig A. Evans responded via email. He says that he has been in conversation with Huffington Post journalist Jaweed Kaleem who he says he advised to contact “Helmut Koester, Karen King, and others at Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Theological Review.” Evans writes, “His column has just appeared in the Huffington Post and represents a very fair and accurate assessment of where things now stand.”
Jaweed Kaleem’s column is “‘Jesus Wife’ Research Leads to Suspicion that Artifact is Fake” wherein he reports:
– Karen King confirms that the fragment has been sent for testing. Kaleem summarizes that, “…the tests should determine if it is from the fourth century as originally proposed, or if parts of it are a modern forgery, as an increasing number of scholars of Coptology and papyrology have suggested.”
– About the owner of the fragment: “King said the owner acquired the piece in 1997 from a German owner and wants to remain anonymous.”
– As we reported here through Craig A. Evans’ post Helmut Koester has expressed doubt regarding whether the article will be published and he maintains that it is a forgery:
“Helmut Koester, a professor emeritus of Harvard Divinity School and a former 25-year editor of the journal, said in an interview that he heard ‘they did not want to publish because of doubts from two respected scholars.’ Koester, who specializes in early Christianity and early Christian archaeology, added that after seeing an evaluation of King’s work from a colleague in the field, he was ‘absolutely convinced that this is a modern forgery.'”
– King’s paper has been accepted “provisionally,” which confirms aforementioned statements by Jonathan Beasley, HDS’s spokesman.