Friday, April 11, 2014

GJW latest

THE NEWS ON THE GOSPEL OF JESUS' WIFE is predictably making a splash in the media and the blogosphere. The media coverage is for the most part repeating the line of the Harvard press releases and getting that pretty accurately. I see no need to link to any of the many news articles beyond what I covered yesterday. As for the blogosphere, much the same applies, but I do want to note blog posts by Mark Goodacre here and especially here. The latter publishes a new essay by Professor Watson of Durham University: Jesus’ Wife Attempts a Comeback: Initial Response (pdf file) which gives a preliminary evaluation of the new evidence. Excerpt:
A press release that accurately represented the analyses published in the
Harvard Theological Review might have been entitled: “Testing of Jesus’ Wife Fragment Yields Inconclusive Results”. That would not have attracted much attention, but it would at least be truthful.
I am very busy with my own work in the coming weeks and it will be some time before I can get around to reading the HTR articles, but meanwhile I'll try to keep track of any interesting developments.

Background here and links.

UPDATE: I've been meaning to link to this post by Larry Hurtado, which came out before the GJW test results but is nonetheless relevant: Carbon-14 and Palaeographical Dating of Papyri. Note this in particular:
To summarize results of the tests [on Green Collection manuscripts] reported on in [the conference in] Oklahoma City, the results from the three labs were basically/broadly in agreement, which gives some assurance about the reliability of the process. But also, these results were broadly in agreement with the prior/independent palaeographical dating of these items. And this (as I see it) is the really larger import. It means (contrary to the reported comment by a distinguished papyrologist, who is not himself a palaeographer, that palaeographical dating is “bullshit”), that palaeographical dating (using today’s standards and practices) by competent palaeographers can be treated as broadly reliable.
Contrast this with the test results on the GJW: the two C-14 tests came up with results that differed by many centuries, not overlapping at all, and both results were incompatible with the dating that had already been proposed by paleographers. When lined up against the Green Collection tests, this sounds inconclusive indeed.

UPDATE: New blog posts: Christian Askeland (ETC): Jesus's Wife Resurrected from Dead; Larry Hurtado: “Jesus’ Wife Fragment”: Further Observations.