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He Respected Women And Made The Bread - On The "Jesus' Wife" Uproar

Jesus and a handful of rubber devices
Jesus and a handful of rubber devices
Joëlle Kuntz


Karen L. King, the first woman to occupy the Hollis Chair of Divinity at Harvard, recently caused a sensation in Rome. At the International Congress for Coptic Studies, she revealed a fragment of papyrus measuring 4 cm by 8 cm (1.6 inches by 3.15 inches), dating back to the fourth century and covered with Coptic writing.

The papyrus contains a phrase attributed to Jesus, in which he refers to "my wife." Several renowned archeologists have authenticated the document, whose owner prefers to remain anonymous but who is known to King.

The theologian, familiar with the Gospels and Coptic literature, is an expert on the role of women in the early Christian church. She finds nothing surprising in the idea that in the fourth century a Coptic scribe with awkward handwriting believed that Jesus was married.

Since the Congress in Rome, the academic world has been in uproar over the papyrus, some affirming that it is impossible for it to be true, others that it could not possibly be a fake. We see this a lot in Christianity.

I have my own idea. The reason that the question is still not settled is that Jesus himself preferred not to talk about his personal life in public. Absorbed by saving humankind, he decided to avoid the gossip that systematically accompanies such suicide missions. His unexpected success after death and his posthumous celebrity naturally revived all the rumors about his private life. Anything else would have been surprising.

Personally, I admire his discretion about women, and the respect he always showed them, not condemning them to housework. Jesus never, for example, ordered his wife to hurry off to the bakery to buy multiple loaves of bread. Instead, he created them himself, and without raising any suspicion that someone behind him was washing the dishes. If there was a miracle, it is that he did not need a woman to do the job.

A frugal last supper

It is the same thing with the Last Supper. An American feminist, whose audacity I have praised here in the past, has complained that the name of the cook for the Last Supper was lost (Who Cooked the Last Supper?). But in fact, Jesus wanted it to be a frugal meal -- sandwiches, nothing fancy, so that his wife would not be overworked at such a solemn moment. Italian painters understood this well -- they put almost nothing on the table.

If he was courteous in his domestic sphere, Jesus was even more so in regard to his sexual life, which was no one else's business. As the papyrus people of those days have disappeared, we will never know if some paparazzi of the time might have come upon some interesting scene. It is true, though, that without any specific expression of interest or any stolen piece of information, the heads of the early Christian church could tranquilly fashion the image of a purely spiritual Jesus, without wife or child, then thanks to this, take for themselves his entire inheritance and all the power. It was only too easy!

The small fragment of Coptic manuscript that Karen L. King has presented will not rewrite history. She admits that it is not enough to "prove" anything. But it does sow discord among the dogmas. When you are a woman in a theological man's world, like Ms. King, that is already a small victory.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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