UPDATE: The Reaction to Karen King’s Gospel Discovery

When a divinity scholar unveiled a papyrus fragment that she says refers to Jesus’ “wife,” our reporter was there in Rome amidst the firestorm of criticism

The "Mary" in the controversial text, King says, may be Mary Magdalene, who was present at the Crucifixion. (Ryan Reed)
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King makes no secret of her contrarian approach to Christian history. “You’re talking to someone who’s trying to integrate a whole set of ‘heretical’ literature into the standard history,” she said in our first phone conversation, noting later that “heretical” was a term she does not accept.

But what was she after, exactly? Was her goal to make Christianity a bigger tent? Was it to make clergy more tolerant of difference?

“I’m less interested in proselytizing or a bigger tent for its own sake than in issues of human flourishing,” she said. “It’s more the, How do we get along? What does it mean for living now?

“What history can do,” she said, “is show that people have to take responsibility for what they activate out of their tradition. It’s not just a given thing one slavishly follows. You have to be accountable.”


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