Saturday 29 August 2015

Pap Dodge Just Became Laughable

Additional evidence has been spotted that the so-called Gospel of Jesus' Wife ("PapDodge") not only is a forgery (as I suggested it was when it was first published), but a comparatively recent one. That is interesting if one remembers the collecting history going back to the 1960s and a letter of the 1980s, which now can be said was simply made-up. The evidence is published on Mark Goodacre's NT blog (Guest Post by Andrew Bernhard, 'The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: “Patchwork” Forgery in Coptic . . . and English', Friday, August 28, 2015). Bernhard had already shown that the text is essentially a “patchwork” of words and short phrases culled from the lone extant Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi Codex II), prepared by a forger using Michael W. Grondin’s PDF edition of this manuscript that was posted online on November 22, 2002. The new evidence comes from the release online of the translation that the owner of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife provided Professor Karen King back in September 2012. 
With the now overwhelming evidence that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is dependent on Grondin’s Interlinear in Coptic . . . and English, I think it is now reasonable to assert simply that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was forged using Grondin’s Interlinear. Given this assumption, the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife papyrus fragment must have been forged sometime after November 2002 (when the PDF version of Grondin’s Interlinear containing the typographical/grammatical error also found in line 1 of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was put online) and before the Summer of 2010 (when it was first brought to the attention of Karen King).
Readers will remember that the 'provenance' claimed by the current owner of the controversial papyrus was a document (contract) which stated that "it was purchased, along with five other Coptic papyrus fragments, from a man named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp in November 1999 and that Laukamp had obtained it in 1963 from Potsdam in then-East Germany". Yeah right. The DDR no longer existed when Grondin published his translation.

A recent text by Owen Jarus 'Origins of 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife' Begin to Emerge', Live Science August 24, 2015 discusses the origins of the document, though the question of who Laukamp was seem now to be barely relevant to this story. Interestingly, Laukamp died in 2002 - the same year that Grondin's publication appeared. Coincidence?

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