I watched with wary amusement the reactions to the Coptic papyrus in which Jesus refers to “his wife,” then later refers to Mary.
Seriously? I miss the point.
First, it’s a Coptic text. Do a little research on the Copts (“Egyptians,” who claim John Mark as their founder). In 451 AD, they veered from mainstream Christianity (at the Council of Chalcedon) in their interpretation of Christ’s nature, declaring him separately human and separately divine, while the rest of us grasped homeostasis, where his natures are fully blended. So we’re dealing with a document whose very source is deemed inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs of Christendom for the past almost two-thousand years. I greet Coptic teachings with skepticism.
I ponder the Biblical and para-Biblical literature out there—vast quantities of both—that never mention Christ’s wife. Don’t you think we’d have found an inkling of this rather dramatic revelation, even granted the completely patristic nature of Biblical translation and transcription?
I see the text’s coverage as just another rabbit trail. Why grasp for something so easily relegated to heresy when we never mention Junia, a female apostle of Christ (Romans 16:7). Ever heard a sermon about her, or even heard her mentioned anywhere except here? For one thing, many scholars believe that in some texts her name was mistakenly changed to the male form, Junius. Ask yourself, and your pastor, why we haven’t heard of her.
What about Joanna? Do some research in Luke, where she is referred to in the band of disciples traveling with Christ. Was it only last month you heard a sermon in which she was mentioned? To use a seminary phrase, “that’ll preach.” What about Thecla, Philip’s daughters, Ammia, Philumene…the dynamic list goes on. It continues through the first few centuries, barrels through the Renaissance and Reformation, and gets lost in today’s complacency.
Christian females have a rich heritage of leadership, service, and scholastic integrity. For our daughters’ sakes, we need to begin to unearth the unbreakable chain that embeds us in the foundation of our faith.