Keep the Da Vinci Code away from the Harvard Divinity School. Professor Karen King stumbled across a 4th-century scrap of papyrus that has the Coptic words "Jesus said to them, 'My wife…,'" but she's begging everyone, "Don't say this proves Dan Brown was right." The discovery was announced in Rome today, but King let reporters from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Harvard Magazine get a sneak peak at it last Thursday. The owner of the fragment is staying anonymous, but King first heard from the private collector in an email in 2010. Researchers have spent the last two years verifying that it is real, but no one knows yet what text the tiny 4 by 8 centimeter fragment came from. The Times' Laurie Goodstein reports, "The piece is torn into a rough rectangle, so that the document is missing its adjoining text on the left, right, top and bottom — most likely the work of a dealer who divided up a larger piece to maximize his profit," adding, "Much of the context, therefore, is missing. But Dr. King was struck by phrases in the fragment like 'My mother gave to me life,' and 'Mary is worthy of it,' which resemble snippets from the Gospels of Thomas and Mary."
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Twitter jokesters have been happy to fill in the details that the researchers haven't yet been able to confirm. King should have known it'd be a losing battle.
@jacobwe Jesus's wife. Oh man. Watch for gloating over at danbrown.com . Also maybe, yes, from @hannarosin nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/…— Virginia Heffernan (@page88) September 18, 2012
Ball's in your court, Dan.