Monday 24 September 2012

The "dodgy" papyrus and Harvard Theological Review

It now appears that the New York Times was premature in announcing that PDodg. would be published in the January 2013 number of Harvard Theological Review. It has now been stated that "A Harvard University journal says it hasn’t fully verified research that purportedly shows some early Christians believed Jesus had a wife, even though Harvard’s divinity school touted the research during a publicity blitz this week" ("Harvard journal: Research into papyrus with text about Jesus’ ‘wife’ not yet verified", Washington Post September 22, 2012).

The report goes on:
the review’s co-editor Kevin Madigan said he and his co-editor had only “provisionally” committed to a January publication, pending the results of the ongoing studies. In an email, Madigan said the added studies include “scientific dating and further reports from Coptic papyrologists and grammarians.”
HTR could have avoided this apparent turnaround by having a more rigorous publication policy along the lines of the Archaeological Institute of America for the American Journal of Archaeology.

AP quotes Ric Elia who makes the striking point: “If it’s real, it was looted and smuggled, most likely ... If it’s not real, then it shouldn’t even be out there in the discussion.”

This now raises issues about why Professor King publicised PDodg. through the NYT. Was she unaware of the issues relating to recently surfaced material? Why had she not completed scientific studies on the papyrus?

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