Christian Askeland Finds the “Smoking Gun”

Over at Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, Christian Askeland announces that photos of the Gospel of John fragment, allegedly purchased together with the Gospel of Jesus Wife papyrus, are available here (click on “read the full report”)

Christian remarks that

The shocker here is this.  The fragment contains exactly the same hand, exactly the same ink and has been written with the same writing instrument.  One would assume that it were part of the same writing event, be it modern or ancient. … Actually, if you are a Coptic nerd, there apparently is a bigger shocker…  The text is in Lycopolitan and apparently is a(n exact?) reproduction from the famous Cambridge Qau codex, edited by Herbert Thompson.  What is so shocking about that?  Essentially all specialists believe that Lycopolitan and the other minor dialects died out during or before the sixth century.  Indeed, the forger tried to offer two manuscripts both in Lycopolitan, but made two crucial mistakes.  First, the NHC gospel of Thomas is not a pure Lycopolitan text, but the Qau codex is.  That is we have two clearly different subdialect of Lycopolitan, which agree exactly with published texts.  Second, this GJohn fragment has been 14C dated to the seventh to ninth centuries, a period from which Lycopolitan is totally unknown.

I collated the text of the fragment against Thompson’s edition of the Gospel of John in the Lycopolitan dialect of Coptic and the results can be seen in the photo below (this is the verso of the fragment, which contains John 6:11-14).

Untitled-11This implies that the modern forger (now we can confidently use this word) copied from Thompson’s edition, following the same line divisions. As both this papyrus fragment and the GJW stem from the same pen, the latter must also be a forgery. Congratulations to Christian for finally finding the “smoking gun.” Although to many of us the forgery has always been obvious, now we can finally say ‘Case closed”!

P.S. I repeat here, just for the sake of clarity: genuine blank papyrus fragments have been purchased and used for these blatant forgeries.


About Alin Suciu

I am a researcher at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. I write mostly on Coptic literature, Patristics, and apocryphal texts.
This entry was posted in Apocrypha and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Christian Askeland Finds the “Smoking Gun”

  1. Pingback: Case Closed: Jesus’ Wife Papyrus a Forgery | Voces anticae

  2. Your late P.-S. : Note that the GJW papyrus was not blank ; Sr Georgeos Díaz-Montexano showed in his September 2012 (!) book that some letters were superseded and that a kind of Magic Glyph still remains at the bottom of the fragment.

    See also here.

  3. Your late P.-S. : Note that the GJW papyrus was not blank ; Sr Georgeos Díaz-Montexano showed in his September 2012 (!) book that some letters were superseded and that a kind of Magic Glyph still remains at the bottom of the fragment.

    See also here.

    [“folowing ”…]

    • Alin Suciu says:

      Ah, now I remember who is he, but the arguments did not sound convincing to me at that time. I’ll recheck tomorrow.
      Although if you tell me that some traces of the previous script are still visible, I tend to believe you.

  4. Crap – I thought I found the smoking gun! LOL! Well, maybe I still did – but Christian definitely found a much bigger gun with a LOT more smoke!

  5. stephan huller says:

    But where is it shown that the ink is the same and how do you account for the C14 results?

    • Alin Suciu says:

      Stephan, all our colleagues are convinced now about the forgery. I assume Karen will soon react as well. This is, finally, the end.

      Have a look at the John fragment, which is the same copyist’s hand, it follows the same line divisions as Thompson’s edition of the Gospel of John in Lycopolitan. This is plain forgery, what else do you want to see?

      The C14 results can be easily accounted and I have already told you how. We always supposed that the forger bought old papyri and prepared ink based on soot.

      One of the problems is that the papyri are not old enough (maybe 4th century blank papyri were not available on the market)!

      But, of course, you can continue to believe in this. No one stops you. What really matters to me is that paleography and philology are arguably far superior to lab tests.

    • Stephan, the forgery of the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment can’t be proven for now : even the first “smoking gun” – Dr Goodacre dixit –, that is the “Missing M” in its line 1 – discovered on October 7, 2012, around 5:00 p.m., and published on October 9, 2012, 2:37 a.m. – is not totally convincing… What has discovered Christian Askeland can’t be disputed : the joined Gospel according to John – which surfaced only 15 days ago !… – is a modern forgery which posdate 1924 (publication of the Qau codex by Herbert Thompson) – it reminds me the 2427 Affair, one of the “best” witness of Mark‘s Gospel was proven to be a XXth c. forgery in the same way !… – ; it seems that the hand of this second fragment is the same that the heavy hand of the GJW : if it is admitted by all scholars, then the first fragment must be, is, also a forgery…

  6. Pingback: “Femme de Jésus”, le papyrus de l’évangile de Jean qui a été daté en même temps serait-il lui aussi un faux? » Serge Cazelais

  7. I like this post. But I think you should produce a higher res, higher quality figure B. Nice work.

  8. sorry I meant only the red lines in Figure B.

  9. Now if you both could write in good English…

  10. Pingback: Much To Talk About-39 | theologyarchaeology

  11. Pingback: Did Jesus Have a Wife? What Recent Analysis of “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” Really Means | Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

  12. Pingback: Il “Vangelo della Moglie di Gesù” è un falso! | DJED MEDU

  13. Pingback: Another Nail in the Coffin of the “Jesus’s Wife” Hoax

  14. I’ve added a graphic of the recto too in the spirit of yours above, Alin. Thanks for your work!

  15. Pingback: The Final Nail in the Coffin For The Gospel of Jesus' Wife | The Aramaic New Testament

    • Alin Suciu says:

      My eye says, yes, it is the same hand. K is particularly telling, although the copyist is not consistent throughout (which is normal). The overall aspect of the script is also identical.

      Same modern hand which I saw for the first time in September 2012 in Rome.

      • Do you think that Dr Karen L. King – who is a very cool, calm, honest person – has had at that time this St John – and maybe the three or four other fragments… – in her hands ?

        Can somebody calculate the cost of the wasted time in this affair ?… [But I don’t think that this time and energy were wasted : it was a Great Première, Scholars – and unScholars… – working all together during 18 months, on a new medium… Next publications – CSNTM coming new photoes, to be published Oxyrhyncus papyri (5 000 only in a 500 000 stock !) – are firmly awaited…]

  16. Pingback: “Frau Jesu”-Papyrus doch eine Fälschung? « Die kosmische Urkraft

  17. Pingback: Shared from Dr. Mark Goodacre’s Academic Blob | The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: A Call for Closure | Talmidimblogging

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