by Ariel Sabar
From National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author Ariel Sabar, the gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that shook Harvard.
In 2012, Dr. Karen King, a star professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced a blockbuster discovery at a scholarly conference just steps from the Vatican: She had found an ancient fragment of papyrus in which Jesus calls Mary Magdalene “my wife.” The tattered manuscript made international headlines. If early Christians believed Jesus was married, it would upend the 2,000-year history of the world’s predominant faith, threatening not just the celibate, all-male priesthood but sacred teachings on marriage, sex and women’s leadership. Biblical scholars were in an uproar, but King had impeccable credentials as a world-renowned authority on female figures in the lost Christian texts from Egypt known as the Gnostic gospels. “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”–as she provocatively titled her discovery–was both a crowning career achievement and powerful proof for her arguments that Christianity from its start embraced alternative, and far more inclusive, voices.