An ancient scrap of papyrus makes explicit reference to Jesus having a wife, according to a renowned expert in Christian history.
Harvard divinity professor Karen King unveiled the 4th-Century Coptic script at a conference in Rome, according to BBC News.
She said researchers had identified the words “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife'”, which might refer to Mary Magdalene.
Christian tradition holds that Jesus did not marry – but Prof King said in early years it was subject to debate.
The provocative find could spark debate over celibacy and the role of women within Christianity, she added.
Both the New Testament and at the non-biblical gospels contain evidence of Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene.
In the Gospel of Philip a passage reads, “There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion”.
Another passage in The Gospel of Philip that concerns Mary is the most suggestive: “And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Savior answered and said to them, ‘Why do I not love you like her?’ When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. Then the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness”.
Jesus Christ might very well have been married to Mary Magdalene because Mary was a close follower of Him, and accompanied Him on His journeys, helped to support Him financially, learned from Him, remained faithful to Him even in His darkest hour when His male disciples fell away, was the first to see Him after the resurrection, and was the first person in history to announce to others the good news that Jesus is risen.