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Italy: Scholars study evidence of a married Jesus

Evidence that early Christians believed Jesus was married was being questioned by scholars yesterday.

Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, said this week that she had found the evidence on a fragment of fourth-century papyrus. The text contained dialogue in which Jesus referred to "my wife", whom he identified as Mary.

Professor King announced the finding at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. She said the fragment of Coptic script was a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century.

Wolf-Peter Funk, a Coptic linguist at Laval University in Quebec, said there were "thousands of scraps of papyrus where you find crazy things", and many questions remained unanswered about the fragment.