Archive for 11/03/2019

Questions over ancient text claiming Jesus was married

A US professor has caused a sensation in Rome where she spoke about an ancient papyrus fragment that refers to the “wife” of Jesus, but the theory that Christ could have been married is seen with great scepticism in the Vatican and by historians.


Professor Karen King, who teaches at Harvard Divinity School, spoke about the existence of an ancient Coptic Christian scroll from the fourth century measuring 3.8 centimetres by 7.6 centimetres which contains the words: “Jesus said to them, my wife.”

During a congress on Coptic studies she put forward the theory that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.

She added that this “doesn’t prove that Jesus was married” but hinted that the question was being raised at the time, even though Christian tradition assumed as a fact that Jesus was not married.

“From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’ death before they began appealing to Jesus’ marital status to support their positions,” she added.

The professor also cautioned that the authenticity of the document still had to be verified with tests on the ink.

Contacted by AFP, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi refused to call into question King’s competence as a historian but said that “we do not really know where this little scrap of parchment came from.”

“This does not change anything in the position of the Church which rests on an enormous tradition, which is very clear and unanimous” that Jesus Christ was not married, he said.

“This changes nothing in the portrayal of Christ and the gospels. This is not an event that has any influence on Catholic doctrine,” he said.

A professor at the Protestant Faculty of Theology in Paris, Jacques-Noel Peres, pointed out the text was from a relatively late period.

“I have never read texts from any preceding period which spoke about the veracity of Jesus being married,” Peres said.

The professor added that in the language of the time “wife does not necessarily mean spouse.”

He quoted the famous phrase from the Bible in which Jesus spoke to his mother at the marriage at Cana saying: “Woman, why turn to me?” underlining that the reference could come from this passage.

Some historians said the script could come from gnosticism — a doctrine that was popular in the second century — which was very marginal and in disagreement with the Church and whose texts were exaggerated.

The editor of the Vatican’s official daily Osservatore Romano, Professor Giovanni Maria Vian, a specialist in the history of the early Church, said he doubted the authenticity of the fragment which could be a fake sold as a genuine article to get a higher price since “the theme raises popular interest.”

“There is a business in fakes in the Middle East,” Vian said, adding that in the United States there had been “an attempt to create a buzz around this case.”

Citing expert observations, he said that the writing on the papyrus is “personal writing” whereas a Codex would have been written in a “very rigid” way resembling a printed text.

“Church tradition has no mention of a wife of Jesus. All the historical indications are that Jesus was unmarried. It is clearly said that Saint Peter was married. So why hide this for Jesus?” Vian said.

Vian said that if the text were indeed from that period it could be a fragment from an apocryphal gospel inspired by gnosticism translated into the Coptic language.

The apocryphal gospels, which were presented as coming from the entourage of Jesus Christ, flourished in the early centuries of Christianity.

Swallow ruptures achilles in big ‘Roos win

Injured North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow is facing at least nine months on the sidelines after his AFL side battered Melbourne with ridiculous ease at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.


Swallow ruptured his achilles tendon during his side’s 122-point win and will have surgery to repair it on Sunday, the club confirmed on Saturday night.

The North skipper faces nine to 12 months out of action, and a return several games into the 2014 season would be a best-case scenario for the tricky injury.

“It’s very rare that the medical staff are so certain about an injury – they’re confident it’s a ruptured achilles tendon,” Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said before scans confirmed the worst.

“You’re looking at anything around the 12-month mark for that sort of injury.”

Swallow hobbled off early in the third term with his team already on the way to a comfortable 22.18 (150) to 4.4 (28) victory and the awful Dees to their 15th defeat in 17 matches this year.

North’s Ryan Bastinac and Aaron Black booted four goals each, onballers Brent Harvey and Ben Cunnington combined for 70 possessions between them, while ruckman Todd Goldstein was also outstanding.

After several competitive weeks and a win under interim coach Neil Craig, the Demons took a marked step backwards with a dire performance.

The Demons kicked the opening goal of the match, then proceeded to trek inside the opposition 50-metre arc just once more for the quarter.

North increased their lead to 25 points by halftime, before they flattened the pedal in the third – booting eight goals to one for a 68-point three-quarter-time advantage.

The Dees were held scoreless entirely in the final term.

North piled on 16 goals to one for the second half.

It was Melbourne’s 10th defeat this season by more than 10 goals.

Craig admitted the loss was a huge step backwards for the Demons, who seemed to be improving under his tutelage since he took over from sacked Mark Neeld.

“We came to play rather than to perform,” was Craig’s assessment.

“We’ve been pretty good in the last few weeks in terms of our competitive nature. Today we weren’t anywhere near it.

“It was a bad day for our club.”

North now have a 7-10 win-loss record.

Google threatens to drop links to French media

A letter sent by Google to several French ministerial offices this month said it “cannot accept” such a move and the company “as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites,” according to a copy obtained by AFP.


France’s new Socialist government, which is open to helping struggling media companies, warned Google that it should not threaten democratic governments.

Google said a law which would require it to make payments to media sites for displaying links to their content, would “threaten (Google’s) very existence”.

It also noted that Google “redirects four billion ‘clicks’ per month towards the Internet pages” of French media.

Media have had difficulty benefitting from the Google traffic, however, as online readers resist paying for access when so much content is free on the Internet.

Newspapers around the world have seen their bottom lines come under pressure as their print advertising revenues slide as more people read news online.

Google takes in tens of billions of dollars annually as companies seek to advertise their wares as Internet users search for content.

Leading French newspaper publishers last month called on the government to adopt a law imposing a settlement in the long-running dispute with Google, forcing it and other search engines to share some of the advertising revenue from user searches for news contained on media websites.

Their demand follows the German government approving in August draft legislation that would force search engines to pay commissions to German media websites.

Google France has said that it believes such laws “would be harmful to the Internet, Internet users and news websites that benefit from substantial traffic” sent to them by Google’s search engine.

The French government has been receptive to the plea of newspaper publishers.

French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti told a parliamentary commission this week that she was in favour of the idea, calling it “a tool that it seems important to me to develop”.

She said she was surprised by the tone of Google’s letter.

“You don’t deal with a democratically-elected government with threats,” Filippetti told AFP on Thursday.

A media association also criticised Google’s attitude, calling it a “complete refusal by the dominant actor on the market … of all dialogue.”

The IPG association of newspapers and magazines said the objective of discussions should be finding an acceptable compromise that would recognise the value they bring to search engines and would help the further development of both of them.

French lawmakers last year ultimately rejected plans for a tax on online advertising revenues, fearing the project would hurt small local companies more than global Internet giants like Google, Facebook or Twitter.

Google France representatives are to meet Friday with officials from the finance ministry to discuss the project and this week’s statement from European data protection agencies saying Google’s new privacy policy does not comply with EU laws.

Google rolled out the new privacy policy in March, allowing it to track users across various services to develop targeted advertising, despite sharp criticism from US and European consumer advocacy groups.

The EU agencies told Google it had a few months to fix the policy or face legal action.

EU competition authorities also have an ongoing anti-trust probe into whether the Internet search giant had abused its dominant market position.

Google made several proposals in July to address concerns about preferential treatment in its search results, doubts over Google’s full respect of copyrights; and restrictive measures in advertising.

The EU competition authorities have yet to say if they are satisfied with the remedies Google has proposed.

If not, it could choose to issue a formal statement of objections.

Fines eventually imposed under this type of probe could reach up to 10 percent of a company’s sales — meaning record EU penalties.

Will Sarah Palin be McCain’s lasting legacy?

Palin, of course, was airlifted in to McCain’s campaign from a small Alaskan town called Wasilla, of which she’d been mayor before being elected Governor of Alaska.


McCain’s floundering 2008 Presidential campaign required a bump as he chased Obama’s dynamism.

Palin delivered as his Vice-Presidential choice: pretty much unknown outside Alaska, young(ish), attractive, and a straight-talker.

Uh, hold that thought and watch this video

No matter, Palin was the textbook sidekick to McCain’s slow-boat, old man, stylings.

Except, of course, her policies, lack of worldview, and plain old lack of smarts (and perhaps little appreciation of beat poetry) saw her and McCain rejected by the American electorate.

Still, McCain had unleashed the beast.

Now, Palin roams America, after quitting her Governorship mid-term to chase book deals and a lucrative speaking circuit, to somehow become a star for the anti-Obamas.

So, thank you John McCain, for introducing us to Sarah Palin, a point that may become his political legacy.

McCain had spent years spinning himself as Mr Reasonable, a Republican-with-a-conscience, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who had been a prisoner of war.

Representing Arizona, he positioned himself as progressive on immigration, gay rights, and climate change while being tough on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He could have been President – twice.

In 2000, he crushed George W. Bush in an important primary in New Hampshire before being steam-rolled later in the campaign.

McCain, remember, was a “maverick”, a guy who would not run with the pack.

That’s possibly because McCain, now running for re-election for his Arizona senate seat, has probably always been about McCain rather than any genuine ideology.

More recently, McCain has flipped on immigration, backing a fence on the Mexican border and, somewhat embarrassingly, sought endorsement from Palin to boost his vote.

And an attempt to boost his vote was just why he picked Palin.

Vanity Fair magazine has considered an alternative universe had McCain and Palin won in 2008.

The US – and the world – would be a very different place.

In summary:

– There would probably be no stimulus bill; the country’s economic condition would be no better (and possibly worse).

* General Motors and Chrysler would have been allowed to go bankrupt.

* There would have been no significant new regulation of the financial industry.

* The Bush tax cuts for high incomes—something McCain had opposed before reversing himself—would have been extended.

* There would have been only modest health-insurance reform, at best.

* There would be no troop drawdown in Iraq.

* The United States might well have bombed or blockaded Iran in response to that country’s flawed election last year, or in response to its nuclear program.

* Finally, there would have been serial feuds between aides to the president and vice president, and Palin’s family would still be a soap opera.

Back in the real world, McCain was challenged by Republicans as the Arizona senate candidate for the upcoming mid-terms.

He’s now seen as yesterday’s man, insulting to someone who gave so much both as an air force pilot and a senator.

As Vanity Fair further revealed, according to a White House aide: “You can tell he can barely fucking stand the fact that he was beaten by Barack Obama.”

McCain? His legacy now may be creating Palin.

Rio slum ‘cleaned-up’ for World Cup

Even though Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup and Summer Olympics are two and four years away, it is apparently already “clean-up” time for at least one Rio de Janeiro slum, Folha De S.


Paulo reports.

Still several years ahead of hosting the World Cup and Summer Olympics, the “clean up” of this city’s slums has apparently already begun. The Brazilian goverment launched a three-day military operation in the Santo Amaro favela of Rio de Janeiro to remove crack users, driving out of the area more than 400 non-residents between last Friday and Monday.

The Santo Amaro slum is considered the largest drug distributor for the wealthy of the Rio South Area. The government announced that Santo Amaro will be occupied by the National Public Security Force for an undetermined amount of time.

Still, many local residents doubt all the attention will last after 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. “I think this is nothing more than a make-over,” says one resident, who preferred to remain anonymous. “The government can’t keep this up for a long period.” Another added: “As soon as the big events finish, everything will return to how it was.”

The atmosphere during the round-up was tranquil. According to police officers, there was no hostility coming from the residents, who seem to have no problem with the operation. “The problem is going to be down the hill,” says sergent Mata, referring to the wealthier areas below. “As these users can no longer stay here, they will try to occupy the streets.” In Rio, slums are located over hills distributed along the city.

Psychologist Maura Cristina, a coordinator for the Facing Crack Project, told Folha that the goal is to take users off of the streets, and bring them to shelters maintained by the Special Protection Division. In total, Rio has 2,741 places among private and public shelters.

“We can’t force adults to stay at these places, but those under 18 are going to stay in compulsory shelters,” she says.