This is what happens when you become wrapped up in a political campaign: you end up being 6 months behind regarding people shouting at each other about ancient manuscripts they can't read, and bitterly denouncing Karen L King for things she never said nor did.
6 months ago, Ariel Sabar published an unbelievably long piece in the Atlantic under the title The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus's Wife, in which he reveals that the person who owns that postcard-sized piece of papyrus which was introduced to the world by Harvard professor Karen L King and has become famous as The Gospel of Jesus' Wife, or at least told Sabar that he does, after having told him that he did not, has a shady past. Oh, mendacity!
Sabar's piece begins:
"On a humid afternoon this past November, I pulled off Interstate 75 into a stretch of Florida pine forest tangled with runaway vines. My GPS was homing in on the house of a man I thought might hold the master key to one of the strangest scholarly mysteries in recent decades[...]"
And it goes on and on and on and on about Walter Fritz, a German who has been involved with porn websites and a museum in the former East Germany and whatnot.
God, it's so long, Sabar's piece. So much detail about the porn which I didn't need to read, which neither entertained nor informed me. So much detail about Sabar's surroundings and interior monologues, as if he thinks he's either Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward, who he is not. Let alone both of them together, which separately they aren't even.
But hey, Sabar's father is an academic Biblical scholar. So there must be something in there, in the son's lengthy piece for the Atlantic, which is actually relevant to the authenticity or lack of same of that piece of papyrus. Among all of that exhausting inept prose which has nothing at all to do with it. Something I missed because I was groaning and rolling my eyes too much while searching for it.
Sabar's piece was good enough to have many people, some of whom claim to be employed by universities, demanding, on the Atlantic's website and elsewhere online, that Harvard fire King, and remarking, "wittily," that "SHE's the forgery!" (Get it? Huh? Huh?)
So maybe you, my readers, can find something in there, and explain to me just exactly why this extremely long and very poorly-written article was such a devastating piece of investigative journalism that I found a link to in that ordinarily-admirable website, What's New in Papyrology. I'm out.