“Hail the new, ye lads and lasses. Fa la la la la, la la la la,” says that old carol. The journalism angle in that?
During the Christmas and Easter seasons, journalists have come to expect -- and perhaps to hail -- new, sensationalized and commercialized bids to debunk the New Testament Gospels, the earliest and best source we have about Jesus’ life. The Religion Guy himself has played that game, hopefully with some balance and accuracy.
The most lucrative example by far was “The Da Vinci Code,” an odd novel issued for Holy Week of 2003. In 2014 that fictional tale about Jesus marrying his disciple Mary Magdalene has been supplanted by alleged non-fiction. Before Easter, a Harvard University press release announced: “Testing Indicates ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Papyrus Fragment to be Ancient.” To the contrary, the testing showed this fragment wasn’t “ancient” but dates from the 7th or 8th Century A.D., and as for the “wife” business, see below.
Then, timed for Christmas the media have publicized a book entitled “The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene.”