'Wife of Jesus' reference in Coptic 4th Century script
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.
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 Ms 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.
Alan Johnstone reports.
19 Sep 2012