In truth, neither one of us is claiming to have found the wife of the historical Jesus. In both drafts of Prof. King's essay she writes: “The fragment does not provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married but concerns an early Christian debate over whether women who are wives and mothers can be disciples of Jesus” (157). In a short section of my book I emphasize Prof. King's stated intentions. I wrote: "Despite King’s clear and repeated efforts to the contrary, the international news media sold this story as if it might reveal something about the historical Jesus" (65). In short, my interest in the "Jesus' wife" fragment is almost entirely focused on our modern reactions. Our simultaneous fascination and repulsion to this story ought to tell us something about ourselves. Really, this is the key theme of the first half of my book (the second half offers evidence for and against a literal wife of Jesus). So, where it matters, I don't think that the King and I have much to disagree about.
Prof. King adds a section in her final draft that addresses the concerns of the many scholars who argue that the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" is a modern forgery. She very briefly addresses the suggestion of Andrew Bernhard who points out a typo that matches a webpage interlinear. I cite Bernhard on this point (64) and King follows suit via my suggestion (156). I think now that Mark Goodacre deserves some credit here too. King dismisses the argument that a modern forger might have copied from Grondin's interlinear. She dismisses this argument on the grounds that it requires "proof that the statements and documentation provided by the owner are also false or forged" (156). So, according to King, the argument for deception is without merit because we cannot prove that the anonymous owner intends to deceive. I'll have to think more on this logic, but I fear that we might have another time loop issue.
On page 157 King writes:
As I mentioned above, I mostly agree with Prof. King on this point. This fragment, even if the text is ancient, should not be scandalous. She has said so from the start. If ancient, it is only one more brick in the reconstruction of Christian belief. There is nothing in the text itself to suggest a literal wife of Jesus. But—and here I must again demur—the fragment was framed as a scandal by the media. Predictably so. This isn't the fault of King, but I think that everyone involved in the dissemination of this research knew that it would be big news and knew why it would be big news. The suggestion that Jesus was literally married is a very recent scandal and an ongoing scandal at that. The text itself should not scandalize but it certainly did and to the shock of nobody. So let's not dismiss the cultural context of its reception too hastily.