Announced at a 2012 conference in Rome by Harvard Divinity School's Karen King, and dubbed the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," the fragment has now been studied by a number of experts. The carbon dating conducted at Harvard and MIT on the fragment (3.2 inches wide by 1.6 inches tall - 8 by 4 centimeters) returned dates between AD 659 and 869. The fragment had earlier been estimated to be “fourth century,” but it is now clear that it is much more recent – probably dating to some 700-800 years after the time of Christ.
By the time this fragment was written, many spurious ideas and speculations had circulated in Christianity; and the “gospel” from which the fragment apparently came may have exhibited many differences from the canonical gospels.
Not all scholars are convinced that the text is even genuine. Professor Leo Depuydt of Brown University has stated that he feels the text is full of grammatical errors and other problems that suggest the writing may have been faked on a piece of ancient papyrus. But even if the writing on the fragment is authentic, its late date means that it really proves nothing regarding the life of the historical Jesus.
Further, the words "Jesus said to them, 'My wife . . . she is able to be my disciple . . .'" which are found on the papyrus may have been intended to be understood figuratively rather than literally. Jesus used similar analogies (John 3:29), and the New Testament speaks of the church being the “Bride of Christ” on several occasions. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 the apostle Paul states “… For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.” And in the Book of Revelation we find verses such as “I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife” (Revelation 21:9).
So, despite the sensationalism associated with the recent studies, and the desire of some to see a “Da Vinci Code” type of hidden truth in a single scrap of papyrus, the fragment of text really gives us no evidence to affect our understanding of the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, and certainly does not prove that Jesus had a wife.