An investigative reporter helps uncover the truth behind an alleged gospel.

What happens when a Harvard professor puts the weight of her reputation behind an alleged ancient gospel with monumental implications for the Roman Catholic Church, and the gospel turns out to be a fake? In 2012, Karen King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard’s Divinity School, announced the discovery of a gospel in which Jesus refers to “my wife.” Investigative reporter Ariel Sabar, author of Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, was present at the announcement and helped uncover the actuality of the gospel’s forgery.


This week on Book Dreams, Ariel talks with Eve and Julie about what it was like to be in the room, across the street from the Vatican itself, when Karen King unveiled the alleged gospel. He describes the steps taken to establish that the document was forged, and his own, successful efforts to identify the man who is almost certainly the mastermind behind the forgery. And he discusses what this saga illustrates about the nature of truth and the significance of authenticity, with a consideration of the influence of Karen King’s postmodernist thinking.




Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife


ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Smithsonian Magazine •Christian Science Monitor The Minneapolis Star TribuneShelf Awareness

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Ariel Sabar

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, by Ariel Sabar

My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past, by Ariel Sabar

Karen King

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

Harvard Divinity School

Smithsonian Magazine

Shroud of Turin

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The Old Testament

The New Testament

The Gospel of Mary

The Gospel of Thomas

Harvard Theological Review

Eve Yohalem

Julie Sternberg

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