He then would have hidden his collecting habits from Ernest (his estate representative in Sarasota County, Florida) and Axel Herzsprung, his closest business partner.
The two Egyptologists who can verify any part of this story, Gerhard Fecht and Peter Munro, died in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Additionally, Laukamp didn't have any children and doesn't appear to have any relatives still alive. And if the papyrus was exported from Berlin at some point, antiquities officials there have no record of it.
Biblical scholars have made numerous comments arguing that the Gospel of Jesus's Wife is a fake. (See Photos of the Gospel of Judas)
"If the Gospel of Jesus's Wife fragment is genuine, this already involves a pile-on of unusual and suspicious features that amounts to us having won the lottery," writes James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, on his blog. "Now another manuscript from the same cache written in the same hand again presents us with another pile-on of similarly suspicious features. At what point do we stop claiming another lottery win and just accept that the whole thing is a forgery?"
Leo Depuydt, of Brown University, sent an email to several journalists and scholars saying that King should retract her findings. "When is this papyrological pantomime, this Keystone Coptic, this academic farce, this philological burlesque finally going to stop?" asked Depuydt in the email.
King has remained silent on the new evidence. Calls made by Live Science to Harvard Divinity School's media relations office were not returned. Calls made directly to King's phone were also not returned. The reasons for the silence are unclear; there are unconfirmed reports that divisions have emerged within the Harvard Divinity faculty over the authenticity of the papyrus.
A spokesperson for the Smithsonian Channel said that they are still planning to premiere their documentary on the Gospel of Jesus's Wife on Monday evening.
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