The passion of Christ?


SEVEN DAYS:A glance at the week that was

The discovery of a tiny fragment of fourth-century papyrus has reignited a perennial mystery: whether Jesus was married. According to Harvard professor Karen L King, the scrap of paper contains Coptic text that reads, in part, “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife.’ ” Jesus also identifies his wife as Mary, reigniting old Mary Magdalene conspiracy so beloved of Dan Brown. King suggests the accepted wisdom that Jesus was unmarried wasn’t always so readily accepted, and debates about his marital status were common among early Christians.

The numbers

2Number of times a year the formerly monthly Smithfield horse fair will take place under bylaws proposed by Dublin City Council.

18%The shrinkage in Arctic sea ice this year, to a record low of 3.4 million square kilometres. Nasa’s yellow line (below) shows its average minimum over the past 30 years.

€15mAmount US private-equity firm Gordon Brothers is thought to have paid to buy Clerys’ €26m debt from Bank of Ireland.

5.6mThe estimated number of children on Facebook, despite the social network’s rule that members be 13 or over.

47%The proportion of Americans that Mitt Romney told fundraisers don’t pay income tax, feel like victims and therefore won’t vote for him.

$1.7 trillionThe combined wealth of the richest 400 people in the US, according to Forbes magazine, up 13 per cent on last year.

14,000Drop in the number of people at work in Ireland in the April-June period, the biggest three-month decline in a year.

We now know

Two Swedish women have undergone mother-to-daughter uterus transplants, the world’s first.

An asteroid crater in Siberia contains trillions of carats’ worth of diamonds, more than exist in the rest of the world combined.

Rats fed Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed to the biotech company’s herbicide had a higher risk of developing tumours and dying prematurely, according to controversial French research.

Most read on

1 Obsession with Kate's body is a strictly female disorder

2 We must seize Tricolour back from thugs

3 Ancient text refers to Jesus having wife

4 Grannies on safari in Ireland

5 Fascination with Kate's breasts and Karen's clothes makes idiots of us all

6 Polish drought brings flood of treasures

7 Sisk runs out of road in Poland after two years

8 Apple gives Dublin new airfield

9 Boyle over? Never, says Chris O'Dowd

10 €920 weekly cost of running average home bought in boom

Rankings for September 14th-21st

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