“Jesus’ wife” fail: Feminist Harvard religion prof gets bamboozled by Internet porn huckster
Fritz, according to Sabar’s reporting, was quite the character. During the late 1980s he had studied Egyptology at the Free University in West Berlin, where he had learned Coptic (facts he concealed from King) and where the two scholars who had supposedly authenticated the fragment and a companion papyrus (according to photocopies of apparent correspondence that Fritz gave King), now also conveniently deceased, happened to teach. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he headed a museum of East German history in the former East Berlin but resigned that position abruptly in 1992. He subsequently talked himself into key positions in two ultimately failed auto-parts businesses during the mid-1990s. One of his partners was Laukamp, who had, according to Fritz, supposedly sneaked into East Germany in 1963, bought six papyri there, and then smuggled them back to the West before eventually selling them to Fritz. Sabar discovered a host of problems with all this proffered paperwork, including dates and even basic facts that didn’t jibe. Furthermore, Laukamp’s stepson and former business partners described him as a minimally educated toolmaker whose main hobby was drinking beer and who had never collected anything in his life, much less antiquities. Besides hustling auto parts, Fritz also got into the art-photography business during the mid-1990s, creating an online “gallery” that included some dubious-looking purported ancient objects.
To top it all off, from 2003 through 2015 Fritz oversaw a slew of Internet-porn sites starring his wife having sex with other men. The year 2003 was, perhaps coincidentally, the year that Dan Brown published his runaway fiction bestseller The Da Vinci Code, whose main theme, like that of the “Jesus’ wife” fragment, was a wedded Jesus who promoted a spiritual dimension to sex. Fritz’s wife, according to Sabar, had her own spiritual side. She claimed to channel the archangel Michael, and in 2015 she self-published a book of “universal truths” in which she claimed, somewhat in the fashion of the ancient Gnostics and also Dan Brown, that churches and the Bible were inferior sources of religious inspiration compared with “what you can give yourself.”
Posted by Charlotte Allen