• Veritas

  • A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife
  • By: Ariel Sabar
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (199 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author Ariel Sabar comes the gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that shook Harvard.

In 2012, Dr. Karen King, a star religion professor at Harvard, announced a breathtaking discovery just steps from the Vatican: she’d found an ancient scrap of papyrus in which Jesus calls Mary Magdalene “my wife”. The mysterious manuscript, which King provocatively titled “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”, had the power to topple the Roman Catholic Church. It threatened not just the all-male priesthood, but centuries of sacred teachings on marriage, sex, and women’s leadership, much of it premised on the hallowed tradition of a celibate Jesus. 

Award-winning journalist Ariel Sabar covered King’s announcement in Rome but left with a question that no one seemed able to answer: Where in the world did this history-making papyrus come from? Sabar’s dogged sleuthing led from the halls of Harvard Divinity School to the former headquarters of the East German Stasi before landing on the trail of a Florida man with an unbelievable past. Could a motorcycle-riding pornographer with a fake Egyptology degree and a prophetess wife have set in motion one of the greatest hoaxes of the century? A propulsive tale laced with twists and trapdoors, Veritas is an exhilarating, globe-straddling detective story about an Ivy League historian and a college dropout - and how they worked together to pass off an audacious forgery as a long-lost piece of the Bible.

©2020 Ariel Sabar (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A good story well told cuts across every category of audiobook listening. This remarkable tale of a high-profile fraud combines elements of scripture studies, academic politics, investigative journalism, and true-crime reporting. Narrator Robert Petkoff is pitch-perfect in delivering author Ariel Sabar's examination of "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife," a forged parchment of dubious origin that duped a Harvard professor, made headlines, and here unfolds into a provocative study of the uneasy relationship between fact, belief, and the dedicated pursuit of truth. Petkoff maintains a firm, steady pace.... It's Sabar's painstaking attention to detail that exposes layer after layer of fraud and self-deception, and in the end provides a compelling and memorable listening experience." (AudioFile Magazine)

“Sabar has written a true story of mystery and intrigue…blending religious history with a tale of deception…Well-researched, engrossing.” (Library Journal)

“A work of exemplary narrative nonfiction...fitting neatly into the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category.... Provocative and probing." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Veritas

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Wow

This was sooo good. I originally read about this in about 2010 and I left off after the carbon dating was done. I am no scholar, but when it came back, even I knew it was medieval! This is a jaw dropping book and really pulls away the curtain to expose the “wizards” who claim to be our intellectual superiors. Thank you, Mr. Sabar, for YOUR Veritas!

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A Perfect Book & A Very Good Narration

Veritas should be required reading for many fields: academics, bible scholars, journalists. Some comments indicate it's too long. It's not, just very, very thorough. Enjoy a thrilling and highly educational page turner.

2 people found this helpful

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Olfactory nerve cancer

King’s diagnosis of cancer of the olfactory nerve, a cranial nerve, was mentioned twice by the author. This nerve to the brain sits right under the prefrontal cortex of the brain which governs our executive decision making abilities. Perhaps a long shot or completely wrong, but it corresponds to the same time this story of her unfortunate decision making played out. Just wondering.

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Amazing book!

I listened to this book for two days in a row until I had finished it. What I loved about it:
- Extremely well written.
- Engaging narrative.
- Excellent investigative work.
- Excellent narration.

The author does not seem to have left a single stone unturned in his quest to figure out exactly what happened.

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Great Story for our Time

What is true, what are facts, who should be believed? How much does confirmation bias effect scholarship? Questions well asked and answered here. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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Corruption in religious academia

This is an excellent, fascinating, and informative story of the wildly titled fraud, the Gospel of Jesus's Wife. If you have any interest in historiography, Harvard, Harvard Divinity School, con artistry, post-modernism in academia, narrative theories of truth, and/or early Christianity, this is a must read. At its core, it is the story of a deluded professor at the Harvard Divinity School, and how according to some ideas prevalent in academia having to do with a strong preference for moralized juicy stories over facts, she and the Divinity School, with various aiders and abettors, came to an embarrassing fall.

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Superb

This story is fascinating. The issue of the scripture is dealt with fully but the astounding story that surrounds it unfolds as an unexpected maze of surprises that is solved by investigative journalism and fidelity to fact finding. I did some googling while listening and thought based on that the story would fizzle out. It did not. Journalism still exists. Here is a sterling example.

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Journalism at its best!

Unfortunately, journalism has lost its virtues.
When you see pitiful work by CNN journalist for example, just to gain ratings, Mr. Sabar’s commendable work is just exhilarating !!
Ben Kermani, MD

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A Real Life Thriller

The depth and quality of Sabar's journalism is breathtaking. The collapse of Karen King as a scholar is a modern day morality tale.

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Spectacular story

Very well researched and superbly presented. The details were enthralling, leading to twists and turns in the story that was better than fiction.