An article in today’s Age Online, reporting the discovery of a 4th century manuscript claiming that Jesus had a wife, annoyed me sufficiently to prompt this short newspaper article of my own. I only hope that all new archeological discoveries are allowed to challenge long-held axioms in the way that the Age has let this one do.
Archeologists have recently uncovered a text message, dated around December 2000, which offers new evidence that the new millennium began in 2000, not in 2001.
The text message, presumed to be of Melburnian origin, in the distinctive ‘Essemess’ dialect of the day, contains the phrase ‘nu milenium’ and reports that the writer intended to get ‘hammered’ in celebration of the event.
Belief that the new millennium began in 2001 has been the dominant view among conservative scholars, many of whom deny any possibility that it could have begun in 2000. However, the counter view, that the start of the third millennium was 1 January 2000, has continually resurfaced.
‘The authorities have preserved the view that the third millennium started in 2001,’ says text message scholar Dr Christine Knightly of _________ University, ‘but this text message, along with many other contemporary sources, demonstrates that an alternative view was in circulation very early on. This offers quite a strident challenge to conservative scholarship on the issue.’
While the text message does seem to give new fuel to the debate, conservative scholars maintain that the message itself does not prove the millennium began in 2000. Nonetheless, Knightly is confident that the discovery of the text message, now known as the ‘M’ manuscript, will provide a much-needed challenge to the conservative view.
Knightly is soon to publish a paper, along with photographs of the restored message, through __________ University Press later in the year.