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April 14, 2021 65 min

Karen King of the Harvard Divinity School wasn't the first 'professor' to discover "the long-buried secret of Jesus' marriage." That distinction belongs to fellow Harvard faculty member Robert Langdon, protagonist in Dan Brown's 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code. Langdon was a fiction. King on the other hand was not; she held the very real Hollis Professorship of Divinity established in 1721 - the oldest, and arguably most prestigious, endowed chair in America. And there she was, in Rome, just seven years after serving as a consultant for the novel's film adaptation, to present at the International Congress of Coptic Studies. Like Langdon she would cast a stone at 2,000 years of patriarchal tradition.

King had in her possession a business-card-sized papyrus, bearing 30-some Coptic words, including this astounding sequence: "Mary is worthy of it... Jesus said to them, My wife... she is able to be my disciple..." King proposed the fragment was a fourth-century Coptic translation of a late-second-century Greek gospel. She called it the Gospel of Jesus' Wife - "something that would stick", she later explained.

Incredulous complaints emerged almost immediately: the handwriting appeared blatantly modern, misspellings were "monstrous". One bemused Egyptoligist noted the copyist would, "have benefited from one more semester of Coptic." Still King persisted; she leveraged her institution's reputation and that of her office to engineer a defense from the prestigious Harvard Theological Review. Not until two years later, when the forger was revealed, did she conditionally concede the scrap was "likely a fake". 

Ariel Sabar, the author of Veritas, the 2020 book which chronicles the affair, summarized King's behavior thusly: “[I]deological commitments were choreographing her practice of history. The story came first; the dates managed after. The narrative before the evidence; the news conference before the scientific analysis.” In this, the 63rd episode of Making Sense, we review the latest scholarship that questions the Gospel of Bernanke's Global Savings Glut. We note that ideological commitments are choreographing monetary practice. Expectations before the evidence; the forward guidance before the scientific analysis.

-----PART 01 SUMMARY------
In the early 2000s, bond markets ignored the Fed. Alan Greenspan called it a "conundrum". Ben Bernanke blamed a "Global Savings Glut". But recent Federal Reserve research notes events since 2008 upend the Bernanke glut and instead suggest economic weakness and financial fear as causal.

-----PART 02 SUMMARY------
Economic recovery? Then why aren't US Treasury Securities being OBLITERATED by the combined power of vaccines, fiscal stimulus and monetary easing? Maybe because stimulus is really 'stimulus' and easing is 'easing'. Indeed, US Treasury Bills are being bid and signalling angst.

-----PART 03 SUMMARY------
America's unemployment rate is a miraculously low 6% - a remarkable achievement. But behind the headlines is the sad fact that labor force participation is awful.

---------SEE IT-----------
Alhambra YouTube:
Emil YouTube:

---------HEAR IT----------

Slight, But Only Slight, Movement In the Understanding of Rates:
The Global Saving Glut and the Fall in U.S. Real Interest Rates:
Global Imbalances Tracker:
Rechecking On Bill And His Newfound Followers:
Reopening 2:
Alhambra Investments Blog:
RealClear Markets Essays:

Jeff Snider, Head of Global Investment Research for Alhambra Investments and Emil Kalinowski. Art by David Parkins. 

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