[…] enter […] the abundance […] those who […] I will speak my mystery to those who are mine and to those who will be mine. Moreover it is these who have known him who is, the Father, that is, the Root of the All, the Ineffable One who dwells in the Monad. He dwells alone in silence, and silence is tranquility since, after all, he was a Monad and no one was before him. He dwells in the Dyad and in the Pair, and his Pair is Silence. And he possessed the All dwelling within him. And as for Intention and Persistence, Love and Permanence, they are indeed unbegotten.
God came forth: the Son, Mind of the All, that is, it is from the Root of the All that even his Thought stems, since he had this one (the Son) in Mind. For on behalf of the All, he received an alien Thought since there were nothing before him. From that place it is he who moved […] a gushing spring. Now this is the Root of the All and Monad without any one before him. Now the second spring exists in silence and speaks with him alone. And the Fourth accordingly is he who restricted himself in the Fourth: while dwelling in the Three-hundred-sixtieth, he first brought himself (forth), and in the Second he revealed his will, and in the Fourth he spread himself out.
While these things are due to the Root of the All, let us for our part enter his revelation and his goodness and his descent and the All, that is, the Son, the Father of the All, and the Mind of the Spirit; for he was possessing this one before […]. He is a spring. He is one who appears in Silence, and he is Mind of the All dwelling secondarily with Life. For he is the projector of the All and the very hypostasis of the Father, that is, he is the Thought and his descent below.
John The Theologian About His Exile and Departure
WHEN Agrippa, whom, on account of his plotting against Peace, they stoned and put to death, was king of the Jews, Vespasian Caesar, coming with a great army, invested Jerusalem; and some prisoners of war he took and slew, others he destroyed by famine in the siege, and most he banished, and at length scattered up and down. And having destroyed the temple, and put the holy vessels on board a ship, he sent them to Rome, to make for himself a temple of peace, and adorned it with the spoils of war.
And when Vespasian was dead, his son Domitian, having got possession of the kingdom, along with his other wrongful acts, set himself also to make a persecution against the righteous men. For, having learned that the city was filled with Jews, remembering the orders given by his father about them, he purposed casting them all out of the city of the Romans. And some of the Jews took courage, and gave Domitian a book, in which was written as follows:–
From “The Apocryphal New Testament”M.R. James-Translation and NotesOxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
IT WAS LONG THOUGHT that this must be an episode from the old Acts of Andrew: but Flamion’s study of that book has finally made it clear that there is no place for the tale in those Acts: and that our story is an early member of that which we call the Egyptian cycle: it is a tale of wonder with no doctrinal purpose.
1 At that time all the apostles were gathered together and divided the countries among themselves, casting lots. And it fell to Matthias to go to the land of the anthropophagi. Now the men of that city ate no bread nor drank wine, but ate the flesh and drank the blood of men; and every stranger who landed there they took, and put out his eyes, and gave him a magic drink which took away his understanding.
2 So when Matthias arrived he was so treated; but the drink had no effect on him, and he remained praying for help in the prison.
3 And a light came and a voice: Matthias, my beloved, receive sight. And he saw. And the voice continued: I will not forsake thee: abide twenty-seven days, and I will send Andrew to deliver thee and all the rest. And the Saviour went up into heaven. Matthias remained singing praises; when the executioners came to take victims, he kept his eyes closed. They came and looked at the ticket on his hand and said: Three days more and we will slay him. For every victim had a ticket tied on his hand to show the date when his thirty days would be fulfilled.
The Story of Andrew and Matthias Among the Cannibals
ABOUT THAT TIME ALL THE APOSTLES HAD COME TOGETHER to the same place, and shared among themselves the countries, casting lots, in order that each might go away into the part that had fallen to him. By lot, then, it fell to Matthias to set out to the country of the man-eaters. And the men of that city used neither to eat bread nor drink wine; but they ate the flesh of men, and drank their blood. Every man, therefore, who came into their city they laid hold of, and digging they thrust out his eyes, and gave him a drug to drink, prepared by sorcery and magic; and from drinking the drug his heart was altered and his mind deranged.
Matthias then having come into the gate of their city, the men of that city laid hold of him, and thrust out his eyes; and after putting them out they made him drink the drug of their magical deception, and led him away to the prison, and put beside him grass to eat, and he ate it not. For when he had partaken of their drug, his heart was not altered, nor his mind deranged; but he kept praying to God, weeping, and saying: Lord Jesus Christ, for whose sake we have forsaken all things and have followed Thee, knowing that Thou art the helper of all who hope in Thee, attend then and behold what they have done to Matthias Thy servant, how they have made me nigh to the brutes; for Thou art He who knowest all things. If, therefore, Thou hast ordained that the wicked men in this city should eat me up, I will not by any means flee from Thy dispensation. Afford to me then, O Lord, the light of mine eyes, that at least I may behold what the wicked men in this city have in hand for me; do not forsake me, O my Lord Jesus Christ, and do not give me up to this bitter death.
The Travels and Martyrdom of St. Barnabas the Apostle
SINCE FROM THE DESCENT of the presence of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the unwearied and benevolent and mighty Shepherd and Teacher and Physician, I beheld and saw the ineffable and holy and unspotted mystery of the Christians, who hold the hope in holiness, and who have been sealed; and since I have zealously served Him, I have deemed it necessary to give account of the mysteries which I have heard and seen.
I John, accompanying the holy apostles Barnabas and Paul, being formerly a servant of Cyrillus the high priest of Jupiter, but now having received the gift of the Holy Spirit through Paul and Barnabas and Silos, who were worthy of the calling, and who baptized me in Iconium. After I was baptized, then, I saw a certain man standing clothed in white raiment; and he said to me: “Be of good courage, John, for assuredly thy name shall be changed to Mark, and thy glory shall be proclaimed in all the world. The darkness in thee has passed away from thee, and there has been given to thee understanding to know the mysteries of God.”
And when I saw the vision, becoming greatly terrified, I went to the feet of Barnabas, and related to him the mysteries which I had seen and heard from that man. And the Apostle Paul was not by when I disclosed the mysteries. And Barnabas said to me: “Tell no one the miracle which thou hast seen. For by me also this night the Lord stood, saying, ‘Be of good courage: for as thou hast given thy life for my name to death and banishment from thy nation, thus also shall thou be made perfect. Moreover, as for the servant who is with you, take him also with thyself; for he has certain mysteries.'” Now then, my child, keep to thyself the things which thou hast seen and heard; for a time will come for thee to reveal them.
From “The Apocryphal New Testament”M.R. James-Translation and NotesOxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
THE LENGTH OF THIS BOOK is given in the Stichometry of Nicephorus as 2,500 lines: the same number as for St. Matthew’s Gospel. We have large portions of it in the original, and a Latin version (purged, it is important to note, of all traces of unorthodoxy) of some lost episodes, besides a few scattered fragments. These will be fitted together in what seems the most probable order.
The best edition of the Greek remains is in Bonnet, Acta Apost. Apocr. 11.1, 1898: the Latin is in Book V of the Historia Apostolica of Abdias (Fabricius, Cod. Apoer. N. T.: there is no modern edition).
The beginning of the book is lost. It probably related in some form a trial, and banishment of John to Patmos. A distinctly late Greek text printed by Bonnet (in two forms) as cc. 1-17 of his work tells how Domitian, on his accession, persecuted the Jews. They accused the Christians in a letter to him: he accordingly persecuted the Christians. He heard of John’s teaching in Ephesus and sent for him: his ascetic habits on the voyage impressed his captors.
IT CAME TO PASS, after Paul went out of the island Gaudomeleta, that he came to Italy; and it was heard of by the Jews who were in Rome, the elder of the cities, that Paul demanded to come to Caesar. Having fallen, therefore, into great grief and much despondency, they said among themselves: It does not please him that he alone has afflicted all our brethren and parents in Judaea and Samaria, and in all Palestine; and he has not been pleased with these, but, behold, he comes here also, having through imposition asked Caesar to destroy us.
Having therefore made an assembly against Paul, and having considered many proposals, it seemed good to them to go to Nero the emperor, to ask him not to allow Paul to come to Rome. Having therefore got in readiness not a few presents, and having carried them with them, with supplication they came before him, saying: We beseech thee, O good emperor, send orders into all the governments of your worship, to the effect that Paul is not to come near these parts; because this Paul, having afflicted all the nation of our fathers, has been seeking to come hither to destroy us also. And the affliction, O most worshipful emperor, which we have from Peter is enough for us.
And the Emperor Nero, having heard these things, answered them: It is according to your wish. And we write to all our governments that he shall not on any account come to anchor in the parts of Italy. And they also informed Simon the magician, having sent for him, that, as has been said, he should not come into the parts of Italy.
From “The Apocryphal New Testament”M. R. James-Translation and NotesOxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
THIS BOOK, TERTULLIAN TELLS US, was composed shortly before his time in honour of Paul by a presbyter of Asia, who was convicted of the imposture and degraded from his office. The date of it may therefore be about A.D. 160. The author was an orthodox Christian.
Our authorities for it are:
1. The sadly mutilated Coptic MS. at Heidelberg, of the sixth century at latest.
2. The Acts of Paul and Thecla, a single episode which has been preserved complete in Greek and many versions: parts of it exist in the Coptic.
3. The correspondence with the Corinthians, partly preserved in the Coptic, and current separately in Armenian and Latin.
4. The Martyrdom, the concluding episode of the Acts, preserved separately (as in the case of John and others) in Greek and other versions.
5.Detached fragments or quotations.
The length of the whole book is given as 8,600 lines (Stichometry of Nicephorus), or 8,560 (Stichometry of the Codex Claromontanus): the Canonical Acts are given by the same two authorities respectively as 2,800 and 2,600. We have, perhaps, 1,800 lines of the Acts of Paul. The text of the Coptic MS. is miserably defective, and the restoration of it, in the episodes which are preserved in it alone, is a most difficult process: Professor Carl Schmidt has done practically all that can be expected, with infinite labour and great acuteness. In treating the defective episodes I shall follow him closely, but shall not attempt to represent all the broken lines.
WRITTEN, PROBABLY BY A RESIDENT IN ASIA MINOR (he does not know much about Rome), not later than A. D. 200, in Greek. The author has read the Acts of John very carefully, and modelled his language upon them. However, he was not so unorthodox as Leucius, though his language about the Person of our Lord (ch. xx) has rather suspicious resemblances to that of the Acts of John.
The length of the book as given by the Stichometry of Nicephorus was 2,750 lines-fifty lines less than the canonical Acts. The portions we have may be about the length of St. Mark’s Gospel; and about 1,000 lines may be wanting. Such is Zaha’s estimate.
1. A short episode in Coptic.
2. A large portion in Latin preserved in a single manuscript of the seventh century at Vercelli: often called the Vercelli Acts. It includes the martyrdom.
3. The martyrdom, preserved separately, in two good Greek copies, in Latin, and in many versions-Coptic, Slavonic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic.
One or two important quotations from lost portions; a small fragment of the original in a papyrus; certain passages-speeches of Peter- transferred by an unscrupulous writer to the Life of St. Abercius of Hierapolis.
A Latin paraphrase of the martyrdom, attributed to Linus, Peter’s successor in the bishopric of Rome, was made from the Greek, and is occasionally useful.
[…] which […] purpose [… after …] us […] apostles […]. We sailed […] of the body. Others were not anxious in their hearts. And in our hearts, we were united. We agreed to fulfil the ministry to which the Lord appointed us. And we made a covenant with each other.
We went down to the sea at an opportune moment, which came to us from the Lord. We found a ship moored at the shore ready to embark, and we spoke with the sailors of the ship about our coming aboard with them. They showed great kindliness toward us as was ordained by the Lord. And after we had embarked, we sailed a day and a night. After that, a wind came up behind the ship and brought us to a small city in the midst of the sea.
And I, Peter, inquired about the name of this city from residents who were standing on the dock. A man among them answered, saying, “The name of this city is Habitation, that is, Foundation […] endurance.” And the leader among them holding the palm branch at the edge of the dock. And after we had gone ashore with the baggage, I went into the city, to seek advice about lodging.
A man came out wearing a cloth bound around his waist, and a gold belt girded it. Also a napkin was tied over his chest, extending over his shoulders and covering his head and his hands.
[A continuation of the Acts of Andrew and Matthias (Mathew)]
1 When Andrew left the city of the man-eaters, a cloud of light took him up and carried him to the mountain where Peter and Matthias and Alexander and Rufus were sitting. And Peter said: Have you prospered? Yes, he said, but they did me much hurt. Come then, said Peter, and rest awhile from your labours.
2 And Jesus appeared in the form of a little child and greeted them, and told them to go to the city of the barbarians, and prornised to be with them, and left them.
3 So the four set out. And when they were near the city Andrew asked Peter: Do many troubles await us here? ‘I do not know, but here is an old man sowing. Let us ask him for bread; if he gives it us, we shall know that we are not to be troubled but if he says, I have none, troubles await us.’ They greeted him and asked accordingly. He said: If you will look after my plough and oxen I will fetch you bread . . . . ‘ Are they your oxen?’ ‘No, I have hired them.’ And he went off.
4 Peter took off his cloak and garment and said: It is no time for us to be idle, especially as the old man is working for us; and he took the plough and began to sow. Andrew protested and took it from him and sowed, and blessed the seed as he sowed. And Rufus and Alexander and Matthias going on the right, said; Let the sweet dew and the fair wind come and rest on this field. And the seed sprang up and the corn ripened.
5 When the farmer returned with the bread and saw the ripe corn he worshipped them as gods. But they told him who they were, and Peter gave him the Commandments . . . . He said: I will leave all and follow you. ‘ Not so, but go to the city, return your oxen to the owner, and tell your wife and children and prepare us a lodging;
NO SUCH SUSPICION OF UNORTHODOXY AS RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY ATTACHES TO FOUR OUT OF THE FIVE ACTS, affects the Acts of Philip. If grotesque, it is yet a Catholic novel. In form it follows Thomas, for it is divided into separate Acts, of which the manuscripts mention fifteen: we have Acts i-ix and from xv to the end, including the Martyrdom, which last, as usual, was current separately and exists in many recessions.
One Act -the second- and the Martyrdom were first edited by Tischendorf. Batiffol printed the remainder in 1890, and Bonnet using more manuscripts, gives the final edition in his Acta Apost. Apocr. ii. 1. Besides the Greek text, there is a single Act extant only in Syriac, edited by Wright, which, so far as its general character goes, might well have formed part of the Greek Acts: but it is difficult to fit it into the framework.
An analysis, with translations of the more interesting passages, will suffice for these Acts, and for the rest of their class.
I. When he came out of Galilee and raised the dead man.
1 When he was come out of Galilee, a widow was carrying out her only son to burial. Philip asked her about her grief: I have spent in vain much money on the gods, Ares, Apollo, Hermes, Artemis, Zeus, Athena, the Sun and Moon, and I think they are asleep as far as I am concerned. And
Chapter I consulted a diviner to no purpose.
2 The apostle said: Thou hast suffered nothing strange, mother, for thus doth the devil deceive men. Assuage thy grief and I will raise thy son in the name of Jesus.
ABOUT that time Matthew, the holy apostle and evangelist of Christ, was abiding in the mountain resting, and praying in his tunic and apostolic robes without sandals; and, behold, Jesus came to Matthew in the likeness of the infants who sing in paradise, and said to him: Peace to thee, Matthew!
And Matthew having gazed upon Him, and not known who He was, said: Grace to thee, and peace, O child highly favoured! And why hast thou come hither to me, having left those who sing in paradise, and the delights there?
Because here the place is desert; and what sort of a table I shall lay for thee, O child, I know not, because I have no bread nor oil in a jar. Moreover, even the winds are at rest, so as not to cast down from the trees to the ground anything for food; because, for the accomplishing of my fast of forty days, I, partaking only of the fruits falling by the movement of the winds, am glorifying my Jesus.
Now, therefore, what shall I bring thee, beautiful boy? There is not even water near, that I may wash thy feet. And the child said: Why sayest thou, O Matthew? Understand and know that good discourse is better than a calf, and words of meekness better than every herb of the field, and a sweet saying as the perfume of love, and cheerfulness of countenance better that feeding, and a pleasant look is as the appearance of sweetness.
Understand, Matthew, and know that I am paradise, that I am the comforter, I am the power of the powers above, I the strength of those that restrain themselves, I the crown of the virgins, I the self-control of the once married, I the boast of the widowed, I the defence of the infants, I the foundation of the Church, I the kingdom of the bishops, I the glory of the presbyters, I the praise of the deacons.
LEBBAEUS, WHO ALSO IS THADDAEUS, WAS OF THE CITY OF EDESSA–and it is the metropolis of Osroene, in the interior of the Armenosyrians–an Hebrew by race, accomplished and most learned in the divine writings. He came to Jerusalem to worship in the days of John the Baptist; and having heard his preaching and seen his angelic life, he was baptized, and his name was called Thaddaeus. And having seen the appearing of Christ, and His teaching, and His wonderful works, he followed Him, and became His disciple; and He chose him as one of the twelve, the tenth apostle according to the Evangelists Matthew and Mark.
In those times there was a governor of the city of Edessa, Abgarus by name. And there having gone abroad the fame of Christ, of the wonders which He did, and of His teaching, Abgarus having heard of it, was astonished, and desired to see Christ, and could not leave his city and government. And about the days of the Passion and the plots of the Jews, Abgarus, being seized by an incurable disease, sent a letter to Christ by Ananias the courier, to the following effect:–To Jesus called Christ, Abgarus the governor of the country of the Edessenes, an unworthy slave. The multitude of the wonders done by thee has been heard of by me, that thou healest the blind, the lame, and the paralytic, and curest all the demoniacs; and on this account I entreat thy goodness to come even to us, and escape from the plottings of the wicked Jews, which through envy they set in motion against thee. My city is small, but large enough for both. Abgarus enjoined Ananias to take accurate account of Christ, of what appearance He was, and His stature, and His hair, and in a word everything.
ACTS OF THOMAS
From “The Apocryphal New Testament”M. R. James-Translation and NotesOxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
THIS IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE FIVE PRIMARY ROMANCES WHICH WE POSSESS IN ITS ENTIRETY. It is of great length and considerable interest. The Stichometry (see p. 24) gives it only 1,600 lines: this is far too little: it may probably apply only to a portion of the Acts, single episodes of which, in addition to the Martyrdom, may have been current separately. We do, in fact, find some separate miracles in some of the oriental versions.
There is a consensus of opinion among Syriac scholars that our Greek text of these Acts is a version from Syriac. The Syriac original was edited and translated by Wright in his Apocryphal Acts, and older fragments have since been published by Mrs. Lewis (Horae Semiticae IV, 1904. Mythological Acts of the Apostles).
Certain hymns occur in the Syriac which were undoubtedly composed in that language: most notable is the Hymn of the Soul (edited separately by A. A. Bevan, and others) which is not relevant to the context. It has been ascribed to Bardaisan the famous Syrian heretic. Only one Greek MS. of the Acts (the Vallicellian, at Rome, Bonnet’s MS. U, of the eleventh century) contains it; it is paraphrased by Nicetas of Thessalonica in his Greek rechauffe of the Acts.
Translated by John D.Turner and Orval S. Wintermute
(5 lines missing)… since they are perfect individuals and dwell all together, joined with the mind, the guardian which I provided, who taught you (sg.). And it is the power that exists within you that often extended itself as word from the Triple-Powered One, that One of all those who truly exist with the Immeasurable One, the eternal Light of the Knowledge that appeared, the male virginal Youth, the first of the Aeons from a unique triple-powered Aeon, the Triple-Powered-One who truly exists, for when he was stilled, was extended and when he was extended, he became complete and he received power from all of them. He knows himself and the perfect Invisible Spirit. And he came to be in an Aeon who knows that she knows That One. And she became Kalyptos, who acted in those whom she knows. He is a perfect, invisible, noetic Protophanes-Harmedon. And empowering the individuals, she is a Triple-Male. And being individually …
(5 lines missing)… individual on the one hand, they are together on the other hand, since she is an existence of theirs, and she sees them all also truly. She contains the divine Autogenes.
When she knew her Existence and when she stood, she brought This One (masc.), since he saw them all existing individually as he is. And when they become as he is, they shall see the divine Triple-Male, the power that is higher than God. He is the Thought of all these who exist together. If he ponders them, he ponders the great male […] noetic Protophanes, the procession of these. When he sees it, he sees also those who truly exist and the procession of those who are together. And when he has seen these, he has seen the Kalyptos. And if he sees one of the hidden ones, he sees the Aeon of Barbelo. And as for the un-begotten offspring of That One, if one sees how he lives …
THE REVELATION WHICH ADAM TAUGHT HIS SON SETH IN THE SEVEN HUNDRETH YEAR, SAYING:
Listen to my words, my son Seth. When God had created me out of the earth, along with Eve, your mother, I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which we had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal God. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who had created us and the powers with him, whom we did not know.
Then God, the ruler of the aeons and the powers, divided us in wrath. Then we became two aeons. And the glory in our heart(s) left us, me and your mother Eve, along with the first knowledge that breathed within us. And it (glory) fled from us; it entered into […] great […] which had come forth, not from this aeon from which we had come forth, I and Eve your mother. But it (knowledge) entered into the seed of great aeons. For this reason I myself have called you by the name of that man who is the seed of the great generation or from whom (it comes). After those days, the eternal knowledge of the God of truth withdrew from me and your mother Eve. Since that time, we learned about dead things, like men. Then we recognized the God who had created us. For we were not strangers to his powers. And we served him in fear and slavery. And after these things, we became darkened in our heart(s). Now I slept in the thought of my heart.
And I saw three men before me whose likeness I was unable to recognize, since they were not the powers of the God who had created us. They surpassed […] glory, and […] men […] saying to me, “Arise, Adam, from the sleep of death, and hear about the aeon and the seed of that man to whom life has come, who came from you and from Eve, your wife.”
Translated by George W. MacRae and William R. Murdock
[…] the road. And he spoke to him, saying, “By which road shall I go up to Jerusalem?” The little child replied, saying, “Say your name, so that I may show you the road”. The little child knew who Paul was. He wished to make conversation with him through his words in order that he might find an excuse for speaking with him.
The little child spoke, saying, “I know who you are, Paul. You are he who was blessed from his mother`s womb. For I have come to you that you may go up to Jerusalem to your fellow apostles. And for this reason you were called. And I am the Spirit who accompanies you. Let your mind awaken, Paul, with […]. For […] whole which […] among the principalities and these authorities and archangels and powers and the whole race of demons, […] the one that reveals bodies to a soul-seed.”
And after he brought that speech to an end, he spoke, saying to me, “Let your mind awaken, Paul, and see that this mountain upon which you are standing is the mountain of Jericho, so that you may know the hidden things in those that are visible. Now it is to the twelve apostles that you shall go, for they are elect spirits, and they will greet you.” He raised his eyes and saw them greeting him.
Then the Holy Spirit who was speaking with him caught him up on high to the third heaven, and he passed beyond to the fourth heaven. The Holy Spirit spoke to him, saying, “Look and see your likeness upon the earth.” And he looked down and saw those who were upon the earth. He stared and saw those who were upon the […]. Then he gazed down and saw the twelve apostles at his right and at his left in the creation; and the Spirit was going before them.
Apocalypse of Peter
From “The Apocryphal New Testament”M. R. James-Translation and Notes Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
WE HAVE NOT A PURE AND COMPLETE TEXT OF THIS BOOK, which ranked next in popularity and probably also in date to the Canonical Apocalypse of St. John.
We have, first, certain quotations made by writers of the first four centuries.
Next, a fragment in Greek, called the Akhmim fragment, found with the Passion-fragment of the Gospel of Peter in a manuscript known as the Gizeh MS. (discovered in a tomb) now at Cairo. This is undoubtedly drawn from the Apocalypse of Peter: but my present belief is that, like the Passion fragment (see p. 90), it is part of the Gospel of Peter, which was a slightly later book than the Apocalypse and quoted it almost in extenso. There is also in the Bodleian Library a mutilated leaf of a very tiny Greek MS. of the fifth century which supplies a few lines of what I take to be the original Greek text.
The Nag Hammadi Library
AS THE SAVIOR WAS SITTING IN THE TEMPLE in the three hundredth (year) of the covenant and the agreement of the tenth pillar, and being satisfied with the number of the living, incorruptible Majesty, he said to me, “Peter, blessed are those above belonging to the Father, who revealed life to those who are from the life, through me, since I reminded they who are built on what is strong, that they may hear my word, and distinguish words of unrighteousness and transgression of law from righteousness, as being from the height of every word of this Pleroma of truth, having been enlightened in good pleasure by him whom the principalities sought. But they did not find him, nor was he mentioned among any generation of the prophets. He has now appeared among these, in him who appeared, who is the Son of Man, who is exalted above the heavens in a fear of men of like essence.
But you yourself, Peter, become perfect in accordance with your name with myself, the one who chose you, because from you I have established a base for the remnant whom I have summoned to knowledge. Therefore be strong until the imitation of righteousness – of him who had summoned you, having summoned you to know him in a way which is worth doing because of the rejection which happened to him, and the sinews of his hands and his feet, and the crowning by those of the middle region, and the body of his radiance which they bring in hope of service because of a reward of honour – as he was about to reprove you three times in this night.”
And as he was saying these things, I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us; and I was afraid that we were going to die.
Not to be confused with Gospel of James
THE APOCRYPHON OF JAMES, also known by the translation of its title – the Secret Book of James, is a pseudonymous text amongst the New Testament apocrypha. It describes the secret teachings of Jesus to Peter and James, given after the Resurrection but before the Ascension.
A major theme is that one must accept suffering as inevitable. The prominence of James and Peter suggest that the work originated in the Hebrew Christian community. It shows no dependence on canonical texts, and was probably written in the first half of the 2nd century. It has Gnostic affinities but cannot be attributed to any Gnostic sect, and some scholars rule that it is not Gnostic at all.
The text survives in a single, damaged manuscript as the second section of the Jung Codex, first of the thirteen codices in the Nag Hammadi library. Although the text appears to be a Coptic translation from Greek, the author claims to have written in Hebrew. Because of references to persecution and martyrdom, it is unlikely that the text was written after 313, when Constantine I ended Christian persecution. Other clues in the text point to a composition in the 2nd century, and perhaps in the first half.
The text is framed as an epistle (i.e. a letter) from James to someone else whose name is obscured by the damage to the text. The author describes Jesus expanding on various sayings and answering questions 550 days after the Resurrection, but before the Ascension.
Both James and Peter are given secret instruction, but at the end only James appears to understand what has happened. (As with the Gospel of John 1-20 and the Gospel of Mary, in this book Peter has implicitly failed the Christian movement).
THE TEACHING OF THE SAVIOR, and the revelation of the mysteries and the things hidden in silence, even these things which he taught John, his disciple.
And it happened one day, when John, the brother of James – who are the sons of Zebedee – had come up to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, “Where is your master whom you followed?” And he said to him, “He has gone to the place from which he came.” The Pharisee said to him, “With deception did this Nazarene deceive you (pl.), and he filled your ears with lies, and closed your hearts (and) turned you from the traditions of your fathers.”
When I, John, heard these things I turned away from the temple to a desert place. And I grieved greatly in my heart, saying, “How then was the Savior appointed, and why was he sent into the world by his Father, and who is his Father who sent him, and of what sort is that aeon to which we shall go? For what did he mean when he said to us, ‘This aeon to which you will go is of the type of the imperishable aeon, but he did not teach us concerning the latter, of what sort it is.”
Straightway, while I was contemplating these things, behold, the heavens opened and the whole creation which is below heaven shone, and the world was shaken. I was afraid, and behold I saw in the light a youth who stood by me. While I looked at him, he became like an old man. And he changed his likeness (again), becoming like a servant. There was not a plurality before me, but there was a likeness with multiple forms in the light, and the likenesses appeared through each other, and the likeness had three forms.
Translated by James Brashler, Peter A. Dirkse, and Douglas M. Parrott
AND IF YOU (ASCLEPIUS) WISH TO SEE THE REALITY OF THIS MYSTERY, then you should see the wonderful representation of the intercourse that takes place between the male and the female. For when the semen reaches the climax, it leaps forth. In that moment, the female receives the strength of the male; the male, for his part, receives the strength of the female, while the semen does this.
“Therefore, the mystery of intercourse is performed in secret, in order that the two sexes might not disgrace themselves in front of many who do not experience that reality. For each of them (the sexes) contributes its (own part in) begetting. For if it happens in the presence of those who do not understand the reality, (it is) laughable and unbelievable. And, moreover, they are holy mysteries, of both words and deeds, because not only are they not heard, but also they are not seen.
“Therefore, such people (the unbelievers) are blasphemers. They are atheistic and impious. But the others are not many; rather, the pious who are counted are few. Therefore, wickedness remains among (the) many, since learning concerning the things which are ordained does not exist among them. For the knowledge of the things which are ordained is truly the healing of the passions of the matter. Therefore, learning is something derived from knowledge.
Translated by George W. MacRae
THE AUTHORITATIVE TEACHING IS A NAG HAMMADI LOST GOSPEL (CODEX VI) found buried in Egypt in 1945. It was likely written in the first or second century AD. The discourse reflects early Christian teachings eventually banned by the Romans following the creation of the Roman Catholic sect. This text also includes some parables utilized by Jesus in his teachings. The Authoritative Teaching also explains the origin of the entity Jesus often referred to as the “soul.”
[…] in heaven […] within him […] anyone appears […] the hidden heavens […] appear, and before the invisible, ineffable worlds appeared. From these the invisible soul of righteousness came, being a fellow member, and a fellow body, and a fellow spirit. Whether she is in the descent or is in the Pleroma, she is not separated from them, but they see her and she looks at them in the invisible world.
Secretly her bridegroom fetched it. He presented it to her mouth to make her eat it like food, and he applied the word to her eyes as a medicine to make her see with her mind and perceive her kinsmen and learn about her root, in order that she might cling to her branch from which she had first come forth, in order that she might receive what is hers and renounce matter.
[…] he [dwelt…] having […] sons. The sons […] truly, those who have come from his seed, call the sons of the woman “our brothers”. In this very way, when the spiritual soul was cast into the body, it became a brother to lust and hatred and envy, and a material soul. So therefore the body came from lust, and lust came from material substance. For this reason the soul became a brother to them.
1:1 And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,
1:2 And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth,
1:3 And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted and his heart was lifted up.
1:4 And he gathered a mighty strong host and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him.
1:5 And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he should die.
1:6 Wherefore he called his servants, such as were honourable, and had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive.
1:7 So Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died.
1:8 And his servants bare rule every one in his place.
1:9 And after his death they all put crowns upon themselves; so did their sons after them many years: and evils were multiplied in the earth.
1:10 And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.
THE SECRET WORDS THAT THE SAVIOR SPOKE TO JUDAS THOMAS which I, even I, Mathaias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another.
The Savior said, “Brother Thomas while you have time in the world, listen to me, and I will reveal to you the things you have pondered in your mind.
“Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be. Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself.
And I know that you have understood, because you had already understood that I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you are uncomprehending, you have (in fact) already come to know, and you will be called ‘the one who knows himself’. For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all. So then, you, my brother Thomas, have beheld what is obscure to men, that is, what they ignorantly stumble against.”
Now Thomas said to the lord, “Therefore I beg you to tell me what I ask you before your ascension, and when I hear from you about the hidden things, then I can speak about them. And it is obvious to me that the truth is difficult to perform before men.”
The Savior answered, saying, “If the things that are visible to you are obscure to you, how can you hear about the things that are not visible? If the deeds of the truth that are visible in the world are difficult for you to perform, how indeed, then, shall you perform those that pertain to the exalted height and to the pleroma which are not visible? And how shall you be called labourers? In this respect you are apprentices, and have not yet received the height of perfection.”
Concept of Our Great Power refers to writing 28 of codex VI of the Nag Hammadi library.
The manuscript is dated from within approximately the middle of the fourth century AD
The text is primarily focused on apocalyptic concepts; it seems to relate back to Christian and even Jewish apocalyptic traditions at different points. Perhaps what makes Concept of our Great Power most Gnostic is its negative attitude toward the Old Testament God, its perspective on the corruption of the physical body, and its emphasis on the ultimate goal of the enlightened soul returning to the Light. The text specifically focuses on certain events such as the creation, the actions of the Redeemer, the antichrist, and the last triumph of the highest Power.
He who would know our great Power will become invisible And fire will not be able to consume him…
Douglas M. Parrott writes (The Nag Hammadi Library in English, p. 322):–
Evidence that Disc. 8-9 was composed in Egypt is found in references to the city of Diospolis, as well as to hieroglyphic characters and gods with animal faces – all found in the section beginning 61,18. The designation of the mystagogue sa Hermes and Trismegistus also suggests Egypt. A second-century C.E. date for the composition is possible, because of affinities with the thought of the Middle Platonist Albinus.
The reference to “eighth” and “ninth” is to the spheres of the heavens that surround the earth.
Note: What is sometimes called 5 Ezra (chapters 1-2), 4 Ezra (chapters 3-14), and 6 Ezra (chapters 15-16)
1. The book of the prophet Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,
2 son of Ahijah, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraimoth, son of Arna, son of Uzzi, son of Borith, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar,
3 son of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi, who was a captive in the country of the Medes in the reign of Artaxerxes, king of the Persians.
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Go, declare to my people their evil deeds, and to their children the iniquities that they have committed against me, so that they may tell their children’s children
6 that the sins of their parents have increased in them, for they have forgotten me and have offered sacrifices to strange gods.
7 Was it not I who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage? But they have angered me and despised my counsels.
8 Now you, pull out the hair of your head and hurl all evils upon them, for they have not obeyed my law—they are a rebellious people.
9 How long shall I endure them, on whom I have bestowed such great benefits?
10 For their sake I have overthrown many kings; I struck down Pharaoh with his servants and all his army.
Translated by Douglas M. Parrott (combining III,3 and V,1)
The Nag Hammadi Library
Eugnostos, the Blessed, to those who are his.
Rejoice in this, that you know. Greetings! I want you to know that all men born from the foundation of the world until now are dust. While they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, they have not found him. The wisest among them have speculated about the truth from the ordering of the world. And the speculation has not reached the truth. For the ordering is spoken of in three (different) opinions by all the philosophers; hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it was directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of three voices that I have just mentioned, none is true. For whatever is from itself is an empty life; it is self-made. Providence is foolish. Fate is an undiscerning thing.
Whoever, then, is able to get free of these three voices I have just mentioned and come by means of another voice to confess the God of truth and agree in everything concerning him, he is immortal dwelling in the midst of mortal men.
Translated by William C. Robinson Jr.
WISE MEN OF OLD GAVE THE SOUL A FEMININE NAME. Indeed she is female in her nature as well. She even has her womb.
As long as she was alone with the father, she was virgin and in form androgynous. But when she fell down into a body and came to this life, then she fell into the hands of many robbers. And the wanton creatures passed her from one to another and […] her. Some made use of her by force, while others did so by seducing her with a gift. In short, they defiled her, and she […] her virginity.
And in her body she prostituted herself and gave herself to one and all, considering each one she was about to embrace to be her husband. When she had given herself to wanton, unfaithful adulterers, so that they might make use of her, then she sighed deeply and repented. But even when she turns her face from those adulterers, she runs to others and they compel her to live with them and render service to them upon their bed, as if they were her masters. Out of shame she no longer dares to leave them, whereas they deceive her for a long time, pretending to be faithful, true husbands, as if they greatly respected her. And after all this they abandon her and go.
She then becomes a poor desolate widow, without help; not even a measure of food was left her from the time of her affliction. For from them she gained nothing except the defilements they gave her while they had sexual intercourse with her. And her offspring by the adulterers are dumb, blind and sickly. They are feebleminded.
AND THE WRITINGS HAVING COME TO THE CITY OF THE ROMANS, and having been read to the Caesar, with not a few standing by, all were astounded, because through the wickedness of Pilate the darkness and the earthquake had come over the whole world. And the Caesar, filled with rage, sent soldiers, and ordered them to bring Pilate a prisoner.
And when he was brought to the city of the Romans, the Caesar, hearing that Pilate had arrived, sat in the temple of the gods, in the presence of all the senate, and with all the army, and all the multitude of his power; and he ordered Pilate to stand forward. And the Caesar says to him: Why hast thou, O most impious, dared to do such things, having seen so great miracles in that man? By daring to do an evil deed, thou hast destroyed the whole world.
And Pilate said: O almighty king, I am innocent of these things; but the multitude of the Jews are violent and guilty. And the Caesar said: And who are they? Pilate says: Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas and Caiaphas, and all the multitude of the Jews. The Caesar says: For what reason didst thou follow out their counsel?
And Pilate says: Their nation is rebellious and insubmissive, not submitting themselves to thy power. And the Caesar said: When they delivered him to thee, thou oughtest to have made him secure, and to have sent him to me, and not to have obeyed them in crucifying such a man, righteous as he was, and one that did such good miracles, as thou hast said in thy report. For from such miracles Jesus was manifestly the Christ, the King of the Jews.
Gospel of Peter
From-The Apocryphal New TestamentM. R. James-Translation and NotesOxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
THE EARLY TESTIMONIES ABOUT THIS BOOK HAVE BEEN SET FORTH ALREADY. The present fragment was discovered in 1884 in a tomb at Akhmimin Egypt. The manuscript in which it is a little book containing a portion of the Book of Enoch in Greek, this fragment on the Passion and another, a description of Heaven and Hell, which is either (as I now think) a second fragment of the Gospel, or a piece of the Apocalypse of Peter. It will be given later under that head.
We have seen that the Gospel of Peter is quoted by writers of the latter end of the second century. It has been contended that Justin Martyr also used it soon after the middle of that century, but the evidence is not demonstrative. I believe it is not safe to date the book much earlier than A. D. 150.
It uses all four canonical Gospels, and is the earliest uncanonical account of the Passion that exists. It is not wholly orthodox: for it throws doubt on the reality of the Lord’s sufferings, and by consequence upon the reality of his human body. In other words it is, as Serapion of Antioch indicated, of a Docetic character.
Another characteristic of it is its extremely anti-Jewish attitude. Blame is thrown on the Jews wherever possible, and Pilate is white-washed.
A Hebrew makes another Hebrew, and such a person is called “proselyte”. But a proselyte does not make another proselyte. […] just as they […] and make others like themselves, while others simply exist.
The slave seeks only to be free, but he does not hope to acquire the estate of his master. But the son is not only a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. Those who are heirs to the dead are themselves dead, and they inherit the dead. Those who are heirs to what is living are alive, and they are heirs to both what is living and the dead. The dead are heirs to nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit? If he who is dead inherits what is living he will not die, but he who is dead will live even more.
A Gentile does not die, for he has never lived in order that he may die. He who has believed in the truth has found life, and this one is in danger of dying, for he is alive. Since Christ came, the world has been created, the cities adorned, the dead carried out. When we were Hebrews, we were orphans and had only our mother, but when we became Christians, we had both father and mother.
Those who sow in winter reap in summer. The winter is the world, the summer the other Aeon (eternal realm). Let us sow in the world that we may reap in the summer. Because of this, it is fitting for us not to pray in the winter. Summer follows winter. But if any man reap in winter he will not actually reap but only pluck out, since it will not provide a harvest for such a person. It is not only […] that it will […] come forth, but also on the Sabbath […] is barren.
Information on The Gospel of the Egyptians
IN THIS GOSPEL, it seems that Salome, mentioned only by Mark in the New Testament, played a prominent place. The image above is of the women including Salome at the tomb (Mark 16).
The Gospel of the Egyptians is no longer extant but was mentioned by Hippolytus and Epiphanius. Most of our citations come from Clement of Alexandria, and there is also a reference in the Excerpts of Theodotus. The gospel was apparently used in Egypt in the second and third centuries.
Ron Cameron provides these comments in his introduction in The Other Gospels:
Despite the paucity of the extant fragments, the theology of the Gospel of the Egyptians is clear: each fragment endorses sexual asceticism as the means of breaking the lethal cycle of birth and of overcoming the alleged sinful differences between male and female, enabling all persons to return to what was understood to be their primordial and androgynous state. This theology is reflected in speculative interpretations of the Genesis accounts of the Creation and the Fall (Gen. 1:27; 2:16-17, 24; 3:21), according to which the unity of the first man was disrupted by the creation of woman and sexual division. Salvation was thus thought to be the recapitulation of Adam and Eve’s primordial state, the removal of the body and the reunion of the sexes.
This return to the primordial state was said to be accomplished – or at least symbolized – by baptism. In this respect, the Gospel of the Egyptians is to be compared with Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Gal. 3:26-28) and the Corinthians (I Cor. 12:13), which presuppose this baptismal theology but use the tradition differently, interpreting the theme of unity as a social category to refer to the unity of Jews and Greeks, slaves and freedmen, males and females.
Translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer
THESE ARE THE SECRET SAYINGS that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.
1. And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”
2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”
3. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”
4. Jesus said, “The person old in days won’t hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live. For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one.”
5. Jesus said, “Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”
Information on The Gospel of Truth
S. Kent Brown writes (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 668):
THE DATE AND PLACE OF COMPOSITION REMAIN OBSCURE. Although the work was composed in Greek before it was translated into Coptic, whether it was written in Egypt or elsewhere is uncertain. Allusions to documents known from the NT, such as Matthew (Tuckett 1984) and certain Pauline Epistles (Menard 1972), place the date well into the 2d century, a period that harmonizes with the rising influence of Valentinus. The richly subtle and sophisticated style and organization of the text, designed to invite readers in an inoffensive way to a certain view of Jesus’ salvific role (Attridge 1988), may argue for a later date.
Here is what Harold W. Attridge and George W. MacRae have to say about the dating of the Gospel of Truth (The Nag Hammadi Library in English, p. 38):
A Valentinian work entitled the “Gospel of Truth” is attested in the Adversus Haereses (3.11.9) of Irenaeus. Unfortunately the heresiologist reveals little about the content of the work, except that it differed significantly from the canonical gospels. Given the general Valentinian affinities of the text of Codex I, it is quite possible that it is identical with the work known to Irenaeus. If so, a date of composition in the middle of the second century (between 140 and 180 C.E.) would be established. On the basis of literary and conceptual affinities between this text and the exiguous fragments of Valentinus, some scholars have suggested that the Gnostic teacher himself was the author. That remains a distinct possibility, although it cannot be definitively established.
Valentinus flourished from c. 140 AD to his death c. 160 AD.
THE HISTORY OF THE DEATH OF OUR FATHER, THE HOLY OLD MAN, Joseph the carpenter. May his blessings and prayers preserve us all, O brethren! Amen.
His whole life was one hundred and eleven years, and his departure from this world happened on the twenty-sixth of the month Abib, which answers to the month Ab. May his prayer preserve us! Amen. And, indeed, it was our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who related this history to His holy disciples on the Mount of Olives, and all Joseph’s labour, and the end of his days. And the holy apostles have preserved this conversation, and have left it written down in the library at Jerusalem. May their prayers preserve us! Amen.
1. It happened one day, when the Saviour, our Master, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ, was sitting along with His disciples, and they were all assembled on the Mount of Olives, that He said to them: O my brethren and friends, sons of the Father who has chosen you from all men, you know that I have often told you that I must be crucified, and must die for the salvation of Adam and his posterity, and that I shall rise from the dead. Now I shall commit to you the doctrine of the holy gospel formerly announced to you, that you may declare it. throughout the whole world.
And I shall endow you with power from on high, and fill you with the Holy Spirit. And you shall declare to all nations repentance and remission of sins. For a single cup of water, if a man shall find it in the world to come, is greater and better than all the wealth of this whole world. And as much ground as one foot can occupy in the house of my Father, is greater and more excellent than all the riches of the earth.
Information on the Hypostasis of The Archons
IN THE REVISED EDITION OF THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY IN ENGLISH, published as The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, the “Hypostasis of the Archons” received the less intimidating title “The Nature of the Rulers.” Others have suggested “The Reality of the Rulers.” However, the title “Hypostasis of the Archons” continues to be preferred as a way to refer to the text in English.
Marvin Meyer writes, “The Nature of the Rulers is a Gnostic treatise classified by scholars as representing Sethian thought, which the author claims is being sent to an undisclosed recipient in order to clarify who the archons, or world rulers, are and how the struggle with the archons is to be carried out. In its present form, the Nature of the Rulers is a Christian text, but most of the material in the text is reflective of Jewish thought, with the typical Hellenistic flourish.
The author of the text, whose identity, like that of the recipient, is unknown, says that he or she is sending the text in response to certain questions that have been raised: ‘I have sent you this writing because you have asked about the real nature of the authorities’ (86,26-27). Preserved as the fourth tractate in Nag Hammadi Codex II (86,20-97,23), the Nature of the Rulers is copied just before On the Origin of the World, another Gnostic text to which the Nature of the Rulers stands in some relation.” (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 187)
Translated by John D. Turner
Original translation of this text was prepared by members of the Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate School.
The Coptic Gnostic Library Project was funded by UNESCO, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other Institutions.
E. J. Brill has asserted copyright on texts published by the Coptic Gnostic Library Project.
The translation presented here has been edited, modified and formatted for use in the Gnostic Society Library.
For academic citation, please refer to published editions of this text.
THE BOOK CONCERNING THE THINGS THAT WERE SEEN BY HYPSIPHRONE being revealed in the place of her virginity. And she listens to her brethren […] Phainops and […], and they speak with one another in a mystery.
Now I was first by individual ranking […] I came forth to the place of my virginity and I went down to the world. Then I was told about them (by) those who abide in the place of my virginity.
And I went down to the world and they said to me, “Again Hypsiphrone has withdrawn outside the place of her virginity.” Then the one who heard, Phainops, who breathes into her fount of blood, spread out for her.
And he said, [“I am Phainops …] err […] desire [… the number] of just the human remnants or that I may see a [man, the blood-likeness or …] of a [… fire] and a [… in] his hands.
IGNATIUS, THE MARTYR OF ANTIOCH, is regarded as the most important and most successful ecclesiastical representative in the second-century struggle against heresy prior to Justin. He is an organization man whose significance H. Lietzmann recently characterized thus: “In Ignatius we already find that the monarchial episcopate is an accomplished fact and is applicable to both Syria and western Asia Minor.” I think that with a man like Ignatius who, in his exuberance, time and again loses all sense of proportion, one must be especially careful in evaluating the accuracy of his statements.
Indeed, he even speaks of communities such as Magnesia and Tralles, whose situation he knows primarily from the descriptions of their “bishops,” who had no reason to place themselves and their influence in an unfavourable light. That Ignatius is less concerned with depicting the actual situation than with portraying the ideal is already suggested by the fact that, for the most part, his approach takes the form of admonition rather than of description.
What is it that makes the monarchial episcopacy seem so attractive to a man like Ignatius? First of all, he does not begin from a position in which he sees a plurality of ecclesiastical bodies of officials who for practical reasons may be governed by one particular office which, nevertheless, is not necessarily superior. No, for him the first and foremost figure is the bishop, who is like God or Christ in whose place he stands.
In this brief essay I would like to present two ideas to you. Firstly that the story of Joseph and Aseneth contains apocalyptic imagery, mostly similar to that used in the book of Revelation. However, the second theory, which Kraemer puts forward, is very different, and it is that the story of Aseneth and her visitation of an angel shows nothing of what we would see as apocalyptic in style, but solely that she was adjuring (or ordering) an angel to come and tell her the future, which was, in fact, a practice in the Greco-Roman world.
However, we begin with the first theory and this includes the references to apocalyptic imagery, especially with regards to the book of Revelation. I would like to examine the language used in this text. It is used, interestingly enough, only up to Chapter 18, and so it is the first 18 chapters that I will focus upon.
First of all, I would like to define the word apocalyptic. The term is derived from the Greek word which means revelation or uncovering (hence the name of the last book of the New Testament). Apocalyptic writings are usually concerned with the end times and the symbols and stories about this time are usually communicated by an angel or by other divine means. The eschatology works on a “personal as well as a cosmic dimension” (J.J. Collins, page 299, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary). This is an important distinction to remember; I will come back to it at the end. In the story of Aseneth, therefore, we can see that there is more of a personal level and not so much a level of talking of the end times. However, despite the apparent lack of direct talk of the end times its imagery is very similar to that found in Revelation and so, perhaps, it speaks in hidden language about heaven and God’s purposes for His Church.
Aseneth appears just three times in the Hebrew Bible, in Genesis 41 and 46:
41. 41. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42. Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaph’enath-pane’ah; and he gave him in marriage Aseneth, the daughter of Poti’phera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt . . .
50. Before the year of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom Aseneth, the daughter of Poti’phera priest of On, bore to him. 51. Joseph called the name of the first-born Manas’seh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52. The name of the second he called E’phraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
46. 20. And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manas’seh and E’phraim, whom Aseneth, the daughter of Poti’phera the priest of On, bore to him.
This information is tantalisingly brief. Who was this woman? How did Joseph come to meet and marry her? How could he, an upstanding Israelite, the son of Jacob, have married this pagan daughter of an Egyptian priest? Had he not struggled, only two chapters earlier, to avoid the lures of Potiphar’s wife? Where the Biblical narrative provided only hints, later interpreters became fascinated with these problems. Looking to fill in the gaps, they inferred what they thought must have happened. As they reflected on the few clues available, the story of Aseneth began to construct itself.
(3rd Year B. A. Hons. Theology candidate, University of Birmingham)
THIS ESSAY INTENDS TO SHOW THAT JOSEPH is considered to be an ideal man throughout whereas Aseneth, a woman, has need of change before she can be ideal. Furthermore it will seek to discover why this change is a necessity for the author of the text.
It is clear from the very beginning that Joseph is an ideal man and that no improvement is needed:
Structure: Joseph is first in many things in the text.
1. Although chapters 1 and 2 are more concerned with the Aseneth perspective, Joseph and his obedience to Pharaoh (which from the first exhibits his good qualities) is mentioned in the first few lines (1 v1-3). This places him first of all the personae in the text.
2. Joseph is the first to use the medium of poetry / prayer in the text (8v10-11). This asserts his authority over the other characters because if anyone uses the same device later on, they are simply following his example in the eyes of the reader.
3. In addition, Joseph is also the last to be mentioned in the text (29 v11-12), which ensures that the last thoughts of the reader are focused upon Joseph.
CHAP. I.– REASONS FOR ADDRESSING THE GREEKS
AS I BEGIN THIS HORTATORY ADDRESS TO YOU, ye men of Greece, I pray God that I may know what I ought to say to you, and that you, shaking off your habitual(1) love of disputing, and being livered from the error of your fathers, may how choose what is profitable; not fancying that you commit any offence against your forefathers, though the things which you formerly considered by no means salutary should now seem useful to you. For accurate investigation of matters, putting truth to the question with a more searching scrutiny, often reveals that things which have passed for excellent are of quite another sort. Since, then, we propose to discourse of the true religion(than which, I think, there is nothing which is counted more valuable by those who desire to pass through life without danger, on account of the judgment which is to be after the termination of this life, and which is announced not only by our forefathers according to God, to wit the prophets and lawgivers, but also by those among yourselves who have been esteemed wise, not poets alone, but also philosophers, who professed among you that they had attained the true and divine knowledge), I think it well first of all to examine the teachers of religion, both our own and yours, who they were, and how great, and in what times they lived; in order that those who have formerly received from their fathers the false religion, may now, when they perceive this, be extricated from that inveterate error; and that we may clearly and manifestly show that we ourselves follow the religion of our forefathers according to God.
CHAP. I.–JUSTIN JUSTIFIES HIS DEPARTURE FROM GREEK CUSTOMS
DO NOT SUPPOSE, YE GREEKS, THAT MY SEPARATION FROM YOUR CUSTOMS IS UNREASONABLE AND UNTHINKING; for I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God. For the very compositions of your poets are monuments of madness and intemperance. For any one who becomes the scholar of your most eminent instructor, is more beset by difficulties than all men besides. For first they say that Agamemnon, abetting the extravagant lust of his brother, and his madness and unrestrained desire, readily gave even his daughter to be sacrificed, and troubled all Greece that he might rescue Helen, who had been ravished by the leprous(1) shepherd. But when in the course of the war they took captives, Agamemnon was himself taken captive by Chryseis, and for Briseis’ sake kindled a feud with the son of Thetis. And Pelides himself, who crossed the river,(2) overthrew Troy, and subdued Hector, this your hero became the slave of Polyxena, and was conquered by a dead Amazon; and putting off the god-fabricated armour, and donning the hymeneal robe, he became a sacrifice of love in the temple of Apollo. And the Ithacan Ulysses made a virtue of a vice.(3) And indeed his sailing past the Sirens(4) gave evidence that he was destitute of worthy prudence, because he could not depend on his prudence for stopping his ears. Ajax, son of Telamon, who bore the shield of sevenfold ox-hide, went mad when he was defeated in the contest with Ulysses for the amour. Such things I have no desire to be instructed in. Of such virtue I am not covetous, that I should believe the myths of Homer. For the whole rhapsody, the beginning and end both of the Iliad and the Odyssey is–a woman.
TO THE EMPEROR TITUS AELIUS ADRIANUS ANTONINUS PIUS AUGUSTUS CAESAR, and to his son Verissimus the Philosopher, and to Lucius the Philosopher, the natural son of Caesar, and the adopted son of Pius, a lover of learning, and to the sacred Senate, with the whole People of the Romans, I, Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine, present this address and petition in behalf of those of all nations who are unjustly hated and wantonly abused, myself being one of them.
CHAP. II.–JUSTICE DEMANDED
Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honour and love only what is true, declining to follow traditional opinions, (1) if these be worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right. Do you, then, since ye are called pious and philosophers, guardians of justice and lovers of learning, give good heed, and hearken to my address; and if ye are indeed such, it will be manifested. For we have come, not to flatter you by this writing, nor please you by our address, but to beg that you pass judgment, after an accurate and searching investigation, not flattered by prejudice or by a desire of pleasing superstitious men, nor induced by irrational impulse or evil rumours which have long been prevalent, to give a decision which will prove to be against yourselves. For as for us, we reckon that no evil can be done us, unless we be convicted as evil-doers or be proved to be wicked men; and you, you can kill, but not hurt us.
Romans, the things which have recently happened in your city under Urbicus, and the things which are likewise being everywhere unreasonably done by the governors, have compelled me to frame this composition for your sakes, who are men of like passions, and brethren, though ye know it not, and though ye be unwilling to acknowledge it on account of your glorying in what you esteem dignities. For everywhere, whoever is corrected by father, or neighbour, or child, or friend, or brother, or husband, or wife, for a fault, for being hard to move, for loving pleasure and being hard to urge to what is right (except those who have been persuaded that the unjust and intemperate shall be punished in eternal fire, but that the virtuous and those who lived like Christ shall dwell with God in a state that is free from suffering,-we mean, those who have become Christians), and the evil demons, who hate us, and who keep such men as these subject to themselves, and serving them in the capacity of judges, incite them, as rulers actuated by evil spirits, to put us to death. But that the cause of all that has taken place under Urbicus may become quite plain to you, I will relate what has been done.
THE MOST ADMIRABLE JUSTIN RIGHTLY DECLARED THAT THE AFORESAID DEMONS(1) RESEMBLED ROBBERS.–TATIAN’S ADDRESS TO THE GREEKS, CHAP. XVIII.
And Justin well said in his book against Marcion, that he would not have believed the Lord Himself, if He had announced any other God than the Fashioner and Maker [of the world], and our Nourisher. But since, from the one God, who both made this world and formed us and contains as tell as administers all things, there came to us the only-begotten Son, summing up His own workmanship in Himself, my faith in Him is steadfast, and my love towards the Father is immoveable, God bestowing both upon us.–IRENAEUS: Heresies, iv. 6.
Justin well said: Before the advent of the Lord, Satan never ventured to blaspheme God, inasmuch as he was not yet sure of his own damnation, since that was announced concerning him by the prophets only in parables and allegories. But after the advent of the Lord learning plainly from the discourses of Christ and His apostles that eternal fire was prepared for him who voluntarily departed from God and for all who, without repentance, persevere in apostasy, then, by means of a man of this sort, he, as if already condemned, blasphemes that God who inflicts judgment upon him, and imputes the sin of his apostasy to his Maker, instead of to his own will and predilection.–IRENAEUS: Heresies, v. 26.
The Letter of Peter Which He Sent to Philip
PETER, THE APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST, to Philip, our beloved brother and our fellow apostle, and (to) the brethren who are with you: greetings!
Now I want you to know, our brother, that we received orders from our Lord and the Savior of the whole world that we should come together to give instruction and preach in the salvation which was promised us by our Lord Jesus Christ. But as for you, you were separate from us, and you did not desire us to come together and to know how we should organize ourselves in order that we might tell the good news. Therefore would it be agreeable to you, our brother, to come according to the orders of our God Jesus?”
When Philip had received these (words), and when he had read them, he went to Peter rejoicing with gladness. Then Peter gathered the others also. They went upon the mountain which is called “the (mount) olives,” the place where they used to gather with the blessed Christ when he was in the body.
Then, when the apostles had come together, and had thrown themselves upon their knees, they prayed thus saying, “Father, Father, Father of the light, who possesses the incorruptions, hear us just as thou hast taken pleasure in thy holy child Jesus Christ. For he became for us an illuminator in the darkness. Yea hear us!”
And they prayed again another time, saying, “Son of life, Son of immortality, who is in the light, Son, Christ of immortality, our Redeemer, give us power, for they seek to kill us!”
OUR EARLIEST GREEK TEXT OF THESE -which are found in many forms- is that given by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History (i. 13), extracted, as he says, by him from the archives of Edessa relating to Abgar and translated from Syriac word for word:
A copy of a letter written by Abgarus the toparch to Jesus, and sent to him by means of Ananias the runner, to Jerusalem.
Abgarus Uchama the toparch to Jesus the good Saviour that hath appeared in the parts (place) of Jerusalem, greeting. I have heard concerning thee and thy cures, that they are done of thee without drugs or herbs: for, as the report goes, thou makest blind men to see again, lame to walk, and cleansest lepers, and castest out unclean spirits and devils, and those that are afflicted with long sickness thou healest, and raisest the dead. And having heard all this of thee, I had determined one of two things, either that thou art God come down from heaven, and so doest these things or art a Son of God that doest these things. Therefore now have I written and entreated thee to trouble thyself to come to me and heal the affliction which I have. or indeed I have heard that the Jews even murmur against thee and wish to do thee hurt. And I have a very little city but (and) comely (reverend), which is sufficient for us both.
Information on Marsanes
BIRGER A. PEARSON WRITES, “The prophet Marsanes is known from two other sources. He, together with another prophet named Nicotheus (or Nikotheos), is named in the ‘Untitled Text’ of the Bruce Codex (ch. 7). As noted above, Nicotheus is also mentioned in Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus (ch. 16). In the Bruce Codex, Marsanes and Nicotheus are said to be ‘great ones’ who have seen heavenly verities and revealed them to others. Epiphanius, in his discussion of the Archontics, mentions two prophets honored by them, Martiades and Marsianos, who had been snatched up to the heavens and had come down after three days (Panarion 40.7.6). (‘Marsianos’ and ‘Marsanes’ are two different ways of rendering in Greek a name of Syriac origin.) Visionary ascent is certainly a prominent feature of what remains of the Nag Hammadi tractate Marsanes. In this tractate Marsanes gives advanced instruction to a group of his followers who have already been initiated into gnosis. The author of the tractate may be the Gnostic prophet Marsanes himself; alternatively he may be an otherwise unknown teacher who claims to be writing in the name of the prophet Marsanes. Marsanes reflects a good deal of the Platonist school tradition that we have seen in Steles Seth, Zostrianos, and Allogenes.” (Ancient Gnosticism, pp. 92-93)
John D. Turner writes, “All scholars who have had occasion to comment on Marsanes in relation to other Sethian literature have called attention to its unique postulation of a new supreme principle, the Unknown Silent One, which transcends the Invisible Spirit, who is otherwise the supreme principle of all the other Sethian treatises. This modification of Sethian theology is parallel to a similar phenomenon that occurs in Iamblichus (cf. Damascius On First Principles 1.21,11-14; 25,21-22) and his disciple Theodore of Asine (Proclus Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus 2,274,10-20), who placed an ineffable One absolutely unrelated to anything else at the summit of all reality – including Plotinus’s supreme One, which was at least ‘present to’ subsequent reality. Of course, at least in the case of Marsanes and Theodore, this supreme One nevertheless has some relation to its inferiors, since for Theodore, the ‘second One’ was the aspiration (‘breathing’), self-contact, and intelligibility of the first One, and for Marsanes, the Invisible Spirit (which ‘has no breath,’ 15,1-4; 15,29-16,2) eems to share both the silence and the activity of the Unknown Silent One. On these grounds as well as the presence of the prophet’s name in the Bruce Codex, one might date Marsanes to the late third or early fourth century, contemporary with Iamblichus and Theodore.” (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 631)
HISTORIANS DECLARE that India is divided into three parts; and the first is said to end at Ethiopia, and the second at Media, and the third completes the country; and the one portion of it ends in the dark, and the other in the ocean. To this India, then, the holy Bartholomew the apostle of Christ went, and took up his quarters in the temple of Astaruth, and lived there as one of the pilgrims and the poor. In this temple, then, there was an idol called Astaruth, which was supposed to heal the infirm, but rather the more injured all. And the people were in entire ignorance of the true God; and from want of knowledge, but rather from the difficulty of going to any other, they all fled for refuge to the false god. And he brought upon them troubles, infirmities, damage, violence, and much affliction; and when any one sacrificed to him, the demon, retiring, appeared to give a cure to the person in trouble; and the foolish people, seeing this, believed in him. But the demons retired, not because they wished to cure men, but that they might the more assail them, and rather have them altogether in their power; and thinking that they were cured bodily, those that sacrificed to them were the more diseased in soul.
And it came to pass, that while the holy apostle of Christ, Bartholomew, stayed there, Astaruth gave no response, and was not able for curing. And when the temple was full of sick persons, who sacrificed to him daily, Astaruth could give no response; and sick persons who had come from far countries were lying there. When, therefore, in that temple not even one of the idols was able to give a response, and was of benefit neither to those that sacrificed to them nor to those who were in the agonies of death on their account, they were compelled to go to another city, where there was a temple of idols, where their great and most eminent god was called Becher.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God […] from .
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… the aeons, that I might tell all of the aeons, and, in (the case of) each one of the aeons, that I might tell the nature of the aeon, what it is, and that I might put on friendship and goodness as a garment, O brother, […] and … … (7 lines unrecoverable)
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… at first in parables and riddles […] proclaim them. Death will tremble and be angry, not only he himself, but also his fellow world-ruling archons, and the principalities and the authorities, the female gods and the male gods, together with the archangels. And …
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… all of them, […] the world-rulers […], all of them, and all the […], and all the […].
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Narrative of Joseph of Arimathaea, That Begged the Lord’s Body; in Which Also He Brings in the Cases of the Two Robbers.
CHAP. I.–I am Joseph of Arimathaea, who begged from Pilate the body of the Lord Jesus for burial, and who for this cause was kept close in prison by the murderous and God-fighting Jews, who also, keeping to the law, have by Moses himself become partakers in tribulation and having provoked their Lawgiver to anger, and not knowing that He was God, crucified Him and made Him manifest to those that knew God. in those days in which they condemned the Son of God to be crucified, seven days before Christ suffered, two condemned robbers were sent from Jericho to the procurator Pilate; and their case was as follows:–
The first, his name Gestas, put travellers to death, murdering them with the sword, and others he exposed naked. And he hung up women by the heels, head down, and cut off their breasts, and drank the blood of infants limbs, never having known God, not obeying the laws, being violent from the beginning, and doing such deeds.
And the case of the other was as follows: He was called Demas, and was by birth a Galilaean, and kept an inn. He made attacks upon the rich, but was good to the poor–a thief like Tobit, for he buried the bodies of the poor. And he set his hand to robbing the multitude of the Jews, and stole the law itself in Jerusalem, and stripped naked the daughter of Caiaphas, who was priestess of the sanctuary, and took away from its place the mysterious deposit itself placed there by Solomon. Such were his doings.
And Jesus also was taken on the third day before the pass over, in the evening.
Translated by John D. Turner
[….] according to [….] the type of […] see him. It is fitting for you at this time to send thy Son Jesus Christ and anoint us so we might be able to trample upon the snakes and the heads of the scorpions and all the power of the Devil since he is a shepherd of the seed. Through him we have known thee. And we glorify thee : Glory be to thee, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Son, the Father in the Holy Church and in the holy angels! From now he abides forever in the perpetuity of the Aeons, forever until the untraceable Aeons of the Aeons. Amen.
Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton
SEEING THAT EVERYBODY, GODS OF THE WORLD AND MANKIND, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root. Here is the demonstration.
How well it suits all men, on the subject of chaos, to say that it is a kind of darkness! But in fact it comes from a shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. And the shadow comes from a product that has existed since the beginning. It is, moreover, clear that it existed before chaos came into being, and that the latter is posterior to the first product. Let us therefore concern ourselves with the facts of the matter; and furthermore, with the first product, from which chaos was projected. And in this way the truth will be clearly demonstrated.
After the natural structure of the immortal beings had completely developed out of the infinite, a likeness then emanated from Pistis (Faith); it is called Sophia (Wisdom). It exercised volition and became a product resembling the primeval light. And immediately her will manifested itself as a likeness of heaven, having an unimaginable magnitude; it was between the immortal beings and those things that came into being after them, like […]: she (Sophia) functioned as a veil dividing mankind from the things above.
SINCE WE HAVE COME TO THIS POINT IN A DISCUSSION, let us again take up the first things that were said to us. And we will find that he says, ‘Good is he who has been done injustice completely. He is glorified justly.’ Is not this how he was reproached?
“This is certainly the fitting way!”
And I said, “Now then, we have spoken because he said that he who does injustice and he who does justice each has a force.”
“He said, ‘An image that has no likeness is the rationality of soul,’ so that he who said these things will understand. He […] or not? We […] is for me. But all […] who told them […] ruler, these now have become natural creatures – even Chimaera and Cerberus and all the rest that were mentioned. They all came down and they cast off forms and images. And they all became a single image. It was said, ‘Work now!’ Certainly it is a single image that became the image of a complex beast with many heads. Some days indeed it is like the image of a wild beast. Then it is able to cast off the first image. And all these hard and difficult forms emanate from it with effort, since these are formed now with arrogance. And also all the rest that are like them are formed now through the word. For now it is a single image. For the image of the lion is the one thing and the image of the man is another. […] single […] is the […] of […] join. And this […] much more complex than the first. And the second is small.”
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… your light, give me your mercy! My Redeemer, redeem me, for I am yours; the one who has come forth from you. You are my mind; bring me forth! You are my treasure house; open for me! You are my fullness; take me to you! You are (my) repose; give me the perfect thing that cannot be grasped!
I invoke you, the one who is and who pre-existed in the name which is exalted above every name, through Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, the King of the ages; give me your gifts, of which you do not repent, through the Son of Man, the Spirit, the Paraclete of truth. Give me authority when I ask you; give healing for my body when I ask you through the Evangelist, and redeem my eternal light soul and my spirit. And the First-born of the Pleroma of grace — reveal him to my mind!
Grant what no angel eye has seen and no archon ear (has) heard, and what has not entered into the human heart which came to be angelic and (modelled) after the image of the psychic God when it was formed in the beginning, since I have faith and hope. And place upon me your beloved, elect, and blessed greatness, the First-born, the First-begotten, and the wonderful mystery of your house; for yours is the power and the glory and the praise and the greatness for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer of Paul (the) Apostle. In Peace. Christ is holy.
AFTER THE LORD HAD DANCED WITH US, my beloved, he went out. And we were like men amazed or fast asleep, and we fled this way and that. And so I saw him suffer, and did not wait by his suffering , but fled to the Mount of Olives and wept at what had come to pass. And when he was hung upon the cross on Friday, at the sixth hour of the day there came a darkness over the whole earth.
And my Lord stood in the middle of the cave and gave light to it and said, “John, for the people below in Jerusalem. I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds and given vinegar and gall to drink. But to you ¡ am speaking, and listen to what i speak. I put into your mind to come up to this mountain so that you may hear what a disciple should learn from his teacher and a man of God.”
And when he had said this he showed me a cross of light firmly fixed, and around the cross a great crowd, which had no single form; and in the cross was another form and the same likeness. And I saw the Lord himself above the cross, having no shape but only a kind of voice; yet not that voice that we knew, but one that was sweet and gentle and truly the voice of God, which said to me: “John, there must be one man to hear these things from me: for I need one who is ready to hear.
This cross of Light is sometimes called logos by me for your sakes, sometimes Mind, sometimes Jesus, Sometimes Christ, Sometimes a door, sometimes a way, sometimes bread, sometimes seed, sometimes resurrection, sometimes Son, sometimes Father, sometimes Spirit, sometimes Life, sometimes Truth, Sometimes Pistis (Faith), sometimes Charis(grace); and so is it called for man´s sake.”
§ The Genealogy of Jesus
1.1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham
1.2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
1.3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,
1.4 and Ram the father of Ammin’adab, and Ammin’adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,
1.5 and Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
1.6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri’ah,
1.7 and Solomon the father of Rehobo’am, and Rehobo’am the father of Abi’jah, and Abi’jah the father of Asa,
1.8 and Asa the father of Jehosh’aphat, and Jehosh’aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi’ah,
1.9 and Uzzi’ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki’ah,
1.10 and Hezeki’ah the father of Manas’seh, and Manas’seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi’ah,
§ John the Baptist
1.1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
1.2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;
1.3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight–”
1.4 John the baptiser appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
1.5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
1.6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey.
1.1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us,
1.2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
1.3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph’ilus,
1.4 that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
1.5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechari’ah, of the division of Abi’jah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
1.6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
1.7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 1.8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,
1.9 according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
1.10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
1.11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
Synoptic 4 – The Gospel of John
1.1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1.2 He was in the beginning with God;
1.3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
1.4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
1.5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
1.6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
1.7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.
1.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
1.9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.
1.10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.
1.11 He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
1.12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
1.13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Incipit: These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.
1) And He said, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.”
2) Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”
3) Jesus said, “If those who lead you say, ‘See, the Kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”
4) Jesus said, “The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same.”
5) Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”
6) His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, “Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?” Jesus said, “Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of Heaven. For nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.”
IT IS THE LORD WHO SPOKE WITH ME, “See now the completion of my redemption. I have given you a sign of these things, James, my brother. For not without reason have I called you my brother, although you are not my brother materially. And I am not ignorant concerning you ; so that when I give you a sign – know and hear.” “Nothing existed except Him-who-is. He is unnameable and ineffable.
I myself am also unnameable, from Him-who-is, just as I have been given a number of names – two from Him-who-is. And I, I am before you. Since you have asked concerning femalenesss, femaleness existed, but femaleness was not first. And it prepared for itself powers and gods. But it did not exist when I came forth, since I am an image of Him-who-is. But I have brought forth the image of him so that the sons of Him-who-is might know what things are theirs and what things are alien to them. Behold, I shall reveal to you everything of this mystery. For they will seize me the day after tomorrow. But my redemption will be near.”
I, James, said: “Rabbi, you have said , ´they will seize me` But I, what can I do?” He said to me, “Fear not, James. You too will they seize. But leave Jerusalem. For it is she who always gives the cup of bitterness to the sons of light. She is a dwelling place of a great number of archons. But your redemption will be preserved from them. So that you may understand who they are and what kinds they are, you will […]. And listen. They are not […] but […archons]. These twelve […] down […] archons […] upon his own hebdomad.” James said,”Rabbi, are there then twelve hebdomads and not seven as there are in the scriptures?”
THIS version of the legend of Veronica is written in very barbarous Latin,
probably of the seventh or eighth century. An Anglo-Saxon version, which
Tischendorf concludes to be derived from the Latin, was edited and translated for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, by C. W. Goodwin, in 1851. The Anglo-Saxon text is from a MS. in the Cambridge Library, one of a number presented to the Cathedral of Exeter by Bishop Leofric in the beginning of the eleventh century.
The reader will observe that there are in this document two distinct legends, somewhat clumsily joined together–that of Nathan’s embassy, and that of Veronica.
HERE BEGINNETH THE AVENGING OF THE SAVIOUR.
IN THE DAYS OF THE EMPEROR TIBERIUS Caesar, when Herod was tetrarch, Christ was delivered under Pontius Pilate by the Jews, and revealed by Tiberius.
In those days Titus was a prince under Tiberius in the region of Equitania, in a city of Libia which is called Burgidalla. And Titus had a sore in his right nostril, on account of a cancer, and he bad his face torn even to the eye. There went forth a certain man from Judaea, by name Nathan the son of Nahum; for he was an Ishmaelite who went from land to land, and from sea to sea, and in all the ends of the earth. Now Nathan was sent from Judaea to the Emperor Tiberius, to carry their treaty to the city of Rome.
This is the discourse that James the just spoke in Jerusalem, which Mareim, one of the priests wrote. He had told it to Theuda, the father of the Just One, since he was a relative of his. He said, “Hasten, Come with Mary, your wife and your relatives […] therefore […] of this […] to [him, he will] understand. For behold, a multitude are disturbed over his […], and they are greatly angry [at him….] and they pray […]. For [he would] often say these words and others also.” “He used to speak these words while the multitude of people were seated. But (on this occasion) he entered and did sit down in the place, as was his custom. Rather he sat above the fifth flight of the steps, [which] is (highly) esteemed, while all our people. […] the words […].” “[…].
I am he who received revelation from the Pleroma (of) Imperishability. (I am) he who was first summoned by him who is great, and who obeyed the [Lord] – he who passed [through] the [worlds…] he who […he who] stripped [himself and] went about naked, he who was found in a perishable (state), though he was about to be brought up into imperishability. –
This Lord who is present [came] as a son who sees, and as a brother [was he sought]. He will come to […] produced him because […] and he unites […] make him free […] in […] he who came [to…]. “Now again am I rich in knowledge [and] I have a unique [understanding], which was produced only from above and the […] comes from a […].
OF THE AUTHOR OF ‘THE BOOK OF THE BEE,’ the bishop Shelêmôn or Solomon, but very little is known. He was a native of Khilât or Akhlât (in Armenia, at the western end of lake Vân), and by religious profession a Nestorian. He became metropolitan bishop of al-Basra (in al-`Irâk, on the right bank of the united streams of the Tigris and Euphrates) about A.D. 1222, in which year he was present at the consecration of the catholicus or Nestorian patriarch Sabr-îshô` (Hope-in-Jesus) (see Assemânî, Bibl. Orient., t. ii, p. 453, no. 75; Bar-hebraeus, Chron. Eccl., t. ii, p. 371). In the Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Works compiled by `Ebêd-yêshû` or `Abd-îshô` (the-Servant-of-Jesus) he is stated to have written, besides ‘the Bee,’ a treatise on the figure of the heavens and the earth, and sundry short discourses and prayers (see Assemânî, Bibl. Orient., t. Iii, pt. i, p. 309, where there is a lengthy analysis of the contents of ‘the Bee’). A Latin translation of ‘the Bee’ by Dr. J. M. Schoenfelder appeared at Bamberg in 1866; it is based upon the Munich MS. only, and is faulty in many places.
The text of ‘the Bee,’ as contained in this volume, is edited from four MSS., indicated respectively by the letters A, B, C and D.
The MS. A belongs to the Library of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. It is dated A.Gr. 1880 = A.D. 1569, and consists of 188 paper leaves, measuring about 8 in. by 5¾. Each page is occupied by one column of writing, generally containing 25 lines. This MS. is so stained and damaged by water in parts that some of the writing is illegible. The quires are twenty-one in number and, excepting the last two, are signed with letters. Leaves are wanting after folios 6, 21, 49, 125, 166 and 172; and in several pages there are lacunae of one, two and more lines. The volume is written in a good Nestorian hand, with numerous vowel-points. Originally it was the property of the priest Wardâ, son of the deacon Moses, who was prior of the convent of Mâr Ezekiel. Later on, it belonged to one Mâr John of Enzelli (near Resht, on the south shore of the Caspian Sea). In the year A. Gr. 1916 = A.D. 1605 it was bound by a person whose name has been erased.
The Book of the Bee occupies foll. 26 a to 92 b, and the colophon runs: ‘By the help of our Lord and our God, this Book of the Bee was completed on the 16th day of the month of Tammuz, on the Saturday that ushers in the Sunday which is called Nûsârdêl. in the year 1880 of the blessed Greeks, by the hands of the sinful servant the faulty Elias. Amen.’
The MS. B is on paper, and is numbered Add. 25,875 in the British Museum. See Wright’s Catal., p. 1064, no. dccccxxii, ff. 81 b-158 a. It is written in a good Nestorian hand, with numerous vowel-points, etc., and is dated A.Gr. 2020 = A.D. 1709. The colophon runs:–
‘It was finished in the year 2020 of the Greeks, on Friday the 22nd of the blessed month Tammûz, by the wretched sinner, the deacon Hômô of Alkôsh. I entreat you to pray for him that perchance he may obtain mercy with those upon whom mercy is freely shewn in the day of judgment, Amen. And to Jah be the glory, Amen.
THERE IS CONVINCING EVIDENCE FROM HIGHLY CREDIBLE SOURCES THAT BRITAIN RECEIVED THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD direct from Palestine within a few years of the Crucifixion. Some of the apostles — Paul in particular — visited Britain. The antiquity of the ancient British Church, never in any degree subordinate to Rome, has been established beyond doubt. The firm Glastonbury tradition that Joseph of Arimathea and his companions formed there the first Christian community in Britain is substantially supported.
The Sonnini Manuscript, translated from the Greek by C.S. Sonnini from an original manuscript found in the archives of Constantinople, was presented to him by the Sultan Abdoul Achmet.
Sonnini was travelling in the Middle East during the reign of Louis XVI — who held the French throne from 1774 to 1793. He published his travels, in French, between those two dates and after his discovery of the manuscript. The manuscript itself was translated into English and published sometime late in 1799 and was available — at the earliest — sometime around 1800.
The manuscript was found interleaved in a copy of Sonnini’s Travels in Turkey and Greece, and purchased at the sale of the library and effects of the late Right Hon. Sir John Newport, in Ireland, whose family arms are engraved on the cover of the book. This book had been in the possession of the family for more than thirty years — along with a copy of the firman of the Sultan of Turkey, granting to CS. Sonnini permission to travel in all parts of the Ottoman dominions.