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.