Below are all non-canonical manuscripts
c. 100-125 B.C.
The Apocalypse of Peter is the earliest Christian reference to the afterlife, describing in vivid detail the paradise of Heaven and the torments of Hell. The work is quite early, for it was referenced by Clement and likely used by the author of the Apocalypse of Paul; It may even predate the canonical Apocalypse (Revelation) of John. The book was included in the Muratorian Canon (c.200 C.E.) as well as the Codex Claramontanus. It is difficult to speculate why it fell out of favor in the orthodox church, except perhaps that it was often associated with the heretical Gospel of Peter.
The work survives in an extant Ethiopic text as well as a fragmentary Greek text discovered at Akhmîm with the Gospel of Peter. The two versions have striking dissimilarities, and it would appear that, although the work was originally composed in Greek, the Akhmîm text represents a later development. The work borrows heavily from Jewish apocalyptic tradition (1 Enoch), and the account of the transfiguration parallels the description in 2 Peter.
We have included 3 Apocalypse Of Peter documents below. First the Ehiopic version, next the Akmim Fragment, and finally one found in the The Nag Hammadi Library
THE ETHIOPIC TEXT
First published by the Abbe Sylvain Grebaut in Revue de l'Orient Chretien, 1910: a fresh translation from his Ethiopic text by H. Duensing appeared in Zeitschr. f. ntl. Wiss., 1913.
The Second Coming of Christ and Resurrection of the Dead (which Christ revealed unto Peter) who died because of their sins, for that they kept not the commandment of God their creator.
And he (Peter) pondered thereon, that he might perceive the mystery of the Son of God, the merciful and lover of mercy.
And when the Lord was seated upon the Mount of Olives, his disciples came unto him.
And we besought and entreated him severally and prayed him, saying unto him: Declare unto us what are the signs of thy coming and of the end of the world, that we may perceive and mark the time of thy coming and instruct them that come after us, unto whom we preach the word of thy gospel, and whom we set over (in) thy church, that they when they hear it may take heed to themselves and mark the time of thy coming.
And our Lord answered us, saying: Take heed that no man deceive you, and that ye be not doubters and serve other gods. Many shall come in my name, saying: I am the Christ. Believe them not, neither draw near unto them. For the coming of the Son of God shall not be plain (i.e. foreseen); but as the lightning that shineth from the east unto the west, so will I come upon the clouds of heaven with a great host in my majesty; with my cross going before my face will I come in my majesty, shining sevenfold more than the sun will I come in my majesty with all my saints, mine angels (mine holy angels). And my Father shall set a crown upon mine head, that I may judge the quick and the dead and recompense every man according to his works.
And ye, take ye the likeness thereof (learn a parable) from the fig-tree: so soon as the shoot thereof is come forth and the twigs grown, the end of the world shall come.
And I, Peter, answered and said unto him: Interpret unto me concerning the fig-tree, whereby we shall perceive it; for throughout all its days doth the fig-tree send forth shoots, and every year it bringeth forth its fruit for its master. What then meaneth the parable of the fig-tree? We know it not.
And the Master (Lord) answered and said unto me: Understandest thou not that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? Even as a man that planted a fig-tree in his garden, and it brought forth no fruit. And he sought the fruit thereof many years and when he found it not, he said to the keeper of his garden: Root up this fig-tree that it make not our ground to be unfruitful. And the gardener said unto God: (Suffer us) to rid it of weeds and dig the ground round about it and water it. If then it bear not fruit, we will straightway remove its roots out of the garden and plant another in place of it. Hast thou not undErstood that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? Verily I say unto thee, when the twigs thereof have sprouted forth in the last days, then shall feigned Christs come and awake expectation saying: I am the Christ, that am now come into the world. And when they (Israel) shall perceive the wickedness of their deeds they shall turn away after them and deny him [whom our fathers did praise], even the first Christ whom they crucified and therein sinned a great sin. But this deceiver is not the Christ. [something is wrong here: the sense required is that Israel perceives the wickedness of antichrist and does not follow him.] And when they reject him he shall slay with the sword, and there shall be many martyrs. Then shall the twigs of the fig-tree, that is, the house of Israel, shoot forth: many shall become martyrs at his hand. Enoch and Elias shall be sent to teach them that this is the deceiver which must come into the world and do signs and wonders to deceive. And therefore shall they that die by his hand be martyrs, and shall be reckoned among the good and righteous martyrs who have pleased God in their life. [Hermas, Vision III.i.9, speaks of 'those that have already been well-pleasing unto God and have suffered for the Name's sake'.]
And he showed me in his right hand the souls of all men, And on the palm of his right hand the image of that which shall be accomplished at the last day: and how the righteous and the sinners shall be separated, and how they do that are upright in heart, and how the evil-doers shall be rooted out unto all eternity. We beheld how the sinners wept (weep) in great affliction and sorrow, until all that saw it with their eyes wept, whether righteous or angels, and he himself also.
And I asked him and said unto him: Lord, suffer me to speak thy word concerning the sinners: It were better for them if they had not been created. And the Saviour answered and said unto me: Peter, wherefore speakest thou thus, that not to have been created were better for them? Thou resistest God. Thou wouldest not have more compassion than he for his image: for he hath created them and brought them forth out of not being. Now because thou hast seen the lamentation which shall come upon the sinners in the last days, therefore is thine heart troubled; but I will show thee their works, whereby they have sinned against the Most High.
Behold now what shall come upon them in the last days, when the day of God and the day of the decision of the judgement of God cometh. From the east unto the west shall all the children of men be gathered together before my Father that liveth for ever. And he shall command hell to open its bars of adamant and give up all that is therein.
And the wild beasts and the fowls shall he command to restore all the flesh that they have devoured, because he willeth that men should appear; for nothing perisheth before God, and nothing is impossible with him, because all things are his.
For all things come to pass on the day of decision, on the day of judgement, at the word of God: and as all things were done when he created the world and commanded all that is therein and it was done -even so shall it be in the last days; for all things are possible with God. And therefore saith he in the scripture: [Ezek. xxxvii.] Son of man, prophesy upon the several bones and say unto the bones: bone unto bone in joints, sinew. nerves, flesh and skin and hair thereon [and soul and spirit].
And soul and spirit shall the great Uriel give them at the commandment of God; for him hath God set over the rising again of the dead at the day of judgement.
Behold and consider the corns of wheat that are sown in the earth. As things dry and without soul do men sow them in the earth: and they live again and bear fruit, and the earth restoreth them as a pledge entrusted unto it.
[And this that dieth, that is sown as seed in the earth, and shall become alive and be restored unto life, is man. Probably a gloss.]
How much more shall God raise up on the day of decision them that believe in him and are chosen of him, for whose sake he made the world? And all things shall the earth restore on the day of decision, for it also shall be judged with them, and the heaven with it.
And this shall come at the day of judgement upon them that have fallen away from faith in God and that have committed sin: Floods (cataracts) of fire shall be let loose; and darkness and obscurity shall come up and clothe and veil the whole world and the waters shall be changed and turned into coals of fire and all that is in them shall burn, and the sea shall become fire. Under the heaven shall be a sharp fire that cannot be quenched and floweth to fulfil the judgement of wrath. And the stars shall fly in pieces by flames of fire, as if they had not been created and the powers (firmaments) of the heaven shall pass away for lack of water and shall be as though they had not been. And the lightnings of heaven shall be no more, and by their enchantment they shall affright the world (probably: The heaven shall turn to lightning and the lightnings thereof shall affright the world. The spirits also of the dead bodies shall be like unto them (the lightnings?) and shall become fire at the commandment of God.
And so soon as the whole creation
dissolveth, the men that are in the east shall flee unto the west,
Then shall they all behold me coming upon an eternal cloud of brightness: and the angels of God that are with me shall sit (prob. And I shall sit) upon the throne of my glory at the right hand of my Heavenly Father; and he shall set a crown upon mine head. And when the nations behold it, they shall weep, every nation apart.
Then shall he command them to enter into the river of fire while the works of every one of them shall stand before them (something is wanting) to every man according to his deeds. As for the elect that have done good, they shall come unto me and not see death by the devouring fire. But the unrighteous the sinners, and the hypocrites shall stand in the depths of darkness that shall not pass away, and their chastisement is the fire, and angels bring forward their sins and prepare for them a place wherein they shall be punished for ever (every one according to his transgression).
Uriel (Urael) the angel of God shall bring forth the souls of those sinners (every one according to his transgression: perhaps this clause should end the preceding paragraph: so Grebaut takes it) who perished in the flood, and of all that dwelt in all idols, in every molten image, in every (object of) love, and in pictures, and of those that dwelt on all hills and in stones and by the wayside, whom men called gods: they shall burn them with them (the objects in which they dwelt, or their worshippers?) in everlasting fire; and after that all of them with their dwelling places are destroyed, they shall be punished eternally.
(Here begins the description of torments which we have, in another text, in the Akhmim fragment.)
Then shall men and women come unto the place prepared for them. By their tongues wherewith they have blasphemed the way of righteousness shall they be hanged up. There is spread under them unquenchable fire, that they escape it not.
Behold, another place: therein is a pit, great and full (of . . ) In it are they that have denied righteousness: and angels of punishment chastise them and there do they kindle upon them the fire of their torment.
And again behold [two: corrupt] women: they hang them up by their neck and by their hair; they shall cast them into the pit. These are they which plaited their hair, not for good (or, not to make them beautiful) but to turn them to fornication, that they might ensnare the souls of men unto perdition. And the men that lay with them in fornication shall be hung by their loins in that place of fire; and they shall say one to another: We knew not that we should come unto everlasting punishment.
And the murderers and them that have made common cause with them shall they cast into the fire, in a place full of venomous beasts, and they shall be tormented without rest, feeling their pains; and their worms shall be as many in number as a dark cloud. And the angel Ezrael shall bring forth the souls of them that have been slain, and they shall behold the torment of them that slew them, and say one to another: Righteousness and justice is the judgement of God. For we heard, but we believed not, that we should come into this place of eternal judgement.
And near by this flame shall be a pit, great and very deep, and into it floweth from above all manner of torment, foulness, and issue. And women are swallowed up therein up to their necks and tormented with great pain. These are they that have caused their children to be born untimely, and have corrupted the work of God that created them. Over against them shall be another place where sit their children [both] alive, and they cry unto God. And flashes (lightnings) go forth from those children and pierce the eyes of them that for fornication's sake have caused their destruction.
Other men and women shall stand above them, naked; and their children stand over against them in a place of delight, and sigh and cry unto God because of their parents, saying: These are they that have despised and cursed and transgressed thy commandments and delivered us unto death: they have cursed the angel that formed us, and have hanged us up, and withheld from us (or, begrudged us) the light which thou hast given unto all creatures. And the milk of their mothers flowing from their breasts shall congeal, and from it shall come beasts devouring flesh, which shall come forth and turn and torment them for ever with their husbands, because they forsook the commandments of God and slew their children. As for their children, they shall be delivered unto the angel Temlakos (i.e. a care-taking angel: see above, in the Fragments). And they that slew them shall be tormented eternally, for God willeth it so.
Ezrael the angel of wrath shall bring men and women, the half of their bodies burning, and cast them into a place of darkness, even the hell of men; and a spirit of wrath shall chastise them with all manner of torment, and a worm that sleepeth not shall devour their entrails: and these are the persecutors and betrayers of my righteous ones.
And beside them that are there, shall be other men and women, gnawing their tongues; and they shall torment them with red-hot iron and burn their eyes. These are they that slander and doubt of my righteousness. Other men and women whose works were done in deceitfulness shall have their lips cut off, and fire entereth into their mouth and their entrails. These are the false witnesses (al. these are they that caused the martyrs to die by their lying).
And beside them, in a place near at hand, upon the stone shall be a pillar of fire, and the pillar is sharper than swords. And there shall be men and women clad in rags and filthy garments, and they shall be cast thereon, to suffer the judgement of a torment that ceaseth not: these are they that trusted in their riches and despised the widows and the woman with fatherless children . . . before God.
And into another place hard by, full of filth, do they cast men and women up to the knees. These are they that lent money and took usury.
And other men and women cast themselves down from an high place and return again and run, and devils drive them. [These are the worshippers of idols] and they put them to the end of their witst (drive them up to the top of the height) and they cast themselves down. And thus do they continually, and are tormented for ever. These are they which have cut their flesh as [apostles] of a man: and the women that were with them . . . and these are the men that defiled themselves together as women. (This is very corrupt: but the sense is clear in the (Greek.)
And beside them (shall be a brazier ?) . . . and beneath them shall the angel Ezrael prepare a place of much fire: and all the idols of gold and silver, all idols, the work of men's hands, and the semblances of images of cats and lions, of creeping things and wild beasts, and the men and women that have prepared the images thereof, shall be in chains of fire and shall be chastised because of their error before the idols, and this is their judgement for ever. (In the Greek they beat each other with rods of fire: and this is better.)
And beside them shall be other men and women, burning in the fire of the judgement, and their torment is everlasting. These are they that have forsaken the commandment of God and followed the (persuasions ?) of devils.
(Parts of these two sections are in the Bodleian Fragment. this point the Akhmim fragment ends. The Ethiopic continues :)
And there shall be another place, very high (corrupt sentences follow. Duensing omits them: Grebaut renders doubtfully: There shall be a furnace and a brazier wherein shall burn fire. The fire that shall burn shall come from one end of the brazier). The men and women whose feet slip, shall go rolling down into a place where is fear. And again while the fire that is prepared floweth, they mount up and fall down again and continue to roll down. (This suggests a narrow bridge over a stream of fire which they keep trying to cross.) Thus shall they be tormented for ever. These are they that honoured not their father and mother and of their own accord withheld (withdrew) themselves from them. Therefore shall they be chastised eternally.
Furthermore the angel Ezrael shall bring children and maidens to show them those that are tormented. They shall be chastised with pains, with hanging up (?) and with a multitude of wounds which flesh-devouring birds shall inflict upon them. These are they that boast themselves (trust) in their sins, and obey not their parents and follow not the instruction of their fathers, and honour not them that are more aged than they.
Beside them shall be girls clad in darkness for a garment and they shall be sore chastised and their flesh shall be torn in pieces. These are they that kept not their virginity until they were given in marriage, and with these torments shall they be punished, and shall feel them.
And again, other men and women, gnawing their tongues without ceasing, and being tormented with everlasting fire. These are the servants (slaves) which were not obedient unto their masters; and this then is their judgement for ever.
And hard by this place of torment shall be men and women dumb and blind, whose raiment is white. They shall crowd one upon another, and fall upon coals of unquenchable fire. These are they that give alms and say: We are righteous before God: whereas they have not sought after righteousness.
Ezrael the angel of God shall bring them forth out of this fire and establish a judgement of decision. This then is their judgement. A river of fire shall flow and all judgement (they that are judged) shall be drawn down into the middle of the river. And Uriel shall set them there.
And there are wheels of fire and men and women hung thereon by the strength of the whirling thereof. And they that are in the pit shall burn: now these are the sorcerers and sorceresses. Those wheels shall be in a]l decision (judgement, punishment) by fire without number.
Thereafter shall the angels bring mine elect and righteous which are perfect in all uprightness, and bear them in their hands, and clothe them with the raiment of the life that is above. They shall see their desire on them that hated them, when he punisheth them, and the torment of every one shall be for ever according to his works.
And all they that are in torment shall say with one voice: have mercy upon us, for now know we the judgement of God, which he declared unto us aforetime, and we believed not. And the angel Tatirokos (Tartaruchus, keeper of hell: a word corresponding in formation to Temeluchus) shall come and chastise them with yet greater torment, and say unto them: Now do ye repent, when it is no longer the time for repentance, and nought of life remaineth. And they shall say: Righteous is the judgement of God, for we have heard and perceived that his judgement is good; for we are recompensed according to our deeds.
Then will I give unto mine elect and righteous the washing (baptism) and the salvation for which they have besought me, in the field of Akrosja (Acherousia, a lake in other writings, e.g. Apocalypse of Moses -where the soul of Adam is washed in it: see also Paul 22, 23) which is called Aneslasleja (Elysium). They shall adorn with flowers the portion of the righteous, and I shall go . . . I shall rejoice with them. I will cause the peoples to enter in to mine everlasting kingdom, and show them that eternal thing (life ?) whereon I have made them to set their hope, even I and my Father which is in heaven.
I have spoken this unto thee, Peter, and declared it unto thee. Go forth therefore and go unto the land (or city) of the west. (Duensing omits the next sentences as unintelligible; Grebaut and N. McLean render thus: and enter into the vineyard which I shall tell thee of, in order that by the sickness (sufferings) of the Son who is without sin the deeds of corruption may be sanctified. As for thee, thou art chosen according to the promise which I have given thee. Spread thou therefore my gospel throughout all the world in peace. Verily men shall rejoice: my words shall be the source of hope and of life, and suddenly shall the world be ravished.)
(We now have the section descriptive of paradise, which in the Akhmim text precedes that about hell.)
And my Lord Jesus Christ our King
said unto me: Let us go unto the holy mountain. And his disciples
went with him, praying. And behold there were two men there, and we
could not look upon their faces, for a light came from them, shining
more than the sun, and their rairment also was shining, and cannot
be described, and nothing is sufficient to be compared unto them in
this world. And the sweetness of them . . . that no mouth is able to
utter the beauty of their appearance (or, the mouth hath not
sweetness to express, &c.), for their aspect was astonishing and
wonderful. And the other, great, I say (probably: and, in a word, I
cannot describe it), shineth in his (sic) aspect above crystal. Like
the flower of roses is the appearance of the colour of his aspect
and of his body . . . his head (al. their head was a marvel). And
upon his (their) shoulders (evidently something about their hair has
dropped out) and on their foreheads was a crown of nard woven of
fair flowers. As the rainbow in the water, [Probably: in the time of
rain. From the LXX of Ezek.i.28.] so was their hair. And such was
the comeliness of their countenance, adorned with all manner of
ornament. And when we saw them on a sudden, we marvelled. And I drew
near unto the Lord (God) Jesus Christ and said unto him: O my Lord,
who are these? And he said unto me: They are Moses and Elias. And I
said unto him:
As is their rest, such also is the
honour and the glory of them that are persecuted for my
righteousness' sake. And I rejoiced and believed [and believed] and
understood that which is written in the book of my Lord Jesus
Christ. And I said unto him: O my Lord, wilt thou that I make here
three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for
Elias? And he said unto me in wrath: Satan maketh war against thee,
and hath veiled thine understanding; and the good things of this
world prevail against thee. Thine eyes therefore must be opened and
thine ears unstopped that
And behold, suddenly there came a
voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well
Thereafter was the heaven shut, that had been open.
And we prayed and went down from the mountain, glorifying God, which hath written the names of the righteous in heaven in the book of life.
There is a great deal more of the Ethiopic text, but it is very evidently of later date; the next words are:
'Peter opened his mouth and said to me: Hearken, my son Clement, God created all things for his glory,' and this proposition is dwelt upon. The glory of those who duly praise God is described in terms borrowed from the Apocalypse: 'The Son at his coming will raise the dead . . . and will make my righteous ones shine seven times more than the sun, and will make their crowns shine like crystal and like the rainbow in the time of rain (crowns) which are perfumed with nard and cannot be contemplated (adorned) with rubies, with the colour of emeralds shining brightly, with topazes, gems, and yellow pearls that shine like the stars of heaven, and like the rays of the sun, sparkling which cannot be gazed upon.' Again, of the angels: ' Their faces shine more than the sun; their crowns are as the rainbow in the time of rain. (They are perfumed) with nard. Their eyes shine like the morning star. The beauty of their appearance cannot be expressed.... Their raiment is not woven, but white as that of the fuller, according as I saw on the mountain where Moses and Elias were. Our Lord showed at the transfiguration the apparel of the last days, of the day of resurrection, unto Peter, James and John the sons of Zebedee, and a bright cloud overshadowed us, and we heard the voice of the Father saying unto us: This is my Son whom I love and in whom I am well pleased: hear him. And being afraid we forgat all the things of this life and of the flesh, and knew not what we said because of the greatness of the wonder of that day, and of the mountain whereon he showed us the second coming in the kingdom that passeth not away.'
Next: ' The Father hath committed all judgement unto the Son.' The destiny of sinners -their eternal doom- is more than Peter can endure: he appeals to Christ to have pity on them.
And my Lord answered me and said to me: 'Hast thou understood that which I said unto thee before? It is permitted unto thee to know that concerning which thou askest: but thou must not tell that which thou hearest unto the sinners lest they transgress the more, and sin.' Peter weeps many hours, and is at last consoled by an answer which, though exceedingly diffuse and vague does seem to promise ultimate pardon for all: 'My Father will give unto them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passeth not away,' . . . 'It is because of them that have believed in me that I am come. It is also because of them that have believed in me, that, at their word, I shall have pity on men.
Ultimately Peter orders Clement to hide this revelation in a box, that foolish men may not see it.
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 ,
"For evil cannot produce good fruit. For the place from which each of them is produces that that which is like itself; for not every soul is of the truth, nor of immortality. For every soul of these ages has death assigned to it in our view, and their eternal destruction, in which they are and from which they are. They love the creatures of the matter which came forth with them." "But the immortal souls are not like these, O Peter. But indeed, as long as the hour is not yet come, the immortal soul shall resemble the mortal one. But it shall not reveal its nature, that it alone is the immortal one, and thinks about immortality, having faith, and desiring to renounce these things". "For people do not gather figs from thorns or from thorn trees, if they are wise, nor grapes from thistles. For on the one hand, that which is always becoming is in that from which it is, being from what is not good,which becomes destruction for it and death. But that which comes to be in the Eternal One is in the One of the life and the immortality of the life which they resemble." "Therefore all that which exists not will dissolve into what exists not. For deaf and blind ones join only with their own kind." "But others shall change from evil words and misleading mysteries. Some who do not understand mystery speak of things which they do not understand, but they boast that the mystery of the truth is theirs alone. And in haughtiness they shall grasp at the pride to envy the immortal soul which has become a pledge. For every authority rule, and power of the aeons wishes to be with these in the creation of the world, in order that those who are not, having been forgotten by those that are, may praise them, though they have not been saved, nor have they been brought to the Way by them, always wishing that they may become imperishable ones. For if the immortal soul receives power in an intellectual spirit. But immediately they join with one of those who mislead them." "But many others, who oppose the truth and are the messengers of error, will set up their error and their law against these pure thoughts of mine, as looking out from one perspective, thinking that good and evil are from one source. They do business in my word. And they will propagate harsh fate. The race of immortal souls will go in it in vain, until my Parousia. For they shall come out of them, and my forgiveness of their transgressions into which they fell through the adversaries, whose ransom I got from the slavery in which they were, to give them freedom that they may create an imitation remnant in the name of a dead man, who is Hermas, of the first-born of unrighteousness, in order that the light which exists may not be believed by the little ones. But those of this sort are the worker who will be cast into the outer darkness, away from the sons of light. For neither will they enter, nor do they permit those who are going up to their approval for their release."
Gospel Of Peter
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.
I. 1 But of the Jews no
man washed his hands, neither did Herod nor any one of his judges: and
whereas they would not 2 wash, Pilate rose up. And then Herod the king
commanded that the Lord should be taken into their hands, saying unto
them: All that I commanded you to do unto him, do ye
II. 3 Now there stood
there Joseph the friend of Pilate and of the Lord, and he, knowing that
they were about to crucify him, came unto Pilate and begged the body of
Jesus for burial. And Pilate sending unto Herod, begged his body. 5 And
Herod said: Brother Pilate, even if none had begged for him, we should
have buried him, since also the Sabbath dawneth; for it is written in
the law that the sun should not set upon one that hath been slain
III. 6 And he delivered
him unto the people before the first day of (or on the day before the)
unleavened bread, even their feast. And they having taken the Lord
pushed him as they ran, and said: Let us hale the Son of God, now that
7 we have gotten authority over him. And they put on him a purple robe,
and made him sit upon the seat of judgement, 8 saying: Give righteous
judgement, thou King of Israel. And one of them brought a crown of
thorns and set it upon the 9 Lord's head; and others stood and did spit
in his eyes, and others buffeted his cheeks; and others did prick him
with a reed, and some of them scourged him, saying With this honour let
us honour (or at this price let us value) the son of God.
IV. 10 And they brought
two malefactors, and crucified the 11 Lord between them. But he kept
silence, as one feeling no pain. And when they set the cross upright,
they wrote 12 thereon: This is the King of Israel. And they laid his
garments before him, and divided them among themselves and 13 cast the
lot upon them. But one of those malefactors reproached them, saying: We
have thus suffered for the evils which we have done; but this man which
hath become the 14 saviour of men, wherein hath he injured you? And
they were wroth with him, and commanded that his legs should not be
broken, that so he might die in torment.
V. 15 Now it was
noonday, and darkness prevailed over all Judaea: and they were troubled
and in an agony lest the sun should have set, for that he yet lived:
for it is written for them that the sun should not set upon him that
hath been 16 slain (murdered). And one of them said: Give ye him to
drink gall with vinegar: and they mingled it and gave him 17 to drink:
and they fulfilled all things and accomplished 18 their sins upon their
own heads. And many went about with 19 lamps, supposing that it was
night: and some fell. And the Lord cried out aloud saying: My power, my
power, thou hast forsaken me. And when he had so said, he was taken up.
20 And in the same hour
was the veil of the temple of Jerusalem rent in two.
VI. 21 And then they
plucked the nails from the hands of the Lord and laid him upon the
earth: and the whole earth was shaken, and there came a great fear on
22 Then the sun shone
forth, and it was found to be the ninth 23 hour. And the Jews rejoiced,
and gave his body unto Joseph to bury it, because he had beheld all the
good things which 24 he did. And he took the Lord and washed him and
wrapped him in linen and brought him unto his own sepulchre, which is
called the Garden of Joseph.
VII. 25 Then the Jews
and the elders and the priests, when they perceived how great evil they
had done themselves, began to lament and to say: Woe unto our sins: the
judgement and the end of Jerusalem is drawn nigh.
26 But I with my fellows
was in grief, and we were wounded in our minds and would have hid
ourselves; for we were sought after by them as malefactors, and as
thinking to set 27 the temple on fire. And beside all these things we
were fasting, and we sat mourning and weeping night and day until the
VIII. 28 But the scribes
and Pharisees and elders gathered one with another, for they had heard
that all the people were murmuring and beating their breasts, saying:
If these very great signs have come to pass at his death, behold how 29
righteous he was. And the elders were afraid and came unto 30 Pilate,
entreating him and saying: Give us soldiers that we (or they) may watch
his sepulchre for three days, lest his disciples come and steal him
away and the people suppose 31 that he is risen from the dead, and do
us hurt. And Pilate gave them Petronius the centurion with soldiers to
watch the sepulchre; and the elders and scribes came with them unto 32
the tomb, and when they had rolled a great stone to keep out (al.
together with) the centurion and the soldiers, then all 33 that were
there together set it upon the door of the tomb; and plastered thereon
seven seals; and they pitched a tent there and kept watch.
IX. 34 And early in the
morning as the Sabbath dawned, there came a multitude from Jerusalem
and the region roundabout to see the sepulchre that had been sealed.
35 Now in the night
whereon the Lord's day dawned, as the soldiers were keeping guard two
by two in every watch, 36 there came a great sound in the heaven, and
they saw the heavens opened and two men descend thence, shining with
(lit. having) a great light, and drawing near unto the sepulchre. 37
And that stone which had been set on the door rolled away of itself and
went back to the side, and the sepulchre was
X. 38 opened and both of
the young men entered in. When therefore those soldiers saw that, they
waked up the centurion and the elders (for they also were there keeping
39 watch); and while they were yet telling them the things which they
had seen, they saw again three men come out of the sepulchre, and two
of them sustaining the other (lit. the 40 one), and a cross following,
after them. And of the two they saw that their heads reached unto
heaven, but of him that 41 was led by them that it overpassed the
heavens. And they 42 heard a voice out of the heavens saying: Hast thou
(or Thou hast) preached unto them that sleep? And an answer was heard
from the cross, saying: Yea.
XI. 43 Those men
therefore took counsel one with another to go and report these things
unto Pilate. And while they yet thought thereabout, again the heavens
were opened and a 45 man descended and entered into the tomb. And they
that were with the centurion (or the centurion and they that were with
him) when they saw that, hasted to go by night unto Pilate and left the
sepulchre whereon they were keeping watch, and told all that they had
seen, and were in great agony, saying: Of a truth he was the son of
46 Pilate answered and
said: I am clear from the blood of 47 the son of God, but thus it
seemed good unto you. Then all they came and besought him and exhorted
him to charge the centurion and the soldiers to tell nothing of that
they had 48 seen: For, said they, it is expedient for us to incur the
greatest sin before God, rather than to (and not to) fall into 49 the
hands of the people of the Jews and to be stoned. Pilate therefore
charged the centurion and the soldiers that they should say nothing.
XII. 50 Now early on the Lord's day Mary Magdalene, a disciple (fem.) of the Lord-which, being afraid because of the Jews, for they were inflamed with anger, had not performed at the sepulchre of the Lord those things which women are accustomed to do unto them that die and are 51 beloved of them-took with her the women her friends and 52 came unto the tomb where he was laid. And they feared lest the Jews should see them, and said: Even if we were not able to weep and lament him on that day whereon he was 53 crucified, yet let us now do so at his tomb. But who will roll away for us the stone also that is set upon the door of the tomb, that we may enter in and sit beside him and perform 54 that which is due? for the stone was great, and we fear lest any man see us. And if we cannot do so, yet let us cast down at the door these things which we bring for a memorial of him, and we will weep and lament until we come unto our house.
XV. 58 Now it was the
last day of unleavened bread, and many were coming forth of the city
and returning unto their 59 own homes because the feast was at an end.
But we, the twelve disciples of the Lord, were weeping and were in
sorrow, and each one being grieved for that which had befallen 60
departed unto his own house. But I, Simon Peter, and Andrew my brother,
took our nets and went unto the sea: and there was with us Levi the son
of Alphaeus, whom the Lord (For Fragment II see Apocalypse of Peter.)