The Emergence of Christianity: Collected Studies III

Table of contents :
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . V
List of Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IX
1. The Emergence of Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. The First Christologies: Exaltation and Incarnation,
or From Easter to Christmas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
4. The Gospel According to John: Access to God at the Obscure
Origins of Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology: Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
9. The Soul’s Comeback: Immortality and Resurrection in Early
Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
10. The Reception of the Book of Acts
in Late Antiquity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
11. Beyond the Canonical and the Apocryphal Books, the Presence
of a Third Category: The Books Useful for the Soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
12. At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies:
The Letter of Peter to James . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
13. Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul in an Unedited Greek Fragment
Kept at Sinai. Introduction, text, translation, and notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
16. From Vermont to Cyprus: A New Witness of the Acts of Philip . . . . . . 236
17. Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
18. Jacques Dupont (1915–1998) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
19. The Woman at the Window: A Study in Intertextuality
Between Aeschylus and the Book of Judges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Publication Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Index of Ancient Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
Index of Modern Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Index of Subjects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307

Citation preview

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament  

Herausgeber / Editor Jörg Frey (Zürich)  

Mitherausgeber / Associate Editors Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford) James A. Kelhoffer (Uppsala) Hans-Josef Klauck (Chicago, IL) Tobias Nicklas (Regensburg)


François Bovon

The Emergence of Christianity Collected Studies III Edited by

Luke Drake

Mohr Siebeck

François Bovon: born 1938; 1956 baccalauréat ès lettres, Lausanne; theological education at Lausanne, Basel, Göttingen, Strasbourg, and Edinburgh; 1961 lic. theol., Lausanne; 1965 Dr. theol., Basel; 1967–1993 Professor at the University of Geneva; 1993 to the present Frothingham Professor of the History of Religion, Harvard University.

e-ISBN PDF 978-3-16-152781-4 ISBN 978-3-16-152206-2 ISSN 0512-1604 (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament) Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliographie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at

© 2013 by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that permitted by copyright law) without the publisher’s written permission. This applies particularly to reproductions, translations, microfilms and storage and processing in electronic systems. The book was typeset by Martin Fischer in Tübingen, printed by Gulde-Druck in Tübingen on non-aging paper and bound by Buchbinderei Spinner in Ottersweier. Printed in Germany.


Morges, Switzerland August 2013

The Emergence of Christianity comprises a set of articles written mostly in the last few years, and is the third volume of collected essays in this series (see also Studies in Early Christianity [WUNT 161] and New Testament and Christian Apocrypha [WUNT 237]). I am grateful to Luke Drake, who took care of this volume, and express to him my gratitude. François Bovon

Table of Contents

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Preface List of Abbreviations

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1. The Emergence of Christianity



3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


4. The Gospel According to John: Access to God at the Obscure Origins of Christianity


5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology: Revelation 7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. The First Christologies: Exaltation and Incarnation, or From Easter to Christmas

9. The Soul’s Comeback: Immortality and Resurrection in Early Christianity

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

107 126

11. Beyond the Canonical and the Apocryphal Books, the Presence of a Third Category: The Books Useful for the Soul


12. At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies: The Letter of Peter to James


13. Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

10. The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?



16. From Vermont to Cyprus: A New Witness of the Acts of Philip

. . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul in an Unedited Greek Fragment Kept at Sinai. Introduction, text, translation, and notes

Publication Credits

19. The Woman at the Window: A Study in Intertextuality Between Aeschylus and the Book of Judges

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

18. Jacques Dupont (1915–1998)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

17. Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Index of Ancient Authors Index of Modern Authors Index of Subjects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

VIII Table of Contents

262 266



279 299 307

List of Abbreviations The Anchor Bible Reference Library Ancient Christian Writers Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums The Ante-Nicene Fathers Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt Abhandlungen zur Theologie des Alten und Neuen Testaments Bulletin du Centre Protestant d‘Études Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum Lovaniensium Beiträge zur Geschichte der biblischen Exegese Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca Beiträge zur historischen Theologie Biblica Beiträge zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche CAT Commentaire de l‘Ancien Testament CC Corpus Christianorum CCCM Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis CCSA Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum CCSG Corpus Christianorum, Series Graeca CCSL Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina CNT Commentaire du Nouveau Testament CSCO Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium CSEL Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum DOP Dumbarton Oaks Papers Evangelisch-katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament EKK ETL Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses ETR Études théologiques et religieuses EvTh Evangelische Theologie EWNT Exegetisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament FF Foundations and Facets FRLANT Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments FZPhTh Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie GCS Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte GLB De Gruyter Lehrbuch HNT Handbuch zum Neuen Testament HThNT Herders theologischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament HTR Harvard Theological Review HTS Harvard Theological Studies



List of Abbreviations



Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie Initiations au christianisme ancien International critical commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments Interpretation Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum Journal of the American Oriental Society Journal of Biblical Literature Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament Loeb Classical Library Lectio Divina Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series New International Greek Testament Commentary Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Nouvelle Revue Theologique Neutestamentliche Abhandlungen New Testament Studies Patrologia Graeca Patrologia Latina Patrologia Orientalis Princeton Theological Monograph Series Reallexicon für Antike und Christentum Revue biblique Recherches de science religieuse Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart Revue de théologie et de philosophie Studies in Antiquity and Christianity Stuttgarter Bibelstudien Sources Chrétiennes Studies in the history of religions Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series Sacra Pagina Theology Theologische Studien Texts and studies Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur Theologisches Wörterbuch Neues Testament Theologische Zeitschrift Uni-Taschenbücher Supplements to Vetus Testamentum Wege der Forschung Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche

1. The Emergence of Christianity1 The topic I have been asked to treat – the origin of Christianity – is laden with difficulties. It has to be considered from a historical perspective, but I am a Christian theologian who is more oriented toward textual analysis than historical reconstructions. Methodological care must be taken, but I prefer spontaneous understanding to methodological preliminaries. The choice of terms is also problematic: shall I speak of “the Church,” the “Christian religion,” “Christianity,” or “Christian faith?” Terms such as “culture” and “civilization” are likewise disputed.2 Even the concept of “the beginning” has been challenged: the metaphor of a “birth” implies an autonomous being, either as the child or the sibling of Judaism, while the term “origin” unduly evokes romantic notions of pure origins.3 Nor is the term “religion” without problems, since it has a modern story and does not apply perfectly to ancient piety and cult practices. I have thus chosen to use the term “emergence” to treat my topic because I am convinced that something new emerged in the first century CE: first in Palestine, then in Syria and the Roman and Persian Empires. I have decided also to respect – at least initially – the theological distinction between faith and religion.4 I do not however consider faith to be an abstract concept, for faith always was and still is expressed in a social context. The early Christian faith coincided with an early Christian movement, a Jewish αἵρεσις, according to the use of this word in the work of the historians Josephus and Luke.5

1 Paper presented in the Program Unit on “Construction of Christian Identities” at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting at San Antonio, TX in November 2004. 2 Pierre Thévenaz distinguishes between the French and the German use of these terms in L’homme et sa raison (2 vols.; Être et penser 46–47; Neuchâtel: La Baconnière, 1956) 2:49, n. 1b. 3 See Burton L. Mack, A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988); Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1990) 1–35; Karen King, What is Gnosticism? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003) 11–12, 220–21, and passim; Ron Cameron and Merrill P. Miller, Redescribing Christian Origins (SBL, Symposium 28; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004) 1–30 and 497–516. 4 See Karl Barth, Parole de Dieu et parole humaine (trans. Pierre Maury and Alexandre Lavanchy; Paris: Je sers, 1933) 103–10. 5 See for example Josephus, B. J. 2.162; A. J. 13.171, 288 and 293; Acts 5:17; 15:5; 26:5.


1. The Emergence of Christianity

My contribution to the discussion here is divided into five parts with the following subtitles: 1. Before the Christian Faith: Jesus; 2. Before the Church: The Christian Faith; 3. Before Christianity: The Church; 4. Gospel and Culture; 5. Jerusalem and Rome.6

I. Before the Christian Faith: Jesus

Even if Jesus had no desire to create Christianity – even if he did not establish a Church as the Vatican, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the World Council of Churches in Geneva understand it – he created a movement of faith, a company of disciples called to become the Christian Church. We know the double difficulty of reaching the historical Jesus: on one side our personal opinions, creeds, and biases; on the other the precarious and enigmatic character of ancient sources. Concerning these sources, I regret that the will to integrate noncanonical sources during the third quest for the historical Jesus remains, with the exception of the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Thomas, only wishful thinking. There is still great ignorance about documents such as the Jewish Christian gospels, the Questions of Bartholomew, and the Fragment Oxyrhynchus 840.7 Jesus was part of the reform movement of Judaism, attested by several baptismal groups, Bannus, John the Baptist, and the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.8 The reform he proposed should not be described however as a call to repentance. This is the point of departure between Jesus and his teacher, John. Jesus was the prophet of the kingdom of God, and his message underscored the divine gift.9 The offer of this gift implied a triple critique in line with the prophets of old: a critique of the understanding of the Law, of ritual practice, and of the Temple system.10 Jesus gathered around him a group of men and women who represented the restoration of Israel.11 Turning to God, trusting in Jesus, and sharing willingly were the requirements for admission. If the imminent coming of the kingdom 6

See the bibliography at the end of this paper. Scholars can use the large collections by Mario Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento (4 vols.; Casale Monferrato: Marietti, 1966–1981); and François Bovon, Pierre Geoltrain, and Jean-Daniel Kaestli eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens (2 vols.; La Pléiade 442 and 516; Paris: Gallimard, 1997–2005). 8 See Joseph Thomas, Le mouvement baptiste en Palestine et Syrie (150 av. J.-C.–300 ap. J.C.) (Gembloux: Duculot, 1935); Joan E. Taylor, The Immerser: John the Baptist within Second Temple Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997). 9 See Norman Perrin, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus (London: SCM Press, 1963). 10 See Matt 5:21–22; Mark 2:18 – 3:6; John 2:20. 11 See John P. Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve: Did It Exist during Jesus’ Public Ministry?” JBL 116 (1997) 635–72.  


1. The Emergence of Christianity


brought rejoicing to the poor it was because God was about to reestablish his righteousness through the gift of equity.12 Jesus was believed to be the elected servant of the Lord, the finger through which this new reality was going to happen, a son of man according to the prophetic meaning found in the book of Ezekiel.13 Jesus understood his mission as part of God’s plan. We can say that his ministry had an implicit Christological ambition.14 There is continuity between the preacher of God’s kingdom and the one preached by the first Christian witnesses as the Messiah and Son of God. The difference in vocabulary should not obscure the similar structure that exists between the Evangelium Christi and the Evangelium de Christo.15 In order to realize his program, Jesus did not borrow from the international culture of his time. He called upon neither philosophical elements nor the visual arts. This attitude should not be interpreted, however, as opposition to any culture. Rather, Jesus dug deeply into his Jewish heritage. The importance of Jesus with respect to culture lies in his use of language. He dared to depart from the formulations of the Mosaic law, expressing his message in free speeches. His cache of metaphors, his respect for alliterations, his use of rhymes (one of the first examples of such in the history of Jewish literature), his symmetrical and antithetical parallelismus membrorum, rhythmic prayers, and his short stories, songs, and hymns (see Mark 14: 26//Matt 26:30) are the best witnesses of Jesus’ understanding of literature and culture.16 Jesus handed over his gospel without writing a word. He manifested his identity through hiding it. He directed attention toward death in order to reveal life. He saw the correspondence between social reversal and rhetorical paradoxes, declaring children to be wise and scholars to be stupid.17 Jesus’ cultural input was that he was not interested in trying to shape it. Thus what came first was not the Christian faith, but Jesus’ ministry and passion.

12 See Jacques Dupont, Études sur les évangiles synoptiques (2 vols.; BETL 70 A-B; Leuven: Leuven University Press and Peeters, 1985) 2:971–75. 13 The prophet is regularly referred to by God as υἱός ἀνθρώπου, “son of man,” as in for example Ezek 2:3. I realize that this form does not include the definite article as is the case in the Gospels. 14 See Luke 11:20, an important saying that brings together the coming of the kingdom and the Christological “I.” 15 See Michel Bouttier, “Evangelium Christi. Evangelium de Christo,” RTP 3 (1979) 123–39; see also Michel Bouttier, “La monnaie de l’Évangile,” ETR 59 (1984) 29–40. 16 See Joachim Jeremias, Neutestamentliche Theologie, I, Die Verkündigung Jesu (2d ed.; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1973). 17 See Luke 10:21; François Bovon, Das Evangelium nach Lukas, 2. Teilband, Lk 9,51–14,35 (EKK III/2; Zürich: Benzinger and Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1996) 64–79.


1. The Emergence of Christianity

II. Before the Church: The Christian Faith

Historians cannot verify or describe an event that is beyond control.18 Yet something happened three days after Jesus’ crucifixion.19 What is certain is the transformation of the disciples, and what can be ascertained is the faith of the apostles. From that moment forward some of the men and women who were associated with Jesus constituted a community with a specific activity ad extra and ad intra. Both in continuity and discontinuity with Jesus preaching the kingdom of God, these people believed in and proclaimed Jesus, the prophet and crucified servant of the Lord, as the Messiah and risen Son of God. I consider 1 Thess 4:14, a traditional formula quoted by Paul, as the earliest Christian expression: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again.”20 Here one must correct Luke’s views of the origins of the Church, particularly one limitation and one bias. The evangelist and historian chose to narrate the history of the early Christian mission within the Roman Empire.21 The Twelve, the Seven, Peter, and Paul are the heroes of that successful evangelization, a religious movement that spread from the East to the West. What is strange is the absence of any mention of a Christian mission to the East, outside the Roman Empire: this is the limitation of his viewpoint.22 His bias is that while friction and conflict characterize human reality, they do not in Luke-Acts reach the inner circle of the Christian community: Luke can tolerate tensions, but a harmonious solution is always found and every crisis reaches a happy end.23

18 See the several papers by Willi Marxsen, Ulrich Wilckens, Gerhard Delling and HansGeorg Geyer, Die Bedeutung der Auferstehungsbotschaft für den Glauben an Jesus Christus (Schriftenreihe des Theologischen Ausschusses der Evangelischen Kirche der Union; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1966). 19 See Marcel Simon, La civilisation de l’antiquité et le christianisme (Les grandes civilisations; Paris: Arthaud, 1972) 23: “Quoi qu’il pense de la réalité objective des faits, apparitions du Ressuscité et tombeau vide, l’historien moderne doit noter que quelque chose s’est passé, qui conditionne toute l’évolution ultérieure du christianisme.” 20 See Traugott Holtz, Der erste Brief an die Thessalonicher (3d ed; EKK XIII; Zürich: Benzinger and Neukirchen-Vluyn, Neukirchener, 1998) 189–94. 21 See Marianne Bonz, The Past as Legacy: Luke-Acts and Ancient Epic (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000). 22 On Eastern Syria, a part of the ancient world neglected by Luke, see as a first reading Robert Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom (rev. ed.; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2004). Other than one or two instances, Egypt is also neglected; see Birger A. Pearson, Gnosticism and Christianity in Roman and Coptic Egypt (SAC; New York: T & T Clark International, 2004). 23 On the tensions underlying Luke-Acts, see Mitzi J. Smith-Sprall’s Harvard dissertation, “The Function of the Jews, Charismatic Others, and Women in Narrative Instabilities in the Acts of the Apostles” (2005).

1. The Emergence of Christianity


Today we must account for a plurality of early Christian groups.24 The first Christians, being Jews, knew a plurality of synagogues.25 In Jerusalem alone we know of several Jewish houses of prayer, which were often national,26 and in Rome there exist numerous Jewish cemeteries and catacombs.27 The variety of Christian documents within the New Testament bears witness to the diversity of early Christian groups. It also bears witness to the priority of faith over Church. The many non-canonical documents allow us to recognize other communities who could not, or did not wish to, join the greater Church movement. Serapion of Antioch’s story about the Gospel of Peter helps us understand this point, for it reveals the connection between the Gospel and its readers, a Christian community in the Antiochian suburb of Rhossos. It also reveals that an overlap existed between one community, the mainline Christian community of Antioch, and a marginal group of so-called docetists at Rhossos.28 The presence of the Gospel of John in the canon is also the result of an effort to bring about unity of faith where there was division. The acceptance of this Gospel was a debated question, for this could not be done without also accepting the people who were its readers. If the sources allow this reconstruction, then Caius and the so-called Alogoi were as opposed to those who read this Gospel as they were to the book itself.29 Finally, the Gospel of John and the right wing

24 The first scholar who developed this position with some strength was Ernst Käsemann, in a conference presented in Montreal on July 16, 1963, at the fourth world meeting of the ecumenical conference Faith and Order; see Ernst Kasemann, “Einheit und Vielfalt in der neutestamentlichen Lehre von der Kirche,” Ökumenische Rundschau 13 (1964) 58–63; reprinted in Ernst Käsemann, Exegetische Versuche und Besinnungen (2 vols.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1960–1964) 2:262–67. 25 See Wolfgang Schrage, “συναγωγή κτλ.,” TWNT, VII (1964) 810–26; Peter Lampe, Die stadtrömischen Christen in den ersten beiden Jahrhunderten (WUNT 2.18; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1989) 26–28. 26 See Louis-Hugues Vincent, “Découverte de la synagogue des Affranchis à Jérusalem,” RB 30 (1921) 247–77; Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem zur Zeit Jesu. Eine kulturgeschichtliche Untersuchung zur neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte (3d ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1969, 75–76; Matthew J. Martin, “Interpreting the Theodotos Inscription: Some Reflections on a First Century Jerusalem Synagogue Inscription and E. P. Sanders’ ‘Common Judaism’” Ancient Near Eastern Studies 39 (2002) 160–81. 27 See Romano Penna, “Les Juifs à Rome au temps de l’apôtre Paul,” NTS 28 (1982) 321–47; J. Stevenson, The Catacombs: Rediscovered Monuments of Early Christianity (Ancient Peoples and Places; London: Thames and Hudson, 1978), passim; Filippo Coarelli with the collaboration of Luisanna Usai, Guida archeologica di Roma (Milano: Mondadori, 1974), passim; Lampe, Die stadtrömischen Christen in den ersten beiden Jahrhunderten, 26–28. 28 See Éric Junod, “Eusèbe de Césarée, Sérapion d’Antioche et l’Évangile de Pierre. D’un Évangile à un Pseudépigraphe,” Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa 24 (1988) 3–16. 29 See Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989) 104–05.


1. The Emergence of Christianity

of the Johannine community were accepted by the early catholica because these readers shared a common faith in the incarnation of the preexistent Son.30 The point is this: what came first was not an institution (i.e. the Church) but a common Christian faith.

III. Before Christianity: The Church

A critical analysis of our sources reveals at least five different early Christian groups. A serious reading of the Pauline epistles and the book of Acts allows us – even compels us – to distinguish the community of the Twelve in Jerusalem under the leadership of Peter and perhaps the two sons of Zebedee, from the group of the Seven, the Christian Hellenists.31 Language differences were one cause of distinction, but not the only one: doctrinal differences were also at stake. I attach considerable importance to the fact that Luke explicitly states that only the Hellenists – that is, not the apostles – were persecuted in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). The old tradition preserved in Acts 11:19 ff. that contradicts Luke’s redaction, according to which Peter was the first missionary to the nations, is just as important.32 According to that passage, it was the Hellenists and their first converts who took the risk of proclaiming the gospel to the pagans.33 The tension over the incorporation of Gentiles into the community was the first and major apple of

30 See Jean Zumstein, “La communauté johannique et son histoire,” in Jean-Daniel Kaestli, Jean-Michel Poffet, and Jean Zumstein (eds.), La communauté johannique et son histoire. La trajectoire de l’Évangile de Jean aux deux premiers siècles (Le monde de la Bible; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1990) 359–74. More recently, in his Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), Charles E. Hill criticizes what he calls the scholarly myths of gnostic Johannophilia and orthodox Johannophobia. 31 See Martin Hengel, “Zwischen Jesus und Paulus, Die ‘Hellenisten,’ die ‘Sieben’ und Stephanus (Apg 6,1–15; 7,54–8,3),” ZTK 72 (1975) 151–206. The other three discernible groups are the Johannine community, the community of Jesus’ family (with James), and the Q community. 32 See François Bovon, “Tradition et rédaction en Actes 10,1–11,18,” TZ 26 (1970) 22–45, esp. 22–24. In Acts 11:20 it is preferable to read Ἕλληνας, “Greeks,” and not Ἑλληνιστάς, “Hellenists”; see Ernst Haenchen, Die Apostelgeschichte (3d ed.; KEK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1959) 309 n. 5. 33 I am more impressed by Adolf Harnack’s arguments in his Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Neue Testament (7 vols.; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1906–1916; 3:131–58, particularly 135–39) than by those of Haenchen (Die Apostelgeschichte, 312–16), who insists excessively on the redactional character of this passage; see also Rudolf Bultmann, “Zur Frage nach den Quellen der Apostelgeschichte” in A. J. B. Higgins (ed.), New Testament Essays: Studies in Memory of T. W. Manson (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1959) 68–80; reprinted in Rudolf Bultmann, Exegetica. Aufsätze zur Erforschung des Neuen Testaments (ed. Erich Dinkler; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1967) 412–23; Jacques Dupont, Les sources du Livre des Actes. État de la question, (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1960) 61–70; also note T. C. Penner, In Praise of Christian Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic Historiography (London: T & T Clark International, 2004) 269–70, who goes even further than Haenchen.


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discord between the two groups. Each of their positions on that matter was built upon a different understanding of the divine law in the new economy.34 A less visible point of tension – less visible because it is obscured by Luke and Paul – concerns those who were the first to receive an appearance of the risen Lord: was it Peter or was it Mary?35 It may be that Mary of Magdala, as her story in John 20 suggests, was a member – perhaps even the leader – of another group, namely the Johannine circle. The existence of this group is highly probable and its location may have changed over time: from Bethany to Samaria, and from Samaria to Asia Minor, more precisely to Ephesus.36 What is preserved in the New Testament is the early canon of that community, a community that, as 1 John 2:19 describes, split into two at the end of the first century CE. The primitive Acts of John and the Apocryphon of John may be part of the sacred literature of the left wing of the Johannine movement.37 According to several witnesses, James, the brother of the Lord, was also graced with an appearance of the risen Christ. This is mentioned as early as Paul; it is also mentioned in the Gospel of the Hebrews.38 James became the leader of a kind of dynastic system of family members. His community in Jerusalem, with the presence of Jesus’ mother and other brothers and sisters, became important.39 According to Étienne Trocmé, Marc Philonenko, and Christian Grappe this community was deeply influenced by the movement of the Essenes, the sect that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.40 Thus they represent another type of Christian faith.

34 See Hans Dieter Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979) 81–3. 35 See Ann Graham Brock, Mary Magdalene, the First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority (HTS 51; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003) 19–104. 36 See Oscar Cullmann, Der johanneische Kreis. Sein Platz im Spätjudentum, in der Jüngerschaft Jesu und im Urchristentum. Zum Ursprung des Johannesevangeliums (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1975); François Bovon, “L’Évangile de Jean. accès à Dieu aux origines obscures du christianisme,” Diogène 146 (1989) 37–49. 37 See Éric Junod and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, Acta Iohannis (2 vols.; CCSA 1–2; Turnhout: Brepols, 1983); Pieter J. Lalleman, The Acts of John: A Two-Stage Initiation into Johannine Gnosticism (Studies on the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles 4; Leuven: Peeters, 1998): Michel Tardieu, Écrits gnostiques. Codex de Berlin (Sources gnostiques et manichéennes 1; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1984) 26–47, 83–166, and 239–345; and Karen King, The Secret Revelation of John (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006). 38 See 1 Cor 15:7; Gospel of the Hebrews as reported by Jerome, De viris illustribus 2; see Daniel A. Bertrand, “Fragments évangéliques,” in Bovon and Geoltrain, eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:461–62. 39 Among the recent books on James, see particularly Pierre Antoine Bernheim, Jacques, frère de Jésus (Paris: Noêsis, 1996); and John Painter, Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition (2d ed.; Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2004). 40 See Étienne Trocmé, L’enfance du christianisme (Paris: Noêsis, 1997) 42–61; Marc Philonenko, Le Notre Père. De la prière de Jésus à la prière des disciples (Bibliothèque des histoires; Paris: Gallimard, 2001); Christian Grappe, D’un temple à l’autre. Pierre et l’Église primi-


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Differing yet from this Jewish Christian community, another group of Jesus’ followers was active in Galilee. I am speaking here of the readers of Q, the famous source known later by Matthew and Luke.41 Finally, I would add still another group of early Christians: those who were responsible for the traditions preserved in the Gospel of Thomas. The mystery behind this community is interwoven with the mystery of the early Christian mission to the East, in particular to Eastern Syria.42 But despite the many differences and divisions that existed between these first Christian communities, there was found an equally great desire for unity and communion. Nearly all early Christian documents plead for the unity of the people of God. In the chapel of the World Council of Churches in Geneva there is a mosaic in the Byzantine style that depicts the risen Christ, accompanied by a verse from the Gospel of John written in Greek: “so that they will be one” (ἵνα ὦσιν ἕν, John 17:22). This modern hope for unity is of course expressed during a time when there are many divisions among the Churches. Similarly, John 17, Eph 2, Gal 2, and Acts 15 were written in order to honor the eschatological hope of unity among the reality of divisions.43 Just as these several communities chose different traditions concerning Jesus and read different Christian documents, so also they organized themselves according to several different models. In Jerusalem, the Church of the Twelve considered herself as the ideal group of representatives of Israel; in Antioch, the Church of the Hellenists chose the triad apostles-prophets-teachers;44 others


tive de Jérusalem (Études d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 71; Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1992) 51–73. 41 See James M. Robinson, Paul Hoffmann, John S. Kloppenborg, and Milton C. Moreland, The Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas (Leuven: Peeters, 2000); Arland D. Jacobson, The First Gospel: An Introduction to Q (FF; Sonoma: Polebridge, 1992); John. S. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000); Christoph Heil, Lukas und Q. Studien zur lukanischen Redaktion des Spruchevangeliums Q (BZNW 111; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003). 42 See Henri-Charles Puech, En quête de la Gnose, II, Sur l’Evangile de Thomas (Bibliothèque des sciences humaines; Paris: Gallimard, 1978); Marvin Meyer, The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus. Translation, with Introduction, Critical Edition of the Coptic Text, and Notes. With an Interpretation by Harold Bloom (San Francisco: Harper, 1992); Gregory J. Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995); Stephen J. Patterson, James M. Robinson, and Hans-Gebhard Bethge, The Fifth Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998); Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas (New Testament Readings; London: Routledge, 2000); and Elaine H. Pagels, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (New York: Random House, 2003). 43 See James D. G. Gunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity (2d ed.; London: SCM; Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1990); Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). 44 See 1 Cor 12:28; Acts 13:1.


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used the Jewish system of elders;45 still others, only the prophets.46 But what constituted unity among these groups and what provided some satisfaction to their longing for unity was the idea that with Jesus a new period in history had begun: either a new covenant, or the last days, or the restoration of Israel, or the eschatological procession of the nations. In any case, a deuterosis – a second and last divine intervention – had taken place, comparable to the first covenant and the gift of the Torah.47 These Christians had religious problems to solve: they had to face identity crises,48 loosen ethnic tensions, and wage doctrinal wars over the resurrection, incarnation, and the person of God.49 They were neither free, nor ready, nor equipped to participate in the philosophical and cultural conversation of their time. To summarize: what came first was not a centralized Church organization, but a plurality of small congregations. What came first was the Christian Church, not Christian civilization.

IV. Gospel and Culture

There is one saying of Jesus and one Pauline sentence that express the critical and – at the same time – accommodating attitude of the first Christians, even in their variety of groups, towards the culture of their time. Here I am referring to the well-known saying of Jesus, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants” (Luke 10:21//Matt 1l:27),50 and the Pauline sentence, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe” (1 Cor 1:21).51 See for example James 5:14; Günther Bornkamm, “πρέσβυς κτλ.,” TWNT, VI (1959) 662–80. See David Edward Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983); M. Eugene Boring, The Continuing Voice of Jesus: Christian Prophecy and the Gospel Tradition (Louisville: Westminster / John Knox, 1991). 47 See François Bovon, “L’Écriture comme promesse et comme clôture,” in Emmanuelle Steffek and Yvan Bourquin, eds., Raconter, interpréter, annoncer. Parcours de Nouveau Testament. Mélanges Daniel Marguerat (Le monde de La Bible 47; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2003) 15–26. 48 See Denise K. Buell, “Rethinking the Relevance of Race for Early Christian Self-Definition,” HTR 94 (2001) 449–76. 49 See James M. Robinson, “Jesus from Easter to Valentinus (or to the Apostles Creed),” JBL 101 (1982) 5–37. 50 See Ulrich Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus, 2. Teilband, Mt 8–17 (EKK I/2; Zürich: Benzinger and Neukirchener-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1990) 196–224; and Bovon, Evangelium nach Lukas, 2. Teilband Lk 9,51–14,35, 64–79. 51 See Wolfgang Schrage, Der erste Brief an die Korinther, 1. Teilband, 1 Kor 1,1–6,11 (EKK VII/1; Zürich: Benzinger and Neukirchener-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1991) 165–203; Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) 150–75.  




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Both sentences are polemical. They attack a particular type of humanism, a certain type of religion, a special genre of culture that misapprehends the divine and manipulates God. But neither Jesus nor Paul conceive of intelligence and faith as being irreconcilable. They are indeed on the alert: aware that any human phrase can become inhumane, any culture can become barbarous. But they do not fear culture itself. According to Jesus and Paul, deity conceals his wisdom from these wise men and intelligent women. For despite their wisdom these people missed the true wisdom: God himself and his messengers. Consequently, from this time forward true wisdom is the wisdom of the weak; it is the knowledge possessed by children; a wisdom that focuses on the oppressed Christ, hanged on a cross.52 This Christian message, necessarily different from the prevailing knowledge, could and did develop into a culture. The early Christians voted for the revelation, a theocentric reality, but accepted that it is transmitted through a human channel, a cultural tradition.53 They chose the oral tradition, but finally accepted that it must be communicated in written form.54 They preferred the proclamation, but realized that Christian knowledge must at some point be developed into the form of catechetical teaching. Franz Overbeck observes that the New Testament and other early Christian texts bear traces of this paradoxical attitude: the New Testament exists yet should not be necessary. But insofar as it exists, it does not refuse the prerequisites of any speech expression nor the imperatives of any culture. We find therefore in these books apocalyptic traditions, liturgical sources, ethical compositions, and historical memories. These “traces” are the promise of a Christian civilization, although the first Christians would never have accepted that such a culture was a goal (une fin en soi). Rather, they sought to express a coherent faith and logical ethics and, because this was their objective, they did so in the most precise terms. Such expressions, however, existed completely in service to their content. Perhaps a century after the beginning of Christianity this dialectical attitude found new expression in the Epistle to Diognetus 10:

If you also long to have this faith, you must first acquire the knowledge of the Father … Once you have known him, with what sort of joy do you think you will be filled? Or how will you love the one who so loved you in advance? But when you have loved him you will become an imitator of his kindness … For whoever takes up the burden of his neighbor,

52 See François Bovon, New Testament Traditions and Apocryphal Narratives (trans. Jane Haapiseva-Hunter; PTMS 36; Allison Park: Pickwick Publications, 1995) 105–17. 53 See Philippe H. Menoud, “Revelation and Tradition: The Influence of Paul’s Conversion on His Theology,” Int 7 (1953) 131–41; reedited in French in Philippe H. Menoud, Jésus-Christ et La foi. Recherches néotestamentaires (Bibliothèque théologique; Neuchâtel: Delachaux et Niestlé, 1975) 30–39. 54 See Franz Overbeck, Über die Anfänge der patristischen Literatur (Libelli 15; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1966); and Lukas Vischer, “Die Rechtfertigung der Schriftstellerei in der Alten Kirche,” TZ 12 (1956) 320–36.

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whoever wants to use his own abundance to help someone in need, whoever provides for the destitute from the possessions he has received from God – himself becoming a god to those who receive them – this one is an imitator of God.55

My point is that even if it is a long way from the cross on Golgotha to the golden crosses of Christian art,56 I believe there is continuity between the two. Along with the Christian Church there was room for Christian civilization.

V. Jerusalem and Rome There is one aspect of recent scholarship that is greatly neglected: the bodily movements, the journeys and travels, of the first Christians. The metaphors of the house and the tree, and the building and the plantation, are not sufficient to describe the early Christian communities, because they do not allow any reflection or imaginative suggestion concerning the movement in space of the followers of Christ. What strikes me is the rich evocation of travels and the numerous different functions these journeys fulfilled. Let us enumerate a few of them here.57 There is of course the missionary travel heavily attested to in the Acts of the Apostles. But this same book indicates another reason for traveling: namely, to return to newly established congregations for pastoral visitation.58 The Synoptic gospels also mention travel to flee persecution, a reality sadly confirmed by the

55 Diogn. 10.1–6 according to the translation by Bart D. Ehrman, ed., The Apostolic Fathers (2 vols.; LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003) 2:153; see Rudolf Brändle, Die Ethik der Schrift an Diognet. Eine Wiederaufnahme paulinischer und johanneischer Theologie am Ausgang des zweiten Jahrhunderts (ATANT 64; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1975); Enrico Norelli, A Diogneto. Introduzione, traduzione e note (Letture cristiane del primo millennio 11; Milano: Paoline, 1991). 56 See Jürgen Moltmann, Der gekreuzigte Gott. Das Kreuz Christi als Grund und Kritik christlicher Theologie (München, Kaiser, 1972) 34–38; Jean-Marc Prieur, ed., La Croix. Représentations théologiques et symboliques (Actes et recherches; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2004). 57 On travels and travelers in antiquity, see Lionel Casson, Travel in the Ancient World (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); Helen Parkins and Christopher Smith, eds., Trade, Traders, and the Ancient City (London: Routledge, 1998); Colin Adams and Ray Laurence, eds., Travel and Geography in the Roman Empire (London: Routledge, 2001); Linda Ellis et al., eds., Shifting Frontiers IV: Travel, Communication and Geography in Late Antiquity (San Francisco: San Francisco State University, 2001); and Daniel Marguerat, La première histoire du christianisme. Les Actes des apôtres (2d ed.; LD 180; Paris: Éditions du Cerf; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2003) 341–74. I thank Brent Lendau for helping me locate some of these titles. 58 See Jacques Dupont, “L’union entre les chrétiens dans les Actes des apôtres,” NRT 91 (1979) 867–915; reprinted in Jacques Dupont, Nouvelles études sur les Actes des apôtres (LD 118; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1984) 296–318; Bovon, New Testament Traditions and Apocryphal Narratives, 53–56 and 92–95; and Marguerat, La première histoire du christianisme, 341–74.


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Jerusalem Church’s flight to Pella59 during the Jewish war, the Quo Vadis in the ancient Acts of Peter,60 and the cautious attitude of Cyprian in third-century Africa.61 All of this is of course well known. What is less well known is what I would call “care for communication.” When Paul organizes the collection it is not only to support poor Christians, but also to maintain an indispensable connection. When Ignatius cares for the sending of messengers it is not only to let his doctrine of martyrdom or his new church order be known; it is also to establish and maintain communication.62 A little later, when Abercius takes the trouble to travel as far as Mesopotamia, it is not to visit the land of Abraham but to examine whether or not communion with the Christian Church in that distant country is possible.63 This need for communication was not only a human need for social relationships; it was also – even primarily – in order to demonstrate the unity of the Church. Borrowing a category from the linguist Roman Jakobson, namely the phatic code (the word “Hello” over the phone helps to understand what it means),64 I wonder if some early Christian letters that seem to have so little content should not be considered an expression of this phatic code: that is, they exist not so much for their content but just as a way of maintaining communication. Already in 1 Thess 2:14–16 Paul takes for granted that the Thessalonians know what happened to the Christian communities in Jerusalem and Judea.65 To use a modern expression, the Christian news agency was not a secular or prosaic activity but belonged to the very center of early Christian worship.

59 See Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. eccl. 3.5.3. This passage has received much scholarly attention. Recently a scholar expressed his doubt regarding the historicity of the event and considered it as the result of Eusebius’ redactional activity: Jozef Verheyden, De vlucht van de Christenen naar Pella. Onderzoek van het getuigenis van Eusebius en Epiphanius (Verhandelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenshappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België, Jg. 50, 1988, Nr. 127; Brussel: Paleis der Academiën, 1988); see the critical review by Jürgen Wehnert, “Die Auswanderung der Jerusalemer Christen nach Pella – historisches Faktum oder theologische Konstruktion? Kritische Bemerkungen,” ZKG 102 (1991) 231–55. 60 Acts Pet. 35; see Gérard Poupon, “Actes de Pierre,” in Bovon and Geoltrain, eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:1108; Christine M. Thomas, The Acts of Peter, Gospel Literature, and the Ancient Novel: Rewriting the Past (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) 37–38 and 58. 61 See Pierre de Labriolle, Histoire de la littérature latine chrétienne (3d ed.; 2 vols.; Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1947) 1:203–05. 62 See Ign. Phld. 10.1–2 and Smyrn. 11.2–3; François Bovon, Studies in Early Christianity (WUNT 161; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003) 6. 63 See Georg Kretschmar, “Erfahrung der Kirche. Beobachtungen zur Aberkios-Inschrift” in Communio Sanctorum. Mélanges Jean-Jacques von Allmen (eds. Boris Bobrinskoy et al.; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1982) 73–85. 64 See Michael Issacharoff, “Jakobson. Roman,” in Michael Groden and Martin Kreiswirth, eds., The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994) 417–19. 65 See Jacob Jervell, Luke and the People of God: A New Look at Luke-Acts (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1972) 19–39.

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Finally, there is what I would call travel to the capital. All the canonical gospels mention Jesus’ travel to Jerusalem. The book of Acts and other non-canonical Acts of apostles mention Rome as the final destination for the major apostles66 (not to mention Ignatius’ determination to reach the capital of the Roman Empire67). I do not believe that these journeys were undertaken at random. Leaving aside the case of Jesus, I will concentrate on Rome. The choice of the capital as the desired destination includes a cultural, a political, and a religious component. Rome was for an artist or an intellectual the place where social consecration could be attained. We might compare the situation to the end of the nineteenth century, when Paris was the most desirable destination for a young artist. By the same token, Apollonius of Tyana had the desire to travel to the West and be received in the capital of the Empire.68 There is something of that same hope for recognition also in Paul’s desire to go to Rome. I wonder – and at this point this is only a hypothesis and not a thesis – if the first Christians did not desire to obtain a certain official recognition of their cult. They may have attempted this through three different ways: first, through the cultural movement of philosophical ideas; second, through the legal system of official trials, such as those for Paul and Ignatius; and third, through the ancient idea that gods can travel. We have to remember that the Fall of Jerusalem coincided with the destruction of the Temple, and that Titus’ triumph was accompanied by the taking of the spoils of war from the Temple. Some of these spoils became housed in the newly built temple of the peace in Rome. Here I am relying on the work of Alain Blomart a historian of ancient religions and the author of several articles on the evocatio, an important component of Roman religion.69 Before engaging in battle the Romans would sacrifice to the gods of their opponents, begging them to abandon their protégés. If they were victorious in the battle they would sometimes, though not always, transfer the foreign gods to the capital: the travel of these foreign gods was the important matter.70 Perhaps in the minds of some Christians the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple was an opportunity to declare in Rome that Christian worship was universal and should earn official recognition.

66 See Paul W. Walaskay, “And so we came to Rome”: The Political Perspective of St. Luke (SNTSMS 49; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Marguerat, La première histoire du christianisme, 307–40. 67 See Ign. Rom. 1.1–8.3. 68 See Philostratus, Vit. Apoll. 4.47 and 7.8 ff. 69 I have been influenced by Blomart’s work and by our conversations; see Alain Blomart, “Die evocatio und der Transfer ‘fremder’ Götter von der Peripherie nach Rom,” in Hubert Cancik and Jörg Rüpke, eds., Römische Reichsreligion und Provinzialreligion (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997) 99–111. 70 John S. Kloppenborg, who heard this paper, mentioned to me that he also had been interested in the evocatio. Since then he published “Evocatio deorum and the Date of Mark” JBL 124 (2005) 419–50.


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All of this is very speculative, but what is not speculative is the importance of early Christian travel. The whole early history of the Christian movement can be summarized as a tension between stability and movement, between local churches and missionary activity, between stable ministers and itinerant prophets and evangelists.71 The main purpose of these movements was either to advance the spreading of the word from place to place, even unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) or to revisit a well known place in order to maintain the bond of love (to use Augustine’s expression).

Conclusion In this paper I have suggested a progression in the development of Christianity from Jesus to the new faith movement, and from the early churches to Christian civilization. This model implies continuity while allowing for substantial changes and transitions.

Bibliography Aguirre Monasterio, Rafael. Del movimiento de Jesús a la Iglesia cristiana. Ensayo de exégesis sociológica del cristianismo primitivo. Estella: Verbo Domino, 1998. Baus, Karl. Von der Urgemeinde zur frühchristlichen Grosskirche. Freiburg, i.B.: Herder, 1965. 3d ed. (Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte 1). Blanchetière, François. Enquête sur les racines juives du mouvement chrétien: 30-135. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2001. (Initiations). Boyarin. Daniel. Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. (Divinations). Boyarin, Daniel. Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. Cameron, Ron and Merrill P. Miller. Redescribing Christian Origins. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004. (Society of Biblical Literature, Symposium 28). Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967. (The Pelican History of the Church 1). Collins, Raymond F. The Birth of the New Testament: The Origin and Development of the First Christian Generation. New York: Crossroad, 1993. Conzelmann. Hans. Geschichte des Urchristentums. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971. 2d ed. (Grundrisse zum Neuen Testament. Das Neue Testament Deutsch. Ergänzungsreihe 5).

71 See the classical treatment of this distinction by Adolf Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (4th ed.; 2 vols.; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1924; reprinted Leipzig: Zentral-Antiquariat der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1965) 1:332–89. The first edition was published in 1902.

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Crossan, John Dominic. The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately after the Execution of Jesus. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998. Destro, Adriana and Mauro Pesce. Come nasce una religione. Antropologia ed esegesi del Vangelo di Giovanni. Bari: Laterza, 2000. Foakes-Jackson, Frederick John, and Kirsopp Lake. The Beginnings of Christianity, Part 1: The Acts of the Apostles. 5 vols. London: Macmillan, 1920. Frend, W.H.C. The Rise of Christianity. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. Fusco, Vittorio. Le prime comunità cristiane. Tradizioni e tendenze nel cristianesimo delle origini. Bologna: Dehoniane, 1995. (La Bibbia nella storia 8). Geoltrain, Pierre (ed.). Aux origines du christianisme. Paris: Gallimard, 2000. (Folio/ Histoire 98). Goguel, Maurice. Les premiers temps de l’Eglise. Neuchâtel: Delachaux et Niestlé, 1949. (Manuels et précis de théologie 28). Goppelt, Leonhard. Die apostolische und nachapostolische Zeit. Die Kirche in ihrer Geschichte. Ein Handbuch, 1A. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962. Grappe, Christian. D’un temple à l’autre. Pierre et l’Église primitive de Jérusalem. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1992. (Études d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 71). Grappe, Christian. Le Royaume de Dieu. Avant, avec et après Jésus. Genève: Labor et Fides, 2001. (Le monde de la Bible 42). Jossa, Giorgio. Giudei o Cristiani? I seguaci di Gesù in cerca di una propria identità. Brescia: Paideia, 2004. (Studi biblici). Jossa, Giorgio. Il cristianesimo antico. Dalle origini al concilio di Nicea. Roma: NIS, 1997. Lieu, Judith M. Christian Identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Lietzmann, Hans. Geschichte der alten Kirche. With a forward by Christoph Markschies. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999. (De Gruyter Studienbuch). Mack, Burton L. Who Wrote the New Testament? San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995. Mahoney, Kieran J.O., ed. Christian Origins, Worship, Belief, and Society. The Milltown Institute and Irish Biblical Association Millennium Conference. New York: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003. ( Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 241). Marguerat, Daniel. La première histoire du christianisme. (Les Actes des apôtres). 2d ed. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf and Genève: Labor et Fides, 2003. (LD 180). Mimouni, Simon. Le judéo-christianisme ancien. Essais historiques. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1998. Nodet, Étienne and Justin Taylor. Essai sur les origines du christianisme. Une secte éclatée. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1998. Penna, Romano, ed. Le origini del cristianesimo. Una guida. Roma: Carocci, 2004. Pietri, Luce, et al. Histoire du christianisme des origines à nos jours. 14 vols. See esp. vol. 1: Le nouveau peuple de Dieu (des Origines à 250). Paris: Desclée, 2000. Sachot, Maurice. L’invention du Christ. Genèse d’une religion. Paris: Odile Jacob, 1998. Schneemelcher, Wilhelm. Das Urchristentum. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1981. (Kohlhammer Urban-Taschenbücher 336). Simon, Marcel and André Benoit. Le judaïsme et le christianisme antique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1968. (Nouvelle Clio).


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Simon, Marcel. Les premiers chrétiens. Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1960. (Que sais-je? 551). Simon, Marcel. La civilisation de l’antiquité et le christianisme. Paris: Arthaud, 1972. (Les grandes civilisations). Simonetti, Manlio. Ortodossia ed eresia tra I e II secolo. Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 1994. (Armarium 5). Stark, Rodney. The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997. Stegemann, Ekkehard and Wolfgang Stegemann. Urchristliche Sozialgeschichte. Die Anfänge im Judentum und die Christusgemeinden in der mediterranen Welt. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1995. Theissen, Gerd. Die Religion der ersten Christen. Eine Theorie des Urchristentums. 2d ed. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2001. Trevijano Etcheverría, Ramón M. Orígenes del cristianismo. El trasfondo judío del cristianismo primitivo. Salamanca: Universidad Pontificia, 1995. Trocmé, Étienne. L’enfance du christianisme. Paris: Noêsis, 1998. Vouga, François. A l’aube du christianisme. Une surprenante diversité. Aubonne: Editions du Moulin, 1986. Vouga, François. Les premiers pas du Christianisme: les écrits, les acteurs, les débats. Genève: Labor et Fides, 1997.

2. The First Christologies: Exaltation and Incarnation, or From Easter to Christmas Introduction

Wilhelm Bousset reckoned there was no continuity between Jesus’ understanding of his own identity and the Christian worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.1 Larry Hurtado has recently tried to prove the contrary.2 Between the one at the end of the nineteenth century and the other at the dawn of the twenty-first, many scholars have striven to identify the contours of the Christology of the first Christian communities. In doing this, they have used a great variety of methods. Some, like Gerhard N. Sevenster and Marinus de Jonge, have disentangled the Christology from the various canonical accounts of Paul, John, Matthew or Mark.3 Others, like Oscar Cullmann and Ferdinand Hahn, have based their work on Christological titles – Son of Man, Christ, Son of God, and so forth – contrasting pre-resurrection and post-resurrection usages.4 Others, like Reginald Fuller and Eduard Schweizer, work out an historical and chronological evolution: to the Christology of the primitive Jerusalem community they have added those of the Hellenistic communities.5 Yet others, such as Gregory Riley, influenced by sociology, have sought to identify doctrinal types supported by community models: the Christology of the Johannine community contrasted with the Pauline churches or the Thomas community.6 In what follows I shall apply an historical and theological method which respects the genesis (i.e. the

1 Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christos. Geschichte des Christusglaubens von den Anfängen des Christentums bis Irenaeus (2d ed.; FRLANT 21; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1921). 2 Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). 3 Gerhard N. Sevenster, “Christologie, I, Christologie des Urchristentums,” RGG (3d ed.; 7 vols; Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1957) 1:1745–1762; Marinus de Jonge, Christology in Context: The Earliest Christian Response to Jesus (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1988). 4 Oscar Cullmann, Christologie du Nouveau Testament (Bibliothèque théologique; Neuchâtel: Delachaux & Niestl , 1966); Ferdinand Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel. Ihre Geschichte im frühen Christentum (FRLANT 83; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963). 5 Reginald H. Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology (Glasgow: Collins, 1979); Eduard Schweizer, Jesus Christus im vielfältigen Zeugnis des Neuen Testaments (2d ed.; München: Siebenstern Taschenbuch Verlag, 1970). 6 Gregory J. Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995).


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origin and first developments) and the structure of the Christology (the FatherSon relationship, the difference between pre and post-resurrection, the timefactor) in the two best-known, and most easily accessible to the historian and theologian, primitive Christian communities: that of the Twelve in the Aramaic environment of Jerusalem, and that of the Seven in the Hellenistic-Jewish environment of Antioch. This selection should not be taken to imply that there were not, besides these, other communities and consequently other Christologies. There were in fact Christologies of the Johannine community and of the family of Jesus, of James the brother of the Lord in particular, but they are more difficult to discern and their influence remained limited to the beginnings. According to the statement of Gerhard von Rad, the Scriptures of Israel, the Old Testament, were books open to the future.7 Various forms of messianism appeared in uneasy concurrence. There are such texts even earlier than the Israelite monarchy, like Genesis 49, which describes the future or the end of time (Gen 49:1), flatters Judah, and announces a final Ruler, the mysterious Shiloh (Gen 49:10). The oracles of Balaam, Num 24:17 in particular, predict the coming of a King: “I see him, but not now: I behold him, but not nigh. A star shall rise from Jacob, a sceptre shall rise from Israel.” With the kingship of David and the famous prophecy of Nathan (2 Sam 7 and 1 Chron 17) a divine promise is more and more strongly affirmed: God has established the House of David, and the Son of David will reign for ever. Both the liturgical tradition of the Psalms (Ps 89 and 132, for example), and the prophetic tradition (Isa 7:9, 11 for example) testify to the vigour and persistence of this tradition.8 Not only was the King anointed in Israel, but the priests also. Among the priests there developed also a sacerdotal messianism, which did not exclude the royal messianism. There thus appeared in Israel, especially after the exile, a double messianism, of which the vision of the two olive-trees was the special testimony. The prophet Zachariah saw in a night-vision a candlestick, and on either side, two olive-trees (Zech 4:3). Surprised, the prophet asked who these were, and learns that, “these are the two sons of oil who stand by the Lord of the whole earth: (Zech 4:14).9 These two lines, the kingly and the priestly, lived on into the time of Jesus. The Psalms of Solomon, a text (in my view) of Pharisaic orientation, shows a hope in a royal and Davidic Messiah. Here is an extract from Psalm 17: “See, Lord, and raise up for them their King, the Son of David, at the time you know, O God, to

7 Gerhard von Rad, Theologie des Alten Testaments (2 vols.; München: C. Kaiser, 1958–1960) 2:329–346. 8 See Joachim Becker, Messiaserwartung im Alten Testament (SBS 83; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1977); John J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (London: Routledge, 1997) 77–90. 9 On Zech 4, see Samuel Amsler, Aggée, Zacharie 1–8 (2d ed.; CAT 11c; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1988) 87–95.

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reign over your servant Israel. And gird him with strength” (Pss. Sol. 17.21–22). And further on: “Now shall he gather a holy people, whom he will govern in justice. He shall judge the tribes of a people sanctified by the Lord their God”10 (Pss. Sol. 17.26). Some manuscripts from the Dead Sea, which I believe to be of Essene orientation, assert on the contrary a priestly Messiah alongside or even above the kingly Messiah. Here is a promise made in the Community Rule (1 QS 9.10–11): “They shall be governed by the first ordinances in which the members of the community shall begin to be instructed, until the coming of the Prophet and the Anointed Ones [i.e. the Messiahs] of Aaron and Israel.”11 Alongside the two Messiahs, there is to be observed here a third figure, that of a prophetic predecessor, whose coming was announced in Deuteronomy: Moses there predicts the coming of a Prophet like himself (Deut 18:15, 18). Since all of this generated many different hopes, and even many different messianic figures, the Jews of the Persian, Greek, and Roman periods tried to remedy the proliferation. One may detect efforts to organise the figures: one consisted of an effort to put in sequence the prophetic forerunner, then the royal Messiah for the political organization, and finally the priestly Messiah for the religious life; or more simply, the royal Messiah embraced the functions of prophet, priest and king. There are, unfortunately, as many portraits of Jesus as there are Bible students. There is however a tendency among critics, of whom I am one, which finds that the majority of the messianic titles in the Gospels – Lord, Christ, Son of God – belong to redactional passages which are not the earliest. If we take account also of the obvious imbalance between the frequent use of the title Messiah in the Acts and the Epistles, writings which reflect the life of the Christian communities after the resurrection of Jesus, and compare the occurrence of attestations in the Gospels, we shall readily admit that the Jesus of history did not claim to be Messiah. I would go so far as to say that he remained discrete, and even demolished some notions of a political, violent and vengeful Messiah. Following the analysis which I owe to Oscar Cullmann and above all to Maurice Goguel, the Jesus of history did not trust the triumphalist affirmation of Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:29), and saw in it a satanic temptation (Mark 8:33).12 At the time of the entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1–11), the companions of the Master celebrated the devout pilgrim and not the Messiah when they intoned Psalm 118:25–26,

10 Pierre Prigent, “Psaumes de Salomon,” in La Bible. Écrits intertestamentaires (eds. André Dupont-Sommer and Marc Philonenko; La Pléiade 337; Paris: Gallimard, 1987) 987–988. 11 Ibid., 35. 12 Cullmann, Christologie du Nouveau Testament, 105–108; see also Maurice Goguel, Jésus (2d ed.; Bibliothèque historique; Paris: Payot, 1950) 301–305, who writes the following on p. 302: “Marc (8,32b–33) et Matthieu (16,22–23) placent ici une protestation de Pierre que Jésus repousse comme une tentation satanique.”


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“Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord.”13 When the High Priest asks him about his Messianic status, Jesus does not reply directly as Mark indicates, with the affirmative ἐγώ εἰμι (Mark 15:61), but as Matthew and Luke say, “It is you that say so” (Matt 26:34).14 Faced with the diverse forms taken by Jewish messianism, the Jesus of history adopted and practised an attitude, which I would describe as iconoclastic. He dared to deconstruct the messianic elaborations and pretensions of his Jewish environment. He preferred a modest and implied link between the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and his own responsibility for proclaiming it and setting it in motion. The title “Son of Man,” which I think of as a sign of modesty, resembling that which God applies to his servant Ezekiel (see, for example, Ezek 2:1), was the only one appropriate for him. It is also the only one that Jesus accepted or even claimed.

I. The Paschal Christology of the Twelve at Jerusalem

Easter morning changed everything. The ministry of Jesus had ended in failure and death. The resurrection brought the disciples together again. A corporate, ecclesial awareness was born. While the resurrection as such is impossible to demonstrate historically, the re-found faith of the first Christians, such as Mary Magdalene or Peter, is on the other hand an undeniable historical fact.15 Jesus is alive – that is the kernel of the faith of the now cheerful disciples. God, according to their reborn hope, has finally justified Jesus, whose authority has not been superseded; the message of the nearness of the Kingdom was no mere utopianism. In my opinion the precious phrase preserved by Paul in the first Letter to the Thessalonians, “God has raised him from the dead” (1 Thess 1:10), represents the first and most ancient Christian form of words. This faith of the Twelve and of the women from Galilee would be immediately employed: in a missionary sense, which dares use the paradox of the crucified who lives; in an ecclesial sense, whereby those who give their life to the Risen One constitute the renewed People of God; in a moral sense, in that participating in the glory of the Risen One goes along with bearing one’s own cross; in a liturgical sense, whereby the gift of the Son and of his Resurrection must be celebrated with an act of thanksgiving;

13 On the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, see Étienne Trocmé, L’Évangile selon saint Marc (CNT 2; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2000) 281–284. 14 See Ulrich Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (4 vols.; EKK I; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1985–2002) 4:178–179. In view of the parallels, Matt 26:25 and 27:11, Luz thinks that, according to Matthew, Jesus approves the opinion of the high priest, even while maintaining a certain distance from his interrogator. 15 Hans Grass, Ostergeschehen und Osterberichte (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1956). For Mary Magdalene, see Matt 28:9–10 and John 20:11–18; on Peter, see 1 Cor 15:5 and Luke 24:34.


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in a polemical sense, in that there is now beside the one God another Lord; and finally in a doctrinal sense. Here we should concentrate on the doctrinal meaning of the first Christian affirmation. In my view, the thought of the first Christians was closely linked to the time and to the intervention of the action of God in history. We should remember that the famous divine self-revelation of Exod 3:14, “I am who I am,” was rendered in some Aramaic versions, the Targumim (quite differently from the Septuagintal ontology of ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν, “I am he who is”), by the paraphrase, “I am the God of the past, the present and the future” (see also in the last book of the NT, Rev 1:4,8; 11:17; 16:5).16 Some scholars have exaggerated the immediate eschatological expectation of the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus.17 Others have insisted too much on the new meaning which the disciples then put on the ministry of Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem.18 In my view, the emphasis of the first Christological faith was on the present life of the Risen One (see for instance the episode of the empty tomb: “Why do you look among the dead for the living one?” Luke 24:5). The first Christians still had to find words to express the indescribable novelty. In fact, the resurrection at the level of events had been prepared at the level of language and prophecy.19 Of course they had only “old” words to describe the “new thing,” and metaphors to express what escaped human categories. Nevertheless the book of Daniel (Dan 12:2) and the apocalyptic section of Isaiah (Isa 26:19) had preserved the image of awakening in order to express the return to life of those whom death had plunged into a sort of sleep. They used the word qîtz which the LXX translates ἐγείρω, “awake.” Another image allows the restoration of the dead, their return to life, to be expressed by the verb qûm, “arise,” which the LXX renders ἀνίστημι (see the same verse, Isa 26:19).20 These were precisely the two words which the Twelve chose to describe the resurrection of their Master. Some people have wanted to know whether the use of the one preceded the

16 Dieu et l’être. Exégèses d’Exode 3, 14 et de Coran 20, 11–24 (Centre d’études des religions du Livre; Paris: Études augustiniennes, 1978); La Bible d’Alexandrie, II. L’Exode (trans., introd. and notes by Alain Le Boulluec and Pierre Sandevoir; Paris: Cerf, 1989) 92; Pierre Prigent, L’Apocalypse de saint Jean (3d ed.; CNT 2, 14; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2000) 87–88, 93, 178–180, 280, 361. 17 For example, Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, 142–181. 18 For example, Albert Schweitzer, Reich Gottes und Christentum (ed. Ulrich Luz et al.; Werke aus dem Nachlass; München: Verlag C. H. Beck, 1995). 19 Rudolf Pesch, “Zur Entstehung des Glaubens an die Auferstehung,” FZPhTh 30 (1983) 73–98, also in Zur neutestamentlichen Überlieferung von der Auferstehung (ed. Paul Hoffmann; WdF 522; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1988) 228–255. 20 On the language of the resurrection, see La Résurrection du Christ et l’exégèse moderne (ed. Paul de Surgy et al.; LD 50; Paris: ditions du Cerf, 1969) passim; Jean Delorme, “La résurrection de Jésus dans le langage du Nouveau Testament,” Le langage de la foi dans l’Écriture et dans le monde actuel (ed. Henri Cazelles et al.; LD 72; Paris: ditions du Cerf, 1972) 101–182.

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use of the other.21 Not at all! The two verbs, in their reliable Greek translation, appear at the same time among the most ancient parts of the NT, the quotations made by Paul in his epistles and the doctrinal summaries which Luke presents in Acts: ἐγείρω, the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic/Hebrew qîtz, appears in 1 Thess 1:10, Gal 1:1, Rom 4:24, Acts 3:15 and 4:10; ἀνίστημι, the equivalent of qûm, appears in 1 Thess 4:14 and Acts 2:24, both formulae distinctly traditional. That is not all. The Twelve tried also to envisage this new life, and then to confess its consequences. They did it, rich in their experience of the Risen One, with their recollection of his earthly ministry, with their knowledge, improvised rather than scholarly, of the Scriptures, and constrained by their immediate present contingencies. The Twelve spontaneously associated the new life of the living Christ with the notion of his elevation: the verb qûm, “to rise up,” already suggested an upward movement, and the verb lâqah, “to take up,” rang in the ears of those who recalled how Enoch and Elijah had escaped death and reached heaven. The Greek ἀναλαμβάνω, in its passive meaning, “to be taken up,” ὑψόω and even ὑπερυψόω, also in the passive, “to be lifted up,” are the equivalents of these Semitic expressions: early texts like Acts 2:33 and 5:31, or like Phil 2:9, confirmed by the Johannine tradition (e.g. John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 34) attest this original faith in the elevation of the one who had been restored to life.22 Three pre-Pauline texts, no doubt of Jerusalem origin, confirm this link between the resurrection and the paschal elevation: Rom 1:3–4 in the reconstruction of the text which I would construe as, “Born of the family of David, established as Son of God by the resurrection of the dead”;23 1 Tim 3:16, the enigmatic hymn “He who was manifested in flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to gentiles, believed in the world, taken up in glory”;24 and obviously the hymn of Phil 2:6–11, of which I quote the beginning of the second strophe, “Wherefore God has also highly exalted him, and has given him the name which is above every name”(2:9).25 As in the third text cited, Phil 2, the statement about the elevation implies also one about imperial power. Christian prophets, active in the first community as Acts shows (cf. Acts 11:27; 21:10–11), dared speak in the name of the newly Risen One. They formulated oracles: “All things have been committed to me by  



21 Xavier Léon-Dufour, Résurrection de Jésus et message pascal (Parole de Dieu; Paris: ditions du Seuil, 1971) 32–33. 22 Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel, 112–132. 23 Ernst Käsemann, An die Römer (3d ed.; HNT 8a; Tübingen: Mohr, 1974) 8–11. 24 Jürgen Roloff, Der erste Brief an Timotheus (EKK XV; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag and Zürich: Benziger Verlag, 1988) 189–210. 25 Samuel Vollenweider, Horizonte neutestamentlicher Christologie: Studien zu Paulus und zur frühchristlichen Theologie (WUNT 144; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002).

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my Father,” one made him say (Luke 10:22);26 “All power has been given me in heaven and on earth,” said another (Matt 28:18).27 In the imagination of these first Jerusalem Christians, Jesus, restored to life and ascended to heaven, has been installed at the side of the Father. There was an old conception which Judah, the Southern Kingdom, shared with the kingdoms of the Near East: that of the proximity of Temple and Palace (the one “on the right hand” of the other).28 This concept was applied to the heavenly spheres, thanks to the reading of Psalm 110, which became the favorite biblical text of the early Christians. Thus the Risen One was henceforth understood and believed to be “seated at the right hand” of God (see Acts 2:33–35; Mark 14:62; cf. also Acts 3:21; 5:31; Col 3:1; Eph 1:20; Heb 1:3; Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19).29 If such was the situation, nothing stood in the way of applying to Jesus those titles which he  – through modesty, conviction, and diplomacy  – had himself rejected in his lifetime. Any danger of confusion with the nationalist aspirations of the Zealots was consequently discarded. Jesus the crucified now deserved the glorious titles of Messiah, Son of David, Lord, Son. It is no mistake when Luke attributes to Peter, spokesman of the Twelve and of the Jerusalem community, in response to their Jewish opponents, the words, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). The old stories, themselves rooted in the Jerusalem community, of the baptism and the transfiguration, both culminate in the Christological announcement of the divine sonship: “You are my beloved Son” (Mark 1:11); “This is my beloved Son” (Mark 9:7). Originally this adoption as Son took place on the morning of Easter, as is shown by Acts 13:33.30 This first Christology was therefore the paschal affirmation of the restoration of Jesus to life in God, of his elevation to the right hand of God, and of the cosmic power with which he was now invested. The confession of faith associated with it is, “Jesus is the Messiah” (see Mark 8:29), for he has truly become Messiah and Son of God on Easter morning (see Acts 2:36 and Rom 1:4).31 This positive evaluation of the life, exaltation, and present enthronement clearly led to reflection about the future. It stimulated lively attention to the consequences: what was to follow from this creative act? Were they not on the way to passing from “this age,” αἰὼν οὗτος (‘ôlam hazeh) to “the age beyond,”

26 François Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (9,51–14,35) (CNT 3b; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1996) 74–75. 27 Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus, 4:440–442. 28 André Parrot, Le temple de Jérusalem (Cahiers d’archéologie biblique 5; Neuchâtel: Delachaux & Niestlé, 1954) 7–12. 29 Jacques Dupont,  “‘Assis à la droite de Dieu’. L’interprétation du Ps 110, 1 dans le Nouveau Testament,” in Resurrexit: Actes du Symposium international sur la résurrection de Jésus, Rome, 1970 (ed. Édouard Dhanis; Vatican: Libreria editrice vaticana, 1974) 340–422. 30 Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel, 291. 31 Daniel Marguerat, Les Actes des apôtres (CNT 5A; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2007) 94–95.


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the last age, αἰὼν μέλλων (‘ôlam habba)? As the “first-born” from among the dead, was he not the first of an army of those who would follow him? And what about the last judgment foretold by John the Baptist? And the general resurrection of the dead? The book of Acts, while indicating the famine under Claudius, recalls the climatic conditions; but it perhaps also suggests an evil condemned shortly after by the writer of 2 Thessalonians, the idleness of those who believed themselves to have reached the last days, and who stopped work on the ground that any new seed-sowing was useless.32 The apocalyptic literature would now serve as a reservoir of images to describe the future with its final tribulations and imminent blessings. While irreconcilable in detail, the apocalyptic expressions in the NT attest this future of the Risen One. These could be Biblical categories, like the Day of the Lord, the yôm yahweh;33 they could be illustrative figures, like those of the lightning (Luke 17:24), the thief (Luke 12:39), or the absent landlord (Luke 12:36–40;34 or they could be whole stories like the Rendering of Accounts, namely the parable of The Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:31–46).35 All this material, including the grand scenes like the Synoptic apocalypse (especially Mark 13:24–27)36 or the descriptions in 1 Thess 4–5 and 1 Cor 15,37 recall the memory and attest the faith of the first Jerusalem Christians in the future of him whom they now knew as alive and risen. One of the rare Christian texts preserved in Aramaic, the language of the first Jerusalem community, confirms the apocalyptic dimension of the young Christian faith. When it said, Marana tha (1 Cor 16:22 and Didache 10.6), the primitive Church was saying, “Our Lord, come!” and the awaited coming was more than the eucharistic presence. As is shown by the Apocalypse (Rev 22:20), this coming is that of the parousia, that of the end of time.38 What is true of the future is true also of the past. The Risen One cast the light of his new life and of the power he was now invested with on the memory of

32 2 Thess 3:11–12. On 2 Thess, see Yann Redalié, “Relecture et droits d’auteurs à propos de l’interprétation de la deuxième épître aux Thessaloniciens,” in Early Christian Voices in Texts, Traditions, and Symbols: Essays in Honor of François Bovon (eds. David H. Warren, Ann Graham Brock, and David W. Pao; Biblical Interpretation Series 66; Leiden: Brill, 2003) 239–250. 33 Von Rad, Theologie des Alten Testaments, 2:133–137. 34 See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (9,51–14,35), 285–305. 35 Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus, 3:515–544. 36 Lars Hartman, Prophecy Interpreted: The Formation of Some Jewish Apocalyptic Texts and of the Eschatological Discourse of Mark 13 par. (Coniectanea biblica, New Testament Series 1; Lund: Gleerup, 1966). 37 See Traugott Holtz, Der erste Brief an die Thessalonicher (EKK XIII; Zürich: Benziger and Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1986) 182–239; Wolfgang Schrage, Der erste Brief an die Korinther (4 vols.; EKK VII; Zürich: Benziger Verlag; Neukirchener-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1991–2001) 4:3–421. 38 Günther Bornkamm, Das Ende des Gesetzes. Paulus Studien. Gesammelte Aufsätze, I (Beiträge zur evangelischen Theologie 16; München: Kaiser, 1952) 123–132; Ibid., Studien zu Antike und Urchristentum. Gesammelte Aufsätze, II (Beiträge zur evangelischen Theologie 28; München: Kaiser, 1963) 167–168; Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel, 100–109.


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his human past. Recollections of the historic Jesus were inevitably transformed. The moral teaching of Jesus became Christian instruction: one might note the addition of “for my sake” (Matt 16:25 compared with John 12:25), “in my name” (Matt 18:5), or “for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22) in more than one sentence. One example is the cup of water, which it is no longer enough to offer; it must be offered because you belong to Christ (Mark 9:41). Another example is the persecution, now defined as a persecution because you confess his name (Matt 5:11).39 Jesus becomes not just one rabbi among others, but the sole true rabbi (Matt 23:8,10). From being a son of man, a modest one of the prophets, Jesus becomes the glorious Son of Man announced by the prophet Daniel (Dan 7:13), who will come on the clouds of heaven. From the post-Easter point of view, Jesus becomes the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). The parable of the son collaborating with his father becomes the revelation of the Father and the Son, with capital letters.40 Jesus’ apparent past failure now corresponds to the purpose of God (see for example the role of δεῖ, “it is necessary,” in Mark 8:31).41 The victory of human malice, the passion and death of Jesus, becomes an expiatory offering and sacrifice (see the ὑπὲρ πολλῶν, Mark 14:24; ἀντὶ πολλῶν, Mark 10:45; ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, 1 Cor 15:3; ὑπὲρ ὺμῶν, Luke 22:19).42 The death of Christ becomes the Passover sacrifice of the end of time. Faithful to the traditions of Jerusalem, Paul describes Jesus as “our Passover” who “has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7; see also the image of the Lamb in John 1:29–36).43

II. The Christology of the Incarnation according to the Seven and the Hellenists Luke and the traditions which he reworked (Acts 6–8) bring before us a second form of primitive Christianity. We are still dealing with Christians of Jewish origin, mostly resident at Jerusalem; but (and this is a big difference for those who live in multilingual countries) they spoke Greek and not a Semitic language. We know that language is not a neutral tool. To be brought up speaking French, English, German or Russian communicates a mentality and sometimes beliefs which are not shared by those born in another linguistic universe. Recent studies 39

Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, 109 and 134. Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (9,51–14,35), 66–79. 41 Walter Grundmann, “δεῖ κτλ.,” TWNT, II (1935), 21–25. 42 Léopold Sabourin, Rédemption sacrificielle. Une enquête exégétique (Studia 11; Bruges: Descl e de Brouwer, 1961). 43 Schrage, Der erste Brief an die Korinther, 1:378–385: Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John (2 vols.; The Anchor Bible 29–29A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966–1970) 1:55–80.  



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of the Hellenists – not “Greeks” – has defined their identity (see Acts 6:1–6). The term “Hellenists” refers to Jews who spoke Greek, originating from the Dispersion, who had come to settle in Jerusalem either for professional or for religious reasons.44 Many elderly Jews wanted to finish their life in the holy city: near the Temple, a few yards from the valley of Kidron where, according to tradition, the resurrection of the dead would begin, and not far from the Mount of Olives where the later Biblical prophets expected the final manifestation of God and his Messenger (Zech 14:4; Ezek 11:23). Some scholars emphasize the conservative side of these Greek-speaking Jews.45 I believe that on the contrary they had received a liberal upbringing. One has only to read the Septuagint, the version of the Bible accessible to them, to observe their open-mindedness. Before describing the ideological inclination of the Hellenists, it is as well to reflect on the phenomenon of translation. It is certainly correct to render the term rabbî to διδάσκαλος, but the Greek ear which hears that word goes automatically to the teaching of this master in the manner of Greek παιδεία, and not to the reading of the Torah.46 And when the Aramaic mâr, “Prince,” “Lord,” and the Hebrew adonai “Lord” were translated κύριος, many semantic elements come into play. κύριος can certainly mean “master” in Greek, and correspond to “Sir”; but the term has been claimed by the religions also to honour their highest divinities. Zeus is κύριος as Isis is κυρία of Egypt. The Jews, we know, were no different, and took the risk of rendering the proper name of God as κύριος, “Lord.” Certain fragments of the Septuagint reveal that the scribes, Jews more than Christians, hesitated to make this transposition: for a period they continued to transcribe as they introduced the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew characters, and even in letters of the archaic form, in the course of writing a text which was otherwise totally Greek.47 The first Greek-speaking Christians were also aware that the title ὑιὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (“Son of man”) brought to their mind no transcendent reference. They therefore tended to neglect this Christological title, and it soon fell out of use: where one awaits the return of Christ in an apocalyptic context, Paul in 1 Thess 1:9–10 prefers the title “Son.”48 While on the subject of translation, a few words are necessary regarding the Septuagint, where it is easy to forget the theological options that characterized 44

Martin Hengel, “Zwischen Jesus und Paulus: die Hellenisten, die Sieben und Stephanus (Apg 6,1–15; 7,54–8, 3),” ZTK 71 (1975) 151–206; Jean-François Collange, De Jésus à Paul. L’éthique du Nouveau Testament (Le champ éthique 3; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1980) 12–15. 45 Ibid. 46 On this term, see Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, “διδάσκω,” TWNT, II (1935) 138–168. 47 See Robert Hanhart, “Septuaginta,” in Werner H. Schmidt, Winfried Theil, and Robert Hanhart, Altes Testament (Grundkurs Theologie 1; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1989) 194; Marguerite Harl, “La langue de la Septante,” in Marguerite Harl, Gilles Dorival, and Olivier Munnich, La Bible grecque des Septante. Du judaïsme hellénistique au christianisme ancien (IC; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1988) 256. 48 Eduard Schweizer, “ὑιός κτλ.,” TWNT, VIII (1969) 384.


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the Hellenists. To put it simply, one might say that the Hebrew God of history tends to become the Lord of space and world. He thus becomes also more distant and more transcendent. To restore the balance, the Jews of Alexandria put in the forefront the attributes of God (just as in Palestine the rabbis did something similar by developing angelology). While God is conceived as the most transcendent being – Being itself (ὁ ὤν, Exod 3:14) – he continues to manifest his love, his creative power, his gubernatio of the universe, and his justice. And he does it through his λόγος (Word), his πνεῦμα (Spirit), his σοφία (Wisdom), his ὄνομα (Name), or his δικαιοσύνη ( Justice or Righteousness). It is no accident that the LXX included books supplementary to the Hebrew Bible, that these books are of a sapiential character, and that his σοφία, his Wisdom, appears there as a personal being.49 The idea of the People of God also received a new definition. The idea of election was conceived in a universalist sense. One need only compare the particularism of the Masoretic Text of Amos 9:11–12, where Israel at the end of time inherits all the nations, with the universalistic import of the Greek of the LXX based upon it (cited in Acts 15:16–17, where only the Greek version can support the scriptural proof), which predicts that in the end all the nations will invoke the name of the Lord.50 Even before some of them became Christians, the Hellenists, the Greekspeaking Jews, were characterized as those capable of a new vision of a more universal God, through a less literal, more spiritual reading of what the Law required, including a criticism of bloody sacrifices (perhaps under Pythagorean influence) and of the Temple in general, and of a more universalistic vision of the People of God. Those Hellenists who became Christians brought into their reckoning many of these orientations. While adding to them the critical aspects of the teaching of Jesus, they introduced elements which would make them unpopular with the conservative Jewish authorities. According to Luke, who is here well informed, the persecution which was inflicted on them is notable for the fact that it was not inflicted on the Twelve, nor on the semitic-speaking Christian community (see Acts 8:1).51 There were also tensions between the two Christian communities: if Luke, who does not readily admit the failures and quarrels, mentions the dispute, it must have been fierce and open.52 One should add, with the help of a

49 François Bovon, “Le Christ, la foi et la Sagesse dans l’Épître aux Hébreux (Hébreux 11 et 1)” RTP 18 (3d series; 1968) 129–144. 50 Jacques Dupont, Études sur les Actes des apôtres (LD 45; Paris: ditions du Cerf, 1967) 361; Charles Kingsley Barrett, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (2 vols.; ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1994–1998) 2:725–729. 51 Ernst Haenchen, Die Apostelgeschichte neu übersetzt und erklärt (6th ed.; KEK 3; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck et Ruprecht, 1968) 388–389. 52 Hans Conzelmann, Die Apostelgeschichte erklärt (2d ed.; HNT 7; Tübingen: Mohr, 1972) 49; Todd C. Penner, In Praise of Christian Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic Historiography (New York: T & T Clark International, 2004).


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tradition hidden away but apparent in Acts 11:19–30 (Luke prefers to emphasize Acts 10:1–11:18 and the role of Peter as the first missionary to a pagan, the Roman centurion Cornelius), that the Christian Hellenists, who were persecuted in Jerusalem, chose the way of exile and fled to Syria. They took refuge in Antioch, which soon became the second capital of the infant Christianity. Luke cannot fail to mention what was obvious: it was the Hellenistic Christians who first proclaimed the Gospel to the Greeks and to the nations (Acts 11:20). Jewish by birth, speaking Greek, Paul would become an exceptional representative of the Hellenists.53 But what was this Gospel they proclaimed? How did it relate to that of the Twelve at Jerusalem? How far was it different? My answer will be, that this Gospel of the Hellenists was always a proclamation of Jesus Christ, but the accent was now moved. It fell more on the beginning than on the end, on the incarnation as much as or more than on the resurrection. The interest of the Greeks in the ἀρχή, the Beginning, was doubtless not foreign to this new orientation.54 This is the place for the appropriation by the Christian Hellenists, by the Church of the Seven rather than that of the Twelve, of the Jewish Hellenistic speculations about Wisdom, σοφία.55 This σοφία was thought of as the daughter of God, his assistant, collaborator, and architect in the work of creation, according to a sapiential tradition rooted in Proverbs 8 and used in the book of the Wisdom of Solomon (especially Wis 7). The Hellenists, reflecting on Jesus their Messiah and Lord, did not fail to conceive him as the incarnation of that wisdom. He became the pre-existent Son of the Father, who had been, when the world began, partner in the creation. He had not remained inactive thereafter, but had manifested God at each step in the history of the elect people, before his final incarnation.56 In the following pages I shall give four examples of this new Christology, the Christology of the Church of the Seven, which became the Church of Antioch. The first, identified by Eduard Schweizer, is the formula of sending. Paul and other Christians alongside him took up again a firm Christological expression, which must have had its origin in the wing of the Christian Hellenists: it was not a question of the cross, nor the resurrection, much less the parousia. The emphasis fell rather on the pre-existence, and from the start, there was the purpose of God to send his Son with the goal of salvation. That we are dealing with a fixed formula is apparent from the fact that the sender is always called “God,” the messenger or envoy is always “the Son” and not Jesus or the Messiah, the mission is always denoted by the verb “send” or some synonym which presupposes 53

Udo Schnelle, Paulus. Leben und Denken (GLB; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2003). On ἀρχή see Gerhard Delling, “ἄρχω, ἀρχή κτλ.,” TWNT, I (1933) 476–488. 55 Rudolf Bultmann, Exegetica. Aufsätze zur Erforschung des Neuen Testaments (ed. Erich Dinkler; Tübingen: Mohr 1967) 10–35. 56 Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, 118–126.  


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pre-existence, and the saving function is introduced by a final clause introduced by the conjunction ἵνα, “in order that, in order to.” The formula can be seen to lie behind Gal 4:4 and John 3:16.57 What I am putting forward corresponds to a pre-literary stratum, from the earliest Christological elaborations of the Church of the Twelve at Jerusalem and the Church of the Seven at Antioch in the 30s and 40s, before any letter or gospel of primitive Christianity had been written. We are not however sailing in imaginary waters, since the ancient, probably oral, formula of sending is preserved like an erratic boulder in the earliest writings of the NT. We are also dealing, and this is a second indication, with the earliest hymns as identified and brought to light, inserted in letters which we still possess.58 There is the hymn taken up in the prologue to John,59 but there is also that which the author of the Epistle to Hebrews uses at the beginning of his work.60 While the first kerygma of the Church contrasted the cross and the resurrection, the author of this hymn, in rhythmic prose, distinguishes time past from time present. The text begins by opposing the partial revelations of Israel’s past and the final revelation by the Son (Heb 1:1–2). The Son is then described as he was before his incarnation and his sending by the Father. Pre-existent, he collaborated actively in the creation and thereafter assumed the gubernatio, as reformed orthodoxy would later call it, of the world. After that the hymn does not hesitate to use speculative vocabulary, usually applied to the divine Wisdom (see Wis 7.25–26) to express the identity of the Son: he is the ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης, that is the “radiance of the glory” of God, and the χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, the “imprint of his essence” (Heb 1:3). Observing that the binary scheme distinguishes creation and redemption (down-grading the passion and parousia), the exegete, historian, and theologian can establish that the Christology of the Hellenists at Antioch added new and decisive elements to the Christology of the Twelve at Jerusalem.61 The scholar may be more firmly convinced of this, if confirmation is needed, by reading what I would call the appropriation of an originally Stoic formula, attested in the Corpus Hermeticum and by Philo, Marcus Aurelius, Zosimus and Chrysippus, as cited by Stobaeus, who describes the Divinity as the beginning, the middle and the end of all things: God, the All, or Nature is in fact that from which (ἐξ᾽αὐτοῦ) through whom (δι᾽αὐτοῦ) and for whom (εἰς αὐτόν) all things (τὰ 57

Schweizer, Jesus Christus im vielfältigen Zeugnis des Neuen Testaments, 83–87. Jack T. Sanders, The New Testament Christological Hymns. Their Historical Religious Backgroud (SNTSMS 15; Cambridge [UK]: University Press, 1971). 59 Rudolf Schnackenburg, Das Johannesevangelium. 1. Teil. Einleitung und Kommentar zu Kap. 1–4 (HThNT 4, 1; Freiburg / Basel / Wien: Herder, 1965) 197–226, 229–257. I am not convinced by the arguments of Daniel Boyarin in “The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the prologue to John,” HTR 94 (2001) 243–284. 60 Bovon, “Le Christ, la foi et la Sagesse dans l’Épître aux Hébreux (Hébreux 11 et 1).” 61 On Col 1.15–20, see Ingrid Maisch, Der Brief an die Gemeinde in Kolossä (Theologischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament 12; Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 2003) 74–126.  



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πάντα) exist.62 If Paul as a Hellenist, that is a Greek-speaking Jew, and a Hellenist

converted to Christianity, uses passively the formula and attributes this process wholly to God the Father (in the doxology of Rom 11:36), the author of another liturgical fragment, more part of a creed than of a hymn, which the Apostle cites at 1 Cor 8:6, takes other risks and attempts a greater autonomy and doctrinal creativity. The fragment divides the three prepositions ἐκ (“from”) διά (“through”) and εἰς (“for”), between the Father and the Son. As is right, the Father remains the origin of all and becomes the goal of everything. As for the Son – to the satisfaction of Pierre Bonnard who, in his teaching said that the preposition διά was the great Christological preposition – he is twice associated with the preposition διά. This double use allows us to understand that this formula too, like the hymns of Heb 1 and Col 1, distinguishes creation from redemption, including also the clear separation of the world from the Church. This implies that the universe comes from God the Father and that it was created by the mediation of the Son, while “we,” that is, the believers of the Church, have our life also through the Son, and that our destiny is directed in the end towards God, towards the Father (1 Cor 8:6).63 When the Christian Hellenists intended to confess their faith in a brief formula, they said, “Jesus is Lord.”64 We ought also to describe how the Christian Hellenists, in spite of their interest in the beginning, envisaged the future. They put the universal mission, as in Mark 13:10 and Acts 1:4–6, ahead of the “last things,” in contrast to the hopes of the Church of the Twelve, who expected the parousia to arrive before the mission in Israel and Samaria was complete (Matt 10:23b).65 We should also note how this Church of Antioch reinterpreted the earthly ministry of Jesus: if he is Son of David, it is in his humanity rather than in his divine Messiahship as in Rom 1:3; if he is indeed the exalted and mighty Son, his incarnation was an act of humility, a self-giving, as was his suffering on the cross for the Church of Jerusalem; his death, besides its value as a redeeming sacrifice, also took on an exemplary and moral power.66 In concluding this second part it is sufficient to notice how bold the Hellenists were, and Paul after them. After the Christological elaboration of the Church of Jerusalem, which recognized the death of the Servant, the resur-

62 Hans Lietzmann, Einführung in die Textgeschichte der Paulusbriefe. An die Römer (3d ed.; HNT 8; Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr 1928) 107. 63 On the formula of 1 Cor 8:6, see Christophe Senft, La première épître de saint Paul aux Corinthiens (2d ed.; CNT 2, 7; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1990) 111. 64 Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor 4:5; Oscar Cullmann, Les premières confessions de foi chrétiennes (Cahiers de la Revue d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 30; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1948). 65 Haenchen, Die Apostelgeschichte neu übersetzt und erklärt, 110–113; Jacques Dupont, Les trois apocalypses synoptiques (LD 121; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1985) 20–24; Erich Grässer, Das Problem der Parusieverzögerung in den synoptischen Evangelien und in der Apostelgeschichte (3d ed.; BZNW 22; Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1977) 204–207. 66 Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, 209–214 and 219–220.


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rection of the Messiah, and his imminent parousia, that of the Church of Antioch contemplated the other extremity of the history of salvation, no longer the τέλος, but the ἀρχή. The Hellenists dared to proclaim the pre-existence of the Son, to define his identity in terms of Almighty Wisdom, and to add the source of being and of beings to the Christological tableau, which had previously presented the future and the end.

Conclusion This discussion has not attempted to present the Christology of Jesus himself, which I believe was implicit and not explicit.67 Neither has it presented the wealth of Christology of the Johannine circle,68 which in its structure did not differ fundamentally from that of Antioch or even that of Jerusalem. Nor has it sought to define the Christology of the first Judeo-Christianity, which perhaps insisted, as the Pseudo-Clementines would do later, on Jesus as the “true Prophet” or the inspired Teacher.69 What I have tried to define is the double focus of Christian origins, the Twelve and the Seven, from which the orthodoxy of the second century would emerge. The Christological contribution of Jerusalem was the messianic affirmation of Easter resurrection. The contribution of Antioch was the affirmation of the pre-existence and incarnation of Christ as the divine Wisdom, so that Easter and Christmas are joined together as the two great Christian mysteries.


Hans Conzelmann, “Jesus Christus,” RGG (3d ed.; vol. 3; Tübingen: Mohr, 1959) 619–653, esp. 649–651. 68 Paul N. Anderson, The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: Its Unity and Disunity in the Light of John 6 (WUNT 2, 78; Tübingen: Mohr 1996). 69 Nicole Kelley, Knowledge and Religious Authority in the Pseudo-Clementines: Situating the Recognitions in Fourth Century Syria (WUNT 2, 213; Tübingen: Mohr, 2006).

3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins My response1 will include: first, some general remarks, both negative and positive; second, an appreciation of the structure and the content of the work; and third, a final evaluation.

I. General Remarks

In parallel to the book of Revelation’s seven woes and seven beatitudes, my response starts with seven negative reactions and seven positive ones. 1. My first point concerns the partners in dialogue. The several authors of this book have an excellent knowledge of what is going on in the American academy, but their perspective of the international situation of scholarship is somewhat more vague and limited. Frédéric Amsler presented a paper last year on the several reconstructions of Christian origins by French historians and biblical scholars that would have been noteworthy to incorporate in Cameron and Miller’s volume. The bibliographical part in the Bulletin d’information et de liaison n° 40 (2006) of the International Association of Patristic Studies is full of German titles pertaining to the origins of Christianity which are also scholarly works largely ignored by our authors. The claim on p. 444 that the authors know “the history of modern scholarship” would not be sufficiently validated with these critical omissions from the modern international scholarship. 2. Concerning the sources from antiquity that may be relevant for redescribing the origins of Christianity, even if their influence is subtle, the remains of Jewish Christianity and the role they attribute to James seems to me relevant. Eyen if their dating is debatable, the Pseudo-Clementines for example, absent from the index, should not be ignored. 3. As the whole volume makes manifest and as Christopher Matthews’ paper “Acts and the History of the Earliest Jerusalem Church” (pp. 159–175) clearly shows, there is a regrettable tendency in recent scholarship either to ignore the book of Acts as a primary source or to read it uncritically as the account of an eyewitness. Under the influence of Hans Conzelmann, I consider Luke as a crea-

1 Ron Cameron and Merill P, Miller, eds., Redescribing Christian Origins (SBL Symposium Series 28; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).


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tive historian of antiquity. This means that his work is wholly his own, but at the same time it has preserved a treasure of ancient traditions. Critical exegesis allows us to distinguish older traditions embedded in the latest redaction. For example, Peter’s vision of the tablecloth and the collection of pure and impure animals (Acts 10:9–16) constitutes for Luke a symbolic way of representing the welcoming of the nations, now possible, into the people of God. But as the later dispute in Jerusalem proves, this was not the original meaning of Peter’s ecstatic revelation. As the divine command “Kill and eat!” (Acts 10:13) indicates, the vision had to do with dietary practices. The absence of the book of Acts is dramatic in Burton L. Mack’s paper, “A Jewish Jesus School in Jerusalem” (pp. 253–62), particularly on p. 262. 4. My first scholarly publication was on Eusebius’ conception of history and my present field of research is on Luke-Acts. I am therefore rather sensitive when the two writers, Luke and Eusebius, are combined in an association that the writers of this book establish as their major enemies. On p. 459, William E. Arnal and Willi Braun are proud to have, I quote, “successfully disrupted, perhaps eyen displaced, the standard ‘Lukan-Eusebian’ model of Christianity’s historical beginnings.” The contributors to this volume neglect the longstanding dispute of who was the first Christian historian, Luke or Eusebius, and the long recognized difference between the evangelist and the fourth century Church writer. In my opinion, Eusebius constructs Christian origins in a conception completely different from Luke. What constitutes Christianity for Eusebius are the διαδοχαί, the Episcopal successions assuring the continuity, as διαδοχαί of teachers do the same in the philosophical schools. 5. It is a question of taste, scholarly fashion, and generation, but I dislike the use, or what I would call the abuse, of the verbs “imagine” or “reimagine” to describe the scholarly responsibility of the historian. More serious still is the use of the term “mythmaking” to describe the first Christological and theological elaborations (see p. 464–66). I am too much an admirer of Augustine of Hippo and his modem interpreters like Pierre de Labriolle or Henri-Irénée Marrou to accept this term: in my view Christianity is original by the fact that it introduces time into eternity and the human presence of God instead of creating mythological figures as was done in the ancient Greek tradition. It is because of incarnation that a historical approach of Christianity is not only possible, but also required. 6. Generally speaking, as often is the case in our time and in the American academy, there is much theoretical reflection but, in my opinion, a critical lack of – even a neglect of – exegetical practice in this book. 7. There is a debate among literary critics in the French-speaking world on the question of whether literary criticism is a science or an art (see Jean Starobinski). Similarly, I would ask what is the religious dimension of the study of religion? I read this book as an attempt to practice the study of religion outside the practice of religion. I would say that this is legitimate, but in so doing the authors of this


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book probably lose the sensibility and the empathy of Christian believers. I will return to this point at the end of my paper. Those were my seven οὐαί! I am anxious now to enumerate my seven beatitudes. 1. I consider that it is completely appropriate to integrate the Gospel of Thomas into the discussion of Christian origins. Though I believe the redaction of this Gospel to be later than the canonical Gospels, I contend that many of Thomas’ sayings are archaic and give us insight not only on an early Christian group but even in certain instances on the historical Jesus. In this respect, I highly regard Ron Cameron’s contributions over the last twenty years. This book faithfully emphasizes the voice of the Gospel of Thomas. 2. More broadly, this volume is perhaps one of the first studies to insist so firmly on the integration of the tradition of Jesus’ sayings into the reconstruction of Christian origins. This is a shrewd point. I would even suggest taking seriously the sayings from Jesus that we find in neglected texts like 2 Clement, Fragment Oxyrhynchus 840 or Acts of Philip, Martyrdom 29. The ecclesiological relevance of some agrapha should also be mentioned here. 3. I also give my agreement to the importance of a sociological approach. Too often early Christianity has been read as the story of great individual religious figures (what the back cover calls “the dramatic religious experience of individuals”). I can only applaud the contributors’ intention to “make use of social anthropology” (also cited on the back cover). A similar ambition was explicitly cited in the programmatic statements of the first Form critics.2 4. It is therefore appropriate to search for the social world of early Christianity. If we were to discuss how we can reach this social world, I would for my part prefer a dialectical approach of texts and social worlds to the proposed anteriority of the imagined social world. But the goal is clear and I share it with the contributors. 5. Reading this book I learned many things and am grateful for the rich harvest. In particular I read with interest the pages on “exaptation” (pp. 493–94). 6. I admire also the nuanced distinction between the terms “origins” and “beginnings.” I would have used them as synonymous, but I know now that, unlike “origins,” the term “beginnings” requires “historical and intentional acts of imagination. Beginnings therefore entail interpretative judgments” (p. 99, n. 40). 7. Finally, even if often I do not agree with the theoretical perspective of the authors, I respect their seriousness and the way they try to remain free from heavily loaded Christian presuppositions. These are my seven blessings, my seven beatitudes.

2 See Hermann Gunkel, “Literaturgeschichte,” in RGG (2d ed.; 5 vols.; Tübingen: Mohr, 1927–1931) 3:1677–1680.


3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins

II. Structure and Content

Because of the strong editorial activity of Ron Cameron and Merrill P. Miller, this book is not just a collection of independent papers. Methodological reflections and intentional introductions to the several parts shape the book and give it a solid structure. If you would ask me to summarize these firm constructions, I would answer the following with an ironic smile and intellectual confidence: Cameron, Merrill and company first put the marginal into the center, namely they take Q and the Gospel of Thomas seriously. Second, they disregard what past scholarship has considered the center, namely Paul and Acts. Third, they search for the approval of the person they consider to be the father of the group, namely Burton L. Mack, the blessing of the one cherished as the mentor, Jonathan Z. Smith, and the support of the friend, Stanley K. Stowers. If such is the general structure of the book, I can comment using a French idiom: “C’est de bonne guerre.” It is indeed a logical way to fight and to bring the “polemic” into the sheepfold. I cannot discuss all the parts of this book, even less the many contributions. One should note that Part One, called “Alternate Beginnings” (pp. 33–138), contains several papers on Q and Thomas. Particularly worth discussing is Cameron’s criticism of Greg Riley’s contrast between the Johannine and the Thomasian communities based on John 20 (the doubting Thomas) (pp. 93–97).3 Part Two is more problematic. It is called, with a question mark and an implied refusal to speak of the church, “A Jesus School in Jerusalem?” (pp. 139–282). In this part there is in my view an excessive suspicion concerning the first chapters of Acts because the authors do not take the pain to distinguish the archaic from the redactional elements in Acts 1–12. Even if Matthew and John place the appearances stories in Galilee, this literary fact does not preclude the hypothesis that some of the Galileans, Peter and Mary Magdalene in particular, did come and stay in Jerusalem expecting some apocalyptic events connected with the Jewish Festival of Pentecost. The efforts of this book against the evidence of primary sources, even the multiple attestations of Acts and Galatians, seem to be a lost cause. There is one particular question I would like to ask. It concerns the use of the notion of “homeland” without sufficient critical reflection. The authors claim that what we have in the beginnings of Acts is a nostalgic imagination of what could have been the beginnings of Christianity  – beginnings located in the “homeland.” Luke’s description of the ideal image of the first Christian community in Jerusalem would be the expression of desire to reconfigure the “homeland” of a nostalgic past. First of all, I am not certain that Gentile Chris-

3 Gregory J. Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995).


3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins

tians would consider Israel as their “homeland,” and second, I believe that forces other than “nostalgia” were at work in the construction of Christian origins, namely “memory” and “exotics.” For “memory” I can refer to the early Christian respect offered to the so central ἀνάμνησις, as well as point to the work of the great scholar Pierre Bonnard.4 For “exotics” I would like to mention the little known work of the historian of Roman and Greek religions, Alain Blomart, who has written on the prestige of the unknown country, of the oriental countries in the religious imagination of the Roman world (for him, much of the Mithra religion is not oriental as such, but belongs to the occidental, Roman imagination in search of eastern prestige and origins).5 It may be that the love of the Christians of the first generations for Jerusalem was not so much an affection for the “homeland,” but on the contrary, for the unknown but prestigious foreign eastern country. Particularly problematic are some opinions expressed in the papers of the third and longest part, entitled “A Pre-Pauline Christos Association” (pp. 285–456). Here, Miller’s paper “The Problem of the Origins of a Messianic Conception of Jesus” (pp. 301–35) attempts to show that the title Christos is not the result of an inaugural, transformative Christological experience, but rather has been used slowly in a doctrinal construction. In Cameron’s words summarizing the paper: “For Miller, the term does not answer to some inaugural transformative experience but responds to social and conceptual challenges that were confronted at different times and places in early Christianities. And so, in Miller’s revision of the comparative project, the comparative moment gives special notice to the construction of social identity in pre-Pauline associations and to the cognitive task of constructing an ideal figure or expectation in Jesus movements after the Roman-Jewish war. It is suggested that the important analogues might come not from descriptions of eschatological figures in particular but from the use of bynames, honorifics, and other descriptive epithets in school settings, at first, and from the conceptual challenges of composing the bios of an ideal figure, at a later time” (pp. 293–94). I formed my own interpretation from the Psalms of Solomon 17 and 18 and believe that Acts 2:36, so unrepresentative of Luke, is an important clue. It lets Jesus’ messianity start not at Jesus’ birth (see Luke 2:11), but at the resurrection  – surely an old pre-Lukan and also pre-Pauline conception (see Rom 1:3–5). If the hypothesis of a “byname” does not convince me, Crawford’s hypothesis of a “nickname” seems even more a desperate at-

4 Pierre Bonnard, Anamnesis. Recherches sur le Nouveau Testament (Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie 3; Genève: Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 1980). 5 Alain Blomart, “Mithra et Porphyre. Quand sculpture et philosophie se rejoignent,” Revue de l’histoire des religions 211 (1994) 419–41; Idem, “Die evocatio und der Transfer ‘fremder’ Götter von der Peripherie nach Rom,” in H. Cancik and J. Rüpke, Römische Reichsreligion und Provinzialreligion (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997) 99–111; Idem, “Identité culturelle, altérité et religions étrangères: exemples antiques de Mithra. Bendis et la Mère des dieux,” Ítaca: quaderns catalans de cultura clàssica 16–17 (2000–01) 9–22.


3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins

tempt to avoid the classical interpretation. A nickname makes sense only if it is understood as, for instance, “Cicero” was for Marcus Tullius. It is well known that the Greeks could not understand the Greek translation of Messiah with the word Χριστός and took it from the time of Paul and Suetonius as a proper name, a “cognomen” to be precise. I alluded already to the papers of the final part, entitled “Metareflections” (pp. 459–516), containing articles by Burton L. Mack, Jonathan Z. Smith and Stanley K. Stowers as well as the synthesis of the editors.


As a conclusion to my remarks, I would like to ask the question of why such an attempt must be so polemical. Is it not aggressive to speak of “the traditional scenario for Christian origins” (p. 424) as if there were only one? Is it not shocking to attack another position by speaking of “usual mystification” (pp. 425 and 470)? Is it not ridiculous to laugh at the title Christos and to call Jesus “Mr. Christos” (p. 452)? I am a scholar and at the same time a Christian theologian. I like ancient scholarship and, coming from old Europe, the term “old” is for me a compliment. For the authors of this book, however, “old” yields negative connotations. Here I quote: “No one among us thinks in those terms, at least not with the set of connotations that belonged to the older scholarly usage” (p. 428). If I may risk an even more incisive analysis, in reading this book I had the impression of meeting scholars who were animated too often by a spirit of vindication or revenge. But is such aggressiveness the appropriate answer? I would suggest that it is important in any field of scholarship to be attentive to one’s own self. There is, in my view, not enough self-criticism in this book and too much self-satisfaction. See the triumphant sentence on p. 473: “This means that, ‘simply’ by setting out to remap Christian origins, this Seminar has succeeded in introducing theoretical issues fundamental for humanities into the discipline of New Testament studies.” It may be debated whether or not this goal has been achieved, in fact it may have been, but it is not up to the authors, but to the readers, to crown the athletes. Similarly, the collaborators of this volume give the collective impression of being members of a club. Often the authors and editors refer to the collective “us” of the group with a strong identifying marker. As we know, a work as a collective has many important positive aspects. Coherence of a group facilitates the reflection and stimulates the progress of scholarship, but the doors must remain open to challenging views in order to avoid knowledge to be deemed an esoteric wisdom. Let me conclude with a positive statement, through a quotation dealing with an important question for all New Testament scholars and historians of early


3. Response to Redescribing Christian Origins

Christianity: “For despite the fact that Q and Thomas, as well as the pre-Markan pronouncement stories, parable collections, and miracle catenae, neither fit the scenario of beginnings in Jerusalem narrated in the Gospels and Acts nor make sense as evidence of sects that took their rise from a belief that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, the difference these texts make for imagining beginnings will not  – and cannot  – be adequately registered until the canonical axis of Christian origins is, itself, relocated in the scholarly imagination and historiography of beginnings” (p. 445). Personally, I would agree with half of this quotation. Even if we cannot reach the beginnings, there was probably an origin also outside Jerusalem, but the price to pay to make the hypothesis of this other location is certainly not to abandon the role of Jerusalem. Henry Chadwick once recalled with passion at a meeting of the “Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas” that for several centuries, when the first Christians prayed, they turned their bodies in the direction of Jerusalem. In my perspective this was not a late invention, but an archaic liturgical gesture.

4. The Gospel According to John: Access to God at the Obscure Origins of Christianity For eighteen centuries the Christian church believed that the fourth gospel was drawn up by the son of Zebedee, John, when he lived in Ephesus in his old age. As Clement of Alexandria suggests (2nd–3rd century), the beloved disciple wanted to emphasize the divine nature of the Son, whereas the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke had marked the historical insertion and the human nature.1 For centuries, ever since theologians (Protestant and Catholic) became historians, the difficulties of this excellent  – too excellent  – solution have come to light. How can we explain the considerable differences between the three synoptic gospels and the gospel of John, if the author was an eyewitness (we are reminded of the sayings of Jesus centered on the Kingdom in the synoptics, and on the Son in the fourth gospel)? Moreover, what proof is there that the gospel of John completes the synoptics? Or that he was determined to correct them by making Jesus much more divine than the latter did? The exegetists have drawn attention to the Johannine accounts of Gethsemane and the Passion in which any trace of Jesus’ fear, indeed his suffering, is eliminated (see John 12:23–28 and John 18–19). And the church historians teach us that the first commentators of the fourth gospel were marginal Christians, Gnostic Christians, attached to the spiritual meaning of the texts, hostile to history and the incarnation.2 We must also not forget that John’s gospel is the fourth in the New Testament and always has been: this is an indication of a certain delay in the process of canonization. It could be that the Christians of the high church had finally admitted a gospel in their collection of sacred writings of which they wanted to deprive the Gnostics and correct the interpretation. Then the questions multiply: first, what is the origin of this writing and its authors; second, what is its aim; and third, what message did they want to transmit?


Clement of Alexandria, Hypotyposeis, VI, quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. eccl. 6.14.7. Particularly the Gnostic Heracleon. See Jean-Michel Poffet, La m thode ex g tique d’H racl on et d’Orig ne: commentateurs de Jn 4: J sus, la Samaritaine et les Samaritains (Paradosis 28; Fribourg, Switzerland: ditions Universitaires, 1985) é



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I. At the Origin of the Johannine Community

The first Christians loved each other and favored communal life. But contrary to what is often believed, if the unity of the Church was in a certain sense founded on Christ, on the historical and practical level it had to be sought. Far from being an accomplished fact, it had to be conquered. That is, primitive Christianity was not monolithic: its history is that of dispersed groups, separated by distances that no jet airplane could cover in an hour, cut off from each other by linguistic barriers (Aramaic, Greek, later Coptic and Latin), then ethnic, after the mission took the risk of opening the doors of the Church to non-Jews. Through the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline letters, historians know two of these primitive Christian groups: the one of the Twelve that undertook the evangelization of Palestine from Jerusalem, that is, Aramaic-speaking Jews, and the Hellenistic group, with which must be associated Barnabas and Paul, who addressed the gospel to Greek-speaking Jews in Jerusalem but especially in Antioch, and then to the Greeks (see Acts 1–12). We know the efforts agreed upon by the various groups to arrive at a certain unity, especially with regard to the mission (see Acts 15; the Jerusalem conference decided that it was no longer necessary to be a Jew in order to be a Christian). But we also know through the argument of Paul with Peter (Gal 2:11–14) that unity was not easy to maintain, the Judeo-Christians always being capable of a relapse into Judaism and the pagan-Christians of backsliding into laxity and syncretism. The Western churches, Catholic or Protestant, are heirs of this bi-polar Christianity: Jerusalem-Antioch, Peter-Paul. But there were other Christian groups: we know from the New Testament that there were Christians in Galilee (traditions attest to this in the synoptic gospels), and others in Samaria, but we are not well informed on them (Acts 9:3 and 8:4–25). Communities were undoubtedly established in eastern and southern Palestine, in Syria, in Egypt and elsewhere: unfortunately they have left a few traces, not having obtained the victory.3 There are many scholars today who are convinced that John’s gospel is the product of one of these mysterious communities. First, some think that this Johannine group or church lived in close contact with the mother church in Jeru3

On the beginnings of Christianity in Syria see Helmut Koester, “GNOMAI DIAPHOROI: Ursprung und Wesen der Mannigfaltigkeit in der Geschichte des frühen Christentums” ZTK 65 (1968) 160–203, reprise in H. Koester and James M. Robinson, Entwicklungslinien durch die Welt des frühen Christentums (Tübingen: Mohr, 1971) 107–146. The article first appeared in English in the Harvard Theological Review 58 (1985) 279–318. The work of Koester and Robinson also exists in an English version. On early Christianity in Egypt see Birger A Pearson, “Earliest Christianity in Egypt: Some Observations,” in B. A. Pearson and James E. Goehring The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (SAC 1; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 132–160; A. M. Ritter, “De Polycarpe à Clément: aux origines d’Alexandrie chrétienne,” in ΑΛΣΞΑΝΔΡΙΝΑ: Hellénisme, judaïsme et christianisme à Alexandrie. M langes offerts au P. Claude Mond sert (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1987) 151–172.


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salem (this is the opinion of the majority of Catholic exegetists, from F. M. Braun to Annie Jaubert, who have recalled the presence of the great traditions of Israel in the fourth gospel4). Second, others, mostly Protestant, among them Ernst Käsemann and Luise Schottroff, believe on the other hand that the Johannine group was heretical: John’s gospel would be one of the first gnostic writings preserved and Johannine Christology naively Docetic (the gospel presenting Jesus as a divinity rising above historical events).5 Third, Oscar Cullmann and others are no doubt correct in believing that the nature of the Johannine community was marginal, and one that showed no hostility either in the gospel, the epistles or the Apocalypse (all these writings being the production of the Johannine group) with regard to the Petrine Christianity of Jerusalem and the Pauline Christianity of Antioch. To affirm the different does not impose a belief in division.6 There is no religious movement that does not have at its origin a person of note. The Church was no doubt faithful in memory in associating the son of Zebedee with the genesis of the fourth gospel. The Johannine group is thus the result of John’s mission (he had lost his brother, James Major, victim of a persecution in 41–44). Since the book of Acts mentions the presence of John in Samaria (Acts 8:14) and since John’s gospel is concerned with Samaria ( John 4), the first field of activity must have been in this marginal area that was ill thought of and criticized by Judaism. It is in this region that certain traditions about Jesus were brought together and used in missionary preaching (it suffices to recall the Samaritan woman in John 4): the baptismal and eucharistic catechism (which is reported in the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3); the dialogue of the bread of life; the polemics (here it is worthwhile to re-read the disputes of Abraham’s descendants, recorded in John 7–8, that is, who are the real people of God?). It also seems that the true bond of Jesus with John the Baptist preoccupied John himself and then his disciples. From this comes the importance of traditions relative to John the Baptist in the fourth gospel. If we recall that the Samaritans only recognized the Pentateuch as canonical, that is, the first five books of the Old Testament, we understand that the attention of Johannine Christianity was little drawn by the Prophets and that the Messianic prophecies had not provoked disputes. This Johannine group in Samaria of 40–60 C. E. had perhaps also spread to Syria, but in any case, like the entire Palestinian world at that time, it was cruelly marked by the zealot revolt and the Jewish war against Rome in 66–70. All the

4 F. M. Braun, Jean le Théologien (4 vols.; Études bibliques; Paris: J. Gabalda, 1959–1972); Annie Jaubert, Approches de l’ vangile de Jean (Parole de Dieu; Paris: ditions du Seuil, 1976). 5 Ernst Käsemann, Jesu letzter Wille nach Johannes 17 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1971); Luise Schottroff, Der Glaubende und die feindliche Welt (Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament 37; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1970). 6 Oscar Cullmann, Le milieu johannique. Sa place dans le judaïsme tardif, dans le cercle des disciples de J sus et dans le Christianisme primitif (Le monde de la Bible; Neuchâtel, Paris: Delachaux & Niestl , 1976).


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Christians of the region asked themselves at that moment: is it our duty to participate in the struggle? The answer of all was the same: our hope is not identical with that of the Jews, it is not nationalist nor tied to the Promised Land. The dialogue between Jesus and Pilate testifies to this: the Christians have a king, but his kingdom is not of this world and there is no obligation to revolt against Roman power ( John 18:33–38). Rather martyrdom than violence. Eusebius of Caesarea tells us that the Christian community of Jerusalem fled to Transjordania, to Pella,7 when the capital was menaced by the Romans. We have every reason to believe that the Johannine community, or part of it, directed by its spiritual head, if he was still living, preferred to leave the area of military operations. Three things make us think that they found refuge in Ephesus: first, the ecclesiastic tradition that placed the composition of John’s gospel and the apostle’s death in Ephesus;8 second, the list of churches, all located in Asia with Ephesus at the head, in the letters of chapters 2 and 3 of the canonical Apocalypse of John; third, the presence of Christian disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus according to Acts 19:1–7. Thus at the end of the first century there were at least two distinct Christian communities in Ephesus: the one founded by Paul in 54 (Acts 19:1–20) and the community directed by John (who arrived around 70). To resume, John’s gospel was drawn up within a community that was neither Petrine nor Pauline but Johannine, marked by John, son of Zebedee. This community was first located in Samaria-Syria, and was later installed in Ephesus. Marked by the message of John the Baptist and the gospel as preached by Jesus, this community used traditions later collected into the gospel for its missionary, catechetic, and cult life.9 Now we must turn toward the genesis of the gospel before beginning the doctrinal message that these Christians wanted to transmit to us.

7 Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. eccl. 3.5.3. See Marcel Simon, “La migration à Pella. Légende ou réalité,” Recherches de Science Religeuse 60 (1972) 37–54, reprise in M. Simon, Le christianisme antique et son contexte religieux. Scripta varia (2 vols.; WUNT 23; Tübingen: Mohr, 1981) 2:477–494. 8 Polycrates of Ephesus, quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. eccl. 5.24.2–3 and 3.31.2–3; Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus haereses 3.1.1, quoted by Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 5.8.4; Dionysius of Alexandria, quoted by Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7.25.16 (see also 3.39.6); Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 2.1.1 and 2.23.1–19; Théophanie IV, 7; Jerome, De viris illustribus, 9; see Éric Junod and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, Acta Johannis (2 vols.; CCSA 1–2; Turnhout: Brepols, 1983) 2:707, 713–715, as well as 564–580 and 720–723. These two authors are rather skeptical about the solidity of this tradition. See Jean Daniel Kaestli, “Le rôle des textes bibliques dans la genèse et le développement des légendes apocryphes. Le cas du sort final de l’apôtre Jean,” Augustinianum 23 (1983) 319–336, esp. 323 n. 18. 9 See Jürgen Becker, Das Evangelium nach Johannes (Ökumenischer Taschenbuchkommentar zem Neuen Testament 4; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus Mohn, 1979) 40–51; Raymond Edward Brown, La communaut du disciple bien-aim (LD 115; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1983; Pierre Bonnard, Les épîtres johanniques (CNT, 2d series, 13c; Gen ve: Labor et Fides, 1983) 9–13.

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II. The Genesis of John’s Gospel

Two events served as motivation for Johannine traditions: the prophetic activity of Jesus on the one hand, his death and especially his resurrection on the other. Before evoking the influence of gnosis or that of Judaism, as is too often done, it is assuredly the impact that Jesus of Nazareth exercised on his disciples and his tragic destiny that must be recalled. In the great Johannine discourses, we find vivid traces of the teaching in word and deed of Jesus of Nazareth. John the apostle and later his disciples did not forget those fulgent maxims of Semitic flavor that we also know through the synoptic gospels: the absolute love of God that goes so far as to give up one’s life: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” ( John 12:25); the new and original love that Jesus came to propose and introduce among men: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” ( John 13:34). Among the symbolic acts of Jesus must be pointed out the purification of the Temple, the centurion of Capernaum, the multiplication of the loaves, the miracle of walking on the water, and the anointing in Bethany that we know also from the other gospels.10 What struck the Johannine community, in addition to the ties uniting it to John the Baptist and the development of the ministry, was the death of Jesus and the questions it posed. For John as for the Synoptics, the cross is inseparable from the resurrection. In fact, it is Easter morning that gives a meaning to the cross and, beyond the cross, a clarification of the proclamation of Jesus. Since there was a double testimony to the resurrection of Jesus in Palestine – in Jerusalem and in Galilee – through apparitions and the empty tomb, Christians began to report the events of Holy Week, and from the relation of those events gradually developed an account that was no doubt retold on solemn occasions, perhaps annually on the same days of Jesus’ suffering (such is no doubt the origin of the Christian festival of Easter). Thus the genesis of the final chapters of John’s gospel (chapters 18–20) is explained, which have so many points in common with the Synoptics,11 because Peter’s disciples and John’s disciples were marked in the same way by these fundamental events. It was not just for historical and biographical reasons that these men and women commemorated the Passion; it was also because they believed that their salvation, that is, their hope for their own resurrection and certitude of everlasting life, had its source there.

10 John 2:13–22; 6:16–21; 12:1–8; see Mark 11:15–17; 6:45–52; 14:3–9 and the parallels in Matthew and Luke. 11 Mark 14:1–16:8 and the parallels in Matthew and Luke.


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See John 13:1, 3, 33; 16:28; 3:14; 8:28; 12:31–32. For example, see John 3:35–36; 5:19–30; 10:14–18; 14:1–14; 17:23–24. 14 See John 1:12–13. 15 Numbers 21; John 3:14–15. 13

More than that of Mark or Matthew, John’s gospel attests to an intense reflection on the meaning of the cross. If the adversaries of Jesus did not have the last word it was because, in John’s mind, the agony of Christ was not simply that of the death of a human being. It was part of a project of God himself. Meditating on this mystery, the Johannine community elaborated an entire terminology, finally an entire theology, to speak of it: the death of Jesus was not an end but a passage, a stage, an access, an elevation; that shameful event was in reality a glorification, the admission to death a return to the Father.12 And if God had so willed – thought the Johannine community – it was because behind the man Jesus, the one whom his contemporaries, going by appearances, called the son of Joseph and Mary, there was much more than a man – there was the Son of God. The Synoptics, before John, had reached that conclusion; all the early Christians, when they called Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, confessed it. But it was John’s gospel that developed the primitive reflection on the Son of God. A title attributed to the Davidic Messiah, in Jerusalem it involved no preexistence nor relationship going beyond juridical adoption. The Johannine community said that if the cross, this elevation, led Jesus to the Father, it was because it was a return of the preexistent Son of God to the Father. Logically, that meant participating in the divinity of God. Thus the conviction of the belonging of Jesus to the world of God was elaborated in the Johannine group; and all that Judaism said – not of the Messiah but of the Wisdom, the Word, or the Justice of God as virtues accompanying God for all eternity and used by God to manifest himself to Israel  – the Johannine community took up on its own account to explain and proclaim Jesus, the man of Galilee. We immediately think of the Prologue: “In the beginning was the Word …” ( John 1:1–18) but we also think of “God so loved the world …” ( John 3:16) or the discourse of Jesus with regard to the bonds between Father and Son.13 The Johannine community did not make this reflection on the nature of the Son and his mission independently of its reflection on the destiny of the Church and its believers. The coming of the Son since creation (a creation that he had realized as the creative Word of God) up until the elevation of Easter, is closely associated with the destiny of the chosen people and all of humanity, because the Son is the expression of the paternal love of God for humans. Through the Son, the perverted children of God are called upon to find again their origin.14 The Old Testament episode of the brazen serpent is significant in this regard: the gospel could compare the fate of Jesus on the cross to that of the serpent mounted on a pole in the desert, because when the Israelites turned toward it they were cured.15

4. The Gospel According to John


Alongside the historical ministry, the resurrection of Jesus that was attributed to God thus profoundly marked the Johannine community and allowed it to reread and reinterpret the death of Jesus in the sense of a victory (cf. the crown of thorns16 and Jesus’ preaching on the Kingdom of God in the sense of a revelation of the Son).17 Faith in the resurrection as a powerful motive for the elaboration and rereading of traditions relative to Jesus was further nourished by the conviction that Jesus was from then on both absent and present. Absent, to the degree in which he had returned to the Father, present to the degree in which he supported his own through the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, that is, advocate and counselor.18 The activity of the Paraclete, announced in the farewell discourses of chapters 14–17, was intense in the Johannine community. It explains the liberty with which the discourses of John adapted and completed the received traditions. The bearers of these traditions did not hesitate to put discourses qualifying the role and nature of the Son (the famous “I am”) into the first person singular.19 For them, their own discourses were true and authentic because the resurrected Son, present in the Holy Spirit, spoke through their mouths. When Jesus speaks in the gospel, it is the resurrected Christ who expresses himself through his disciples as much as, if not more than, the historical Jesus. Neither a skeptical nor a spiritual judgment should be drawn from the remarks above. It would be erroneous to believe that John’s gospel shows no interest in history and that the only thing that counts in it is the spiritual or symbolic meaning of the events or pronouncements it reports. The episode of the crown of thorns ( John 19:1–3) clarifies this point. The Evangelist insists on recalling the event and has no doubt of its authenticity. But at the same time he constructs a masterly sequence, the appearance of Jesus before Pilate, in seven episodes, that culminates in the crown of thorns and the purple robe: a discreet but precise allusion to the royalty of Jesus that he will assume on the cross, that is, after his ascension to the Father.20 Historical interest and theological meaning join and complete each other. History and truth are always present in this genesis of John’s gospel which, beginning with the cycle of the Passion, amalgamated the traditions concerning John the Baptist and Jesus: a cycle of signs or miracles that constructed itself; discourses of the Son elaborated from a traditional miracle (the man blind from 16

John 19:1–3. John 5:31–47. 18 John 14:15–31; 15:26–27; 16:7–15. 19 John 6:35 (the bread of life); 8:12 (the light of the world); 10:7, 9 (the door of the sheep); 11:25 (the resurrection and the life); 14:6 (the way, the truth, and the life); 15:1 (the vine). 20 The sequence alternates between scenes outside the Pretorium, in which the Jews are the principal protagonists, and scenes that occur inside, in which Jesus speaks with Pilate ( John 18:28–19:16). The scene of the crown of thorns fourth in the sequence is situated neither outside nor inside, thus occupying its own unique place.  



4. The Gospel According to John

birth, for example in John 9) or from a traditional maxim of Jesus (see Nicodemus, in John 3); a farewell discourse due to which the Johannine community located itself (in the figure of the Twelve) and specified what would be the place of Jesus after Easter ( John 13–17); the account of the Passion and the Resurrection ( John 18–20).21

III. The Essential Message of John’s Gospel

The Prologue, though theological, nonetheless uses an image. In verse 18 we read: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father [εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός] he hath declared him” This image of the bosom we find again in the scene of the Last Supper. The beloved disciple signals this privileges affection through his gesture: he leans on the bosom, this time, of Jesus ( John 13:23). It is obvious that this gesture designates the closest and most exclusive affection. In Biblical conception, knowledge and affection are equal. To know is to love. To know is also to esteem and appreciate. In saying that the only Son is leaning on the bosom of the Father, the gospel specifies the nature of the knowledge that the Son has of the Father, the kind of explanation – literally “exegesis” – that he can give to the one that no man has seen. He loves the Father who also loves Him. They know each other and are united. This verse of the Prologue is one of the most rigorous expressions of Christian exclusivity. However, we must note still another aspect: John’s gospel completes the picture and states that there is also no immediate access to Jesus. If Jesus is the privileged revealer of the Father, because of the affection that unites them, the beloved disciple in his turn, is the revealer of the Son, thus, of Jesus. Certainly the Johannine community did not go so far as to say that no man has ever seen the son, only the beloved disciple, the one who leans on his bosom has known him. It accepts the fact that Jesus had other disciples and that consequently other communities live in contact with Christ through apostolic witness. Nevertheless, it affirms itself in the direct continuity of the Master and the beloved disciple22 and claims for itself the right to exist. If the members of this community collected and transmitted the traditions relative to Jesus, first orally, then in writing, it was for a decisive reason in their eyes: they were convinced that their first guide, their spiritual leader, had received

21 Chapter 21, which concerns the fate of the principle disciples, has an ecclesiological orientation. In the opinion of almost all the exegetists, it is part of the latest stratum of the gospel. Scholars affirm that it was an addition, on account of several indicators. The main one, the end of Chapter 20, is a conclusion and at one time marked the end of the work. 22 The beloved disciple is mentioned in John 13:23–26; 19:26–27; 20:2–10; and 21:7, 20.


4. The Gospel According to John

from Jesus himself the revelation allowing access to God. And since this beloved disciple was dead, it was essential to preserve carefully, orally, and in writing this inestimable heritage. In their eyes, it was no less than a matter of salvation. In addition, this is what is said in the conclusion of the gospel: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” ( John 20:30–31). Intended for community reading as well as for individual reading, reading for edification, and missionary reading, John’s gospel claims to open a door into eternal life because it is the testimony of the beloved disciple collected by his community – a community that lived intimately with a master having himself had this access to and direct contact with Christ. The claim is extreme. We understand that it could not leave Jewish theologians and Roman authorities indifferent. The trustees of the traditions of Sinai and the holders of Roman power could only refuse this message and move toward the trial of Jesus and then the persecution of the Christians. Unless of course they became converts and admitted the truth of the gospel, prepared through the repeated appeals of Christ, Word of God, addressed to Abraham and Moses (since for the Johannine community it is the Son who, from the Creation, collaborates with the Father and who, as Wisdom,23 participates in these first unfruitful efforts of revelation: “And his own received him not” ( John 1:11). For the gospel – the Word made flesh, the incarnation of the Son ( John 1:14) – is the great saving gesture of God who gave his Son for the salvation of the world ( John 3:16). Come among men, the only Son who has seen the Father, who knows who the Father is – what He is, what He wants, what He offers – this Son attests, speaks, cures, gives faith, life, knowledge, sight. All the miracles of the Son are only signs of this new relationship that is offered to believers and that the latter are called to accept through faith.24 We willingly speak of concentration a propos of John’s gospel. And this concentration is explained by the importance of the stakes: all the discussions turn around the person of Jesus. He is the Son, the only access to God. Everything turns around the life he offers, because it is the only truly decisive reality for the readers, the disciples. Everything turns around the truth and this testimony of the Son, transmitted by the beloved disciple because only this testimony can place the faithful on the right way. Obedience to such-and such-a commandment 23

See Proverbs 8:22–30; Wisdom of Solomon 7:21–8:1. To understand what the sign means (miraculous event attesting to the new world) see John 2:11; 4:54; 12:37; 20:30–31. See Xavier L on-Dufour, Lecture de l’Évangile selon Jean (Parole de Dieu; Paris: Seuil, 1988) 208–13, and Wolfgang J. Bittner, Jesu Zeichen im Johannesevangelium. Die Messias-Erkenntnis im Johannesevangelium vor ihrem jüdischen Hintergrund (WUNT 2/26; Tübingen: Mohr, 1987).  



4. The Gospel According to John

of the Law, the attitude of Jesus in such-and-such a circumstance, everything that has to do with detail and contingency is resolutely set aside. It is not experience that matters, nor scholarly knowledge, nor intention, nor good sense, nor traditions, but a message of revelation that cannot be demonstrated and yet imposes itself by its charge of hope, the amount of faith it arouses, the current of love it causes to circulate. The Father loves the Son; the Son is bound throughout eternity to the Father. The Father loves the creation that is his work, a creation realized through the intermediary of the Son. Unfortunately, obscurity, disobedience, hate, violence, and death prevent every human being from acceding to the love of the Father. The supreme act of the Father, following his creative act, is the sending of the Son as final revealer, rejected by his own but welcomed by his disciples, particularly by the beloved disciple. Thus through the apostolic message addressed to men and women, to “us” as the Prologue says,25 is given the power (for knowledge and faith are love and power) to become “children of God” through faith in his name.26 It is this message, in fundamental agreement with the confession of faith of Jerusalem (“Jesus is the Messiah”) and that of Antioch (“Jesus is the Lord”) that the Johannine community somewhere in Samaria, in Syria, and then in Ephesus, addresses to those who would hear. Such is the access to God, the unknown and known God, that no man has ever seen, but that each one can encounter; such is the access to God that, in the obscure fringes of primitive Christianity, the Johannine community offered and continues today to offer; recopied from generation to generation,27 translated and preached, still today28 John’s gospel rallies Christians.


The “we” used twice at the end of the Prologue ( John 1:14, 16). John 1:12. 27 Notice how carefully the text is copied in the oldest manuscript of John’s gospel that has come down to us, the Bodmer Papyrus II in the Bodmer Foundation in Cologny, near Geneva. This manuscript is dated around 200 C. E. 28 Recent works devoted to John’s gospel are innumerable. Aside from the studies relative to the origin of the gospel and Johannine communities already noted, I mention the former analyses of the entirety of the gospel, particularly R. Alan Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: a Study in Literary Design (FF; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983). Two other cases that the reader may find valuable include Jürgen Becker, “Das Johnnesevangelium im Streit der Methoden (1980–1984),” Theologische Rundschau 51 (1986) 1–78; and Xavier Léon-Dufour, “Bulletin d’exégèse du Nouveau Testament. L’Évangile de Jean,” Recherches de Science Religeuse 75 (1987) 77–96.  


5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles

According to Paul’s thinking, there are two classical ways of presenting Jesus Christ. The first insists on Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as redemptive acts (1 Cor 2:2; Gal 6:14, and 2 Cor 4:5). “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). In this line of interpretation, what comes first is not a definition of faith or of righteousness by faith but a narrative of Jesus’ Passion and vindication. The name of Friedrich Büchsel is attached to this theological position.1 The second way underscores the subjective side of Christology, the means by which the message of the cross reaches the believers. What is original in the apostle’s thought is not the historical depiction of Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection, but the manner through which the Word leads the person to pass from unbelief to faith by the manifestation of God’s righteousness. Characteristic passages here are Rom 1:16–17 and 3:21–22: “But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom 3:21–22). This is the path followed by Rudolf Bultmann,2 who refuses the simple narrative of historical facts and considers the recourse to the category of sacrifice as mythological. Only God’s Word has the power to bring the believers to a true understanding of themselves and a pure appropriation of faith. There is a third way, which I suggest here. If we consider Paul’s personal encounter with Jesus Christ and his responsibility as an apostle, it is possible, even advisable, to examine four situations in Paul’s life experience, both personal and social, and to investigate how the apostle develops his own Christology in precise historical situations. The first is the time of his conversion on the road to Damascus. This decisive moment in Paul’s life occurs in the presence of Jesus Christ. It is the time of the apostle’s training – learning of his call to be a disciple, a μαθητής of Christ. The second is the time of Paul’s missionary activity when the apostle preaches and teaches along with the other apostles. Herein is Paul’s period of being an instructor, a διδάσκαλος. The third situation arises when Jewish-Christians attack him

1 Friedrich Büchsel, Theologie des Neuen Testaments. Geschichte des Wortes Gottes im Neuen Testament (2d ed.; Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1937). 2 Rudolf Bultmann, Theologie des Neuen Testaments (3d ed.; Tübingen: Mohr, 1958).


5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles

and criticize his understanding of the Mosaic Law. In this period Paul reflects on the relationship between Christ and the Law. The final period arises when Paul is accused of not having attained a depth of knowledge of Christ through the gift of the Spirit. If the front against the Jewish-Christians is open in Asia Minor and evidence of it is preserved in the epistle to the Galatians, the front against the Enthusiasts is located in Corinth and witnessed in the first epistle to the Corinthians. As Paul’s biography makes clear, these two confrontations occur around the same time, around 50–55 C. E., while his conversion to Christ occurred around 34 C. E., leaving his missionary activity somewhere in between.

“For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Phil 1:21) Jesus Christ introduces a division of time in the life of Paul. There was a before and an after to the meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus. The cause of this decisive turning point was not a heroic depiction of Jesus’ death but a divine intervention, a Christophany. Paul gives an account of this event in Gal 1:13–17, Phil 3:7–11, and perhaps Rom 7:18–25. Before this meeting with the risen Christ, life for Paul was a time of obedience to the Mosaic Law, of belonging to the Pharisaic movement, and of polemic against the Christian communities. After this event came communion with Christ, the discovery of the gospel, the gift of freedom, the acceptance into the Christian church, and subsequent missionary activity, particularly among the Gentiles. Three terms help to characterize this new period in Paul’s existence. The first term is rupture. Christ becomes a source of drastic rupture for Paul on the way to Damascus: Paul’s Jewish life was suddenly broken. It is no longer the obedience to the Law but the righteousness by faith that dictates Paul’s own life. The second term is totality. It means that the whole life of Paul has changed drastically. The change was not gradual, but brusque and sudden. It tells also how global Jesus Christ’s input was in the apostle’s life. Everything that does not belong to Christ belongs now to the past. Everything that survives is transfigured. Paul died to the Law, and from now on Christ is Paul’s life: “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:19–20). “Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Phil 3:7–9). The third term is exclusive service. As answer to Christ’s intervention in his life, Paul accepts the role of “servant.” He recognizes this bond when he says, “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting,


5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles

for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). This relationship between the Lord and his servant is for Paul not a source of subordination but a source of freedom, of liberation from old bonds. Paul feels more responsible for others than before, and he claims to be in communion with Christ. In summary, Jesus Christ for Paul the recent convert, the new Christian, has been a cause of an existential rupture and the source of a totally new life. Jesus Christ remains a constant, loving, and authoritative Person. He has been the content of the revelation and is at the origin of Paul’s Christian faith and apostolic ministry. Divine calling and divine election are inexplicable without Him. Without Christ, Paul would not have reached the true faith and would not have been baptized.

“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again …” (1 Thess 4:14)

Jesus Christ, who had such a personal impact on Paul, is not an unknown deity, not an ἄγνωστος θεός, whom the apostle would be the first to reveal. Even if Paul insists on the direct link that connects him to Christ (Gal 1:1, 12), he recognizes that his Lord is the same as the Lord of the primitive church. Direct revelation, like the one on the road to Damascus, can live side by side with the human witness and the ecclesiastic traditions, whether liturgical (1 Cor 11:23), ethical (1 Thess 4:1), or doctrinal (1 Cor 15:3–5). Paul can affirm that liturgical elements, as human expressions, nevertheless came “from the Lord” (1 Cor 11:23). This reasoning explains why Paul does not hesitate to use and to quote creeds and hymns of the first communities. He shares with “those who were already apostles before me” (Gal 1:17) not only a treasure of traditions but also a cluster of Christological convictions. With them, he believes that it is more important to know Jesus Christ’s work of redemption than the exact identity of the Lord’s person and that behind Jesus Christ’s tragic destiny is the agenda of the benevolent God of Israel. “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19): Christ’s event is embedded in God’s will. In other words, God’s righteousness expresses itself in terms of grace and love (see Rom 3:24; 5:15). This theological program does not arrive unexpectedly but constitutes the result of the prophecy inscribed in the Hebrew Bible (see Rom 3:21 and in 1 Cor 15:3–4 the double mention “in accordance with the Scriptures”). In harmony with the church, Paul believes that Jesus came in an act of obedience and love (see Gal 4:4; Phil 2:6–7; Rom 8:3–4; 2 Cor 8:9). In agreement with the church, he knows that Jesus was crucified and that this death can be interpreted as an act of redemption (Rom 3:24–26); that God on the third day has vindicated His Son (1 Cor 15:3–5).


5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles

“For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Rom 10:4) Paul had to fight a Christian form of religion that he could not accept. According to his Judaizing opponents, God’s promises are exclusively for Israel; a form of obedience opposed to the freedom that the apostle has discovered in Christ is required from every Christian. For these adversaries, the obedience to the Law in its external and ritual requirements is still valid; circumcision is the permanent mark of election; the death of the Messiah is a sacrifice only for the people of God and not for the nations. Acts 15:1–5 and the epistle to the Galatians give us a glimpse into the doctrinal position of these adversaries. What is, in this polemical context, Paul’s Christological emphasis? First, the apostle’s answer is extremely harsh. His adversaries’ gospel is not another gospel; it is not a gospel at all (Gal 1:6), because it brings the believers back to slavery (Gal 4:9–10). Second, insisting so much on the obedience to the Law (Gal 4:1), these people do not understand the Hebrew Scriptures. They are not able to give a Christological interpretation of the Law, nor do they know how to distinguish prescription and promise, old and new covenant, flesh and spirit. Third, they do not realize the importance of righteousness through faith and have doubt in the eschatological power of Jesus’ death. The result is that, according to their view, Christ died in vain (Gal 2:20–21; see also Gal 5:2). Paul, on the contrary, places his pride in Christ and in Christ crucified (Gal 6:13–14). This is the σκάνδαλον, the offense of the Cross. It should not be removed, nor marginalized, for the Lord Jesus Christ “gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal 1:3–4; see also Gal 3:13; 4:4–5). Through His sacrifice on the cross Christ liberates human beings and offers them adoption. Such is the core of Paul’s Christological message in his fight against the Jewish-Christians.

“Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption …” (1 Cor 1:30) On the other front, Paul had to fight the Enthusiasts in Corinth, extremists who would underscore only the freedom and the presence of the divine spirit.3 These opponents do not appreciate any allusion to the Cross, and they take pleasure

3 The adversaries I consider here are Paul’s opponents depicted in 1 Corinthians: people from inside the community who believe to have already reached the fullness of wisdom and life. I believe that Paul’s opponents depicted in 2 Corinthians come from outside the community and have another vision of Jesus.


5. Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles

in πιθοῖς σοφίας λόγοις (“plausible words of wisdom,” 1 Cor 2:4), a preaching centered on the wisdom of God. Paul’s reaction is as harsh here as it was against the Jewish-Christians. To assimilate the Christian κήρυγμα with human wisdom, albeit slightly, is to pervert it completely. As they erase the value of the Cross, Paul’s Corinthian adversaries transform the gospel into a human teaching. Paul does not fear to consider the Cross as a failure and the Christian message as an apparent foolishness, a μωρία opposed to any human wisdom (1 Cor 2:6). But this apparent foolishness is in fact the real wisdom because it is connected with God’s power and God’s Spirit. Finally Christ is himself the true incarnation of God’s Wisdom. He offers access to God, and He is the only one to offer it. He brings this gift while He ends any effort to reach righteousness by oneself. If humanity accepts the Christian way, a way that refuses any human wisdom and knowledge, then humanity may have communion with God. Christ may reach these people coming to them through His Spirit. Therefore this life in Christ is not only suffering and foolishness, but through them the way of wisdom, the only σοφία for the perfect (1 Cor 2:6–16). If Christ is for the apostle Paul the end of the Law, He is also the beginning and the core of wisdom.

6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology: Revelation

I. Confession of Faith Both Old and New

In conclusion to his work,1 in order to summarize the sum and substance of the message he was eager to communicate, the author of the fourth gospel uses an archaic confession of faith in keeping with the Christian faith of the Church of Jerusalem: this book, he writes, was written “so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” ( John 20:31). The objective, therefore, is to make one “believe” (πιστεύω) and to manifest Jesus, the Christ – that is, the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God of the divine promises.2 Jesus is presented very differently in the body of the gospel, however. Without being nonexistent, the classical Christological titles are scarce and new epithets are what appear. Christ’s traditional roles – the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the use of parables, or expiatory suffering – recede in favor of new roles: the gift of life, elevation, and glorification.3 Both this faithfulness to the traditional heritage and this originality in the reformulation are explainable: to keep alive the Gospel he received, John considers it indispensable to rewrite it in fresh language accessible to his readers. Faithfulness runs the risk of newness. The Gospel must be updated, and this can occur because of the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, in the Johannine Church. The first epistle gives an account of an analogous phenomenon in the ethical domain when it speaks of a commandment at once old and new (1 John 2:7–8).4  

1 It is with gratitude that I offer the English version of these pages to the memory of D. Mariano Herranz Marco. They were first published in French in a volume in honor of Jean Zumstein: “Un chapitre de théologie johannique: la révélation,” in Andreas Dettwiler and Uta Poplutz (eds.), Studien zu Matthäus und Johannes / Études sur Matthieu et Jean. Festschrift für Jean Zumstein zu seinem 65. Geburtstag / Mélanges offerts à Jean Zumstein pour son 65e anniversaire (ATANT 97; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2009) 335–344. I also wish to thank Fr. Paul Dupuis for his fine translation. 2 See Jean Zumstein, L’Évangile selon saint Jean (13–21) (CNT 4b; Geneva: Labor et fides, 2007) 294–297. 3 See Raymond Edward Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John (ABRL; New York: Doubleday, 2003) 284–287. 4 See Pierre Bonnard, Les Épitres johanniques (CNT 2/13c; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1983) 41–43. One must recall here the attention that J. Zumstein pays to the notions of rereading,


6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology

II. From Book to Person It is necessary to specify that what must lead to faith is not the gospel of John itself. The letter is powerless, and Christianity is not a religion of the Book. No, it is the person of Jesus who draws humans and wins them over to the Gospel. The Son does not achieve this only by his past fate, for a historical event that took place far from believers has no intrinsic salvific virtue. He achieves this by the ever-topical statement of his words and the durable description of his acts. By his testimony and the remembrance of his symbolic acts.5

III. The Revealing

The evangelist who thus presents Jesus in an original way is persuaded that God has truly revealed his Son, but that he has not done so by logical demonstrations or touching descriptions. The number and choice of expressions selected for determining the reality of the revelation are significant here. First, there is the vocabulary of the manifestation: “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed [φανερόω] his glory; and his disciples believed in him” ( John 2:11). By this verb the evangelist points out that by revealing himself, Jesus is also showing something other than himself, and is referring to God who is above all things visible.6 The presentation of Jesus thus takes the form of a testimony. Not only an eyewitness’ narrow form, but also – and especially – the broader one of a witness of a truth that transcends the framework of history. “But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that thee Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me” ( John 5:36). Christ testifies by his acts and by his words. The testimony is moreover reciprocal: the Son testifies concerning the Father as the Father testifies in favor of his Son.7 More unusual than the verbs “to reveal” or “to testify,” is the vocabulary of the explanation, in particular the Greek verb ἐξηγέομαι, “to explain” from which the English word exegesis is derived. Following the Prologue’s astonishing formulation, the Son explains, or comments on, the Father: “No one has ever seen

reinterpreting, adapting, and updating; see J. Zumstein, Kreative Erinnerung. Relecture und Auslegung im Johannesevangelium (ATANT 84; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2004). 5 See Rudolf Bultmann, Theologie des Neuen Testaments (UTB 630; Tübingen: Mohr, 1980) 412–422; Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 303–304. 6 See P. G. Müller, “φανερόω κτλ.” EWNT III (1983) 988–991. 7 Concerning the notion of testimony, see Isabelle Donegani, “À cause de la Parole de Dieu et du témoignage de Jésus …”: Le témoignage selon l’Apocalypse de Jean; son enracinement extra-biblique, sa force comme parole de sens (EtB 36; Paris: Lecoffre, 1997); Johannes Beutler, “μαρτυρία,” EWNT II (1981) 964–968.


6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology

God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” ( John 1:18). The verb “to explain” recalls, on the one hand, the exegetical task of the rabbis to explain the Law of God, and on the other hand, the responsibility of the prophets and theologians called upon to counter false images of Gods.8 The very enumeration of these verbs points out one of the revelation’s characteristics: if such attitudes – revelation, witness, and explanation – are necessary, it is because the world of God escapes our senses and depends neither on objective definitions nor on an obviousness that cannot be ignored. Jesus’ linguistic and gestural interventions prove nothing. They direct our attention and invite us to run the risk of an encounter, of a discovery.

IV. The Human Welcome

To the richness of the revelation vocabulary corresponds the abundant harvest of verbs which recalls its human reception. Following the biblical tradition, these verbs appeal to hearing: “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” ( John 5:24).9 But – a special Johannine touch – they also imply sight, intelligence, and even will. No less than three verbs specify various aspects of the way believers look at God and his Son. The simple “to see” (ὁράω) in John 11:40, for example, exceeds natural vision: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? Then the verb “to contemplate,” or “to admire” (θεάομαι): “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory” ( John 1:14). And finally, “to consider,” “to contemplate” (θεωρέω): “This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life” ( John 6:40).10 This gaze of faith is capable of going beyond evidence, all the while admiring the given, and understanding what it is contemplating. For the time being, this look anticipates what the Hebrew Scriptures promised for the future: the vision of God. Through all of this listening and discovering, the faithful know, experience, and understand God and the divine world. Johannine faith has a strong intellectual component, not that of a non-religious, rational intellectuality, but rather of a religious, spiritual one. “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize (γινώσκω) that ‘I am’ he, and that I do nothing on my own” ( John 8:28).

8 On the verb ἐξηγέομαι see Ceslas Spicq, Lexique théologique du Nouveau Testament (Fribourg [Suisse]: ditions universitaires de Fribourg, 1991) 531–533. 9 See Gerhard Schneider, “ἀκούω, ἀκοή,” EWNT I (1980) 126–131, particularly 128–129. 10 See J. Kremer, “ὁράω, κτλ.,” EWNT II (1981) 1287–1293, particularly 1290; See also Rudolf Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes (KEK 2; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986) 45 note 1, which, it seems to me, wrongly considers that the evangelist uses the verbs concerning sight without distinguishing them from one another.


6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology

This knowledge is also polemical. Where Greeks remain in ignorance, Christians know. Where Jews go astray, Christians understand. They are convinced of the theological truth of God the Father, the only God, in an ambiance where polytheism has honorable followers; of the only Son, the Word incarnate, in the face of a monotheism that is anxious about any rift in the unicity of its God; and finally convinced of the presence of the benevolent Spirit, advocate, Paraclete, in a world where superstition was especially concerned about evil spirits and the best way of exorcising them.11 Finally, the Johannine Christ appeals to the will when he expects from his disciples something other than an ephemeral discipleship. They have kept (τηρέω) the Word and remained (μένω) in his love.12 At the end of the first century, it was not only a question of becoming, but of remaining Christian, despite criticism (polemics coming from Judaism), harassment (aggressiveness of the pagans), and discouragement (personal weariness).

V. A Modest and Ambitious Project

Just as the Word of God imposed radical limitations upon himself by becoming human ( John 1:14), so also has divine revelation limited its means. The evangelist expresses this voluntary modesty in various ways, principally in the humanity of Jesus, more emphasized than in the other gospels.13 In the fourth gospel the almighty Son weeps over his friend ( John 11:35) and suffers from thirst ( John 19:28). The shadow of his cross is carried upon his entire existence (already seen in John 1:29–36). Defined as his “hour,” his death is the only admitted aim of his life.14 The human precariousness of what the Son lives and says only represents one side of John’s gospel. The other side must be described as an ambitious kerygmatic and theological project. The evangelist does not skimp on means when it comes to presenting the truth of the revelation or the vivifying power of the Son’s word. He draws all possible advantage from the religious vocabulary of

11 See George Johnston, The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John (MSSNTS 12; Cambridge [UK]: University Press, 1970); Zumstein, L’Évangile selon saint Jean (13–21), 82 and 132–133; Ricardo Rábanos Espinosa and Domingo Muñoz Le n, Bibliografía Joánica: Evangelio, Cartas y Apocalipsis 1960–1986 (Biblioteca Hispana Bíblica 14; Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient ficas, 1990) 1605–1654. 12 See Harald Riesenfeld, “τηρέω, κτλ.,” TWNT VIII (1969) 139–145; Jürgen Heise, Bleiben. Menein in den Johanneischen Schriften (HUT 8; Tübingen: Mohr, 1967). 13 See Günther Bornkamm, “Zur Interpretation des Johannesevangeliums. Eine Ausemandersetzung mit E. Käsemanns Schrift, ‘Jesu letzter Wille nach Johannes 17,’” EvTh 28 (1968) 8–25. 14 See Giuseppe Ferraro, L’“ora” di Cristo nel quarto Vangelo (Aloisiana 10; Rome: Herder, 1974).


6. A Chapter of Johannine Theology

his time, in its glimmer and prolixity, to put his hero in the limelight.15 Here are three manifestations of this theological ambition, of what must rightly be called Johannine “triumphalism”: a) The signs (σημεῖα) operated by Jesus are more glorious than the miracles of the synoptic gospels.16 They manifest a power such that the enemy pulls back and that death itself must admit defeat. According to the fourth gospel, this is what happened at the moment of the arrest: “When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they stepped back and fell to the ground” ( John 18:6). This divine force is manifested to the highest degree in the narrative of Lazarus’ resurrection, the unfolding of which emphasizes the Son’s irresistible victory over death itself. “When he had said this, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth” ( John 11:43–44).17 b) To the power of Jesus must be added his knowledge. The predictions he formulates attest to an omniscience which detects the slightest desires of the heart.18 Nathanael experienced this ( John 1:47–50). This superhuman knowledge of the Son equally encompasses persons and what they think, as well as events and their imminence. c) Discretely pointed out in the synoptic gospels, the relationship between Jesus and God is widely proclaimed in John’s gospel. There Jesus is not only the Son of God, the Son in the absolute sense (υἱός), the only-begotten Son (μονογενής), but he is also with God (πρὸς τὸν θεόν, repeated in John 1:1 and 1:2), so close in fact that he anticipates in divinity (καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, John 1:1). When Thomas reached the end of his disbelief, he found nothing other to confess than: “My Lord and my God ( John 20:28). Divine in nature – like Hebraic Wisdom (Prov 8:22–36; Wis 7:21–8:1) which served as a model for this divine image of the Son – the Son is preexistent and, in this state anterior to the incarnation, he created the world in accord with his Father’s will ( John 1:3).19

15 See C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge [UK]: University Press, 1968). 16 For a more detailed discussion on signs, see chapter 8 of this book. 17 Margaret Stevenson defended a doctoral thesis at Harvard relative to the resurrection of Lazarus in its relationship to the trial of Jesus within the ideological contexts of false prophecy, imperial claims, magic, and ethnic identity. See Margaret Low Stevenson, “This Man Does Many Signs” ( John 11:47). Controversies over Raising the Dead (Ph.D. Harvard University, 2010). 18 On the omniscience of a divine man in Antiquity, see Ludwig Bieler, θΕΙΟΣ ΑΝΗΡ. Das Bild des “göttlichen Menschen” in Spätantike und Frühchristentum (2 vols. reprinted in 1 vol.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1976) 19 See Zumstein, L’Évangile selon saint Jean (13–21), 291–292; numerous bibliographical references in Ricardo Rábanos Espinosa and Domingo Muñoz Le n, Bibliografía Joánica: Evangelio, Cartas y Apocalipsis 1960–1986, 1160–1357.


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VI. A Misunderstood God

The revealing will of John does not correspond to Marcion’s, for example. There is no question of revealing a God till then unknown – the good God hidden by the demiurge – who would have been quite capable of making himself known. Nor is it a question of repeatedly calling back to mind the ancient manifestation of Sinai, according to the retrospective look of Pharisaical rabbinism. No, there is no question of an unknown God, nor of a well-known God, but of a badly known and misunderstood God. As God gives himself to be known by intermediaries, it is therefore around these intermediaries that the debate will revolve. And Johannine theology is clear on this point: if the Law has come to us through Moses, God’s grace and truth are offered to us through Jesus Christ ( John 1:17).20 Though Moses was able to feed the Israelites with manna, only the Son can offer the bread of heaven, the true nourishment, to his people ( John 6:30–35).21 The evangelist regrets that Israel is bypassing God’s truth. He is persuaded that the Hebrew Scriptures direct the believing mind toward the true God, but contemporary Jewish readers are closing themselves off to the proper understanding of the biblical texts: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf” ( John 5:39).22 To understand the Scriptures and to know God would be to understand them and to know him as is fitting, by his eschatological revealer, Jesus, and no longer by the written Law or a particular prophet. In this sense, Jesus Christ is the truth ( John 14:6), not the truth in itself, but in that it attests to the truth of God. The revealer plays the lead role, but he does not represent a new God. Like the New Testament as a whole, John’s gospel shies away from making the divinity of Jesus explicit. He insists on conserving for the Son his role as witness, who as the end of his testimony withdraws behind the one who matters in priority, God the Father. In summary, Jesus, “the one whom you do not know,” stands “among you” ( John 1:26). He was sent by the Father, a badly known God whose love for the world ( John 3:16) yearns to be recognized for what it is. In the narrative mode which integrates imposing discourses into the story, John’s gospel presents the true revealer and the true mediator.


On John 1:17 see Rudolf Schnackenburg, Das Johannesevangelium (4 vols.; HThNT 4; Freiburg [i.B.]: Herder, 1965) 1:252–253. 21 See Wayne A. Meeks, The Prophet-King: Moses Traditions and Johannine Christology (Supplements to Novum Testamentum 14; Leiden: Brill 1967). 22 On the Holy Scriptures in the Fourth Gospel, see Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 133–142, 147–49, and 258–59.


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VII. Revelation as Salvation The sending of the Son and the manifestation of the glory of Jesus bring not only faith and knowledge, but also – and especially – salvation and life. The images of the famous “I am” declarations attest to the link between the knowledge that Jesus brings by his words and the life that accompanies them.23 The metaphors of a shepherd, a door, and water or bread express realities that maintain, protect, give or renew life. The function of the miracle stories is not to astound the reader. Far from being demonstrations of intrinsic power, they manifest the love of the one who looks after life. And the life that God communicates does not coincide with our physical existence. Nor is it totally separated from it. It is the same God who gives us the breath of life and eternal life. This eternal life is familiarity with God in the midst of our daily life – a life which anticipates the kingdom and continues beyond death.24

VIII. The Language of the Revelation The link between revelation and salvation presupposes a certain understanding of language. We have noted that the evangelist was able to pass from traditional Christian language to original formulas of faith. It does not follow that words are of little importance and that all that counts is the Sache (“matter”), the contents of the good news. Unwittingly nominalist, our society excessively separates language from reality. On the contrary, John is convinced of the force of words: in his eyes the word operates what it expresses.25 But then again, language must be in agreement with the God who gives words the force they need, and to ears the force to hear them with attention. This is not always what happens. The Johannine controversy and the use of misunderstandings attest that if God’s language hits the target, human language can skid and even derail. There exists a bad use of the best words and best images. The evangelist is well aware that the religious language of his day has recourse to metaphors of bread, water or wine, to shepherds or weddings. To take up these images again will be simultaneously to accept their legitimate desire, to unmask their powerlessness, and to attest to their vital power. Johannine language is often dualistic, because an empty metaphor becomes misleading. You might as well foil

23 See Eduard Schweizer, EGO EIMI. Die religionsgeschichtliche Herkunft und theologische Bedeutung der johanneischen Bildreden, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Quellenfrage des vierten Evangeliums (FRLANT 56; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1939). 24 See Josef Blank, Krisis. Untersuchungen zur johanneischen Christologie und Eschatologie (Freiburg [i.B.]: Lambertus-Verlag, 1964); C. F. D. Moule, “The Meaning of ‘Life’ in the Gospel and Epistles of John: A Study in the Story of Lazarus, John 11:1–44,” Theol 78 (1975) 114–125. 25 Earl Richard, “Expressions of Double Meaning and Their Function in the Gospel of John,” NTS 27 (1985) 96–112.

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impostures and not be satisfied with confiscating magic words. Bad shepherds are no longer shepherds, but wolves; truth is opposed to lies. By its adequacy for God and its persuasive force, the word of Jesus communicates life, as the apostle Peter testifies – it is a question of the Johannine rereading of Peter’s synoptic confession: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16 par.): Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” ( John 6:68).26

IX. The State of the World

Antithetical pairs – such as light and darkness, truth and lies, life and death – are not particular to the fourth gospel. They are to be found in many religious testimonies of the period. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide numerous examples of this, and therefore, within Jewish literature. With John they play a double role: as we have noted, in their positive part they point out an aspect of Christian revelation. In their negative half – and this is what it is fitting to add here – they testify to the disastrous situation of the world (κόσμος), a term which in the fourth gospel at first designates humanity, then also englobes the whole of Creation.27 Revelation is necessary because darkness has invaded the universe.28 These negative energies deploy real power. Instead of thinking of necessity, astral powers, and demonic forces, it is suitable to put the depraved responsibility of humans in first place. Without speaking of it often, John considers that sin alienates humanity and particularly affects God’s beneficiaries. Unfortunately opening up the way to an anti-Semitic interpretation, the evangelist gives the Jews as an example of the risk one runs in knowing God. In his eyes – and John meditates the rejection of the historical Jesus by Israel – the Jews demonstrate the distortion of God’s project, a wrong reading of Scripture. What is their fault? It is not moral but religious. They did not want to recognize in Jesus the Son, the envoy of the revealer, and thus of the Father. They wanted to kill him, which could not be a form of obedience to the Law. They shut themselves off to the accomplishment of the promises; they took the shadow for the prey, the type for the antitype. They believed they were the descendants of Abraham, and thus of God’s lineage. Tragically, by their sin – but this holds for all humans – they changed fathers. They are henceforth submitted to the Evil One and have tragically become the children of the Devil. Ungrateful and homicidal, all humans walk in darkness ( John 8:12) and judge from a human point of view, “walking in the flesh,” and not according to God ( John 8:15). To get out of this situation it is necessary to

26 See T. Worden, “‘Seigneur, à qui irions-nous?’ ( John 6:68),” Concilium 50 (1969) 105–181; Rudolf Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes, 343–44. 27 See Horst Balz, “κόσμος,” EWNT II (1981) 765–773, particularly 772–773. 28 See Hans Conzelmann, “σκότος,” TWNT VII (1964) 424–446, particularly 444–446.


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accept to be drawn out of evil by Christ ( John 6:44 and 12:32). It is necessary to follow Jesus and to rejoin the Father. Chapter 8 of John is tremendously hard.29 Not hard out of spite, but out of realism in view of the havoc wreaked by evil in the world. Before the above-mentioned implacable development upon the descendants of Abraham ( John 8:31–59), we witness first a verbal joust. The Pharisees inquire ironically: “Then they said, to him, ‘Where is your father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also’” ( John 8:19). The evangelist refuses to speculate on the origin of sin, as the episode with the man born blind proves ( John 9:1–7). For him, there is only one present assessment: to voluntarily close oneself off to Christ’s message is to choose sides; it is to accept the triumph of lies, violence, and death. A certain necessity is obvious, but in the way an avalanche is provoked by an imprudent skier.

X. The Decisive Present

To speak of the decisive instant, of the present when one, takes sides, is to recognize the eschatological  – and therefore ultimate and decisive  – character of the Son of God’s coming to earth.30 The Son’s “hour,” the importance of which the evangelist unceasingly recalls, counts not only for him but for all humans. It marks the culmination of the revelation that condemns evil and offers deliverance. Three adverbs attest to the eschatological value, in the chronological and existential sense, of the Son’s work. First, now (νῦν). All is at stake now: the hour of judgment, the expulsion of Satan, the offer made to the world, the occasion to grasp, and even the resurrection.31 “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” ( John 5:25). Already (ἤδη) corresponds to the now. The adverb presupposes the Jewish hope for the Kingdom and the resurrection. The ultimate goods are anticipated in the life, ministry, and death of Jesus. By welcoming them, believers (men and women) are already pure ( John 15:3); unbelievers, already judged ( John 3:18).32

29 Rudolf Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes, 260–261, 209–214, 264–269, 332–339, 238–245, 225–226, 246–247, 226–227, and 247–249. 30 See the works of Bultmann, Dodd, and Blank mentioned in note 5, 10, 15, and 24. 31 See Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes, 401–402, 430, and 456 note 4; Zumstein, L’Évangile selon saint Jean (13–21), 50; Andreas Dettwiler, Die Gegenwart des Erhöhten: eine exegetische Studie zu den johanneischen Abschiedsreden ( Joh 13,31–16,33) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung ihres Relecture-Charakters (FRLANT 169; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995) 127–212. 32 See Rolf Peppermüller, “ἤδη,” EWNT II (1981) 281–282.


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In a little while (ἔτι μικρόν) specifies and corrects the now by removing from it all triumphalist coloring ( John 14:19).33 “A little while, and you will no longer see me” ( John 16:16). This now is also the time of Christ’s absence, of the persevering waiting for the resurrection, of the worrisome crossing  – “but take courage, I have conquered the world!” ( John 16:33) – and of persecution ( John 15:20), the time during which the Paraclete, the substitute for the Son, supports the faithful ( John 16:7–15). For the gospel of John, present time is therefore both the time of eternal life, which has already begun – (“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” ( John 11:25–26) – and the time of the practice of love ( John 15:12–17) in a still hostile historical context ( John 15:18). This double nature of present time – presence of Christ united with his absence, the brutality of the real, and the sweetness of the Paraclete, this awaiting of the one who in fact is always present – preoccupied the Johannine community. An irrefutable proof of this is the explicit way in which Christ specifies the meaning of “in a little while” in Chapter 16. “Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, ‘Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me?’ Very truly I will tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; and you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy” ( John 16:19–20).

Conclusion The cosmos is lying in darkness, lies, and death. Yet God has tried to reach humans by speaking to Abraham and resorting to the intervention of Moses. These efforts were misunderstood and did not succeed. Being proleptic, they retained a typological value – that is, they anticipate the coming of Christ and outline the contours of salvation in advance. Knowing that he was misunderstood, the Father sends his Son who, by his revelation, will correct the deformed image of God. The gospel of John gives witness to this divine being who, having become man, himself gave witness to the author of the salvation of the world. This witness comes under a certain type of language, one that is less demonstrative and injunctive than persuasive and performative. It is at the same time modest and ambitious. Modest, because inasmuch as it is language, it is only a collection of words. Ambitious, because it has recourse to all of language’s resources, affirmations, evocations, narrations, dialogues, parables, metaphors, misunderstandings, ironic statements, etc. Ambitious especially by the project it has and the force it contains once it has become word. Zumstein, L’Évangile selon saint Jean (13–21), 142 and 144–145.  


7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy

I. Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Perspectives

Traditional historiographical reconstructions of early Christianity often resemble the following: Christianity arose out of Jesus’ teaching, destiny, and intention. The early Church grew out of his installment of twelve apostles and the privilege he gave to one of them, Peter. Unity was the key mark of the first Christian movement. The book of Acts gives us a fair picture of these blessed beginnings, when the Spirit filled the hearts of early disciples and the Christian mission began to spread in concentric waves out from Jerusalem. Tensions and divisions were exterior threats: Simon Magus posed the first danger to the early community. He was followed by other opponents such as Cerinth in the second century. To strengthen the Church, Jesus had established his twelve apostles as pillars and, in turn, they appointed elders in every city. The monarchist system of authority – first clearly visible in Ignatius of Antioch’s letters – grew organically out of the early Jerusalem Church. Similarly, the conception of an apostolic succession as attested in the first Letter of Clement, then by Hegesippus, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, was the natural outcome of the authority of the Twelve after their death. The normative presence of sacraments such as baptism and Eucharist, and the selection of holy books of the New Covenant assured visibility and signified Christian identity to the catholica, orthodox and catholic at the same time. The authority of local bishops, the validity of their historical and legal successions, the normativity of the common creed, and the recognition of the Scriptures (law and prophets), the Lord (words and deeds), and the apostles (through their writings) constituted true Christianity: opponents were either Jewish teachers, Greek thinkers, Roman authorities, or Christian opponents – dubbed “heretics” beginning in the middle of the second century.1 As soon as orthodoxy was firmly established (i.e. as soon as a definition and a practical application were instituted), Justin Martyr wrote a book – now unfortunately lost to us – entitled Against All the Heresies. Justin’s work was the first of what would become a literary genre: other texts, written by Hegesippus, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and

1 On the history of the word “heresy” see Nobert Brox, “Häresie,” RAC 13 (1986) cols. 256–59.


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Epiphanius are analyzed by A. Hilgenfeld2 and Alain Le Boulluec,3 and were designed to equip Christians to counter Marcion, Valentinus, Montanus and others whose teachings now fell into the category of heresy. Such is one of the most powerful historiographical reconstructions of early Christianity. Most of its elements were accepted as providential history by the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches. Protestant historiography received most of the construction, but resented some elements of the evolution, such as the establishment of the monarchic episcopate, which has been categorized as decadence and as a decline from the early blessed beginnings. But many churches and even secular historians today still accept the broad scale of this presentation of Christian origins. The development of historical science and historical-critical methods in the nineteenth century – particularly in Germany among Protestant scholars – shook this construction, and new readings of the primary sources provoked dramatic new versions of the first centuries of Christianity. Through a symptomatic typo, a scholar recently mentioned the name of F. C. Bauer as the most influential historian of this new approach. It is true indeed that Ferdinand Christian Baur in the second half of the nineteenth century and Walter Bauer in the first half of the twentieth century proposed the most radical revisions of the historical development of ancient Christianity.4 Instead of relying on Providence, these historians built on primary sources that they gathered carefully and devotedly, and were the first to recognize the diversity of early Christian communities as well as the struggles of early Christians to reach their own identity. Unity of the Church was not a point of departure, but a goal – the tentative attempt to reach a harmonious synthesis: a Petrine and a Pauline wing in the case of F. C. Baur, the success of militant orthodoxy, i.e. the triumph of the Roman “heresy” over more archaic ecclesiological tendencies, in the case of W. Bauer.

2 A. Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristentums urkundlich dargestellt (Leipzig: Fues, 1884; Reprint Damstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1966). 3 Alain Le Boulluec, La notion d’hérésie dans la littérature grecque IIe–IIIe siècles (2 vols.; Paris: Études augustiniennes, 1985). 4 See Ferdinand Christian Baur, Kirchengeschichte der drei ersten Jahrhunderte. Vol. 1 of Geschichte der christlichen Kirche (3d ed.; Tübingen: Fues, 1863) [English: Church History of the First Three Centuries (trans. Allan Menzies; 3d ed.; London: Williams and Norgate, 1878–79)]; Walter Bauer, Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum (ed. Georg Strecker; 2d ed.; BHTh 10; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1964). The first edition appeared in 1934 and the second edition was translated into English under the title Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (eds. Robert A. Kraft and Gerhard Krodel; Mifflintown, PA: Sigler Press, 1996; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971, 1979; London: SCM, 1972). One might also mention Ernest Renan, Marc Aurèle et la fin du monde ancien (5th ed.; Histoire des origines du christianisme 7; Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1883), A. Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristentums urkundlich dargestellt, and Louis Duchesne, Histoire ancienne de l’Église (3 vols.; Paris: de Boccard, 1923–1929).


7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy

II. Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Question of Definition

Recent discussions on the topic of orthodoxy and heresy cannot be viewed from their correct perspectives without recognizing the historical and intellectual background of the period between 1850 and 1950. During this historical evolution there was a change in the definition of the terms “orthodoxy” and “heresy.” For many centuries, orthodoxy and heresy could be written without quotation marks. They designated objective realities perceived in a normative framework. But at the beginning of the twentieth century, a sociological approach was inserted into the study of religion and even theology. For instance, in his Soziallehren, Ernst Troeltsch suggested a sociological definition of “sect.”5 Similarly, other scholars began to reject the term “orthodoxy” as a descriptor of an absolute and normative truth, but preferred to speak of a historical and contingent reality, namely the victorious dogmatic position of the catholica, the mainstream Christian Church of late antiquity. Similarly, they no longer despised “heresy” but considered it a possible designation for a religious movement that fought against the catholica with arms as sophisticated and legitimate as those chosen by the theologians in the so-called Great Church. These new definitions took away some of the weight that normative authority imposed on the shoulders of believers as well as scholars. More freedom was also granted to historical and theological inquiries. In any case these new definitions provided the opportunity to undertake a double task. First, Robert L. Wilken – and he would be followed by many – decided to deconstruct the history of the early Church. Under the title The Myth of Christian Beginnings, he confronted the mythological establishment of orthodoxy with the facts as he saw them.6 Instead of stability he posed change. Instead of harmonious memory he discovered the need to forget. Instead of apostolic immutability he brought to light the construction of a sacred and normative first generation of Christians. The Gospel of Luke and the book of the Acts, written at the end of the first century C. E., have been critically scrutinized by him as well as by many other scholars. Luke, their common author, has been attacked for his ideological orientation. Does he not refuse to acknowledge conflicts among the first Christians? Does he not impose an original unity where variety was dominant? Does he not implicitly inscribe the Christian movement within the boundaries of the Roman Empire? This scholarly suspicion went so far that some recent historians of early Christianity are inclined to reduce to the maximum the


Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1912). Robert Louis Wilken, The Myth of Christian Beginnings: History’s Impact on Belief (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971).  


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impact of this primary source. Such is the case of John Dominique Crossan, and of Ron Cameron and Merrill P. Miller.7 The second task was to reexamine the ancient heresies. This investigation was imperative since Walter Bauer’s suggestion in 1934 of a total reversal in the traditional understanding of orthodoxy and heresy, and the discovery in 1945 of the Nag Hammadi Library. This task had to be accomplished in two ways. First, one needed to show the variety of orthodox attacks against the heresies. This was accomplished by Alain Le Boulluec in his philologically and historically sound doctoral work from Paris IV: La notion d’hérésie dans la littérature grecque, IIe–IIIe siècles.8 Le Boulluec demonstrates that Justin relies on the model of the philosophical schools and their intellectual orientation, without considering them the origin of Christian heresies. Meanwhile, Hegesippus turns his attention to Judaism and the several Jewish “sects”  – called “heresies” by the historian Josephus9 – to explain the birth of the first Christian heresies. Irenaeus – offering a third solution – attributes the source of Christian heresies to paganism.10 Behind these efforts11 there is a bundle of common doctrine, an early orthodoxy, stronger than Walter Bauer had imagined. The second way was to read afresh the ancient heresies: Klaus Koschorke12 and Jean-Pierre Mahé13 were able to describe the point of view of the “other,” the Valentinians and other so-called “gnostic” movements, and to discover their efforts against the early catholica. These groups criticized the hierarchical structure and particularly the function of the bishop, the physical nature of the baptismal and Eucharistic sacraments (which they argued should be more spiritual), the absence of ethical requirements,14 and more broadly the disastrous confusion

7 John Dominique Crossan, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999); Ron Cameron and Merrill P. Miller, Redescribing Christian Origins (Symposium 28; Leiden: Brill, 2004). 8 See also Norbert Brox, “Häresie,” cols. 256–77. 9 Josephus, B. J. II.; A.J. XIII.171.288.293; Vita 10 Irenaeus, Hegesippus, and Tertullian consider that the succession of the bishops is the warrant of the orthodox doctrine; see Robert L. Wilken, The Myth of Christian Beginnings, 41–46, and Enrico Norelli, “Papias de Hiérapolis a-t-il utilisé un recueil ‘canonique’ des quatre évangile,” in Gabriella Aragione, Éric Junod, and Enrico Norelli, eds., Le Canon du Nouveau Testament. Regards nouveaux sur l’histoire de sa formation (Le monde de la Bible 54; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2005) 35–85, particularly p. 84. 11 Le Boulluec (1985) also examines Clement of Alexandria and Origen; see his volume 1:249. 12 Klaus Koschorke, Die Polemik der Gnostiker gegen das kirchliche Christentum. Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Nag-Hammadi-Traktate “Apokalypse des Petrus” (NHC VII,3) und “Testimonium Veritatis” (NHC IX,3) (Nag Hammadi Studies 12; Leiden: Brill, 1978). 13 Jean-Pierre Mahé, “L’élitisme gnostique et la souillure de la Grande Église d’après les écrits de Nag Hammadi,” in Hans-Dietrich Altendorf et al., eds., Orthodoxie et hérésie dans l’Église ancienne. Perspectives nouvelles (Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie 17; Lausanne: Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 1993) 65–99. 14 The Nag Hammadi Codices show a more ascetical than libertinist moral ideal; see JeanPierre Mahé, “L’élitisme gnostique,” 78.


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in their eyes between the Creator of the world and the unknown God. The latest fruit of these inquiries is an intellectual and even spiritual rehabilitation of the early Christian heresies. The Gospel of Judas allows certain scholars to qualify positively this new voice.15 But even before that, Elaine Pagels was able to receive spiritual comfort from the Gospel of Thomas, just as many Christians had read and appreciated previously the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of John.16 Karen L. King has recently shown that the opposition of “orthodoxy” and “heresy” is still behind much of recent scholarship and that this opposition is not useful in understanding ancient texts such as the Apocryphon of John or ancient religious movements such as Montanism.17 She presents impressive lists of similarities between the work of Irenaeus and the Apocryphon of John as well as lists of differences, and claims that these similarities and these differences are better explained in terms of identity formation. It is also not per chance that the question of the Christian canon of the New Testament has been connected to the question of the first heresies.18 There is indeed a Canon Debate19 related to the presence – or absence – of an emerging orthodoxy in the second century. For me, the primary intellectual contribution of the recently published Gospel of Judas is the historical evidence of well-established positions. The author of this “heretical” (according to Irenaeus) gospel attacks with determination from his own “orthodox” point of view the main trends of the catholica: baptism, Eucharist, ministry, creation. This feeling of superiority expresses itself in the laugh of the Savior as judgment of the inferiority of his lost twelve disciples. A surprising hypothesis comes from Hans-Dietrich Altendorf: after a survey of German scholarship, including Walter Bauer, Carl Andresen, and Hans von Campenhausen, he wonders if a fixed definition of “orthodoxy” is not the result

15 See Marvin Meyer, “Judas and the Gnostic Connection,” The Gospel of Judas (eds. Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst; Washington D. C.: National Geographic, 2006) 137–69; Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King, Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity, (New York: Viking, 2007). 16 See Pagels, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (New York: Random House, 2003). 17 Karen L. King, What is Gnosticism? (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2003); “Social and Theological Effects of Heresiological Discourse,” Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity (eds. Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Zellentin; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008) 28–49; “Which Early Christianity?” The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (eds. Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David Hunter; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008) 66–84. 18 See Christoph Markschies, “Époques de la recherche sur le canon du Nouveau Testament en Allemagne: quelques remarques provisoires,” in Aragione et al., Le Canon du Nouveau Testament, 11–34, particularly p. 32; Norelli, “Papias de Hiérapolis a-t-il utilisé un recueil ‘canonique’ des quatre évangile,” 76. 19 Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders, eds., The Canon Debate (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002).

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of the Protestant Reformation!20 Not without a correct perception of the facts he noticed that there was a claim by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Athanasius to possess the truth and to know what the ὀρθὸς λόγος was, but that instead of filling rationally these words the church fathers preferred to speak of mystery and to follow what became the famous via negationis of the Byzantine period. I would agree myself and say that already in the New Testament we find a tendency to reach a strict doctrinal position,21 or in short, a desire to establish orthodoxy, but despite a cautious treatment, the impossibility of filling concretely the prepared boxes. In other words: there is, until the time of Irenaeus (Haer., 1.10), a strong kerygma – not an imposing doctrine. This strong Christian kerygma becomes in the time of Irenaeus, or two generations later in the work of Cyprian, a creed that can be explained, but not a doctrinal elaboration. Even the orthodox writings of the Cappadocians or of Augustine can be considered more as inquiries into the Christian mystery rather than rational elaborations of Christian doctrine.

III. Scholarly and Theological Agreement

In the second half of the twentieth century a certain agreement was reached among scholars and theologians. Both groups – if one may use this simplification – recognized evidence of a third century C. E. (perhaps even earlier) historical and tangible, strong reality: Christian communities existed, scattered across the Roman Empire and even beyond. They had a strong identity with a regular system of worship, a social organization, and an established boundary separating them from Jewish synagogues, Greek and Roman associations, and other religious groups such as Marcionites, Valentinians, Montanists, and Manicheans. From a scholarly as well as a theological point of view one can speak of an early catholica, an addition of congregations  – even better  – an association of local churches fighting for development or survival, identity, unity and truth.22 These communities most likely developed an orthopraxis rather than an orthodoxy. Disciplina was the Latin correct translation of the Greek διδαχή.23 Faith

20 See Altendorf, “Orthodoxie et hérésie: réflexions provisoires” in Orthodoxie et hérésie dans l’Église ancienne, 125–40. For the survey of previous German scholarship, see Bauer, Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum; Carl Andresen, Die Kirchen der alten Christenheit (Die Religionen der Menschheit 29, 1/2; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1971); Hans von Campenhausen, “Einheit und Einigkeit der alten Kirche,” in Urchristliches und Altkirchliches. Vorträge und Aufsätze (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1979) 1–19; von Campenhausen, Die Entstehung der christlichen Bibel (BHTh 39; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1968); and Hans von Campenhausen, Kirchliches Amt und geistliche Vollmacht in den ersten Jahrhunderten (BHTh 14; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1953). 21 See Brox, “Häresie,” col. 278. 22 See Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (The Pelican History of the Church 1; London: Hodder and Stroughton, 1968). 23 Altendorf, “Orthodoxie et hérésie: réflexions provisoires,” 132–33.


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in Jesus, the crucified and risen Lord, and respect for the martyrs constituted the core of a religion established on the Scriptures of Israel, living in the world but claiming not to be of the world. Even if these Christians had ceased to expect an imminent parousia of their Lord, they felt themselves foreigners on earth and were expecting a spiritual kingdom of God, reachable after death and expected through a final regeneration of the old creation. In order to establish their doctrinal position or to defend it in the face of others, these orthodox Christians used exegesis, the interpretation of their Scriptures  – the Old Testament, and slowly the New Testament.24 I mentioned earlier that this stabilization occurred in third century C. E. I must say here that some scholars insist on the weight of the political power in the Roman Empire in establishing theological norms and practical concretizations of truth. It is clear that the role of the emperors in progressively imposing Christianity – a particular form of Christianity – upon the Empire facilitated the victory of orthodoxy over heresy. In my opinion however, orthodoxy was established before Christianity became a privileged and then an official religion. The best evidence of this is the existence of the early catholica in the third century, mentioned above. A second point of agreement concerns Christianity’s beginning: the beginning consisted of plurality and variety.25 Unity was not a given, but a goal. Jesus’ saying in John 17:11 (ἵνα ὦσιν ἕν, “so that they may be one”) – an expression quoted on the mosaic of the main chapel of the World Council of Churches in Geneva – was already for the author of the fourth Gospel, as for all early Christians, a wish and a program, not a given reality. It is not by chance that a strong aspiration toward unity appears in Christian literature of the second or third generation: the Gospel of John, the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Epistles written by Ignatius of Antioch. Just as ancient Jewish sects did not hesitate to have several synagogues in the same city (in Jerusalem or Rome, for example), so early Christianity (being itself a Jewish sect in the beginning) developed multiple churches throughout region: a church of the Twelve in Jerusalem; a distinct church of the Seven also in Jerusalem, then in Antioch; a Johannine community, perhaps in Bethany, then in Samaria, then in Ephesus; a Christian-Jewish church of Jesus’ family led by James, the Lord’s brother; a Galilean group reading the Source of the Logia; an East Syrian church collecting the sayings of Jesus that we read in the Gospel of Thomas. In his Marc Aurèle, Renan recalls Celsus’ strong impression and reaction when confronted with the many divisions among Christians.26


See Alain Le Boulluec, La notion d’hérésie dans la littérature grecque IIe–IIIe siècles, passim, and Alexandrie antique et chrétienne. Clément et Origène (ed. Giuseppe Conticello; Études augustiniennes. Série Antiquité 178; Paris: Études augustiniennes, 2006) 197–219. 25 See François Vouga, Le christianisme à l’école de la diversité. Histoire des premières générations (Poliez-le-Grand: Le Moulin, 2005) and Chapter 1 of this volume. 26 Marc Aurèle, 361.


7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy

From these two major points of agreement  – the original variety of early Christian groups and the reality in the third century of an organized catholica – new questions can be asked, new research can be generated, and new controversies will also arise. The postmodern intellectual situation of the present time can only encourage these new quests and new diverging conclusions.

IV. Orthodoxy in the Plural

In the second half of the twentieth century the majority of theologians still believed in a universal truth. The best way to grasp this truth was first to follow historians in accepting the structure and identity of ancient Christianity (more or less what I gave as a summary of the third century C. E. catholica); second, by remaining faithful to one’s denomination and taking the best of it according to the conscience of one’s own local culture and national limitations; third, to add to that double heritage one’s own contribution, usually in dialogue with the present cultural situation. The best example of this process I have found in my life is the person and writings of Karl Barth, in his last years of teaching in Basel. Today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century the variety of orthodox claims no longer surprises or offends postmodern students. If they wish however to remain Christian theologians they will have to explain such a plurality of truths. Unfortunately, a polarization exists that poses the risk of blocking this reflection. While all face the plurality of orthodoxies, some face it with resignation and share only a minimal hope for a minimal portion of truth. This attitude of modesty and resignation is well represented in the academy (even if the Latin word veritas is inscribed on Harvard University’s flag, few faculty members express their intention in seeking the term “truth”). Out of fear and defensiveness there is another opposing risk, well represented in the churches: namely, holding firm to one’s own doctrinal tradition. This position can represent an honorable attempt to maintain carefully one’s own roots. But it can also lead to fanaticism, exclusivism, or integrism. There are – to complete the tableau – those who, neglecting the notion of orthodoxy, prefer the term heresy.27 A tendency toward esotericism, a form of elitism, a certain disdain for the vulgum pecus, an allergy against doctrinal statement, and hesitation in facing the Creator lead these people to unfold and defend this cause. Greek, Russian, and Romanian divinity students, I suppose, learn today what orthodoxy means, as ecclesiological and doctrinal reality. With or without the support of Rublev’s icon they are introduced to the mystery of the Trinity, and through their participation in the liturgy they have the best teaching concerning

27 See for example, Gert Lüdemann, Ketzer: Die andere Seite des frühen Christentums (Stuttgart: Radius, 1996) which favorably views the so-called heresies of Late Antiquity.


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the sacraments.28 French, Spanish, and Italian Catholic seminarians are taught the Thomist synthesis of Augustinian theology and Aristotelian philosophy.29 German or Scandinavian students in a class of theology from Luther to Schleiermacher listen to the intellectual destiny of seventeenth-century Lutheran orthodoxy.30 The same is true of Swiss, Dutch, and Scottish divinity students confronted with Reformed Orthodoxy.31

V. The Overlap of Orthodoxies and a New Definition of Heresy Recent doctrinal agreements, such as the Concorde entre Églises issues de la Réforme en Europe (1973) between the Lutherans Churches, the Reformed Churches, the United Churches (a union between Lutherans and Reformed in some regions of Germany), as well as the Chiesa Vladese in Italy and the Moravians, respect denominational differences but insist on ecclesiastical communion.32 Through the Affirmation de Reuilly (1999), the Anglicans joined these churches and reached with them an agreement on the Word of God, the Sacraments, and ministry. The same year the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Association produced a common declaration concerning the doctrine of righteousness by faith (1999). Using the Lutheran notion of “capital article” and the Roman Catholic “hierarchy of truths” these two major denominations were able to reach a consensus. In the past the “fundamental difference” was the decisive argument making any substantial agreement impossible. Today they have given up the dream of complete harmony and tolerate their differences. In doing so, however, the authors of those arguments do not follow in the footsteps of the skeptics. For them, the variety of social, historical, and confessional locations does not imply the renunciation of any effort toward common faith and shared knowledge. The best solution under the circumstances is, in a time of globalization, respect for each doctrinal identity and the search for common theological convictions

28 An excellent introduction to Orthodox theology has been written by Christos Yannaras, in La foi vivante de l’Église. Introduction à la théologie orthodoxe (trans. Michel Stavrou; Théologies; Paris: Cerf, 1989). 29 See Jean-Pierre Torrell, Initiation à saint Thomas d’Aquin. Sa personne et son œuvre (2d ed.; Vestigia 13; Fribourg, Switzerland: Éditions universitaires, 2002). 30 See Ernst Wolf, Peregrinatio (2 vols.; München: Kaiser, 1962–1965) and Markus Matthias, “Orthodoxie, I. Lutherische Orthodoxie,” Theologische Realenzyklopädie (eds. Gerhard Krause and Gerhard Müller; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1995) 25:464–85. 31 Olivier Fatio, “Orthodoxie, II. Reformierte Orthodoxie,” Theologische Realenzyklopädie 25: 485–97. 32 “Concorde entre Églises issues de la Réforme en Europe (Concorde de Leuenberg),” Positions luthériennes 21 (1973) 182–89.

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and ethical requirements. The most important factor now is to share a common core of doctrine. If the goal of a total, scholarly, and finally abstract agreement is abandoned and if differences remain, a new category is introduced that becomes decisive: a consensus différencié (“differentiated consensus”). To quote the recent statement of a Protestant theologian much involved in these discussions, André Birmelé: Toute différence séparatrice doit être transformée afin qu’elle perde son pouvoir séparateur et devienne une différence légitime. Le caractère séparateur est dépassé lorsque cette différence fondamentale est portée par le consensus fondamental, un consensus fondamental qui – l’exemple de la DCJ [Déclaration commune concernant la docrine de la justification] l’illustre  – veut être compris comme étant un «consensus différencié.» Every difference that separates must be transformed in order to lose its separating power and to become a legitimate difference. The separating character is overcome when this separating difference is held by the fundamental consensus which – the example of the Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Righteousness illustrates the point here – will be understood as a “differentiated consensus.”33

In an attempt to adapt this perspective to the opposition between “orthodoxy” and “heresy,” I suggest calling this attitude and this solution a quest for the “overlap of orthodoxies.” This term can imply the differences between the doctrine of righteousness by faith that exists between Protestants and Catholics, the ecclesiology between Catholic and Orthodox, the tension between eternal punishment and universal salvation, Christology and the reevaluation of Nestorius and the Antiochian tradition, the legitimate claim to share the Scriptures with Israel, Jesus in the New Testament and in the Qur’an, or Christian and Buddhist ethics. This perspective on dialogue, with its emphasis on possible overlaps between orthodoxies that heretofore conflicted with one another will necessarily compel Christian theologians to develop a new definition for the term “heresy.” As in the case of the term “sect” in Troeltsch’s Soziallehren, “heresy” will be considered either a sociological category used to describe, for example, the Valentinian doctrine viewed from the early Catholic perspective; or a persistent theological category. In this latter case, following the new vision of overlapping orthodoxies, the word “heresy” will be used less easily and will be limited in its use to what can be called “impaired positions.” To give a doctrinal definition of an impaired position one will have to find criteria. These will include the absence or refusal of any overlap with traditional orthodoxies, ethical lack of truth, shaking the com-

33 André Birmelé, La communion ecclésiale. Progrès œcuméniques et enjeux méthodologiques (Paris: Le Cerf and Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2000) 274.


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mon good, and natural reasoning (such as tyrannical leadership, irrational enrollment, refusal of medical care, financial abuse, absence of speaking the truth). The most important reflection of the present international situation will consist of religion and peace. Orthodox thinking will, in the future, refer to a religion that rejects any desire to solve the world’s political problems through violence or force. Heresy will be characteristic of religious, ethical, social, and political attitudes increasing the risk of war, the presence of violence, explicit or institutional, and wounding nature in its human, animal, vegetal, and material identity.

Bibliography Ancient Texts (according to chronology)

The New Testament, particularly 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; 1, 2 and 3 John; and 2 Peter Josephus, Bellum judaicum (B. J.), Jewish Antiquities (A.J.), Vita (Vita) Justin, Dialogue with Trypho (Dial.) Gospel of Thomas Gospel of Judas Irenaeus, Adversus haereses (Haer.) Nag Hammadi Codices Early Christian Apocryphal Literature Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum (Praescr.) Hippolytus [?], Omnium haeresium refutatio (=Philosophoumena = Elenchos) Epiphanius, Panarion (Pan.) Filastrius of Brescia, Liber de haeresibus Augustine, De haeresibus (Haer.)

Altendorf, Hans-Dietrich. “Orthodoxie et hérésie: réflexions provisoires.” Pages 125–40 in Orthodoxie et hérésie dans l’Église ancienne. Perspectives nouvelles. Lausanne: Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 1993. (Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie 17). –. “Zum Stichwort: Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum.” ZKG 80 (1969) 61–74. Andresen, Carl. Die Kirchen der alten Christenheit. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1971. (Die Religionen der Menschheit 29,1–2). Aragione, Gabriella, Éric Junod and Enrico Norelli, eds. Le Canon du Nouveau Testament. Regards nouveaux sur l’histoire de sa formation. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2005. (Le monde de la Bible 54). Bauer, Walter. Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum. 2nd edition by Georg Strecker. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, [1934] 1964. (BHTh 10). The first edition appeared in 1934 and the second edition was translated into English under the title Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. Edited by Robert A. Kraft and Gerhard Krodel. Translated by the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins. Mifflintown, PA: Sigler Press, 1996. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971, 1979. London: SCM, 1972.  

Modern Studies


7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy

Baur, Ferdinand Christian. Kirchengeschichte der drei ersten Jahrhunderte. Vol. 1 of Geschichte der christlichen Kirche. 3d ed. Tübingen: Fues, 1863. English: Church History of the First Three Centuries. 3d. edition. Translated by Allan Menzies. London: Williams and Norgate, 1878–79. Benoît, Jeanjean. “L’élaboration du discours antihérétique dans l’Antiquité tardive.” Heresis: Revue d’Histoire des Dissidences européennes 44–45 (2006) 9–36. Birmelé, André. “Un progrès décisif après trente années de dialogue entre luthériens et catholiques: la Déclaration commune à propos de la doctrine de la justification.” Positions luthériennes 45 (1997) 280–95. –. La communion ecclésiale. Progrès œcuméniques et enjeux méthodologiques. Paris: Le Cerf and Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2000. Boyarin, Daniel. Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. Brox, Norbert. “Häresie.” RAC 13 (1986) cols. 256–77. Burrus, Virginia. The Making of a Heretic: Gender, Authority, and the Priscillianist Controversy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995. Cameron, Ron and Merrill P. Miller. Redescribing Christian Origins. Leiden: Brill, 2004. (Symposium). Campenhausen, Hans von. Kirchliches Amt und geistliche Vollmacht in den ersten Jahrhunderten. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1953. (BHTh 14). –. Die Entstehung der christlichen Bibel. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1968. (BHTh 39). –. “Einheit und Einigkeit der alten Kirche.” Pages 1–19 in Urchristliches und Altkirchliches. Vorträge und Aufsätze. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1979. Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church. London: Hodder and Stroughton, 1968. (The Pelican History of the Church 1). –. Heresy and Orthodoxy in the Early Church. Aldershot: Variorum, 1991. (Variorum Collected Studies Series C5 342). “Concorde entre Églises issues de la Réforme en Europe (Concorde de Leuenberg).” Positions luthériennes 21 (1973) 182–89. Crossan, John Dominic. The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999. Duchesne, Louis. Histoire ancienne de l’Église. 3 vols. Paris: de Boccard, 1923–1929. Dunn, James D. G. Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry Into the Character of Earliest Christianity. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977. Fatio, Olivier. “Orthodoxie, II, Reformierte Orthodoxie.” Theologische Realenzyklopädie 25 (1995) 485–97. Edited by G. Krause and G. Müller. Fédération luthérienne mondiale et Église catholique romaine. “Déclaration commune à propos de la doctrine de la Justification.” Positions luthériennes 45 (1997) 255–79. Harnack, Adolf von. Das Wesen des Christentums. With a foreward by Rudolf Bultmann. Siebenstern-Taschenbuch, München, and Hamburg: Siebenstern Taschenbuch Verlag, 1964. English: What is Christianity? Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1978. Hilgenfeld, A. Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristentums urkundlich dargestellt, Leipzig: Fues, 1884. Reprint Damstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1966. King, Karen L. What is Gnosticism? Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2003. –. “Social and Theological Effects of Heresiological Discourse.” In Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity. Edited by Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Zellentin. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. (Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum 119).

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–. “Which Early Christianity?” In The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. Edited by Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David Hunter. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. (Oxford Handbooks). Koester, Helmut. History and Literature of Early Christianity. 2nd ed. New York and Bonn: de Gruyter, 2000. (Foundations and Facets: New Testament). Koschorke, Klaus. Die Polemik der Gnostiker gegen das kirchliche Christentum. Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Nag-Hammadi-Traktate “Apokalypse des Petrus” (NHC VII,3) und “Testimonium Veritatis” (NHC IX,3). Leiden: Brill, 1978. (Nag Hammadi Studies 12). Le Boulluec, Alain. La notion d’hérésie dans la littérature grecque IIe–IIIe siècles. 2 vols. Paris: Études augustiniennes, 1985. –. Alexandrie antique et chrétienne. Clément et Origène. Études augustiniennes. Edited by Giuseppe Conticello, Paris: Études augustiniennes, 2006. (Série Antiquité 178). Lüdemann, Gert. Ketzer: Die andere Seite des frühen Christentums. Stuttgart: Radius, 1996. Mahé, Jean-Pierre. “L’élitisme gnostique et la souillure de la Grande Église d’après les écrits de Nag Hammadi.” In Altendorf 1993, 65–99. Marjanen, Antii and Petri Luomanen, eds. A Companion to Second-Century Christian “Heretics.” Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005. (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 76). Markschies, Christoph. “Époques de la recherche sur le canon du Nouveau Testament en Allemagne: quelques remarques provisoires.” In Aragione 2005, 11–34. –. Die Gnosis. München: C. H. Beck, 2001. Matthias, Markus. “Orthodoxie, I, Lutherische Orthodoxie.” Theologische Realenzyklo pädie 25 (1995) 464–85. Edited by G. Krause and G. Müller. Meyer, Marvin. “Judas and the Gnostic Connection.” Pages 137–69 in The Gospel of Judas. Edited by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst. Washington D. C.: National Geographic, 2006. McDonald, Lee Martin and James A. Sanders, eds. The Canon Debate. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002. Norelli, Enrico. “Papias de Hiérapolis a-t-il utilisé un recueil ‘canonique’ des quatre évangiles.” In Aragione 2005, 35–85. Orthodoxie et hérésie dans l’Église ancienne. Perspectives nouvelles. Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel: Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 1993. (Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie 17). Pagels, Elaine. Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. New York: Random House, 2003. Pagels, Elaine and Karen L. King. Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. New York: Viking, 2007. Renan, Ernest. Marc Aurèle et la fin du monde ancien. 5th ed. Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1883 (Histoire des origines du christianisme 7). Robinson, Thomas A. The Bauer Thesis Examined: The Geography of Heresy in the Early Christian Church. Lewiston: Mellen, 1988. (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity 11). Thomassen, Einar. “Orthodoxy and Heresy in Second Century Rome.” HTR 97 (2004) 241–56. Torrell, Jean-Pierre. Initiation à saint Thomas d’Aquin, I, Sa personne et son œuvre. 2d ed. Fribourg, Switzerland: Éditions universitaires, 2002. (Vestigia 13). Troeltsch, Ernst. Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1912.  


7. Rethinking Orthodoxy and Heresy


Vouga, François. Le christianisme à l’école de la diversité. Histoire des premières générations. Poliez-le-Grand: Le Moulin, 2005. Wilken, Robert L. The Myth of Christian Beginnings: History’s Impact on Belief. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971. Wolf, Ernst. Peregrinatio. I: Studien zur reformatorischen Theologie und zum Kirchenproblem. München: Kaiser, 1962. –. Peregrinatio. II: Studien zur reformatorischen Theologie und zum Kirchenrecht und zur Sozialethik. München: Kaiser, 1965. Yannaras, Christos. La foi vivante de l’Église. Introduction à la théologie orthodoxe. Translated by Michel Stavrou. Paris: Cerf, 1989. (Théologies).

Suggested Readings

(For complete reference information on the readings below, see the entries under “Modern Studies” in the Bibliography) Walter Bauer ([1934] 1964) Alain Le Boulluec (1985) Norbert Brox (1986) Karen L. King (2003)

8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven*

In the beginning the early Christians were members of a Jewish sect; they knew Israel’s Scriptures and remembered their master’s teachings. They knew that God gave signs to his people during the foundational Exodus (Deut 6:22), that he even began his campaign of signs earlier by offering Noah the rainbow after the deluge (Gen 9:12–16), and the circumcision to Abraham after the election (Gen 17:9–13), and that he continued to establish visible signs of his invisible presence. The prophets Elijah, Elisha and Isaiah were his agents and witnesses (1 Kgs 13:3–6: the altar was torn down and the oil was poured out; 2 Kgs 19:29: times of trials were coming; 20:8–11: the shadow retreated ten intervals). These indicators that cast meaning upon the present also point to the future: the names that the prophet Hosea chose for his children announced God’s interventions (that a daughter was called Lo-ruhamah – which is to say Not Loved [or Not Pitied] – served as an oracle of misfortune, Hos 1:6).1 When the apocalyptic wave spread, the Wise Men received visions (see Dan 7, 8 and 10) and interpreted the signs (see Dan 5:5–30) concerning the time of the end (see Dan 8:17).2 Signs not only help one to understand, but also bolster faith when the faithful do not perceive any divine voice, or when they discern only dark clouds on the horizon. They also fulfill another function: when voices rise up and are contradictory, signs manifest and confirm the authority of God’s envoy. But discernment of spirits is necessary, for false prophets walk alongside real ones and they, too, accomplish symbolic acts. As members of Israel, the Christians dreaded the absence of signs (Ps 74:9) and hoped for new ones (Sir 36:6).3

* Translated by Fr. Paul Dupuis. 1 On the signs and miracles in the Hebrew Bible, see Georg Fohrer, Die symbolischen Handlungen der Propheten (2d ed; Zurich: Zwingli, 1968), Carl A. Keller Das Wort OTH als “Offenbarungszeichen Gottes”: Eine philologisch-theologische Begriffsuntersuchung zum Alten Testament (Basel: Hoenen, 1946), and F. Stolz “ ’ôt Zeichen,” in Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament (Munich-Zurich: Kaiser / Theologischer Verlag, 1971) 1:91–95. 2 On the signs of the sky in the apocalyptic tradition, see D. S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, 200 BC–AD 100 (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964) 271–276; John C. Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader (Resources for Biblical Study 45; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005) 106–132. 3 On the theological scope of signs, see Gerhard von Rad, Theologie des Alten Testaments. Die Theologie der prophetischen Überlieferungen Israels (Einführung in die evangelische Theologie; Munich: Kaiser, 1960) 2:108–119, 288 and 371; von Rad, Théologie de l’Ancien Testament.


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

They remembered their master, Jesus of Nazareth, as well as his rejection by the authorities of Jerusalem. They particularly remembered him denying those authorities’ request for a sign. Faithful in this respect to Israel’s tradition, Jesus had not wanted to legitimize suspicion (Mark 8:11–12). Signs support faith, not doubt. They are given by divinity (Mary received one, Luke 1:36), but are not offered to those who doubt. When the absence of signs threatened, Jesus made use of his prophetic authority and brought about a sign in the form of bread and wine, upon which he conferred lasting value. Whereas the Sabbath was established as a sign of God (Exod 31:16–17) that recalls both the alliance with Israel and the creation of the world in six days, the last supper was instituted to mark the new alliance in the death of the Messiah. Baptism accompanied it as a ritual of incorporation, much like circumcision had acted as a ritual of incorporation. In the nascent church, as in Israel, certain signs prolonged the καιρός – the eschatological moment – and institutionalized the charismatic irruption. The sign may become ritual.4 Thus far in these introductory remarks, I have sought to present a type of “common denominator” for early Christian conceptions of signs. However, one must respect the variety of opinions from the moment the early Christian church became plural. At the risk of oversimplifying or even of erring, I believe that just as there were multiple synagogues in cities such as Jerusalem and Rome without Israel’s unity being threatened, so the early Christian communities did not comprise a single entity.5 Next to the Aramaic church of the Twelve in Jerusalem (Acts 1–5) was the Greek-speaking church of the Seven, which spread in Judea and then in Syria – Antioch in particular (Acts 8:1 and 11:19–30). It was to this Hellenistic wing that the apostle Paul originally belonged before spreading his wings and establishing his own churches in Asia, Greece, and into the West. Jesus’ family seems to have formed a separate group that insisted on blood ties. If Peter played a leadership role among the Twelve and their acolytes, then James, the Lord’s brother, took charge of Jesus’ family. Somewhere in Galilee, disciples of Jesus maintained the master’s presence in the rural world and continued to demand a rigorous observance of his sayings (this is the community that is constructed behind the Source of the Logia, or in other words, Q). The Johannine group was distinct from these communities and began in Bethany, not far from Jerusalem, only to move on or split up in Samaria before immigrating to Asia Minor. In the Semitic

Théologie des traditions prophétiques d’Israël (trans. André Goy; Nouvelle s rie th ologique 19; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1972) 2:85–87, 237–238, 276–277, 320. 4 On the use of “sign” in the New Testament, see Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, “σημεῖον κτλ.,” TWNT (10 vols. in 11; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1932–1979) 7:199–261. 5 On variety within original Christianity and the plurality of communities, see, among others, François Vouga, Les premiers pas du christianisme. Les écrits, les acteurs, les débats (Le monde de la Bible 35; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1997).


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

world of Eastern Syria, however, it seems that other Christians gave an esoteric interpretation to the teachings of Jesus. Like their companions in Galilee, they especially clung to the maxims of the Savior; they saw in him a master of wisdom who invited people to recover the unity of the human person lost at the time of the Fall. These Christians left a trace of their existence in the Gospel of Thomas.6 It is from this constellation of communities that I am going to seek answers concerning the “signs from heaven.” At the end of the first century of the Common Era, how did these various early churches represent signs, miracles and predictions? When read critically, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Gospels of Matthew and Mark give access to the community of the Twelve in Jerusalem. The same book of Acts, but in other chapters, as well as the Gospel of Luke and the Pauline Epistles, cast a little light on the Church of the Seven (i.e. the Hellenists in Antioch) then on the Pauline communities. As most of our extant sources are indirect and polemical, it is more difficult to open a window on Jesus’ family. If one accepts the hypothesis of the Source of the Logia, then one can reconstruct an essential part of the demands, hopes and beliefs of the Galilean group. The Fourth Gospel and the three Johannine Epistles provide the path to follow in order to meet up with the Johannine community.7 Before beginning this tour, I will note the vocabulary used by early Christians to designate divine interventions destined to direct the faithful, either to explain the present or to announce the future. At the end of this article I will take a brief look at what was taking place in the second century. A few surveys will allow us to point out the position of those we call the Apostolic Fathers and the anonymous authors of certain apocryphal writings. Even though they recount many of Jesus’ miracles, the Synoptic Gospels – which report traditions rooted in the Churches of the Twelve in Jerusalem and of the Seven in Antioch – make use of few generic terms to describe these feats. It is necessary to pay attention to these reminders, mentions or references in order to spot the terms that come to the mind of their author. Luke 4:23 mentions in a general expression “the things that … happened (ὅσα γενόμενα) in Capernaum.” In Matt 13:17 the neuter plural “what” (ἅ) is no more precise. Elsewhere, what Jesus manages to accomplish is due to his “authority” (ἐξουσία, Mark 1:22 par.). In Luke 10:13 the critique of Chorazin and Bethsaida includes the term “deeds of power” in the plural (δυνάμεις) to describe the miraculous signs of Jesus.8 The absence of the term “sign” (σημεῖον) to define Jesus’ miracles in the Synoptic

6 On the origins and the early developments of Christianity, see Etienne Trocmé, L’enfance du christianisme (Paris: Noêsis, 1997). 7 For a critical introduction to these various writings, see Helmut Koester, Introduction to the New Testament 2. History and Literature of Early Christianity (2d ed.; New York-Berlin: De Gruyter, 2002). 8 See also Matt 7:22; 13:54, 58; Mark 6:2, 5, 14; Luke 19:37; Walter Grundmann, “δύναμαι κτλ.,” TWNT, 2:286–318.


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

Gospels raises a question that should be answered. Perhaps the healings and exorcisms of Jesus represent more than “signs” in the eyes of the evangelists – they constitute the beginning of the Kingdom of God (see Luke 11:20: by Jesus’ expulsion of demons, the Kingdom of God has come to humans). Moreover, out of concern for publicity, the authors of the Synoptic Gospels did not voluntarily admit the ambiguous impact that all “signs” bear within themselves (see below). Though they recognized these miracles as such, still the early Christians of Jerusalem and Antioch did not seek to strip them of all semantic value: these deeds of power point to the full realization of the Kingdom of God, just as the mustard seed allows one to foresee the vigorous tree (Luke 13:18–19). When the term “sign” (σημεῖον) appears in the Synoptics, it is often mentioned by Jesus’ adversaries and given a negative connotation:9 as we have seen, to ask for a “sign” from heaven (Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16) attests to a lack of faith (Luke 23:8: during Jesus’ trial, Herod would like to see a “sign” from him). Moreover, Christians and Jews knew that all signs remain ambiguous. False messiahs will also accomplish “signs and wonders” (σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα) (Mark 13:22 par.). And yet this does not prevent the term (σημεῖον) from being used positively in order to indicate actions of Jesus which, having their origin in God, attest to his authority, his mission, and his identity or future coming (see Matt 16:4 par.; 24:30; Mark 13:4). The term also appears to affirm that Jesus himself is a “sign” which directs one’s attention to God (Luke 2:12, 34), to say that the end of time will be preceded and announced by cosmic “signs” (Luke 21:11, 25; Matt 24:29–30), and to announce that Jesus’ disciples will carry on their master’s thaumaturgic activity (in the inauthentic end of Mark, Mark 16:17 and 20). The term τέρας (“wonder,” “miracle”) hardly ever appears in Scripture. When it does, it is most often in the plural in conjunction with “signs,” following Old Testament usage: “signs and wonders” (Mark 13:22 par.; Acts 2:19, 22, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; see also Rom 15:19; 2 Cor 12:12; 2 Thess 2:9 and Heb 2:4).10 The Johannine community does not share the reservations of its sister communities in Jerusalem and Antioch. On the contrary, the author of the Gospel of John prefers the term “sign” to designate actions of Jesus which, in parallel with his words, reveal him as the messenger of God, the Son of the Father, and the Savior of the world (the term σημεῖον, “sign,” appears seventeen times in the Fourth Gospel; see also the three occurrences of the verb σημαίνω, “to signify,” “to indicate”). When they show interest in signs, miracles or predictions, the authors rooted in the other Christian communities of that time – beginning with the apostle Paul and ending with the author of the Gospel of Thomas – give their

9 In the sense of “sign from heaven” or “prediction”, the term σῆμα appears to have become outmoded at the time of the early Christians. It is absent from the New Testament. 10 On τέρας, see Rengstorf, TWNT, 8:113–127.


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

preference to the term σημεῖον, “sign,”11 several times accompanied by the term τέρας, “wonder” or “miracle.”12

I. The Aramaic Church of Jerusalem

Grouped around the Twelve, the Christians of Jerusalem shared a fundamental conviction: they considered that God granted their master, Jesus of Nazareth, the prophetic power of accompanying his teaching with signs and miracles. The stories they told regarding this illustrate and confirm their belief.13 Jesus’ ministry was not limited to words; it also allowed one to see.14 The Christian community retained this saying: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it” (Matt 13:16–17).15 The early faithful conferred a double function upon the prophetic acts carried out by their master. On the one hand, they recognized a mark of authority and proof of his legitimacy in them. On the other hand, they saw in them the announcement of an imminent end of the age, the prolepsis of the Kingdom of God. Far from being accepted by all in Israel, these interpretations were rejected by many. Hence the remembrance of the argument over authority during which Jesus refuses to answer (Mark 11:27–33 par.). And hence the reproach: “You


See below, 88–90. In 1 Cor 12:10, Paul mentions the power that the Holy Spirit gives Christians the ability to work miracles; he then speaks of δυνάμεις, “deeds of power.” See also 1 Cor 12:29 and Gal 3:5. In 1 Cor 12:28, he adds the χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων, the “gifts of healing.” 13 See Gerd Theissen, Urchristliche Wundergeschichten. Ein Beitrag zur formgeschichtlichen Erforschung der synoptischen Evangelien (Studien zum Neuen Testament 8; Gütersloh: Mohn, 1974). 14 In the Egerton Papyrus 2 gospel fragment, Jesus also performs miracles. 15 Divine signs accompanied various stages of Jesus’ life. The Synoptic Gospels point out an eclipse and the tearing of the Temple veil during the crucifixion (Mark 15:13 and 38 par.). Matt 27:51–53 mentions an earthquake and miraculous resurrections on that day. The Gospel of Peter 15–22 also points out extraordinary cosmic phenomena at that hour. Latin Codex k (IVth–Vth century) states that at the third hour, on Easter morning, angels ascended and descended (addition to Mark 16:3). As for Latin Codex a (IVth century), it says that during the baptism of Jesus “an immense light irradiated from the water” (addition to Matt 3:15). This belief is also attested to by Justin (Dial. 88, 1), the Gospel of the Ebionites (Epiphanius, Haer. 30, 13, 7–8) and the Diatessaron (according to Ephrem the Syrian, Commentaire de l’Évangile concordant 4, 5). See Walter Bauer, Das Leben Jesu im Zeitalter der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen (Reprint; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1967) 135; Daniel A. Bertrand, “Fragments évangéliques,” in François Bovon and Pierre Geoltrain, eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, I (La Pléiade 442; Paris: Gallimard, 1997) 403 and 452; Ulrich Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (5th ed.; EKK I/1; Zürich-Neukirchen-Vluyn: Benzinger/Neukirchener, 2002) 214 n. 27.  



8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matt 16:3b).16 The church of Jerusalem believed that this power of accomplishing signs and wonders (the early Christians willingly took up the biblical expression) was transferred to the prophets of the new covenant, to the Twelve in particular.17 New accounts confirm this, such as the healing of the paralytic at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem.18 The descriptions of the miracles respect the literary genre of the gospels, but with one exception: whereas Jesus performs exorcisms and healings thanks to his own sovereign authority, his disciples perform them by relying upon him: Peter says to the lame man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk” (Acts 3:6). To the paralyzed man, he says, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you” (Acts 9:34). It is necessary to insist upon the tensions and polemics that the proclamation of the early Christians sparked within Judaism. Jesus’ adversaries had already demanded that he give them a sign that would legitimize him – it seems that he refused to give it (Mark 8:11–12). Recalling this memory, the apostles interpreted it and modified the maxim: Jesus himself was the sign that was required (the sign of Jonas that was understood to be an allusion to the death of Jesus, Matt 12:39–40 and 16:3, or to the preaching of Jesus, Luke 11:16 and 29–30).19 The mistrust was mutual; Jesus and his disciples were wary of imminent false prophets and warned their community about them: “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be alert; I have already told you everything” (Mark 13:22–23). The battle continued between the true and the false prophet, of which the face-to-face encounters of Elijah with the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18:19–40), and of Jeremiah with Hananiah ( Jer 28:1–17), were the models. The meaning is given by faith alone; without faith, signs remain ambiguous. Each reproached his adversary with being a magician and proclaimed himself a true prophet.20 The punishment that Peter inflicts on Simon after Simon

16 See Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (EKK I/2; Zürich-Neukirchen-Vluyn: Benzinger/ Neukirchener, 1990) 443–445, who considers this passage to be interpolated; François Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (9, 51–14, 35) (CNT 3b; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1996) 310–311 and 318–320. 17 The old narrative of the Pentecost contains a quote from Joel, the fulfillment of which the early Christians claimed to be in their midst: the pouring out of the Spirit of God, the gift of prophecy, dreams and visions, prodigies and signs (Acts 2:17–21, quoting Joel 3:1–5). See Bovon, Luc le théologien (3d ed.; Le monde de la Bible 5; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2006) 233–241 and 579. 18 Acts 3:1–10 (the wonder is performed by Peter and John). A summary (Acts 5 and 12) mentions numerous signs and prodigies accomplished by the apostles. The narrative of Peter’s missionary tour includes the healing of Aeneas at Lydda (Acts 9:32–35) and the resurrection of Tabitha at Joppa (Acts 9:36–43). See Ernst Haenchen, Die Apostelgeschichte neu übersetzt und erklärt (KEK 3; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1959) 284–288. 19 See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, 2:159 and 177–186. 20 Regarding this mutual accusation and this self-proclamation, see Florent Heintz, Simon


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expresses his desire to buy the gift of the Spirit (Acts 8:18–24) recalls that in their ultimate reality, signs are related to faith. The real prophet, the one whose signs tell the truth, is the one whom God has sent: Elijah, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Paul all state and repeat this message. On the contrary, by definition, the false prophet is the one who has not been sent: “Listen, Hananiah,” Jeremiah said to him, “the Lord has not sent you” ( Jer 28:15b). But there you are: no proof can convince the one who doubts. Signs attest but do not prove. Such was the conviction of the Jerusalem community.

II. The Church of the Hellenists at Antioch

« le magician ». Actes 8, 5–25 et l’accusation de magie contre les prophètes thaumaturges dans l’Antiquité (Cahiers de la Revue biblique 39; Paris: Gabalda, 1997). 21 Regarding the Christian community of the Hellenists, see Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003) 206–216, whose position partly diverges from mine. 22 Out of respect for tradition, the evangelist Luke does not eliminate the two apocalyptic discourses which he inherited, the first from Mark and the second from Q. When he incorporated Mark 13 into his work, he mentioned the disciples’ question: “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” (Luke 21:7). He also retained this part of Jesus’ answer: “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11). Then he points out the following: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves” (Luke 21:25).  

The Hellenists were Greek-speaking Jews established in Jerusalem.21 Some of these Jews, such as Stephen the first martyr, or Philip the evangelist, embraced the Christian message. Persecuted in the capital, they found refuge in Antioch. Concerned with the problem of the origins they neglected the question of the end of the age22 and no longer looked to the heavens in order to discover apocalyptic signs. Then they placed the following warning in Jesus’ mouth: “They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set out in pursuit.” (Luke 17:23). Their Christology was a Christology of Christmas and of the Incarnation, whereas that of the church of Jerusalem was a Christology of Easter and of the Resurrection. The one who was in the form of God (Phil 2:6) came to dwell among men. He accomplished signs and wonders (the church of Antioch took for its own the stories that were circulating in Jerusalem), but he effected them less as prophet of the end of the age or as the messiah of Israel, and more as the incarnate Son and Wisdom visiting the earth. However humble he was, Jesus did not completely conceal his divine power on account of it. From time to time he allowed signs of his celestial origin to shine through. The narration of the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28–36 par.) greatly pleased the Hellenists. The other miracles suited them as well. Nevertheless, their reaction was to approve them by glorifying the Son of God rather than the messiah of Israel. Being a miracle-worker, the

8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven


Jesus of the Hellenists indeed took on the characteristics of the Greek heroes, of divine men or inspired philosophers. The Hellenists were readers of the Septuagint and remembered the biblical expression σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα (“signs and wonders”).23 They believed that the divine power that operated actively throughout the Exodus and during the life of Jesus continued to appear in the Church. According to Luke, Stephen was one of their leaders who died as a martyr, being “full of grace and power.” He performed “wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). At the moment of his martyrdom, this same Stephen was granted a vision: “Filled with the Holy Spirit, he … saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).24 According to the same Luke (Acts 21:8), Philip was another Hellenist leader who had four unmarried daughters that prophesied.25 In Greek surroundings, it was apologetically judicious to claim the power of the Spirit and the power of signs for oneself. At the conference of Jerusalem in 48 or 49 C. E. (Acts 15:1–29; Gal 2:1–10), the apostle Paul was part of the Antioch delegation. He was therefore linked to the church of the Hellenists – not to the church of Jerusalem. Having been born in the diaspora and most likely educated in Jerusalem, he was a Hellenist. Was he not a Greek-speaking Jew won over to the Christian faith?26 The memories that Luke retains portray Paul as a missionary endowed with prophetic gifts; the Holy Spirit dwells within him and he performs miracles. At the time of the initial vision of Christ which converts him (Acts 9:3–19), he learns that he will be filled with the Spirit and accompanied by the resurrected Christ (Acts 9:16–17; see Acts 18:9–10). Luke says that Paul was directed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4; 16:6–7) and that he performed miracles during his stopovers: inspired, he unmasks the magician at Cyprus (Acts 13:4–12); attentive, he heals a crippled man at Lystra (Acts 14:8–10); his prayers and songs precede the miraculous prison opening at Philippi (Acts 16:25–34); at Ephesus, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul” (Acts 19:11); at Troas, like a new Elijah or Elisha, he resurrects the young Eutychus who has fallen from the third floor (Acts 20:7–12); the storm on the Mediterranean can not overcome him (Acts 27:13–26), whereas he triumphs

23 On the “signs and wonders” in the Septuagint, see La Bible d’Alexandrie. L’Exode (eds. Alain Le Boulluec and Pierre Sandevoir; Paris: Cerf, 1989) 34, and La Bible d’Alexandrie. Deutéronome (eds. Cécile Dogniez and Marguerite Harl; Paris: Cerf, 1992) 144. The expression first appeared in Exodus (Exo 7:3), became characteristic in Deuteronomy (Deut 6:22; 7:19; 11:3; 13:2; 26:8; 28:46; 29:2; 34:11) and is found elsewhere (Ps 77 [78]:43; 104 [105]:27; 134 [135]:9; Wis 8:8; 10:16; Isa 8:18; 20:3; Jer 39 [32]: 20–21; Dan [Theod.] 6:28; this list is not exhaustive). 24 Regarding the figure of Stephen in Acts, see C. K. Barrett, The Acts of the Apostles (2 vols.; ICC; Edinburgh: Clark, 1994) 302–388, particularly 322–323. 25 See Christopher R. Matthews, Philip, Apostle and Evangelist: Configurations of a Tradition (Novum Testamentum Supplement 105; Leiden: Brill, 2002). 26 For a recent introduction to the apostle and his thought, see Udo Schnelle, Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003).


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

over the insidious viper at the campfire in Malta (Acts 28:1–6).27 Such is the image that Luke, of Hellenist inclination, presents of the apostle. As we shall see, it differs from the one that Paul insists on giving of himself. The disciple depicts the master as a powerful being in word and deed; the master prefers to emphasize his weakness, a sign of faithfulness to his Lord. Both of these first Christian communities – the Church of the Twelve at Jerusalem and the Church of the Seven at Antioch – attribute a positive value to the signs that are manifested by command of their God. For the former, signs are forerunners of an imminent Kingdom; for the latter, they reflect the heavenly powers here below. For the one as for the other, they are visible tokens of the authority conferred by the invisible God. Moreover, while signs give confidence to those who believe, they cannot force adherence on those who refuse to accept them. In both cases they fit into a polemical framework. In Jewish lands, signs faced the scrutiny of religious authorities; in foreign regions, they entered into competition with every manner of oracle.

III. In Galilee, the Christians Who Drew Inspiration from the Source of the Logia

If one admits the existence of this source from which the evangelists Matthew and Luke drew, and if one accepts the hypothesis that situates its origin in Galilee,28 one can then ask the following question: what perception of divine signs did these disciples of Jesus have? These Christians of Galilee preferred Jesus’ words to his miracles. After all, have they not produced a chain of sayings and not a collection of signs? They gave priority to personal responsibility, commitment and the risk of suffering. They were also wary of the deceptive warmth of a comfortable divine presence. The story of the temptations of Jesus in the desert contains a moral lesson for the faithful of today: looking for signs can correspond to an effort to sway God and tempt him (Q 4:12). The first readers of this document learned the demand

27 Regarding the Lukan image of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles, see, excluding the commentaries, Daniel Marguerat, La première histoire du christianisme (Les Actes des apôtres) (2d ed.; LD 180; Paris: Cerf, 2003) 180–209 and 275–374. 28 See John S. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000) with a rich bibliography; Frederic Amsler, L’Évangile inconnu, (Essais bibliques 30; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2001). Personally, I do not succeed in distinguishing in this document the successive layers the way Kloppenborg believes he can do in The Formation of Q: Trajectories in Ancient Wisdom Collections (SAC; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987). Many exegetes, especially the American ones, share the scholar from Toronto’s opinion. The specialists have gotten into the habit of giving the Source of the Logia the number of chapter and verse of the gospel of Luke: Q 4:12 corresponds to the passage of the reconstructed source beginning with Luke 4:12 and its parallel in Matt 4:7.


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

of loving one’s enemies (Q 6:27–28) and the gift of one’s life (Q 17:33). They saw themselves as a prophetic community, but what they especially retained of the prophets is the way that leads to martyrdom (Q 11:49 and 13:34). Signs are an easy solution and a temptation (Q 11:16): one cannot serve two masters (Q 16:13). Satan (Q 4:1–2) or Beelzebub (Q 11:15) has the power to operate prodigies. Aren’t false prophets found side by side with real ones?29 However, mistrust did not lead to disparagement. The faithful of Galilee remembered that Jesus not only proclaimed his message, but also accomplished miracles. Their sacred text, Q, retains the memory of one of them  – the only narrative episode conserved apart from the recounting of the temptations in the desert: Jesus healed the son of the Roman centurion at Capernaum (Q 7:3, 6–9). Being attentive to the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God, they testified that Jesus’ presence and particularly his acts of power (δυνάμεις, Q 10:13) constituted its prelude: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see (…). For I tell you: Many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see and have not seen it, and hear what you hear and have not heard it” (Q 10:23–24).30 The Christian community of Galilee understood Jesus as God’s last envoy; his exorcisms were accomplished by the finger of God (Q 11:20) and their realization allowed the Kingdom to burst forth (albeit in, as yet, a discrete way). No other forerunning signs were to be expected: “And if they tell you: Behold, he is in the desert, do not go out there; behold, he is in the rooms, do not hasten out in pursuit of him” (Q 17:23). The Jesus that they venerated told John the Baptist that he really was “the one who was to come,” mentioning all kinds of people who were healed (Q 7:22). In brief, for the community of the Source of the Logia, if one must speak of signs, it is in naming Jesus that one succeeds. He is the forerunning sign of the Kingdom. By evoking the sign of Jonas, it is of himself that Jesus spoke (Q 11:30): “For just as Jonah became a sign for the Ninevites, likewise was the son of man for this generation” (Q 11:30). The principe de réalité obliges us to observe that those who listened to Jesus knew how to read the map of the winds, but let the presence of God escape in that present time (Q 12:56). Matthew correctly interpreted Jesus’ statement by lamenting that humans do not know how to recognize “the signs of the times” (Matt 16:3).31 Indeed, Q’s Jesus hesitated to engage on this path, for though he admitted that God gives signs, he disapproved of humans who rely entirely upon them: “This generation is an evil generation (…); it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given

29 On the ecclesiological identity of the authors and readers of the Source of the Logia, see Bovon, Studies in Early Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 137–138. 30 The translations of the Source of the Logia come from James M. Robinson, Paul Hoffmann and John S. Kloppenborg, eds., The Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas (Louvain: Peeters, 2000). 31 On Matt 16:2b–3, see above, p. 83.


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to it except the sign of Jonah” (Q 11:29). As it invites people to make an ethical effort (Q 17:33), the community of Galilee believed that the quotidian speaks of God and the Kingdom as effectively as does the extravagant wonder: one need only look at Jesus and John the Baptist to see this. Unfortunately, they remained misunderstood even though they were the children of Wisdom (Q 7:31–35). This tension between admitting signs and harboring reservations about them had repercussions during the period of the disciples and the generation of the faithful. Believers participate in the prophetic vocation of their master. Like him, they are “sent” and their prophetic identity is marked by hazard and suffering, more than by power and miracles: the disciples are sent out like lambs into the midst of wolves (Q 10:3). The fact remains that they also have “good things” to receive from God (Q 11:13), among which are the gift of the Spirit and the power to operate miracles. When they invoke peace upon a house or a city, it will certainly come and settle upon that place (Q 10:7–8). They have the power to heal the sick, as a sign of the presence of the Kingdom of God (Q 10:9). But the same holds true for the actor as for the spectator: though the sign is visible, its meaning escapes being seen. Faith is necessary: “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Q 17:6). “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power (δυνάμεις) done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes” (Q 10:13).

IV. Paul and the Pauline Churches

After a period of activity in Antioch (Acts 11:25–26) and then a missionary expedition alongside Barnabas (Acts 13–14), Paul, who believed that he was invested with apostolic authority conferred upon him directly by Christ (Gal 1:1 and 12), launched his own evangelization campaign. He chose the west – that is, Asia Minor – then Greece (Acts 15:36; 20:38). The letters he addressed to his communities a few years after founding them allow modern readers to catch a glimpse of his convictions, moods, and hopes. They also reveal the situation of the Christians in the field, their reactions, and dispositions. Since Paul was a “straight-shooting” Hellenist, his views regarding divine signs were in harmony with those of the Church of Antioch, though not without certain discordant emphases. This continuity and discontinuity were amplified by the fact that the Pauline communities were increasingly open to believers of pagan origin. Behind the influence of Antioch, there was in Paul – and in the heritage that he transmitted to these young communities – the impact of Jesus and his message. The paradoxical sub contrario holds our attention: God manifests his power in weakness. What one must know is Jesus Christ only and Jesus Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2). No mention of any of Jesus’ miracles is made in Paul’s letters. The


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

resurrection of the crucified one is not presented as a proof. Believers would be wrong to look for signs. Like Jesus (Mark 8:11 par.), the apostle reproaches his Jewish coreligionists for seeking signs (σημεῖα, 1 Cor 1:22).32 Despite the stories circulating about him, the apostle does not boast about the miracles that he has supposedly effected. On the contrary, he says, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9–10).33 Yet Paul nonetheless considers that he is a legitimate apostle and that he was called like all true prophets in the past. When his ministry is challenged he emphasizes the authenticity of his vocation: “God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me” (Gal 1:15–16).34 What is characteristic of the true prophet and the true envoy is the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Paul makes those who criticize him understand that he is inspired by God: and where the presence of the Holy Spirit is found, so also is the Holy Spirit’s power. When Paul quells his theological scruples not to rely on miracles and powerful actions, he acknowledges that he benefitted from visions of inexpressible content, signs of the authenticity of his vocation (2 Cor 12:1–4).35 To the Romans – the only Christians that he visited without having founded their church – he affirmed that he was an apostle according to the rules: he accomplished his ministry by word and by act. By the power of the Spirit who dwelt in him, he proclaimed the kerygma and performed “signs and wonders” (σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα). It is fitting to quote this passage in extenso: “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ” (Rom 15:18–19).36 When he defended his apostolate in the contentious chapters of 2 Corinthians 10–13, Paul recognizes that divine signs attest to the legitimacy of every apostolate: “I have become a fool! You forced me to it. Indeed you should have been the ones commending me, for I am not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, signs and wonders and mighty works.

32 Regarding this passage, see Wolfgang Schrage, Der erste Brief an die Korinther (1 Kor 1, 1–6, 11) (EKK VII/1; Zürich-Neukirchen: Benzinger / Neukirchener, 1991) 182–184. 33 Regarding this praise of weakness, see Margaret Eleanor Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2 vols.; ICC; Edinburgh: Clark, 2000) 2:818–833. 34 See Hans Dieter Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979) 69–72. 35 On 2 Cor 12:1–4, see Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 2:772–798. 36 On Rom 15:18–19, see Robert Jewett, Romans: A Commentary (Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006) 909–915.


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

How have you been worse off than the other churches …?” (2 Cor 12:11–13).37 It is significant that Paul places his capacity to suffer and his “utmost patience” at the top of the list of the “signs” of his apostolate.38 Such was Paul’s position and undoubtedly that also which his communities accepted from him, even if, from the reading of his epistles, we see that many would have wanted to benefit from more signs and wonders. It is striking that the position of Paul himself concurred with that of the authors of the Source of the Logia. Without any rapport between them, these leaders preserved and imposed the advanced attitude of the historical Jesus: the best sign is the one that is striking on account of its ethical virtue (even though more spectacular signs may arise from the bursting forth of the Holy Spirit, and are not to be excluded). Let us add by way of conclusion that even though Paul awaited the Parousia – again, along the lines of Jesus – he did not expect any forerunning signs.39

V. The Johannine Community

It is probable that the Johannine community appreciated the stories of the miracles that Jesus had accomplished.40 Modern research demonstrates that there existed a signs source (“Semeia-Quelle”) particular to the Johannine tradition.41 The miracles therein were related in succession and were probably numbered: the one at Cana occurred first (the evangelist remembered it: “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him,” John 2:11). The healing of the royal official occurred second ( John 4:54). As the above quote excerpted from the wedding at Cana shows, miracles served a revelatory function in the eyes of the Johannine community. Jesus, whose appearance was that of an ordinary man, operated wonders in order to demonstrate 37

On 2 Cor 12:11–13, see Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 2:832–842. The term σημεῖον appears again in Rom 4:11 where, faithful to Jewish tradition, Paul considers that circumcision is a “sign.” In 1 Cor 14:22, in a passage that is hard to understand, he affirms that speaking in tongues can be a “sign” for unbelievers. 39 The second epistle to the Thessalonians, which I attribute to a disciple of the apostle, dreads the eschatological irruption of the Antichrist whose coming will be accompanied by deceptive signs (2 Thess 2:9). The irony of this pseudo-epigraph is that, according to its author, the apostle’s signature constitutes beyond any doubt an authentic sign that legitimizes the whole epistle (2 Thess 3:17). 40 See the reconstitutions of the Johannine community by Raymond E. Brown, The Community of the Beloved Disciple (New York: Paulist, 1979); Pierre Bonnard, Les épîtres johanniques (CNT 2, 13c; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1983) 9–13; Jürgen Becker, Das Evangelium des Johannes (2 vols.; Ökumenischer Taschenbuchkommentar zum Neuen Testament 4; GüterslohWürzburg: Gerd Mohn / Echter, 1979) 1:40– 48. 41 See Robert Tomson Fortna, The Gospel of Signs: A Reconstruction of the Narrative Source Underlying the Fourth Gospel (MSSNTS 11; London: Cambridge University Press, 1970); see also Raymond Edward Brown and Francis J. Moloney, An Introduction to the Gospel of John (ABRL; New York: Doubleday, 2003).  



8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

his divine origin. With the Christian Hellenists these believers shared faith in the preexistence of the one who had manifested himself on earth. The purpose of the miracle narratives was to allow humankind to discover the divinity behind the humanity – in brief, “to believe in him.” Nicodemus straightforwardly confesses this when he says to Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God” ( John 3:2). The evangelist likewise recognizes this: “When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing” ( John 2:23). We read in chapter 7: “Many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, ‘When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?’” ( John 7:31). Following the miraculous healing of the man born blind, a few of the Pharisees say, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” ( John 9:16). After the resurrection of Lazarus the chief priests and the Pharisees observe, “This man is performing many signs” ( John 11:47). The book ends with the following remark: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” ( John 20:30–31).42 The fourth gospel retains a number of stories coming from the signs source. Some of them intersect with the ones that are encountered in the Synoptic gospels (for example, the son of the royal officer, John 4:46–54). The majority of them are particular to the signs source; this is the case with the most astonishing of them, the resurrection of Lazarus ( John 11:1–44). The mention of Lazarus permits us to specify that the Johannine community did not hesitate to emphasize resolutely the miraculous and spectacular character of the signs43 nor to make a point of relating them in a full detailed way. For the Johannine tradition, signs form part of Jesus’ ad extra ministry. Indeed, in John 6:2 the evangelist notes: “A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick.” And in 6:14: “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’” Rudolf Bultmann did not wrongly sum up chapters 1–12 of the Gospel of John, which contained various miracle narratives, with the expression: “Die Offenbarung der δόξα vor der Welt” (“The revelation of the glory to the world”).44

42 On the “signs” in the fourth gospel, see Thomas H. Olbricht, “The Theology of the Signs in the Gospel of John,” in James Eugene Priest, ed., Johannine Studies: Essays in Honor of Frank Pack (Malibu, CA: Pepperdine University Press, 1989) 171–181. 43 “So that the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him” ( John 12:17–18). 44 See Rudolf Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes (10th ed.; KEK 2; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962) 5*.


8. The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven

And yet the leaders of the Johannine community were vigilant. Faithful to biblical tradition and Jesus’ attitude, they were wary of those who asked for signs. By demanding them one ceases to play by the rules of faith, and chooses instead to reassure oneself, placing one’s belief on the comfortable seat of sight. Beginning with chapter 4, the evangelist complains that the people require signs in order to believe: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” ( John 4:48). After the episode of doubting Thomas, the Resurrected One concludes: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” ( John 20:29).45 To monitor signs intelligently is to understand the incarnation, the kenosis of divinity. From the moment that the Johannine Jesus found himself at Gethsemane he did not undergo temptation: “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say – ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour” ( John 12:27). The paradoxical glory of the cross matters more than the obvious glory of signs. It is a greater sign of love: “Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” ( John 13:1). I’ll conclude this section with a word regarding Jesus’ adversaries. The Johannine community recalled, as did the Synoptic tradition and the Pauline churches, that the Jews loved signs, not because they wished to be dazzled by them but rather because they served to test the authority of the one seeking to impose a religious message: “The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’” ( John 2:18). This question was repeated later by the crowd of Galilee: “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” ( John 6:30). Just as Mark’s Jesus refuses to show any signs, and just as the Jesus depicted by the Source of the Logia only promises the paradoxical sign of Jonah, so the Johannine Jesus, using the image of the Temple, announces only the death of his body, his crucifixion ( John 2:19–22).46 Instead of allowing themselves to be impressed and convinced by the signs and wonders that Jesus ultimately performs, the Jews who confront Jesus become fixed in their refusal to believe: “Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’” ( John 12:37–38).47

45 See Gregory J. Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995) 100–126. 46 Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes, 87–91. 47 “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” ( John 6:26).

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VI. The Community of Jesus’ Family The preeminent role of James is indisputable.48 Equally indisputable is the presence Christians of Jewish origin in Jerusalem who were anxious to uphold their obedience to the Law of Moses, even in its most ritual requirements (see Acts 15:1). On the other hand it is more difficult to know what became of the JewishChristians during the Jewish Revolt of 66–70 of our era. Did they flee and find refuge in Pella, as the possibly legendary story preserved by Eusebius of Caesarea recounts?49 Did they remain in the city? Though not always convincing, the research of the Franciscans of Jerusalem strongly suggests that certain Christians of strict Jewish observance remained settled in Judea and in Jerusalem at the end of the 1st and during the 2nd century.50 The notes of the heresiologists suggest that there existed groups of varying orientations.51 To these socio-historical obscurities are added the delicate problem of our sources and the setting of the literary texts that can be attributed to them. These uncertainties do not prevent one from asking the following: is it possible to define the conception of the divine sign that these Jewish-Christians might have shared? I argue that behind the Lukan infancy gospel (Luke 1–2) are hidden the Jewish-Christian traditions that depend on Jesus’ family,52 and I observe in these documents a keen interest in divine signs. Even though the term

48 On James, the Lord’s brother, see Wilhelm Pratscher, Der Herrenbruder Jakobus und die Jakobustradition (FRLANT 139; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987); Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans, eds., James the Just and Christian Origins (Novum Testamentum Supplement 98); Leyden: Brill, 1999); John Painter, Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition (2d ed.; Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2004); on the place of his tomb, see Yaron Z. Eliav, “The Tomb of James, Brother of Jesus, as Locus Memoriae,“ HTR 97 (2004) 33–59. 49 See Jürgen Wehnert, “Die Auswanderung der Jerusalemer Christen nach Pella  – historisches Factum oder theologische Konstruktion? Kritische Bemerkungen zu einem neuen Buch,” ZKG 102 (1991). This author considers that there are a number of indications in favor of its historicity. See also Gerd Lüdemann, “The Successors of Pre-70 Jerusalem Christianity: A Critical Evaluation of the Pella-Tradition,” in E. P. Sanders, ed., Jewish and Christian SelfDefinition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980) 161–173. 50 Bellarmino Bagatti, L’Église de la circoncision ( Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1965); Ignazio Mancini, Archaeological Discoveries Relative to the Judaeo-Christians: Historical Survey (Publications of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. Collectio Minor 10; Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1970); J. E. Taylor, “The Bagatti-Testa Hypothesis and Alleged Jewish-Christian Archaeological Remains” Mishkan 13 (1990) 1–25; Simon Claude Mimouni, Le judéo-christianisme ancien. Essais historiques (Patrimoines; Paris: Cerf, 1998) 337–346. 51 Mimouni, Le judéo-christianisme ancien; Giovanni Filoramo and Claudio Gianotto, eds., Verus Israel. Nuove prospettive sul giudeocristianesimo. Atti del Colloquio di Torino (4–5 novembre 1999) (Biblioteca di cultura religiosa 65; Brescia: Paideia, 2001); Simon Claude Mimouni and F. Stanley Jones, eds., Le judéo-christianisme dans tous ses états. Actes du colloque de Jérusalem, 6–10 juillet 1998 (Paris: Cerf, 2001). 52 See François Bovon, Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50 (Hermeneia; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002) 30.


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is absent, Zachary’s muteness (Luke 1:20) and Elizabeth’s unexpected pregnancy (Luke 1:36) serve as signs, the first for Zachary himself and the second for Mary, Elizabeth’s cousin. Jesus himself, lying in a manger, will become a reference point for the shepherds (καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν τὸ σημεῖον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ, “this will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger,” Luke 2:12). More generally and dramatically, according to the prophet Symeon, Jesus “is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed” (Luke 2:34). The sign is not proof, because doubt disputes it, whereas by trusting in the sign, an individual’s faith is reinforced; in either case, the sign does not lose its identity as a sign.53 It is probable that the traditions collected in the Protoevangelium of James have their roots in the same family history and personal circles of Jesus.54 In any event, the same conception of the divine “sign” is manifested therein: God, discretely but efficaciously, gives a sign to his protégés. The rosette of pure gold that the priest fastened to his turban (Exod 28:36–38) demonstrates to Joachim, the future father of the virgin Mary, that his sins have been forgiven and that God accepts his offerings (Prot. Jas. 5:1). When Mary is three years old, the Lord causes his grace to descend upon her: “And her feet began dancing and all the House of Israel loved her” (Prot. Jas. 7:3). By this symbolic and divinely inspired gesture, the little girl demonstrates that she is not sorry to leave her earthly family and agrees to live in the Temple from then on. When the time comes for a protector to be chosen for the twelve-year old Mary at the end of her period of life spent in the Temple, a divine sign enables the priest to choose Joseph: a dove emerges miraculously from the rod in Joseph’s hand. As for the rods of the other gathered widowers, “there was no sign in them” (Prot. Jas. 9:1). Later, the tasks of the young girls who are called to weave the temple veil are assigned by drawing lots (Prot. Jas. 10:2). And after the virgin becomes pregnant, Mary and Joseph successfully go through an ordeal that clears them both (Prot. Jas. 16:1–3). Within this text, as in the Lukan infancy gospel (Luke 1–2), God manifests himself by means of signs. If I dare group together other Jewish-Christian testimonies here, I will point out the Gospel of the Ebionites which asserts that, in addition to the opened sky and the heavenly voice, a miraculous sign took place during Jesus’ baptism: “Immediately a great light lit up the entire place” (see Epiphanius, Pan. 30, 13, 7–8).55 53

On the notion of the sign in Luke 1–2, see Bovon, Luke 1: A Commentary, 39, 52 and 89. On the Protoevangelium of James, see Albert Frey, “Protévangile de Jacques,” in Bovon and Geoltrain, Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:71–104; P. A. Van Stempvoort, “The Protevangelium Jacobi, the Sources of its Theme and Style and their Bearing on its Date,” in Studia Evangelica III (TU 88; Berlin: Akademie, 1964) 410–426; Timothy J. Horner, “Jewish Aspects of the Protevangelium of James,” in Journal of Early Christian Studies 12 (2004) 313–335. 55 See Daniel Alain Bertrand, Le baptême de Jésus. Histoire de l’exégèse aux deux premiers siècles (BGBE 14; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1973) and Bertrand “Fragments évangéliques,” 1:452.  


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Behind the Homilies and the Recognitions of the Clementine novel, there is no doubt a Jewish-Christian source and perhaps, behind this source, the teachings of Peter, the Kerygmata Petrou, Jewish-Christian in orientation. It is also worth mentioning the ambiguous presence of the signs in these documents. These texts say that news of Jesus’ ministry spread little by little throughout the Empire, and that the memory of the ministry’s signs and wonders was attached to the memory of the message.56 But the false prophet, whose coming precedes that of the true prophet, according to the doctrine of the syzygies, is also capable of performing wonders.57 Humans wait to be convinced by the true prophet in order to unmask the subterfuges of the false one.58 In the same way, Peter can flush out Simon and his acts of magic.59 Not only is redemption emphasized by divine signs, but creation also contains signs that point toward the true creator.60 We should therefore learn how to discern, in the faith, true signs from false ones.61

VII. A Community in Eastern Syria The origin of the Gospel of Thomas is controversial. However, there exists among scholars the widespread opinion that this gospel originated in Eastern Syria and was first written in Syriac. It would then have been translated into Greek (see preserved fragments), and then into Coptic (see the copy kept in Codex II of Nag Hammadi). Like the other gospels, this text (as we now have it) is the fruit of a progressive development. In the course of its rewritings, certain themes, such as that of the regained anthropological unity, have been superimposed on to teachings similar to those that the Synoptic gospels convey.62

56 Pseudo-Clement, Hom. 1.6.2–3: the signs attest that the preaching of Jesus was inspired by God. Also see ibid. 1.15.2; Rec. 1.40.1; 1.41.2; 5.11.4; 8.6.1; 9.29.1. To allege that the wonders of Jesus come under magic, according to Rec. 1, 58, 1–3, amounts to doubting the authenticity of the wonders operated by Moses. On the Recognitions and the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, see Alain Le Boulluec et al., “Roman pseudo-clémentin,” in Pierre Geoltrain and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, II (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade 516; Paris: Gallimard, 2005) 1173–2003. 57 Rec. 10.54.1–2. That is also what Simon proclaims, Rec. 2.9.2. 58 Rec. 2.45.5–2.46.2. 59 Hom. 16.13.1–4. To perform miracles and proclaim another god comes from temptation. 60 Rec. 8.25.4; 1.55.5–6. 61 Rec. 3.58.5–3.59.11. Note the last sentence: “And he will make a distinction between signs and wonders in the following way: the prodigies that the one who comes from the Devil performs are not useful to anyone; on the contrary, those that the good man does are useful to humans.” 62 On the Gospel of Thomas, see Phillip Sellew, “The Gospel of Thomas: Prospects for Future Research,” in John Douglas Turner and Anne Marie McGuire, eds., The Nag Hammadi Library After Fifty Years. Proceedings of the 1993 Society of Biblical Literature Commemoration (Nag Hammadi and Manichean Studies 44; Leiden: Brill, 1997) 327–346. I am adopting the French translation of Henri-Charles Puech, En quête de la Gnose, II. Sur l’Évangile selon Thomas. (Bib-


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It seems that hostility regarding signs became manifest from the beginning of the Thomasine tradition. First, there is the evidence that the author – and no doubt the community of which he is an eminent representative – chose to retain the sayings of Jesus and not the stories of his miracles. Then from the most archaic level there is a preference given to that which is within and a disdain expressed toward that which is without.63 Finally, there is the expressed requirement of interpretation. Even the words of Jesus require effort in order to be understood.64 Certain sayings – and they are scarce – require analysis because their content approaches signs and wonders, and especially all the critique that must be directed toward those who abuse miracles in order to gain missionary successes too easily. The mustard seed parable is diametrically opposed to a theology of signs. Isn’t the seed of this plant “the smallest of all the seeds”? Scarcely visible, moreover, it must disappear in the ground before producing a large branch (Gos. Thom. 20).65 Saying 50 brings up a confrontation.66 According to Jesus, adversaries will question and challenge believers on their origin. The master recommends that his disciples answer that they are the children of the Father and that they come from the world of light. He then adds: “If they ask you: what is the sign of your Father who is in you?”, tell them: it is a movement and a repose.” It is not the pursuit of a sign that indicates the authority of the faithful, but the search for the image of God inscribed in humans. The response is enigmatic and suggests that life itself reflects a divine origin. There is no need to put forward any particular signs. The active, everyday nature of their life and the direction it takes toward divine repose sufficiently attests to the relationship that binds believers to their God. If one adds to these comments and explanations the mistrust toward apocalyptic signs such as they are made explicit in the penultimate saying,67 then it becomes clear that the author of the Gospel of Thomas and the community that viewed the text as sacred neither seek nor demand outward signs of their iden-

liothèque des sciences humaines; Paris: Gallimard, 1978) 11–27, rephrased in English. For a recent bibliography see François Bovon, “Les sentences propres à Luc dans l’Évangile selon Thomas,” in Louis Painchaud and Paul-Hubert Poirier, eds., Colloque international “L’Évangile de Thomas et les textes de Nag Hammadi” (Québec, 29–31 mai 2003) (Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi, section “Études” 8; Québec-Louvain: Les Presses de l’Université Laval/Peeters, 2007) 43–58. 63 See the following saying: “Jesus said: Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not understand that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the outside?” (Gos. Thom. 89). 64 See the first sentence: “And he said: He who will find the interpretation of these words will not taste death” (Gos. Thom. 1). 65 On Gos. Thom. 20, see Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas (New Testament Readings; London: Routledge, 1997) 90–91. 66 Concerning Gos. Thom. 50, see April D. De Conick, Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 33; Leyden: Brill, 1996) 43–96. 67 Here is the translation of saying 113: “His disciples told him: on what day will the Kingdom come? Jesus says: It will not come with waiting. They will not say: Behold it is here, or: Behold it is there; but the Kingdom of the Father is spread over the earth and humans do not see it.”


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tity as believers. On the contrary, they insist on establishing their origin, nature, and destiny in a spiritual world that scorns the material world and the signs that might direct minds toward heaven.

VIII. Other Christian Communities of the 1st and 2nd centuries It is not easy to determine the geographical origin of Christian apocalyptic literature. Readers note apocalyptic impulses in the Synoptic gospels and Pauline epistles.68 But these passages only constitute a fraction of the entire book. Completely turned toward the future, John’s Apocalypse and the Apocalypse of Peter elude the expert who inquires about their birthplace. Despite tradition, John’s Apocalypse does not fit easily into Johannine literature69 and it is unclear whether the Apocalypse of Peter is responding to the violence to which Bar Kokhba subjected the Christians of Palestine.70 Whatever their geographic origin and social context may be, these two texts interest every scholar who pays attention to divine signs. From the very first verse, John, the visionary of Patmos, admits a divine source to his inspiration: his book is the fruit of an intervention of God who indicates this to him by the intermediary of his angelic envoy. The prophet uses the verb σημαίνω (“to mark with a sign,” “to make a sign,” “to let know,” “to reveal”) to indicate the circuit of communication that God has established to transmit the ultimate revelation.71 In the lengthy Apocalypse that he composed and addressed to the churches, he employs the term σημεῖον (“sign”), sometimes with favorable connotations, and other times less favorably. On one hand the text presents signs in heaven that should direct the visionary and his brothers and sisters in the faith: to see and understand the identity and mission of the woman clothed with the sun (Rev 12:1), to discover the activity of the dragon (Rev 12:3), and to locate the seven angels and their seven plagues (Rev 15:1). This ought to allow the faithful worshippers of Christ, the Lamb of God, to grasp the state of the world with clear-headedness and to persevere faithfully. On the other, a series of negative signs lead people astray – wonders operated by the second beast. The second beast, which rises out of the earth (Rev 13:11–18), represents local religious

68 See Mark 13; Matt 24–25; Luke 17:20–37 and 21:5–38; 1 Thess 4:13–5:11; and 1 Cor 15 in particular. 69 See Pierre Prigent, L’Apocalypse de saint Jean (2d ed; CNT 14; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2000). 70 See Richard J. Bauckham and Paolo Marrassini, “Apocalypse de Pierre,” in Bovon and Geoltrain, Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:745–774; Jan N. Bremmer and Istv n Czachesz, eds., The Apocalypse of Peter (Studies on Early Christian Apocrypha 7; Louvain: Peeters, 2003). 71 See Bovon, Révélations et Écritures. Nouveau Testament et littérature apocryphe chrétienne (Le monde de la Bible 26; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1993) 113–129, esp. 124–125.


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power – perhaps the representatives of the imperial cult in Asia – whereas the first beast (Rev 13:1–10) corresponds to the Roman political power that comes from the West, from the sea. Both beasts depend upon the Dragon, defeated in heaven but always active on earth (Rev 12:7–18). These three figures constitute a negative triad (see again Rev 16:13) which opposes another triad, positive this time, formed by God, the Holy Spirit and the Lamb (Rev 1:4–5).72 This second beast possesses the evil power of operating deceptive signs: “It performs great signs [σημεῖα μεγάλα], even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all; and by the signs [τὰ σημεῖα] that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast [i.e., of the first beast]” (Rev 13:13–14). Further on, the author again mentions this devastating activity and then names the second beast “the false prophet” because of his religious character: “And the beast [the first beast] was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed in its presence the signs [τὰ σημεῖα] by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image” (Rev 19:20).73 Apocalyptic literature is characterized by a two-fold enterprise. First, it examines the end signs which one ought to be able to rely on. Second, it seeks to detect the misleading signs that one must be wary of. The Apocalypse of Peter is almost as ancient as the canonical Apocalypse of John and conforms to these characteristics. As of Chapter 1, this work – which the Canon Muratori considers canonical along with John’s Apocalypse despite the disputed nature of this claim,74 upon which Clement of Alexandria commented75  – reports the apostles’ request to Christ while seated upon the Mount of Olives, probably after the resurrection: “Speak. Tell us what will be the signs of your coming at the end of the world, so that we will be able to know and correctly understand the moment of your coming and make it well understood to those who will come after us, to those to whom we will preach the word of your Gospel and whom we will place at the head of your Church so that they too will listen and apply themselves to understanding correctly the moment of your coming” (Apoc. Pet. 1:2). This is a question of paramount importance; consequently, the author’s program is very ambitious. Nevertheless, Christ’s answer, which combines an exegesis that harmonizes with the different teachings of Jesus and a moral exhortation, presents no new signs 72

See Bovon, Révélations et Écritures, 131–146. See also Rev 16:14 in which the three impure demonic spirits also perform signs (σημεῖα) at the sixth bowl, a behaviour that the author understands as a type of magic. 74 See Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987) 191–201 and 305–307; see also Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders, eds., The Canon Debate (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002) 269–271, 381–382 and 406–412. 75 It is within the framework of the Hypotyposes, the lost commentary of the Old and New Testament that Clement of Alexandria explained also the Apocalypse of Peter according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. eccl. VI, 14:1; see Johannes Quasten, Patrology (4 vols.; Westminster, Md.: Newman Press; Utrecht-Brussels: Spectrum Publishers, 1950–1986) 2:16–17.  



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(“for the coming of the Son of the Lord will not be foreseeable,” Apoc. Pet. 1:6). Rather, it divulges the fate of the just and the impious, which should encourage the faithful to persevere on the right path.76 The only divine reality that will be visible will be the final coming – Christ’s Parousia – which will surprise everyone much like lightning surprises in the night (Apoc. Pet. 1:6). The only certainty regarding the preceding period is the coming of a false messiah who will be accompanied by deceptive signs, and the martyrdom of many believers; it will come immediately before the end of the world (Apoc. Pet. 2:11–13). Indeed, the Apocalypse of Peter reveals great mysteries regarding the Parousia, the resurrection, and the destinies of the just and the ungodly, but it refuses to reveal sensational secrets on the period preceding the end. Thus it adopts synoptic reserve regarding forerunner signs. Within the framework of apocalyptic literature, I will focus on one last text which claims to convey a message of the first Christian generation, but which, being a pseudo-epigraph, dates back to the middle of the second century. The Epistle of the Apostles demonstrates an interest in going back to a period when the gospels, because they are not yet canonical, are relatively malleable.77 The Epistle presents itself as a revelation that the apostles put down in writing in the form of a polemical book. In order to fight against Simon Magus and Cerinthus, the author begins by recalling the human life of Jesus whose origin is divine. The miracles that he performed during his lifetime are then related in a chain of summaries (Ep. Apos. 4–5).78 Called “miracles” (only the Ethiopian version is preserved), these great works of the Son receive here and there an allegorical interpretation. The five loaves of the multiplication (Matt 14:13–21 par.) “are an image of our faith in the great Christianity – that is in the Father, Lord of the whole world, in Jesus Christ our Savior, in the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, in the Holy Church, and in the remission of sins” (Ep. Apos. 5). Next, a discussion of the crucifixion and the resurrection unfolds before the readers’ eyes (Ep. Apos. 9–12). The text insists on the bodily nature of the resurrection and on the proof constituted by direct contact with the resurrected Jesus. This is followed by nothing less than an account of the incarnation, the result of a descent through the celestial spheres (Ep. Apos. 13–14). Christ then reveals the secrets of his future Parousia in response to the disciples’ curiously worded question (“But with what kind of power and in which form will you come?” Ep. Apos. 16). Unlike other apocalyptic narratives, the Epistle of the Apostles momentarily moves toward the slippery slope of predictions: “We told him: ‘O Lord, in how many years? And 76


Ap. Peter 3:14; on this apocalypse, see the reference indicated above, no. 70. On the Epistula Apostolorum, see Julian Victor Hills, Tradition and Composition in the Epistula Apostolorum (Harvard Dissertations in Religion 27; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990) 115–117; Jacques-Noël Pérès, L’Épître des apôtres accompagnée du Testament de notre Seigneur et notre Sauveur Jésus-Christ (Apocryphes 3; Turnhout: Brepols, 1994); Jacques-Noël Pérès, “Épître des apôtres,” in Bovon and Geoltrain, Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:357–392. 78 See also Ep. Apos. 29. Below I translate the French translation of Pérès into an English rendition. 77


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he told us: ‘When the hundred fiftieth year finishes, during the time of Pentecost and Easter, my Father’s coming will take place’” (Ep. Apos. 17).79 Being legitimately surprised that Christ spoke of the Father’s coming and not of his own, the apostles learn that this amounted to the same. During the interval – an orthodox solution explicit in the Gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles80 – Christians will not be abandoned to their fate but will be assisted by the spiritual presence of the Son who possesses the gift of ubiquity (Ep. Apos. 17). This paragraph ends with the following conclusion: “This (happened) after he was crucified, died and resurrected: this is what he said (after) the work which was accomplished in the flesh, while he was crucified, and (at the moment of) his ascension, as the fullness of the numbers, signs, symbols and all perfection” (Ep. Apos. 18). Further on, in response to his apostles’ various questions, Christ launches into an apocalyptic discourse, the style and content of which recall those of the Synoptic gospels (Ep. Apos. 34–40).81 At one point the disciples refer to this teaching of the historical Jesus: “And yet you told us that signs and wonders will take place in heaven and on earth before the end of the world comes” (Ep. Apos. 34). After which Christ speaks of the events of the end, discussing the signs that will accompany the end, rather than those that will precede it (Ep. Apos. 34). In brief, the Epistle of the Apostles is interested in the end of time and in the signs of heaven that will unfold when the final events take place. While it recalls, on a number of occasions, the miracles accomplished by Jesus during his earthly ministry, it does not emphasize the acts of power that were carried out by the apostles on missionary journeys in order to support their evangelistic preaching. It would take another article to examine the concept of “signs” held by Clement of Rome,82 Ignatius of Antioch and the other Apostolic Fathers,83 the first apologists,84 Irenaeus of Lyons and 79

See Hills, Tradition and Composition in the Epistula Apostolorum, 115–117. John 14:15–31; 15:26–27 and 16:4–15; Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8. 81 See supra, no. 23. 82 For the author of 1 Clement 11:2, the transformation of Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt became henceforth a “sign” (σημεῖον). The same paragraph uses the term σημείωσις (“designation,” “sign”). The term σημεῖον appears again in 1 Clem. 12:7; 25:1 and in 51:5. In his letter to the Ephesians, Ignatius of Antioch affirms that the three mysteries – namely, the virginity of Mary, the miraculous birth and the death of Jesus – were made manifest by the miraculous apparition of a star (Ign. Eph. 19:1–2). Neither here, nor elsewhere in his letters, does Ignatius use the term σημεῖον. 83 In its apocalyptic epilogue, the Didache announces the coming of false prophets and then the seducer of the world in the end times; he will be similar to the Son of God and “will perform signs and wonders” (Did. 16:4). Further on the text adds: “And then the signs of the truth will appear: first, the sign of the extension in heaven, then the sign of the resounding trumpet, and the third sign, the resurrection of the dead” (Did. 16:6). See Willy Rordorf and Andr Tuilier, La Doctrine des Douze apôtres (Didachè) (SC 248; Paris: Cerf, 1978) 196–199. Barn. 4:14 mentions the signs and wonders (in this order) performed in Israel. In John 5:8, the author mentions wonders and signs (in this order) performed by Jesus. In 12:5, it is Jesus’ cross that is called a “sign,” σημεῖον. 2 Clement addresses the question of the coming of the Kingdom but does not insist on the signs of the end (2 Clem. 12). Later, by stating that the  



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his Valentinian adversaries, Sethians and other “Gnostics.”85 I note only that the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles do not hesitate to use the apostles’ miracles to awaken or strengthen the readers’ faith.86 Represented by the Odes of Solomon, the earliest Christian poetry is attentive to signs – as one might expect from a genre that plays on metaphors.87 As early as the second century, Christian piety in its various forms focused on two liturgical “signs”: baptism as a “seal”88 and

invisible Church became visible in the flesh of Christ, the author understands that this carnal reality served as a sign for the invisible reality. In effect he says that the flesh is the “antitype” of the spirit (2 Clem. 14:3). Finally, in an evocative way, the preacher considers that a word of God (Isa 58:9) is the “sign” of a promise – that is, that God accomplishes what he proclaims (2 Clem. 15:3–4). 84 See Edgar J. Goodspeed, Index apologeticus sive clavis Iustini Martyris operum aliorumque apologetarum pristinorum (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912) s. v. (σημαίνει, σημαντικόν, σημασία, σημεῖον and τέρας). On the apologists in general, see Bernard Pouderon, Les apologistes grecs du IIe siècle (Initiation aux Pères de l’Église; Paris: Cerf, 2005). The problem of signs does not seem to require a particular answer on the part of the authors of the first apologies. Things are different with the controversy between them and their Jewish adversaries. Several times, in the Dialogue with Trypho, in particular, Justin discusses the signs mentioned in the Scriptures of Israel. 85 Irenaeus of Lyons mentions the sign of the Emmanuel (Isa 7:14) which announces the virgin birth of Jesus. This unexpected sign was necessary because humans could not imagine a virgin birth (Haer. III, 19:3; 20:3; 21:1, 4, 6). He also refers to the sign of Jonah (Haer. III, 20:1–2) and appears to identify humanity and then Jesus himself with Jonah. In the Apocalypse of Paul of Nag Hammadi (NHC V, 2), the apostle hands over the “sign” in his possession to the one who wants to prevent his subsequent ascension and thus he can continue on his way (Apoc. Paul [NHC V, 2] 23, 24–29). The notion of mark or sign also plays an important role in The Two Books of Jeû. To get to the pleroma, the soul must quickly pass through the lower eons before reaching the higher treasures of which the two books present the “marks” (or “signs”) and the “seals” in the form of drawings; see Rudolph, Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987) 173–174. In addition, at the end, the treatise On the Origin of the World (NHC II, 5) 125–126 contains an evocation of the end times which mentions a series of apocalyptic signs (the word “sign” itself is not used). In Haer. I, 31:13, Irenaeus mentions an opinion of a group of Gnostics that he does not identify: these adversaries believe that when Christ descended upon Jesus, the latter began to perform miracles and proclaim his message. 86 See Gérard Poupon, “L’accusation de magie dans les Actes apocryphes” in Bovon et al., Les Actes apocryphes des apôtres. Christianisme et monde païen (Publications de la Faculté de théologie de l’Université de Genève 4; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1981) 71–93; Jean-Marc Prieur, “La figure de l’apôtre dans les Actes apocryphes,” in Bovon et al., Les Actes apocryphes des apôtres, 121–139.; J.-M. Van Cangh, “Miracles évangéliques – miracles apocryphes,” in Frans Van Segbroeck et al., eds., The Four Gospels. Festschrift Frans Neirynck (3 vols.; BETL 100; Louvain: Leuven University Press / Peeters, 1992) 3:2277–2319; David W. Pao, “Physical and Spiritual Restoration: The Role of Healing Miracles in the Acts of Andrew,” in François Bovon, Ann Graham Brock and Christopher R. Matthews, eds., The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Harvard Divinity School Studies (Religions of the World; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999) 259–280; Bovon, “Miracles, magie et guérison dans les Actes apocryphes des apôtres,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 3 (1995) 245–259. 87 See Odes Sol. 23:12; 27:2; 29:7; 39:7; 42:1. 88 See Andr Benoît, Le baptême chrétien au second siècle. La théologie des Pères (Etudes d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 43; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1953) 97–110.


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the sign of the cross89 as a mark of membership, consecration to the Lord, and conjuration against demons. When we finish reading through the earliest Christian literature we come to two conclusions. First, in its variety and nuances, the biblical tradition of signs influenced Jesus and the early Christians: God enjoys giving signs to his people in order to confirm his intentions, express his authority, or reassure their faith. Second, God’s envoys refuse to disparage signs or consider them as proofs: they know that signs remain fragile and ambiguous. They acknowledge them as such and include them in the faith. Moreover, they express their reaction on a terrain glutted with ambiguities, wherein false prophets perform wonders that are strangely similar to the signs accomplished by true prophets. Thus Jesus and the early Christians fit into a biblical trajectory that is both receptive and hesitant when it comes to signs. When the suspicious and unfeeling demand proofs of their authority, they refuse to accede to their request and do not provide any demonstration under pressure. Instead they often prefer to reverse values and maintain that weakness and failure are what represent legitimacy, obedience and conformity to God. The Christians of Galilee (i.e. readers of the Source of the Logia), the Pauline communities (readers of the apostle’s epistles) as well as the believers of eastern Syria (readers of the Gospel of Thomas) share these reservations. Marked by apocalyptic currents, many groups of Christians (among whom were the readers of John’s Apocalypse) await the end with a spirit that is attentive to forerunner signs while remaining aware of the risk of confusion – and anxious to detect misleading signs. As committed missionaries and witnesses of their untested faith, many of them neglect the risks and claim the obvious presence of signs and wonders. For some, such as the members of the Church of the Twelve in Jerusalem, the stories that they collected concerning Jesus establish the authority of the Messiah and anticipate the coming of the Kingdom of God. For others, such as the faithful of the Church of the Seven at Antioch and the followers of the Johannine movement in Judea, then in Samaria and finally in Asia Minor, miracles are signs of Jesus’ divine origin and the manifestation of God’s glory. These Christians also knew that the crucifixion similarly expressed this divine glory, albeit paradoxically. For since there is no sign so powerful that it binds, no proof that is incontrovertible, committed believers take a risk when attributing meaning to a sign, which, within Christian interpretation, requires a share of interpretation indeed.

89 See Franz Joseph Dölger, “Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens” Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 1 (1958) 5–19; 2 (1959) 15–29; 3 (1960) 5–16; 4 (1961) 5–17; 5 (1962) 5–22; 6 (1963) 7–34; 7 (1964) 5–38; 8/9 (1965/1966) 7–52; 10 (1967) 7–29. See also Jean-Marc Prieur, ed., La Croix. Représentations théologiques et symboliques (Actes et recherches; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2004).

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Amsler, F. L’Évangile inconnu. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2001. (Essais bibliques 30). Bagatti, B. L’Église de la circoncision. Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1965. Barrett C. K. The Acts of the Apostles, I. Edinburgh: Clark, 1994. (ICC). Bauer W. Das Leben Jesu im Zeitalter der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1967. Unchanged repographic reprint of 1st ed., Tübingen, 1909. Bauckham, R. & Marrassini, P. “Apocalypse de Pierre.” In Bovon and Geoltrain (eds.), 1997. 745–774. Becker, J. Das Evangelium des Johannes Kapitel 1–10. Gütersloh-Würzburg: Gerd Mohn/ Echter, 1979. (Ökumenischer Taschenbuchkommentar zum Neuen Testament 4, 1). Benoît, A. Le baptême chrétien au second siècle. La théologie des Pères. Paris, 1953. Bertrand, D. A. Le baptême de Jésus. Histoire de l’exégèse aux deux premiers siècles. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1973. (BGBE 14). –. “Fragments évangéliques,” in Bovon and Geoltrain (eds.), 1997. 393–495. Betz H. D. Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979. (Hermeneia). Bible. Traduction Œcuménique, édition intégrale. Paris-Pierrefitte: Cerf / Société biblique française, 1988. La Bible d’Alexandrie. L’Exode. Le Boulluec, A. and Sandevoir, P. (eds.). Paris: Cerf, 1989. La Bible d’Alexandrie. Deutéronome. Dogniez, C. and Harl, M. (eds.). Paris: Cerf, 1992. Bonnard, P. Les épîtres johanniques. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1983. (CNT 2, 13c). Bovon, F. Révélations et Écritures. Nouveau Testament et littérature apocryphe chrétienne. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1993. (Le monde de la Bible 26). –. “Miracles, magie et guérison dans les Actes apocryphes des apôtres.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 3 (1995) 245–259. –. L’Évangile selon saint Luc (9, 51–14, 35). Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1996. (CNT 3b). –. Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002. (Hermeneia). –. Studies in Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003. –. Luc le théologien. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 20063. (Le monde de la Bible 5). –. “Les sentences propres à Luc dans l’Évangile selon Thomas,” in Painchaud and Poirier (eds.) 2007. 43–58. Bovon, F. and Geoltrain, P. (dir.), Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, I. Paris: Gallimard, 1997. (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade 442). Bovon, F., Brock, A. G. and Matthews, C. M. (eds.). The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Harvard Divinity School Studies. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 1999. (Religions of the World). Bovon, F. et al. Les Actes apocryphes des apôtres. Christianisme et monde païen. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1981. (Publications de la Faculté de théologie de l’Université de Genève 4). Bremmer, J. N. & Czachesz, I. (eds.). The Apocalypse of Peter. Louvain: Peeters, 2003. (Studies on Early Christian Apocrypha 7). Brown, R. E. The Community of the Beloved Disciple. New York: Paulist, 1979. Brown, R. E. & Moloney, F. J. An Introduction to the Gospel of John. New York: Doubleday, 2003. (ABRL).


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Bultmann, R. Das Evangelium des Johannes. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 196210. (KEK 2). Chilton, B. and Evans, C. A. (eds.). James the Just and Christian Origins. Leyden: Brill, 1999. (Supplements to Novum Testamentum 98). De Conick, A. D. Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas. Leyden: Brill, 1996. (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 33). Dölger, F. J. 1958–1967, “Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens.” JAC 1 (1958) 5–19; 2 (1959) 15–29; 3 (1960) 5–16; 4 (1961) 5–17; 5 (1962) 5–22; 6 (1963) 7–34; 7 (1964) 5–38; 8/9 (1965/1966) 7–52; 10 (1967) 7–29. Eliav, Y. Z. “The Tomb of James, Brother of Jesus, as Locus Memoriae.” HTR 97 (2004) 33–59. Filoramo, G. & Gianotto, C. (eds.). Verus Israel. Nuove prospettive sul giudeocristianesimo. Atti del Colloquio di Torino (4–5 novembre 1999). Brescia: Paideia, 2001. (Biblioteca di cultura religiosa 65). Fohrer, G. Die symbolischen Handlungen der Propheten. Zurich: Zwingli, 19682. Fortna, R. T. The Gospel of Signs: A Reconstruction of the Narrative Source Underlying the Fourth Gospel. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970. (MSSNTS 11). Frey, A. 1997, “Protévangile de Jacques.” In Bovon and Geoltrain (eds.) 1997. 71–104. Geoltrain, P. & Kaestli, J.-D. (eds.). Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, II. Paris: Gallimard, 2005. (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade 516). Goodspeed, E. J. Index apologeticus sive clavis Iustini Martyris operum aliorumque apologetarum pristinorum. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912. Grundmann, W. “δύναμαι κτλ.” in TWNT, II. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1935. 286–318. Haenchen, E. Die Apostelgeschichte neu übersetzt und erklärt. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 19593. (KEK 3). Heintz, F. Simon « le magicien ». Actes 8, 5–25 et l’accusation de magie contre les prophètes thaumaturges dans l’Antiquité. Paris: Gabalda, 1997. (Cahiers de la Revue biblique 39). Hills, J. Tradition and Composition in the Epistula Apostolorum. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990. (Harvard Dissertations in Religion 27). Horner T. “Jewish Aspects of the Protevangelium of James.” Journal of Early Christian Studies, 2004. 12, 313–335. Hurtado, L. W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. Jewett, R. Romans: A Commentary. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006. (Hermeneia). Keller, C. A. Das Wort OTH als “Offenbarungszeichen Gottes”. Eine philologisch-theologische Begriffsuntersuchung zum Alten Testament. Basel: Hoenen, 1946. Kloppenborg, J. S. The Formation of Q: Trajectories in Ancient Wisdom Collections. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987. (SAC). Kloppenborg Verbin, J. S. Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000. Koester, H. Introduction to the New Testament, II. History and Literature of Early Christianity. New York-Berlin: De Gruyter, 2002. Le Boulluec, A. et al. “Roman pseudo-clémentin.” In Geoltrain and Kaestli (eds.), 2005. 1173–2003. Lüdemann, G. “The Successors of Pre-70 Jerusalem Christianity: A Critical Evaluation of the Pella-Tradition.” In Sanders (ed.) 1980. 161–173. Luz, U. Das Evangelium nach Matthäus, II. Zürich-Neukirchen-Vluyn: Benzinger/ Neukirchener, 1990. (EKK I/2).

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–. Das Evangelium nach Matthäus, I. Zürich-Neukirchen-Vluyn: Benzinger / Neukirchener, 20025. (EKK I/1). Mancini, I. Archaeological Discoveries Relative to the Judaeo-Christians: Historical Survey. Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1970. (Publications of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. Collectio Minor 10). Marguerat, D. La première histoire du christianisme (Les Actes des apôtres). Paris: Cerf, 20032. (LD 180). Matthews, C. R. Philip, Apostle and Evangelist: Configurations of a Tradition. Leiden: Brill, 2002. (Supplements to Novum Testamentum 105). McDonald, L. M. & Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Peabody (MA): Hendrickson, 2002. Metzger, B. M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Oxford: Clarendon, 1987. Mimouni, S. C. Le judéo-christianisme ancien. Essais historiques. Paris: Cerf, 1998. (Patrimoines). Mimouni, S. C. & Jones, F. S. (eds.). Le judéo-christianisme dans tous ses états. Actes du colloque de Jérusalem, 6–10 juillet 1998. Paris: Cerf, 2001. Olbricht, T. H. “The Theology of the Signs in the Gospel of John.” In Priest (ed.) 1989. 171–181. Painchaud, L. & Poirier, P.-H. (eds.). Colloque international « L’Évangile de Thomas et les textes de Nag Hammadi » (Québec, 29–31 mai 2003). Québec-Louvain: Les Presses de l’Université Laval/ Peeters, 2007. (Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi, section « Études » 8). Painter, J. Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition. Columbia (SC): University of South Carolina Press, 20042. Pao, D. W. “Physical and Spiritual Restoration: The Role of Healing Miracles in the Acts of Andrew.” In Bovon, Brock & Matthews 1999. 259–280. Pérès, J.-N. L’Épître des apôtres accompagnée du Testament de notre Seigneur et notre Sauveur Jésus-Christ. Turnhout: Brepols, 1994. (Apocryphes 3). –. 1997. “Épître des apôtres.” In Bovon & Geoltrain (eds.), 1997. 357–392. Pouderon, B. Les apologistes grecs du IIe siècle. Paris: Cerf, 2005. (Initiation aux Pères de l’Église). Poupon, G. “L’accusation de magie dans les Actes apocryphes.” In Bovon et al. 1981, 71–93. Pratscher, W. Der Herrenbruder Jakobus und die Jakobustradition. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987. (FRLANT 139). Priest J. E. (ed.). Johannine Studies. Essays in honor of Frank Pack. Malibu (CA): Pepperdine University Press, 1989. Prieur, J.-M.  “La figure de l’apôtre dans les Actes apocryphes.” In Bovon et al. 1981. 121–139. –. (ed.). La Croix. Représentations théologiques et symboliques. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2004. (Actes et recherches). Prigent, P. L’Apocalypse de saint Jean. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 20002. (CNT 14). Puech, H. C. En quête de la Gnose, II. Sur l’Évangile selon Thomas. Paris: Gallimard, 1978. (Bibliothèque des sciences humaines). Quasten, J. Initiation aux Pères de l’Église, II. Paris: Cerf, 1998. Rad, G. von. Theologie des Alten Testaments, II. Die Theologie der prophetischen Überlieferungen Israels. Munich: Kaiser, 1960. (Einführung in die evangelische Theologie 2).

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–. Théologie de l’Ancien Testament, II. Théologie des traditions prophétiques d’Israël. trans. A. Goy. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1972. Reeves, J. C. Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005. (Resources for Biblical Study 45). Rengstorf, K. H. “σημεῖον κτλ.” TWNT, VII. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1964. 199–261. –. “τέρας.” TWNT, VIII. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1969. 113–127. Riley, G. Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995. Robinson, J. M., Hoffmann, P. & Kloppenborg, J. S. (eds.). The Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas. Louvain: Peeters, 2000. Rordorf, W. & Tuilier, A. La Doctrine des Douze apôtres (Didachè). Paris: Cerf, 1978. (SC 248). Rudolph, K. Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987. Russell, D. S. The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, 200 BC–AD 100. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964. Sanders, E. P. (ed.). Jewish and Christian Self-Definition. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980. Schnelle, U. Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003. Schrage, W. Der erste Brief an die Korinther (1 Kor 1, 1–6, 11). Zürich-Neukirchen: Benzinger/Neukirchener, 1991. (EKK VII/1). Sellew, P. “The Gospel of Thomas: Prospects for Future Research.” In Turner & McGuire (eds.), 1997. 327–346. Stolz, F. “’ôt Zeichen.” In Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament, I. Munich-Zurich: Kaiser/Theologischer Verlag, 1971. col. 91–95. Taylor, J. E. “The Bagatti-Testa Hypothesis and Alleged Jewish-Christian Archaeological Remains.” Mishkan 13 (1990) 1–25. Theissen, G. Urchristliche Wundergeschichten. Ein Beitrag zur formgeschichtlichen Erforschung der synoptischen Evangelien. Gütersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1974. (Studien zum Neuen Testament 8). Thrall, M. E. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, II. Edinburgh: Clark, 2000. (ICC). Trocmé, É. L’enfance du christianisme, Paris: Noêsis, 1997. Turner, J. D. & McGuire, A. (eds.). The Nag Hammadi Library After Fifty Years. Proceedings of the 1993 Society of Biblical Literature Commemoration. Leiden: Brill, 1997. (Nag Hammadi and Manichean Studies 44). Valantasis, R. The Gospel of Thomas. London: Routledge, 1997. (New Testament Readings). Van Cangh, J.-M. “Miracles évangéliques – miracles apocryphes.” In Van Segbroeck et al. (ed.) 1992. III, 2277–2319. Van Segbroeck, F. et al. (eds.) The Four Gospels. Festschrift Frans Neirynck. 3 vols. Louvain: Leuven University Press/Peeters, 1992. (BETL 100). Van Stempvoort, P. A. “The Protevangelium Jacobi, the Sources of its Theme and Style and their Bearing on its Date.” Studia Evangelica, III, 2. Berlin: Akademie, 1964. (TU 88). 410–426. Vouga, F. Les premiers pas du christianisme. Les écrits, les acteurs, les débats. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1997. (Le monde de la Bible 35). Wenhert, J. “Die Auswanderung der Jerusalemer Christen nach Pella – historisches Factum oder theologische Konstruktion? Kritische Bemerkungen zu einem neuen Buch.” ZKG 102 (1991) 231–255.  


9. The Soul’s Comeback: Immortality and Resurrection in Early Christianity Introduction



In the middle of the twentieth century, biblical scholars claimed the unity of the human person as the core of biblical anthropology.1 The Hebrew term ‫נֶפֶשׁ‬, “life,” “person,” was no longer translated as “soul” and the best English equivalent for the Greek ψυχή was “person.” In the seventies and eighties, on both sides of the Atlantic, the pendulum swung even further, to the point of favoring the body. In Paris, in the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Pierre Geoltrain offered a lecture course on the “body” in several texts of the New Testament, while in the United States Dale Martin worked on his book published under the title The Corinthian Body.2 In Geneva, where expression corporelle had become a form of instruction in dance and eurhythmic studies at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, some New Testament scholars incorporated bodily experience into their understanding of biblical passages.3 It was also this time that saw – in the secular realm – the creation of “body shops” and the continuous care of one’s own body. With Merleau-Ponty we can say that this recent period witnesses a rediscovery of the body.4

1 I would like to express my gratitude to Harvard Divinity School for the invitation to deliver the Ingersoll Lecture 2009, to Dean William A. Graham for his kind introduction, and to my colleague Professor Karen L. King, who in her presentation expressed much understanding and sympathy for me and my work. I would also like to thank Héctor G. Amaya and Eunyung Lim, who both helped me as research assistants, one in the beginning and the other at the end. I convey also my thanks to Linda Grant who improved the English of this lecture and contributed to its final edition. 2 See Pierre Geoltrain, “Origines du christianisme,” Annuaire de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études 92 (1983–1984) 355–356 and 93 (1984–1985) 365–367; Dale B. Martin, The Corinthian Body (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995). 3 I still feel in my body the meaning of “following,” “waiting,” or “being transformed” as the hermeneutical approach to encountering Jesus or the experience of Pentecost. See François Bovon, “Le dépassement de l’esprit historique,” in Le christianisme est-il une religion du livre? Actes du Colloque organisé par la Faculté de théologie protestante de l’Université des Sciences humaines de Strasbourg du 20 au 23 mai 1981 (Études et travaux 6; Strasbourg: Association des publications de la Faculté de théologie protestante et Association pour l’étude de la civilisation romaine, 1984) 111–24, particularly pp. 120–22. 4 The full quotation is: “Avant de poser cette question, voyons bien tout ce qui est impliqué dans la redécouverte du corps propre.” Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phénoménologie de la perception (Bibliothèque des idées; Paris: Gallimard, 1945) 232.


9. The Soul’s Comeback

I hope my many colleagues who have classes or publications that include the word “body” in their titles will forgive me today if I respond on behalf of the soul against what I consider to be an inflation of the body. My reaction is not meant to imply that we neglect the study of the body as the locus of social practices and the expression of power relations. It is, however, meant to imply that an obsession with the body, that is, with what is visible, may reflect an absence of the divine – of the invisible – in an outrageously secular society. My approach is to work backwards in time, that is, to deal first with several church writers of late antiquity and then in Part Two to move to Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus and others Christian authors of the third and second centuries C. E. I shall then concentrate in a third part on the promise of eternal life in the Gospel of John and Paul’s epistles, including one of Jesus’ sayings. The last section will suggest a path for spiritual experience for today.

I. Late Antiquity

Eustratios Eustratios, a priest of Hagia Sophia, disciple of Eutychios, patriarch of Constantinople, wrote a polemical essay at the end of the sixth century entitled On the condition of souls after they have departed from the body.5 Eustratios does not have to prove the existence of the soul or its survival after death, for this was commonly accepted in his day. Instead, he attacks the opinion of those who claim that the souls of the departed sleep till the resurrection. He himself is convinced that the soul lives actively in the afterworld, and his defense has a biblical foundation, beginning with Abel’s blood crying out to the Lord from the ground (Gen 4:9).6 The soul can intercede for the living even as the living in their liturgical prayers can alleviate the suffering of the dead. Eustratios’ position represents a defense of the cult of saints and it may be considered quite different from the apostle Paul’s terminology of the sleep of the departed. Still, as late as the sixth century there were those who continued to think in the archaic terms of Paul’s epistles: that the dead should be compared to people who are asleep, being neither dead nor really alive.7 We know that Christian authors of Syria preserved this archaic perspective on the dead.8 I am pleased to mention that Louis

5 Eustratios, De statu animarum post mortem (CPG 7522) (ed. Peter Van Deun; CCSG 60; Turnhout: Brepols, 2006). 6 Ibid., 138–41. 7 These opponents, according to Eustratios, do not doubt that souls can manifest themselves from time to time. But in such cases they are not active selves, but are moved by God’s power. 8 See Frank Gavin, “The Sleep of the Soul in the Early Syriac Church,” JAOS 40 (1920) 103–20.


9. The Soul’s Comeback

Demos, a doctor of theology candidate, has recently defended a dissertation on that church author.9 Augustine  

Turning to the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century C. E., we note that in book 22 of his City of God Augustine is concerned with eternal beatitude in the divine city: “But in that city all the citizens shall be immortal, human beings now for the first time enjoying what the holy angels have never lost.”10 This will be, he emphasizes, the fruit of God’s gracious will,11 as referred to in Isa 26:19, Isa 65:17–19, and Dan 12:1–2.12 He then proposes both a rational and an affective argument to support his own view of survival of the person. His rational argument: if God at each human birth can join a soul to a body, he will be powerful enough at the end of time to add a body to a soul.13 His affective argument: the resurrection, it is true, is difficult to believe, but through faith and love we believe two events have already occurred, namely Christ’s own resurrection and the success of the Christian mission. Jesus’ resurrection is not only a spiritual event: Christians believe and know that Jesus was raised from the dead in his physical person. The resurrection of the dead is the consequence of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.14 Jerome

While Augustine’s argument represents a synthesis on the resurrection, Jerome’s witnesses the variety, the tensions, and the controversies of four centuries of Christian inquiry. Jerome, as a biblical scholar, in his Epistula CXIX ad Mineruium et Alexandrum, bases his discussion of the resurrection on 1 Cor 15, particularly verse 51, where the apostle Paul reveals the “mystery” of the resurrection. The mystery is particularly complex to understand ( Jerome knows) for the text of First Corinthians is not certain at this point. Some Greek manuscripts render the verse: “All of us will die, but not all of us will be changed.” But others state:

9 See Louis Demos, “The Cult of the Saints and Its Christological Foundations in Eustratios of Consantinople’s De statu animarum post mortem” (Th.D. diss., Harvard University, 2010). 10 Augustine, City of God 22.1, English translation slightly changed from Saint Augustine, The City of God (trans. Marcus Dods; intro. Thomas Merton; New York: The Modern Library, 1993) 810. 11 Ibid., 22.2. 12 Ibid., 22.3. 13 Ibid., 22.4. 14 Ibid., 22.6–7. Augustine confirms his point with a double reference to the witness of faith and the witness of blood. Rejecting the contemporary cosmological argument that at the resurrection the body will not be allowed to reach the peak of creation, he asserts that resurrected people will have their residence above earth, water, air and heaven, and this because their bodies will not be of flesh but of spirit (22.11). See also 22.21.


9. The Soul’s Comeback

“All of us will not die, but all of us will be changed.”15 This textual difference reflects the hesitation of theologians and scribes over several centuries. In his long letter,16 Jerome presents first an eloquent status quaestionis. Diodorus of Tarsus, probably reading the first variant, claims that as for universal death incorruptibility will follow for all, but transformation (probably into a glorious body) will be reserved for the just or elect. Didymus of Alexandria and Acacius of Caesarea insist on the mystery but ultimately their interpretation is close to Diodorus’s. The second form of the text, Jerome explains, was championed by, among others, Theodorus of Heraclia and Apollinaris of Laodicea, but following two diverging interpretations. Those who “will not die” can be those who are still alive on the day of the parousia or – more interestingly – they may be the believers referred to in John 11:25–26, where it is stated that to believe now is to cross the boundary of death and go from mortality to immortality.17 After this long review, Jerome chooses a solution close to that of Augustine’s position, claiming that the death of the body is not the end of the human person. But the variety of patristic interpretations as well as the instability of the biblical text make it clear that the problem of immortality, the destiny of the soul, and the hope for a bodily resurrection were still burning issues, well into Christian centuries.18 Gregory of Nyssa Let us consider now a Greek theologian of fourth-century Christianity. Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Soul and the Resurrection was written within days of the death of his brother Basil the Great, and as his sister Macrina lay mortally ill.19 Some-

15 See Nestle-Aland, Novum Testament Graece (27th ed.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006), apparatus criticus ad loc. 16 Jerome, Lettres (ed. Jérôme Labourt; 8 vols.; Collection des Universités de France; Paris: Belles Lettres, 1958) 6:97–120. 17 Those who believe have a living soul and imitate the destiny of the apostles, while those who do not believe have a soul that is already dead even if they are still physically alive. Jerome mentions that this is the opinion of Origen who, according to Jerome, understands eternal life of the believers as the bodily life of asceticism (a bodily life hic et nunc according not to the flesh but to the spirit). 18 At the end of his letter Jerome mentions even a third textual variant of 1 Cor 15:51, preserved, according to him, only in the Latin version of First Corinthians: “Omnes quidem resurgemus, non omnes autem inmutabimur” (“All of us will rise; not all, however, will be transformed”). (The third edition of the Vulgate by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1983, has “sed” [but] before “non omnes autem inmutabimur.”) Actually the variant reading is found in the codex Claromontanus, a bilingual manuscript in Greek and Latin (D=06). It is therefore attested in at least one Greek manuscript. 19 Gregory of Nyssa, Dialogus de anima et resurrectione (PG 46, 11–160); see idem, On the Soul and the Resurrection (eds. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace; NPNF 2d series; 14 vols.; reprinted Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 5:428–68; idem, On the Soul and the Resurrection (trans. and intro. Catharine P. Roth; Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002); idem,

9. The Soul’s Comeback


times called the Christian equivalent to Plato’s Phaedo, because of its dialogical genre and topic, Gregory deferentially attributes to his sister the role of Socrates, the wise teacher, and modestly takes for himself the role of pupil. Platonic in its defense of the immortality of the soul and its spiritual nature, the work is Aristotelian in asserting the simultaneous birth of both the soul and the body and in denying any migration of the soul. What interests me here is Gregory’s first concern: the search for a definition of the soul, establishing a parallel between the invisible God and the spiritual soul. Gregory’s second concern is to harmonize the dissolution of the body after death with belief in the resurrection of the flesh. Thus sins such as anger and desire, even if connected to the soul, are not part of the human person. Nor does Gregory see the continuity of the person after death in the physical presence of relics or in the almighty care of God, but in the memory that the soul preserves of all the details of her brother the body. The parable of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) does not confront resurrected bodies in Hell and Paradise, but souls who remember their bodily counterparts. Gregory considers life after death – strangely more presupposed than described – not as a static period of reward and punishment but, under the influence of Origen,20 as a long process of training and education in a sort of moral rehabilitation. This optimistic perspective confirms Gregory’s main goal: to find consolation in the face of death – not an easy consolation, such as the billige Gnade (“cheap grace”) chastised by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but a real consolation.

II. Third and Second Centuries Origen  

Turning to the third century C. E., in the De principiis of Origen we find the skill of a biblical scholar and the sophistication of a theologian.21 Even though he will be condemned by some as early as the fourth century for his eschatology and spiritualization, his interpretation of immortality and resurrection will become highly influential. All spiritual life seeks to become similar to God. If God has created human beings in his image (imago) at the creation, then at the resurrection the saved will be reestablished in a status even closer to God (similitudo).22

L’ âme et la résurrection (trans. Christian Bouchet; intro. Bernard Pottier; notes Marie-Hélène Congourdeau; Paris: Migne, 1998). 20 See Walther Völker, Das Vollkommenheitsideal des Origenes. Eine Untersuchung zur Geschichte der Frömmigkeit und zu den Anfängen christlicher Mystik (BHTh 7; Tübingen: Mohr, 1931) 36–38 and 215–22. 21 Origen, Princ. 3.6. 22 Behind the Latin translation imago there must be the Greek εἰκών, and behind similitudo, ὁμοίωσις. Irenaeus had already made use of this distinction, based on an exegesis of Gen 1; see


9. The Soul’s Comeback

While the final transformation will be the matter of an instant in Jerome’s thinking, it is a long process, a process of spiritual education, in the mind of Origen. In another passage of De principiis, Origen meditates on punishment and reward.23 In his effort to explain who will face the final judgment he eagerly reacts against what he calls the heretics who limit survival to the soul, insisting that it will be our souls and our bodies that will inherit eternal life. This continuity is important to Origen: it will be in our own bodies that the resurrection will take place. On the other hand he criticizes the simple believers who just expect a revival of their present fleshly body. Our risen bodies will be, he insists, spiritual in nature, for as the apostle Paul says, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50). We will inhabit our spiritual body and abandon our animal body. As Caroline Bynum has opposed the two metaphors, one – dangerous – is the reconstruction of the body as a house and the other – more useful – is the transformation of the seed into a plant.24 Origen, like Paul, prefers the metaphor of the seed. The glorified body will be both continuous and discontinuous with the natural body. It will be similar and different, just as a plant is continuous with the seed even though it looks quite different. The change will be the work of the grace of God, but through the spiritual exercise of their souls over their bodies believers cooperate in this divine effort. Tertullian

Tertullian wrote his De Anima in 210 or early in 211.25 The difficulty of interpreting this very complex work begins with the question: why does Tertullian write on the soul? Two things are clear: Tertullian does not write for the sake of clarifying his own thought and he does not face one major opponent, but many. He opposes Pythagoras and his view of the migration of souls, which he, Tertullian, describes as unstable souls going and coming without a rest (§ 28). He opposes Plato, reproaching him the spiritual nature of his soul (§§ 4, 9, and 24). He opposes what he calls the solution of the magicians, who claim victory over death through magical formulae and tricks (§ 57). For Tertullian, the soul is bodily. Speaking philosophically, he is the closest to the Stoic thinkers, except that for him the soul is the fruit of a creation by the transcendent, true, and unique God. The list of Tertullian’s Christian opponents witnesses to the melting pot of Christian views in the second century. He is shocked by Saturninus’s view that

Irenaeus of Lyon, Haer. 4.38.3–4; 5.6.1; 5.16.1; 5.28.4; 5.36.3. Clement of Alexandria, Strom. 2.8.38 and 2.22.131, also used the distinction in a way that is similar to Irenaeus. 23 Origen, Princ. 2.10. 24 Carolyn Walker Bynum, The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200–1336 (Lectures on the History of Religion 15; New York: Columbia University Press, 1995) 1–43. 25 See Tertullian, De Anima, mit Einleitung, Übersetzung und Kommentar (ed. Jan H. Waszink; Amsterdam: H. J. Paris, 1933) 9. More recently, see by the same editor the edition in Tertullian, Opera (2 vols.; CCSL 1–2; Turnhout: Brepols, 1954) 2:779–869.


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at death the soul will simply fly home directly to heaven (§ 23). He dislikes particularly metempsychosis and metensomatosis, two Greek terms he uses for reincarnation, thus refuting Carpocrates and, before him, Simon Magus. He cannot agree with Apelles, Marcion’s disciple, who separates male and female souls. He disagrees finally with Menander, who had preserved an archaic formulation of the Gospels and believed that the afterlife can be called a life and not death. Endowed with a good dose of mauvaise foi, Tertullian ridicules Menander, saying that he was refusing to die. Against all these adversaries Tertullian builds an intellectual defense: he trusts the Christian religious tradition and not philosophical wisdom. He believes from Scripture that the soul is created by the Spirit of God (§ 1). The soul has a beginning (§ 4), and her birthday coincides with the body’s birthday. The parable of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) proves that the soul after death is bodily (§ 7) and possesses a certain form (an effigies animae; § 9).26 Death constitutes the separation of body and soul, the temporary suspension of what Tertullian calls societatem carnis atque animae (37). The soul after death does not climb triumphantly to heaven, as we have seen, but goes to the realm of the dead (apud inferos). Tertullian visualizes this space very concretely while Gregory of Nyssa refuses to interpret Hades as a place. For the Cappadocian it is a quality of survival. But for Tertullian apud inferos is a liminal space, the place of a transition between life and resurrection. One therefore does not have to wait for the Middle Ages to celebrate the birth of purgatory.27 The reality, without the term, is present in the works of Tertullian and the writings of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa. All these theologians of late antiquity expect the period between death and the resurrection to be a time of reeducation, temporary punishment, and first rewards.28

26 As we have seen, Gregory of Nyssa offers a different interpretation. See above, p. 110. For Tertullian, De Anima 11–12, the soul is one and simple. Her strength and power is the animus, the equivalent of the mind (mens, νοῦς). Her “leading part,” the ἡγεμονικόν (a Stoic formulation), is the equivalent to what Scripture calls “heart” (ibid., 15.1, 4). 27 Jacques Le Goff distinguishes between the formation of the belief in purgatory already in antiquity and the birth of purgatory itself in the Middle Ages: “Je me propose de suivre la formation séculaire de ce troisième lieu depuis le judéo-christianisme antique, d’en montrer la naissance au moment de l’épanouissement de l’Occident médiéval dans la seconde moitié du XIIe siècle, et le rapide succès au cours du siècle suivant” (“I propose to trace the secular formation of this third place since the Jewish Christianity of antiquity in order to demonstrate its birth at the time of the blossoming of the medieval West in the second half of the twelfth century C. E. and its rapid success in the course of the next century”). Jacques Le Goff, La naissance du Purgatoire (Folio, Histoire; Paris: Gallimard, 1991) 9. 28 The success of the Christian message of eschatological hope through the expression of immortal life was widespread in the third century, as in the centuries that followed. In Acts Phil. 12.8, even animals convert and express their gratitude in the following prayer: “We glorify you, Lord, the only begotten Son, on account of the undying life into which we have been born, having received in place of an animal body a human one.” In the History of Joseph the Carpenter 24.4, preserved in Coptic, death is understood as an exodus out of the body. And considering


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Besides presenting his own position, Irenaeus mentions the position of his adversaries.29 In this way he bears witness to the existence of a spiritual interpretation we find in several authors of the second century. There are “heretics” (from Irenaeus’s point of view), who neglect the flesh and claim that, released from the burden of the body, the elect at their death obtain direct access to God. Irenaeus adds here an interesting comment: all his adversaries, he says, rely on Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 15, that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 50), to support their position. But in book 5 of Adversus haereses, where Irenaeus defends his own position, we find that he uses the very same authority and source, 1 Cor 15, to support the opposite doctrinal position (particularly v. 44). The battle for interpretations, a topic dear to Paul Ricœur,30 is well engaged in the second century. But we must be fair to Irenaeus: the bishop of Lyon is not just the champion of the resurrection of the flesh. He qualifies his position with the following contrast: just as Adam was marked by natural breathing (πνόη), Christ was connected with the divine Spirit (πνεῦμα). Similarly, after their natural life, human beings will rise from the dead in a body, but it will be a transformed, spiritual body.31 Other Second-Century Christian Authors The second century was for Christians a period of uncertainty and conflicted opinions. Compared to writers of the Second Sophistic, Christians appear naïve and amateurish in their writings. Compared to the Stoics and other philosophers, Christians present inconsistent anthropological views. Their usage of terms such as “soul,” “mind,” and “spirit” is often loose. Above all, there is hesitation concerning the afterlife. Some underscore the involvement of the flesh in the resurrection process, while others are satisfied with the spiritual aspect of the

this death, Jesus, who is presumed to speak, observes: “Yes, he [Joseph] died, but this death of my father Joseph is not a death, this is eternal life.” Everyone must die, even the most holy ones such as Joseph, Enoch, and Elijah (even if taken alive to heaven Enoch and Elijah will have also to die before the final resurrection). In the Armenian Martyrdom of Thaddeus 22, the apostle, who is praised for having converted Sandoukht, the king’s daughter, is considered to be “a way of life and a medicine of immortality.” That means that he is able to bring his converts on the way to eternal life. Book eight of the Sibylline Oracles (8.310–17) presents Christ’s passion in a poetic way: through his agony the Son has put death to death and has become a source of immortality. See Écrits apocryphes chrétiens (eds. François Bovon, Pierre Geoltrain, and JeanDaniel Kaestli; 2 vols.; La Pléiade 442 and 516; Paris: Gallimard, 1999–2005) 1:1285; 2:53, 688, and 1077. 29 Irenaeus, Haer. 5.1–14. See Irenaeus, Contre les hérésies. Livre V (eds. Adelin Rousseau, Louis Doutreleau and Charles Mercier; 2 vols.; SC 152–53; Paris: Cerf, 1969). 30 Paul Ricœur, Le conflit des interprétations. Essais d’herméneutique (L’ordre philosophique; Paris: Seuil, 1969). 31 Irenaeus, Haer. 5.12.1–4.

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resurrection. This diversity of opinion reflects the ambiguities of the early Christian documents that will become the stock of authoritative writings, particularly 1 Cor 15, and the lack of intellectual training among many Christians. But even more it reflects the early Christian preoccupation with the message of salvation: what really mattered for the Christians of that time is not a definition of the soul or a philosophical distinction of the parts of the self, but the hope of an afterlife and a relationship of hope and love with the deity. The clearer the promise of eternal life, the more vague the definition of the self. Such is the evidence in early Christian poetry, particularly the Odes of Solomon, where anthropology appears simply in the form of the first person pronoun “I,” and soteriology shines in a wide variety of poetic expressions: The Son has loved me and I love him. I shall become “son” or “daughter” myself: “For he who is joined to him who does not die will also be immortal” (Odes Sol. 3.8).32 Such is the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord (Odes Sol. 3.10).33 The Lord opened my heart to his light and “caused his immortal life to dwell in me” (Odes Sol. 10.2).34 “I drank  – and became drunk  – immortal water” (Odes Sol. 11.7 [Greek]).35 “I put on imperishability by his name and took off perishability by his grace. Death was annihilated before my face and the realm of the dead [Sheol] destroyed by my word” (Odes Sol. 15.8–9).36 The apologists Athenagoras, Pseudo-Justin, and the author of the so-called Third Epistle to the Corinthians defend a doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh but for them the soul remains important.37 The flesh helps bridge the gulf between death and the resurrection but the soul is even better than a bridge.38

32 Michael Lattke, Odes of Solomon: A Commentary (trans. Marianne Ehrhardt; Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009) 35. 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid., 140. 35 Ibid., 149. 36 Ibid., 206. 37 See Athenagoras, Supplique au sujet des chrétiens et Sur la résurrection des morts (ed. Bernard Pouderon; SC 379; Paris: Cerf, 1992); idem, Embassy for the Christians: The Resurrection of the Dead (trans. and annotated by Joseph Hugh Crehan; ACW 23; Westminster, Md.: Newman, 1956); Pseudo-Justin, Sulla resurrezione. Discorso cristiano del II secolo (ed. Alberto D’Anna; Letteratura Cristiana Antica; Brescia: Morcelliana, 2001); idem, Über die Auferstehung. Text und Studie (ed. Martin Heimgartner; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2001); Terza Lettera ai Corinzi, Pseudo-Giustino, La Risurrezione (ed. Alberto D’Anna; Letture Cristiane del Primo Milennio 44; Milan: Paoline, 2009); Vahan Hovhanessian, Third Corinthians: Reclaiming Paul for Christian Orthodoxy (New York: Lang, 2000). Recently two Harvard doctoral students submitted their dissertations on the topics treated here: Taylor Petrey, “Carnal Resurrection: Sexuality and Sexual Difference in Early Christianity” (Th.D. diss., Harvard University, 2010); Glenn E. Snyder, “Remembering the Acts of Paul” (Ph.D. diss., Harvard, 2010). 38 In the Vision of Ezra (recension B), Ezra is taken by seven angels to visit Hell, and by four archangels to visit the seventh heaven. Then he must die, and like many strong believers he is afraid of dying. The Lord consoles him by telling him that his body will go back to the earth while his soul will go back to God. The document may be dated from the second century C. E.,


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This becomes evident when reading the newly discovered Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul, which I was fortunate to edit with Bertrand Bouvier for the first time.39 This apocalypse depicts the opposite destinies of the sinner and the elect at the moment of death and during the long stay in the realm of death while awaiting the final resurrection. Typically for early Christian and Byzantine scenarios we hear two dialogues between the soul and body, one in the sinner and one in the just. In the case of the just, the soul thanks and congratulates the body for their harmonious life together, like two affectionate siblings. The noble ethical attitude of both in this life has secured the unity of their person on the day of resurrection. Therefore they can separate at the hour of death with the hope of being reunited at the end of time. The question arises: In their efforts to give life to the soul after death, what function did Christians attribute to the body? As with the soul, various – often contradictory  – opinions are offered. A very common response was to praise the future fate of the soul as an escape from the body, which was considered a prison (here of course the influence of the Platonic tradition is tangible). Even if careful distinctions must be made, this is the solution of several so-called gnostic texts,40 particularly The Exegesis on the Soul (NHC II.6) and the Letter to Rheginus or Treatise on the Resurrection (NHC I.4).41 To be sure, we also find anthropological reflections in texts such as the Gospel of Mary.42 In this document the author connects matter with the passions and the vision of the Lord

but the Latin recensions must be later (4th–9th century C. E.). See Flavio G. Nuvolone, “Vision d’Esdras,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1: 593–632, particularly p. 631. Then, in so-called 5 Ezra, when the seer observes the Son in the company of a crowd of believers and asks who the people are, he receives the answer: “These are they who have put off mortal clothing and put on the immortal, and they have confessed the name of God; now they are being crowned, and receive palms” (5 Ezra 2.45). See Pierre Geoltrain, “Cinquième livre d’Esdras,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:633–51. 5 Ezra probably dates to the second half of the second century or beginning of the third century C. E. 39 See chapter 14 of this volume. Even if the text is later than the second century it defends the same position as the Apocalypse of Peter and the Apocalypse of Paul. On these two early Christian apocalypses, see below n. 43. See Louise Dudley, The Egyptian Elements in the Legend of the Body and the Soul (Baltimore: Furst, 1911); eadem, “An Early Homily on the ‘Body and Soul’ Theme,” Journal of English and German Philology 8 (1909): 225–53. 40 I hesitate to mention here the Gospel of Truth. See Gospel of Truth 10–14 and 30–36; Harold Attridge and George W. MacRae, “The Gospel of Truth (I,3 and XII, 2),” in The Nag Hammadi Library in English, (ed. James M. Robinson; 3d ed.; New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990) 38–39. Regarding this document Larry W. Hurtado, writes: “In the Gospel of Truth, however, Jesus’ death does not provide a ransom for sins. Instead, it vividly portrays the futility and unimportance of the flesh, and the secret of the transcendent destiny to which the elect can now aspire in consequence of Jesus’ own pathfinding action.” Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003) 545. 41 See Malcolm L. Peel, “The Treatise on the Resurrection (I, 4),” in The Nag Hammadi Library in English 52–54. 42 See Karen L. King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge, 2003).

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with the mind, which is a part of the self, distinct from the soul and the human spirit. But here also soteriology is the core of the reflection and among the two mentioned tendencies – spiritual and corporal salvation – it clearly chooses the spiritual. Chapter 9 describes the ascent of the soul. A second solution underscores the unity of the person in the knowledge of different fates reserved for his or her parts. Although the dying body is distinct from the living soul, the destiny of the soul in the afterlife depends on the ethical commitment of the body in this life, and a reunion of both, soul and body, is expected on the day of resurrection. This is the orthodox vision we find in Origen’s treatise on Martyrdom and in several Apocalypses.43 There is a particular version of this respect of the human person, visible in the body, as the image of God. This positive evaluation of the body irradiates the whole person, the soul in particular. Indeed the body becomes a metaphor for the soul. This is the option selected by early Christian artists and their commanditaires or patrons. In art, whose preserved witnesses are most often funerary, the representation of the body may become the image of the soul or – put differently – the image of the post mortem existence of the self. The picture of the orant (fig. 1), the praying woman with arms outstretched, is perhaps the metaphor of the departed soul. To paint this figure or to sculpt it, quoting Émile Mâle, is to express faith in immortality: “Les peintures les plus anciennes des catacombes respirent cette douceur et traduisent cette foi dans l’immortalité et il est peu de chefs-d’œuvre qui nous touchent autant que ces pauvres fresques à moitié effacées.”44

43 On Origen see above 111–112 and below 119. On the Apocalypse of Peter and the Apocalypse of Paul see Richard Bauckham and Paolo Marrassini, “Apocalypse de Pierre,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:745–74; and Claude-Claire Kappler and René Kappler, “Apocalyse de Paul,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1: 775–826; Claude Carozzi, Eschatologie et au-delà. Recherches sur l’Apocalypse de Paul (Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Université de Provence, 1994). 44 “The most ancient paintings of the catacombs breathe of this sweetness and express this faith in immortality, and few masterpieces move us more than these poor, half-erased frescoes.” Émile Mâle, Rome et ses vieilles églises (Paris: Flammarion, 1942) 18.


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Fig. 1: Praying woman (orant), in the Catacomba of Santa Priscilla in Rome.

Fig. 2: The patriarchs Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob hold the souls of the blessed. Fresco by Theophánes the Cretan, 1512. Mount Athos, Great Lavra, Trápeza. Plate 190 of Paul Huber, Athos: Leben, Glaube, Kunst (Zürich: Atlantis Verlag, 1969).


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III. John’s Gospel, Paul, and Jesus Why have I entitled this lecture “The Soul’s Comeback”? In any case I do not mean the immortality of the soul, Plato’s idea, in opposition to the resurrection of the body, the Christian tradition. No, I mean the Christian hope of an afterlife for the self as opposed to today’s obsession with the body in a framework of life limited by death as the final perspective. Two quotations help me convey my emphasis. The first is from John Calvin in his comments on Matt 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Calvin writes, “For how comes it that the dread of men prevails, in the struggle, but because the body is preferred to the soul, and immortality is less valued than a perishing life?”45 I found the second quotation reading with students the Greek text of Origen’s treatise on Martyrdom: “For, created in the image of God, it [the soul] is worthier than all bodies.”46 This is what we find in nuce in first-century Christianity, in the Gospel of John and in the Pauline epistles, to which we now turn. The Gospel of John  

The Gospel of John, written around the end of the first century C. E., is the best witness to my thesis that priority was given to soteriology over anthropology in the early Christian communities.47 At no layer in the slow process of this Gospel’s composition is special attention given to anthropological terminology. What counts to the authors and to the Johannine community is not a definition of the human being but the salvation offered (“eternal life”) and the Son of God as the source of that salvation. John 3:15–16 compares the Son to the bronze serpent who, lifted up in the wilderness, brought healing to the sick Israelites. When humans look up to him, as the Israelites did toward the bronze snakes, they will receive eternal healing.48

45 John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke (trans. William Pringle; Calvin’s Commentaries; Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1845– 1846; repr.; Calvin’s Commentaries 16; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003) 462. “Car qui est cause qu’au combat la crainte des hommes l’emporte, sinon pour ce qu’on préfère le corps à l’âme, et que l’immortalité est moins estimée que ceste vie caduque?” Idem, Sur la Concordance ou Harmonie composée de trois évangélistes, ascavoir S. Matthieu, S. Marc, et S. Luc (Commentaires de Jehan Calvin sur le Nouveau Testament; 4 vols.; Paris: Meyrueis, 1854) 1:263. 46 ἡ γὰρ “κατ᾽εἰκόνα θεοῦ” δεδημιουργημένη τιμιωτέρα ἐστὶ πάντων σωμάτων. Origen, Mart., 12 (GCS 2; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1899) 13. See also 4 Macc. 7.16–19. 47 On the Gospel of John, see Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John (ed. Francis J. Moloney; ABRL; New York: Doubleday, 2003); Jean Zumstein, L’Évangile selon saint Jean (13–21) (CNT 2d series 4b; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2007). 48 On another occasion, changing the metaphor, the Gospel of John describes the Son as the origin of special healing water: “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” ( John 4:14).


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Explaining at the end of The City of God what “eternal blessedness” means, Augustine claims that the adjective “eternal” does not simply describe an everlasting period.49 On the contrary, it implies an extraordinary quality. This is especially true in the Gospel of John: eternal life is not just an indefinite period of time that begins at the death of believers. It is the quality of relationship with Christ, the depth of love between God and God’s children, an existence that begins at the moment of redemption (according to a christological and not an anthropological chronology). It is independent of natural life, so that we will live even if we shall die (see John 5:24–29 and 6:68).50 Paul Writing four or five decades before John, Paul uses the anthropological terms found in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.51 He uses terms such as “heart,” “flesh,” “soul,” and “spirit” in a loose way, except when contrasting the “flesh” and the “spirit.”52 As sinful existence begins with wrong desire (ἐπιθυμία), develops into sin (ἁμαρτία), and ends with death (θάνατος) (Rom 7:7–25), redeemed existence, described as “righteousness,” is life in the Spirit, not meaning an especially spiritual or mystical existence but a life guided

49 Augustine, City of God, 22.1. Augustine actually shares an opinion already defended by Origen; see Panagi t s Tzamalikos, Origen: Philosophy of History and Eschatology (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 85; Leiden: Brill, 2007) 230, who writes: “Reference to eternal in the first place alludes not to a quantity of time, but to the quality of a certain existential state” [emphasis in original]. 50 It is not surprising that the Son himself declares: “I am the resurrection and the life” ( John 11:25). The words “resurrection” and “life” constitute a hendiadys, a way of expressing one and the same reality by means of two terms. The term “life” is qualified by the term “resurrection.” It is a new life, different from the natural life. It is at the same time a “resurrection” of the person, but with the presence of the word “life” it is not just a future hope for the body. It is a present reality for the self as well. Through the gift of this special type of life the self ceases to be “flesh”: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God” ( John 1:12–13). 51 Just as there were several distinct synagogues both in Jerusalem and in Rome – a plurality that was not felt as a threat against Jewish identity and unity – so there were different Christian communities in Jerusalem, Antioch of Syria, and Ephesus. The Johannine community in Ephesus, to whom one of the seven letters of the book of Revelation was addressed (Rev 2:1–7), was probably different from the community established by Paul in the same city (see 1 Cor 15 and Acts 19). Despite this difference, the same fundamental structure of faith was accepted by the two groups. What we have seen for the Johannine group can be found also in the Pauline churches. 52 On Paul’s anthropological terminology see Robert Jewett, Paul’s Anthropological Terms: A Study of Their Use in Conflict Settings (AGJU 1; Leiden: Brill, 1971); George H. van Kooten, Paul’s Anthropology in Context: The Image of God, Assimilation to God and Tripartite Man in Ancient Judaism, Ancient Philosophy and Early Christianity (WUNT 232; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008).


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by the Spirit of God, active in concrete love for one’s neighbor and intense love for the deity. Active in the old life, the new life can be described by Paul as a sacrifice of our bodies and the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:1–2). The source of hope for the self comes from divine grace; and the ethical dimension of body and soul can only result from the decision of faith, the human response to the divine affirmation of love.53 There is a clear harmony between the Epistle to the Romans and the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Eternal life begins already in the here and now, but the present participation in this eternal life happens in our mortal bodies and conforms itself to the cross of Christ.54 Future participation – in continuity with the present – will coincide with Jesus’ resurrection. It is therefore of vital importance to affirm that there is a resurrection (1 Cor 15:12). As a Jew, but also as a native Greek speaker, Paul cannot imagine a self outside the body, an existence without a body. But what will the final body be? Certainly it will be in continuity with the present life (to be sure that this is the same person), but there will also be discontinuity, since the quality of the resurrection will be completely different from natural existence. Therefore Paul creates the expression σῶμα πνευματικόν, “spiritual body,” using σῶμα (“body”) for the continuity and πνευματικόν (“spiritual”) for the discontinuity, for the newness (1 Cor 15:44). Wielding this metaphor, understandable to both Jews and Greeks, he compares our present suffering and our future glorious self to the destiny of a seed, sown physically but reborn spiritually, according to ancient standards and beliefs.55 We not only look like the risen Christ but also participate in Christ’s existence: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Cor 15:49). “For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:53).56  

53 Although 1 Thess 4:23 seems to display a complete and firm anthropology (“May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”), this verse is an exception and Paul – different from Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, the two stoic thinkers – is not interested in the practice of the body as a source of sanctification. 54 On Jesus’ death and resurrection as saving event received by faith, see Rudolf Bultmann, Theologie des Neuen Testaments (ed. Otto Merk; 8th ed.; UTB 630; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1980) § 33, pp. 292–306. On the parallels between Jesus’ resurrection and the believers’ resurrection see, Rom 6:3–11; Brendan Byrne, Romans (SP 6; Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1996) 189–93. 55 Here in nuce we find already the future distinction between imago and similitudo, for today human beings look like Adam and Eve, born from earth, natural and mortal (in the image of God, imago), but as Christians they shall be assimilated to Christ, the last Adam, who came not from earth but from heaven (in similarity with God, similitudo; see 1 Cor 15:42–49). See François Altermath, Du corps psychique au corps spirituel. Interprétation de 1 Cor 15, 35–49 par les auteurs chrétiens des quatre premiers siècles (BGBE 18; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1977). 56 On 1 Cor 15 see Wolfgang Schrage, Der erste Brief an die Korinther (1Kor 15,1–16,24) (EKKNT VII/4; Düsseldorf: Benziger; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1999).


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Jesus If we search for Jesus’s view on this matter using a Greek concordance and the term ψυχή (“soul,” “life,” or “person”),57 we find in particular a reference to the most important saying regarding our topic, for it presumes the survival of the person in one way or another after death, it underscores the importance of the “soul” along with the reality of the “body”; it gives strength and hope to all Christians in times of persecution or distress, and it is the saying explained by John Calvin mentioned earlier in this lecture. Knowing that fear can overwhelm anyone in many different circumstances, Jesus says: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28).58 Here we find that Jesus believes and presupposes that human life does not stop at the moment of death, and what he calls “soul” can survive after departure from the body. This saying confirms also the serious ethical dimension of eternal life: Christian redemption is not just a sweet promise of eternal delight, but the gift – not without requirements – of resurrection and immortality in the framework of faith and perseverance.59

IV. Spiritual Experience Today This voyage backwards from late antiquity to the time of Jesus compels me to plead in favor of the soul as the most precious gift given to humankind. But I

57 When Jesus, according to Mark 10:45, says that the Son of man has come not to be served but to serve, and to give his ψυχή as a ransom for many there is little doubt that he means here “his life.” But when at Gethsemane he sighs, saying “my ψυχή is deeply grieved,” he means his soul and his spirit, his mental and affective parts (Matt 26:38). Compared with Luke 22:37, Mark 10:45, as it is formulated with the soteriological allusion to a ransom, probably is more the expression of the first community than words spoken by the historical Jesus. See also Luke 21:19; Acts 20:10; and Heb 4:12. 58 On Matt 10:28 see Ulrich Luz, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (Mt 8–17) (EKK I/2; Zurich: Benziger; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1990) 126–28. One should remember the parallel to the saying in 4 Macc. 13.13b–15: “With all our hearts let us consecrate ourselves unto God, who gave us our souls, and let us expend our bodies for the custodianship of the Law. Let us have no fear of him who thinks he kills. Great is the ordeal and peril of the soul that lies in wait in eternal torment for those who transgress the commandment of God.” H. Anderson, “4 Maccabees: A New Translation and Introduction,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. James H. Charlesworth; 2 vols.; London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1983–1985) 2:558. 59 In subsequent centuries Christian leaders emphasized and contrasted the destiny of the elect and the punishment of others. The separation of the two groups began in early apocalyptic literature: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some for everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2). This eschatological perspective is present as well in the Synoptic Gospels (remember the great picture of the sheep and the goats; Matt 25:31–46) just as it is in the Gospel of John (“Do not be astonished at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation”; John 5:28–29).


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do not wish to define the soul, as Aristotle60 or Tertullian did. I do not wish to speculate, as Descartes did.61 I do not dare to explain the relationship between the body and the soul or embodiment, as Merleau-Ponty does.62 My only purpose is to avoid attributing a disappointing limitation to the body and to draw attention to the danger of academic skepticism with respect to the afterlife. It sounds like a sermon, and in some measure it is. Some may refuse to accept this religious tradition, but intellectually they cannot deny the existence of the voice of hope and faith as it is echoed in Origen’s opinion that the soul is worthier than all bodies.63 Now that we have seen the relevance that Christians of the first centuries attributed to the soul, what do we do with the recent reflections on the body by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Pierre Hadot, and Peter Brown?64 I would like to use this impressive amount of research first as an invitation to underscore human responsibility in this life and in this world. In doing so I introduce an expression that theologians have created: “eschatological reservation.” To understand this notion it is necessary to look at Paul’s epistle to the Romans. While Paul says in Romans 6 that we have been crucified with Jesus Christ, he does not dare say that we have been raised again with him.65 Sensitive to the eschatological reservation, he says that from now on we can live in newness of life, but not yet in full resurrection. In conformity with the apostle, early Christians did not flee from their bodies but accepted their insertion into this life. They strove to respect their ethical duty.66

60 See Aristotle, On the Soul, Parva Naturalia, On Breath (ed. W. S. Hett; Aristotle 8; LCL 288; rev. ed.; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000). 61 René Descartes, Méditations touchant la première philosophie, mainly the second and the sixth meditations; see also the fourth part of Descartes’s Discours de la méthode; see Martin, The Corinthian Body, 4–6. 62 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phénoménologie de la perception; idem, L’union de l’ âme et du corps chez Malebranche, Biran et Bergson. Notes prises au cours de Maurice Merleau-Ponty, (ed. Jean Deprun; rev. ed.; Bibliothèque d’histoire de la philosophie 98; Paris: Vrin, 1978). 63 See Gregory J. Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995) 31: “Socrates felt it his divine mission to persuade his fellow Athenians to concentrate their efforts on the cultivation of the good of the soul over against that of the body.” 64 Michel Foucault, Le souci de soi (vol. 3 of Histoire de la sexualité; Bibliothèque des histoires; Paris: Gallimard, 1976); Hannah Arendt, Vita activa oder Vom tätigen Leben (2d ed.; Munich: Piper, 1981); Pierre Hadot, Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique, préface d’Arnold I. Davidson (2d ed.; Bibliothèque de l’évolution de l’humanité; Paris: Albin Michel, 2002); Peter Brown, The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (Twentieth Anniversary Edition with a New Introduction; New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). 65 Beside the reference to Byrne’s commentary (see above, n. 54), see also Ulrich Wilckens, Der Brief an die Römer (Röm 6–11) (3d ed.; EKK VI/2; Zurich: Benziger; Neukirchener-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1993) 5–33. 66 On the “eschatological reservation,” see Ernst Käsemann, An die Römer (HNT 8a; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1973) 214 and 336; idem, Paulinische Perspektiven (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1969) 215.


9. The Soul’s Comeback

The recent emphasis on the body urges us not to return to the type of spirituality proclaimed by the publisher Henri-Louis Mermod (who was trying to educate the young student that I was at that time) by shouting: “We are all of us Platonicians, aren’t we?”67 This attitude is no longer appropriate, for our soul is intimately dependent on our body and our body on our soul. This is a second positive result of the current interest in the body. In my view, however, there is in the human person an element of mystery, of irreducible subjectivity that the term “soul” preserves. This portion is as light as the ancient definition of the soul as a butterfly recalls. And it is exceedingly thin, as a recent Ph.D. graduate from Harvard University (Department of History), Gregory Smith, underscores in the title of his dissertation: Very Thin Things: Toward a Cultural History of the Soul in Roman Antiquity.68 The soul escapes from one’s hand like a thin sheet, as it does in the death of the patriarch recorded in the Testament of Abraham.69 But being so thin, it is a part of us that refuses all laws of contingency and mortality. Recently I enjoyed reading Drew Leder’s The Absent Body, which Michael Jackson had mentioned to me.70 Both Merleau-Ponty and Leder refuse to consider the body as an object of study. Both also participate in the philosophical reaction against the all-too-easy tendency since Plato to prefer disembodiment.71 While Merleau-Ponty, in his Phénoménologie de la perception, examined the external body, Leder has been attentive to the internal body, to the visceral part of our being. Leder’s main thesis, that Merleau-Ponty still ignores, is exciting: when we use it, when everything is fine, we forget our body. The body is absent. Engaged in a sports competition I concentrate exclusively on the game. And Leder remarks correctly that we remember our body only at the moment something is going wrong, which he calls “dysfunction.” Therefore a third positive result of the recent passion for the body is a reminder of the self, a reminder of our fragile – and not heroic – constitution.72

67 Henri-Louis Mermod was an influential editor in the middle of the 20th century in Frenchspeaking Switzerland. The conversation I recall took place at Vidy, along the Lake of Geneva, during a preparation of the Chemin du Château à Vidy, an early morning walk honoring Major Davel and following, on 24 April 1959, the path that he took 24 April 1723 going from his prison to his execution. See Juste Olivier, Le Major Davel followed by Hommage au Major by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz (Lausanne: Mermod, 1959). 68 Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 2005. 69 Long recension of the Greek Testament of Abraham 20.9–10; see Francis Schmidt, Le Testament grec d’Abraham. Introduction, édition critique des deux recensions grecques, traduction (Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 11; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1986), 166–67. 70 Drew Leder, The Absent Body (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1990). 71 Ibid., 3. 72 Among the books and articles I have not yet mentioned I have selected in chronological order: Erwin Rohde, Psyche. Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen (5th and 6th ed.; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1910); Franz Cumont, Lux perpetua (Paris: Geuthner, 1949; a reprinted version, edited by Bruno Rochette and André Motte, was published by Nino Aragno in Turin [Italy] and distributed by Brepols in Turnhout [Belgium] in 2009); Oscar Cullmann, Immortalité de l’ âme ou résurrection des morts? (2d ed.; Neuchâtel: Delachaux & Niestlé,


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Conclusion I read in the early Christian witnesses special interest in the soul and its immortality, strongly related to their faith in the resurrection itself. Immortality was not for them an anthropological given but a christological gift. It was for them the fruit of redemption and not the result of an immanent process. Different from many observations today, their concern for the body, even for the flesh (in the framework of the resurrection of the dead), went hand in hand with the continuity of the person in a way that we can call the soul. They were interested in the body as it related to their hope in the resurrection and to their reflection on the incarnation of the Son. They preferred the first person singular “I” to the impersonal third person “she” or “he.” Using the German distinction, they preferred Leib rather than Körper. They claimed a holistic view of the person, with ethical embodiment now and the risen person tomorrow, and suggested the preservation of the person (between the two) through the existence of the soul and the care and memory of their God.

1959); Karel Hanhart, The Intermediate State in the New Testament (Groningen: Druck. V. R. B. Kleine, 1966); Walter F. Otto, Die Manen oder von den Urformen des Totenglaubens. Eine Untersuchung zur Religion der Griechen, Römer und Semiten und zum Volksglauben überhaupt (3d ed.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1976); Jan N. Bremmer, The Early Greek Concept of the Soul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983); Alan E. Bernstein, The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993); Horacio E. Lona, Über die Auferstehung des Fleisches. Studien zur frühchristlichen Eschatologie (BZNW 66; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1993); Self, Soul and Body in Religious Experience (eds. A. I. Baumgarten, J. Assmann, and G. G. Stroumsa; SHR 78; Leiden: Brill, 1998); Nicholas Constas, “‘To Sleep, Perchance to Dream’: The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature,” DOP 55 (2001) 91–124; La résurrection chez les Pères, (ed. Jean-Marc Prieur; Cahiers de Biblia Patristica 7; Strasbourg: Université Marc Bloch, 2003); Jon D. Levenson, Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006); Emanuela Prinzivalli, “La risurrezione nei Padri,” in Morte – Risurrezione nei Padri della Chiesa (ed. Salvatore Alberto Panimolle; Rome: Boria, 2006) 169–288; Barbara Feichtinger, “‘Quid est autem homo aliud quod caro …’ (Tert. adv. Marc. 1,24). Aspekte spätantiker Körperlichkeit,” JAC 50 (2007) 5–33; Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson, Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008); Christopher Gill, The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Metamorphoses. Resurrection, Body and Transformative Practices in Early Christianity, (eds. Turid Karlsen Seim and Jorunn Økland; Ekstasis 1; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009); Nancy Patterson Šev enko, “Images of the Second Coming and the Fate of the Soul in Middle Byzantine Art,” in Apocalyptic Thought in Early Christianity (ed. Robert J. Daly; Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009) 250–72; Jean-Daniel Macchi and Christophe Nihan, “Mort, résurrection et audelà dans la Bible hébraïque et dans le judaïsme ancien,” BCPE 62/1–2 (2010) 1–53.

10. The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity Introduction

My intention in this paper is not to offer a definitive survey, but to open some doors of thought as a way of inviting scholars to further research and inquiry. I will begin with a few remarks on the second century C. E., the most obscure period with respect to our topic. I then move to three witnesses from the third century C. E.: Tertullian and Cyprian in the West, Origen in the East. Following these I move into the fourth and fifth centuries, the golden era of the Patristic Period, which is also the time when the book of Acts, now canonized, becomes part of the Christian narrative heritage. At the end of my invitation au voyage, I introduce two figures from the sixth century C. E.: the little known Roman poet Arator and the encyclopedist Cassiodorus. Few modern names are mentioned in this paper, first because I prefer to insist on the primary sources, and second because only a few scholars have devoted deliberate interest to our particular topic. The New Testament scholar, Nikolaus Adler, writing on Pentecost, devoted a chapter on the history of interpretation of Acts 2.1 I could add the Yale dissertation by Kenneth Bruce Welliver on the same topic.2 The historian of mission Werner Bieder wrote a little book half a century ago.3 Lucien Cerfaux and, more recently, Gianfranco Ferrarese have published studies on the history of the reception of Acts 15, the account of the Jerusalem conference.4 A. L. B. Wylie wrote a dissertation on John Chrysostom’s Homilies

1 Nikolaus Adler, Das erste christliche Pfingstfest. Sinn und Bedeutung des Pfingstberichtes Apg 2,1–13 (NTAbh 18,1; Münster i. W.: Aschendorff, 1938) 65–312. 2 Kenneth Bruce Welliver, “Pentecost and the Early Church: Patristic Interpretation of Acts 2” (Ph. D. diss., Yale, 1961). 3 Werner Bieder, Die Apostelgeschichte in der Historie. Ein Beitrag zur Auslegungsgeschichte des Missionsbuches der Kirche (ThSt 61; Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 1960). 4 Lucien Cerfaux, “Le chapitre XVe du Livre des Actes à la lumière de la littérature ancienne,” in Miscellanea Giovanni Mercati (Studi e Testi 121; Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1946) 107–126; reprinted in Lucien Cerfaux, Recueil. Études d’exégèse et d’histoire religieuse (3 vols.; BETL 6,7,71; Gembloux: Duculot, then Leuven: Leuven University Press and Peeters, 1954–85) 2:105–124; Gianfranco Ferrarese, Il concilio di Gerusalemme in Ireneo di Lione. Ricerche sulla storia dell’esegesi di Atti 15,1–29 (e Galati 2,1–10) nell II secolo (Testi e ricerche di scienze religiose 17; Brescia: Paideia, 1979).


10. The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity

on Acts in 1992.5 My own dissertation dealt with the story of Cornelius (Acts 10:1–11:18) in the first six centuries.6 I must also mention some tools that have been useful in my inquiry. These include the volumes of the Biblia Patristica,7 with their many references to Wirkungsgeschichte [history of effect]. Also the Nag Hammadi Texts and the Bible, edited by Craig Evans, R. L. Webb and R. A. Wiebe;8 a regular section of the Bibliographia Patristica;9 Anne-Marie La Bonnardière’s Biblia Augustiniana,10 even if the book of Acts remains missing; James W. Wiles, A Scripture Index to the Works of St. Augustine in English Translation published in 1995;11 and Hermann Josef Sieben’s Kirchenväterhomilien zum Neuen Testament.12 Finally, I also acknowledge a recent article by Susanne Müller-Abels.13

I. The Second Century C. E. The first question I would ask is this: What is the first, and by this I mean the oldest, indisputable mention of the book of Acts? I do not think that the kerygmatic expression found in the so-called Apostolic Fathers and in the writings of the apologists constitute proof of their acquaintance with the book of Acts. The first two indisputable references lead us surprisingly to Lyon in Gaul: Irenaeus

5 A. L. B. Wylie, “John Chrysostom and his Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles: Reclaiming Ancestral Models for the Christian People” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1992). Also see A. L. B. Wylie, “John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Acts,” in Biblical Hermeneutics in Historical Perspective: Studies in Honor of Karlfried Froelich on his Sixtieth Birthday (ed. Mark S. Burrow and Paul Rorem; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991) 59–72. 6 François Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium. Histoire de l’interprétation d’Act. 10, 1 – 11, 18 dans les six premieres siècles (BGBE 8; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1967). 7 Prepared by the Centre d’analyse et de documentation patristiques (Strasbourg); see J. Allenbach et al., Biblia Patristica (7 vols.; Paris: CNRS, 1975–2000). 8 Nag Hammadi Texts and the Bible (eds. Craig A. Evans, R. L. Webb, and R. A. Wiebe; Leiden: Brill, 1993). 9 Bibliographia Patristica (eds. Wilhelm Schneemelcher; 35 vols.; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1956– 1990). 10 Anne-Marie La Bonnardière, Biblia Augustiniana (7 vols.; Antiquité 11, 18, 21, 26, 42, 49, 67; Paris: Études augustiniennes, 1960–75). (This work is not complete.) 11 James W. Wiles, A Scripture Index to the Works of St. Augustine in English Translation (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995). 12 Hermann Josef Sieben, Kirchenväterhomilien zum Neuen Testament. Ein Repertorium der Textausgaben und Übersetzungen. Mit einem Anhang der Kirchenväterkommentare (Instrumenta Patristica 11; The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff International, 1991). 13 Susanne Müller-Abels, “Der Umgang mit ‘schwierigen’ Texten der Apostelgeschichte in der Alten Kirche,” in Apostelgeschichte als Kirchengeschichte. Text, Texttraditionen und antike Auslegungen, ed. Tobias Nicklas and Michael Tilly (BZNW 120; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003) 347–71.


10. The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity

knows, likes, and considers the book of Acts as an apostolic authority.14 The Bishop of Lyon is the first one to mention the title of the book (Haer. 3.13.3) summarizes several parts of the second Lukan book (Haer. 12.1ff) and uses the book without any reservation (he defends Luke as an authority in Haer. 3.14.1– 4). Irenaeus uses the book of Acts also in the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching (for example the ascension story in 83.5). The second testimony, the account of the martyrdoms at Lyon and Vienna, ends with an explicit reference to Stephen’s death: the martyrs of Gaul die with the same piety manifested in Stephen, who prayed that the Lord forgive those who were persecuting them.15 These are two witnesses of an early orthodox reception of the book of Acts in the second century, perhaps by the same author.16 As I have recently demonstrated there was another reception of the Third Gospel in addition to the proto-Orthodox, namely in popular, or apocryphal, literature.17 Can we affirm the same survival of the book of Acts? It seems that the answer should be yes, since the Epistula Apostolorum, written probably in the middle of the second century C. E., alludes clearly to the episode of Acts 12:1–17, Peter’s miraculous liberation from prison in the time of Passover.18 The answer to this question depends also on the answer to another question that was ardently debated fifteen years ago: Were the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles dependent on the canonical Acts? Willy Rordorf said no.19 Julian V. Hills, Richard Bauckham, Richard I. Pervo, and Daniel Marguerat took the position that they were dependent on the second book of Luke.20 I myself consider that the authors of the Acts of Paul and the Acts of Peter may have known the Lukan Acts of the Apostles, but that they created their literary works independently of them. The

14 See Andrew Gregory, “Irenaeus and the Reception of Acts in the Second Century,” in Contemporary Studies in Acts (ed. Thomas E. Phillips; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2009) 47–65. 15 Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 5.2.5. 16 On the earliest attestations of the book of Acts, see Ernst Haenchen, Die Apostelgeschichte, neu übersetzt und erklärt (6th ed.; KEK 3; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1968) 1–13. 17 François Bovon, “The Reception and Use of the Gospel of Luke in the Second Century,” in Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflection, Formation (eds. Craig Bartholomew, Joel B. Green, and Anthony C. Thiselton; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005) 379–97. 18 Epistula Apos. 15 [26]. 19 Willy Rordorf, “Paul’s Conversion in the Canonical Acts and in the Acts of Paul,” trans. Peter W. Dunn, Semeia 80 (1997) 137–44. 20 Julian V. Hills, “The Acts of Paul and the Legacy of the Lukan Acts,” ibid., 145–58; idem, “The Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul,” SBL Seminar Papers 33 (1994) 24–54; Richard Bauckham, “The Acts of Paul as a Sequel of Acts,” in The Book of Acts in Its Ancient Literary Setting (eds. Bruce W. Winter and Andrew D. Clarke; The Book of Acts in the First Century Setting 1; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993) 105–52; idem, “The Acts of Paul: Replacement of Acts or Sequel to Acts?” Semeia 80 (1997): 159–68; Richard I. Pervo, “A Hard Act to Follow: The Acts of Paul and the Canonical Acts,” Journal of Higher Criticism 2/2 (1995) 3–32; Daniel Marguerat, “The ‘Acts of Paul’ and the Canonical Acts: A Phenomenon of Rereading,” Semeia 80 (1997) 169–83.


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Ephesus episode in the Acts of Paul is built on an oral tradition used also by Luke in Acts 19, and not on the second book of Luke.21 The same is true a fortiori for the Acts of John, the Acts of Andrew, and the Acts of Thomas. The authors of these works did not consider it their primary purpose to rival, marginalize, or supplement the Lukan book of Acts. In the forms we have them – and these are without doubt more recent than the second century – the Acts of Philip, in an effort of mimesis, used and adapted Acts 17 (Paul’s presence in Athens and his speech before the Areopagus).22 That there may have been some competition between Luke-Acts and the noncanonical Acts of apostles is supported by evidence from the Canon Muratori (a document that, despite a Harvard tradition, I consider to reflect the Roman community in the second, not the fourth, century C. E.): that the canon calls the book of Acts the “Acts of all the apostles” suggests that the author of the canon knew of the existence of other Acts of apostles and was eager to discredit.23 As such, the Canon Muratori is also an important witness to the reception of the book of Acts in the West, this time in Rome and not in Gaul. This knowledge of Acts in the second century is attested in another way through textual criticism. The famous two forms of the texts of Acts, the Egyptian and the so-called Western, constitute a double witness: first to the distribution of the Book in the Roman Empire and also to its flexibility, due to its lack of canonicity. It is not impossible that those two forms are the result of conscious revisions and that these recensions were produced in the second century C. E. by emerging Christian schools. The location of such grammatical, stylistic, and theological efforts is uncertain: Alexandria, Ephesus, and Rome have been suggested.24 It should be noted that the presence of the book of Acts does not prove ipso facto its recognition as a canonical document. It would have been read, then respected for its authority, and finally recognized as a holy book inspired by God. 21

Acts of Paul 9.1–28 (Coptic Bodmer Papyrus 41, 1–8, and Greek Hamburg Papyrus, 1–5). Acts of Philip 2; see François Bovon, Bertrand Bouvier and Frédéric Amsler, Acta Philippi. Textus (CCSA 11; Turnhout: Brepols, 1999) 40–75. Acts of Phillip 2 seems to be written on the basis of a similar plot in Acts of Philip 6 and in Acts of Philip Martyrdom. Some later summaries of the Acts of Philip place Acts of Phillip 2 at a different location, after Acts of Philip 7. These facts suggest that Acts of Philip 2 is the youngest element in the large composition of the Acts of Philip. 23 See Marie-Joseph Lagrange, Histoire ancienne du canon du Nouveau Testament (Paris: Gabalda, 1933); The Canon Debate (eds. Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders; Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002); and Martin Meiser, “Texttraditionen des Aposteldekrets  – Textkritik und Rezeptionsgeschichte,” in Tobias Nicklas and Michael Tilly, eds., Apostelgeschichte als Kirchengeschichte: Text, Texttradition und antike Auslegeen (BETL 120; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003) 183–203. 24 See Christian Amphoux, “Les premières éditions de Luc, I: Le texte de Luc 5,” ETL 67 (1991) 312–27; idem, “Les premières éditions de Luc, II: l’histoire du texte au II siècle,” ETL 68 (1992) 38–49; see also Eldon J. Epp, Theological Tendency of Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis in Acts (MSSNTS 3; Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1966); and Marie-Émile Boismard and André Lamouille, Le texte occidental des Actes des apôtres. Reconstitution et réhabilitation (2 vols.; Synthèse 17; Paris: Recherches sur les civilisations, 1984).  



10. The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity

This process took time and did not unfold everywhere at the same rate. On the whole, the knowledge and canonization of the book of Acts took longer than the reception of the Gospels. The question remains: What about Marcion? If he liked the Gospel of Luke, what did he do with the Acts of the Apostles? Marcion does not seem to be sensitive to the literary and doctrinal unity of the two works since, according to Pseudo-Tertullian (Adversus omnes haereses 6), Marcion “Acta Apostolorum et Apocalypsin quasi falsa reicit,”25 meaning that Marcion did not just remain silent concerning the book of Acts, but in fact explicitly rejected it. It is probable that, as Adolf Harnack puts it, Marcion shook down “seine [Luke’s] ganze dogmatisch-historische Konstruktion.”26 Tertullian probably alludes to Marcion’s position when he says in De praescriptione haereticorum 22.10–11: He [Christ] (thus) shows that there was nothing of which they [the disciples] were ignorant, to whom He had promised the future attainment of all truth by help of the Spirit of truth. And assuredly He fulfilled His promise, since it is proved in the Acts of the Apostles that the Holy Ghost did come down. Now they who reject that Scripture can neither belong to the Holy Spirit, seeing that they cannot acknowledge that the Holy Ghost has been sent as yet to the disciples, nor can they presume to claim to be a church themselves.27

If the motto is clear with respect to the Marcionites, what about the JewishChristian position? Epiphanius’s Panarion reserves a surprise for us here. In book 30 of his Panarion on Jewish-Christian sects, the Bishop of Salamis on Cyprus says that the Ebionites were not reading the canonical Acts of the Apostles, but instead other Acts: “They say that there are other Acts of Apostles; and these contain much utterly impious material, with which they deliberately arm themselves against the truth.”28 Epiphanius then mentions the Degrees of James. As it is known to us, this Jewish-Christian document is probably preserved in 25

Pseudo-Tertullian, Adversus omnes haereses 6 (CSEL 47) 223. Adolf Harnack, Marcion: Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott (2d ed.; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1924) 173. More recently, see Joseph B. Tyson, Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2006) and Matthias Klingenhardt, “Markion vs. Lukas: Plädoyer für Wiederaufnahme eines alten Falles,” NTS 52 (2006) 484–513. 27 Praescr. 22.10–11 (ANF 3:253). See also Adversus Marcionem 5.2, where Tertullian writes: “Now, if even to this degree the Acts of the Apostles are in agreement with Paul, it becomes evident why you reject them: for they preach no other God than the Creator, nor the Christ of any god but the Creator,” in Tertullian Adversus Marcionem (trans. Ernest Evans; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972) 2:519. 28 Epiphanius, Pan. 30.16.6 (trans. Frank Williams). See A. F. J. Klijn, “The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles,” Vigiliae Christianae 37 (1983) 195: “Epiphanius seems to be better informed about the use of these Acts. He writes that the Origenians (ὠριγένιοι) use apocryphal Acts ‘especially the Acts of Andrew and of others,’ the Encratites use those of Andrew, John, Thomas and of others and the Apostolici (ἀποστολικοί) or Apotactici (ἀποτακτικοί) especially use the Acts of Andrew and Thomas. These various groups are related to the Encratites and are located mainly in Asia Minor. It can be seen that especially the Acts of Andrew, John and Thomas were assumed to be heretical.”  



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the first book of the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.27–71.29 We may conclude that the Ebionites not only had a different memory of Jesus through their own gospel but they also had a different story of the origins of Christianity. The Degrees of James (Ps.-Clem., Rec. 1.43–44) recounts another story of the Twelve in Jerusalem; they insist on the leadership of James and mention the dialogues with the Jewish priests. The discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library leads us to ask again, now more astutely: What was the position of the several gnostic movements regarding the book of Acts, and what was their reconstruction of Christian origins? As for the apologists, we find in the Nag Hammadi Codices (NHC) some similarity of expression to the book of Acts, but most of the references established by Craig A. Evans, R. L. Webb, and R. A. Wiebe do not compel one to speak in terms of literary dependence.30 In my view the only treatise where the situation is different is the Letter of Peter to Philip (NHC VIII.2).31 Two important points are evident. First, the author knows the book of Acts, the story of Pentecost in particular;32 and second, he disagrees with the Lukan report and tries to elaborate his own vision of the origin of the church and the first distribution of the Holy Spirit.33 It is also possible that the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V.2) or the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII.3) are in some kind of conversation with the canonical Acts of the Apostles.

II. The Third Century Tertullian knows and appreciates the book of Acts.34 It is interesting to note that he nearly always indicates “in the Acts of the Apostles” when he refers to it, while he does not mention the Gospels’ names when quoting sayings of Jesus. It was an early Christian tradition to refer to Jesus’ voice and authorship when quoting one of his sayings. In the case of stories from the book of Acts, no such tradition existed. Because the book was not so well known and rather slow to be canonized, Tertullian’s precision is motivated by his desire to cause it to be

29 See André Schneider and Luigi Cirillo, “Roman pseudo-clémentin, Reconnaissances,” in Pierre Geoltrain and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens II (La Pléiade 516; Paris: Gallimard, 2005) 1602–1605. 30 Nag Hammadi Texts and the Bible, 21, 50, 119–120, 186, 215, 239, 251–252, 278, 298, 300, 333, 382 and 416. 31 Ibid., 341–350. 32 Here, as in the canonical account, Jesus appears to the disciples before he is taken up into heaven, after which the disciples return to Jerusalem, again gathering together in the temple and healing a multitude. 33 See Klaus Koschorke, “Eine gnostische Pfingstpredigt: Zur Auseinandersetzung zwischen gnostischem und kirchlichem Christentum am Beispiel der ‘Epistula Petri ad Philippum’ (NHC VIII,2),” ZTK 74 (1977) 323–43. 34 See J. H. Petzer, “Tertullian’s Text of Acts,” Second Century 8 (1991) 201–15.


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better known and to be venerated on account of its authority. In his treatise On Baptism 10, for example, Acts is the only work he refers to by name amidst a slew of quotations from the Gospels and some Pauline epistles.35 There are, however, cases where Tertullian does not make any explicit reference to the source of his knowledge. For instance, he makes a handful of references to Stephen and his martyrdom, but does so without referring to Acts (Res. 55; Prax. 30; Pat. 14). The same holds true for some references to Paul’s conversion (Bapt. 13), the account of Philip and the eunuch (Bapt. 4, 18), and the ascension of Christ and the words of the angels to the apostles immediately thereafter (Bapt. 19; Res. 51; Carn. Chr. 24.4). In such cases Tertullian refers more to the stories than to the book itself; these stories, more than others contained in the book of Acts, were well known among Christians of Tertullian’s day. One should note finally that Tertullian uses the Acts of the Apostles in a polemical way in his larger work Against Marcion. It is clear that the book of Acts had little place in early Christian communities and only became important later, when it was necessary to base correct doctrine on the teaching and career of some of the apostles. If so, then the following passage (5.2.7) becomes particularly telling: After that, as he [Paul] then briefly describes the course of his conversion from persecutor to apostle he confirms what is written in the Acts of the Apostles, in which the substance of this epistle is reviewed; namely, that certain persons intervened who said that men ought to be circumcised, and that Moses’ law must be kept, and that then the apostles, when asked for advice on this question, reported on the authority of the Holy Spirit that they ought not to lay burdens upon men which not even their fathers had been able to bear [Acts 15:10]. Now, if even to this degree the Acts of the Apostles are in agreement with Paul, it becomes evident why you reject them; for they preach no other god than the Creator, nor the Christ of any god but the Creator, since neither is the promise of the Holy Spirit proved to have been fulfilled on any other testimony than the documentary evidence of the Acts. And it is by no means reasonable that that writing should in part agree with the apostle, when it relates his history in accordance with the evidence he supplies, and in part disagree, when it proclaims in Christ the godhead of the Creator, with intent to make out that Paul did not follow the preaching of the apostles, though in fact he did receive from them the pattern of teaching how the law need not be kept.36

35 Another example: in Against Praxeas 28, Tertullian counters a false conclusion regarding the Trinity, saying: “But that is not the teaching of the Acts of the Apostles in that cry of the church to God,” in Tertullian’s Treatise against Praxeas (trans. Ernest Evans; London: SPCK, 1948). Acts 4:27 is then quoted. I would like to thank Matt Sullivan who made an inquiry for me in the work of Tertullian in November 2006. 36 Tertullian, Against Marcion, 5.2.7. Translation above from Ernest Evans, Adversus Marcionem (2 vols; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972). “Exinde decurrens ordinem conversionis suae de persecutore in apostolum scripturam Apostolicorum confirmat, apud quam ipsa etiam epistulae istius materia recognoscitur, intercessisse quosdam, qui dicerent circumcidi oportere et observandam esse Moysi legem, tunc apostolos de ista quaestione consultos ex auctoritate spiritus renuntiasse non esse imponenda onera hominibus, quae patres ipsi non potuissent sustinere. Quodsi et ex hoc congruunt Paulo Apostolorum Acta, cur ea respuatis iam apparet, ut

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In the middle of the third century C. E., Cyprian, following in the footsteps of Tertullian, regularly uses the expression “in the Acts of the Apostles”; only once does he consider a quotation from Acts to be taken from “Scripture.”37 If I may use very elementary statistics, the book of Acts is quoted half as often as the Gospel of Luke, a third as often as the Epistle to the Romans, and a fourth as often as the Gospel of John. Most of the time the Bishop of Carthage considers the book of Acts as a source of examples: the unanimity of the first Christians (Acts 4:32) is mentioned as a model over and against the present bad situation;38 the good works of Cornelius are an example of reward;39 Tabitha’s almsgiving is an example of the generosity of the first Christians selling their properties;40 Stephen’s prayer for his persecutors an example of forgiveness.41 The book of Acts serves also as quarry to be mined for the multiple quotations found in his book Testimonia against the Jews. For instance, in Test. 1.21 he uses Paul’s famous exclamation, “Since you the Jews do not accept the Gospel I will turn to the Gentiles,” which is taken from Acts 13:46 (he actually quotes Acts 13:46b–47). In Test. 3:3 he uses Acts 4:32 – evidently one of Cyprian’s favorite verses – as an example of generosity; in Test. 3:61 he uses Acts 3:6 (Peter stating that he has neither gold nor silver) as an admonition against greed. The point “that what any one has vowed to God, he must quickly repay” is made in Test. 3:30 by the negative example of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:3–4). In addition to the moral dimension (examples) and the apologetic usage (testimonia) Cyprian adds a tertius usus: to refer to Acts as a “scriptural” authority in a controversy that is simultaneously practical, pastoral, and doctrinal. I am referring here to the controversy that set up the opposition between Cyprian, the “pope” at Carthage, and Stephen, the “pope” at Rome, regarding the validity or invalidity of the baptism received by the heretics wishing to join the catholica. The lines were clearly drawn: for Cyprian, the baptism received by those involved in the heresy is not a true Christian baptism. It has no validity therefore it is necessary to re-baptize the heretics (which for Cyprian is not really re-baptism, since the first was not a true baptism). For Stephen, Bishop of Rome, since the formula “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” has

deum scilicet non alium praedicantia quam creatorem nec Christum alterius quam creatoris, quando nec promissio spiritus sancti aliunde probetur exhibita quam de instrumento Actorum, quae utique verisimile non est ex parte quidem apostolo convenire, cum ordinem eius secundum ipsius testimonium ostendunt, ex parte vero dissidere, cum divinitatem in Christo creatoris annuntiant, ut praedicationem quidem apostolorum non sit secutus Paulus, qui formam ab eis dedocendae legis accepit.” 37 Cyprian, Unit. eccl. 25. One manuscript adds “divine” before “Scripture.” 38 Cyprian, Epist. 11(7).3.1; Unit. eccl. 25. 39 Cyprian, Dom. or. 32. 40 Cyprian, Eleem. 6.25. 41 Cyprian, Pat. 16.


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been used, it is wrong to redo a sacrament that, according to Scripture, is valid and should never be renewed. The examples of baptism preserved in the book of Acts were used by both sides.42 Actually the author who used them with the greatest vehemence and success is an anonymous author who, even if located in Africa, defended the Roman position. I am referring here to the author of De rebaptismate, which is strangely preserved among the spuria of Cyprian even as he defends just the opposite of the Bishop of Carthage!43 This author likes, as he says, to bring together relevant biblical texts and – showing his hermeneutic expertise – explain the obscure passages by using clear and evident ones. Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:4–5, and 11:15–17 are his favorite texts for the important separation of water baptism from Spirit baptism. For him, the gift of the Spirit is the important part, which has liturgical representation in the laying on of hands. The exceptions preserved in the book of Acts (where the gift of the Sprit is separated from water baptism) are the strongest argument in favor of the laying on of hands as sufficient ritual for the reintegration of baptized heretics into the Church. Even if the author is often confused, it is significant that he, even more than Cyprian, was among the first to systematically use the examples of baptism mentioned in the book of Acts to solve a disciplinary and doctrinal question of his day. Origen of course plays a major role in the history of interpretation and reception of the Acts of the Apostles; he thus merits special inquiry. The majority of Origen’s references to Acts are found in his Commentary on Matthew and his Contra Celsum, though references are also scattered in his homiletical works and De principiis.44 It appears also that some chapters in Acts (the account of the ascension in Acts 1; Pentecost, Acts 2; Cornelius as the first Gentile accepted into the Church, Acts 10) were more successful, I mean more often quoted than others (the ordination of the Seven, Acts 6; Peter in prison, Acts 12; Barnabas and Paul’s missionary travel, Acts 13–14). Acts is, for Origen, a true account of the history of the early Church and the teaching of some of its key figures: it plays an important role in Origen’s refutation of Celsus and Celsus’ Jewish “informateur” (Cels. 1.57; 2.1; 2.17; 2.45). Acts is more than a historical witness to the past of the apostles and the early Church; it is a normative document relying correctly on the Old Testament and even teaches how to read the Scriptures (Cels. 3.46; 5.8; 8.26) as demonstrated by its literal and moral understanding of the story of

42 In 256 C. E., the African bishops, including Cyprian, held a synod and communicated in a famous letter (Cyprian’s Epist. 72) to the Bishop at Rome their decision to require a new baptism. John 3:5 (on the need of water baptism for salvation) and Acts 10:44–48 (Cornelius’ baptism even after the gift of the Spirit) are the primary and only biblical quotations mentioned in the cover letter to their doctrinal demonstration. See Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 268–280. 43 See Pseudo-Cyprian, De rebaptismate (ed. G. Rauschen; Florilegium Patristicum 11; Bonn: Hanstein, 1916). 44 See the volume prepared by the Centre d’analyse et de documentation patristiques: J. Allenbach et al., Biblia Patristica: Origène (7 vols.; Paris: CNRS, 1980) 3:347–52.

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Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–11) in the context of Origen’s exegesis of the story of the rich man (Matt 19:16–22).45 Taking the story of Cornelius (Acts 10:1–11:18) as an example, Origen first insists on the notion of merits: if Cornelius receives the visit of the angel, it is because of his alms and good works mentioned explicitly by Luke (Augustine, in the Semipelagian controversy, will have a very different interpretation: for the bishop of Hippo, the Roman officer’s good works are to be attributed to the gratia praeueniens46). Therefore, Origen explains that, according to Numbers 18:8–14, Cornelius can be called the “first fruits” of the Church of Caesarea and even of the Church of all the nations.47 When dealing with Peter’s vision of the tablecloth and the pure and impure animals, Origen surprises us by first offering a literal interpretation: the Alexandrian theologian considers Peter’s vision in its historical dimension as someone learning from God how to understand in a new way, in the true spiritual way, the requirements of the law. For Origen the vision has to do with the end of Jewish dietary restrictions. Acts 10:15 (“What God made pure …”) has the favor of the Alexandrian scholar who relies on it and likes it.48 While Origen, the Alexandrian, is a true representative of the literal meaning of Peter’s vision (animals remain animals and represent potential food), some Antiochian theologians chose on the contrary the spiritual and allegorical interpretation (the vision being connected with the calling of the nations and the animals being figures of potential Gentiles).

III. The Fourth and Fifth Centuries By the fourth and fifth centuries the book of Acts had been canonized. It is mentioned in the lists preserved in Athanasius’ Thirty-Seventh Easter Letter.49 We even have some information concerning its liturgical use as part of the lectionary. It appears that the book of Acts was read in the liturgy of the churches and that logically, according to the calendar of the liturgical year, this reading took place after remembrance of the great celebrations of Jesus Christ’s redemptive acts on the cross and resurrection. But as always happens when innovation occurs, hesi-

45 Origen, Comm. Matt. 15.14–15. I am relying here again on a preliminary work by my research assistant Matt Sullivan. 46 See Augustine, Praed. 7.12; Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 74–75. 47 See Origen, Hom. Num. 11.3; Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 39–43. 48 Origen, Cels. 2.1; Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 93–103. 49 See Daryl D. Schmidt, “The Greek New Testament as a Codex,” in Canon Debate, 469–84, esp. 476–78. Also see Harry Y. Gamble, “The New Testament Canon: Recent Research and the Status Quaestionis,” in Canon Debate, 268–94, esp. 291; and Everett Ferguson, “Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon: A Survey of Some Recent Studies,” in Canon Debate, 295–320, esp. 319.


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tations, differences and oppositions arose at the same time. We have good reason to believe that two different solutions were chosen: in the Eastern, Byzantine part of the Empire,50 in Armenia and in Africa,51 in Spain and in Gaul as well as in Milan, the book of Acts was read after Easter, since Jesus’ resurrection constitutes the birth of the Christian faith and the Christian Church.52 In Rome, on the other hand, the reading of the book of Acts seems to have begun at Pentecost since – and this is also a good theological justification – the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost constitutes the birth of the Church.53 Now that every community possessed at least one copy of the book of Acts, its diffusion – material and spiritual – began. The first attestation of the success of this book is the collection of homilies. Most of the time these were not part of a lectio continua, but related to a feast day. As soon as the Feast of Pentecost became a special day, apart from the long fifty days of the great Easter celebration (the long Feast of Joy), sermons appear for this feast. The miracles at Pentecost were a particular focus of the debates. Gregory of Nazianzus54 considered this a wonderful episode of speaking in foreign tongues and not a miraculous audition, since the miracle is connected with the disciples and not the audience. Cyril of Jerusalem shared this opinion, since the mockery mentioned in Acts 2:13 refers to the disciples.55 Certainly, if they were full it was not with wine, but with the Holy Spirit of God.56 Sermons were also devoted to the feast days of apostles and martyrs. While sermons on Peter and Paul include references to the book of Acts – Peter’s healing power, for example, or Paul’s conversion – it is the number and variety of sermons devoted to Stephen as the first martyr that holds the attention of the historian. Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine of Hippo, and Hesychius of Jerusalem all preached – often more than once – on the first martyr.57 They insist on his 50

If we read correctly John Chrysostom’s allusions in his Hom. Act. 1. The African tradition, according to Augustine, Serm. 315.1 (PL 38.1426). 52 See G. Godu, “Épîtres,” DACL 5.1, col. 273 and 293; see also Robert Cabié, La Pentecôte. L’évolution de la Cinquantaine pascale au cours des cinq premiers siècles (Bibliothèque de liturgie; Paris: Desclée, 1965) 97–100. 53 See G. Godu, ibid., col. 331; see also Stephan Beissel, Entstehung der Perikopen des römischen Meßbuches. Zur Geschichte der Evangelienbücher in der ersten Hälfte des Mittelalters (first edition 1907; Rome: Herder, 1967). 54 Gregory of Nyssa, Oratio in Pentecosten 41.11 (SC 358, 338–341); Adler, Das erste christliche Pfingstfest, 3. 55 Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. 17. 16–19 (PG 33, 988–992); Adler, Das erste christliche Pfingstfest, 3. 56 On Acts 2:1–13, the story of Pentecost, and its patristic interpretation see Adler, Das erste christliche Pfingstfest, 1–13, and Müller-Abels, “Der Umgang mit ‘schwierigen’ Texten der Apostelgeschichte in der Alten Kirche,” in Apostelgeschichte als Kirchengeschichte, 347–72. 57 See for example Gregory of Nyssa, Encomium in sanctum Stephanum protomartyrem in Gregorius Nyssenus: Encomium in sanctum Stephanum protomartyrem. Griechischer Text, eingeleitet und herausgegreben mit apparatus criticus und Übersetzung (ed. Otto Lendle; Leiden: Brill, 1968); Augustine of Hippo, Sermones, 320–324; Hesychius of Jerusalem, Homilia in  


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service as a deacon, his polemical wit against the Jewish authorities, and his patience during his martyrdom. After 415 C. E. and the revelation of his relics, they underscore the power of the martyr and his relics for sisters and brothers. Just as the book of Acts became a quarry of examples for Cyprian, so also it became a collection of virtues (and vices) for later preachers. Maximus of Turin in the fourth century, when preaching on greed, recounts the story of Ananias and Sapphira as a bad example.58 But the reality that the book of Acts took longer than the Gospels to be accepted and canonized is reflected in the fact that no one offered a series of sermons on the book of Acts, considered as lectio continua. During a time when sermons on the earliest Bible for Christians, the Hebrew Bible, particularly the Septuagint, were frequent and during a time when homilies on the Gospels, particularly on Matthew, were common, no one dared or even thought about explaining all the chapters of Acts. It is difficult to find a sermon about Paul on Cyprus or about Paul’s appearance before Felix: Sieben’s index of Church Fathers’ Homilies is eloquent here by his silence.59 There is however one famous exception: John Chrysostom, while he was Bishop of Constantinople around 400 C. E., decided to preach on the book of Acts in its entirety. But it is indicative and symptomatic of the situation that the Golden Mouth began his first homily by complaining that the book of Acts was ignored by many Christians. I quote: “To many persons this Book is so little known, both it and its author, that they are not even aware that such a book exists. For this reason especially, I have taken this narrative for my subject, that I may draw to it such as do not know it, and not let such a treasure as this remain hidden out of sight.”60 We still do not have a critical edition of this series of homilies. It has been edited several times since the first Latin translation by Erasmus and others, printed in Basel by Frobenius. The first edition of the Greek text by Hieromynus Commelin was published in 1603 in Heidelberg. It was then reissued again by Henry Savile in his superb edition of John Chrysostom works (Eton, 1613). Savile was the first to notice the existence of two recensions, a rough and a smooth with frequent merging of the two, creating a third version! But all of the editions until Migne’s Patrologia Graeca were an eclectic text; we are still waiting for an edition of the rough recension, the original being rough because John – very busy and

s. Stephanum, 9 in Les Homélies festales d’Hésychius de Jérusalem (ed. Michel Aubineau; 2 vols.; Subsidia Hagiographica 59; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1978–1980) 1:289–350. 58 Maximus of Turin, Sermo Sequentia de avaritia et de Anania 18 (CCSL 23; Turnhout: Brepols, 1962) 67–69. 59 Sieben, Kirchenväterhomilien zum Neuen Testament, 133. 60 John Chrysostom, Hom. Act. 1.1 Translation above from Henry Browne, The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Acts of the Apostles (2 vols.; NPNF 11; Oxford: J. Parker; London: Rivington, 1851–1852) 1:1–2.


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worried that he had no time to prepare them – improvised them and tachygraphs tried to grasp as much as they could. Our good fortune from that unfortunate situation is that the British scholar, Henry Browne, translated for the Oxford Library of the Fathers (then for the Nicean and Post-Nicean Fathers, first series, vol. 11) the reconstruction he had made for himself of the rough text. Our best access to Chrysostom’s Homily on Acts is therefore still the English translation.61 In the first homily, after the passage I quoted, Chrysostom says that the value of Acts is equal to the value of the Gospels. Acts abounds in good philosophy, doctrinal truth, and powerful deeds of the Spirit. The preacher then explains that Luke, Paul’s disciple, is the author of both volumes, and that Luke divided his work into two sections in order to avoid the reader’s fatigue and because the topics were different. The book of Acts focuses on the miracles performed by the Holy Spirit while the Gospel presents Jesus’ powerful deeds. While Chrysostom admits that Lukan Christology is often low Christology, he explains this surprising fact in terms of the religious circumstances of Luke’s time. What is more important is the divine economy: the book of Acts fulfills Jesus’ numerous prophecies just as the Gospel fulfills the prophecies contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament. Another important aspect is Chrysostom’s nostalgia for the primitive Church, which takes the famous summaries of the vita apostolica as historically true and regrets that such unanimity and generosity are no longer available. But nostalgia is not the last word of this comparison. In preaching on Acts, Chrysostom hopes for a hermeneutical miracle: that the paradisiacal situation of the primitive church will be re-actualized in the Constantinople of his own day. Each homily comments on approximately twenty verses of Scripture and is divided into three parts. In the first, Luke, like a docent at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, draws attention to the story, conceived as a piece of art that the eye more than the ear must contemplate. The second part begins with a regular formula: “But let us revisit what we have just said.” Chrysostom chooses the same aspects of the biblical passage he considers particularly important (see for example, Hom. Act. 5.2 on Acts 2:14, in which he goes over the significance of the “third hour,” the Joel quotation, and other details). This second part is unique in Chrysostom’s preaching production and may be explained by his wish to

61 On the efforts of Henry Browne and Edgar R. Smothers, see Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 6–12; it is now Francis T. Gignac who has taken over the task of editing these homilies; see Francis T. Gignac, “The New Critical Edition of Chrysostom’s Homilies on Acts: A Progress Report,” in Text und Textkritik. Eine Aufsatzsammlung, ed. Jürgen Dummer (TU 133; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1987)165–168; idem, “Evidence for Deliberate Scribal Revision in Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles,” in Nova et Vetera: Patristic Studies in Honor of Thomas Patrick Halton (ed. John Petruccione; Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1998) 209–225.


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implement a particular awareness of this little known book.62 The third part is most often – surprisingly – completely detached from the Lukan text and from John’s interpretation up to this point: it refers to a special concern of the Bishop at that particular moment. In a homily on Peter’s visit to Cornelius, for example, Chrysostom develops in this third part a kind of theodicy (God is not the origin of evil) and criticizes those who postpone their baptism.63 If Chrysostom has little interest in any specific exegetical problem (no grammatical solution, alas!), he often makes a psychological remark. For example, concerning Acts 10:17 Chrysostom says that Cornelius’s embassy arrived at just the right moment to help Peter resolve his hesitation over the vision of the tablecloth containing all of the animals.64 More often, he prefers to comment on Christian ethics: Peter – apart from God – had a moral responsibility to open the doors of the church to the Gentiles: the apostle was simultaneously strong and diplomatic in Jerusalem (Acts 11) when he had to justify his decision to welcome Cornelius into the Christian community and to baptize him (Acts 10).65 Parallels to these homilies appear in this golden period of patristic literature in the first commentaries on Acts. The beginning is modest, starting in Syria and Egypt. Ephrem’s commentary, discovered in an Armenian version and published in 1921, is little more than a summary and a rewriting of the book of Acts.66 Ephrem’s interpretation appears to be implicit and discreet. The Syrian theologian insists on the activity of the Holy Spirit and liberation from the law through the gospel of Christ.67 In Alexandria, Didymus the Blind also summarizes the book of Acts but, more so than Ephrem, includes polemic and theological interpretation that constitute a true commentary. This work is only preserved in fragments scattered in chains (catenae).68 Some fragments, confirmed by Didymus’ Treatise on the Trinity, reveal his particular interest in Peter’s christological speeches. Didymus quotes practically all the verses of Acts 10:34–43 in his work on the Trinity.69 His fragments on the story of Cornelius deal in particular with Peter’s vision. Two points should be mentioned here: 1) following a correct understanding of parables, one could see human beings behind the animals shown to the apostles; 2) the Petrine extasis allows Didymus to contradict the

62 It is already the suggestion furnished by Bernard de Montfaucon according to Edgar R. Smothers, “Le texte des Homélies de saint Jean Chrysostome sur les Actes des apôtres,” RechSR 27 (1937) 514. 63 John Chrysostom, Hom. Act. 23.3–4. 64 Ibid., 22.2. 65 Ibid., 24.1–2. 66 F. C. Conybeare, “The Commentary of Ephrem on Acts,” in F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, eds., The Beginnings of Christianity, I: The Acts of the Apostles (5 vols.; London: Macmillan, 1920–1933) 3:380–453; see Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 2–5. 67 See A. Merk, “Der neuentdeckte Kommentar des hl. Ephraim zur Apostlgeschichte,” ZTK 48 (1924) 52–53. 68 On these fragments see Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 5–6, 107–110, 142 and 145–147. 69 Didymus the Blind, De Trinitate 1.27.29; 2.6.23, 2.7.2; 3.2.22.


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Montanists, since the apostle remained awake and could use his ability to reason during his religious experience. Didymus is perhaps the first to realize that the narratives of Acts can be read and interpreted in a theological exegesis. More mysterious is the work of another scholar from Alexandria who appears between the fourth and sixth centuries C. E., a certain Ammonios.70 Only fragments of his work on Acts are preserved in the chains. The literary genres of his commentary are the gloss and scholia; he uses a recurrent introductory formula: “It is characteristic that …” For the most part his comments concern moral character. He also emphasizes piety and faith. The fourth and fifth centuries were also a time of intense doctrinal controversies on the nature of Christ, on the divinity of the Holy Spirit, on human freedom and divine election. The great theologians of that time all make use of scriptural arguments from the book of Acts or contradict their opponents who sometimes base their opinions on the naïve morality of Luke or the undeveloped Christology of Acts. Acts 10:38, a passage concerning Christ’s unction, became one of the most debated verses.71 It was probably first used by those who doubted the total equality of the Son with the Father. Most likely it was Paul of Samosata who, even before the western adoptionists, quoted this verse to support his Christology: “Jesus, from Nazareth that God anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, who went through the land doing good works, etc.” Psalm 45(44):7(8) can also be read from an adoptionist perspective: “Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” These two texts were passionately debated: the orthodox view, on the defensive side here, attempted to minimize the subordination of the Son. We have long apologetic explanations of these two passages in Athanasius, Oratio contra Arianos 1.37 and 1.46–52.72 And it comes as no surprise that we read quotations of Acts 10:38 and Ps 45(44):7(8) in the Arian Tractatus in Lucae Euangelium (dated the end of the fourth century) as the author explains Luke 4:18 ( Jesus, preaching in Nazareth, claims that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him).73 The same controversy appears in Africa, where we find Augustine opposing the Arian bishop Maximinus, claiming that the unction in Ps 45(44):7(8), like the unction in Acts 10:38, has nothing to do with the begetting of the Son in the supposed time imagined by the Arians, but refers instead to the incarnation.74 In Gaul, Hilarius of Poitiers also proposed an interpretation of Acts 10:38 and


See Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 12–14. See ibid., 224–246. 72 See Athanase d’Alexandrie, Les Trois Discours contre les Ariens (trans. Adelin Rousseau; ed. René Lafontaine; Donner raison 15; Bruxelles: Lessius, 2004) 83–84 and 94–103. 73 See the Arian Tractatus in Lucae Euangelium 4.18 (PL Suppl 1, 335–336). 74 Augustine of Hippo, Contra Maximinum 2.16.3 (PL 42, 782–783).  


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Ps 45(44):7(8) along the line of Athanasius.75 From the four corners of the earth the orthodox theologians of the fourth and fifth centuries developed what eventually became the correct interpretation of Jesus’ unction: a) there is a necessity, an economical necessity, for this unction and b) it concerns not the divine nature of Christ, but his humanity. Once the orthodox interpretation was secured, the same verse, Acts 10:38, served as support for arguments in the subsequent controversy on the divinity of the Spirit: if the Son is as divine as the Father, then the Spirit who anoints the Son cannot be of an inferior nature. All three are God: the Father who is the subject (the one who anoints), the Son who is anointed, and the Spirit who is the agent of the anointing. It would be unacceptable to believe that the divine Son who had been anointed was less important than the Spirit was.76 The intense activity of the Holy Spirit in Acts provided ample support for theologians such as Basil the Great, who some years before the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381 C. E.) searched out every witness he could find to support the authority and independence of the Holy Ghost. The πνεῦμα, acting as subject of the verb and urging Peter to follow Cornelius’s embassy, is considered to be both divine and autonomy in nature.77 There are four other settings, and consequently four other genres, that were favorable for an appropriation of the book of Acts. 1) Monasticism understood itself as a faithful representation of early Christian ethical ideals: the summaries of Acts, describing what the Middle Ages would call the uita apostolica, served as the model and norm for the monastic movement.78 Passages from Acts 2 and 4, particularly Acts 2:44; 2:45; 4:32 and 4:35, appear as scriptural authority in the Rules of Basil the Great79 as well as the rules of the West, the Regula Magistri,80 and the Benedictine Regula.81 75

Hilarius of Poitiers, De Trinitate 11.18 (SC 462, 328–330). See Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 231–233. 77 See Basil of Caesarea, De Spiritu Sancto 19.49. 78 See Pier Cesare Bori, Chiesa primitiva. L’immagine della comunità delle origini: “Atti 2,42–47; 4,32–37” nella storia della chiesa antica (Testi e ricerche di scienze religiose 10; Brescia: Paideia, 1974). 79 Basil of Caesarea, Reg. fus. tract. 7.4; 19.1; 35.3 (PG 31, 933, 968 and 1008) and Reg. breu. tract. 93; 131; 135; 148; 183; 187 (PG 31, 1148, 1169, 1172, 1180, 1204–1205 and 1208). 80 See Regula magistri 13.12 ( Judas’ fault, Acts 1:15, as a bad example); 20.5 (pray for those who are absent as in Acts 12:5 for the absent Peter); 53.26 (abstain from red and bloody meat, allusion to Acts 15:29); 82.20–21 (do not possess anything and do not follow Ananias and Sapphira’s bad example, Acts 5:1–11); 87.14 (allusion to Acts 4:34); 87.15 (allusion to Acts 4:35); 87.34 (when entering the monastery the future monk should not hide anything in order to be different from Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1–11). 81 Benedictine Rule 33–34 (Acts 4:32 for the requirement of poverty; Acts 4:35 for a fair and equitable repartition among all); 55 (responsibility of the abbot to care for the wellbeing of every monk, that no one lacks what he needs); 55 (avoid fraud and do not follow Ananias and Sapphira’s bad example, Acts 5:1–11).  



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2) From the time of Eusebius, when Christian historiography was born, no one could write the origins of the Church without reference to the book of Acts.82 Even if Eusebius used other material (such as the apocryphal story of King Abgar) and, referring to the succession of bishops, framed the origins of the Church differently from Luke, all ancient historians depend heavily on Acts when describing the origin of Christianity in their Ecclesiastical Histories. This remained true until deep into the Byzantine period (such is the case, for example, of Nicephoros Callixtos Xanthopoulos, who writes in the 14th century).83 3) The fourth century was also a century of Christian poetry, written in Greek, Latin, and Syriac. It is enough to mention Prudentius, who in a short poem of four verses tells the story of Peter’s vision and interprets it as the calling of all nations: Peter sees in a dream a vessel descending from heaven, Filled with all kinds of animals, he refuses to eat them But the Lord commands him to look on all things as wholesome, He arises and calls unclean tribes to the heavenly mysteries.84

In this same work, Dittochaeus, one finds three other poems based on the book of Acts: Ditt. 44 (45) (the story of Stephen); Ditt. 45 (46) (Peter at the Golden Door); and Ditt. 47 (48) (Paul’s conversion). This work is dated 400 C. E., that is, the same year that Chrysostom preached on Acts at the other end of the empire.85 4) Christian art began with Old Testament scenes, then welcomed the Gospel story of Jesus as a young and powerful man. We have to wait until the fourth century to see illustrations from the book of Acts. Fourth century C. E. sarcophagi and early fifth century C. E. ivories display scenes from stories related to the canonical Acts of the Apostles, while others have their origin in the apocryphal Acts of Peter and Acts of Paul.86 Peter’s denial of Jesus derives, of course, from the canonical Gospels, while Peter’s arrest is likely based on the apocryphal Acts of Peter.

82 On Eusebius and Luke, see François Bovon, “The Apostolic Memories in Ancient Christianity,” and “Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History and the History of Salvation,” both in Studies in Early Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003) 1–15, 271–83, and the bibliography supplied there. 83 See Nicephoros Callixtos Xanthopoulos, Historia ecclesiastica 1.37–2.46 (PG 145, 714–889). 84 Sommiat inlapsum Petrus alto ex aethere discum Confertum omnigenis animalibus: Ille recusat Mandere, sed dominus iubet omnia munda putare. Surgit et inmmdas uocat ad mysteria gentes. Dittochaeus 46 (47 in the English translation); see The Poems of Prudentius (trans. M. Clement Eagan; 2 vols.; The Fathers of the Church; Washington D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1965) 2:194. 85 On Prudentius, see Pierre de Labriolle, Histoire de la littérature latine chrétienne (3d ed.; Études anciennes; Paris: Belles Lettres, 1947) 327–417. 86 See Herbert L. Kessler, “Scenes from the Acts of the Apostles on Some Early Christian Ivories,” Gesta 18 (1979) 109–119. I am grateful to Mikeal C. Parsons who drew my attention to this article.

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While few works of art themselves have been preserved, we have literary sources that bear witness to their existence: The Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis compiled by Agnellus in the ninth century tells us that Neon, Bishop of Ravenna in the fifth century, had several biblical episodes painted on the walls of his episcopal palace in Ravenna.87 One wall was devoted to Peter, and Agnellus transcribed for us the hexameters that accompanied this painting, which he was still able to read in the ninth century: from these verses it appears that Peter’s vision of the pure and impure animals was represented on one wall.88 It is certain that other stories from the canonized Acts of the Apostles were represented in mosaics and painted on walls, ceilings, and the floors of churches and bishops’ palaces. The Ascension (Luke 24:50–53 and Acts 1:9–11) appears on the upper right of a Munich plaque.89 Sapphira and Ananias’s punishment (Acts 5:1–11) is represented on an ivory lipsanotheca in Brescia.90 The earliest representation of the Pentecost that I know of is preserved in the Rabbula Codex, a manuscript from the end of the sixth century C. E.91 A point to be made is that the apostles are very much present in Christian art from the fourth century on, but they often represent a collegium, a group of the Twelve disciples establishing the foundation of the Church from a dogmatic position that existed independently from the narrative of the book of Acts. The same is true of the Traditio legis: Jesus giving the new law of the gospel to Peter at his right side and to Paul at his left.92 These are doctrinal representations. In the less numerous cases of narrative representation, to our surprise the non-canonical scenes (Peter before Nero, Paul and Thecla, etc.) are as numerous as the canonical acts.93 This observation may confirm Chrysostom’s judgment that the book of Acts was not popular in late antiquity. By way of summarizing the presence of representations from the book of Acts in Christian art, we may say the following: 1) pictorial representations of the book of Acts are late, since knowledge of this book spread slowly; 2) these representations were threatened by the success of apocryphal stories on the apostles; 3) these images were also marginalized by the presence of a collective and abstract

87 Agnellus of Ravenna, Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis (ed. Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis; CCCM 199; Turnhout: Brepols, 2006) 177. 88 See Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 164–165. 89 See Kessler, “Scenes from the Acts of the Apostles on Some Early Christian Ivories,” 109–110. 90 See ibid., 110. 91 On the Rabbula Codex, see Robert S. Nelson, “Rabbula Gospels,” in The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (3 vols.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) 3:1769. 92 On the Traditio legis, see Yves Christe, “Apocalypse et ‘Traditio legis’,” in Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte 71 (1976) 42–55. 93 See Georg Stuhlfauth, Die apokryphen Petrusgeschichten in der altchristlichen Kunst (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1925); Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 292–295.


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image of the apostle as collegium (the Twelve Apostles) and the emblematic dual authority of Peter and Paul.

IV. The Sixth Century

It is well known that from the fourth century C. E. on, the Roman Church insisted on the concordia of Peter and Paul as the two founders, the two pillars of the Christian community of the capital, of the Roman episcopal see, and of the Roman city and its imperial ambition.94 The scene of the Traditio legis on so many sarcophagi as well as the mosaic representations of the two apostles are the visible traces of this ambition. The evolution and rewritings of the Acts of Peter under the form of the Pseudo-Marcellus confirm this harmony and coordination of the two apostles of the Western world.95 It is in this context that we situate the efforts of the poet Arator, a Roman subdeacon living in the middle of the sixth century who wanted to salute Pope Vigilius (537–555) and, at the same time, reaffirm the book of Acts as the normative authority for the Roman church and its apostolic see. His ambition finds its expression in a long poem recorded in two books. The first book (1076 verses) deals with Acts 1–12 and is devoted to Peter. The second book (1250 verses) deals with Acts 13–28 and is devoted to Paul. Arator chose this division of the book of Acts, while many modern authors prefer to locate the main division at the end of the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15. Arator’s diptych is not surprising: it insists on the two heroes, Peter and Paul, of the Roman concordia tradition. In recent decades, there has been a renewed interest in this neglected Christian poet. After a critical edition by A. P. McKinlay in 1951,96 an article by Klause Thraede provided an analysis of the structure of the work, its location in Christian Latin poetry of late antiquity, the literary genre of the two books, its motifs and topics, its exegetical method, its general tendency, and its dependence on Latin epic literature.97 In 1987, Richard J. Schrader, Joseph L. Roberts III, and John F. Makowski offered an English translation with an introduction.98 In 1993, Richard Hillier presented a monograph that particularly treated the 94

See Hans Lietzmann, Petrus und Paulus in Rom (2d ed.; Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 1; Berlin-Leipzig: de Gruyter, 1927) and Charles Pietri, “Concordia apostolorum et renovatio urbis,” Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire 73 (1961) 275–332. 95 See Gérard Poupon, “Fiche signalétique: Les Actes de Pierre,” in Les Actes apocryphes des apôtres. Christianisme et monde païen (Publications de la Faculté de théologie de l’Université de Genève 4; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1981) 299–301. 96 Aratoris subdiaconi de Actibus apostolorum (ed. A. P. McKinlay; CSEL 72; Vienna: Hoelder-Pichler-Tempski, 1951). 97 Klause Thraede, “Arator. Nachtrag zum RAC,” JAC 4 (1961) 187–96. 98 Richard J. Schrader, Joseph L. Roberts III, and John F. Makowski, Arator’s on the Acts of the Apostles (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987).

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baptismal context of Arator’s focus.99 Finally, in 2006 the Corpus Christianorum Series Latina published the first part of an exhaustive critical edition of the 27 Latin manuscripts by A. P. Orbán.100 Arator’s success in the Middle Ages is particularly impressive. While many modern philologists take the position that Arator’s poem is the “worst of poems on an excellent subject,”101 Cassiodorus, Beda Venerabilis, Rabanus Maurus, and many other medieval writers appreciated and used his work extensively. The age, number, and quality of the manuscripts are also indicative of his success. Bede, for example, says that “[Arator] has aided me most, who going through the same book chapter by chapter in heroic poetry, added not a few flowers of allegory in the same meter.”102 Arator himself presents his work to Pope Vigilius in this way: “There is a burning in my mind to celebrate the labors of those [Apostles] by whose voice faith obtains a path in the world. Therefore, I shall sing in verses the Acts that Luke related, and following his account I shall speak true poetry. [And he adds in a significant way:] I shall disclose alternately what the letter makes known and whatever mystical sense is revealed in my heart.”103

This quotation, as well as Bede’s witness, make it clear that Arator’s poem tends to trespass the literal understanding of the Lukan text of Acts and uncover spiritual meanings. At the end of his rewriting of the story of Cornelius, Arator focuses less on the calling of the Gentiles and more on Peter, who is understood allegorically not as a fisherman, but as a hunter eager to catch the Gentiles as spoils. This passage also helps us understand that – besides the allegorical tendency – Arator’s primary intention is to offer a panegyricum of the first apostle to Pope Vigilius, who was Peter’s worthy successor. I must add that, before displaying a section of his hexameters, the poet offers a prose summary of the biblical passage from Acts that he intends to reframe in poetic form. For example, the introduction to verses 552–85 (on the ordination of the Seven, Acts 6) reads as follows: “Concerning the occasion on which seven deacons were ordained – among them Stephen was chosen – because the Apostles had said that it was fitting for them to devote themselves rather to the word of

99 Richard Hillier, Arator on the Acts of the Apostles: A Baptismal Commentary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993). See also Bruno Bureau, Lettre et sens mystique dans l’“Historia apostolica” d’Arator. Exégèse et épopée (Études augustiniennes: Antiquité 153; Paris: Études augustiniennes, 1997). 100 Aratoris subdiaconi: Historia apostolica (ed. A. P. Orbán; CCSL 130–130A; Turnhout: Brepols, 2006). 101 According to Eleanor S. Duckett quoted by R. Schrader et al., Arator’s on the Acts of the Apostles, 3. 102 Bede The Venerable, Expositio Actuum apostolorum, Praefatio 19–22 (CCSL 121, 4); see R. Schrader et al., Arator’s on the Acts of the Apostles, 3. 103 Epistula ad Vigilium 17–22 (CCSL 130, 214); trans. R. Schrader et al., Arator’s on the Acts of the Apostles, 22.


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preaching than to waiting on tables for the people”104 He then continues in a poetic manner: The powers of the ministry appropriate to the holy altars were established in seven men, chosen from everywhere, whom it was decided to call Levites [deacons]. How gloriously in the band of the Church began to shine, so as to mix the cup of life and offer the water with the blood of the Lamb! The glory conferred by this number [seven] carries along with it sublime mysteries, which the dimensions of my [poetic] journey do not allow me to pursue further now, lest speaking more I be found to have said less.105

Let me conclude that later on, erudite theologians tried to collect and preserve the Christian heritage during a time of war and decline. One of them, Cassiodorus (ca. 580 C. E.), a former member of the Roman senate, presents and summarizes the book of Acts in his retreat at the Vivarium.106 His intention is to transmit this heritage of the origins of Christianity to his brothers, the monks. In simplifying the biblical text, he helps the monks exercise their memory and remember the essentials of the biblical books.107 If this work constitutes the protective ending of late antiquity, one century later Bede’s commentary on Acts, followed by a Liber retractationis in Actus apostolorum (PL 92, 995–1032), mark a renewal: the beginning of the medieval interpretation of Acts. But this is another topic.108


Trans. R. Schrader et al., Arator’s on the Acts of the Apostles, 41. Trans. R. Schrader et al., Arator’s on the Acts of the Apostles, 41; on Arator’s work see also Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 14–18. 106 See Cassiodorus, Complexiones Actuum apostolorum (PL 70, 1381–1406); see Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 18–20. 107 Cassiodorus, De institutione diuinarum litterarum 1.9.1 (PL 70, 1122), refers to John Chrysostom’s fifty-five homilies on Acts and its translation in Latin. 108 Bede The Venerable, Super Acta apostolorum Expostio (PL 92, 937–96); Liber retractationis in Actus apostolorum (PL 92, 995–1032); see Bovon, De Vocatione Gentium, 20.  


11. Beyond the Canonical and the Apocryphal Books, the Presence of a Third Category: The Books Useful for the Soul Introduction

I like tennis, both as a player and as a spectator.1 Nothing is more pleasant than watching an exchange between Federer and Nadal. There is a similar kind of exchange that has been going on in this country in recent years. On one side, there are evangelical New Testament scholars; on the other, liberal scholars working on early Christianity. In the camp of the evangelicals, Ben Witherington,2 Craig A. Evans,3 and Darrell L. Bock4 are playing a defensive game, accusing the others of constituting a “new school,”5 one that prefers heresy over orthodoxy and promotes diversity where unity once was. In the camp of the critics, Elaine Pagels promotes the spirituality of the Gospel of Thomas;6 Bart D. Ehrman’s Lost Christianities flies in the face of his opponents;7 and Marvin Meyer considers

1 This paper was presented as the Presidential Address at the 2011 New England and Eastern Canada Regional Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature Regional. I would like to thank Linda Grant who improved this essay in particular by revising its English. 2 Ben Witherington, The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci (Downers, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2004); idem, What Have They Done With Jesus? Between Strange Theories and Bad History: Why We Can Trust the Bible (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006). 3 Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels (DownersGrove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2006); Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (ed. idem and Emmanuel Tov; Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008). 4 Darrell L. Bock, The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2006); idem and Daniel B. Wallace, Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2007). 5 Bock, Missing Gospels, 32. 6 Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (New York: Random House, 2005); eadem and Karen L. King, Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (New York: Viking, 2007). 7 Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); idem, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).


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the Gospel of Judas a valuable work that reveals in the mind of the dark apostle knowledge of the divine realm.8 In this competition a polarization occurs on both sides, one that concerns the contrast between canonical and apocryphal texts. The danger afoot is to slip into a doctrinal dilemma, when research should remain primarily historical. Among the historiographical lacunae on the evangelical side, I see a weakness due to the Protestant origin of the partners. In their work there is a neglect of the historical dimension of late antique Christianity, a lack of familiarity with patristic literature. The real life of the second, third, and fourth centuries – the kerygmatic emphasis on faith as well as the early Christian debates – have been ignored. Reading the work of these evangelical scholars one has the impression that early Christianity knew only the New Testament, the Gospel of Thomas, and a few Nag Hammadi codices. On the side of the critical scholars, I notice a lack of interest in the emergence of the early catholica, with its emphasis on ministry, creed, sacraments, and church organization. More important than these limitations is the inadequate repartition into two groups. According to all competitors, books are either biblical or apocryphal, and the apocryphal can be redeemed even as the biblical can be criticized. My position, on the contrary, is that from the beginning Christian communities used more than two categories and respected several degrees of authority for their texts. In the middle of the second century, a grouping of four gospels took place, and in the second half of the same century this corpus gained the prestige of a canon of Scripture. The same occurred for a collection of Pauline epistles. This agreement was in large part the result of an ecumenical effort. But beyond this common agreement, in the early catholica there was hesitation regarding other texts, gospels, epistles, acts, and revelations.9 Some groups liked some of them, while others ignored them or neglected them. Par gain de paix, a certain flexibility or permissiveness was accepted and several books kept their authority, albeit limited. Ancient authors call these books “disputed” (ἀντιλεγόμενα) books.10

8 Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst, The Gospel of Judas from the Codex Tchacos (Washington D. C.: National Geographic, 2006); see Marvin Meyer, The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992). 9 See the neglected book by Hans Urner, Die außerbiblische Lesung im christlichen Gottesdienst. Ihre Vorgeschichte und Geschichte bis zur Zeit Augustins (Veröffentlichungen der evangelischen Gesellschaft für Liturgieforschung 6; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1952). 10 Eusebius of Caesarea, referring to Clement of Alexandria, uses the term ἀντιλεγόμενα in Hist. eccl. 6.13.6 and 6.14.1. A little further down Eusebius quotes Origen in the fifth book of his Comm. Joh. and this one uses the verb ἀμφιβάλλομαι, ibid. 6.25.8. While the author of the Synopsis Athanasii (PG 28.432) is on the whole opposed to these documents, he is aware of the orthodox extraction of some parts of them. Léon Vouaux (Les Actes de Pierre. Introduction, textes, traduction et commentaire [Les Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament; Paris: Letouzey, 1922] 191) translates in the following way: “Certains fragments de ces écrits, plus vrais et respirant le souffle divin, ont été détachés et séparés pour la lecture.”

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My claim therefore is that the majority of early Christians in the catholica and in other communities divided the available books not into two but into three categories: the most authoritative were considered canonical; those deprived of any authority were rejected and called apocryphal; and those that had some authority, that is, those that were considered profitable or useful, composed a third category. I believe that Origen is a witness to such a repartition.11 There is no doubt that Eusebius respects it even though he prefers to avoid it.12 Athanasius of Alexandria explicitly affirms it even as he restricts its interpretation: the third category’s destination is the catechumen!13 In later centuries the matter becomes so clear that it appears typographically. Carl de Boer’s edition of the Stichometry, attributed to Nicephorus, the Patriarch of Constantinople in the early ninth century, divides the Old and New Testaments each into three categories, a) the holy scriptures, b) the books that are disputed, and c) the apocrypha.14 Among the disputed books of the New Testament, Nicephoros names the Apocalypse of John, i. e. the book of Revelation, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Gospel of the Hebrews. Among the apocrypha, he names the Travels (i.e. Acts) of Peter, John, and Thomas, the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache of the Apostles, the books of Clement, the works of Ignatius and Polycarp, and the Shephard of Hermas. Here I insert two comments. First, I think that the solution of three categories was anticipated by the canonization of the Hebrew Bible.15 During its fascinating history a distinction was drawn between books that make the hands impure (the canonical books) and those that do not (the noncanonical books). But there

11 Origen’s nuanced position is accessible in Eusebius’s presentation in Hist. eccl. 6.25; see Jean Ruwet, “Les ‘antilegomena’ dans les œuvres d’Origène,” Bib 23 (1942) 18–42 and 24 (1943) 18–58; idem, “Les apocryphes dans les œuvres d’Origène,” Bib 25 (1944) 143–66 and 311–34. 12 Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.25.1–7; Éric Junod, “La formation et la composition de l’Ancien Testament dans l’Église grecque des quatre premiers siècles,” in Le Canon de l’Ancien Testament. Sa formation et son histoire (eds. Jean-Daniel Kaestli and Otto Wermelinger; Le monde de la Bible; Genève: Labor et Fides, 1984) 105–34, particularly 120–23. 13 Athanasius, Epistula festalis XXXIX (PG 26.1435–1440; see David Brakke, “Canon Formation and Social Setting in Fourth-Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter,” HTR 87 (1994) 395–419; Éric Junod, “Quand l’évêque Athanase se prend pour l’évangéliste Luc (Lettre festale XXXIX sur le canon des Écritures),” Early Christian Voices in Texts, Traditions and Symbols: Essays in Honor of François Bovon (eds. David Warren, Ann Graham Brock and David W. Pao; Biblical Interpretation Series 66; Boston: Brill, 2003) 197–208; David Brakke, “A New Fragment of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter: Heresy, Apocrypha, and the Canon,” HTR 103 (2010) 47–66. 14 Nicephori archiepiscopi Constantinopolitani opuscula historica (ed. Carl de Boor; Leipzig: Teubner, 1880) 132–35. It is not certain that Nicephoros, the early ninth-century Patriarch of Constantinople, is the author of this Stichometry. 15 See Dominique Barthélemy, “L’état de la Bible juive depuis le début de notre ère jusqu’à la deuxième révolte contre Rome (131–135),” in Kaestli and Wermelinger, Le canon de l’Ancien Testament, 9–45.


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were also perceptible hesitations between schools, so that some books were open to discussion. Even if we have to reject the hypothesis of an “Alexandrian Canon,” we should accept the hypothesis of a variety of tendencies inside Judaism, particularly in Egypt. The first Christians inherited the Greek Bible from Jewish Groups who read large collections of texts.16 When Origen, Eusebius, and Athanasius mention or presuppose a third category, they have in mind such texts as the so-called Deuterocanonicals. Second, mutatis mutandis a similar situation occurred with Christian documents. Some were accepted by all the communities of the early orthodox Church. Others were accepted by some, but refused by others. And efforts toward the unity of the Church led to the conclusion that certain writings, such as the martyrdoms of the apostles, should not be rejected but respected as profitable. The extensive textual evidence for the Martyrdom of the Apostle Philip, the Acts of Paul and Thecla, and the Metastasis of the Apostle John prove that these books were not rejected but received certain recognition. They were slowly considered not only disputed but “useful for the soul,” as some Byzantine manuscripts say ψυχωφελῆ.17 The rigid position of the Decretum Gelasianum (Gelasian Decree) was not strong enough to eradicate the notion of this third category.18

I. Revealing Prefaces

I present now three prefaces from Late Antiquity writings that not only illustrate care for the third category, but also demonstrate how to rescue the best of noncanonical texts from shipwreck. I limit my overview to three prefaces but actually I found a dozen of them; thus I can claim that there was a literary genre embedded in a sociological situation, as should be the case for any Gattung, according to Hermann Gunkel. I will call this genre “I found a book.” The genre is not a Christian production. It is embedded in the Jewish tradition and is attested as early as the discovery of the book of the Law in the temple during the time of King Josiah (2 Kgs 22:8).19 You may recall that a theologian of Seleucia in the fifth century C. E. was devoted to Thecla. Pseudo-Basil of Seleucia wrote a work in two parts, edited in


See ibid., 40–42. For example, Vaticanus graecus 455, at f. 290v. See also John of Thessalonika’s clause in his homily De Dormitione 1 (see below n. 28: καὶ διὰ μνήμης ἄξομεν ψυχωφελῶς τε καὶ θεαρέστως). 18 See Ernst von Dobschütz, Das Decretum Gelasianum de libris recipiendis et non recipiendis in kritischem Text herausgegeben und untersucht (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912). 19 The book of Daniel is presented not as a new revelation but as the rediscovery of an ancient collection of visions; see Barthélemy, “L’état de la Bible juive,” 23 on Dan 9:24.  


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1978 by Gilbert Dagron20 and studied recently by Scott Johnson.21 The first part is a rewriting of the Acts of Paul and Thecla, and the second part a collection of miracle stories that occurred in connection with Thecla’s sanctuary at Seleucia. In his preface, the author explicitly says that he borrows from a previous, more ancient work, which he calls a “history,” or “historical account” (ἐξ ἑτέρας μὲν καὶ παλαιοτέρας ἱστορίας). Then with some embarrassment he examines the relationship between this ancient book and his present literary production. He says that, on the one hand, he respects the meaning (διάνοια) and the chronological sequence of events (τάξις) in the book, but, on the other, he changed the composition (συνθήκη) and the vocabulary (λέξις) of his source. Like all writers of such prefaces, he is torn between fidelity to the original and the value of his own contribution. Pseudo-Basil then dares to summarize his activity as an addition without betrayal!22 For Pseudo-Basil, the ancient work he is recycling belongs definitively to the third category. It is not canonical nor is it apocryphal: it is a ἱστορία, a historical account (the author of the Protevangelium of James [25.1] uses the same term for the story of the birth of the Virgin Mary). And what is historical is always useful in terms of knowledge and profitable for piety. “I found a book!”: such is also Victorinus’ claim.23 Victorinus of Capua was a Catholic bishop in the sixth century C. E., from the region of Naples. What he discovered was nothing other than a Latin version of Tatian’s Diatessaron, the second century C. E. gospel harmony. Victorinus admits, first, that he was unaware of the existence of the book. Then he expresses a reaction similar to that of Pseudo-Basil. He is hesitant, for he rejoices over having gospel material in front of him, but his joy becomes mixed with suspicion: this document does not correspond to the canonical documents. In order to overcome his hesitation and his scruples, he decides to make an inquiry. Reading Eusebius of Caesarea, he discovers the existence of gospel harmonies and decides that this one must be the one written by Tatian and not the one written by Ammonius.24 He admires the organization of the material and respects its historical value. But he cannot offer his discovery without changes. So he decides to respect the sequence of

20 Gilbert Dagron, Vie et miracles de saint Thècle. Texte grec, traduction et commentaire (Subsidia hagiographica 62; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1978). 21 Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, The Life and Miracles of Thekla: A Literary Study (Washington D. C.: Center for Hellenic Studies, 2006). This author has published an English translation of the second part of that work: idem and Alice-Mary Talbot, Miracle Tales from Byzantium (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012). 22 To exculpate himself, he compares his intentions with Luke’s programmatic statements in the preface to his gospel, see Luke 1:1–4. 23 See Codex diplomaticus Fuldensis (ed. Ernst Friedrich Johann Dronke; 1850; repr., Aalen: Zeller, 1962). 24 Curiously, although building on the Latin version of Eusebius’ Hist. eccl., Victorinus does not call Tatian’s harmony Diatessaron, but Diapente! This means that Tatian used a fifth source in addition to the four gospels, perhaps Q, the Gospel of Thomas, or a Jewish-Christian gospel.


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the harmony, as modern readers can confirm through reading the famous Fulda manuscript, but he changes the wording by substituting Jesus’s sayings from the canonical gospels, particularly from Matthew, for the wording in Tatian’s Diatessaron. Scholars created the word “vulgatization” for this strange phenomenon.25 “I found a book!”: such is also Gregory of Tours’s exclamation.26 Gregory was Bishop of Tours in the center of what is now France in the second half of the sixth century C. E. He says, first, that Christians know of the apostles’ destiny through the canonical gospels and the canonical book of Acts; second, that they are aware of noncanonical passion narratives of the apostles; but, third, that this book, a life of the apostle Andrew and all his miracles, is new to him. Such a discovery is exciting, but at the same time dangerous. Gregory is cautious, for he has heard that some consider this book to be apocryphal. He likes the miracle stories but does not dare to republish the whole book as it is. He sees the danger of heresy in the speeches – though he never explicitly admits this – so he offers simply that the speeches are redundant. He then takes saw in hand as an instrument of salvation; that is, he cuts out the heretical speeches and simply eliminates them. Proud of his pruning, he presents his Life of the Apostle Andrew as an admirable collection of miracles,27 rescuing for us the plot of the lost major part of the Acts of Andrew.28

25 On the Diatessaron, its vulgatization in ancient times, and its study in modern times, see William L. Petersen, Tatian’s Diatessaron: Its Creation, Dissemination, Significance, and History in Scholarship (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 25; Leiden: Brill, 1994). 26 Gregory of Tours, Liber de miraculis beati Andreae apostoli. Edited in 1885 by Maximilien Bonnet, it is reprinted and translated into French by Jean-Marc Prieur, Acta Andreae. Textus (CCSA 6; Turnhout: Brepols, 1989) 551–651. 27 “Nam repperi librum de virtutibus sancti Andreae apostoli, qui propter nimiam verbositatem a nonnullis apocrifus dicebatur; de quo placuit, ut, retractis enucleatisque tantum virtutibus, praetermissis his quae fastidium generabant, uno tamen parvo volumine admiranda miracula clauderentur, quod et legentibus praestaret gratiam et detrahentium auferret invidiam, quia inviolatam fidem non exegit multitudo verbositatis, sed integritas rationis et puritas mentis.” Gregory of Tours, The Life of Andrew, lines 5–13 of the edition by Jean-Marc Prieur, Acta Andreae, 569. 28 Other cases of orthodox rewritings of apocryphal material according to prefaces include the following: 1) Rufinus in his letter to Gaudentius, serving as a preface to his Latin translation of the Clementine Recognitions; see Die Pseudoklementinen, II, Rekognitionen in Rufins Übersetzung (eds. Bernhard Rehm and Georg Strecker; 2d ed.; GCS; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1994) 3–5. 2) The anonymous translator of one form of the Latin Acts of Thomas: “Nam legisse me memini quendam libellum in quo iter eius vel miracula quae in India gessit explanabantur. De quo libello, quod a quibusdam non recipitur, verbositate praetermissa pauca de miraculis libuit memorare, quod et legentibus gratum fieret et ecclesiam roboraret;” see Klaus Zelzer, Die alten Lateinischen Thomasakten (TU 122; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1977) 45. 3) The author of a Latin translation of the Protevangelium of James, see Jean-Daniel Kaestli, “Le Protévangile de Jacques en latin. État de la question et perspectives nouvelles,” Revue d’histoire des textes 26 (1996) 41–102, particularly 55–61. 4) The author of the Libellus de nativitate sanctae Mariae P 1.2: “Nam hoc quod a me nunc cano capite exposcis, adolescentulum me in quodam libello qui in manus meas incidit legisse noris, et certe tanti temporis intercessu et aliarum non leuium rerum interuentu facile aliqua memoriae elabi potuerunt”; see Libri De Nativitate Mariae (ed.

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II. Examples of Books in the Third Category

The case of 3 Corinthians is a good example of books that are members of the third category. West European scholars discovered this book in the seventeenth century, although it had been part of the Armenian canon for more than a thousand years. The discovery was made by Archbishop James Ussher in 1644, and the first English translation was the work of Lord Byron! The poet loved Venice and during his time in the City of Doges he visited the Armenian monastery of the Mechitarists, and even took Armenian lessons from Father Pasqual Aucher. Together with his instructor, he translated 3 Corinthians!29 The discovery by Carl Schmidt of the Coptic Acts of Paul in the beginning of the twentieth century affirms the apocryphal character of this document and confirms the absence of this letter from the Western canon.30 But hesitations remained, for it was probable that 3 Corinthians, together with the letter of the Corinthian church to the apostle, first lived an independent existence before being inserted into the Acts of Paul. That situation has been proven by the discovery of five copies of Latin versions and the Greek Bodmer Papyrus X. I cannot resist mentioning the fate of one of these Latin versions. Switzerland has an Italian-speaking State called Ticino, located on the southern slope of the Alps. In the small alpine town of Biasca a very old manuscript was found and brought to the nearest place of safety, the Ambrosian Library in Milan. There Samuel Berger, the famous Vulgate scholar, discovered in it the first known Latin version of 3 Corinthians. He began to copy it but, as often happens in such cases, he did not have time to finish the transcription. Politely, he asked a young scholar of the Ambrosiana if he would finish the transcription for him. Father Achille Ratti accepted the task and finished it. Any dictionary of the popes will tell you

Rita Beyers; CCSA 10; Turnhout: Brepols, 1997) 269–71. 5) The beginning of the long Latin version of the Apocalypse of Paul 1–2; see Konstantin Tischendorf, Apocalypses apocryphae (1866; repr., Hildesheim: Olms, 1966) 34–35. 6) John of Thessalonika, De Dormitione 1–2; see Homélies mariales byzantines. Textes grecs édités et traduits en latin, II (ed. and trans. Martin Jugie; PO 19; Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1926) 375–78; and Simon Mimouni, Dormition et assomption de Marie. Histoire des traditions anciennes (Bibliothèque historique 98; Paris: Beauchesne, 1995) 135–48. 7) Jean Gerson, Monotessaron. Prooemium in concordantias evangelistarum. Prologus. Prooemium super unum de quatuor: cujus titulus esse potest Tetramonum, vel Monotessaron; see Jean Gerson, Opera omnia (ed. Louis Ellis Du Pin; 5 vols.; 1706; repr., Hildesheim: Olms, 1987) 4:83–92; Marc Vial, “Zur Funktion des Monotessaron des Johannes Gerson,” in Evangelienharmonien des Mittelalters (eds. Christoph Burger, August den Hollander, and Ulrich Schmid; Assen: Royal van Gorcum, 2004) 40–72, particularly 62–63. 29 Probably under Western influence the letter will be removed from the Armenian canon. The 1805 critical edition of the Armenian Bible prints it in an appendix. 30 See Carl Schmidt, Acta Pauli aus der Heidelberger koptischen Papyrushandschrift Nr. 1 (Veröffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung 2; 2d enlarged ed., 1905; reprinted Hildesheim: Olms, 1965).


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that Achille Ratti become pope under the name of Pius XI! So a future pope accepted the assignment of copying a noncanonical document. To come to more serious matters, in the fourth century Ephrem the Syrian wrote a commentary on the Pauline epistles. As will later be the case with the Armenians, the Syrian theologian considered 3 Corinthians to be canonical, and as an exegete he considered it his duty to comment on it. One page of this commentary is relevant to our topic. Here Ephrem is arguing against the Bardesanites, whom he reproaches for their attachment to apocryphal Acts of apostles. Not only, he says, do they read apocryphal Acts of apostles (which is historically probable), but they also write apocryphal Acts (which is historically improbable).31 There is an irony in Ephrem’s attitude: the Syrian theologian finds – at one and the same time – ammunition in 3 Corinthians while condemning the reading of the apocryphal Acts of the apostles! So Ephrem uses a book belonging to what I call the third category, namely 3 Corinthians, in order to contradict opponents who use apocryphal material about the apostles. Byzantine manuscripts reserve for us another surprise that supports the existence of this third category. Apparently some readers of the canonical book of Acts were not satisfied with their reading. They did not understand how a polemic against the Hellenist Stephen could arise, because his apologetic speech (Acts 7) does not present Jesus Christ but only summarizes Israel’s history from Abraham to King Solomon. Becoming authors, these readers will explain in a narrative way that before the polemic attested in the canonical book of Acts, another controversy between the Christian Hellenists, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees had taken place. Logically, this dispute had Jesus Christ at its core.32 Thus we have the paradoxical result: the noncanonical story of this first encounter is christologically more relevant than its canonical counterpart. The rare books and manuscripts collection at Harvard University is located in the Houghton Library. Among its treasures is a little book perhaps five inches high and three inches wide. The book comes from France and dates from the second half of the fourteenth century.33 There is no red ink in the book, meaning that so-called rubrics are absent. Therefore we know that this was not a liturgical book. As its small format attests, it was a book for personal devotion. Inside

31 See Éric Junod and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, L’histoire des Actes apocryphes des apôtres du IIIe au IXe siècle: le cas des Actes de Jean (Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie 7; Lausanne: Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 1982) 43–47. 32 See François Bovon and Bertrand Bouvier, “Étienne le premier martyr: du livre canonique au récit apocryphe,” in Cilliers Breytenbach and Jens Schröter, eds., Die Apostelgeschichte und die hellenistische Geschichtsschreibung. Festschrift für Eckard Plümacher (Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 57; Leiden: Brill, 2004) 309–31. The article includes the edition of the Greek text of the story (BHG 1649c) according to the Vaticanus graecus 679. 33 This is the Houghton Library Ms. Lat. 117. Beverly Kienzle drew my attention to the volume. I am grateful to her.


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is recorded the Gospel of Nicodemus. Editors such as Montague Rhodes James and Wilhelm Schneemelcher would say: this is an apocryphal text.34 I say: no, this is a book belonging to the third category. The Gospel of Nicodemus, also called the Acts of Pilate, cannot be counted as an apocryphal title since it was not condemned in Late Antiquity and in its Latin form it is found in at least four hundred manuscripts.35 For many years scholars have been waiting for the catalogue of Greek manuscripts discovered at the monastery of Saint Catherine’s at Sinai in 1975.36 When it was finally published, readers could locate a short piece37 called the Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul.38 While preparing the edition of that new document, I read the surviving forms of the Apocalypse of Paul. In Armenian alone there are four different versions,39 and in Latin there are many forms of the text.40 Even though it is placed from time to time on the list of apocryphal books, as in the Decretum Gelasianum, the Apocalypse of Paul never disappeared; in one form or another it has nourished Christians for centuries. Dante modestly says: But I, why do I come there? And who allows it? I am not Aeneas, I am not Paul; Of this neither I nor others think me worthy.41

He is referring to the apostle of the noncanonical Apocalypse of Paul – not to the apostle of the canonical Epistles.

34 See The Apocryphal New Testament Being the Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses (ed. and trans. Montague Rhodes James; corr. ed.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1969); Neutestamentliche Apokryphen in deuscher Übersetzung (ed. Wilhelm Schneemelcher; 2 vols.; 5. Auflage der von Edgar Hennecke begründeten Sammlung; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1987– 1989). 35 See Zbigniew S. Izydorczyk, Manuscripts of the Evangelium Nicodemi: A Census (Subsidia mediaevalia 21; Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1993); The Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts in Western Europe (ed. idem; Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 158; Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1997), particularly 12–13. 36 See Ἱερὰ Μονὴ καὶ Ἀρχιεπισκοπὴ Σινᾶ. Τὰ νέα εὑρήματα τοῦ Σινᾶ (ed. P. G. Nicolopoulos; Athens: Ὑπουργεῖο Πολιτισμοῦ – Ἵδρυμα Ὄρους Σινᾶ, 1998) 239. 37 It was Rémi Gounelle who first drew my attention to that document. 38 See chapter 14 of this volume: François Bovon and Bertrand Bouvier, “Prière et Apocalypse de Paul. Un fragment grec inédit conservé au Sinaï. Introduction, texte, traduction et notes,” (originally published in Apocrypha 15 (2004) 9–30). 39 See Louis Leloir, Écrits apocryphes sur les apôtres. Traduction de l’édition arménienne de Venise, I, Pierre, Paul, André, Jacques, Jean (CCSA 3; Turnhout: Brepols, 1986) 87–172. 40 See below, n. 43. 41 “Ma io, perché venirvi? o chi ’l concede? / Io non Enëa, io non Paulo sono; / me degno a ciò né io né altri ’l crede,” Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia. Inferno, 2.31–33, see also 2.28–30. The Italian text and English translation are taken from The Divine Comedy (trans. and commentary by Charles S. Singleton; 3 vols.; Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1973).


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III. Characteristics of the Third Category The example of the Apocalypse of Paul allows me to present some characteristics of the third category as compared to the apocryphal and canonical books. In terms of fate, or destiny, we have to admit that most of the time apocryphal literature was destroyed. It no longer exists – with the fragile exceptions preserved in a jar in the sands of Egypt, or in the corner of a neglected monastic library. With respect to canonical evidence, every New Testament scholar knows that no two manuscripts of the New Testament display exactly the same text.42 Nevertheless, the text of the Gospels and the Epistles is relatively stable, making possible the compilation of a critical edition. The destiny of books in the third category, by way of contrast, was very different. Their text is so flexible that it is often impossible to publish a single critical edition. Multiple forms of the text – each having different titles and recorded in a wide variety of manuscripts  – orient one’s attention to evidence of a situation where each scribe achieved an individual performance. In addition to the four Armenian versions of the Apocalypse of Paul we find many forms of the Latin text, as the readers of Theodore Silverstein and Anthony Hilhorst know well.43 The newly discovered Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul has, for example, no real equivalent. Another characteristic of the third category concerns the function of the text. The canonical Gospels and the canonical Epistles were read in church; they were considered holy words for salvation and sacred material for sermons. The texts of the apocrypha, on the contrary, should not reach the ears of the people of God. Such was the opinion of Eusebius in the East and Augustine in the West.44 But the text of books in the third category, having their own destiny, was to be preserved, copied, and adapted to serve the soul’s benefit. In the Middle Ages noble women, for example, on the occasion of their wedding received books of prayer that included writings from the third category. In addition to benefitting an individual, there was, and still is today, the collective usage of these books in a monastic setting. An Athonite manuscript tells us that the Acts of Philip should


See Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). 43 See Theodore Silverstein, Visio Sancti Pauli: The History of the Apocalypse in Latin, Together With Nine Texts (London: Christophers, 1935); Apocalypse of Paul: A New Critical Edition of Three Long Versions (eds. idem and Anthony Hilhorst; Cahiers d’Orientalisme 21; Genève: Cramer, 1997). 44 See Ferdinand Piontek, Die katholische Kirche und die häretischen Apostelgeschichten bis zum Ausgang des 6. Jahrhunderts. Ein Beitrag zur Literaturgeschichte (Breslau: Nischkowsky, 1907) 15–16 and 26–33. I admit that my third category works particularly well when the fronts of orthodoxy and heresy have been clearly established.

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be read not in Church, for they do not belong to the holy scriptures, but in the dining room of the monastery, at the τράπεζα.45 Beyond private piety and monastic edification there remains the most mysterious function of all: were these texts or some of these texts readings for the perfection of Christians? Can we speak of esoteric teachings in the early catholica as we speak of arcane discipline with respect to the sacraments? Long ago Jean Daniélou claimed that the early catholica developed such an esoteric doctrine.46 The canonical gospel of Mark seems indeed to allude to a certain type of conversation between Jesus and his disciples after the crowd had been dismissed. And the apostle Paul after refusing any form of wisdom disconnected from the cross of Christ, claims to offer particular knowledge to the perfect.47 According to certain Christians, to read well-known, public texts is good, but to walk on a path that leads to higher knowledge is better still.48 Such a claim was not the appanage of the so-called Gnostics. In northern Italy, a high place for the Apocrypha in late antiquity, Philastrius of Brescia says that certain Christians read such texts in order to add an esoteric dimension to the canonical books.49 According to his adversaries – Philastrius says – these books were not apocryphal in a negative sense; on the contrary, they had the positive value of leading to secret perfection. The same can be said of Spain and Portugal during the time of Priscillian.50 Bishop Turibius of Astorga, an adversary of the future martyr, tells us that Priscillian and his disciples used texts belonging to the third category as literature for the perfect.51 And when Athanasius of Alexandria

45 See the prescription in the manuscript Athos, Xenophontos 32, f. 29v. This note says also that the Martyrdom of Philip, considered hagiographic material, was to be read in the church at the early morning service. 46 Jean Daniélou, “Les traditions secrètes des apôtres,” Eranos-Jahrbuch 31 (1962) 199–215. 47 See 1 Cor 2:2 and 2:6–16. 48 This attitude has an antecedent in Jewish literature: 4 Ezra 14 betrays an attitude opposed to the closed canon of Jewish Scriptures established by the Pharisees and claims a higher status for the apocalyptic books reserved for the elite of the wise: “Le texte proclamerait la supériorité des 70 livres apocalyptiques, reservés à l’usage des sages, sur les écrits ordinaires, destinés à la masse du peuple,” wrote Jean-Daniel Kaestli, “Le récit de IV Esdras 14 et sa valeur pour l’histoire du canon de l’Ancien Testament,” in Kaestli and Wermelinger, Le Canon de l’Ancien Testament, 95. 49 Philastrius of Brescia, Diversarum hereseon liber. See Piontek, Die katholische Kirche und die häretischen Apostelgeschichten, 39; Junod and Kaestli, L’histoire des Actes de Jean, 59–62. 50 See Ernest Ch. Babut, Priscillien et le priscillianisme (Paris: Champion, 1909) 120–31 and 218–40; Junod and Kaestli, L’histoire des Actes de Jean, 87–90. There has been new interest in Priscillian in recent years. See Sylvain Jean Gabriel Sanchez, Priscillien. Un chrétien non conformiste. Doctrine et pratique du priscillianisme du IVe au VIe siècle (Théologie historique 120; Paris: Beauchesne, 2009) 269–290 on the apocrypha. Priscillian of Avila, The Complete Works (ed. Marco Conti; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) 82–99 (ed. and trans. of the third treatise, Liber de fide et de Apocryphis). 51 Turibius of Astorga, Epistula ad Idacium et Ceponium 5 (PL 54.694). See Piontek, Die katholische Kirche und die häretischen Apostelgeschichten, 46–47; Junod and Kaestli, L’histoire des Actes de Jean, 70–72 and 96–98.


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admits the third category but limits its usage to the catechumens he may have been in a polemical position. He may have been arguing against Alexandrian Christians, who read such books not as protreptic wisdom but as the pinnacle of religious knowledge.52

IV. Theological Perspective Brought up as a Protestant theologian at the feet of Karl Barth, I received the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Many years later I considered Sola Scriptura as a canon within the canon (to use theological jargon). As Jaroslaw Pelikan and Christoph Wolff demonstrated during the exhibition The Bible of the Reformation and the Reformation of the Bible,53 the Lutheran tradition never imposed the Bible without incorporating another tool: music, as in the famous chorales; or literature, that is, texts of the third category. At the end of the sixteenth century, there was a Lutheran theologian named Praetorius, who was fond of noncanonical literature. He liked the Letter to the Laodiceans, and he even suggested that it should be used in class to drill divinity students in ancient languages!54 The Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Episcopalian55 traditions share with other Churches an interest for the books “useful for the soul,” but an aversion towards the Christian apocrypha. We read in the Apophthegmata Patrum (Sayings of the Desert Fathers) that Abba Sopatros gave the following command: “No woman should enter your cell and do not read the apocrypha …!” (Μὴ εἰσέλθῃ γυνὴ εἰς τὸ κελλίον σου, καί μὴ ἀναγνώσῃς ἀπόκρυφα).56 In the footsteps of Augustine, Roman Catholics are suspicious when they hear the term “apocryphal.” Indeed the success in France of apocryphal literature in the collection of the

52 If this is so, I would have to introduce a distinction among the several books of the third category: I would have to distinguish between those books that have less authority than the canonical books and those that have more authority. 53 See Jaroslav Pelikan, The Reformation of the Bible and the Bible of the Reformation: Jaroslav Pelican (catalog of the exhibition by Valerie R. Hotchkiss and David Price; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996). 54 See Irena Backus, “Praetorius’ Anthology of New Testament Apocrypha (1595),” Apocrypha 12 (2001) 211–36. 55 See article VI “Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation,” in The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church According to the Use of the Church of England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, n.d.) 613–14: “And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.” There follows a list of the Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament. I thank John T. Townsend for this reference. 56 Apophthegmata Patrum 14.16; see Jean-Claude Guy, ed., Les Apophtegmes des Pères. Collection systématique, chapitres X–XVI (SC 474; Paris: Cerf, 2003) 264–65. I am grateful to John Duffy, who drew my attention to this passage.

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Pléiade57 depends probably on the extensive secularization and decline of Roman Catholic influence in that country. But the large number of Byzantine and Latin manuscripts attests to the continued presence and permanence of the third category. Hagiographical and liturgical collections became the cradle where the books of the third category could find their rest.58 These books became part of the wider Christian tradition even if they do not technically belong to Tradition, as the sixteenth-century Council of Trent defined it when speaking against the Sola Scriptura of the Protestants.59 The Catholic bishops distinguished at that time two categories of Tradition: the apostolic tradition received by all; and the ecclesiastical tradition received only by local churches. Neither of these types accommodated the third category, for the apostolic as well as the ecclesiastical form of Tradition is subject to the magisterium of the Church. The third category, on the contrary, is the free expression of the people of God, at times in agreement – but most of the time in disagreement – with ecclesiastical authorities. This is made poignantly clear in the case of the Ascension of Isaiah, a writing that expresses the desolation of early Christian prophets at the hands of historical victors – who were powerful bishops. In 1599 Elias Hutter presented a polyglot Bible in twelve languages that offered a fascinating solution to the perplexing problem of how to preserve an epistle that on one hand was not considered to be canonical, but, on the other, was so valued that it could not be rejected as apocryphal. On page 525 of the second volume of his Bible, Hutter reaches the end of the Epistle to the Colossians and leaves page 526 blank, in order to begin the next letter on the right page.60 But – to our surprise – when he begins the next text we find that he abandons for a while the regular canon of the New Testament, and what follows is not 1 Thessalonians, as we would expect, but the Epistle to the Laodiceans. Hutter knew that this letter was so beloved in the Middle Ages that it was copied in many manuscripts of the Vulgate. He therefore decided to publish it in his Bible as well, and here it is side by side with the other Pauline epistles in twelve languages. But because he knew that this letter was not really canonical, he did not dare give those pages a number. Only after Laodiceans, when he takes up 1 Thessalonians, does Hutter begin to number the pages again – and he begins with page 527. Between pages 57

See François Bovon, Pierre Geoltrain, and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, eds., Écrits apocryphes chrétiens (2 vols.; La Pléiade 442 and 516; Paris: Gallimard, 1997–2005). 58 See François Bovon, “Editing the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles,” The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Harvard Divinity School Studies (eds. François Bovon, Ann Graham Brock and Christopher R. Matthews; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999) 1–35. 59 See Albert Maichle, Der Kanon der biblischen Bücher und das Konzil von Trient. Eine quellenmässige Darstellung (Freiburger Theologische Studien 33; Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1929). 60 Elias Hutter, Novum Testamentum DNI NRI: Iesu Christi, Syriace, Ebraice, Graece, Latine, Germanice, Bohemice, Italice, Hispanice, Gallice, Anglice, Danice, Polonice (2 vols.; Nuremberg, 1599) 2: between p. 526 and p. 527.


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526 and 527 we therefore read seven pages without numbers that contain the Epistle to the Laodiceans, a document that appears at the same time “canonical” and “apocryphal!” What better proof could I have of the third category!61

61 It seems that in the first edition of his German translation of the Bible, Luther also refused to give a page number to some books of the Bible that he considered to be christologically less relevant, for example the letter of James. See Maichle, Der Kanon der biblischen Bücher und das Konzil von Trient, 6–7. I owe this information to my colleague Helmut Koester, in a conversation.

12. At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies: The Letter of Peter to James* Introduction Unlike the Recognitions, the Clementine Homilies are preceded by three documents: a letter from Peter to James, a solemn commitment, and a letter from Clement to James.1 The Letter of Clement to James, which recounts the accession of Clement to the Bishop’s seat of Rome, was known to Rufinus. This fact is reflected in the preface to the Recognitions addressed to Gaudentius.2 Photius was also familiar with the document as well as with the Letter of Peter to James, although independent of one another.3 The Letter of Clement to James is particularly significant because it concerns the Bishop of Rome’s authority, thus it has received dutiful scholarly attention, particularly in two articles written by Walter Ullmann.4 In the following pages I will focus on two other preliminary documents: first, the Letter of Peter to James, and second, the Solemn Commitment. Several subjects treated in these texts have drawn my attention: the copying and protection of venerated books, the variety of the possible meanings recognized by those in antiquity, the role of individuals in controlling the interpretation of texts, and the intense training and testing of instructors within a framework that seems more scholastic than ecclesiastical.

* Translated by Daniel Becerra. 1 In this article, I will follow Bernard Pouderon’s translation in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens II (eds. P. Geoltrain and J. D. Kaestli; La Pléiade 516; Paris: Gallimard, 2005) 1215–1217. See Luigi Cirillo, “A note on the text,” ibid., 1189. 2 Recognitions, Preface 12–15; Die Pseudoklementinen. II. Rekognitionen in Rufins Übersetzung (eds. B. Rehm and G. Strecker; 2d ed.; GCS 51; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1994) 4–5; see A. Schneider, “Roman pseudo-clémentine: Reconnaissances,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 2:1625. 3 Photius, Bibliotheca, Cod. 112.113; see Carl Schmidt, Studien zu den Pseudo-Clementinen nebst einem Anhange: Die älteste römische Bischofsliste und die Pseudo-Clementinen (TU 46.1; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1929) 91–92. 4 Walter Ullmann, “The Significance of the Epistola Clementis in the Pseudo-Clementines,” Journal of Theological Studies 11 (1960) 295–317; idem, “Some Remarks on the Significance of the Epistola Clementis in the Pseudo-Clementines,” Studia Patristica 4 (1961) 330–337.


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In 1925,5 Carl Schmidt argued that the Letter of Peter to James and the Solemn Commitment served as the opening for the Grundschrift before being placed at the beginning of the Homilies.6 One year later, Oscar Cullmann proposed that these two texts were even older, since they constituted the beginning of the Kerygma of Peter, which was the principal source for the Grundschrift.7 Georg Strecker8and Wilhelm Pratscher9 reiterated this opinion in 1958 and 1987 respectively. However, in 1983 Jürgen Wehnert10 countered the hypothesis, arguing that the three preliminary writings, including the Letter of Clement, should be attributed to the author of the Homilies. As a result of Wehnert’s intervention, in 2005 Alain Le Boulluec was able to write (no doubt speaking on behalf of the translators of the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), “One sees here a literary fiction, a work of the author of the Homilies.”11 A voice of opposition arose in 2002 when Bernard Pouderon12 distinguished the origin of the Letter of Peter (and of the Solemn Commitment) from that of the Letter of Clement, which in his view is the work of the author of the Homilies; the two other documents are very ancient. The Letter of Peter13 represents a moderate Jewish-Christianity, while the Commitment represents a stringent, even fanatical Jewish-Christianity!14 Finally, I should point out the interesting connections noted by F. Stanley Jones between these documents and Elkesaites. These concern the role of the teachers and their commitments.15 5

Schmidt, Studien zu den Pseudo-Clementinen nebst einem Anhange, 93. Again, this is the position of F. Stanley Jones, “Eros and Astrology in the Περίοδοι Πέτρου. The Sense of the Pseudo-Clementine Novel,” Apocrypha 12 (2001) 58. In an email sent on February 18th, 2007, Jones questions what was the redactional work of the author of the Homilies when this author took back these documents from the Grundschrift. 7 Oscar Cullmann, Le problème littéraire et historique du roman pseudo-clementin. Étude sur le rapport entre le gnosticisme et le judéo-christianisme (Études d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 23; Paris: F. Akan, 1930) 80–81. 8 Georg Strecker, Das Judenchristentum in den Pseudoklementinen (TU 70; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1958) 137–138. 9 Wilhelm Pratscher, Der Herrenbruder Jakobus und die Jakobustradition (FRLANT 139; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987) 123. 10 Jürgen Wehnert, “Literarkritik und Sprachanalyse. Kritische Anmerkungen zum gegenwärtigen Stand der Pseudo-Klementinen-Forschung,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 74 (1983) 268–301, esp. 300. 11 Alain Le Boulluec, “Introduction aux Homélies” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 2:1196. 12 Bernard Pouderon, “L’attribution de l’Epistula Petri et la genèse du roman clémentin,” Epistulae antiquae II. Actes du IIe colloque international “Le genre épistolaire antique et ses prolongements européens” (Université Francois-Rabelais Tours, 28–30 September 2000) (eds. Léon Nadjo and Elisabeth Gavoille; Louvain: Peeters, 2002) 259–278, esp. 261–262. 13 “The Letter of Peter to James could be one of our most ancient witness of Palestinian Jewish-Christianity,” ibid., 261. 14 Ibid., 264. 15 F. Stanley Jones, “The Ancient Christian Teacher in the Pseudo-Clementines,” in Early Christian Voices in Texts, Traditions, and Symbols: Essays in Honor of François Bovon (eds. David H. Warren, et al.; Biblical Interpretation Series 66; Boston: Brill, 2003) 355–364.  


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In my estimation, the above summary communicates the key issues in the research conducted on The Letter of Peter and the Commitment, inasmuch as I have been able to follow it since the work of Carl Schmidt some eight years ago.16 As one can see, the bulk of the investigations and debates have been geared towards determining the date of the documents and their affiliation to this or that stratum of Clementine literature. Admittedly, there have been periodic registers of vocabulary, but these serve to establish some source critical hypothesis or another. Therefore, what has been lacking is an exegetical approach: a textual analysis of the content, vocabulary, style, and concepts of the Letter of Peter and of the Commitment. Limiting my investigation to the Letter of Peter to James, I hope to undertake just such an approach here.

Analysis of the text The opening and the salutation of the Letter of Peter deserve attention.17 As is proper in the classical tradition, the name of the sender, Peter, is unaccompanied by any intitulatio – unlike what we find in the letters of the apostle Paul. James, however, receives one, following the ancient epistolographic tradition. The κύριος, “lord” or “sir,” next to ἐπίσκοπος, “bishop,” is surprising. The adjective ἅγια, “holy,” used to describe the church already appears in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch.18 It is also curious that the salutatio19 is absent. Finally, the abundance of prepositions is interesting: ὑπὸ τοῦ τῶν ὅλων πατρὸς διὰ Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν εἰρήνῃ πάντοτε. Without conforming to the use of the proemium, the author contents himself with a brief, solid captatio benevolentiae  – “My brother, knowing the ardent zeal which drives you to seek our communal good” (1.2)  – before arriving at the primary object of his missive, which is to ensure that the text he is transmitting will be made available to no one. The arrangements presuppose the Jewish distinction between Israel (“of our race,” ὁμόφυλος) and the nations (“of the gentiles,” τὰ ἔθνη) (1.2). The document is also somewhat paradoxical in two ways. First, it is that which is written (“the books” βίβλους) that contains that which


16 See again the pages in Terence V. Smith, Petrine Controversies in Early Christianity. Attitudes towards Peter in Christian Writings of the First Two Centuries (WUNT 2.15; Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1985) 59–64; and those in Hans-Josef Klauk, Apokryphe Apostelakten. Eine Einführung (Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2005) 210–212. 17 See the edition Die Pseudoklementinen. I. Homilien (eds. Bernhard Rehm and Georg Strecker; 3d ed.; GCS 42; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1992) 1–2. 18 Ignatius of Antioch, Trall. Proemium. 19 In fact, it is missing in one of the two manuscripts (P). By adding the verb εἴη, “that he could be,” the second manuscript (O) gives the phrase the appearance of a salutation. See the critical apparatus in Rehm and Strecker, eds., Die Pseudoklementinen, I.


12. At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies

has been spoken (“my preachings”20) (1.2). And second, the transmission of the books is not completely forbidden; rather such is authorized only after a πείρα, a “test,” of the candidate (1.2). This examination is two-fold and formidable in the Solemn Commitment: including a waiting period of six years and rigorous commitment.21 The text of the Letter of Peter to James however, does not specify these conditions. Instead, it mentions the precedent of Moses. Peter commits James to follow the example of Moses: “But if anyone has been proved and found worthy, then commit them to him after the manner22 in which Moses delivered his books to the Seventy who succeeded to his chair” (1.2). The text not only contrasts Israel and the nations, but also the past of Moses and the present of the Church – them and us: “That the like may also happen to those among us” (2.1). Even if he respects the Law, the author and the community which he represents constitute a social and religious entity that is distinct from Judaism. Confronting also the pagans, they consider themselves to be a tertium genus, or the true Israel. This admiration for the mode of transmission established by Moses deserves our attention. It functions as more of an academic system than an ecclesiastical one: there is the question of the κάθεδρα, the “chair,” of Moses and likewise of the ἀγωγή, the “mode of transmission,” a term used from the time of Plato23 and Aristotle24 to refer to the transmission of knowledge. It is necessary – the author tells us – to imitate this system as well as the symbolic number of Moses’ successors: there will be seventy Christian teachers (2.1).25 It should be noted that the author follows the example of Luke, whose gospel is the only one to place the seventy disciples next to the Twelve (Luke 10:1–20).26 The succession of Moses was a triumph because one gained ἀσφάλεια, a certain “security” (1.3, the same term in Luke 1:4) regarding doctrine and practice, dogmatic certification from μοναρχία, “monarchy,” and ethical certification from πολιτεία, “way of life” (1.3). These two pillars of the traditional and established teaching constitute the κανών, the “rule,” to keep (φυλάσσω) (1.3). Later on, one sees a kind of Jewish creed: “And thus they have amongst them one God, one law, one hope” (1.5).27 These precautions were set in place during the time of Moses for much the same reason they are today: not on account of the ill intentions of men, or of the

20 τῶν ἐμῶν κηρυγμάτων (according to G. W. H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon [Oxford: Clarendon, 1961] s.v., the word κήρυγμα is rare in the plural). 21 Solemn Commitment, 1.2–2.2. 22 κατὰ τὴν ἀγωγήν (1.2). 23 Plato, Laws 659D. 24 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 10.9 (1179b, 31). 25 τοῖς ἑβδομήκοντα ἡμῶν ἀδελφοῖς. 26 As one may recall, there is some hesitancy in the Lukan manuscript tradition between whether seventy or seventy-two disciples were sent out on a mission. 27 διὰ τοῦτο παρ’ αὐτοῖς εἷς θεός, εἷς νόμος, μία ἐλπίς.

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readers, but rather more seriously, because of “discordances in the Scriptures”28 and “the various meanings which the words of the prophets can take”(1.4).29 One senses here the underlying bipartite nature of the Jewish scriptures, which distinguishes the Law and the Prophets. Thus, it is necessary to know how to use the Scriptures: πῶς δεῖ ταῖς γραφαῖς χρῆσθαι (1.5).30 In order to gain this skill, it is necessary to have devoted years to learning how to harmonize them. The great verb is μεταρρυθμίζω (1.4),31 which at first means “to transform,” then “to reform” or “to improve.” Therefore, one must harmonize the particular sense of the passage with the overall sense of the text. For the author, it is not just a matter of faithfully transmitting the Scriptures. Since one does not have a Jewish system, but a Christian one, or more precisely, a Jewish-Christian one (“same mystery in the mode of transmission” [2.1]32) – the phrase is forceful – it alludes to a Christian text. Curiously, it does not refer to a gospel, but to the Kerygma of Peter. The term used is ἀγωγή, “mode of transmission,” because it involves a teaching to be transmitted. Moreover, such is viewed as a μυστήριον, “mystery,” because it is religious knowledge which should be protected and communicated with care. Both this instruction and transmission should allow “those who want to assume the responsibility of teaching” (2.1)33 to receive the preaching of Peter, that is to say, to receive the benefits of the provisions for the journey. At first sight, the verbal group is enigmatic here, ἐφοδιάζειν ἐφοδιάζωσιν (2.1); the Pléiade translation reads: “that they serve as provisions for those who want to assume the responsibility of teaching.” One sees that the doubling of ἐφοδιάζειν ἐφοδιάζωσιν has the two-fold advantage of giving Hebraic coloration to the instruction and of emphasizing that this protection or this provision will be indispensable from generation to generation. The risk then becomes more clear: “Our doctrine of truth will be divided into a multitude of opinions.”34 This is exactly what Paul feared was happening at Corinth (1 Cor 1:10). And this brings us to the third paradox: that perhaps the Apostle Paul and his religious movement are susceptible to these tendencies! In fact, after these precautions are articulated, Peter mentions a very real source of tension of which he claims to be aware, not by means of a prophetic premoni-

τὰ τῶν γραφῶν ἀσύμφωνα. πρὸς τὰς τῶν πφοφητῶν πολυσήμους φωνάς.  


29 30

“How one should use the scriptures.” In modern Greek, the word μεταρρύθμισις refers to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. 32 μετὰ τοῦ ὁμοίου τῆς ἀγωγῆς μυστηρίου, “upon observing the same mystery in the mode of transmission.” 33 τοὺς βουλομένους τὸ τῆς διδασκαλίας ἀναδέξασθαι μέρος. 34 εἰς πολλὰς γνώμας ὁ τῆς ἀληθείας ἡμῶν διαιρεθήσεται λόγος.  



12. At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies

tion35 but first hand (2.2)36: the abolition, the suspension, and the neglect of the Law (2.4).37 The whole passage is worth citing: “For some from among the Gentiles have rejected my legal preaching in order to adopt the lawless and trifling preaching of the man who is my enemy. And some have attempted these things while I am still alive, transforming my words through discrete interpretations, in order to abolish the law; as though I myself were also of such a mind but did not freely proclaim it. God forbid!” (2.3–4). Peter is thus brought back to his roots. He pretends to be a strict observer of the Law who has been slandered by those among the Gentiles who have rejected τὸ δι’ ἐμοῦ νόμιμον … κήρυγμα, “my legal preaching,” and who have followed τοῦ ἐχθροῦ ἀνθρώπου ἄνομόν τινα καὶ φλυαρώδη … διδασκαλίαν, “lawless and trifling preaching of the man who is my enemy.” The end of Chapter 2 reaffirms the continuation of the Law with the help of the words of Jesus, who is referred to here as ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν, “our Lord” (2.5). Curiously, the citation does not correspond exactly to Luke 16:17, Matt 24:35, or Matt 5:18. Rather it is somewhat of an amalgamation: “The heavens and the earth shall pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law” (2.5). The Petrine irritation then becomes apparent: the author cannot understand38 how one can read the teaching of Peter as a contradiction in principles (2.6). Aspiring to be faithful to his way of thinking,39 one attempts to interpret his sentiments in a more in-depth manner, more intelligently (2.6).40 Thus, the lament which explains the whole endeavor bursts forth: “But if, while I am still alive, they dare thus to misrepresent me, how much more will those who shall come after me dare to do so!” (2.7). The author can conclude by reiterating the instructions given by Peter and the precautions that he anticipated would be necessary. Chapter three records the final objective: to keep τὰς πίστεις (the plural of πίστις, “faith” is surprising; one can translate it as “beliefs”) (3.2), to “transmit” or “communicate” (the technical verb is παραδίδωμι) the “canon of truth,” i.e. the “rule of truth,” in all places (the formulation is similar to that of Irenaeus of Lyons41) (3.2), by interpreting everything according to the Petrine tradition (which is the point of the argument): ἑρμηνεύοντες τὰ πάντα πρὸς τὴν παράδοσιν ἡμῶν42 (3.2). In this way, one prevents



οὐχ ὠς προφήτης, “not as a prophet.” ἀλλ’ ἤδη αὐτοῦ τοῦ κακοῦ τὴν ἀρχὴν ὁρῶν, “but because I already saw the beginnings of evil


εἰς τὴν τοῦ νόμου κατάλυσιν, “to abolish the law.” οὐκ οἶδα πῶς, “I don’t know how.” 39 τὸν ἐμὸν νοῦν ἐπαγγελόμενοι, “they claim to adhere to my opinion.” 40 φρονιμώτερον ἐπιχειροῦσιν ἑρμενεύειν, “to attempt to interpret … the deeper meaning”



41 Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus haereses, I.9.4; 22.1; II.27.1; 28.1; III.2.1; 11.1; 12.6; 15.1; IV.35.4. For these references I am indebted to the invaluable index at the end of Irénée de Lyon, Contre les hérésies. Dénonciation et réfutation de la gnose au nom menteur (trans. Adelin Rousseau; Paris: Cerf, 1984) 729. 42 “by interpreting everything according to our tradition.”


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those who are ignorant from “leading astray” (εἰς πλάνην) those who know even less. One senses the influence of Jesus’ maxim regarding the blind leading the blind into a pit (Matt 15:14) in the phrase “lest they lead others into a similar pit43 of destruction. One sees that the Letter of Peter to James has a twofold function: to indicate the danger that one should avoid and to prepare a true solution to the problems which arise from reading the Kerygma of Peter. If it accentuates the exegetical difficulties that appear in the Scriptures, then it does not develop the idea of forged pericopes and their interpolation (this theory, also absent in the Recognitions III.40–60, is developed in the Homilies III.40–57). As Oscar Cullmann has already noted,44 Clement is not mentioned. Similarly, the solemn commitment is not explicitly demanded. At most, Peter says to James in fine: “I have clearly pointed out to you the things which seem good to me; as for you, whatever seems good to you, put it into practice in a timely manner” (3.3). This is the task to which he devotes his efforts in the second text, the Solemn Commitment, in which he specifies (which Peter does not do) that at least six years of apprenticeship will be necessary and a commitment (the lack of an oath is what the Lord forbade45) will be required of the candidate.46 This commitment, as F. Stanley Jones has correctly noted,47 resembles that imposed by the Elkesaites. However it should also be compared with the oath spoken by Essenes upon admittance into the sect, the very same oath reported by Flavius Josephus,48 then by Hippocrates, who likewise goes into detail concerning the friends and family of the candidate,49 not unlike the oaths uttered in Greece (ephebes) and Rome (magistrates).50 Finally, the commitment can also elucidate the difference between the word διαμαρτυρία (“declaration,” “commitment”) and ὅρκος (“oath”).

βόθυνος, a word which the author undoubtedly borrows from Matt 15:14.  

43 44

Cullmann, Le problème littéraire et historique du roman pseudo-clémentin, 81. Matt 5:33–37. 46 Solemn Commitment, 1.2. 47 Jones, “The Ancient Christian Teacher in the Pseudo-Clementines,” 359–360. 48 Flavius Josephus, B.J. II.8.6 § 139–142. 49 Sermon of Hippocrates; see Der Arzt im Altertum. Griechische und lateinische Quellenstücke von Hippokrates bis Galen mit der Übertragung ins Deutsche (ed. Walter Müri; 5th ed.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1986) 8–11; and F. Kiechle, “Eid des Hippokrates,” Lexikon der alten Welt (Zurich: Artemis, 1965) col. 791. 50 See Erich Berneker, “Eid,” Der Kleine Pauly. Lexikon der Antike (5 vols.; Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1979) 2:col. 209–210; Anonymous, “Eid,” Lexikon der alten Welt, col. 790.  



12. At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies

Conclusion The Letter of Peter to James serves as a reminder for how the books of Antiquity – and for our purposes, the Holy Scriptures and the Kerygma of Peter – were dependent upon those who copied, read, venerated, and interpreted them. The Letter of Peter to James attests to a situation in which Israel and the nations form the backdrop and in which, at center stage, the Jewish-Christians know and recognize the pagan-Christians, but cannot tolerate them in the community as observers of the Law. The Letter of Peter to James attempts to articulate the message of the Scriptures, the teaching of the Lord (discreetly present), and the hermeneutical authority of the Kerygma of Peter. In this respect, the author follows Peter much like Luke followed Paul: he attempts to avoid the proliferation of opinions, instead seeking to create harmony between the Scriptures and the Christian message by means of the very text which is intended to bring ἀσφάλεια, “security” and “assurance.” Therefore, in light of the evidence, one must attempt, admittedly as a hypothesis, to date the Letter of Peter to James just as the Solemn Commitment with which it is associated. In my view, these two documents predate the redaction of the Homilies and the Recognitions. The absence of any reference to Clement supports this assertion. The literary quality of the text and the subtlety of thought suggest a fourth century date while the ties to the Elkesaite movement lead the reader back towards a second century date. By assuming, as I am inclined to do, that the book entitled the Kerygma of Peter existed and was circulated in the second century, then it is not unreasonable to imagine, as numerous scholars have done,51 that these two writings were found at its beginning. If all this stands, then the Letter of Peter to James and the Solemn Commitment constitute important documents for understanding Jewish-Christianity during a time when the religious movement caught the attention of the learned.

51 Cullmann, Le problème littéraire et historique du roman pseudo-clementin, 80–81 in particular.

13. Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era Introduction “Des anciens manuscrits à l’ère digitale.” Did you notice that the French title of this conference – devoted to reading – can be read in two different ways? For the organizers, as the English title makes clear, it must be understood as “From Ancient Manuscripts to the Digital Era.” From my perspective and my situation I read “des” as “about” or “regarding” (corresponding to the Latin “de,” or the Greek περί) and “à” with the meaning of “at” instead of “to”! Thus, I will speak of ancient manuscripts in an age of digitalization. I spent several years at Basel, first as an undergraduate, then as a doctoral student. My Doktorvater was Oscar Cullmann, a famous historian and theologian, proud to be Alsatian and bilingual, and proud also to be professor at Basel in the chair of Franz Overbeck, Nietzsche’s friend, and at the Sorbonne (École Pratique des Hautes Études) in Paris. I mention him here for the following reason: through all those years, in all his lectures and seminars, all our conversations, the teacher and scholar never advised me to look at the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that are preserved right there in Basel. I myself was also guilty for not taking the initiative to walk the five minutes that separate the Alumneum, the theological Stift where I lived, from the University Library at the Schönbeinstrasse. You will remember that Erasmus was in Basel when he published the first edition of his New Testament in 1516, using the very manuscripts in Greek that he found in that place! Students like me knew of Erasmus’ first edition. We knew also that in the nineteenth century much older manuscripts had been discovered, such as the Sinaiticus published by Konstantin Tischendorf.1 We knew that there were uncial manuscripts, written in capital letters, and many so-called minuscule manuscripts. We had heard of lectionaries. We even knew that in addition to the textus receptus, which approximates the Byzantine form of the text (also called the Imperial), there was an Egyptian form and a Western form of the text. But we never had the desire to see, to touch, or to smell a manuscript ourselves. We were content with the twenty-fifth edition of Nestle, and let our contact with manuscripts be through the apparatus criticus of that edition.  

1 See Scot McKendrick, In a Monastery Library: Preserving Codex Sinaiticus and the Greek Written Heritage (London: The British Library, 2006).


13. Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era

As a young professor in Geneva, I felt intellectual pressure increase in two ways: first, I felt the need to look outside the New Testament to the noncanonical or apocryphal books; second, to meet the manuscripts myself for the first time. These new inclinations received external impetus through an invitation by Martin Bodmer, the collector of first editions and old manuscripts, to visit his private collection at Cologny with my students. There, we saw 66 (Gospel of John), 75 (Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John), and 5 (Protevangelium of James). 66 was preserved in a small metallic box similar to the box of 100 Laurens cigarettes that my father smoked at the time. If I remember correctly, 75 was not yet placed under heavy glass sheets as it was later, when the board of the Bodmer Foundation made the tragic decision to sell it, in order to support the Foundation and pay for its fancy exhibits. Soon afterwards, Pierre Geoltrain in Paris and I in French-speaking Switzerland joined together to begin work on what was to become the Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne. From that collaboration emerged the “Series apocryphorum” of Corpus Christianorum (Turnhout: Brepols, 1982 ff.), the paperback edition “Apocryphes,” and the two volumes of the collection “La Pléiade” entitled Écrits apocryphes chrétiens (Paris: Gallimard, 1997–2005). Although published independently, the international journal Apocrypha was created by the same circle of scholars. To summarize the shift, as New Testament scholars we accepted a given edition with all its merits and limitations; as Early Christianity scholars we took the risk of preparing new editions. As we will see, the problems of editing apocryphal documents are many but they differ from those of the New Testament in one major respect that facilitated our task: the number of manuscripts is limited. Indeed, in preparing the Acts of John, Éric Junod and Jean-Daniel Kaestli relied, for an important part of the apocryphal work, on only one manuscript from the National Library of Austria in Vienna.2

Visiting the Libraries At the end of the nineteenth century, the Vulgate specialist Samuel Berger arrived at the Ambrosian Library at Milan. There, an unusual tenth-century manuscript of the Vulgate from the small Alpine Swiss town of Biasca, in the State of Ticino, had been deposited. The uniqueness of that manuscript lay in the presence of an apocryphal book – the so-called Third Epistle to the Corinthians – among its contents. Though the text of that epistle had been known for two and a half centuries from the Armenian (it had been part of the Armenian Bible for more than a thousand years), here – for the first time – it was part of a Latin Bible. Since then

2 See Éric Junod and Jean-Daniel Kaestli, Acta Iohannis (2 vols.; CCSA 1–2; Turnhout: Brepols, 1983) 1:26–29.

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four more Latin manuscripts have been found that contain Third Corinthians. Berger was eager to read and transcribe it. But, as so often happens to scholars working in libraries, the French scholar did not have enough time to complete his work. He asked a librarian at the Ambrosiana if he could finish the task for him. Achille Ratti – this was the name of the librarian – accepted the work; such was the elegant solution adopted by many before the general use of photography. By the way, those who know the history of Catholicism will recognize the name Achille Ratti as the given name of Pope Pius XI. I consider it one of history’s ironies that a future Pope was reading and copying an apocryphal document.3 But my point is a different one: while nineteenth-century scholars often asked local colleagues for help in the collation of manuscripts – introductions to critical editions provide clear evidence of this practice – the invention of photography dramatically modified the situation. And I have witnessed a progression even in photography: at the end of the twentieth century scholars relied more or less successfully on black and white pictures (thus the many microfilms in our hands); today we have digital pictures. The color in digital photographs assists scholars in their description of the manuscript, and the possibility of zooming facilitates the reading of partially-erased lines or damaged corners of the folios. A scholar’s experience and work in a large library, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, is different from that in a small local library, such as the library of the monastery of Limonos on the Island of Lesbos. The rules in the Vatican Library are strict, but assistance is more readily available than in remote locations. I remember that, while working as a beginner on the Acts of Philip in Rome, I was fortunate to receive some instruction from Mgr. Canart in the Vatican Library: he taught me what an akolouthia is and why there is mention of the fourth “ode.” But on Limonos I arrived on the feast day of St. Paraskevi and revealed myself as too much of a Westerner when I asked my host when this saint lived. Embarrassed, the abbot (ἡγούμενος) hesitated between Domitian and Diocletian. I should have asked about the nature of St. Paraskevi’s piety. After he came back from a short service at an outpost chapel with his δέσποινα in a large Mercedes, and after he urged that I take a tour of his monastery – where he showed me with legitimate pride the construction of an external wing where he had wisely brought together elderly people and orphans – he finally brought me the manuscripts I was eager to consult. As a rule in Greece, no foreign scholar is left with a manuscript in his or her hands without the supervision of a guard, usually a monk, in this case the abbot himself. But it was after lunch, it was hot, it was time for a siesta, and I had only a couple of hours for my work. So the half-sleepy abbot was kind enough to offer me the option of describing my manuscript and taking pictures of it, even

3 A. Carrière and S. Berger, “La correspondance apocryphe de saint Paul et des Corinthiens. Ancienne version latine et traduction du texte arménien,” RTP 23 (1881) 333–351.


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helping me by holding the pages. To compensate for the usual pangs of guilt of the Greek monks, who realize that they – not Western scholars – should work on their cultural heritage, he told me that he was publishing his sermons in a local newspaper and was writing the next homily while I was reading the work of one of his long lost predecessors. The holy sites of Mount Athos and Mount Sinai present special cases. The Holy Mountain in northern Greece was for me and my friend Bertrand Bouvier a place of great frustration – but also of intense pleasure. Megisti Lavra is the most important monastery among the twenty that constitute this republic of monks. During our first visit there the librarian was Benjamin, a fanatical monk who for days refused us access to his famous library for no other reason than to satisfy his sadistic tendencies. Some years later he passed away and was fortunately replaced by the young Nicodemos. In his youthful wish to learn, the newly appointed librarian was pleased to be taught by foreign scholars. We explained to him the rudiments of codicology and paleography. At the same time he helped us with Greek expressions and – most important – he brought us the menologia we were eager to study. Nicodemos gave us permission to work on a table outside the small but compact library of the monastery. Each monastery has its own library and each manuscript has its own particular call number; in another monastery on the Holy Mountain, at Karakallou, we had to learn at our own expense that over centuries the call numbers may change – and they always differ from the call numbers in the Lambros catalogue.4 When we had finished our work, Nicodemos offered us the opportunity to see other manuscripts – an extraordinary offer to be sure. We went with him into the building and discovered many lectionaries, side-by-side, from the sixth to the tenth centuries: a much neglected treasure at the time. So when we came back I told Jean Duplacy, my Catholic companion during our common task on the Traduction œcuménique de la Bible and a member of the editorial board of the Nestle-Aland edition of the New Testament,5 that the Münster Institute for New Testament textual criticism should pay more attention to lectionaries. Later I repeated the advice to Barbara Aland.

Scholars who are interested, as I was, in unedited apocryphal stories on the apostles6 should be attentive to a socio-ecclesiastical reality: the chance of finding new documents is better far away from the centers of power and dogmatic control, Rome and Constantinople. It is not by accident that many apocryphal documents are preserved in Armenian or Ethiopic, in Xenophontos rather than

4 Spyrid n Paulou Lampros, Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts on Mount Athos, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1895–1900). 5 Jean Duplacy, “Les lectionnaires et l’édition du Noveau Testament,” in Mélanges bibliques en hommage au R. P. Béda Rigaux (eds. Albert Descamps and André de Halleux; Gembloux: Duculot, 1970) 509–545. 6 François Bovon, “Editing the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles,” in The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Harvard Divinity School Studies (eds. François Bovon, et al.; Religions of the World; Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1999) 1–35.

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in Megisti Lavra. In Xenophontos we found more than a hundred pages of new parts of the Acts of Philip. The librarian there on the western coast of the Holy Mountain was very kind, and even allowed us to search among the manuscripts for the missing pages of the Xenophontos 32, which an outraged monk had torn away in an evident gesture of censorship. Unfortunately, our quest was in vain. Institutions do not have long memories. The monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai forgot that long ago the monks had hermetically sealed access to a room used as a kind of geniza, a cemetery for books. The room was rediscovered in 1975, during restoration after a fire in the upper chapel of Saint George.7 Among the finds at that time was a small manuscript (ΜΓ 17) that had been damaged partly by an earlier fire (this is the why it was placed in the room), detailing the lives of saints. Willy Rordorf, the future editor of the Acts of Paul and Thecla, asked us to look at what had become one of the oldest witnesses to his text, a manuscript still written in uncial letters and dated probably to the ninth century. Here I emphasize that, even in our digital age, access to the original is still very necessary. In this case no one had seriously considered an envelope that had been placed beside the manuscript. It looked much like the cellophane envelope one receives from the post office when buying stamps. But when we opened it, instead of stamps we discovered many very readable fragments that had fallen away from the damaged manuscript. We were allowed to photograph these fragments, which no one had done before, and were then pleased to offer them to Willy Rordorf. We took the pictures with fear and trepidation, however, for it was too dark inside and too light outside and the fragments had to be placed on the threshold between the library and the external walkway in order to photograph them. Excuse the anecdote: A light breeze came up at that very moment and we had to catch the fragments on display before they were gone with the wind!

Who Reads Manuscripts? Most likely, those who are interested in manuscripts represent a particular type of scholar. There may be among them Renaissance men and women, but the majority are philologists or historians who are fascinated by details, still able to write introductions to critical editions in Latin, furious if they omit a word in their transcription or misplace a Greek accent. I do not want to draw on a caricature, but specialization brings with it the added risk of this description. I established, with the help of one volume of the catalogues in the Vatican Library, a checklist of matters to note when face to face with a manuscript. It includes measuring the dimensions of the document in millimeters, support (papyrus, parchment or

7 Panayotis G. Nicolopoulos, Ἱερὰ Μονὴ καὶ Ἁρχιεπισκοπὴ Σινᾶ. Τὰ νέα εὑρήματα τοὺ Σινᾶ (Athens: ῾Υπουργεῖο Πολιτισμοῦ – Ἵδρυμα Ὄρους Σινᾶ, 1998) 145.


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paper), handwriting, ink, ruling system, etc. I felt the need for such list one time when I realized – too late – that I had omitted important information about a manuscript I had examined it in a foreign library. My checklist is of course useful, but I realized recently from Patrik Andrist’s catalogue of Greek manuscripts,8 in the Library of the Citizen Berne, that codicology has become an autonomous science and my work could only be described as the work of an “amateur.” The truth that competence is an indispensable virtue notwithstanding, what I am attempting is the whole spectrum of tasks, from reading the manuscript to commentary on the text. And one does not do this work without feelings and emotions. Fear is one of them: will I be able to read the text? Some handwriting, especially in relatively recent Greek manuscripts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is especially difficult. Will I be able to date the manuscript? I find that collaboration and friendship are a good antidote against fear. Bertrand Bouvier and John Duffy, friends and colleagues from Geneva and Harvard, are never too tired to assist, to read a difficult line, or to offer a date for handwriting. So relief is a second feeling, the result of collegiality and friendship at hand. One can also feel disappointment, as happens, for example, when one realizes that the manuscript you so deeply wished to consult is of no interest to you. The prized manuscript, it turns out, is not a menologion, but a meneion: its content is not narrative, but liturgical material. Another emotion, humiliation, can overtake you like a wave. Once, while copying a text with Bertrand Bouvier, we came across the name Sergius. The third time the name Sergius appeared I exclaimed, “But there is no Sergius in the Acts of Paul and Thecla!” By mistake, we were copying one of the texts preceding the Acts of Paul and Thecla! But most of the time it is pleasure and joy that fill one’s mind: to sit before a manuscript, with a pencil (pen and ink are prohibited), a ruler, a magnifier, and a stack of paper; to describe its characteristics; to determine whether the text is a new one; to ask the permission to photograph it; to prepare the way to communicate your discovery to your colleagues when you are back home – all this fills you with great satisfaction.

What Do We Read? During the joint seminars on editing early Christian texts that we led together, John Duffy and I gave paradoxical advice to the students. When face to face with a manuscript, look first at everything except the content! Write correctly the call number in the local library. Calculate precisely the manuscript’s dimen-

8 Patrick Andrist, Les manuscrits grecs conservés à la Bibliothèque de la Bourgeoisie de Berne  – Bürgerbibliothek Bern. Catalogue et histoire de la collection (Dietikon-Zurich: Urs Graf, 2007).

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sions. Check the number of folios and the pagination (it may contain mistakes; a manuscript can have two – even three – competing paginations; codicologists count folios, each of them with a recto and a verso, and not pages as we do). Examine and touch the parchment: if this is a pergamon manuscript, check whether it is a fine, costly piece that is perhaps more likely from the capital than from a province, from the court rather than a monastery. In the case of a paper manuscript, check for watermarks and make a drawing of them before comparing them with collections, beginning with the famous Briquet.9 Examine the quires and note whether some of them are missing. The numbering of quires, which is indispensable for the binding, is always more ancient than the numbering of folios. Be attentive to the colophon, if there is one, and marks of property. Note whether the copying has been done by only one scribe or whether two or more hands have been active. Examine the handwriting: is it that of a scholar or of an uneducated monk? Describe the shape of some of the letters. If the manuscript is a minuscule, note whether some letters are still written as uncials (try to fix the proportion of uncial letters on one page of the manuscript). Check whether the breathing marks are still angular or squared (a sign of great age) or already rounded (a sign of a more recent date). Note whether the handwriting is hanging from or placed on the line (as we still teach children to do today). Be attentive to the margins: are there exclamations or small drawings? A reader may have written, out of pleasure or frustration, “How beautiful!” or “How dreadful!” Some small drawings may indicate that the Greek manuscript originated in southern Italy. When examining the Vaticanus, Philip B. Payne and Paul Canart10 often noticed two horizontally-aligned dots (distigmai) in the margin. These signs, which are not always visible in photographs, may have served as marks for textual variants. Ruling is important of course: Julien Leroy spent a good part of his life examining the ruling system of many Greek manuscripts.11 If several manuscripts share the same ruling type and the same system, they may have been copied in the same monastery. This can be an important clue to the text’s history of transmission. Be attentive to the titles of several documents copied. The best scholars, such as Albert Ehrhard,12 may have skipped a title, and relying on them may cause you to miss a witness to your text. The same document may circulate 9

Charles-Moïse Briquet, Les filigranes. Dictionnaire historique des marques de papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600 (Paris: Picard and Genève: Jullien, 1907). 10 Philip B. Payne and Paul Canart, “Distigmai Matching the Original Ink of Codex Sinaiticus: Do They Mark the Location of Textual Variants?” in Le manuscrit B de la Bible (Vaticanus graecus 1209). Introduction au fac-similé. Actes du Colloque de Genève (11 juin 2001). Contributions supplémentaires (ed. Patrick Andrist; Histoire du texte biblique 7; Lausanne: Zèbre, 2009) 199–226. 11 Julien Leroy, Les types de réglure des manuscrits grecs (Paris: CNRS, 1976). 12 Albert Ehrhard, Überlieferung und Bestand der hagiographischen und homiletischen Literatur der griechischen Kirche von den Anfängen bis zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts (3 vols.; TU 50–52; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1937–1952).


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under two different titles: manuscripts that share the same title may share the same recension as your text. Note also whether the manuscript contains a πίναξ, a table of contents. There is one characteristic of apocryphal and hagiographical texts that is often omitted by editors. After the title, the scribe writes in abbreviated form a short prayer, usually κύριε, εὐλόγησον, or εὐλόγησον, πατέρ. From a hermeneutical point of view, this prayer should not be neglected, as is too often the case. But first we must ask, what does it mean? One possibility is that, before copying the document, the scribe prayed for God’s blessing (κύριε, εὐλόγησον). It could also mean that during the office reading in the church, or at table in the refectory during the meal, the reader of the edifying text asked the abbot or God for a blessing before beginning the reading (εὐλόγησον, πατέρ). Or, the prayer could be part of the document itself, reflecting the religious attitude of the writer, who asked God for his mercy before writing the piece. In any case the presence of these few words is significant: the document belongs in the realm of religion and piety. Another important matter follows after reading the content of the manuscript (usually one is interested in only part of a manuscript): one should attempt to trace the education and psychology of the scribe. How skillful is his spelling? How is his handwriting? Can we rely on him, or is he absentminded? At the time he was writing, was he tired? Are there portions of the text where he makes more typos or omits a word, an expression or a line? I am certain that, when the end of their task came near, some scribes tried to shorten the text they were copying: this is true of the Bodmer V, the Protevangelium of James.13 Even though it is now the oldest witness to the text, it should not be completely trusted, for the scribe decided to shorten the end of the text. Was this due to fatigue, or did he run out of space toward the end of the manuscript? Indeed a scribe had to be attentive to the length of the document he was copying relative to the number of folios still available. I should add one last comment here: before confronting a manuscript face to face one should have been active reading catalogues. For the Greek manuscripts of apocryphal and hagiographical texts, we start with the work of the Bollandists: the Jesuit Fathers who (today in the company of laypersons) specialize in such matters. They published the trilogy Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca (BHG),14 Bibliotheca hagiographica Latina (BHL),15 and Bibliotheca hagiographica Ori-

13 See Michel Testuz, ed., Papyrus Bodmer V. Protevangelium Jacobi, Nativité de Marie (Bibliotheca Bodmeriana; Cologny-Genève: Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, 1958). 14 François Halkin, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca (3d ed.; Subsidia hagiographica 8; Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1957); idem, Auctarium Bibliothecae Hagiographicae Graecae (Subsidia hagiographica 47; Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1969). 15 Henricus Fros, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina Antiquae et Mediae Aetatis (Subsidia hagiographica 70; Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1986).


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entalis (BHO).16 For the Greek, Hippolyte Delehaye17 and François Halkin18 have been the best players on the team. Useful also is the work of Albert Ehrhard mentioned above.19 The Richard-Olivier20 is indispensable: it presents all the catalogues of Greek manuscripts.

From Reading to Writing A scholar’s goal is not just to read the manuscript. For oneself and more generally for other scholars, one wants to capture one’s discovery and remarks in written form. More important of course, a scholar hopes to present – that is, to prepare an edition – of his or her apocryphal or hagiographical text. As the stability of a text is weak in the case of noncanonical documents, one faces difficulties in preparing a critical edition. It has been my experience that the famous requirement to establish a stemma codicum, a genealogical tree of all the manuscripts, can remain unfulfilled in the case of apocryphal and hagiographical books. Yves Tissot is facing such a situation in his edition of the Greek Acts of Thomas; there are many witnesses to this unstable text.21 One decides not to present a diplomatic edition – that is, only a transcription of the text of the manuscript as it is – but a critical edition. This means that a series of decisions must be made related to spelling, punctuation, and division into paragraphs. And a critical apparatus will have to be prepared. I myself prefer a positive apparatus to a negative. That means that for each variant reading one can see with confidence the precise reading of each manuscript. I see too many dangers in the implicit evidence of a negative apparatus. In a Greek manuscript from the Roman library Angelica I was fortunate enough to find several folios bearing the title “From the Acts of Peter.” My colleague Bertrand Bouvier and I decided to prepare an edition of this document.22 But it was not enough to publish these pages with an apparatus and translation. We also had to determine whether the text was new. With the collaboration of a

16 Bibliotheca Hagiographica Orientalis (ed. Socii Bollandiani; Subsidia hagiographica 10; Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1910, 1970). 17 Hippolyte Delehaye, Propylaeum ad Acta Sanctorum Novembris … Synaxarium Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae … (Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes; 1902, 1954). 18 François Halkin, Saints moines d’Orient (London: Variorum, 1973). 19 See n. 12. 20 Jean-Marie Olivier, Répertoire des bibliothèques et des catalogues de manuscrits grecs de Marcel Richard (3d ed.; CC; Turnhout: Brepols, 1995). 21 I have in front of me an unpublished essay by Tissot, material he distributed for discussion at meetings of the Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne. His last paper was entitled “Évaluation critique de l’édition des Actes de Thomas de M. Bonnet” and was presented at the annual meeting of the Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne at Dole, France on July 1, 2011.  22 See Chapter 15 of this book.


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research assistant at Harvard (Brent Landau) we read practically everything that is canonical and noncanonical about the apostle Peter in late antiquity, and I can tell you that there is a lot. Petrine material appears in unexpected corners, such as parables attributed to Saint Peter in a Transitus Mariae. You will also have to add explanatory notes to your edition. In the case of the fragment of the Acts of Peter, we had to ask in front of our readers whether the fragment might be from the second-century apocryphal Acts of Peter. Remember that we possess only the second part of these acts. We knew from indirect evidence that the first part of the work, now lost, does not take place in Rome, as is the case in the second part, but in the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea. The new fragment is actually located in the East! Your comments will also have to underscore obscure passages and, if possible, explain enigmatic ones. The new text from the Acts of Peter presented four riddles: 1) the number of capital sins; 2) the manifestation of the devil in the shape of an angel of light (see 2 Cor 11:14); 3) Peter’s gesture creating a magical circle as protection in face of demonic forces; and 4) the meaning of the sign of the cross. All these things must of course be explained and placed historically in the development of Christian doctrines.

The Digital Era During my childhood here in Lausanne, on Sunday afternoons I sometimes walked with my family in the countryside surrounding the city. One of our promenades brought us to Cheseaux, where I saw for the first time un bloc erratique. Its origin and its nature were explained to me. Today I use the block as a metaphor for my present situation: I feel like un bloc erratique in a new age, the digital era. The first time I experienced this feeling I was preparing a lecture for a conference in Athens. I wanted to oppose Jerusalem and Athens. I knew of Tertullian’s question “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” which I thought was a quote from the Apologeticum: I was wrong. At home, I had the best edition of Tertullian’s work from the Corpus Christianorum Series Latina.23 Oddly, the extensive indices did not help me, for “Jerusalem” may be spelled differently in Latin and in Greek. I thought to myself, “For the first time let me try Google!” So I entered a search for Jerusalem, Athens, and Tertullian, and in fifteen seconds I had the reference – the Latin text and an English translation!24

23 Eligius Dekkers et al., eds., Quinti Septimi Florentis Tertulliani opera (CCSL 1–2; Turnhout: Brepols, 1954). 24 “Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis?” Tertullian, De praesriptione haereticorum, 7.9.

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The second time I felt like un bloc erratique I was preparing a new revised English edition of the book Luke the Theologian.25 I had to add a new chapter on the most recent research on Luke-Acts. Fortunately, I could rely on the collaboration of a research assistant. Robyn Walsh and I met in my office and distributed the work. When we left to fulfill our tasks I entered the Andover Harvard Library but – to my surprise – Robyn opened her computer! She was able to find references to many dissertations on Luke-Acts that I would have been unable to trace in the library. My latest humiliation as un bloc erratique occurred a year ago. Upon my return from the monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai, I showed to Jean-Daniel Kaestli, a great expert on apocryphal matters, what I believed to be the transcription of an unedited text. One day later Professor Kaestli called me with a precise reference. My text was not original and had already been edited. He had used the TLG, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, which did not occur to me to do. It is not my purpose here to present the multiple potentialities of the digital era in the field of early Christian studies. I can only from my narrow window admit that concordances and indices will only benefit from digital tools. So-called ecodices, that is, digitalized pictures, will be invaluable in examining manuscripts at a distance and under favorable conditions. But I have to ask: what about critical editions? A few weeks ago a session of the annual meeting of the Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne (Dole, France, June 30th-July 2nd, 2011) was devoted to the technical problems involved in preparing critical editions. Our pubisher, Brepols: Turnhout (Belgium), was present,26 as was one of the editors of the Series Graeca of Corpus Christianorum, Caroline Macé.27 The two other presenters were Els Rose (“Editing the Virtutes apostolorum”) and Zbigniew Izydorczyk (“Exer[ or ]cizing Uncertainty: Reflections on Editing the Evangelium Nicomedi”). Our final conclusion was that we are not quite ready to have an electronic, easy way to establish collations of manuscripts and critical apparatus. But it is certain that in the case of a text with many manuscripts, such as the Gospel of Nicodemus and the Protevangelium of James, electronic devises will help store many variant readings without necessarily printing all of them. Also, an edition with many links will be useful even if there is a risk of distraction from the text itself. For me, there is a consolation in light of the frightening changes introduced by the digital era. It is the respect demonstrated by Microsoft and Apple toward the venerable tradition of the book. The modern book itself is practically a copy of the old codex. There is the same use of quires, same disposition of the page, same

25 François Bovon, Luke the Theologian: Fifty-five Years of Research (1950–2005) (2d ed.; Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006). 26 Bart Janssens presented a paper: “L’édition critique aujurd’hui.” 27 Her paper: “‘Tous les cas sont spéciaux,’ mais y a-t-il des constantes dans les voies qui mènent à l’édition critique?”


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presentation of titles and subtitles. To my surprise, the same can be said about a page on the screen of a computer. The continuity is remarkable and should help diminish the reluctance of those who fear the transformations introduced by the digital era.

From Manuscript to Theological Interpretation

Let me make a few final comments. My objective is hermeneutical. I consider codicology and paleography as tools, while my ultimate goal has to do with explanation and interpretation. Some of my own concerns are as follows. Among the many early Christian documents, the text of the New Testament presents a special case: with so many manuscripts for the same books and such a stable textual transmission (despite Bart Ehrman and his idea of “corruption of Scriptures”28). The apocryphal documents on the contrary had a very different destiny: as soon as they had been rejected, their destiny was – literally – to disappear. If they still exist today it is by way of preservation by a heretical movement or sect (see the Bogomils preservation of the Visio Isaiae, the second part of the Ascension of Isaiah)29 or as a fragment used by opponents (see the quotations from the apocryphal Acts of John used by the Fathers of the Second Council of Nicea in 789 C. E.30 I believe there was a third destiny: some books were neither rejected as apocryphal nor admitted as canonical, but were considered useful and profitable for the soul (ψυχωφελής), for private or public devotion.31 Some of those profitable books were just old apocryphal stories revisited to make them salonfähig, as we would say in German – that is, decent, acceptable, readable, politically correct – if not in church, then at least in the refectory of monasteries. The Acts of Philip offers a good example.32 As such, they were condemned in the so-called Decretum Gelasianum.33 But not everyone was pleased with such a negative decision. Instead of simply condemning and destroying a book, some sought to preserve the edifying material by rewriting, cleaning, and expurgating parts of the book. We have, for example, two recensions of the first Acts of Philip. The recension from 28

Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1993). 29 See particularly the introduction to the slavonic text by A. Giambelluca Kossova (in Enrico Norelli et al., Ascensio Isaiae [2 vols.; CCSA 7–8; Turnhout: Brepols, 1995] 1:237). 30 See Junod and Kaestli, Acta Iohannis 1:344–368. 31 See Chapter 11 of this book. 32 See François Bovon, Bertrand Bouvier, and Frédéric Amsler, Acta Philippi. Textus (CCSA 11; Turnhout: Brepols, 1999); Frédéric Amsler, Acta Philippi. Commentarius (CCSA 12; Turnhout: Brepols, 1999). 33 See New Testament Apocrypha (ed. Wilhelm Schneemelcher; trans. Robert McL. Wilson; 2 vols.; Louisville, KY: Westminster / John Knox, 1991) 1:38–40.

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Mount Athos, the Xenophontos 32, represents the original, un-revised version. The recension in the Vatican Library, the Vaticanus gr. 824, represents the revised, decent, acceptable version. What is the difference between the two? What does one notice in the confrontation between the Vaticanus and the Xenophontos? In the Vaticanus everything has been modified to fit the criteria of orthodoxy. The doctrine is now healthy: when leaving a place the apostle installs priests and deacons (in the old text he left behind ascetical believers on a vegetarian diet). The Greek language has been improved: the reviser decided to bestow a higher level of style on the composition, in conformity with the new orthodox nature of the document. The page layout has been improved; it is more readable and more suited for public reading. Finally, spelling mistakes have been corrected, so that the owner of the document will no longer be ashamed of the author’s or scribe’s lack of education. As one can see, we must be interested in the reception history of the apocrypha, just as scholars have recently noticed the importance of the Wirkungsgeschichte of the canonical books. I call one type of this reception: “I found a book.”34 Through that expression, or another similar to it, several Church writers in late antiquity indicate their intention to share with their readers the discovery of an old document. Most of the time the writer has to overcome mixed emotions, for he is proud on one hand to share his discovery of an ancient Christian text but feels uncomfortable on the other, knowing that such documents have often been condemned. His solution is first, to correct and revise the unorthodox document he has found, and second, to present it as a valuable historical document of the past. Here I offer three examples. First, Pseudo-Basil of Seleucia, a fifth-century author from Asia Minor, enjoyed finding a copy the old Acts of Paul and Thecla.35 So, he rewrote them in an orthodox way and made them the first part of his new work. In the second part he presents a collection of miracles that occurred at the shrine of Saint Thecla in Seleucia. It is in the preface to this two-part work that Pseudo-Basil explains all this and proudly shouts, “I found a book.” Our second example comes from Gregory of Tours, who in the sixth century C. E. wrote a life of the apostle Andrew.36 Gregory bases his work on an old book he claims he has just found. This book can only be a Latin version of the ancient apocryphal Greek Acts of Andrew. Gregory knows that the work has been condemned since the time of Eusebius and Hieronymus. He does not admit this fact, however, nor does he mention its heretical nature. He simply says – discreetly – 34

See Chapter 11 of this book. See Gilbert Dagron, Vie et miracles de sainte Thècle (Subsidia hagiographia 62; Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1978); and Scott Johnson, The Life and Miracles of Thekla: A Literary Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006). 36 Jean-Marc Prieur, Acta Andreae (2 vols.; CCSA 5–6; Turnhout: Brepols, 1989) 1:8–12; 2:551–651.  



13. Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era

that the work contains speeches that are too many and too long! Nevertheless his rewriting is valuable to us, for it preserves the itinerary and the plot of the first part of the work, which is otherwise completely lost. A final example is the work of a bishop of Capua in the same sixth century C. E. Victorinus was pleased to claim that he found a book. This book was a Latin version of the Diatessaron composed by Tatian in second-century Syria. Victorinus shares the same mixed emotions that filled the soul of Pseudo-Basil and Gregory of Tours. He is proud to exhibit a newly discovered ancient book, but at the same time he knows that a harmony of the Gospels is no longer admissible. So he solves his dilemma with a compromise: as the Latin manuscript of Fulda shows,37 Victorinus retains the plot of the Diatessaron, but on the lips of Jesus he places the Matthean version of the Lord’s sayings instead of their formulation in the Diatessaron. Scholars refer to this solution as the vulgatization of the Diatessaron!

Conclusion My conclusion takes the form of an inclusio. Let us return to the title of our conference. Its English version makes clear the intention of the organizers: they wish us to consider the transition “from Ancient Manuscripts to the Digital Era!” But even so the formula needs qualification for the actual manuscripts themselves are not abandoned in the digital era. They still exist and they are well preserved! Let me explain how I understand the expression “From Ancient Manuscripts.” I distinguish three periods: first, the precise time the manuscripts were written; second, the long period when they were used and copied; and, third, the present time when they still exist and continue to be studied. There is a good tradition practiced in some libraries: they insert in an old manuscript a sheet of paper on which each reader writes his or her name and the date when he or she examined the document. It can give one a feeling of pride to be in the company of von Dobschütz or Bonnet. But one can also encounter a surprise: in Vienna I noticed that since 1980, when Junod and Kaestli examined the manuscript containing a long fragment of the Acts of John mentioned earlier,38 no one has asked for this manuscript – and more than twenty years have passed since the visit of my two friends!


I am referring here to codex Fuldensis, Landesbibiothek Bonif. 1; see Ernst Ranke, ed., Codex Fuldensis, Novum Testamentum Latine interprete Hieronymo ex manuscripto Victoris Capuani (Marburgi: Elwert, 1868) and William Petersen, Tatian’s Diatessaron: Its Creation, Dissemination, Significance, and History in Scholarship (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 25; Leiden: Brill, 1994) 85–86. 38 See n. 2 and n. 30.

13. Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era


The digital era will not be a period of barbarism: the manuscripts preserved in the thousand libraries of the world will not be destroyed. So in one sense we are still in the age of the “Ancient Manuscripts,” but in the third period of their lives, in the time of their survival and their preservation. Most likely, they never have been so cherished and so well treated (in some libraries readers and scholars must wear gloves to hold them in their hands!). If our interest remains hermeneutical, the question is one of continuity and discontinuity. The life of a codex differs from the first period to the second. The original was produced for the needs of a particular community. Most of the time this was as a support for religious readings but, as Cavallo has suggested in the case of the famous Codex Rossanensis, it could also have been produced as a sacred object during a time of fascination with relics.39 While the audience was large during that first time period, manuscripts survived for centuries in uncertain conditions. The questions now are: Is the manuscript still useful? Can the original language still be understood? Will new readers share the author’s initial interests? Will the book be appreciated by anyone other than the local librarian of a monastic settlement? How will the dangers of life, such as war, fire, inundations, or disregard affect it? The most common outcome will be that the manuscript survives but it is no longer in use. It is in that state that the modern scholar will find it and study it. Here begins the third period of the manuscript’s life. Today we are in that age: an age marked by digitalization. Digitalization may offer a fountain of youth to the dear object of our present investigation. Its image will be fixed and preserved outside the object itself. Its characteristics will be established in a catalogue possibly available online (I was pleased recently to have access online to the catalogue of Greek manuscripts from Breslau, today Wroclaw in Poland40). What we might call the arcane discipline of a few happy scholars will vanish, and everyone – as is already the case for the codex Sinaiticus – will have access to a manuscript without being forced to take a plane to visit the British Museum, or a camel (today a car) to reach Saint Catherine’s. I do not know whether this will be the golden age of ancient manuscripts, but it may be a good time. But it will be a good time only if there are still people interested in history, literature, and religion and if there are still young men and women trained in languages, cultures, paleography, and theology.

39 Guglielmo Cavallo, Codex Purpureus Rossanensis (Guide illustrate 1; Rome: Salerno Editrice, 1992). 40 Catalogus codicum graecorum qui in Bibliotheca urbica Vratislaviensi adservantur a philologis Vratislaviensibus compositus, civitatis Vratislaviensis sumptibus impressus. Accedit appendix qua Gymnasii Regii Fridericiani codices graeci describuntur (Breslau: n.p., 1889).

14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul in an Unedited Greek Fragment Kept at Sinai. Introduction, text, translation, and notes* with Bertrand Bouvier


In the monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai,1 in the summary of the inventory of the new finds made in 1975, alongside number 365 of the manuscripts on paper, there is in miniscule mention of a notebook of eight leaves, dated by the editor (P. G. Nicolopoulos) to the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century.2 In fact, it consists of the fragments of two different codices, similar in appearance and from the same time period, each measuring 214 × 150 mm, which were sewn together; the first has five leaves, the second is composed of three, of which the first bears the signature of the quire 24 (κδ’). Each of these fragments was copied by a different hand. Thanks to the generosity of S. E. Damianos, archbishop of Sinai and superior of the monastery, we have collated manuscript 365 (a manuscript which we have designated in our edition by the initial S) after a first trip in January of 2002, then a second in June of 2004.

* Thanks to the new finds at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, this article presents the first publication of an unpublished document, The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul. This translated and annotated text will interest specialists of apocryphal and apocalyptic literature. This paper was written in cooperation with Bertrand Bouvier and translated by Travis Stevens. 1 Since our return to Sinai in 2002, we have insisted on associating Pierluigi Piovanelli, the well-known expert on The Apocalypse of Paul, with our work. It is with him that we presented this new document during the annual meeting of the Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne (AELAC) at Dole ( Jura, France) at the end of June, 2003. If we are responsible for the introduction, the edition, the translation, and the notes, Mr. Piovanelli was in charge of the examination of the connections that The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul has with various forms of The Apocalypse of Paul. During our work together, he realized that the new text corresponds neither to The Prayer of Paul (NHC I.1), nor to The Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V.2) contained among the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. 2 See Ἱερὰ Μονὴ καὶ Ἀρχιεπισκοπὴ Σινᾶ. Τὰ νέα εὑρήματα τοῦ Σινᾶ (ed. P. G. Nicolopoulos; Athens: Ὑπουργεῖο Πολιτισμοῦ – Ἵδρυμα Ὄρους Σινᾶ, 1998) 239. The title of The Prayer of the Holy Apostle Paul and the Apocalypse on the righteous and the sinners, etc. had escaped us after a first glance through the catalogue. It was Rémi Gounelle, who was interested in the new source for his study of the manuscript tradition of The Acts of Pilate, that noticed it first and brought it to our attention. We thank him very much.


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The recopied texts are themselves distinct. The first, whose initial stripe is found on folio 1r, is mutilated at the end. It stops at the bottom of f. 5v, and the subsequent leaf or leaves have been torn out. The title is labeled thus: προσευχὴ τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Παύλου καὶ ἀποκάλυψις περὶ δικαίους καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὺς κτλ. (or, The Prayer of the Holy Apostle Paul and the Apocalypse on the righteous and the sinners, etc.). The second text lacks its beginning. We have transcribed its incipit (f.6r ) in diplomatics: ποτε· ἐὰν γὰρ εἴπης ὅτι κὰν τὸν ἀδελφόν μου μϊσῶ, ἀλλὰ τὸν χριστὸν ἀγαπῶν εὐρισκαισε ψεύστης. Desinit (f. 7v): ἐκεῖ ὀργῆ τοῦ θεοῦ· καὶ οὐαὶ, ὅπου ἱεραὶ βίβλοι καὶ ἀναγώσεις. ἐκεῖ εὐφροσύνη δικαίων· καὶ σωτηρία ψυχῆς. It is apparently a chapter of an ascetic treatise, which cites the first epistle of John, in particular 1 John 4:20. The first text begins with a prayer of Paul, which implores the Creator to reveal how the righteous and the sinner render their soul at the end of their existence. The divine response takes a logical turn. A celestial voice invites the apostle, who has been raised to the third heaven (the rather obvious reference to 2 Cor 12 is implicit), to lower his gaze to the earth. While he does so, the apostle perceives a “glory” of God and this “glory,” probably an angel or a celestial authority, addresses him and describes how God calls the righteous person back from the earth and how he is welcomed in heaven: twelve angels, accompanied by clouds and singing psalms, descend to the earth with the incense and perfumes to take charge of the soul of the just person. After having described what happens from the celestial, divine perspective, the text turns its attention to the human pointof-view. The reader then witnesses a dialogue between the soul and the body of the just person at the moment of death. The soul says to the body that they are like two united brothers who have always lived in harmony; the soul adds that it is leaving for the heights to wait for their final reunification and to contemplate the eternal blessings promised to the righteous, while the body will descend to earth, but will not be corrupted. It will be kept incorruptible until the day of resurrection. Following this first account is a second one – symmetrical and, at the same time, antithetical to the first  – devoted to the death of the sinner. When God deals with the sinner, the day becomes dark and miserable. The skies open up as well, but in order to make darkness reign, an acrid smoke (instead of incense and perfumes) fills the air. Instead of twelve benevolent angels, the three formidable figures of Temeluchus, Astrael, and Ameluchus rise up. Like thunder, the first holds his drawn sword as he tears the soul from the body of the sinner. The second hurls lightning bolts, which crisscross the sky from east to west. The third splits the rocks, opens the tombs, revives the dead, and carries away the guilty, who weigh no more than a piece of straw. Here also the reader witnesses a dialogue between the soul and the body. The soul of the sinner urges his body to complain to their terrible judges and guardians: they should take pity on the guilty and offer them a moment of respite. The body does not have the time to


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explain his point of view when an immediate response comes to them: it is a categorical denial. It is too late, the three celestial authorities say to the soul, since it is in this life that conversion must take place. This denial exacerbates the opposition between the soul and the body of the sinner; the pitiless soul emphasizes that the body is guilty. Their separation will not be harmonious: on the contrary, it will resemble a rupture between two enemy brothers. Once more, the body remains silent and does not reply. If the first two accounts of the apocalypse are focused on the moment of death, the two following ones concentrate on the span of life, referring to long periods of time and to two or even three different locations. A cloud carries Paul into the heavens, from where he is invited to cast his gaze downward once more. He perceives first a large area over which a dove flies, and above the dove, an immense dark cloud. The angelus interpres explains to the apostle that the large space represents the earth; the dove, the truth; the dark cloud, the ubiquitous lies among humans. From there, Paul is then brought toward paradise where he learns that those who lounge there are those of whom the Gospel says “happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Finally, the cloud carries the apostle to a third place, Tartarus, where two groups of condemned sinners are presented to him as examples. On the one hand, there are certain men and women being stirred like straw blown by the wind; these sinners worked on the Lord’s day and created divisions at the heart of the Church of God. On the other, there is a crowd deprived of calm and threatened by a series of millstones (the nature of the punishment is unclear). The text suggests that these guilty ones are priests who have also not respected Sunday and have dealt with real estate problems on that holy day. The tragic fate of all these sinners makes the apostle sad and puts him on the verge of tears. He cries out on their behalf for the clemency of God. At this point, the author says that this brief description of punishments is enough. Then, instead of furnishing supplementary details, he prefers to advance scriptural arguments. He first cites three Biblical passages on the ultimate separation of the blessed and the damned: Matt 25:41, Deut 17:7 (cited liberally from the Septuagint), and Luke 13:25, 27. Next, he probably cites a few lines of a non-canonical writing called The Covenant of the Lord; the text invites the just person to enter into the kingdom of the Lord, enjoining him or her to listen to the voice of the apostle (this must be about Paul, who was considered the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, which reminds the reader of how dangerous it is to fall into the hands of the living God [Heb 10:31]). The excerpt concludes by recalling the wisdom of the Lord, who affirms that heaven and earth will pass away, but his words will not pass away (Matt 24:35). The aim of the last surviving paragraph, which continues to add citation upon citation, is no longer apocalyptic; it is eminently hortatory. The author intends to exhort the readers to listen attentively to the precepts of Scripture; he confers a strong moral connotation to the apocalyptic affirmation. This call to vigilance


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

should be part of the peroration of our document; however, since the text is brusquely interrupted, we can only speculate on this matter. If our intuition is correct that the end of the apocalypse is near the place where the copy ends, we can conclude that this short Prayer and Apocalypse of the Holy Apostle Paul is constructed regularly. The document first presents the final hour of the just and the wicked in a balanced construction, then, in a similarly symmetrical fashion, their afterlife – one in paradise, the other in hell. The second half of the work presents an existential and ethical dimension, when a third location, the earth, provides the terrain upon which the living can make the critical decision between righteousness and sin. The examples of sins that are depicted seem strange, venial, and even inoffensive to modern readers. They are written neither in the frame of a monastic institution, nor in that of a grand metropolis. Instead, they reflect the modest situation of a country milieu during a time without war or other threatening crises. Nonetheless, this simplicity itself becomes unsettling. If the eternal fate of believers is shown to be vulnerable in an environment as peaceful as this one, how much more fragile and threatened must it be when the tensions and dangers of the public, religious, social, and political life reveal themselves! To our knowledge, the Greek text in the form in which it is presented here is unique. In transcribing it, we have made every effort to give as precise an idea of the original as possible; however, for the sake of legibility, our edition departs from it in the following aspects. Without noting it in the critical apparatus, we have created paragraphs, normalized the punctuation, inserted accents and breathing marks, and placed direct speech and citations in quotation marks. Regarding orthography, we have only capitalized proper nouns; we have inserted the iota subscript, added sporadically in the original, wherever ancient grammar requires it; and we have, without remark, corrected errors caused by iotacism (e.g., l. 11 φωτινεῖ for φωτεινὴ, l. 34 δρυμῆς for δριμύς) and vocalic confusion ε – αι and αι – ε, ο – ω and ω – ο (e.g., l. 49 ταλέπωρε for ταλαίπωρε, l. 55 σκολικομένον for σκωληκωμένον). On the other hand, we have retained the original spellings in the apparatus wherever they represent existent forms (e.g., l. 8 ἴδε for εἶδε, l. 16 ἐστι for ἔστη, l. 95 πορεύεσθαι for πορεύεσθε). We have not preserved the accent often placed on prefixes (e.g. l. 1, πρὸσευξάμενος, l. 52 κατὰδεδικασμένη), the ephelcystic or “moveable” nu (e.g. l. 47 ἑβδομάδαν for ἑβδομάδα), or false geminates (e.g., l. 70 παράδεισσον, l. 102 παρελλεύσονται). Following the scribes and, undoubtedly, Byzantine speakers, we have treated the ancient enclitics ἐστὶ(ν) and εἰσὶ(ν) as words generally having a proper accent; this applies as well to εἰμί, ἐσμὲν and ἐστέ. We have thus preserved the spellings περιστερὰ ἐστὶν (l. 68, in place of περιστερά ἐστιν) and οὗτοι εἰσὶν (ll. 75 and 89, in place of οὗτοί εἰσιν), but we have imposed enclisis after a proparoxytone: θάνατός ἐστιν (l. 51, where the manuscript has θάνατος ἐστὶν).


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The rare errors in the placement of accents in the manuscript may be explained in the following manner. On line 94, in writing λάχουσιν instead of λαχοῦσιν, the scribe thought that he was dealing with a subjunctive (see ἀκούσωσιν shortly afterward), the confusion λάχουσιν – λάχωσιν being common; he thus reveals his lack of familiarity with second aorist active participles. On line 54, influenced by three following mediopassive perfect participles, he writes ὀζομένον in place of ὀζόμενον, applying the paroxytone suffix -μένον to the whole sequence. The vulgarisms in the manuscript leave the editor in a quandary: should one conserve them, assuming that they are already found in the original redaction, or correct them, supposing that they are attributable to later copyists? We have, with a touch of arbitrariness, followed a middle path. On line 27, we have kept τρίχα in place of θρίξ, the accusative form (τὴν τρίχα) functioning by this time also as a nominative (ἡ τρίχα). Similarly, on line 67, we have preserved the nominative ἅλωνα (written ἄλλωνα in the manuscript), whereas classical morphology would demand ἅλων or ἅλως. Likewise, taking into account the fact that modern Greek has no doubling of the perfect passive participle ending in -μένος, we have respected the phonetics of the manuscript in writing σκωληκωμένον and φαντασμένον (l. 55). Two matters of syntax remain to be discussed: the case governed by certain prepositions and the complement governed by certain verbs. On line 13, the manuscript has μετὰ τὸ ψαλτήριον αὐτοῦ, in the sense of “with his harp,” which we have corrected to μετὰ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου αὐτοῦ, in conformity with classical Greek. It is likely that μετὰ followed by the accusative, as in the case of our manuscript, prefigures the modern Greek μὲ τὸ ψαλτήρι του. On line 87, the scribe has written ἀπὸ τοὺς μύλους. This construction, quite common today, was a cause of consternation for Wilamowitz-Moellendorff; we have corrected it. On line 26, we have preserved the verbal complement in the accusative (ἐφείσατο τὸ σῶμα). We have done the same on lines 108 and 110–112, where the imperative μνήσθητε, repeated, is followed five times by the accusative. Normally, φείδομαι and μιμνῄσκομαι govern the genitive.

Text and Translation Text

Sinait. χαρτ. 365 (Nicolopoulos) f. 1r

προσευχὴ τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Παύλου καὶ ἀποκάλυψις περὶ δικαίους καὶ ἁμαρτωλούς· τὸ πῶς αἴρεται ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ δικαίου ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς, καὶ πῶς τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ· καὶ πῶς δὴ μέλλει καταντῆσαι ἐν τῇ μελλούσῃ κρίσει


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f. 2r



f. 2v 35


f. 3r

f. 1v

προσευξάμενος ὁ ἅγιος Παῦλος εἶπε· « κύριε ὁ θεὸς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ τῆς ἀβύσσου καὶ τῶν στερεωμάτων καὶ τῶν καταχθονίων, ὁ θεὸς τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακώβ, ἐπάκουσον ἐμοῦ τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ καὶ τοῦ βληθῆναι πῶς παραδίδει ὁ δίκαιος τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πῶς ὁ ἁμαρτωλός. » καὶ εὐθέως ἦλθεν φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν λέγουσα αὐτῷ· « Παῦλε ἠγαπημένε κυρίου, . » καὶ ἔ|ν κάτω καὶ βλέψας εἶδε δόξαν θεοῦ. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ. « Παῦλε, σήμερον παραλαμβάνει ὁ θεὸς τὸν δίκαιον ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἀνοίγονται αὐτῷ οἱ οὐρανοὶ τῶν οὐρανῶν· καὶ κατέρχεται νεφέλη φωτεινὴ καὶ πλῆθος θυμιαμάτων μύρων. καὶ κατέρχονται δώδεκα ἄγγελοι ἐπὶ τὸν δίκαιον, καὶ ὁ προφήτης Δαυὶδ μετὰ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου αὐτοῦ μελῳδῶν, καὶ μακαρίζουσι τὸν δίκαιον καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· « ‘μακάριος ἀνήρ, ὅς οὐκ ἐπορεύθη ἐν βουλῇ ἀσεβῶν καὶ ἐν ὁδῷ ἁμαρτωλῶν οὐκ ἔστη.’ διὰ τοῦτο ἐμακάρισεν τὸν δίκαιον. » καὶ πάλιν εἶπεν· « ‘ἰδοὺ δή, τί καλὸν ἤ τί τερπνόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἤ τὸ κατοικεῖν ἀδελφοὺς ἅμα;’ τί εἰσὶν οἱ δύο καλοὶ καὶ τερπνοί; ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ δικαίου. λέγει ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ δικαίου πρὸς τὸ ἑαυτῆς σῶμα· ‘ἐλθέ, σῶμα δίκαιον, σῶμα τίμιον, σῶμα ἅγιον, σκῆπτρον ἀμάραντον· σήμερον ἀποχωριζόμεθα ἀπ᾽ ἀλλήλων | ὥσπερ καλοὶ δύο ἀδελφοί, μὴ ἔχοντες κατ᾽ ἀλλήλων ἔχθραν. σὺ ἀπέρχῃ εἰς τὴν γῆν, μένεις ἄφθορος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα· ἐγὼ δὲ ἀπέρχομαι, ὅπως ἴδω τὰ κατὰ σὲ καὶ κατ᾽ ἐμὲ ἡτοιμασμένα ἀγαθά, πῶς μέλλομεν ἀπολαῦσαι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐκεῖνον’. καὶ ὁ σκώληξ ὁ ἀκοίμητος ἐφείσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ δικαίου, ὅπως μὴ ἀποστῇ ἀπὸ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ μία τρίχα, ὅπως πεπλήρωται τὰ ἀγαθὰ τῶν δικαίων, ὅτι ἐν οὐρανοῖς κλῆρος ἔλαχε τῶν δικαίων. ἄκουσον καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ, ὅτι σκοτεινὴ καὶ ζοφερὰ καὶ πονηρὰ καὶ ὀδυρομένη ἐστὶν ἡ ἡμέρα· ὅτι σήμερον παραλαμβάνει ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἁμαρτωλὸν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς. ἀνοίγονται οἱ οὐρανοὶ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ κατέρχεται ἀν|τὶ νεφέλης φωτεινῆς σκότος καὶ ἀντὶ εὐωδίας θυμιάματος καπνὸς δριμύς. καὶ κατέρχονται ἐπὶ τὸν ἁμαρτωλὸν τρεῖς ἄγγελοι φρικτοὶ καὶ φοβεροὶ καὶ ἀνελεήμονες. καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἄγγελος καλεῖται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Τεμελοῦχος· βροντᾷ εἰς τὰ ἐπουράνια καὶ σαλευονται τὰ καταχθόνια, ὅτι ἡ ῥομφαία αὐτοῦ κατέχεται ἐσπασμένη ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἁρπάζει τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ ὥσπερ λέων. ὁ δεύτερος ἄγγελος, τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἀστραήλ· αὐτὸς ἀστράπτων ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ φαίνων ἕως δυσμῶν. ὁ δὲ τρίτος ἄγγελος, τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἀμελοῦχος· οὗτος ἧν ὁ σχίζων τὰς πέτρας, ὁ ἀνοίγων τὰ μνημεῖα, ὁ ἀνιστῶν τὰ σώματα τῶν νεκρῶν, | ὁ


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

ἀνασπῶν τὰ σώματα τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν ὥσπερ κάλαμον. » τότε λέγει ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ πρὸς τὸ ἑαυτῆς σῶμα· « ἄς παρακαλέσωμεν τοὺς ἀνελεήμονας ἀγγέλους, ὅπως δώσωσιν ἡμῖν ὀλίγον χρόνον μετανοίας, κἄν μίαν ἑβδομάδα ἤ ἡμέραν ἤ ὥραν ἤ στιγμὴν ἤ ἐσχάτην ἀναπνοήν. » τότε λέγουσιν οἱ ἄγγελοι· « ὦ ψυχὴ ἀθλία καὶ ταλαίπωρε, πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας σου ἐν ἀμελείᾳ ἔζησας καὶ οὐκ ἐπέστρεψας· καὶ ἄρτι μετανοῆσαι θέλεις; ἦ οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι θάνατός ἐστιν καὶ κρίσις αἰώνιος; ἀπέρχου καταδεδικασμένη κατὰ τὰς πράξεις σου τὰς πονηράς· οὐκ ἔστιν σοι ἄνεσις, οὐκ ἔστιν σοι, ἀλλὰ αἰώνιος κόλασις. » τότε λέγει ἡ ψυχὴ πρὸς τὸ ἑαυτῆς σῶμα· « ἐλθέ, σῶ|μα ὀζόμενον, σῶμα σκωληκωμένον, σῶμα φαντασμένον, σῶμα κατεφθαρμένον· σήμερον ἀποχωριζόμεθα ὥσπερ δύο κακοὶ ἀδελφοὶ ἀπ᾽ ἀλλήλων, ἔχοντες κατ᾽ ἀλλήλων ἔχθραν. σὺ ἀπέρχῃ εἰς τὴν γῆν κατασαπῆναι καὶ βρωθῆναι ὑπὸ σκωλήκων· ἐγὼ ἀπέρχομαι ὅπως ἴδω τὰ κατὰ σοῦ καὶ ἐμοῦ βασανιστήρια, ὅπως μέλλομεν κολάζεσθαι εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος. » καὶ λαβοῦσα ἡ νεφέλη τὸν ἅγιον Παῦλον ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν· καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον· « Παῦλε ἠγαπημένε κυρίου, βλέψον κάτω. » καὶ βλέψας εἶδεν ἅλωνα μεγάλην καὶ ἐπάνω τῆς ἅλωνος εἶδε περιστεράν, καὶ ἐπάνω τῆς περιστερᾶς νεφέλην σκοτεινήν, καὶ ἐπάνω τῆς νεφέλης σκότος | περικείμενον. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον· « Παῦλε ἠγαπημένε κυρίου, αὕτη ἡ ἅλωνα ἥν θεωρεῖς ὁ κόσμος ἐστὶν καὶ ἡ περιστερὰ ἐστὶν ἡ ἀλήθεια· καὶ ἡ νεφέλη ἡ σκοτεινὴ ἐστὶν τὸ ψεῦδος τῶν ἀνθρώπων. » καὶ λαβοῦσα ἡ νεφέλη τὸν ἅγιον Παῦλον ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν παράδεισον καὶ ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ ἐκεῖ πάντα τὰ ἀγαθὰ τῶν δικαίων. [καὶ εἶδεν ἐκεῖ πάσας τὰς κολάσεις καὶ τὰς ἁμαρτίας τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν.] καὶ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ ἔκειτο πλῆθος ἀνδρῶν καὶ γυναικῶν χαιρομένων. καὶ ἠρώτησα περὶ αὐτῶν, καὶ λέγει μοι τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα· « Παῦλε ἠγαπημένε κυρίου, οὗτοι εἰσὶν περὶ ὧν λέγει τὸ ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον· ‘μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσι τὴν γῆν.’ » καὶ λαβοῦσα ἡ νεφέλη τὸν ἅγιον Παῦλον ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν εἰς ἕ|τερον τόπον λεγόμενον Τάρταρον, . καὶ ἦν πλήρης ὁ τόπος ἐκεῖνος ἀνδρῶν καὶ γυναικῶν ἱσταμένων, καὶ αἱ ἡλικίαι αὐτῶν ἠλαύνοντο ὥσπερ κάλαμος ὑπὸ ψυχροῦ ἀνέμου, καὶ οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτῶν ἔτριζον δεινῶς. καὶ εἶπεν περὶ αὐτῶν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον· « οὗτοι εἰσὶν οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς ἁγίας κυριακῆς, καὶ οἱ ἐμβάλλοντες μάχας εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ  


f. 3v



f. 4r



f. 4v






14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul


f. 5r


θεοῦ. » καὶ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ἐκείνῳ εἶδε παρακειμένους μύλους, καὶ πλῆθος λαοῦ ἀναρίθμητον τοῦ μὴ ἀνανεῦσαι ἀπὸ τῶν μύλων. καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον· « Παῦλε ἠγαπημένε κυρίου, οὗτοι είσὶν οἱ ἱερεῖς οἱ καταμετροῦντες τὴν γῆν τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς ἁγίας κυριακῆς. καὶ εἶδες πάσας τὰς | κολάσεις. » καὶ ἔκλαυσεν ὁ ἅγιος Παῦλος ἐπὶ τοὺς ἁμαρτωλοὺς τοὺς ἀπολέσαντας τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν μετὰ ἀνοήτων· ζητήσουσιν γὰρ καὶ οὐχ εὑρήσουσιν. καὶ τί πολλὰ λέγω; οὐαὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ἐξ ἀριστερῶν λαχοῦσιν, ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸ ‘πορεύεσθε ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ οἱ κατηραμένοι’ καὶ τὰ ἐξῆς, καὶ τὸ ‘ἀρθήτω ὁ ἀσεβής, ἵνα μὴ ἴδῃ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ,’ καὶ τὸ ‘οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς πόθεν ἐστέ.’ τότε ἡ διαθήκη κυρίου βοᾷ λέγουσα· « εἰσέλθετε εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, βαδίσατε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν μου, ἀκούσατε τοῦ ἀποστόλου βοῶντος· ‘πῶς δὴ ἀκριβῶς περιπατεῖτε; φοβερὸν γὰρ τὸ ἐμπεσεῖν εἰς χεῖρας θεοῦ ζῶντος.’ καὶ πάλιν ἀκούσατε τοῦ κυρίου λέγοντος· ‘ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσονται, οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρέλθωσιν.’ » ἠκούσατε, | ἀδελφοί, τί λέγει ὁ δίκαιος κριτὴς περὶ δικαίους καὶ ἁμαρτωλούς· ‘ἐὰν μὴ ὁ ἄνθρωπος μετανοήσῃ καὶ κλαύσῃ τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτοῦ, δυσκόλως σωθήσεται.’ ἠκούσατε τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν ὅν ἔλαβον, οἱ μὴ ἔχοντες καιρὸν μετανοίας. βλέπετε, ἀδελφοί, βλέπετε βάλλοντες ἔννοιαν εἰς τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν· καὶ μνήσθητε τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην τὴν φοβεράν, ὅταν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων· ἥξει καὶ οὐ παρασιωπήσετε. μνήσθητε τὸν πύρινον ποταμόν, τὸν σκώληκα τὸν ἀκοίμητον, τὸν δεινὸν Ἅιδην καὶ τὸν ψυχρὸν καὶ ἐλεεινὸν Τάρταρον. καὶ μὴ λέγῃς, · ‘ὅπου ὁ κόσμος καὶ ἐγὼ,’ ἵνα μὴ τύπτεσαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγρίων ἀγγέλων μετὰ βάκλων, στενάζουσα καὶ τρέμουσα. καὶ παρακα |  


f. 5v 105




Critical Apparatus

titulus αἴρεται : αἴρηται S || μέλλει : μελλ´ S || 4 ἀξίου : addidimus || 4–5 εἰς πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον· ἐπιθυμῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν : addidimus || 8 βλέψον κάτω : addidimus, uid. infra lin. 63 || ἔβλεψεν : έ …..ν S || εἶδε : ἴδε S || 12 καὶ1 : addidimus || δώδεκα : ιβ´ S || 13 μετὰ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου : μ. τὸ ψαλτήριον S || 14 μελῳδῶν : μελλωδον S || 16 ἔστη : ἔστι S || 17 εἶπεν : εἶπε S || ἤ : ἥ S || 21 ἀμάραντον : ἀμαράντον S || 23 σὺ : σοὶ S || ἀπέρχῃ : ἀπέρχει S || 26 τὸ σῶμα : legend. τοῦ σώματος ? || 27 τρίχα : legend. θρίξ ? || 33 κατέρχεται : κατέρχοντε S uid. adn. || 34 εὐωδίας : εὐοδίας S || 36 καλεῖται : καλεῖτε S || 47 ἑβδομάδα : εὐδομάδαν S || 50 ἐπέστρεψας : ἀπέστρεψας S || 51 ἦ : ἥ S || 54 ὀζόμενον : οζομένον S || 55 σκωληκωμένον : σκολικομένον S legend. ἐσκωληκωμένον ? || φαντασμένον : legend. πεφαντασμένον ? || 56 ἀποχωριζόμεθα : ἀποχωριζώμεθα S || 57


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

ἀπέρχῃ : ἀπέρχει S || 63 ἅλωνα : ἄλλωνα S || 64 εἶδε : ἴδε S || 65 νεφέλην σκοτεινήν : νεφέλη σκοτινῆ S || 67 ἅλωνα : ἄλλωνα S legend. ἅλων uel ἅλως ? || 71–72 καὶ εἶδεν – ἁμαρτωλῶν : deleuimus, uid. adn. || 73 χαιρομένων : χαιρομαίνους S || 74 λέγει : λέγε S || 75 περὶ ὧν : π. οῦ S || 79–80 καὶ εἶδεν – ἁμαρτωλῶν : addidimus, uid. adn. ad lin. 71–72 and 79–80 || 81 αἱ ἡλικίαι : αἱ λικίαι S || 87 ἀνανεῦσαι : legend. ἀνανῆψαι ? || ἀπὸ τῶν μύλων : ἀπὸ τοὺς μύλους || 91–92 τοὺς ἀπολέσαντας : τοῖς [uel τοῦς] ἀπολέσας S || 94 λαχοῦσιν : λάχουσιν S || 95 πορεύεσθε : πορεύεσθαι S || 96 ἀσεβής : ἁσεβεῖς S || 99–100 δὴ ἀκριβῶς : δι ἀκριβῶς S || 100 περιπατεῖτε : περιπατῆτε S || 101 πάλιν : λιν S || 104 μετανοήσῃ καὶ κλαύσῃ : μετανοῆσει κ. κλαῦσει S || 106 οἱ μὴ : εἰ μὶ S || 110 παρασιωπήσετε : παρασιωπήσειται S uid. adn. || 111 Ἅιδην : ἀδὴν S ἄδην S1 || 112 ψυχή : addidimus uid. adn. || 113 τύπτεσαι : legend. τύπτῃ ? || ἀγρίων : legend. ἁγίων ? uid. lin. 109 || 114 παρακα : legend. παρακάλει ? amissis foliis ceteris hic interrumpitur

textus, uid. praefationem. Translation

Prayer of the holy apostle Paul and apocalypse concerning the just and sinners; how the soul of the just and how the soul of the sinner are taken away from the earth; and what their fate will be in the final judgment. Saint Paul prayed and said: “Lord, God of heaven and earth, of the abyss, of the firmament and the realms below the earth, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, pay heed to me, a sinner, to be thrown how the just man shall deliver his soul, and how the sinner shall deliver his soul.” Immediately a voice came from the heavens saying to him: “Paul, beloved of the Lord, .” He lowered his eyes and saw a glory of God, who said to him: “Paul, today God will take the just man from the earth and the heaven of heavens shall open to him; and a luminous cloud shall come down with a great quantity of incense and perfumes. Twelve angels will come down upon the just man, as well as the Prophet David singing to the sound of his harp; they shall celebrate the blessedness of the just man, saying to him: ‘Blessed the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked or taken the path of sinners.’ For this reason, he celebrated the blessedness of the just man.” He [the glory of God] said again: “‘Behold, what is good and pleasant if not that brothers live together?’ Who are these two brothers who are good and pleasing? The soul and the body of the just man. The soul of the just man says to her body: ‘Come now, just body, precious body, holy body, unfading scepter; today, we separate from each other, just as two good brothers, who do not hate each other. You shall go away into the earth, remaining incorruptible forever; but I shall go off to see the good things that have been prepared for you and for me, the delights that are promised us in the age to come!’ And the worm that never sleeps shall spare the body of the just man, such that not one hair shall fall from his head, that the goods of the just be made complete; for in heaven the just receive their lot.

14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul


Hear also of the sinner, that his day is dark and gloomy, wicked and lamented; today, God shall take the sinner away from the earth. The heaven of heavens shall open to him, and instead of a luminous cloud, darkness shall fall, instead of perfume and incense, an acrid smoke. And three angels shall descend upon the sinner, horrible, terrifying, merciless. The first angel is named Temeluchus; he thunders in the high heavens and makes the lands below the earth tremble, for he has a sword drawn in his hand and, like a lion, snatches away the soul of the sinner. The name of the second angel is Astrael; it is he who hurls lightning from the rising sun and shines all the way to where it sets. As for the third angel, his name is Ameluchus; it is he who cleaves the rocks, opens the tombs, raises the bodies of the dead and tears up the bodies of sinners like thatch. Then shall the soul of the sinner say to her body: “Let us beg these unmerciful angels to give us a short time for repentance, if only a week, a day, an hour, an instant, a final breath.” Then the angels shall say: “Wretched and miserable soul, you have lived all your days in carelessness and not turned back. And now you wish to repent? Do you not know that there is a death and an eternal condemnation? Be gone, condemned by your wicked deeds! There shall be no remission for you; there shall be none, but eternal punishment.” Then shall the soul say to her body: “Come now, stinking body, worm-ridden body, phantom body, corrupted body; today, we separate from each other, just as two bad brothers who hate each other. You shall go away into the earth to rot and be devoured by worms; I shall go off to see the torments that have been reserved for you and for me, that we might be punished unto the ages of ages.” Then the cloud took Saint Paul and brought him to heaven, and the Holy Spirit said to him: “Paul, beloved of the Lord, lower your eyes.” He looked and saw a great open area and above it he saw a dove, and above the dove a dark cloud, and above the cloud a darkness spread all around. The Holy Spirit said to him: “Paul, beloved of the Lord, this open space that you see is the world, the dove is truth, and the dark cloud is the lies of men. Then the cloud took Paul and brought him to Paradise and showed him all the goods enjoyed by the just. [And he saw there all the punishments and sins of sinners.] In that place rested a multitude of men and women who were filled with joy. I asked about them, and the Holy Spirit said to me: “Paul, beloved of the Lord, these are those about whom the Holy Gospel says: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.’” Then the cloud took Saint Paul and brought him to another place, called Tartarus, . This place was full of men and women who were standing up, whose posture was disturbed like the thatch by a cold wind, and whose teeth were grinding dreadfully. The Holy Spirit said about them: “These are those who work on the holy day of the Lord and those who hurl dissension into the church of God.” In this place he also saw millstones lying side by side and a countless multitude that could find no rest


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

from the millstones. The Holy Spirit said to him: “Paul, beloved of the Lord, these are the priests who measure out the land on the holy day of the Lord. You have seen all the punishments.” Then Saint Paul wept over the sinners who had wasted their time with fools; for they shall seek and shall not find. Why should I say more? Woe to all those who have been placed by fate upon the left, when they shall hear the words, “Depart from me, you wicked ones,” etc., and “Let the impious man be taken away, that he may not see the glory of God,” and “I do not know you or where you come from.” Then the Testament of the Lord shall cry out, saying, “Enter the way, march into my kingdom, listen to the apostle who cries: “How shall you walk rightly? It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Again, listen to the Lord who says: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” You have heard, brothers, what the just judge says concerning the just and the sinners: “If one does not repent and weep over his sins, he will be difficult to save.” You have heard the reproach that the sinners received, those who did not have time for repentance. Look, brothers, look and set your hearts to reflection; remember that dreadful day when the Lord shall come on his throne of glory with his holy angels; he shall come and you will not be able to pass unaware. Remember the river of fire, the worm that never sleeps, dreadful Hades, cold and miserable Tartarus. And do not say, “O soul: ‘There where the world is, I am as well,’” lest you be struck by the savage angels with blows from a stick, as you groan and tremble. And […].

ll. 1–3 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ τῆς ἀβύσσου καὶ τῶν στερεωμάτων καὶ τῶν καταχθονίων: cf. Matt 11:25; Phil 2:10. l. 7 φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν: cf. Matt 3:17; H. D. Betz, “φωνὴ κτλ.,” TWNT (eds. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich; 10 vols.; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1932–1979) 9:279–283 and 9:289–292. ll. 7–8 Παῦλε ἠγαπημένε κυρίου: regardless of the speaker, the apostle Paul is always addressed in this way; the conventional formula of the Apocalypse of Paul, edited by Tischendorf, is always: Παῦλε, ἀγαπητὲ τοῦ θεοῦ, e.g. Apoc. Paul 20; see Konstantin von Tischendorf, Apocalypses apocryphae (1866; reprint Hildesheim: Olms, 1966) 49. ll. 10–11 ἀνοίγονται αὐτῷ οἱ οὐρανοὶ τῶν οὐρανῶν: cf. Matt 3:16. οἱ οὐρανοὶ τῶν οὐρανῶν: cf. in the Septuagint, in the plural, Ps 148:4; and, in the singular, Deut 10:14; 1 (3) Kgs 8:27 and 2 Ezra 19:6 [=Nehemiah 9:6]. l. 11 νεφέλη φωτεινὴ: cf. Matt 17:5 ll. 11–12 πλῆθος θυμιαμάτων μύρων: on the altar of scents, see Exod 30:1–10; on the scents, see Exod 30:34–38; the terms θυμιάματα and μύρα are present and next to each other in Prov 27:9. l. 12 δώδεκα ἄγγελοι: the number twelve is commonly applied to the prophets and the apostles, and sometimes to the ages; it does not appear to be applied elsewhere to angels; see Carol A. Newsom, “Angels: Old Testament,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary (ed. David Noel Freedman; 6 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992) 1:248–253.  


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul


l. 13 μετὰ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου αὐτοῦ: the word ψαλτήριον denotes both the corded instrument with which a psalmist would be accompanied (a psaltery) and a collection of the psalms (a psalter). Here, it is taken in the first sense, as is confirmed by the iconography of David. ll. 15–16 μακάριος – ἔστη: Ps 1:1. ll. 17–18 Ἰδοὺ δή, τί καλὸν ἢ τί τερπνόν, ἀλλ’ ἢ τὸ κατοικεῖν ἀδελφοὺς ἅμα;: Ps 133(LXX 132):1 (ἰδοὺ δὴ τί καλὸν ἤ τί τερπνὸν ἀλλ’ ἢ τὸ κατοικεῖν ἀδελφοὺς ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό;). ll. 19–20 and 45 λέγει ἡ ψυχὴ … πρὸς τὸ ἑαυτῆς σῶμα: the motif of a dialogue between the soul and the body, the origin of which is perhaps Egyptian, has found great fortune in Byzantine and modern Greek literature; see Louise Dudley, The Egyptian Elements in the Legend of the Body and Soul (Baltimore: Furst, 1911); eadem, “An Early Homily on the ‘Body and Soul’ Theme,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 8 (1909) 225–253; Manoussos I. Manoussakas, Λεονάρδου Ντελλαπόρτα ποιήματα (1403/1411) (Athens: Academy of Athens, 1995) 123 and 373. The principal source of the autobiographical poem of Dellaporta is the poem Διόπτρα by the monk Philip the Monotrope, written in 1097 under the reign of Alexius Comnenus; see Manoussakas, ibid., 62–65. ll. 20 and 54 ἐλθέ, σῶμα: in these two symmetrical passages, the imperative should not be taken literally (“Come!”), but functions more as an exhortative interjection that we might translate as “come now!” The exact equivalent in modern Greek would be ἔλα! l. 21 σκῆπτρον ἀμάραντον: this expression does not appear in either the Septuagint or the New Testament; on σκῆπτρον, see Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, based on Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch … (3d ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) s.v. l. 23 μένεις ἄφθορος: by a curious contrast, the author distinguishes the fate that falls upon the body of the just from that which falls upon the body of the sinner: the first rests incorruptible, the second is subject to decomposition (see ll. 54–56). This incorruptibility of the body is contrary to the popular sentiment as it appears in Greece during exhumations: a body which has not decomposed is considered accursed, for it awakens the ancestral fear of ghosts. On the other hand, in Christian belief, the body of the saint and the martyr sometimes share the fate that our text assigns to the body of the just; see Hippolyte Delehaye, Les origines du culte des martyrs (3d ed.; Subsidia hagiographica 30; Bruxelles: Soci t des bollandistes, 1933) 77 and 109. ll. 25–26 ἀγαθά … ἀπολαῦσαι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐκεῖνον: cf. Pseudo-Clement of Rome, Epistula Clementis ad Jacobum 10.5; Die Pseudoklementinen, I, Die Homilien (eds. Bernhard Rehm and Georg Strecker; 3d ed.; GCS; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1992) 14; Geoffrey William Hugo Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987) s.v. ἀπολαύω 3. l. 26 ὁ σκώληξ ὁ ἀκοίμητος: cf. Ezek 66:24; Mark 9:43 v.l. 45 v.l. 48; Apoc. Peter 12.27. l. 27 ἀπὸ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ μία τρίχα: cf. Luke 21:18; Walter Bauer, Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frühchristlichen Literatur (6th ed. by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1988) s.v. θριξ 2. ll. 28–29 ἐν οὐρανοῖς κλῆρος ἔλαχε τῶν δικαίων: cf. Acts 26:18; Bauer, s.v. κλῆρος 2. l. 31 ὀδυρομένη … ἡ ἡμέρα: literally “day that laments”; by metonymy, “day of lamentations,” “lamentable day.” l. 33 κατέρχεται: we have corrected the plural κατέρχοντε of the manuscript (=κατέρχονται), which seems to have come by dittography with the following line. l. 35 τρεῖς ἄγγελοι: on these three angels, Temeluchus, Astrael and Ameluchus, see JeanMarc Rosenstiehl, “L’ange de la géhenne, Tartarouchos  – Temelouchos,” in Deuxième journée d’études coptes, Strasbourg, 25 mai 1984 (Cahiers de la Bibliothèque copte 3; Louvain: Peeters, 1986) 25–56.


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

ll. 40–41 ἀστράπτων ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ φαίνων ἕως δυσμῶν: cf. Luke 17:24. ll. 42–43 ὁ σχίζων τὰς πέτρας, ὁ ἀνοίγων τὰ μνημεῖα, ὁ ἀνιστῶν τὰ σώματα τῶν νεκρῶν: cf. Matt 27:51–52. l. 44 ὥσπερ κάλαμον: cf. Matt 11:7 par. ll. 45–46 ἄς παρακαλέσωμεν: note the modal particle ἄς (a shortened form of the imperative ἄφες), which, followed by the subjunctive, marks a concession or exhortation in modern Greek. l. 47 ὀλίγον χρόνον μετανοίας: one recalls the requests of the rich man before Abraham in the Lucan parable, the appeal for a respite from his suffering and an opportunity for his brothers to repent (Luke 16:24, 27–31). In Jewish and Christian apocalypses, the damned and subjected powers often beg the angels to suspend their punishment (cf. 1 En. 63; Apoc. Paul 17). Some also request a delay in order to convert and make a confession of faith; see François Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (15.1–19.27) (CNT 3c; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2001) 110–111. l. 53 αἰώνιος κόλασις: cf. Matt 25:46; Bauer, s.v. κόλασις 2. l. 55 σῶμα φαντασμένον: the absence of doubling in the perfect participle is a mark of the modern form of the language. In this mediopassive form, the verb φαντάζομαι can have an active sense, “imagine,” or a passive sense, “appear” (particularly for supernatural apparitions). The participle πεφαντασμένος is used in the active sense by Origen, Comm. Jo. 20.158 [=18.16]; Origène, Commentaire sur saint Jean (ed. Cécile Blanc; 5 vols.; SC 120, 157, 222, 290, 385; Paris: Cerf, 1982) 4:232–235; for the passive sense that we find here, cf. Heb 12:21; Lampe, s.v. φαντάζω Β.1 and Bauer, s.v. φαντάζω. In modern Greek, φαντασμένος indicates a man who has a high opinion of himself, similar to the French expression, “il s’en croit.” It is possible that the author of our text already has that meaning in mind and that we should translate the phrase as “proud body.” l. 59 ὅπως ἴδω … ὅπως μέλλομεν: ὅπως, as a final conjunction, is followed by the subjunctive; ὅπως, as a comparative conjunction, which is rarer, is followed by the indicative. In any case, the vicinity of the two subordinating conjunctions is somewhat surprising, and our translation takes some liberty with the syntax of the original. l. 61 λαβοῦσα ἡ νεφέλη τὸν ἅγιον Παῦλον: the theme of being lifted up on a cloud, rooted in Hebrew as well as in Greek and Roman literature, is found in the story of Elijah (2 [4] Kgs 2:1) and the Ascension account (νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτόν, Acts 1:9); see François Bovon, Luke the Theologian: Fifty-five Years of Research (1950–2005) (2d rev. ed.; Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006) 190–198. ll. 71–72 and 79–80 καὶ εἶδεν – τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν: this phrase, which belongs to the description of hell, was copied by the scribe too early in the text, since the beginning of the section on Paradise is identical to that of the following section on hell (καὶ λαβοῦσα – ἤγαγεν αὐτόν, ll. 61 and 78). l. 74 ἠρώτησα … λέγει μοι: it will be noted that in this phrase the narration switches to the first person: such a slip should not be surprising. It is, in fact, a literary technique intended to grant extra authenticity to an episode. The canonical Acts of the Apostles provides several examples (cf. Acts 16:10–17; 20:5–15; 21:1–18; 27:1–28:16). ll. 76–77 μακάριοι – τὴν γῆν: Matt 5:5. l. 79 τόπον λεγόμενον Τάρταρον: see infra, l. 112; on this designation for an infernal region, which is not attested in the New Testament (except, perhaps, implicitly in the verb ταρταρόω, “lock up in Tartarus,” 2 Pet 2:4), see the pagan, Jewish, and Christian references in Lampe, s.v. τάταρος. ll. 81 82 ἱσταμένων, καὶ αἱ ἡλικίαι – ἀνέμου: while the crowd of the elect reclines (ἔκειτο)


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

in Paradise (ll. 72–73), the crowd of the damned must remain standing, exposed to the fury of the wind. ll. 82–83 οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτῶν ἔτριζον: cf. Mark 9:18. ll. 84–85 and 89–90 τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς ἁγίας κυριακῆς: cf. Rev 1:10; Willy Rordorf, Der Sonntag. Geschichte des Ruhe-und Gottesdiensttages im ältesten Christentum (ATANT 43; Zurich: Zwingli-Verlag, 1962). Several apocryphal texts, such as the second Apocryphal Apocalypse of John, which is also called Questions of John Chrysostom to the Lord concerning the Lord’s Day and the Liturgy, enjoin respect for the Lord’s Day and regulate its observance. ll. 85–86 μάχας εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ: cf. 1 Cor 11:18–19 and 2 Tim 2:23–24. l. 90 καὶ εἶδες πάσας τὰς κολάσεις: this assertion is surprising; although only two punishments have been reported, that of those who work on the Lord’s Day and that of priests who measure out their lands. We might suspect the scribe of having abridged his text, which is also suggested by the expression καὶ τί πολλὰ λέγω in line 94. ll. 90–91 καὶ ἔκλαυσεν ὁ ἅγιος Παῦλος: the weeping of the visionary at the sight of the damned is a frequent theme in apocalyptic texts; see e.g. Acts Phil. 1.7. l. 92 μετὰ ἀνοήτων: one could take the genitive as a masculine (“with fools”) or as a neuter (“with foolish things”). ll. 92–93 ζητήσουσιν γὰρ καὶ οὐχ εὑρήσουσιν: the command of the Lord “seek and you will find” (cf. Luke 11:9) does not apply to the realm of the dead. l. 95 πορεύεσθε – οἱ κατηραμένοι: Matt. 25:41. ll. 96–97 ἀρθήτω – θεοῦ: Isa 26.10 (LXX); cf. Deut 17:7; 1 Cor 5:2 and 13; see the ἆρον ἆρον σταύρωσον αὐτόν ( John 19:15); see also the αἶρε τοὺς ἀθέους, “down with the atheists,” directed at Christians by pagans and returned, in kind, by Polycarp, Mart. Pol. 3.2; 9.2. On the expression “see the glory of God,” see Luke 9:32 (transfiguration) and John 1:14 (incarnation). l. 97 οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς πόθεν ἐστέ: Luke 13:25 and 27. ll. 97–98 ἡ διαθήκη κυρίου βοᾷ: in this striking expression, which might have been a title, does the term διαθήκη indicate the testament or the covenant of God? How, moreover, to understand the verb βοᾷ, which seems to suggest that the διαθήκη is personified? One thinks of the Wisdom of God, which speaks in Prov 1:20–33 and Luke 11:49. One recalls also that, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, Scripture transmits the messages of the God who “speaks” (e.g., Heb 1:5–7; 3:7). ll. 98–99 εἰσέλθετε – βασιλείαν μου: this double imperative does not correspond to any biblical passage and might derive from an apocryphal text. The absolute usage of the term ὁδός is close to the Lucan usage in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. Acts 9:2); Bauer, s.v. ὁδός 2.b and c; Bovon, Luc le théologien, 340–42. Entering the Kingdom is an important concept widespread in the Gospels (see e.g. Matt 5:20; 7:21; 18:3; 19:23; Mark 10:23; John 3:5); see Henri Clavier, L’accès au royaume de Dieu ( tudes d’histoire et de philosophie religieuses 40; Paris: Clermont-Ferrand; Félix Alcan, 1943). l. 99 τοῦ ἀποστόλου βοῶντος: the author, like the first Christians, recalls that the apostles proclaimed their message orally before writing it down; cf. Origen On Easter, 36.36–37.2; see Origène, Sur la Pâque (eds. Octave Guéraud and Pierre Nautin; Christianisme antique 2; Paris: Beauchesne, 1979) 224–227. ll. 99–101 πῶς δὴ ἀκριβῶς περιπατεῖτε; φοβερὸν γὰρ τὸ ἐμπεσεῖν εἰς χεῖρας θεοῦ ζῶντος: although the second part of this quotation corresponds to Hebrews 10:31, the first part is not biblical. ll. 101–102 ὁ οὐρανὸς – παρέλθωσιν: Matt 24:35. l. 103 ὁ δίκαιος κριτὴς: cf. 2 Tim 4:8 and, among other texts, Herm. 63.6.


14. The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul

ll. 104–105 ἐὰν – σωθήσεται: the origin of this quotation might be Herm. 39.6 [= Mand. 9.6]: πᾶς γὰρ δίψυχος ἀνήρ, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσῃ δυσκόλως σωθήσεται, “every man with a divided soul, if he does not repent, will be difficult to save.” The style recalls the disciplinary passages in Matt 18, particularly vv. 15–17; cf. Danker, s.v. δυσκόλως. ll. 106–107 καὶρον μετανοίας: cf. supra l. 47 and the note. ll. 107–108 βάλλοντες ἔννοιαν εἰς τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν: cf. Luke 21:14: θέτε οὖν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν. ll. 108 and 110–112 μνήσθητε τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην: μιμνῄσκομαι followed by an impersonal complement in the accusative is attested; see Deut 8:2 (LXX); Ezek 63:7 (LXX); Friedrich Blass, Albert Debrunner and Friedrich Rehkopf, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch (14th ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1976) § 175.1. The parallel expression μνησθήσῃ ἡμέραν κρίσεως is found in Barn. 19.10; Bauer, s.v. μιμνῄσκομαι 1.γ. ll. 109–110 ὅταν ἔλθῃ – ἀγγέλων : cf. Matt 25:31 and 19:28. l. 110 ἥξει: cf. Luke 13:35; the verbs ἥκω and ἔρχομαι are readily employed in an eschatological, sometimes messianic context; see Ferdinand Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel. Ihre Geschichte im frühen Christentum (FRLANT 83; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963) 172, 265 and 393–394. οὐ παρασιωπήσετε: the spelling in the manuscript παρασιωπήσειται could, phonetically, correspond to the aorist subjunctive παρασιωπήσητε and have the function of a future verb. Due to the negation οὐ, we have reestablished the future active indicative second person plural in the sense of “you will not be able to pass unaware.” That the final coming of the Messiah would be manifest to all was a widespread belief; see e.g. Rev 1:7. ll. 110–111 τὸν πύρινον ποταμόν: the expression goes back to the Book of Daniel (Dan 7:10); it is used in the context of the last judgment and the punishments of Hell; see Lampe, s.v. πύρινος 5 and 6. In his book (Le baptême de feu [Acta seminarii neotestamentici Upsaliensis 9; Uppsala: Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1940] 1–31 and 57–133), Carl-Martin Edsman insists on the importance of the river of fire in the Jewish and Christian literature of the first centuries of the common era; he summarizes his thinking on p. 200: “C’est le même feu divin qui coule devant le trône de Dieu et dans le Géhenne. Le fleuve de feu donne à l’âme une nature celeste ignée, il éprouve, purifie, châtie et anéantit.” ll. 111–112 Ἅιδην … Τάρταρον: the author appears to distinguish between two infernal regions. On Hades, see Danker, s.v.; Bovon, L’évangile selon saint Luc (15.1–19.27), 110; on Tartarus, see Hans von Geisau, “Tartaros,” Der kleine Pauly. Lexikon der Antike (5 vols.; Munich: Druckenmüller, 1975) 5:coll. 530–531, who thinks that as the concept of Tartarus evolved, it became seen as only a part of Hades or was assimilated to it entirely. l. 112 ψυχή: we add this vocative for agreement with the participles στενάζουσα and τρέμουσα that follow and to explain the change from the plural (ἠκούσατε … βλέπετε … μνήσθητε) to the singular (μὴ λέγῃς … μὴ τύπτεσαι). This addition is corroborated by the Apocalypse of Paul edited by Tischendorf (Apoc. Paul 17). ll. 112–113 ὅπου ὁ κόσμος καὶ ἐγώ: this proverbial phrase appears in a corrupted form in the Apocalypse of Paul edited by Tischendorf (ἀμὴν δοκεῖς ἵνα ἂν εἶ εἰς τὸν κόσμον, Apoc. Paul 17; see Tischendorf, Apocalypses apocryphae, 47). The two volumes of the Corpus paroemiographorum Graecorum (eds. Ernst L. von Leutsch and Friedrich Wilhelm Schneidewin; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1839–1851) do not provide any parallel. Paul offers the opposite of this dictum in affirming that, by the cross of Christ, the world was crucified to him and he to the world (ἐμοὶ κόσμος ἐσταύρωται κἀγὼ κόσμῳ, Gal 6:14). l. 114 βάκλων: τὸ βάκλον is a transcription of the Latin baculum, “stick.” The word has survived in the jargon of German students: Bakel, “schoolteacher’s rod,” “cane.”

15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?* with Bertrand Bouvier


The discovery that we announce today is linked to research efforts on the dossier of Stephen, the first Christian martyr – the preliminary results of which have been published.1 Number 1648x of the Bibliotheca hagiographica graeca, the most ancient Greek form of the Revelatio of Gamaliel to Lucian of Gamala concerning the relics of Steven, is conserved in a manuscript of the Angelica Library in Rome (Angelicus graecus 108, f. 113r–117v). The catalog of Greek manuscripts from this Roman library appeared in 1896 in an Italian periodical,2 thanks to the combined efforts of Pius Franchi de’ Cavalieri and Giorgio Muccio. On f. 266v, a document begins called ἐκ τῶν πράξεων τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Πέτρου, of which Muccio, one of the two editors of the catalog, cites the incipit and desinit to f. 269r.

I. The Manuscript Angelicus graecus 108 It is useful to give a few details concerning the manuscript, both about its exterior aspect and the texts it contains. It is a manuscript on fairly large parchment, measuring 37.4 × 25 cm, written on two columns of 35 lines, which one can date to the turn of the 11th to the 12th century,3 or to the 12th century.4 It contains 288 folios. The boards of the bindings are recovered in red Moroccan leather with two clasps still intact. The spine of

* This paper provides the first critical edition and presentation of a Greek fragment entitled, “Extract of the Acts of the holy apostle Peter.” It is part of a manuscript preserved in the Library Angelica in Rome. One of the questions this paper asks is: Was this fragment originally part of the primitive Acts of Peter? This paper was written in cooperation with Bertrand Bouvier and translated by John Zaleski. 1 See François Bovon, “The Dossier on Stephen, First Martyr,” HTR 96 (2003) 279–315, esp. 295. 2 Pius Franchi de’ Cavalieri and Giorgio Muccio, “Index codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Angelicae,” Studi italiani dì filologia classica 4 (1896) 144–150. 3 Albert Ehrhard, Überlieferung und Bestand der hagiographischen und homiletischen Literatur der griechischen Kirche (3 vols.; TU 50–52; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1927–1952) 1:298, n. 1. 4 See Franchi de’ Cavalieri and Muccio, “Index codicum,” 150.


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

Ibid. Ibid. Ehrhard, Ehrhard, Überlieferung Überlieferung und und Bestand, Bestand, 1:298, 1:298, n. n. 1. 1. Franchi de’ de’ Cavalieri Cavalieri and and Muccio, Muccio, “Index “Index codicum,” codicum,” 150. Franchi 150. Ehrhard, Ehrhard, Überlieferung Überlieferung und und Bestand, Bestand, 1:298, 1:298, n. n. 1. 1. Ibid., Ibid., 1:286–317; 1:286–317; on on our our manuscript, manuscript, pp. pp. 298–301. 298–301. Ibid., 301. Ibid., 301. Ibid. Ibid.  

5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11

the book is marked with six prominent ribs. The leather cover is decorated with three gold lines encircling the central surface with four roses in the four corners (the top left rose is lost). Four pages of flyleaves (the first three are paginated I–III) contain a table of contents of the volume, in Latin. This table ends with a proposed date of the manuscript, 11th century, and states the number of folios.5 The manuscript has suffered damage at its beginning and end. It bears the mark of four different paginations (f. 232, for example, is paginated in pencil two times, but also bears the number 234, which is crossed out in ink, and replaced by a fourth number: 235). This is without counting the beginning of a pagination in Greek (f. 3 is also marked Γ´ in ink on the outer margin on the top right). The fifty-eight sections are themselves numbered:6 for example f. 4v λό[γος] β’; this numbering appears to be original. A quick examination of the quires reveals that there are quaternions (the thread can be seen between ff. 12 and 13 and ff. 20 and 21). The rulings show two narrow lines that mark the outer and inner vertical margins; two additional vertical lines, spaced apart, separate the two columns. The writing, by a single hand, is suspended, and the breathing marks are already rounded. The scribe did not have recourse to abbreviations except for a few words, καὶ above all, and περί. He clearly uses the nomina sacra. The titles separating the sections are distinct from one another, placed under a rudimentary, decorative line filler.7 Since the manuscript is mutilated at the end, we have not located a colophon. Rather than the presence of western saints, such as Agatha, Philip of Argyrion, Martinian, and Leo of Catania, it is the paleographic criteria that invite one to retain an Italo-Greek origin of the manuscript.8 According to Ehrhard,9 it is a collection of saints’ lives covering the entire year. What surprises Ehrhard is that the series begins on September 14, by the vision of the cross appearing to Constantine, while panegyrics of this kind usually begin on September 8.10 The German scholar is also astonished that various holy days around the time of Easter and in the month of August (August 6, 15, and 29) are unknown; he also notes the erroneous nature of the structured times of fasting and of the preparations for fasting.11 Ehrhard compares Angelicus graecus 108 with two other manuscripts, which also cover the entire year: Vaticanus graecus 1641 and Vaticanus Ottoboniensis graecus 1. The strong presence of apostles and saints of the apostolic age in this manuscript makes if of great value for Christian apocryphal literature. The 5th and 6th sections (starting from f. 22v) are dedicated to Thecla – her martyrdom (5th section) and her miracles (owing to her relics and associated with her tomb, 6th section) – to be read no doubt on September 24. As


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

the 7th section, the scribe recopies the Acts of John by Prochorus, with John the Apostle as content of the work (starting with f. 29v). It must be a text that was meant to be read on September 26. The 8th section, starting on f. 32r, is a part of the Acts of Thomas. After this section, whose reading must be placed on October 6th, one must wait until f. 85 to meet a saint from the apostolic age – namely, Andrew, whose feast falls on November 30. The incipit ἅπερ τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν ἐθεασάμεθα ought to permit a precise identification. The 20th section, beginning with f. 113, is composed of the Revelatio of Stephen (from Gamaliel to Lucian the priest), which we have already mentioned, but which Ehrhard omitted in his description of the manuscript.12 And so one must wait until the end of the manuscript, the 54th section, f. 261, to read the history of the translation of the relics of Stephen (August 2) (BHG 1650). Two sections later, the 56th section to be precise, is the one which interests us; it is entitled, we have noted: ἐκ τῶν πράξεων τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Πέτρου. Ehrhard13 asks himself, quite rightly, whether or not this section ought to be read on June 29, corresponding to the feast of Peter and Paul; this poses a slight chronological problem since the document related to the translation of the relics of Stephen (feast dated August 2) precedes the extract from the Acts of Peter. It should be noted that the two panegyrics closest to our manuscript, Vaticanus graecus 1641 and Vaticanus Ottoboniensis graecus 1, do not know our extract of the Acts of Peter, and put in its place the Acts of Peter and Paul (BHG 1490). Vaticanus graecus 1641 precedes this text with an Encomium in honor of Peter and Paul attributed to John Chrysostom.14 To conclude this first section, we would like to make a remark concerning method. Scholars interested in a saint or an apostle naturally focus their attention on the portions of a text that are devoted to that person. We should, however, rein in an enthusiasm which risks being exclusive, and seek to remain conscious of objective reality. Whatever the autonomous existence of the document was, we only have knowledge of it in an indirect manner. The fragment of the Acts of Peter is only accessible in the context of a hagiographic manuscript, where it accompanies a long series of other sections. The identity, date, and structure of the entire manuscript – not just those of the piece which one prefers – should hold the scholar’s attention. It is in interesting ourselves in the complete witness of Angelicus graecus 108, and not only in the documents related to Stephen, that we have located the extract of the Acts of Peter. It is in wandering among the ensemble of the venerated saints that one finds the imposing presence of apocryphal Christian literature in this hagiographic literature. And in order to meditate on this marriage, the scholar imagines the wedding. He or she suspects a taming of the wild nature of the apocryphal primitives and the establishment of a literature 12

Ibid., 299. Ibid., 301. 14 See Maurice Geerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum (5 vols.; Turnhout: Brepols, 1974–1987) 2:4572; the text is edited in PG 59, 491–496.  



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that we call “useful to the soul” (ψυχωφελής). Apocryphal memories are coaxed, domesticated, and purified, forming a third category, next to the canonicals but at a distance from the rejected writings: for the feast of John the Theologian, September 26, the hagiographer prefers the Acts of John by Prochorus to that which Eusebius and the orthodox had long rejected. But the holes in the net are large and, as one knows, certain apocryphal works succeeded at bypassing control and at honorably surviving in collections above all suspicion. Such a diachronic perspective should not disqualify the synchronic perspective. The selection of feasts celebrated for an entire year signals the weight of the apostles in the first period of the liturgical year from September to December and in the final period, from June until the August. Such attention paid to the identity and structure of manuscripts has been imposed in the last few years by the members of l’Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne. Various manuscripts which continue to come up in our discussions of Andrew, Philip, Peter, or Thomas, are imposed on us, such as Parisinus graecus 881 or the manuscript from Oxford, Baroccianus 180. These constant references, issued on various occasions, have forced us to consider them together. We would like to express our gratitude here to Michel Tardieu, who in his book on the Coptic papyrus 8502 in Berlin was one of the first to demonstrate the overall coherence of a manuscript.15

II. The Extract from the Acts of Peter It is time to proceed to our text. We have spent many hours at the Biblioteca Angelica.16 We became familiar with the manuscript Angelicus graecus 108 and tried to make a meticulous description of it, adhering to the two-fold counsel that we give to our students: 1) respect the established checklist without omitting a single point, like a pilot responsible for the life of her passengers, and 2) interest yourself first in everything but the content of the text to be studied, which means to note everything which the best photograph will never tell you. Once these preliminaries were completed, we read the text, noted with curiosity the geographic mention of Ashdod, a city situated on the eastern Palestinian coast of the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, we knew that the first and lost part of the Acts of Peter was supposed to take place in the Orient.17 This piqued our curiosity.

15 Michel Tardieu, Écrits gnostiques. Codex de Berlin (Sources gnostiques et manichéennes 1; Paris: Cerf, 1984). 16 This library is situated next to the Sant’Agostino and its Caravaggio, just a couple of steps from the Piazza Navona in Rome. We worked there under the indulgent eye of a librarian who exclaimed, “Finally someone who is interested in our Greek manuscripts!” 17 On the Acts of Peter, see the contribution of Gerard Poupon, “Actes de Pierre,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, I (eds. François Bovon and Pierre Geoltrain; La Pléiade 442; Paris: Gallimard, 1997) 1039–1114; C. M. Thomas insists on the flexible nature of the text and the various

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We also discovered a confrontation between the apostle and Satan, dressed as an angel of light.18 The first part of the text recounts the encounter which the apostle Peter during his travels (doubtless missionary in nature) on the road of Ashdod. At sunset, he sees an angel coming to him – an archangel, actually – accompanied by seven companions (as one will see by what follows, the number and identity of these assistants pose a few problems). A dialogue is established between a very worried apostle and the so-called archangel of justice, who presents some of his acolytes: the angel of peace, the angel of continence, the angel of chastity, and the angel of longanimity. This would-be prince of light becomes up in arms about the suspicion exhibited by the apostle, and so (the best defense being a good offense) he reproaches Peter for not having recognized him straightaway, explicitly referring to the terrible memory of Peter’s denial. Peter, understanding now who he is dealing with, tries to protect himself from the prince of demons, who is even more dangerous since he has transformed himself into the angel of light. A large sign of the cross, a prayer, and the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ will keep the apostle from harm. To achieve victory – and this action merits study – the apostle, precursor of Bertolt Brecht and his kaukasischer Kreidekreis,19 first draws a mark on the ground to imprison the Evil One, then he invokes the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing himself vanquished, the leader of the demonic cohort acquiesces to telling the truth and explaining who

transformations it received; Matthew C. Baldwin, Whose Acts of Peter? Text and Historical Context of the Actus Vercellenses (WUNT 2. Reihe, 196; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005). For Baldwin, the Actus Vercellenses represent a translation and important revision of an inaccessible original. On the Acts of Peter, see also below, n. 32. 18 Upon our departure from Rome, we ordered a copy of the entire manuscript. Thanks to professor Yann Redalié, whom we thank very much, we are in possession not of the microfilm, but of a CD containing excellent color photos. 19 The history of the Caucasian chalk circle represents a play within Brecht’s play. When some representatives of two villages met to debate some of their respective rights to the valley, the hosting villagers present a play called “The Chalk Circle.” This is the plot: following the assassination of the governor of Grusinia, his widow manages to escape, but her baby is recovered by a woman, Grusha, who raises the baby. Later, when the child has grown, the adoptive mother and the true mother argue over the child. Like Solomon of old, the judge responsible for the case imagines a solution to decide between them. He has a chalk circle drawn on the ground and invites each of the two women to step forward to catch the child. Before the women come to hurt and tear the child apart, the true mother throws in the towel in order to avoid hurting the child. When the adoptive mother is about to cry victory, the judge understands the situation and gives the child back to the one whom he knows to be the true mother. Bernard Outtier indicates to us that, in the Caucasus, indeed, it is customary to draw such circles. In his novel, Les mots étrangers (Paris: Stock, 2002) 264, Vassilis Alexakis evokes an African legend: “According to the legend, it [the lake] is the work of a sorceress who drowned all the inhabitants of her village in its waters to avenge the death of her son, killed during his initiation. During the great feast which closes this ceremony, she traced a circle around the dancers with a broom, previously soaked in a mixture of her making. Thus was the lake born.” Is this legend really attested, or is its origin in the mind of the author?


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he is. He continues with an abbreviated story about the devil, as is also found in the Acts of Thomas and the Acts of Philip.20 The style is that of an aretalogy with phrases which, beginning with ἐγώ εἰμι, would have made Rudolf Bultmann and Eduard Schweizer happy.21 The great works of the Evil One are equally split between the Old and New Covenants: Eve, Cain, and Pharaoh on the one hand, Judas, the pagans, and the Jews on the other, have been in turn his victims and his agents. The devil’s autobiography goes back to the Old Testament at the end of the process with the adversaries of the prophets, the fallen angels, the jealous brothers of Joseph in alternation with the tempter of Jesus in the desert and the adversary of the human race. This long confession lacks neither arrogance nor complacency. In a formula whose performative brevity emphasizes both the power and the refusal to argue, the apostle reduces the devil to silence: τὸ δὲ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐνέφραξεν ὁ ἅγιος Πέτρος. This formula will re-emerge several times. The second part of the fragment recounts the victory of Peter over the acolytes of the Evil One. As each demon reveals that he is the incarnation of a vice, the successive exorcisms of Peter (punctuated by the surprising formula by which the apostle silences the enemy forces) reveal to the Christian, layperson, priest, or monk a way to freedom and to victory over evil. Each exorcism is briefly recounted; if an intense dialogue and a long apology of the devil are necessary before Peter obtains his victory, the capitulation of the demons takes place all the more rapidly since their power is inferior to that of their master. One by one the remaining spirits are forced to reveal their dark identities: second is the spirit of wickedness (πονηρία); third, the spirit of lies (ψεῦδος); fourth, the spirit of adultery (μοιχεία); and fifth, the spirit of avarice (φιλαργυρία). Seeing, doubtless, that no escape was available, the sixth does not even wait for the injunction of the apostle to present itself before clearing out: it is the spirit of evil speech (καταλαλία). Meanwhile the seventh, which does not even say its name, devotes its remaining energies into battle by reproaching the apostle for his previous sins. It thinks it unjust that humans, such as Peter or Paul, have the right to repentance and pardon while they, the demons, are no worse than humans: “Us, he [the Christ] punishes, while you, he spares,” it complains. This talkative seventh demon cautions humankind: they are lucky to have Peter and the other apostles to lead them to conversion but – here the hortatory perspective of the text becomes evident – they should watch out for demon attacks once the apostles have turned their backs. “Devil that I am, I am not the one who induces them to commit evil; it is they who make themselves stumble.” 20

See Acts of Thomas 32; Acts of Philip 11.3. Rudolf Bultmann, Das Evangelium des Johannes (17th ed.; KEK, 2. Abteilung; Göttingen: Vanden-hoeck & Ruprecht, 1962) 167, n. 2; Eduard Schweizer, EGO EIMI … Die religionsgeschichte Herkunft und theologische Bedeutung der johanneischen Bildreden, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Quellenfrage des vierten Evangeliums (FRLANT 56; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1939).  


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The demon finishes with a lamentation that implies lasting sociological and historical implications: “There is no more place for me, and I am disarmed, since everywhere people have become Christians.” Thus we arrive at the conclusion of the second part of the text, noting the hesitation of the author with regard to the number of enemies: at first, there are eight of them, Satan and his seven acolytes. By the end, there are seven that admit defeat. One must recall the divergences of the Christian spiritual masters of the 4th and 5th centuries regarding the number of capital sins: there are, indeed, vacillations between eight and seven.22 Peter’s victory is in fact a Pyrrhic victory. On the one hand, after the defeat of the demons, the earth is declared exempt from sin: “And there was no more sin upon the earth.” On the other hand, the prince of demons ultimately claims that he has not lost all power and that the Lord Jesus Christ has authorized him to tempt believers within certain limits, to prove the brave ones and hurl the guilty ones from the earth. Convinced now of the honesty of the one who began by lying, “Peter released the demons from the mark of the cross, by the order of our Savior Jesus Christ.” The third part of the fragment is stylistically different: it is structured like a brief sermon based on the previous story that serves as its scriptural text. The preacher invites his listeners to guard themselves against various demons and to renounce the vices they represent. He does so – an amusing return of things – in biblical language, often even citing from memory, without indicating either the source or worrying about literal exactitude, various verses from the Old or New Testament: “Do not let the sun go down upon your anger” (Eph 4:25) or “Since there is but one baptism, one faith, one repentance, one Lord, Jesus Christ” (see Eph 4:4–5).

III. Linguistic Aspects Without claiming to be exhaustive, we will note a few linguistic aspects characteristic of the text, which was produced around the end of the eleventh century or beginning of the twelfth at a Basilian scriptorium in the area of Otranto, Calabria, or Sicily. We do not know anything about the Greco-Italian scribe who penned this text, or anything about the document that he copied. We must bear in mind that several centuries passed between the probable time of the redaction of the Acts of the Holy Apostle Peter and the production of the manuscript Angelicus gr. 108, which is, to our knowledge, the only manuscript to preserve this Greek fragment from the Acts of Peter. While it is well-grounded to think that the original text was closer to the New Testament Koine than are the later copies, See below, p. 218–220.  



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we must be careful not to blame our scribe and the customs of his time for the points where he deviates from what we regard as the proper rule. This requires the modern editor to make several difficult choices: is it better to place a “correction” within the text or indicate it in the apparatus as a conjecture? The latter option is often preferable. With that said, the following are some observations concerning the phonetics, accentuation, nominal and verbal morphology, syntax, and vocabulary of our text. Phonetics

We find two cases of non-assimilation: συντρατιῶται (line 18) and συνπαρήμεθα (line 24), where classical Greek would require συστρατιῶται and συμπαρήμεθα. Blass-Debrunner-Rehkopf 23 indicates the tendency in post-classical Greek to suppress assimilation in written forms: “der etymologischen Deutlichkeit zuliebe.” Put another way, we may also see the scribe’s desire to display his grammatical cultivation, despite the actual pronunciation of the words. The elision of γ before μ is a matter of popular pronunciation; it is attested by χαραμὴν (line 33), as opposed to χαραγμῆς (line 151) and χαραγμίδος (line 44). Modern Greek has χάραμα (τὸ), “daybreak”, and χαραμάδα (ἡ), “crack,” both derived from χαράσσω (aorist aspect with guttural). With geminate letters no longer being pronounced, we find the incorrect spelling of Βαραβὰν (line 57) for Βαραββᾶν; and, on the other hand, σκελλίσματα (derived from σκέλος, lines 133 and 156) for σκελίσματα, “trip-ups,” “pitfalls,” by the influence of σκέλλω, “to wither”; and μισοκάλλου (line 38) for μισοκάλου, by the influence of κάλλος. The final moveable ν appears in the accusative singular θυγατέραν (line 173)24 and perhaps in the form ἀφαρπάζον (line 88), which is coordinated in the phrase with καὶ ποιῶ and may mark the indicative ἀφαρπάζω, since the neuter singular participle ἀφαρπάζον is rare in this period. Accentuation The five disyllabic forms of the verb “to be” in the indicative present (εἰμί, ἐστίν, ἐσμέν, ἐστέ, εἰσίν) cease to be enclitic and have, from this period onward, a proper accent. We have thus retained the spellings ἐγὼ εἰμὶ (lines 12, 49, 50, 51, 69, 77, 87), οὐκ εἰμὶ (line 137), ἄτονος εἰμὶ (line 138), ἂγγελοι εἰσὶν (line 37), βάπτισμα ἐστὶν (line 175), συνέταιροί σου ἐσμέν (line 18), μερίς μου εἰσὶν (line 79), οὗτος ἐστὶν (line 27).

23 Friedrich Blass and Albert Debrunner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch (rev. Friedrich Rehkopf; 18th ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001) § 19. 24 Basil G. Mandilares, The Verb in the Greek Non-Literary Papyri (Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sciences, 1973) 50, § 26, notes that forms such as σάρκαν, σάλπιγγαν, χεῖραν, γυναῖκαν are a sign of assimilation from the third to the first declension.

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Similarly, the disyllabic forms of the indefinite pronoun τις have a proper accent: ἡμάρτησαν (or ἡμάρτοσαν) τινὲς (line 171). Since the metrical difference between long and short vowels had disappeared in pronunciation, replaced by the sole distinction between accented and unaccented vowels, the supporting accent on properispomenons followed by an enclitic also disappears: ἐπερωτῆσαι με (line 16), whereas classical Greek would have ἐπερωτῆσαί με. Nominal Morphology

One observes an imprecision in the accent of certain abstract feminine nouns ending in ια: καταλαλία (line 63) and καταλαλίας (line 159) as opposed to καταλαλιᾶς (lines 107 and 110) and καταλαλιὰ (lines 107–108); στραγγαλίας (line 108) instead of στραγγαλιὰς. In these two cases, the oxytone is the correct form. The form ἀταραχία (lines 7–8) is curious. This form, derived from the adjective ἀτάραχος is not attested elsewhere; in the sense of impassibility, the dictionaries only contain the form ἀταραξία, derived from the guttural aspect of ταράσσω. Verbal Morphology

We find an incorrect reduplication in the present tense: εἰσαγάγει (line 129), undoubtedly caused by the second aorist infinitive συναγαγεῖν that follows immediately afterward (line 130). We have three examples of the curious construction ἔχω + aorist infinitive: ἔχεις κατακαῆν (line 114), “you have to burn,” κηρύξαι ἔχεις (lines 132–133), “you have to preach,” ἀποστῆσαι ἔχεις (line 132), “you have to remove.” In its form, this construction calls to mind the composition of tenses in modern Greek: ἔχω καῆ, “I have been burnt,” εἶχες κηρύξει, “you have proclaimed,” θὰ εἴχαμε ντραπῆ, “we would have been ashamed.” The ending ωσαν, already attested in classical Greek, is regular for the third person plural active and mediopassive imperative: τηρείτωσαν (line 134), μετανοείτωσαν (line 171), μὴ μεμφέσθωσαν (lines 135 and 140). In the first two examples, this preference can be explained by the desire to differentiate the imperative from the masculine / neuter genitive plural present active participle. In Attic Greek, in fact, τηρούντων and μετανοούντων perform both functions. At line 171, we hesitated at the manuscript’s spelling ἡμάρτωσαν: should we put ἡμάρτοσαν (a late doublet from ἥμαρτον, second aorist indicative, due to the desire to distinguish, in the active voice, the third person plural from the first person singular, which are identical in classical Greek25)? Or using the strength of ἁμαρτησάντων (line 174), should we give, as we find in modern Greek, a sig 

25 Mandilares, The Verb in the Greek Non-Literary Papyri, 155, § 321, gives comparable examples: εὕροσαν, ἤλθοσαν, εἴποσαν.

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matic aorist to ἁμαρτάνω and write ἡμάρτησαν? One must recall that the second aorist weakened from ancient Greek in favor of sigmatic forms and disappeared entirely in modern Greek.26 Our text provides another example: ἐξεπέσαμεν (line 93) in place of the classical Greek ἐξεπέσομεν. With regard to contract verbs, we confirm the shift from the type ending in άω to the type ending in έω with the present passive participle ἐπερωτούμενα (line 141). In our opinion, this form is not due simply to the confusion of the two classes of contract verbs,27 but also to the scribe’s desire to produce a more “learned” form, which would actually show the mark of contraction. Indeed, the classical form ἐπερωτώμενα, perceived by the ear as virtually the same as ἐπερωτόμενα, does not give the impression of being a contract form! A few false spellings are due to homophony. Thus, where the manuscript gives ἀπολαύωσιν (line 149), which would be the present subjunctive of ἀπολαύω, the context demands a verb with a punctual aspect, which would be in the same form as the following ἕξουσιν (future indicative). We must, then, write ἀπολάβωσιν (aorist subjunctive with future force of the verb ἀπολαμβάνω), which sounds to the ear like ἀπολαύωσιν. This leads us to a frequent phenomenon in the language of the New Testament, in which the aorist subjunctive sometimes functions as a future indicative: οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθητε (line 44), “you shall not leave,” in addition to ἀπολάβωσιν, “they will receive,” which we have just mentioned. Inversely, the subordinating final ἵνα sometimes governs the indicative future instead of the subjunctive: ἵνα … σταυρώσουσιν (lines 56–57); our decision to “correct” this is certainly subject to critique.28 It is well known that the verbs ending in μι gave the ancients great difficulty, as they do to students today: the tendency was to replace them with thematic verbs, ἀπολλύω, for example, is substituted for ἀπόλλυμι. Thus instead of the classical ἵνα … παραδῷ, we read ἵνα … παραδώσῃ (line 53), which assumes a sigmatic aorist indicative (ἔδωσα instead of ἔδωκα). An intermediate form such as the present indicative ἀπόλλουσιν (line 103), in place of the classical ἀπολλύασιν, places us in a quandary: should we preserve it or replace it with ἀπολλύουσιν? 26

See Blass and Debrunner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, § 75 and 81. Mandilares, The Verb in the Greek Non-Literary Papyri, 62, § 52 (2) and Blass and Debrunner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, § 89–90. Let us note here our surprise at not finding any allusion to the work of Basil G. Mandilaras in the admirable New Testament grammar of Friedrich Blass, considerably expanded by Albert Debrunner and carefully revised by Friedrich Rehkopf, from the fourteenth edition in 1975 until the eighteenth in 2001. Mandilaras’ work appeared in 1973 and, based of non-literary papyri from the Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods, has made a decisive contribution to our diachronic knowledge of the Greek verb. 28 Walter Bauer, Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frühchristlichen Literatur (rev. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland; 6th ed.; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1988) s.v. ἵνα, I, 2.  




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On the subject of endings, we note on line 46 ὠνόμασες (spelt ὀνόμασες), which attests to the penetration of active imperfect and second aorist endings in the first aorist: in the second person singular and the second person plural, ες and ετε replace ας and ατε.29 In this case, we should consider ὠνόμασες as a lapsus calami, since elsewhere we find the classical forms ἐτόλμησας (lines 15–16 and 67), ἐχειροτόνησας (line 82) and ὤμοσας (line 22). As for the form φοβεῖσαι (line 19), in place of the Attic Greek φοβῇ, this displays the typical tendency of the Koine to reintroduce the ending σαι to the second person singular mediopassive, by analogy with the μαι and ται of the first and third person.30 Finally let us note – a phenomenon known also in classical Greek – that the perfect participle of deponent verbs can have a passive sense: ἐπηγγελμένην κόλασιν (line 150), “the promised punishment,” calls to mind the “promised gifts,” (ἐπηγγελμέναι δωρεαί) of the first letter of Clement 35.4. Syntax

The nominative absolute, which appears to be a mark of oral style, is attested from antiquity. Our text gives an example of it in lines 3–4: πορευόμενος οὖν [ὁ ἀπόστολος Πέτρος] …, ἀπήντησεν αὐτῷ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν δαιμόνων. In the same paragraph, we observe an alternation between the infinitive proposition (governed by an initial ἐγένετο) and the independent proposition: ἐγένετο τὸν ἀπόστολον Πέτρον διέρχεσθαι … καὶ τὸν μὲν ἄρχοντα … περιβεβλημένον … κεκοσμημένον (with an implied εἶναι)· οἱ δὲ λειτουργοὶ … (with an implied ἦσαν) μεστοὶ … (lines 2–8). We find two different constructions for the same verb: τῷ Ἰούδα τὴν φιλαργυρίαν ἐνέσπειρα (lines 98–99), which conforms to classical syntax, and τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς … τὸν φθόνον ἐνέσπειρα (line 62), which attests the progressive disuse of the dative in favor, in this case, of the accusative. The verb φείδομαι governs both a human complement in the genitive and a non-human complement in the accusative: ὑμῶν φείδεται μετανοούντων (lines 127–128) and φείσασθε τὰς γλώσσας ὑμῶν (line 159). Some prepositions, which are normally followed by the accusative in the sense in which they are used in the text, are formed with the genitive, apparently in the desire for a more elevated style: κατὰ τῆς δυνάμεως (lines 74–75), “according to the power,” and διὰ τοῦ ψεύδους (line 83), “on account of the lie,” whereas classical Greek would have κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν and διὰ τὸ ψεῦδος. Where we would expect a dative, a case that was fated to disappear, it is replaced either by the genitive or by a prepositional construction: πάσης εὐλαβείας κεκοσμημένον (lines 6–7), “adorned with every appearance of piety,” for πάσῃ εὐλαβείᾳ κεκοσμημένον, and συνοδεῦσαι μεθ’ ἡμῶν (line 20), “travel with us,” for


Mandilares, The Verb in the Greek Non-Literary Papyri, 154, § 319. Blass and Debrunner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, § 87.  



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συνοδεῦσαι ἡμῖν. At line 167, we seem to have detected a haplography: μὴ προστίθεσθε ἁμαρτίας instead of μὴ προστίθεσθε ἁμαρτίας ἁμαρτίας, “do not add sin to sin.” Vocabulary To the vocabulary mentioned and commented on in the notes, we add three items here: the adverb ἀναμέσον (line 30) which prefigures the modern Greek ἀνάμεσα and which is recorded by Bauer, though he advocated the spelling ἀνὰ μέσον;31 the epithet πρόμαχος τῶν ἀποστόλων given to the prince of the apostles (line 112); and the qualifier κατανυκτικὴ θυγάτηρ [θεοῦ] (line 173), used to describe μετάνοια, repentance.

IV. The Search for Parallels Is the text known? Is it part of the primitive Acts of Peter whose codex from Vercelli preserves in Latin the second half, which takes place in Italy  – more specifically in Rome? To answer the first question, we have taken two steps. For the first, we have enlisted the help of one or two specialists on the Apocrypha, and on the Acts of Peter in particular. For the second, we have taken an inventory of the memories of Peter which Late Antiquity has bequeathed us. The first step has permitted us to admire the knowledge and judgment of Richard Adelbert Lipsius; the second, to admire the flair and professional diligence of Jean-Daniel Kaestli. For this portion of the article, we have also been able to count on the collaboration of two research assistants from Harvard: Robin Walsh and Brent Landau. With the aid of the following, we have attempted to read all that has been recounted concerning Peter, his ministry, his preaching, his miracles, his travels, and his death: Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti by Maurice Geerard (nos 190–209); the BHG 1482–1501; BHL 6644–6688 (one could add the numbers corresponding to Petronilla, Peter’s daughter); BHO 933–954 and 959–972; the Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens by Joseph van Haelst; the article by Gérard Poupon “Les ‘Actes de Pierre’ et leur remaniement”, paragraph entitled “Nouveaux documents”; the index by Richard Adelbert Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden; Léon Vouaux in a chapter of his study on the Acts of Peter related to the reception of the primitive Acts in Christian literature at the end of Antiquity; and the collections by Mario Erbetta and by Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher.32 The first conclusion we

31 Bauer, Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der frühchristlichen Literatur, s.v. ἀναμέσον and s.v. ἀνά (second entry), 1. 32 Maurice Geerard, Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti (CC; Turnhout: Brepols, 1992); François Halkin, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca (3 vols.; 3d ed.; Subsidia hagiographica

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made is that the tale conserved in the Acts of Peter (Actus Vercellenses) constitutes but a small portion of the remembrances and legends related to the spokesman of the apostles. The second conclusion is that one must also read the texts dedicated to the other apostles or to the Virgin in order to make an idea more complete. The Coptic fragments of the Acts of Philip include a significant portion regarding Peter, who, as Ann Brock has shown so well in her dissertation, takes the place of Mary Magdalene.33 The various recensions of the Dormitio, the Discours of John of Thessalonica in particular, all contain some of Peter’s sermons and even a splendid parable about two servants.34 The Acts of Nereus and Achilles in chapter 15 recall the episode of Peter’s daughter, Petronilla. This journey across Petrine literature proves to be exciting, but – such is our third conclusion  – often unproductive. The Slavic legend of Peter receiving a child as a gift during a sea voyage was revealed to Westerners by Ivan Franco, and relies on an original Greek, as Enrica Follieri indicates in a manuscript that still awaits an editor.35 The legend bears no relation to our text. Numerous Latin texts are also unrelated to ours: Pseudo-Linus, Pseudo-Marcellus, Pseudo-Hippolytus, Pseudo-Abdias are concentrated, if our reading is good, on the Roman ministry and the martyrdom of the apostle, not to mention a meeting with the devil transformed into an angel of light. The Pseudo-Clementines also

8a; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1957); François Halkin, Novum Auctarium Bibliothecae Hagiographicae Graecae (Subsidia hagiographica 65; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1983); Socii Bollandiani, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina antiquae et mediae aetatis (2 vols.; Subsidia hagiographica 6; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1949); Henryk Fros, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina antiquae et mediae aetatis. Novum supplementum (Subsidia hagiographica 70; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1986); Socii Bollandiani, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Orientalis (Subsidia hagiographica 10; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1910); Joseph van Haelst, Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens (Papyrologie 1; Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1976); Gérard Poupon, “Les ‘Actes de Pierre’ et leur remaniement,” in ANRW II 25.6 (eds. Wolfgang Haase and Hildegard Temporini; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1988) 4364–4367; Richard Adelbert Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden (2 vols.; 1883–1890; repr., Amsterdam: APA-Philo Press, 1976) 225–228 of the Ergänzungsheft; Léon Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre. Introduction, textes, traduction et commentaire (Les Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament; Paris: Letouzey & Ané, 1922) 110–199; Mario Erbetta, Gli Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento (3 vols. in 4; Torino: Marietti, 1966–1981); Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen in deutscher Übersetzung (5th ed.; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1987–1989) 33 Ann Graham Brock, Mary Magdalene, the First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority (HTS 51; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003) 127–129. 34 John of Thessalonica, Discours sur la Dormition de la sainte Vierge, 9–11; Simon Claude Mimouni and S. J. Voicu, La tradition grecque de la Dormition et de l’Assomption de Marie. Textes introduits, traduits et annotés (Sagesses chrétiennes; Paris: Cerf, 2003) 124–130. There is a parallel for this passage in the interpolated version of the Discours, in paragraphs 8–11, ibid., 157–164. There is also a summary of this teaching of Peter in the Épitomé of the Discours in paragraph 4, ibid, 187–188. 35 Ivan Franco, “Beiträge aus dem Kirchenslavischen zu den Apokryphen des Neuen Testaments, II: Zu den gnostischen Περίοδοι Πέτρου,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 3 (1902) 315–335; Enrica Follieri, “L’originale greco di una leggenda in slavo su san Pietro,” Analecta Bollandiana 74 (1956) 115–130.


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do not seem to be familiar with our episode of Ashdod.36 The same goes for the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles, which the Coptic manuscripts from Nag Hammadi revealed to the scholarly world. The Doctrina Petri, edited by William Cureton in Syriac, which concentrates on Christology, as well as the Historia Petri, edited by Paul Bedjan, which is an amalgam of various texts, among which are the primitive Acts and the Pseudo-Clementines, likewise provide no parallel to the text in question.37 Let us not forget that the apocryphal accounts could have survived in writings of another kind: sermons or dogmatic treatises. The Latin fathers, from Ambrose to Augustine by way of Ambrosiaster, Jerome, and Commodian, are familiar with a number of Petrine episodes, but none of them resembles our fragment.38 The same goes for Priscillian, the friend of the Apocrypha, and for Philastrius of Brescia, their redoubtable adversary. In the East, in the Didascalia Apostolorum, the Apostolic Constitutions, and the Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, they are other memories that are retained, particularly the conflict between Peter and Simon. Various Greek and eastern Fathers, Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ephrem the Syrian, Amphilochius of Iconium, Isidore of Pelusium, Theodoret of Cyrus, and Theodore of Mopsuestia demonstrate knowledge of the Acts of Peter by condemning them, while various Manichaeans and various Encratite circles venerate them. However no citation or reference is made to the text which we are presenting. Here we should indicate our admiration for Richard Adelbert Lipsius: having long since completed the text, translation, and apparatus, a few weeks ago we discovered three pages in his Ergänzungsheft that prove that the German scholar was aware of our fragment, and even had a copy at his disposal, which he had in part translated. Lipsius summarizes our fragment very well and concludes by posing the same question we do: is this fragment – which appears to have no equivalent – part of the primitive Acts of Peter? He declines to respond, but seems to lean in favor of the negative because of the homiletic character of the ending. In our opinion, this argument is not entirely persuasive, since the first two thirds of the fragment seem to be a long citation of a text that a moralizing homily draws on in fine. More recently still, we have learned that François Halkin was aware of our fragment, probably through the intermediary of Ehrhard whom he mentions; he even gave it a number: BHG 1485e. In turn, Franchi de’ Cavalieri,

36 On the Pseudo-Clementines, see Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, II (eds. Pierre Geoltrain and Jean-Daniel Kaestli; La Pléiade 516; Paris: Gallimard, 2005) 1173–1192. Note however the reference below, n. 54. 37 For the Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles (NHC VI, 1) see The Nag Hammadi Library (ed. James M. Robinson; New York: Harper-San Francisco, 1990) 287–294; for the Doctrina Petri, see William Cureton, Ancient Syriac Documents Relative to the Earliest Establishment of Christianity in Edessa and the Neighbouring Countries (London: Williams and Norgate, 1864) 35–41; for the Syriac Historia Petri, see Paul Bedjan, Acta martyrum et sanctorum, I (Leipzig: Harrassowitz, 1890) 1–33. 38 See Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre, 140–155.


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Muccio, Ehrhard, and Halkin learned of the Angelicus graecus 108 and noted our fragment, but only Lipsius seems to have taken a real interest. Jean-Daniel Kaestli drew our attention to a text called History of Peter and Paul conserved in Arabic, Ethiopic, Karsh n , and partially in Coptic and Christo-Palestinian.39 According to the English translation40 made by Agnes Smith Lewis after her Arabic edition of the Sinaiticus arab. O (f. 1r–26 v), Peter and Paul were miraculously transported to Rome (p. 175), where they healed the emperor’s daughter of an eye disease. They accomplished this feat by using a cup of water (p. 181), as in the Acts of Philip IX, an exorcism rite for which we have found no parallel. Having returned to Philippi, the Macedonian city, Peter – and this is where the text interests us – encounters Satan, who wants to oppose the missionary and thaumaturgical successes of the apostle. In order to accomplish this, the Evil One changes form, not however by metamorphosing into an angel of light, but into a Hindu prince (p. 182). He wears a king’s garments and a crown on his head. As in our text, he does not travel alone, but is accompanied by many officials that he transforms into Roman patricians by his princely allure. The story continues in Rome with a meeting between Satan dressed as a Hindu prince and the emperor of the Romans. Satan causes the Roman emperor to send a squad to Philippi to arrest Peter and Paul. A later miracle will free the apostles from prison and their wanderings continue once more. Satan – the text repeats itself – wants to oppose them and transforms himself again: this time he becomes a Hindu beggar who implores the pity of the apostles (p. 190). They recognize Satan and will not let him go unless he no longer opposes them. He promises to obey, but does not keep his word, immediately taking on another form: that of a black bull. The apostles do not let themselves be taken in even if Satan, as in our fragment, evokes the cruel denial of Peter (p. 191). In an article of Muséon that appeared in 1955, Arnold van Lantschoot published an Ethiopic version of this story (Vaticanus aeth. 268, f. 64r–72v).41 This version naturally has its own characteristics. On p. 43, we read: “The devil once again goes out with the apostles and converses with them; he takes on the ap-

39 Also taken up in the Liber requiei (=Transitus Mariae), in De Transitu Mariae. Apocrypha aethiopice (ed. Victor Arras; CSCO 342 [text] and 343 [trans.]; Louvain: Secrétariat du CSCO, 1973). 40 See Agnes Smith Lewis, Acta mythologica apostolorum (Horae Semiticae 3; London: Clay, 1904) 175–192; Socii Bollandiani, Bibliotheca hagiographica orientalis, nº 965; Maurice Geerard, Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti, nº 203; Alain Desreumaux, “Les œuvres de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne en araméen christo-palestinien,” Bulletin de l’Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne 9 (1999) 12–13, indicates a Christo-Palestinian parallel to this story, preserved at Sinai (the lower layer of writing of a palimpsest whose upper layer contains John of Climacus’ The Ladder of Divine Ascent in Edessene Syriac). It is called the Codex Climaci rescriptus, as it was named by its discoverer, Agnes Smith Lewis. 41 Arnold van Lantschoot, “Contribution aux Actes de S. Pierre et de S. Paul,” Le Muséon 68 (1955) 17–46; see also Geerard, Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti, nº 203.


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pearance of one of the great men of Ethiopia.” Then we read, “At that moment, Peter knew by the Spirit that he was the devil; he drew a sign on the earth and stood on it” (p. 43). Addressing the Evil One, he adds: “You shall not pass the place which I have drawn if you do not make yourself known. Who are you?” (p. 44). Later, the apostles “allow [Satan] to leave the place that had been marked out, and then Peter and Paul left for Philippi” (p. 44). Van Lantschoot also found a Karsh n version at the Vatican (Vat. syr. 199 dated 1545), a Syriac text written in Arabic writing.42 In that version, there are polymorphous apparitions of Satan as a Hindu prince, a beggar, and a black bull; one also finds the presence of the acolytes of the Evil One, and the devil’s act of deception revealed to Peter by the Holy Spirit. Realizing that he has been beaten, the Devil begs the apostle to forgive him, but not without evoking Peter’s betrayal. A comparable story is attested in Coptic. The same A. van Lantschoot published palimpsest fragments from a manuscript kept in London at the British Library (B. M., Or. 8802)43, where one sees Satan, irritated by the apostles, give himself the appearance of a venerable man and transform four of his lieutenants into disabled people. The presence of this tradition in Coptic, Christo-Palestinian, Karsh n , Arabic, and Ethiopic proves its large diffusion. The elements of common lineage between this legend and our fragment are numerous and stable enough to posit a relation between them. This relation recalls both the common lineage and the difference between the Acts of Philip in Greek and their survival in Coptic. In one place and in the other, passing from one language to another, from one cultural zone to another, the apostle sees himself flanked by a companion: there, it is Philip who is with Peter, here it is Peter who is accompanied by Paul. In consulting the Contendings of the Apostles in chapter 3 of the Acts of Peter by Clement, we read that Peter, according to the story, passed through Ashdod. But the events that take place there have nothing to do with our fragment (the apostle Peter speaks with an old woman begging there, who is in fact Clement’s mother).44

42 Van Lantschoot, “Contribution aux Actes de S. Pierre et de S. Paul, II,” 17–22 and 219– 233; see also Bibliotheca Hagiographica Orientalis, nº 964, and Geerard, ibid. 43 Arnold van Lantschoot, “Les textes palimpsestes de B. M., Or. 8802,” Le Muséon 41 (1928) 225–247; cf. Catalogue of Coptic Literary Manuscripts of the British Library Acquired since the Year 1906 (ed. Bentley Layton; London: British Library, 1987) nº 174, pp. 215–216; see the translation on pp. 242–244; at n. 1 of p. 225, the author indicates that it should be supplemented by the manuscript in Paris, copte 1314, f. 162–163. 44 “The Acts of Saint Peter 3,” in Ernest A. Wallace Budge, The Contendings of the Apostles, II (1901; 2d ed. 1935; repr. of 2d ed., Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1976) 400.

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V. A Few Problems To conclude our paper, we wish to indicate a few problems that should be examined more closely in a later phase of research. In our attempt to develop some initial responses to these problems, we benefited from our collaboration with Vilmarie Vega, who was our research assistant for a few months at Harvard Divinity School. We express our gratitude to her. Problem One: The Number of Sins The first problem concerns the demons and their relationships with various sins. Our fragment presents the devil and the various demons as personal representatives, if not the incarnation, of certain vices. In addition, at the beginning of the fragment, the Adversary is accompanied by seven acolytes, making up a team of eight hostile forces, while, at the end, there are only seven of them. This wavering makes one think of the hesitations which marked the spiritual and moral speculations of Christian authors in the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries.45 Even if he was not the originator of such ideas, Evagrius Ponticus affirmed the menacing presence of eight sins,46 while Gregory the Great, two centuries later, reduces the

45 See the doctoral thesis written by Franz Hörhammer, Die sieben Hauptsünden und deren Bekämpfung im Spiegel der englischen Literatur von Aldhelm bis zur Reformation, I, Das Achtlasterschema und dessen Umbildung durch Gregor den Grossen (Universität München, 1924) 16–27 and 36–43; Irénée Hausherr, “De doctrina spirituali Christianorum orientalium. Quaestiones et scripta, 3. L’origine de la théorie orientale des huits péchés capitaux,” Orientalia christiana 30 (1933) 164–175; Morton W. Bloomfield, The Seven Deadly Sins: An Introduction to the History of a Religious Concept With Special Reference to Medieval English Literature ([East Lansing]: Michigan State College Press, 1952) 1–67; Morton W. Bloomfield, “The Origin of the Concept of the Seven Cardinal Sins,” HTR 35 (1941), 121–128; Anton Vögtle, “Woher stammt das Schema der Hauptsünden?” Theologische Quartalschrift 122 (1941) 217–237; Anton Vögtle, “Achtlasterlehre,” RAC 1 (1950) 74–79; Siegfried Wenzel, The Sin of Sloth: Acedia in Medieval Thought and Literature (Chapel Hill: The University Press of North Carolina, 1967) 3–46; Richard Newhauser, The Treatises of Vices and Virtues in Latin and in the Vernacular (Turnhout: Brepols, 1993). 46 Evagrius Ponticus, Antirrheticus; the original Greek is lost, but some translations in Syriac and Armenian survive; in titling his book Suggestions for fighting against the eight cardinal sins, Gennadius adds that Evagrius “was the first to mention them or at least among the first, opposing them with eight books which exclusively draw upon Holy Scripture” in De viris illustribus, 11 (ed. Ernest Cushing Richardson; TU 14,1; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1896) 65; see Johannes Quasten, Initiation aux Pères de l’Église, III (Paris: Cerf, 1963) 250–251; see also Evagrius, Capita practica ad Anatolium (PG 40, 1219–1236); Liber practicus (PG 40, 1244–1252); De octo vitiosis cogitationibus ad Anatolium (PG 40, 1271–1276); at col. 1272, one can read the list of eight vices that Evagrius accepts: γαστριμαργία, πορνεία, φιλαργυρία, λύπη, ὀργή, ἀκηδία, κενοδοξία and ὑπερηφανία; see also the works of Nil d’Ancyre, De vitiis quae opposita sunt virtutibus (PG 79, 1139–1144); De diversis malignis cogitationibus (PG 79, 1199–1234); De octo vitiosis cogitationibus (PG 79, 1435–1470) (this treatise sometimes circulated under Evagrius’ name). Both the attribution and the authenticity of the treatises of Evagrius and Nilus of Ancyra are contested; see Quasten, Initiation aux Pères de l’Église, III, 246–257 and 693–705; Antoine and Claire Guillaumont, Évagre le Pontique. Traité pratique ou le moine (2 vols.; SC 170–171; Paris: Cerf, 1971). The


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list to seven.47 If this vacillation brings our fragment closer to the ascetic reflections of the monks, the names of the sins do not correspond to the catalogues which are imposed, which could be a sign of its being older. Our series does not resemble any other. Nor does it shine with precision. If lying, avarice, or adultery are precise vices – quite present in the most well-known lists – then malice and gossip pale in comparison and remain grand but vague terms. The last demon, unlike the others, does not even indicate his name. There exist similar enumerations of sins in Palestinian Judaism (Qumran) and Hellenistic Judaism (Philo) as well as in early Christianity.48 Horace himself is witness to a general interest in the subject.49 Furthermore, the victory over the vices is conceived as the result of a combat; that the vices should be assimilated to demons belongs first to the Jewish, then to the Christian tradition. Moreover, that one should attempt to organize the hostile world through such catalogues and that one should relate the vices to one another by means of psychological links that raise up one’s spiritual life is without any doubt characteristic of the early Christian ascetic movements, and the monastic movements to which they gave rise.50 Monastic literature teems with stories in which a valiant ascetic fights the temptation that a lone demon or a cohort of evil spirits inflicts on him. It suffices to read the Lausiac History by Palladius or the Life of St. Antony by Athanasius, where the demonic enemy takes various forms to frighten or seduce.51 One might likewise read the dramatic

corpus of the homilies of Pseudo-Macarius is also important for our subject; see for example the Homilia 40.1 (PG 34, 761–764), which has the following list: μῖσος, which comes from θυμός, which comes from ὑπερηφανία, which comes from κενοδοξία, which comes from ἀπιστία, which comes from σκληροκαρδία, which comes from ἀμέλεια, which comes from χαύνωσις, which comes from ἀκηδία, which comes from ἀνυπομονησία, which finally comes from φιληδονία. 47 Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, XXXI. 45 (PL 76, 620–623). One should likewise recall the role of John Cassian (5th-century), who served as a bridge between eastern and western monasticism; see John Cassian, De institutibus coenobiorum, V–XII; Collationes, V; on this subject see also Patrologia, III (ed. Angelo di Berardino with an introduction by Johannes Quasten; Turin: Marietti, 1978) 486–496. Well before Gregory the Great, the Gospel of Mary 15.1–17.9 (9.1–29 according to the text division proposed by Karen L. King) is aware of seven negative powers, seven passions, which plague the soul; see Françoise Morard, “Évangile selon Marie,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 2:3–23; Karen L. King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge, 2003) 16, 69–81. 48 See, for example, 1 QS IV, 9–11; Philo of Alexandria, Migr. Abr. 60; T. 12 Patr. T. Reu 2.1–3,10; Gal 5:19–23. 49 Horace, Epist. I.1.33–40. 50 Vögtle, “Woher stammt das Schema der Hauptsünden?” 233–237. 51 See The Life of Antony 5 (the enemy takes the form of a woman) and 6 (the form of a young man with black skin); Athanasius of Alexandria, The Life of Antony (trans. Tim Vivian, Apostolos N. Athanassakis and Rowan A. Greer; Cistercian Studies 202; Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2003) 66–67 and 68–71; see also the notes related to Nathaniel and Moses the Ethiopian in the Lausiac History 16 and 19; Palladius, La storia lausiaca (critical edition G. J. M. Bartelink; trans. M. Barchesi; Vite dei Santi 2; Fondazione Lorenzo Valla [Milan]: Mondadori, 1974) 64–71 and 96–103; see also Palladius, Les moines du désert. Histoire lausiaque (trans. Sœurs Carmélites de Mazille; Les Pères dans la foi; [Bruges]: Desclée de Brouwer, 1981) 60–62 and 73–76. Frédéric Amsler suggested a clue to us in the text that confirms the links to


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personal adventures reported by Shenoute, what are somewhat reminiscent of our fragment.52 Further research should also attempt to define the specific content of each denounced vice. For now, we believe that every vice is larger than it seems, it leads sinners to other vices and provokes other disasters. The author of the fragment suggests this each time, but the most convincing case is that of adultery, since the sexual error leads to the murder of the children born of the error. Problem Two: The Devil Dressed as the Angel of Light

The presence of the devil dressed as the angel of light poses a second problem. Certainly, the reader familiar with the New Testament recalls Paul’s phrase in the second epistle to the Corinthians: “Satan himself is dressed as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). If the apostle does not feel the need to justify or explain this affirmation, is it not because it corresponds to an accepted reality? If so, by whom is it accepted and in what context? A passage from the Life of Adam and Eve (9.1) invites the reader to consider that the thesis was developed in the exegetical and midrashic framework of the story of the creation and the fall: after having succumbed to temptation, Eve is at the banks of the Tigris and repents of her act. Satan appears to her then in the form of an angel of light. The Apocalypse of Moses 17.1 evokes the moment that immediately precedes the fall and describes Satan as one who participates in the praise of God and transforms into an angel of light.53

monastic literature: in paragraph 5, the demon says to Peter that he rejoices in digging up one or “another of your close friends or relatives according to the rule.” In our opinion, it is unlikely that the word “rule” refers to a monastic rule; it is more likely about the rule of faith or the rule of life; see below, the second note related to line 72. 52 It is the sixth piece edited under the title Magistratus quidam e monasterio pellitur; for the Coptic text, see Johannes Leipoldt with the collaboration of Walter Ewing Crum, Sinuthii archimandritae vita et opera omnia, III (Scriptores coptici, textus, series secunda, tomus IV; CSCO; Paris: e Typographie de la République, 1908) 37–41; for the Latin translation, see Hermann Wiesmann, Sinuthii archimandritae vita et opera omnia, III (Scriptores coptici 8; CSCO 96; Louvain: Imprimerie Orientaliste Durbecq, 1953) pp. 18–20. We owe this reference to Paul Dilley. He also brought this article to our attention: Jacques van der Vliet, “Chenouté et les démons,” in Actes du IVe congrès copte, Louvain-la-Neuve, 5–10 septembre 1988 (eds. Marguerite Rassart-Debergh and J. Rise; 2 vols.; Publication de l’Institut orientaliste de Louvain 40; Louvain-la-Neuve: Université catholique de Louvain, 1992) 2:41–49. In this article, the author presents in particular the text Magistratus quidam e monasterio pellitur and adds: “Posterity has not forgotten Shenoute’s formidable struggle against the demon. The Bohairic and Arabic versions of his biography preserve the memory of this battle in a mythological form: the demonjudge and his subordinate have become ‘the devil accompanied by a crowd of demons’” (46). David Brakke, Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006) 3–5, also presents this story. 53 A German translation of these two texts can be found in the work of Otto Merk and Martin Meiser, Unterweisung in erzählender Form. Das Leben Adams und Evas ( Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit 2.5; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1998) 793 and 827. We wish to thank our colleagues from the Association pour l’étude de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne as well as Alexander Toepel at the University of Tübingen who brought our attention to these two passages.


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

One must ask if the author of our fragment is, with Paul, one of the only Christians to have welcomed this belief. No one, to our knowledge, has written a history of patristic, Byzantine, and medieval exegesis of 2 Cor 11:14. It is likely that the Christians of antiquity share this Pauline conviction. A passage from the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions provides one witness to this belief.54 And if the Middle Ages are credited with developing the image of Lucifer, it is true that they keep an ancient belief alive and maintain a connection with Christian origins. The thesis that we are putting forward however awaits confirmation, which only a meticulous study will provide.55 Problem Three: The Circle Drawn by Peter The third problem concerns the series of actions that Peter makes. In paragraph 3, the apostle makes a large sign of the cross, devotes himself to prayer, invokes the name of the Lord, draws the mark (χαραγμή) of the cross and encircles the prince of demons. How should one visualize these movements of the apostle? After much discussion, we think that Peter made a circle around his adversaries, meaning that he walked in a circle around the devil, all the while making signs of the cross. The continuation and the end of the fragment convinced us to hold to

54 Pseudo-Clementine Writings, see Recognitions 2.17.5–18.1; see in particular: “At these words, Aquila replies: ‘So what is the human’s mistake, if the Evil One, transforming himself in a flash of light, promises them possessions greater than God the Creator himself made?’” (2.18.1). We would like to thank Claire Clivaz who drew our attention to this passage; see also Homilies 17.13–19, where we read perhaps an implicit critique of the apostle Paul’s visions. The motif of the devil’s disguise may be found in the story of the discovery of the relics of Stephen, the first martyr, by the priest Lucian of Caphar-Gamala: see Revelatio sancti Stephani 2.5 for recension B of the Latin text (BHL 7853), edited by S. Vanderlinden, “Revelatio sancti Stephani (BHL 7850–6),” Revue des études byzantines 4 (1946) 193; and its Greek equivalent, the Inventio reliquiarum sancti protomartyris Stephani (BHL 1648x) at the bottom of f. 98v of the Sinaiticus graecus 493 for which we provided an edition in Poussières de christianisme et de juda sme antiques : études réunies en l’honneur de Jean-Daniel Kaestli et Éric Junod (eds. Albert Frey and Rémi Gounelle; Prahins, Switzerland: Éditions du Zèbre, 2007). Finally, the author of the Ascension of Isaiah 4.1–12 affirms that at the consummation of the world, the Evil One, called Beliar, will descend on the earth, transform his appearance, and be made manifest with the traits of an iniquitous king; see Enrico Norelli, “Ascension d’Isaïe,” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:518–520. 55 On the devil in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, see Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perception of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977); idem, Satan, The Early Christian Tradition (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981); idem, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984); idem, The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988); Cristian B dilit , Métamorphoses de l’Antichrist chez les Pères de l’Église (Théologie historique 116; Paris: Beauchesne, 2005); Gian Luca Potestà and Marco Rizzi, L’Anticristo, I, Il nemico dei tempi finali (Scrittori Greci e Latini, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla; [Milan]: Mondadori, 2005); on demons, see Everett Ferguson, Demonology of the Early Christian World (Symposium 12; New York: Mellen, 1984); and above all Brakke, Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity; for more ample bibliographic references, see François Bovon, “The Child and the Beast,” HTR 92 (1999) 375, n. 25.

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the solution: a circumvallation of Satan and his henchmen, rather than the creation of a protective circle by the apostle himself. In paragraph 4, in fact, Peter says to the Evil One that he (Satan) will not leave the furrow (χαραγμίς) if he does not speak the truth. In paragraph 11, Peter, certain that the demons have spoken the truth, delivers them from the mark (χαραγμή) of the cross. The problem is the interpretation of these operations. Reading dictionary articles56 and proposed parallels leads us to confer an apotropaic character to the scene. Peter establishes a welcome separation between himself and the devil. In doing so, he protects himself. The book of Job, an epistle of Ignatius of Antioch, and a passage of the Acts of Paul and Thecla mention protective circles, but in those cases, there are believers who are protected from exterior disasters when they are divinely encircled.57 This incident likewise recalls in the Mishnah, the presence of Honi, described as one who draws circles. The charismatic rabbi is placed in the circle that he drew, and does not want to leave before having obtained rain from God in a time of drought.58 André Schneider reminds us also of an episode in Petronius’s Satyricon: the soldier who accompanies Niceros places his clothes on the ground, urinates in a circle around his clothes, and is transformed into a wolf.59 Gérard Roquet drew our attention to various recipes or magic formulas that Pliny the Elder cites in his Natural History. He also suggested that the adepts of the new cult have Christianized these practices. In addition, he directed us to the study by Armand Delatte, who described several ritual and magic practices: from Antiquity to the modern era, the gathering of plants has often been preceded or accompanied by the tracing of a circle with the aid of a sword or precious object.60 Oktor Skjaervo studies with his students

56 See Ernest G. McClain, “Circle,” The Encyclopedia of Religion, III (ed. Mircea Eliade; New York: Macmillan 1987) 505–509; Diana L. Eck, “Circumambulation,” ibid., 509–511; finally, see Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, “Cercle,” Dictionnaire des symboles. Mythes, rêves, coutumes, gestes, formes, figures, couleurs, nombres (Paris: Laffont, 1982). 57 Job 1:9–10: “Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?’” See also Ignatius of Antioch, Ephesians 5.1–2 and 13.1; Acts of Paul and Thecla 37: seeing Thecla in the arena miraculously escape the worst tortures, the governor asks her: “Who are you? And what protection surrounds you such that not even a single one of these beasts has touched you?” Finally, Yves Tissot drew our attention to an ancient text by Clement of Alexandria, who evokes the apotropaic power of the cross, Paed. 3.85.3. 58 Mishnah, Ta‘anit 3.8; Josephus, A.J. 14.2.1 § 22, attributes a similar miracle to a certain Onias. Some scholars have proposed to identify this person with Honi, the maker of circles. 59 Petronius, Satyricon 61–62. 60 Pliny the Elder, Natural History 22.65 § 135 and 25.29 § 105–107; see Armand Delatte, Herbarius. Recherches sur le cérémonial usité chez les anciens pour la cueillette des simples et des plantes magiques (3d ed.; Académie royale de Belgique, Classe des Lettres, Mémoires, 2nd series, t. 54.4; Brussels: Palais des Académies, 1961) 40–42 and 92–108. In a letter dated September 21, 2005, Gerard Rouquet, whom we thank, considers that there exists an equivalent Coptic word for the Greek word χαραγημή: , “line which curves back on itself” and “to encircle,” a term which can be found in codex VII, 6228, 6238, 6321, and 699 of Nag Hammadi as well as in Berlin manuscript 8502, Act of Peter 802; on the Greek word, see our remarks below regarding line 33.


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

some unedited and lacunary Manichaean documents concerning cosmology and the creation of humanity. These documents speak of seven circles drawn around Seth.61 Our passage evokes the supernatural power – which some call miraculous, others magical – that the apostle possesses and the use he makes of it to overcome the Evil One. It seems likely to us that the circle that the apostle punctuates with signs of the cross serves as a temporary prison for Satan and the seven demons. The fact remains that a more precise knowledge of this episode will require more developed research. Problem Four: The Sign of the Cross The last problem concerns the signs of the cross made by the apostle.62 This sign, which in the 4th century Basil of Caesarea says dates to the apostolic age,63 is attested as early as the 2nd century. Perhaps mentioned in Clement of Alexandria’s Excerpts from Theodotus,64 it is certainly referenced in Tertullian’s De corona,65 at the beginning of Acts of Peter, as well as in the Acts of Paul and Thecla.66 Relying on Ezek 9:4 (the mark on the forehead), the other Christians who speak of it associate it with the forehead in particular. In addition to this small sign of the cross, one must consider the large sign of the cross, which, as in our fragment, includes the chest and shoulders. Some scholars readily add that this second sign is more recent.67 Franz Joseph Dölger, on the other hand, thinks that its ancient status is certain.68 In his “Beiträge,” the eminent Byzantinist analyzes the

61 Oktor Skjaervo refers to the file he has prepared for his course EirCiv 103 / HDS 3850 at Harvard University. 62 The reader will above all refer to the series of contributions published posthumously: Franz J. Dölger, “Beitrage zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens,” JAC 1 (1958) 5–19; 2 (1959) 15–29; 3 (1960) 5–16; 4 (1961) 5–17; 5 (1962) 5–22; 6 (1963) 7–34; 7 (1964) 5–38; 8 / 9 (1965/1966) 7–52; 10 (1967) 7–29; see also the first five articles from the collection by Erich Dinkler, Signum crucis. Aufsätze zum Neuen Testament und zur christlichen Archäologie (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1967) 1–117; Balthasar Fischer, “Das Kreuzzeichen  – aufzugebender oder beizubehaltender katholischer Brauch?” in Balthasar Fischer, Redemptionis mysterium. Studien zur Osterfeier und zur christlichen Initiation (eds. Albert Gerhards and Andreas Heinz; Paderborn: Schöning, 1992) 161–171; Andreas Heinz, “Kreuzzeichen,” Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche VI (1997) col. 468–469. See also our remarks below concerning lines 29–30. 63 Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit, 27.188b and 191b; see Basil of Caearea, Traité du Saint-Esprit (trans. Benoit Pruche; SC 17; Paris: Cerf, 1947) 233 and 236; we owe this reference to Franz Joseph Dölger, “Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens,” 3 (1961) 11. 64 Clement of Alexandria, Excerpts from Theodotus, 42.1; see Dölger, “Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens,” 4 (1961) 11. 65 Tertullian, De corona 3.5. 66 Acts of Peter 5 and Acts of Paul and Thecla 22. 67 See Heinz, “Kreuzzeichen,” col. 468–469; T. Halten, “Sign of the Cross,” Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (ed. Everett Ferguson; 2d ed.; New York: Garland, 1997) 1057–1058. 68 Dölger, “Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kreuzzeichens,” 4 (1961), 8, writes: “Das Missale Romanum hat heute noch die Nachwirkung der altchristlichen Sitte forterhalten, wenn es vor dem Credo die Rubrik einschaltet: ‘Am Schluß bei dem Text ‘et vitam venturi saeculi’ bezeichnet sich (der Priester) mit dem Zeichen des Kreuzes von der Stirne zur Brust.’”

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various functions that the sign of the cross fulfilled in Antiquity: facilitating and protecting everyday life, accompanying the various stages of Christian initiation, and participating effectively in the fight against the devil. Jerome, for example, recounts that Hilarion drew three signs of the cross in the sand to contain the sea which threatened Epidaurus.69 In his Life of Antony, Athanasius relates that St. Antony utilized the sign of the cross and that he attributed an apotropaic power to it.70 Other than the beginning of the Acts of Peter 5, some other apocryphal Christian writings mention the sign of the cross: the Acts of John 115; the Acts of Andrew 13.6 and 35.3; the Acts of Paul and Thecla 22; the Life of Andrew 9.2 and 35.3 by Gregory of Tours; the Acts of Thomas 50.3 and 54.1; the Acts of Philip VI.12, VIII.7, IX.4 and his Martyrdom 32; the Questions of Bartholomew 4.22; the Book of the Resurrection of Bartholomew 24.6; the Martyrdom of Matthew 11; the Acts of Andrew and Matthias 19; the Acts of Nereus and Achilles 13; the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena 7.10 and 25. The signs of the cross in our fragment fit well within this literature. We leave to researchers who will continue the study of our fragment the task of inserting the signs of the cross that it mentions in a certain period of Christianity (the end of the 2nd century is not excluded) to find precise parallels with the actions done by Peter to contain Satan, and to interpret the nature as well as the function of this religious practice.

Rome, Biblioteca Angelica, gr. 108 (B. 2. 2), parchment, 11th–12th century, 288 f. + 8 paper flyleaves, 347 × 250, in two columns. In the critical apparatus, we designate the manuscript by the siglum A.

ἐκ τῶν πράξεων τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου Πέτρου



Jerome, Vita S. Hilarionis eremitae 40 (PL 23, 51). Athanasius, Life of Antony 53 (PG 26, 290).  


1 ἐγένετο τὸν ἀπόστολον Πέτρον διέρχεσθαι εἰς Ἄζωτον καὶ πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ χώραν. πορευόμενος οὖν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ὥραις ἑσπεριναῖς, ἀπήντησεν αὐτῷ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν δαιμόνων μετὰ καὶ ἄλλων ἑπτὰ τῶν διακονούντων αὐτῷ· καὶ τὸν μὲν ἄρχοντα αὐτῶν σχῆμα ἀρχαγγέλου περιβεβλημένον, πάσης δὲ δῆθεν εὐλαβείας κεκοσμημένον· οἱ δὲ λειτουργοὶ αὐτοῦ δαίμονες ἀταραχίας μεστοὶ καὶ πάσης ἐπιεικείας. 2 σύντρομος δὲ γενόμενος ὁ μακάριος Πέτρος ἐπερώτησεν τὸν ἄρχοντα τῶν δαιμόνων λέγων αὐτῷ· « σὺ τίς εἶ καὶ πόθεν καὶ  


f. 266v

VI. Edition of the Text


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

τίνα τὰ περὶ σέ, καὶ οἱ μετὰ σοῦ τίνες εἰσίν; » ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ· « ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ ἀρχάγγελος τῆς δικαιοσύνης· οἱ δὲ σὺν ἐμοὶ ὄντες οὓς καὶ ὁρᾷς, ὁ μὲν εἷς αὐτῶν ἐστὶν ὁ τῆς εἰρήνης ἄγγελος· ὁ δὲ ἕτερος τῆς ἐγκρατείας, ὁ δὲ ἄλλος τῆς ἁγνείας, οὗτος δὲ ὁ τῆς μακροθυμίας. πῶς δὲ σὺ οὕτως ἐτόλμησας ἀναιδῶς ἐπερωτῆσαι με, Πέτρε, τίνες καὶ πόθεν ἐσμέν; εἰ γὰρ πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἦν ἐν σοί, ἐγίνωσκες ἄν τίνες καὶ πόθεν ἐσμέν, ὅτι συνστρατιῶται καὶ συνέταιροί σου ἐσμὲν καὶ φοβούμεθα τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ τρέμο|μεν ὅν καὶ αὐτὸς φοβεῖσαι. εἰ δὲ θέλεις συνοδεῦσαι μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων ἀπολαῦσαι, οὐδεὶς φθονήσει. ἡμεῖς γὰρ ἐπιστάμεθά σου ἀρχαιόθεν τὰς πράξεις, ὅτε γὰρ παρεδίδοτο ὁ σωτὴρ καὶ ὤμωσας συναποθνῄσκειν αὐτῷ. καὶ αὖθις ἠρνήσω ἐξεταζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ ἡμετέρου σκεύους, τουτέστιν ὑπὸ τῆς κόρης· συνπαρήμεθα αὐτῇ καὶ ἡμεῖς. » 3 εἶτα ὡς ἤκουσεν ὁ μακάριος Πέτρος, συνῆκεν τῷ πνεύματι λέγων· « μὴ ἄρα οὗτος ἐστὶν ὁ δράκων ὁ διὰ τοῦ φραγμοῦ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν παράδεισον καὶ ἀπατήσας τὴν Εὔαν; » ὡς οὖν ταῦτα διελογίζετο ὁ μακάριος Πέτρος, ποιήσας τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ σταυροῦ ἀναμέσον τοῦ στήθους αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῦ θεοφόρου μετώπου, καὶ σφραγίσας εἰς εὐχὴν ἐτράπη. καὶ ὀνομάσας τὸ φοβερὸν καὶ ἄχραντον ὄνομα τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ ποιήσας χαραγμὴν σταυροῦ καὶ περιχαράξας τὸν ἄρχοντα καὶ τοὺς σὺν αὐτῷ δαίμονας, ἀνατείνας τὰς χεῖρας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἶπεν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ μετὰ στεναγμοῦ· « κύριέ μου Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, φανήτω σου ἡ δόξα διὰ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. εἰ ἄρα ὡς λέγουσιν οὗτοι ἄγγελοι εἰσὶν τῆς σῆς θεότητος ἤ πνεύματα τοῦ μισοκάλου; » 4 καὶ ὡς ηὔχετο ὁ Πέτρος, ἐβόησεν ὁ ἄρχων τῶν δαιμόνων καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ λέγοντες· « τί βοᾷς, Πέτρε, τί ὀνομάζεις τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ; ἔκδεξαι ἡμῖν μικρὸν καὶ λέγομέν σοι τὴν ἀλήθειαν πᾶσαν. » ὁ δὲ Πέτρος λέγει αὐτοῖς· « ζῇ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ δεσμεύσας ὑμᾶς, ἐὰν μὲ εἴπητε τὴν ἀλήθειαν, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθητε ἐκ τῆς χαραγμίδος ταύτης. » καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος ὁ ἔχων τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ ἀρχαγγέλου· « Πέτρε Πέτρε, εἰ μὴ ὠνόμασας τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ σωτῆρος πάλιν, παρὰ μικρὸν ἠπατήσαμέν σε. ἐπειδὴ δὲ καὶ ἡμεῖς φοβούμεθα τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ σωτῆρος, λέγω τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐνώπιόν σου· ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ διάβολος τῆς ἀπάτης· ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ δράκων ὁ διὰ τοῦ φραγμοῦ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν παράδεισον καὶ τὴν Εὔαν ἀπατήσας· ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ τὸν Κάϊν ὁπλίσας τὸν ἴδιον ἀδελφὸν Ἄβελ φονεῦσαι· ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ τὸν Φαραὼ σκληρύνας καὶ τοὺς Ἰσραηλίτας καταδουλώσας.

f. 267r 20









15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?


ἐγὼ τὸν Ἰούδα ἠπάτησα ἵνα τὸν Χριστὸν παραδώσῃ εἰς θάνατον· ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ τὴν μετάνοιαν μισῶν καὶ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἀγαπῶν· ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ τῶν Ἑλλήνων συνεργὸς καὶ τῶν Χριστιανῶν πολεμιστής. ἐγὼ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους ἐξήγειρα, ἵνα τὸν Χριστὸν σταυρώσωσιν καὶ τὸν Βαραββᾶν ἀπολύσωσιν. δι᾽ ἐμοῦ τοὺς προφήτας ἀπέκτειναν. αὐτεξούσιος γὰρ | εἰμὶ τῇ κακίᾳ μου· ἄρχων γὰρ εἰμὶ τῶν ἑξακοσίων ἀγγέλων τῶν παραβάντων τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πεπτωκότων ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. ἐγὼ γὰρ καὶ τὸν σωτῆρα πεπεινακότα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐπείρασα· ἐγὼ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς Ἰωσὴφ τὸν φθόνον ἐνέσπειρα. δι᾽ ἐμοῦ τὸ ψεῦδος καὶ ἡ ὑπόκρισις καὶ ἡ καταλαλιὰ καὶ ἡ ὑψηλοφροσύνη· δι᾽ ἐμοῦ ὑπερηφανίαι καὶ κενοδοξίαι. ἐγὼ γὰρ εἰμὶ πτῶσις ἐν τῇ κακίᾳ μου. » τὸ δὲ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐνέφραξεν ὁ ἅγιος Πέτρος. 5 τὸν δὲ δεύτερον δαίμονα ἤγαγεν ἁγιασμῷ πικρῷ καὶ φοβερῷ ἐτάζων αὐτὸν καὶ λέγων· « σὺ πῶς ἐτόλμησας ἑαυτὸν μεταβαλεῖν εἰς ἄγγελον φωτός; εἰπέ μοι οὖν τίς εἶ καὶ πῶς καὶ τίνα τὰ περὶ σέ; » ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει τῷ ἁγίῳ Πέτρῳ· « ἐγὼ εἰμὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πονηρίας. ἐγὼ τοὺς μακρὰν ἐγγὺς ποιῶ γενέσθαι. ἐγὼ τοὺς κατὰ τῶν νεωτέρων γαργαλισμοὺς ἀνεδεξάμην, καὶ σκιρτῶ ὅταν καταβάλω τὸν ἐπίσημον κλῆρον, ἢ ἐκ τοῦ κανόνος τινὰς ἐκριζώσω τῶν προσκειμένων σοι. » ἐνέφραξεν δὲ καὶ τούτου τὸ στόμα ὁ ἅγιος Πέτρος ἐμβριμησάμενος αὐτῷ κατὰ τῆς δυνάμεως τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 6 ὁ δὲ τρίτος ἐλθὼν εὐθυδρομήσας λέγει· « ἅγιε Πέτρε, τί θέλεις με ἐπερωτᾶν; ἐγὼ εἰμὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ ψεύδους· ἐγὼ γὰρ καὶ ἕως σοῦ συνήργησα εἰπόντος σου καὶ ἀρνησαμένου· ἐγὼ γὰρ τοὺς ψεύστας ἀγαπῶ, διότι μερίς μου εἰσίν. οἱ γὰρ ἁμαρτάνοντες ἀεὶ ψεύδονται· πορνεύουσιν γὰρ θέλοντες λανθάνειν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τῶν μυστηρίων μετέχουσιν. ποσάκις, ἅγιε Πέτρε, ἐχειροτόνησας ἐπισκόπους καὶ πρεσβυτέρους, καὶ εὑρέθησαν ἐν τῷ Ἅιδῃ διὰ τοῦ ψεύδους. » ἐνέφραξεν δὲ καὶ τὸ τούτου στόμα. 7 ἐκάλεσεν δὲ τὸν τέταρτον καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· « πνεῦμα πονηρὸν, τί συνεφωνήσατε ἐν τῇ κακίᾳ ὑμῶν; εἰπέ μοι νῦν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. » ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν μεγάλῃ φωνῇ· « ἅγιε Πέτρε, ἐγὼ εἰμὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς μοιχείας. ἀφαρπάζον γὰρ τὸν ἄνδρα ἀπὸ τῆς ἰδίας γυναικὸς καὶ ποιῶ αὐτὸν μετὰ ἄλλης μοιχᾶσθαι· καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα ὁμοίως ποιῶ. καὶ τὰ γεννηθέντα αὐτοῖς βρέφη τοὺς ἀνθρώπους λαθεῖν θέλοντες φονεύουσιν αὐτά. βασκαίνομεν γὰρ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθωσιν εἰς τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅθεν ἡμεῖς ἐξεπέσαμεν. » ὥρκισεν γὰρ ὁ ἅγιος Πέτρος τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς μοιχείας τοῦ μηκέτι λαλῆσαι κατὰ ἀνθρώπων.

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8 καὶ ἀναστενάξας ὁ ἅγιος Πέτρος καὶ ἐμβριμησά|μενος τῷ πνεύματι εἶπεν· « πνεῦμα πονηρόν, σὺ τίς εἶ; ποίας χώρας καὶ ποίας πράξεως ὑπάρχεις; » ὁ δὲ πέμπτος λέγει τῷ μακαρίῳ Πέτρῳ· « ἐγὼ εἰμὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς φιλαργυρίας. ἐγὼ γὰρ τῷ Ἰούδᾳ τὴν φιλαργυρίαν ἐνέσπειρα, ἵνα τὰ βαλλόμενα ἐν τῷ γαζοφυλακίῳ ὑποκλέψῃ· ἐγὼ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ παρώξυνα τοῦ πωλῆσαι τὸν δεσπότην οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς τριάκοντα ἀργυρίων. δι᾽ ἐμοῦ κλοπαὶ καὶ ἐπιορκίαι γίνονται. καὶ οὐ μόνον τὰς ψυχὰς ἀπόλλουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἀλλὰ καὶ τῇ σαρκὶ λέπραν ἑαυτοῖς προξενοῦσιν. » ἐνέφραξεν δὲ καὶ τούτου τὸ στόμα. 9 προσελθὼν δὲ ὁ ἕκτος μετὰ μεγάλου θυμοῦ καὶ ὀργῆς λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ· « ὕπαγε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους νουθέτει τοὺς μαθητάς σου. ἐγὼ γὰρ εἰμὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς καταλαλιᾶς. ἐγὼ γὰρ ἡ καταλαλιὰ ἐὰν ἴδω μάχας καὶ στραγγαλιὰς καὶ αἵματα, χαίρω καὶ ἀγάλλομαι. ἐὰν δὲ εἰρηνεύοντας ἀνθρώπους ἴδω, εἰσέρχομαι εἰς ἕνα ἄνθρωπον διὰ τῆς καταλαλιᾶς, καὶ γίνονται ἡμῶν τῶν δαιμόνων τὰ ἀρεστά. » οὐκ ἀφῆκεν δὲ οὐδὲ τοῦτον λαλῆσαι ἔτι ὁ πρόμαχος τῶν ἀποστόλων Πέτρος. 10 καὶ λέγει τῷ ἑβδόμῳ· « ὁρκίζω σε ἄσβεστον πῦρ ἐν ᾧ ἔχεις κατακαῆν, εἰπέ μοι πᾶσαν τὴν ἀκρίβειαν πόθεν καὶ τί τυγχάνεις καὶ ποίαν ἐξουσίαν ἔχεις. » ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει· « τί γὰρ θέλεις μαθεῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν; ὑμεῖς ἄνθρωποι ὄντες οὐ λαλεῖτε ἀλήθειαν μετὰ τοῦ πλησίον ὑμῶν. ψευδόμενοι γὰρ καταλαλοῦντες ἀλλήλους φθονοῦντες. τὰ ἡμέτερα γὰρ ποιοῦντες μόνον τὴν εἰκόνα φορεῖτε τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἄνθρωποι ὀνομάζεσθε. καὶ ἡμεῖς μὲν οὐ τολμῶμεν κοινωνῆσαι καὶ ποιῆσαι εὐχὴν εἰδότες ὅτι ἁμαρτάνομεν. εἰ δὲ θέλεις τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ἄκουσον, ἅγιε Πέτρε· πρῶτον σὺ ἀρνητὴς ἐγένου καὶ ὁ ἕτερός σου ὁ λεγόμενος Παῦλος διώκτης μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν καὶ ἐπολεμήσαμεν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. πολλοὶ γὰρ καταλαλοῦσιν ἀνθρώπους καὶ νομίζουσιν μὴ εἶναι ἁμαρτίαν. ἡμεῖς γὰρ ἀπὸ καταλαλιᾶς ἐξ ἀγγέλων δαίμονες γεγόναμεν καὶ ἀπὸ παραδείσου ἐξερρίφημεν. ἀλλὰ προσωπολήπτην ἔχετε τὸν Χριστόν· διότι ἡμᾶς κολάζει, ὑμῶν δὲ φείδεται μετανοούντων. ὅτε οὖν πόρνην καὶ τελώνην καὶ ἀρνητὴν καὶ βλάσφημον καὶ κατάλαλον εἰσάγει εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ, ὤφειλεν γὰρ ἡμᾶς συναγαγεῖν πάντας μεθ’ ὑμῶν. οὐαὶ δὲ ἡμῖν, ὅτι πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν εἴπαμέν σοι, Πέτρε· κηρύξαι γὰρ ἔχεις ἐν τῷ κόσμῷ | ταῦτα καὶ ἀποστῆσαι ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔχεις τοὺς ἀνθρώπους μαθὼν ἡμῶν τὰς τέχνας καὶ τὰ σκελίσματα. ἀλλὰ μετὰ τὸ κηρύξαι σε, Πέτρε, τηρείτωσαν ἑαυτοὺς καὶ ἡμᾶς μὴ μεμφέσθωσαν ματαίως καὶ ἀκαίρως. πορνεύουσιν γὰρ δι᾽ ἑαυτῶν καὶ λέγουσιν· οὐαὶ τῷ Σατανᾷ. ἐγὼ γὰρ ὁ διά 









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f. 269r 170





βολος οὐκ εἰμὶ ὁ ἐνοχλῶν, ἀλλ᾽ ἑαυτοὺς καταρράσσουσιν, ἐγὼ γὰρ ἠσθένησα καὶ ἄτονος εἰμί. οὐκέτι οὖν ἔχω τόπον οὔτε βέλος, πανταχοῦ γὰρ Χριστιανοὶ γεγόνασιν. ἑαυτοὺς οὖν τηρείτωσαν καὶ μὴ μεμφέσθωσαν. » 11 καὶ ἐπερωτώμενα τὰ ἑπτὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα ὑπὸ τοῦ μακαρίου Πέτρου ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας ἐδεήθησαν αὐτῷ καὶ οὐκ ἐγένετο ἁμαρτία ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. καὶ μετὰ τὰς ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας πάλιν ἐδεήθησαν, καὶ ἀνεβόησεν ὁ ἄρχων τῶν δαιμόνων πρὸς τὸν ἅγιον Πέτρον λέγων· « ὦ Πέτρε Πέτρε, μὴ πραγματεύου τὸν διδάσκαλόν σου· ἡμεῖς γὰρ κατὰ συγχώρησιν Χριστοῦ πολιτευόμεθα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπως οἱ δόκιμοι αὐτοῦ φανεροὶ γένωνται. καὶ οἱ μὴ ἀπατηθέντες ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν τὸν στέφανον τῆς νίκης ἀπολάβωσιν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, οἱ δὲ ἀπατηθέντες ἕξουσιν μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν τὴν ἐπηγγελμένην αἰωνίαν κόλασιν. » ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἀκούσας ταῦτα ἀπέλυσεν τοὺς δαίμονας ἀπὸ τῆς χαραγμῆς τοῦ σταυροῦ κατὰ κέλευσιν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 12 δίκαιον γὰρ ἡμῖν ἐφάνη, τεκνία, τοῦ κηρύξαι ὑμῖν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τάδε τὰ ἐνεργήματα τῶν δαιμόνων. μεγάλην οὖν χάριν ὁμολογοῦμεν τῷ σωτῆρι Χριστῷ, ὅτι ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν γνωρίσαι τὰ σκελίσματα τοῦ διαβόλου κὰι τὴν σωτήριον ὁδὸν ἐπιστῆσαι ἡμῖν. φυλάξατε οὖν ἑαυτούς, τεκνία, ἀπὸ τῆς δεινοτάτης ἁμαρτίας καὶ πάσης πορνείας καὶ ἀπὸ φόνου τουτέστιν μοιχείας. καὶ φείσασθε τὰς γλώσσας ὑμῶν ἀπὸ καταλαλιᾶς, γέγραπται γάρ· μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ὁ ἥλιος ἐπὶ τῷ παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν. ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν, οὐδὲ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ἀφήσει τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν. βλέπετε, τεκνία, ἰδοὺ προέθηκα ὑμῖν πῦρ καὶ ὕδωρ, πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον. ἐκτείνατε οὖν τὴν χεῖρα ὑμῶν ὅπου βούλεσθε· σπουδάσατε οὖν λαβεῖν τὴν ζωὴν καὶ μὴ τὸν θάνατον. παύσασθε οὖν τοῦ λοιποῦ ἁμαρτάνοντες καὶ μὴ προστίθεσθε ἁμαρτίας. καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζετε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὑμῶν τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας ἐπὶ τοῖς παραπτώμασιν αὐτῶν, | σκοποῦντες ἑαυτοὺς μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς πειρασθῆτε. ἀλλὰ ὑμεῖς οἱ ἰσχυροὶ τὰ ἀσθενήματα τῶν ἀδυνάτων βαστάζετε. εἰ δὲ καὶ ἡμάρτησαν τινὲς ἐν ὑμῖν, μετανοείτωσαν μετὰ σπουδῆς καὶ στεναγμοῦ καρδίας καὶ πικρῶν δακρύων, ἵνα δώῃ αὐτοῖς ὁ θεὸς τὴν αὐτοῦ κατανυκτικὴν θυγατέρα τὴν μετάνοιαν, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ καταξιωθῶσιν μετὰ τῶν μηδέπω ἁμαρτησάντων. ἕν γὰρ βάπτισμα ἐστίν, μία πίστις, μία μετάνοια, εἷς κύριος Ἱησοῦς Χριστός, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ δι᾽ αὐτοῦ τὰ πάντα. αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν .



15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

Critical Apparatus

supra tit. legitur λόγος κθ᾽ || 7–8 ἀταραχίας  : legend. ἀταραξίας? || 18 συνστρατιῶται  : legend. συστρατιῶται? || συνέταιροί σου  : ἕταιροί σου Α || 19 τρέμομεν  : τρέμωμεν Α || φοβεῖσαι : legend. φοβῇ? || 24 συνπαρήμεθα : legend. συμπαρήμεθα? || 33 χαραγμήν : χαραμήν A uid. χαραγμῆς lin. 151 || 38 μισοκάλου : μισοκάλλου A || 46 ὠνόμασας : ὀνόμασες Α || 57 σταυρώσωσιν : σταυρώσουσιν A || Βαραββᾶν : Βαραβὰν Α || 62 τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς : legend. τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς? uid. lin. 98–99 || 63 καταλαλιὰ : καταλαλία Α || 71 τῶν νεωτέρων : τὸν νεώτερον ante scribae correctionem A || 73 προσκειμένων : προκειμένων Α || 83 ἐνέφραξεν : ἀνέφραξεν Α || 88 ἀφαρπάζον : legend. ἀφαρπάζω? || 103 ἀπόλλουσιν : legend. ἀπολύουσιν? || 108 στραγγαλιὰς : στραγγαλίας Α || 113 τὸ addidimus || 114 κατακαῆν : κατακαεῖν Α || τί : legend. τίς? || 129 εἰσάγει : εἰσαγάγει Α || 133 σκελίσματα : σκελλίσματα Α || 134 τηρείτωσαν : τηρήτησον Α uid. lin. 139–140 || 141 ἐπερωτώμενα : ἐπερωτούμενα Α || 147 ὅπως : ἵν᾽ ὅπως Α || 149 ἀπολάβωσιν : ἀπολαύωσιν Α || 153 ὑμῖν : ἡμῖν Α || 156 σκελίσματα : σκελλίσματα Α || 159 καταλαλιᾶς : κατὰλαλίας Α || 167 ἁμαρτίας : legend. ἁμαρτίαις ἁμαρτίας? || 171 ἡμάρτησαν : ἡμάρτωσαν A legend. ἡμάρτοσαν uel ἥμαρτον? || 173 θυγατέρα : θυγατέραν Α || 177–178 αἰώνων, ἀμήν addidimus. Extract from the Acts of the Holy Apostle Peter 1 It happened that the apostle Peter was going to Ashdod, passing through each city and the surrounding country. While he was traveling the road at dusk, the prince of demons came to meet him, accompanied by seven others in his service. The prince was clothed with the form of an archangel, adorned with every appearance of piety; as for the demons, his officers, they were full of calm and complete equanimity. 2 Seized with fright, the blessed Peter questioned the prince of demons in the following manner: “Who are you? Where do you come from? What is your dominion and who are the ones accompanying you?” He replied to Peter: “I am the archangel of justice, and among those who are with me and whom you see, one is the angel of peace, another is the angel of continence, another is the angel of chastity and this one here is the angel of longanimity. How is it, Peter, that you have dared question me with such impudence about who we are and where we come from? If, in fact, the spirit of God were in you, you would have recognized who we are and where we come from, for we are your companionsin-arms and associates, and we fear Christ and tremble before that one whom you yourself fear. If you wish to travel with us and enjoy our goods, no one will begrudge you for it. We have known your acts for a long time: at the hour when the Savior was handed over, you swore to die with him, and a second time you denied him, when the young girl, who was our instrument, questioned you. We were present there with her.

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3 When he had heard these words, the blessed Peter understood in spirit and said to himself: “Could this not be the dragon, he who crossed the fence and entered Paradise to seduce Eve?” As he reflected on this, the blessed Peter made the sign of the cross between his breast and his forehead, which was charged with divinity. Having signed himself, he devoted himself to prayer. He invoked the fearful and incorruptible name of our Savior Jesus Christ, our Lord, drew the mark of the cross and traced a circle around the prince and the demons that accompanied him. Then lifting up his hands to heaven, he sighed and said in a loud voice: “My Lord Jesus Christ, may your glory be manifest through the Holy Spirit. Are these, as they claim, angels of your divinity or spirits of the enemy of good?” 4 And while Peter was praying, the prince of the demons cried out, along with those who accompanied him: “Why do you cry out, Peter, and invoke the name of the Savior Jesus Christ? Give us a minute and we shall tell you the whole truth.” Peter replied to them: “By the living Christ who has bound you, if you do not speak the truth, you shall not leave this furrow.” The devil who had the appearance of an archangel said to him: “Peter, Peter, if you had not twice invoked the name of the Savior, we would have come close to deceiving you. But since we too fear the name of the Savior, I shall tell you the truth to your face. I am the devil of deception. I am the dragon who crossed the fence and entered Paradise and seduced Eve. I am the one who armed Cain to kill his own brother Abel. I am the one who hardened Pharaoh and enslaved the Israelites. I am the one who seduced Judas, so that he would deliver Christ to death. I am the one who hates repentance and loves sin. I am the collaborator of the pagans and adversary of the Christians. I am the one who raised up the Jews, so that they would crucify Christ and release Barabbas; and it was through me that they have killed the prophets. For in my evil I have full power. I am the leader of six hundred angels who transgressed the commandment of God and have fallen from heaven. I am also he who tempted the Savior in the desert when he suffered hunger. I am the one who sowed jealousy among the brothers of Joseph. From me come lies and hypocrisy, evil speech and arrogance; from me come pride and vainglory. For in my evil, I am the fall.” Then, Saint Peter shut [the devil’s] mouth. 5 Then, with a bitter and terrible act of purification, he brought forth the second demon in order to question him and said: “As for you, how is it that you have dared transform yourself into an angel of light? Tell me, now, who you are, how you became what you are, and what your dominion is.” The other replied and said to Saint Peter: “I am the spirit of wickedness. I am the one who brings near those who are afar. I am the one who applauds the seductions directed against the young and quivers with pleasure when I bring down the venerable clergy or when I tear away from the rule some of those close to you. Saint Peter shut his mouth as well, angrily rebuking him by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.


15. An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter?

6 The third demon came straight forth and said: “Saint Peter, what questions do you wish to ask me? I am the spirit of lies. Indeed I even worked alongside you when you spoke out to deny. I love liars, since they are a part of me. Those who sin always lie. They commit the sin of the flesh [and] wanting to escape the attention of men and women, they take part in the mysteries. How many times, Saint Peter, have you consecrated bishops and priests who have been found in hell on account of their lies!” But Saint Peter shut his mouth as well. 7 Then he called the fourth one and said to him: “Evil spirit, what have all of you been plotting in your wickedness? Tell me the truth without delay.” He replied in a loud voice: “Saint Peter, I am the spirit of adultery. I snatch the husband away from his own wife and make him commit adultery with another; I do the same with the wife. And wanting to escape the attention of men and women, they kill the babies that are born to them. We cast a spell on men and women to prevent them from entering into the glory of God, from whence we ourselves have fallen.” Saint Peter bound the spirit of adultery by oath no longer to speak against human beings. 8 Sighing and angered in spirit, Saint Peter said: “Evil spirit, who are you then? What land do you come from and what is your business here? The fifth demon said to blessed Peter: I am the spirit of avarice. Indeed I am the one who inspired Judas with avarice so that he would steal the coins thrown into the Temple treasury; I am the one who stirred his heart to sell the master of heaven and earth for thirty pieces of silver. Through me come theft and false oaths. Not only do men lose their souls, but they bring leprosy upon their own flesh.” [Peter] shut his mouth as well. 9 The sixth one, coming forward in great anger and wrath, said to Peter: “Go warn those who are your disciples, for I am the spirit of evil speech. As evil speech, I rejoice and exult when I see people fighting, taking each other by the throat and making each other gush with blood. But when I see people living in peace, I enter into one of them by evil speech, and then ensues that which we demons find pleasing.” Peter, the champion of the apostles, did not allow him to speak any further. 10 He said to the seventh: “I adjure you by the inextinguishable fire in which you must be consumed, tell me with complete accuracy where you come from, what you are and what power you possess.” He replied, saying: “Why do you wish to learn the truth? You yourselves, who are human beings, do not speak the truth with your neighbor. Indeed, you lie, speaking evil words to each other through envy. Though you commit actions which belong to us, you alone wear the image of God and are called men, whereas we do not dare to take communion or say a prayer, knowing that we sin. But if you want the truth, Saint Peter, then listen: you were the first to deny and after you the one called Paul, who, with us, was a persecutor of the church that we fought. Indeed, there are many who speak evil to men and believe that it is not a sin. Through evil speech, we ourselves

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have turned from the angels that we were into demons and were thrown out of Paradise. But you have in Christ a respecter of persons, since he punishes us, but you he spares, as long as you repent. When he brings a prostitute, a tax collector, a denier, a blasphemer, and a speaker of evil words into his kingdom, he ought to have brought all of us in along with you. Woe to us that we have spoken the whole truth to you, Peter; this is what you must preach in the world, removing men and women from us, now that you have learned our devices and our snares. But after your preaching, Peter, let them guard themselves and not make any vain or misplaced reproach against us, for they themselves commit the sin of the flesh at the same time that they say, “woe to Satan!” Devil that I am, I am not the one who induces them to commit evil; it is they who make themselves stumble. I have lost my vigor and have no energy. There is no more place for me, and I am disarmed, for everywhere the people have become Christians. Let them guard themselves, then, and make no reproach.” 11 Interrogated for seven days by blessed Peter, the seven unclean spirits begged for mercy, and there was no more sin upon the earth. Then, at the end of seven days, they begged him again, and the prince of demons cried out to Saint Peter, saying: “O Peter, Peter, stop worrying your master. As for us, it is through a concession of Christ that we dwell upon the earth, so that his proven faithful might be recognized: those who have not been seduced away by us will receive the crown of victory in heaven; but those who have been seduced away by us will have, along with us, the eternal punishment that has been promised them.” Having heard these words, Peter released the demons from the mark of the cross, by the order of our Savior Jesus Christ. 12 It seemed just to us, my little children, to preach to you who are men and women these activities of the demons. We owe, indeed, great gratitude to Christ our Savior, who gave us knowledge of the snares of the devil and showed us the way of salvation. Therefore guard yourselves, my children, from the most dreadful sin, from all lust, and from the murder that is adultery. Keep your tongues from evil speech, for it is written: “do not let the sun go down upon your anger.” For if you do not forgive men and women their trespasses, your heavenly father will not forgive yours. See, my little children: I have set before you fire and water, before your face, life and death. So stretch out your hand where you like. Hasten to choose life and not death. From now on, cease from sinning, and do not add sin to sin. Do not, in watching over yourselves, lest you be led into temptation, blame your brothers for their trespasses, but take upon yourselves – you the strong – the failings of the weak. If some among you have sinned, let them hasten to repent with a sigh of the heart and bitter tears, so that God may give them his daughter, full of contrition – repentance – so that they themselves be judged worthy of the same title as those who have not sinned. For there is but one baptism, one faith, one repentance, one Lord Jesus Christ, from whom all


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things have come and through whom all things are. To him be the glory and the power, now and forever, and unto the ages of ages, amen.

l. 2 Ashdod: the ancient Ashdod is situated on the Palestinian coast of the Mediterranean; see Karl Elliger, “Asdod,” Biblisch-historisches Handwörterbuch, I (eds. Bo Reicke and Leonhard Rost; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962) col. 138; David Noel Freedman, “The Second Season at Ancient Ashdod,” The Biblical Archaeologist 26 (1963) 134–139; Paul L. Redditt, “Azotus,” Anchor Bible Dictionary, I (ed. David Noel Freedman; New York: Doubleday, 1992) 541–542. This city is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles with regard to the miraculous transport of the Evangelist Philip (Acts 8:40), and in the Acts of Philip 3.10,15. The Lives of the Prophets 10.1 specifies that the prophet Jonah was originally from the land of Kiriath-Maon, “near the Greek city of Ashdod, by the seaside”; see Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 2:440; see also Frédéric Amsler, Acta Philippi. Commentarius (CCSA 12; Turnhout: Brepols, 1999) index (p. 564). If our fragment is a part of the Acts of Peter, it must belong to the first half, which takes place in the East. ll. 3–4 at dusk: the hour entre chien et loup, in the French expression, is undoubtedly favorable to the appearance of demons; on the hours of day and night during which demons might appear, see Otto Böcher, Christus Exorcista. Dämonismus und Taufe im Neuen Testament (BWANT 96; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1972) 32–36; see also Otto Böcher, Das Neue Testament und die dämonischen Mächte (SBS 58; Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1972). ll. 4–5 accompanied by seven others: the prince of demons is accompanied here by seven acolytes, whereas in the dialogue that follows he is the first of the demonic series; on this inconsistency, see above, p. 215–217. Böcher, Christus Exorcista, 49–51, describes the negative forces that are counted by sevens. l. 6 clothed with the form of an archangel: the theme of the devil disguised as an angel of light appears in 2 Cor 11:14; for a more detailed discussion, see above, p. 217–218. ll. 7–8 full of calm and complete equanimity: the devil is not the only one to present himself under a false appearance. ll. 12–15 the archangel of justice … the angel of longanimity: note the false identity professed by the devil and his followers. l. 22 Savior: the author readily applies the title of Savior to Jesus, which is rare in the Gospels; see also ll. 32, 41, 46, 48, 61, 152 and 155. ll. 23–24 our instrument: in relating the episode of the denial, the canonical Gospels do not say that the servant who questioned Peter in the court of the grand priest was possessed by the devil (Mark 14:66–70 and parallels). l. 26 understood in spirit: the text does not say whether or not Peter’s intuition was due to divine inspiration. ll. 27–28 the fence … Paradise: of Persian origin, the term “Paradise” properly designates a garden, orchard, park or hunting ground enclosed by a fence. The translators of the Septuagint applied the term to the “garden” of Eden from the original Hebrew. The biblical accounts mention neither a fence, nor the breaking in of the serpent or dragon; they confine themselves to indicating the presence of the serpent, the Cherubim acting as guards, and the sword of fire. Jewish texts from antiquity, however, speculated about the nature and location of Paradise, as well as about the diabolical identity of the adversary; see Moïse géographe. Recherches sur les représentations juives et chrétiennes de l’espace (eds. Alain Desreumaux and Francis Schmidt; Études de psychologie et de philosophie  



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24; Paris: Vrin, 1988); Joachim Jeremias, “παράδεισος,” TWNT, V (ed. Gerhard Friedrich; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1954) 763–771; Jean-Daniel Kaestli, “L’interprétation du serpent de Genèse 3 dans quelques textes gnostiques et la question de la gnose ‘ophite’,” in Gnosticisme et monde hellénistique. Actes du colloque de Louvain-la-Neuve (11–14 mars 1980) (eds. Julien Ries et al.; Louvain-la-Neuve: Université catholique de Louvain, Institut orientaliste, 1982) 116–130. ll. 29–30 sign of the cross: see our remarks, supra, pp. 220–221. What is noteworthy in our text is that the apostle appears to sign himself from bottom to top, from breast to forehead, whereas the sign is usually made from top to bottom, then from right to left by the Orthodox, and from left to right by the Latins. l. 33 mark of the cross: the term χαραγμή, a synonym of χάραγμα, is rare; Sophocles notes one occurrence of it in the fifth century by Charisius of Philadelphia; see E. A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (From B. C. 146 to A. D. 1100) (New York: Scribner, 1900) s.v. With regard to the synonym χαραγμίς, which appears on line 44, this is, to our knowledge, a hapax. The apostle Peter first makes the sign of the cross in order to ward off the demon, then traces a furrow in order to imprison him and his acolytes. See also G. W. H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961) s.v. σταυρός Ε; see supra, p. 220, n. 62. l. 38 enemy of good: the adjective μισόκαλος is attested in Philo of Alexandria, Abr. 21 and 91; Migr. 183; Spec. 3.3; see Peder Borgen, et al., The Philo Index: A Complete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of Alexandria (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000) s.v.; and Methodius of Olympus, Res. 1.36.2 (see G. Nathanael Bonwetsch, Methodius [GCS 27; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1917] 276, line 1). One might vacillate between the aesthetic and the moral sense: “enemy of the beautiful” or “enemy of the good.” When, as here, it designates the devil by circumlocution and euphemism, it is the second sense that prevails. ll. 55–56 pagans … Christians … Jews: the explicit distribution of humanity into three groups, of which Christians constitute the tertium genus, goes back to the end of the second century; see Marcel Simon, Verus Israel. Étude sur les relations entre chrétiens et Juifs dans l’Empire romain (135–425) (2d ed.; Paris: de Boccard, 1964) 118, 135–139, 143 and 443–444; Denise Kimber Buell, Why this New Race: Ethnic Reasoning in Early Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005). l. 58 they have killed the prophets: on this deuteronomic theme, attested by LukeActs (see Luke 11:49–51 and Acts 7:52), see François Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (9,51–14,35) (CNT IIIb; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1996) 212–213. l. 58 I have full power: the adjective αὐτεξούσιος designates autonomy, independence, human liberty and free will. Christians applied it to God, to Christ, or to the Trinity to affirm their sovereign authority and unrestrained omnipotence. The devil here usurps this divine power; see the remarkable article, “ἐξουσία,” in Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, s.v. l. 59 six hundred angels: speculations about angels multiplied in ancient Judaism and the first centuries of Christianity; they often rested on the famous account of the fall of the angels in Gen 6:1–4; see 1 En. 6.1–16.4. The Ethiopian version, as well as the Chronography of George Syncellus, who preserved the Greek of the majority of these chapters, specifies that the fallen angels were two hundred in number. Is our text the only one to set their number at six hundred? On angels, see André Caquot, “Hénoch,” in La Bible. Écrits intertestamentaires (eds. André Dupont-Sommer and Marc Philonenko; Bibliothèques de la Pléiade 337; Paris: Gallimard, 1987) 463–490 and Carol A. Newsom, “Angels: Old Testament,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, I, 248–253.


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l. 61 in the desert: see Mark 1:12–13 // Matt 4:1–11 // Luke 4:1–13. l. 65 Saint Peter: if the adjective ἅγιος becoming part of the name of the apostle is not a scribal addition, it provides an indication for dating, since this usage did not spread before the end of the second century (the superscription of the Epistle of Barnabas, which mentions “the holy apostle Paul” is undoubtedly not part of the primitive text and is not attested by all the manuscripts). l. 66 with a bitter and terrible act of purification: we have attached this circumstantial complement to the verb “brought forth”; it could also refer to the verb that follows, “in order to question.” l. 70 the spirit of wickedness: forced by the apostle, the demons reveal their real identity, each of them representing a particular vice. Lists of vices and virtues circulated in ancient Judaism and primitive Christianity (as we see already in Gal 5:19–23). They vary noticeably, and ours does not correspond to any of the others. After their leader, who calls himself “the devil of deception” (ll. 48–49), the demons present themselves in order as the spirit of wickedness, of lies, of adultery, of avarice, and of evil speech (the last does not provide his true identity). One will recall that a list of capital sins became established through the writings of Origen and especially Evagrius of Pontus; see above, pp. 215–217. l. 70 brings near those who are afar: this formula, which refers to the misdeeds of the Evil One, reminds us of the words from the Letter to the Ephesians: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13); see also Eph 2:17. This expression echoes the Old Testament idea that God addresses his message of peace to Israel and to the nations, to those who are near and those who are far (see Isa 57:19). l. 71 seductions: we translate here the word γαργαλισμός, which properly signifies “a tickling.” l. 72 clergy: the word κλῆρος, which signifies first “lot” or “heritage,” designates secondly, in Christian terminology, an ecclesiastical function, then more generically, from the end of the second century, the clergy; see Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, s.v. l. 72 rule: the sense of the word κανών corresponds here to the usage that the first Christians made of it: it corresponds to the rule of faith and to moral discipline, and not yet to the canon of the Scriptures or to the monastic rule; on the canon of the Scriptures, see Jean-Daniel Kaestli, “Histoire du canon du Nouveau Testament,” in Introduction au Nouveau Testament: Son histoire, son écriture, sa théologie (ed. Daniel Marguerat; 2d ed.; Le monde de la Bible 41; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2001) 449–474; Eugene Ulrich, “The Notion and Definition of Canon,” in The Canon Debate (eds. Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002) 22–23; as well as the two recent collective works: Recueils normatifs et canons dans l’antiquité  : perspectives nouvelles sur la formation des canons juif et chrétien dans leur contexte culturel : actes du colloque organisé dans le cadre du programme plurifacultaire “La Bible à la croisée des savoirs” de l’Université de Genève, 11–12 avril 2002 (ed. Enrico Norelli; Publications de l’Institut romand des sciences bibliques 3; Prahins: Zèbre, 2004); Le canon du Nouveau Testament. Regards nouveaux sur l’histoire de sa formation (eds. Gabriella Aragione, Éric Junod, and Enrico Norelli; Le monde de la Bible 54; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2005). l. 74 angrily rebuking him: the method of violent quarrel, which Christ himself did not disdain to use in his exorcisms and healings (for example Mark 1:43 and John 11:33), is here repeated by the apostle; see Campbell Bonner, “Traces of Thaumaturgic Technique in the Miracles,” HTR 20 (1927) 171–181.

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l. 81 they take part in mysteries: the application of the word μυστήριον, in the singular or the plural, to baptism or Communion is attested from the end of the second century; see Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, s.v. μυστήριον F.3; on the usage and interpretation of the term, see Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity (Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism; Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994) 55–84 and passim. l. 82 consecrated bishops and priests: the verb χειροτονῶ in the sense of “appointing,” or “establishing” ministers is attested from the Book of Acts (Acts 14:23); the pair “bishops and priests” or the triad “bishops, priests and deacons,” absent in the New Testament is found in Ignatius of Antioch, (see for example Magnesians 2 and Philadelphians 10.2) and becomes normative by the end of the second century; see The Apostolic Tradition 21, as it has been reconstructed by Bernard Botte, Hippolyte de Rome, La Tradition apostolique d’après les anciennes versions. Introduction, traduction et notes (2d ed.; SC 11; Paris: Cerf, 1968) 80–95. l. 88 adultery: see Matt 5:32; 19:18; Mark 10:11–12; Luke 16:18; Rom 13:9; on the lists of vices and virtues, see above, pp. 215–219. l. 91 cast a spell: see Gal 3:1. l. 92 entering into the glory of God: this expression is without doubt taken from Luke 24:26. l. 95 sighing: see Mark 8:12; Acts Paul IX.22 (p. 4 of the Hamburg papyrus); see Sever Voicu, Index thématiques, s.v. Soupir, in Écrits apocyrphes chrétiens, 1:1765. Angered in spirit: see above the note on line 74. l. 98 avarice: see 1 Tim 6:10. ll. 99–100 the Temple treasury: see Luke 21:1. l. 101 the master of heaven and earth: see Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21. ll. 101–102 thirty pieces of silver: see Matt 26:15; 27:3, 9. ll. 107–8 evil speech: 2 Cor 12:10; 1 Pet 2:1. l. 113 inextinguishable fire: see Job 20:26; Matt 3:12; Mark 9:43; Luke 3:17. l. 115 what power you possess: see Matt 21:23–24, 27; Mark 11:28–29, 33; Luke 20:2, 8. l. 119 you alone wear the image of God: the demons reproach men for their hypocrisy; at the same time that they “wear the image of God” – an expression that recalls 1 Cor 15:49 but with a different context and sense – they commit evil. In the final analysis, the notion of the “image of God” evidently refers to the account of creation (Gen 1:27); the notion is taken up again by the apostle Paul in 1 Cor 11:7 and applied to Christ in 2 Cor 4:4 (see also Col 1:15). l. 120 take communion: the verb κοινωνῶ, in the sense of “take communion,” “take part in the Eucharist,” is not attested in the New Testament; see Friedrich Hauck, “κοὶνος κτλ.,” TWNT III (1938) 798 and 808–809; Lampe, s.v. κοινωνέω B, D and F. l. 120 say a prayer: ποιῆσαι εὐχήν could also signify “pronounce an oath,” “make a vow.” l. 123 Paul, a persecutor: see Gal 1:13; 1 Tim 1:13; Acts 9:4–5; 22:7–8; 26:11,14–15. ll. 126–127 a respecter of persons: the demon reproaches Christ for paying regard to persons, for being a προσωπολή(μ)πτης, whereas Scripture insists, to the contrary, on the impartiality of God and of Christ; see François Bovon, De vocatione gentium. Histoire de l’interprétation d’Act. 10,1–11,18 dans les six premiers siècles (BGBE 8; Tübingen: Mohr Sieback, 1967) 212–224. l. 128 a prostitute, a tax collector: see Matt 21:31–32. ll. 131–132 preach in the world: in addition to the universal mission of the apostles (Matt 28:19–20, Luke 24:47–48 and Acts 1:8), we must mention Peter’s missionary activity


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as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 9:32–11:18), as well as the apostle’s ministry in the Rainer Fragment of the Apocalypse of Peter (Apoc. Pet. 14.3–4); see Paulo Marrassini and Richard Bauckham, “Apocalypse de Pierre” in Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, 1:771. l. 138 I have lost my vigor and have no energy: the apocalyptic theme of the decline and fall of Satan is attested in the Gospel (Luke 10:18), the Apocalypse (Rev 12:7–18) and the Rainer Fragment mentioned in the preceding note. l. 139 everywhere the people have become Christians: at first glance, this assertion, in the fatalistic words of the demon, appears to fit within the frame of the official establishment of Christianity in the fourth century; however, one must recall that Christian apologetics since the second and third centuries insisted on the success of the Christian mission; see Tertullian, Apologeticum 1.6–7; Epistle to Diognetus 6; Minucius Felix, Octavius 8.3–9.2. In his famous correspondence with the Emperor Trajan, Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.96.9–10, admits the great number of those who have become Christians. Among modern works, see Arthur Darby Nock, Conversion (Oxford Paperbacks 30; London: Oxford University Press, 1963) 193–211; Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire (A. D. 100–400) (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1984). We are indebted to Laura Nasrallah who helped us to edit this note. ll. 146–147 it is by a concession of Christ that we dwell upon the earth: in the Hebrew Bible the power of the devil depends on that of God ( Job 1:6–12 and 2:1–6), and in the New Testament he cannot escape the power of Christ (Rev 12–13); see Herbert Haag, Teufelsglaube (Tübingen: Katzmann, 1974); Bernard McGinn, Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994) and Cristian B dili , Métamorphoses de l’Antichrist chez les Pères de l’Église (Théologie historique 116; Paris: Beauchesne, 2005). ll. 147–148 so that his proven faithful might appear: the author has clearly taken the expression from 1 Cor 11:19; see also Rom 16:10; 2 Cor 10:18; Jas 1:12; Wolfgang Schrage, Der erste Brief an die Korinther (1 Kor 11,17–14,4) (EKK VII/3; Zurich: Benzinger, and Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1999) 20–22. ll. 148–149 will receive the crown of victory: the sequence of trial and reward is found in the very similar words of the letter of James: “once tested (δόκιμος γενόμενος) he shall receive the crown of life,” Jas 1:12. As opposed to our fragment, the Scriptures seem to avoid the concrete expression “crown of victory,” which suggests the ancient games, and prefer the phrases “crown of life” ( Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10) and “crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4). l. 153 my little children: No longer a narrator as he was when relating the episode from the life of the apostle Peter, in the end the author becomes a preacher, anxious to draw the moral from his tale. He speaks directly to his audience and addresses them with the diminutive τεκνία, which is at once affectionate and lightly condescending. The usage of this vocative is limited in the New Testament to the Johannine corpus ( John 13:33), particularly to the first letter (1 John 2:1, 12, 28; 3:7,18; 4:4 and 5:21). In Gal 4:19 certain manuscripts have τεκνία in place of τέκνα. ll. 160–161 do not let the sun go down upon your anger: with a slight change in word order, this is a textual citation of Eph 4:26. ll. 161–162 if you do not forgive … yours: this phrase is taken, with a slight change, from Matt 6:15. l. 170 the strong … the weak: the author turns to the Pauline theme of the strong and the weak; see in particular Rom 15:1, as well as 1 Cor 4:10 and Gal 6:2. l. 173 his daughter, full of contrition  – repentance: this lovely expression, it seems, should be attributed to the credit of the author.


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ll. 174–176 but one baptism … one Lord Jesus Christ: the author draws his inspiration from Eph 4:5; he repeats, without attending to the order, the terms βάπτισμα, πίστις and κύριος and adds μετάνοια, which is the key word of the final paraenesis.

Relevant Bibliography for the Manuscript71

Chiesa, Paolo. “Il dossier agiografico latino dei santi Gurias, Samonas e Abibos.” Aevum 65 (1991) 224, n. 16. Devos, Paul. “Appendice. Une recension nouvelle de la Passion grecque BHG 639 de saint Eusignios.” Analecta Bollandiana 100 (1982) 209–228, particularly pp. 210, 213 and 228. Ehrhard, Albert. Überlieferung und Bestand der hagiographischen und homiletischen Literatur der griechischen Kirche. 3 vols. TU 50–52. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1937–52. pp. 1:298–301. Franchi de’ Cavalieri, Pius and Giorgio Muccio. “Index codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Angelicae.” Studi italiani di filologia classica 4 (1896) 144–150. Halkin, François. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca. 3 vols. 3d ed. Subsidia hagiographica 8a. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1957. p. 1:190 (=BHG 1485e). Lipsius, Richard Adelbert. Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden. 2 vols. Amsterdam: APA-Philo Press, 1976. pp. 2:233–235 (on our manuscript) and Ergänzungsheft, pp. 2:225–228 (index for the apostle Peter). Peri, Vittorio. “ΒΙΡΓΙΛΙΟΣ = Sapientissimus. Riflessi culturali latino-greci nell’agiografia bizantina.” Italia Medievale e Umanistica 19 (1976) 1–40, esp. pp. 7–9. Schirò, Giuseppe. “Per l’esumazione di alcuni testi agiografici siculo-italo-greci.” Byzantino-Sicula. Monumenti Omiletica Monachesimo Sigilli Umanesimo Agiografica Monete. Ed. Giuseppe Agnello et al. Istituto sicilano di studi bizantini e neoellenici, Quaderni, 2. Palermo: Istituto siciliano di studi bizantini e neoellenici, 1966. p. 97, n. 64. Winkelmann, Friedhelm. “Die Überlieferung der Passio Eusignii (BHG 638–640c).” Philologus 114 (1970) 276–288, in particular pp. 278, 281–282, and 287.

71 To establish this list, we depended in particular on the card that accompanies the manuscript in the Biblioteca Angelica of Rome. We would like to take this occasion to thank the librarians of this institution for their generous help.

16. From Vermont to Cyprus: A New Witness of the Acts of Philip* To Nancy Patterson Šev enko and Bertrand Bouvier

Introduction Greek Texts on the Apostle Philip The Acts of Philip (BHG 1516–1526d)1 from the manuscript Athous Xenophontos 32, published in 1999, is a long Greek text. It is more extensive than either the Martyrdom edited by Konstantin Tischendorf in the middle of the nineteenth century or the first Acts published by Maximilien Bonnet at the beginning of the twentieth century.2 Between the discovery of the Xenophontos 32 and the publication of the quasi-complete work, I searched for traces of these Acts of Philip in Byzantine literature.3 The Acts of Philip is not the only account that remembers the apostle and evangelist – often blended into a single person – that the Byzantine period has preserved. The most widespread account is that of Symeon Metaphrastes (BHG 1527), which transports the disciple directly from Palestine to Asia, to the city of

* A recently restored icon from Arsos (Cyprus) appears to be an important witness to the newly published Greek Acts of the Apostle Philip. It confirms some episodes attested only by a few manuscripts, the Athos manuscript Xenophontos 32, in particular. 1 BHG is the abbreviation for François Halkin, Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca (3 vols.; 3d ed.; Subsidia hagiographica 8a; 1957; repr. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1986); see also François Halkin, Novum Auctarium Bibliothecae Hagiographicae Graecae (Subsidia hagiographica 65; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1984). 2 Konstantin Tischendorf, ed., Acta apostolorum apocrypha (Leipzig: Avenarius et Mendelssohn, 1851) 75–104; idem, Apocalypses apocryphae … (Leipzig: Herman Mendelssohn, 1866; repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 1966) 141–56; Maximilien Bonnet, “Acta Philippi et Acta Thomae. Accedunt Acta Barnabae,” in Acta apostolorum apocrypha (eds. Richard Adelbert Lipsius and Maximilien Bonnet; 2 vols. in 3; Leipzig: Herman Mendelssohn, 1891–903; repr. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1959) 2.2: 1–90; François Bovon, Bertrand Bouvier, and Frédéric Amsler, Acta Philippi. Textus (CCSA 11; Turnhout: Brepols, 1999). 3 François Bovon, “Les Actes de Philippe,” ANRW II 2.25.6: 4431–527.

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Hierapolis to be precise.4 This text overlooks the presence of the two animals, the leopard and the kid goat. The Synaxarion of the Church of Constantinople (BHG 1528e) follows this example and focuses its attention on the martyrdom without forgetting the presence of Bartholomew and Mariamne.5 The same is true of the Menologion of the Emperor Basil.6 A text of the Menaea of November (BHG 1528f) resumes Acts of Philip 1–7, but does not venture any further.7 Parisinus gr. 1551 (BHG 1528), a Greek manuscript edited in part by Maximilien Bonnet, also presents the contents of Acts of Philip 1–7 before moving to the martyrdom story, and has the particularity of placing the second act, which normally takes place in Athens, after the seventh and situates it probably in Nicatera.8 This document also has three other distinguishing characteristics: 1) It ignores Acts of Philip 8–14, particularly the entry of the trio into the city of Hierapolis (Acts Phil. 13) and the healing of Stachys (Acts Phil. 14); 2) At Nicatera, the opposition to the apostles comes primarily from the Jews, and in this context the apostles are explicitly put in prison; and 3) The two animals are absent from this composition. As its name indicates, the account of the Translatio (BHG 1529) follows the martyrdom story and recounts the transfer of the relics of Philip from Ophiorymos to Hierapolis (the two cities are not confused here).9 The Laudatio (BHG 1530b) edited by Albert Frey insists on the merits of the apostle, but the author knows the Acts of Philip and even refers explicitly to it (lin. 75–152). He makes several allusions or short references to the several acts and the martyrdom story. He seems to allude to Acts of Philip 1, 4, 8, and from 13 till the martyrdom.10 Other texts include the brief Catalogs of the Apostles that situate the ministry of the saint at Hierapolis, and some of these documents point out that he was crucified upside-down.11 Sermon 9 (BHG 1530), written by Nicetas the Paphlagonian in honor of Philip, insists on the apostle’s ministry in Asia and on his martyrdom at Hierapolis.12 The Laudatio (BHG 1530c) by Philagathos of Cerami

4 PG 115, 188–97. On Symeon, see Christian Høgel, Symeon Metaphrastes: Rewriting and Canonization (Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Museum Tusculanum, 2002). 5 Hippolyte Delehaye, Propylaeum ad Acta Sanctorum Novembris … Synaxarium Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae (1902; repr. Brussels, 1954) col. XLVI–XLIX. 6 PG 117, 160–61. 7 PG 105, 183–96. This text leaves the episode at Athens as the second act. A new witness of this text (BHG 1528f) is the Greek manuscript Sinaiticus gr. 577. 8 Bonnet, “Acta Philippi,” 91–98. 9 Montague Rhodes James, ed., Apocrypha Anecdota (TS 2.3; 1893; repr. Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1967) 158–63. 10 Albert Frey, “L’‘Éloge de Philippe, saint apôtre et évangéliste du Christ’ (BHG 1530b),” Apocrypha 3 (1992) 165–209. 11 Theodor Schermann, Propheten und Apostellegenden nebst Jüngerkatalogen des Dorotheus und verwandter Texte (TU 31.3: Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1907) 266–69; Richard Adelbert Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellegenden (2 vols. with a supplement; 1883–1890; repr. Amsterdam: APA-Philo, 1976) 2.2: 25–26. 12 PG 105, 164–84.


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(published also under the name Theophanes Kerameus) consists of a meditation on the New Testament passages on Philip, particularly the first chapter of the Gospel of John.13 What the Byzantine historian Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos recounts about Philip does not go beyond that of Symeon Metaphrastes; his account focuses on Philip preaching and suffering at Hierapolis. It is even less complete than the metaphrastic one.14 As for the monk of Saint-Sabbas Ioasaph who finished his days at Mount Athos at the end of the nineteenth century, he recounts in popular Greek (in his great black hardbound notebook) a fairly complete life of the apostle,15 which follows Acts of Philip 1–7 before unfolding the account of the martyrdom at Hierapolis.16 In brief, with the exception of the Laudatio (BHG 1530b), none of these witnesses displays an exhaustive acquaintance with the Acts of Philip. They most often know only the account of the martyrdom. Occasionally they bear witness to the first acts but ignore the ones that follow. The presence of the two animals, the leopard and the kid, is not always noted, and not extensively when it is. Occasionally, even Bartholomew and Mariamne are absent. Finally, it is sometimes the victory of the apostle over the viper, to which the city renders a cult, and sometimes the conversion of Nicanora, the wife of the governor who repels her husband, that precipitates the persecution that befalls the apostolic trio. A Byzantine Icon of the Apostle Philip Not long ago, during one of the splendid falls for which New England is famous, I paid a visit to Dr. Nancy Patterson Šev enko, a historian of Byzantine art, at her home in Vermont. At one point in the conversation she inquired of me: “I trust that you know the icon of Philip preserved in a small town on the island of Cyprus?” As I confessed my ignorance to her, she made for her library and brought me a thin book written by Kostas Gerassimou and Kyriakos Papaioakeim, published in Larnaca in 1997.17 Since that time, I have learned through that book that the small town of Arsos was a place of pilgrimage and that St. Philip, who is venerated at this locale, performed miracles there.


PG 132, 884–96. Filagato da Cerami, Omelie per i Vangeli domenicali e le feste di tutto l’anno (ed. Guiseppe R. Taibbi; testi e monumenti, testi 11; Palermo: Istituto siciliano di studi bizantini e neoellenici, 1969) 111–17. 14 Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos, Hist. eccl. 2.39 (PG 145, 860–61); see Bovon, “Les Actes de Philippe,” 4455–456. Nikephoros does not mention the role played by Nicanora’s conversion as prologue to the martyrdom of the apostle. 15 Athos, Megisti Lavra, Z 59, 76–95. 16 For a few other Greeks texts and the different versions, see Bovon, “Les Actes de Philippe,” 4437–456. 17 Kostas Gerassimou and Kyriakos Papaioakeim, Ο άγιος Φίλιππος. Η μεγάλη εικόνα του άγίου εις Άρσος (13ου αἰώνα) (Larnaka: Hiera Metropolis Kitiou, 1997).


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Professor Bertrand Bouvier gave me a few pages to read on Arsos from Rupert Gunnis’s famous old guidebook.18 When a conference brought Bouvier to Cyprus, he was kind enough to visit Arsos for me in the company of his wife, Mrs. Michelle Bouvier-Bron and Dr. Stella Frigerio-Zeniou, a specialist in Cyprian frescoes and icons. There he met Mr. Kostas Gerassimou, who not only showed him around but gave him a computer disk with excellent pictures and permission to publish them (which I am doing here with gratitude). He also received a more recent book on Arsos that has a few pages on the apostle Philip and his sister Mariamne. The book includes an interesting article by Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou on the icon.19 Then, in May of this year, Dr. Nancy Patterson Šev enko gave me a paper by a Greek historian of art, Titos Papamastorakis, who wrote a few pages on the Arsos icon in his study of the vita icons.20 Attached to the church consecrated to St. Philip at Arsos, there is a chapel consecrated to Mariamne. The saint is venerated on November 14th and his relics on July 31st. The apostle’s sister, Mariamne, is venerated on February 17th. The presence of both the relics and the icon explain the success of the sanctuary at Arsos from the thirteenth century till today. Although the icon was known for some time it did not arouse much interest, for its origin was believed to be late, dating from the seventeenth century. Other than Philip’s portrait, to my knowledge there are no iconographic representations of his life or its events. Here – suddenly – there is a witness to the long text of the Acts of Philip: a large set of images that are more complete than all the Byzantine texts put together, with the exception of the Xenophontos 32.

18 Rupert Gunnis, Historic Cyprus: A Guide to its Towns and Villages, Monasteries and Castles (London: Methuen, 1936) 178–79. 19 E. Ioakeim, Άρσος, υπὸ την σκέπη του Αποστόλου Φιλίππου (with the collaboration of Christodoulos Chatz christodoulou; Leukosia: Syndesmos Apantyx s Koinot tas Arsous, 2004). On Philip and Mariamne, see pp. 133–34, 306, and 308–9. On the icon, see pp. 282–88. 20 Titos Papamastorakis, “Pictorial Lives. Narrative in Thirteenth-century Vita Icons,” ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ ΜΠΕΝΑΚΗ 7 (2007) 33–65. This author is right in insisting on the connections between the Arsos icon and the text on Philip preserved in the Parisinus Gr. 1551. But he exaggerates the differences between this document and the corresponding part in the complete Acts of Philip. Further, he does not realize that some scenes of the icon, such as the entry into Hierapolis (thirteenth scene) and the healing of blind Stachys (fourteenth scene), are absent from the Parisinus gr. 1551 and can only refer to the complete version of the Acts of Philip. Finally he does not admit that the text of such apostolic legends was fluid and that the painter of icons was not slavishly committed to an immutable plot.


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I. Description

The Images

A recent restoration has brought this icon back to its original beauty. It consists of a superb portrait of the saint, beardless and young, framed by eighteen scenes that relate his acts and his martyrdom (fig. 1). This type of “decorated” icon is called a hagiographical icon, a historiated icon, or more commonly, a vita icon.21 The overall dimensions of the icon are impressive: 150 cm high and 108 cm wide. The portrait of Philip that occupies the central space measures 118 cm high and 77 cm wide. The narrative scenes that frame the central portrait should be read from left to right and from top to bottom. The first of the narrative scenes is the only one that recounts an event from the canonical gospels (fig. 2). It presents the calling of the apostle according to the Gospel of John 1:43: “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’” All the other scenes depict events from apocryphal accounts of the saint’s life. The second scene (fig. 3) recalls the resurrection of the son of the widow according to Acts of Philip 1.1: “When Philip the apostle went forth from Galilee, a widow was carrying out for burial her only child, who was all she had. Now the apostle was very distressed in his soul when he saw the miserable old woman.” The third image (fig. 4) evokes Philip sailing to the country of the Candaceans as Acts of Philip 3.10–11 recounts it: “Then Philip went by sea to the borders of the Candaceans, and he found there a ship about to sail for Azotus, and he said to the sailors: ‘Take me, O sailors, and bring me also to Azotus.’ And he agreed to give them four staters as a fare, and he went on board with them. And when they had sailed some four hundred stadia, a strong wind came up, so that the ship was endangered.” The fourth scene probably depicts the baptism of Charitine, a young girl, and members of her family (fig. 5). Although the text of the Acts of Philip does not mention Charitine’s sister or mother, the image corresponds to a passage from Acts of Philip 4.6: “Then her father also believed even as his daughter did, and they were considered worthy of the seal in the Lord.” A friend of the king, the father carries the name of Nicocleides and he exercises the function of an archivist. But who is the second feminine figure? One thinks first of her mother, but under scrutiny this figure looks younger and may well be a sister of Charitine. The fifth scene (fig. 6) describes what precedes the baptism, the healing of Charitine: “When Philip, the servant of Christ, was saying these things Charitine,  

21 See Nancy Patterson Šev enko, “Vita Icons and ‘Decorated’ Icons of the Komnenian Period,” in Four Icons in the Menil Collection (ed. Bertrand Davezac; The Menil Collection Monographs 1; Houston: Menil Foundation, 1992) 57–69; eadem, “The Vita Icon and the Painter as Hagiographer,” DOP 53 (1999) 149–65.


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the daughter of Nicocleides, who had a severe disfigurement in her right eye, was weeping as she listened to the apostle through the entire night” (Acts Phil. 4.4). In dialogue with the girl, “Philip replied to her: ‘Rise and spread your right hand over your face as you say “in the name of Jesus Christ, let the disfigurement of my eye be cured.”’ So she did just as he told her, and at that moment she was immediately cured and she was glorifying God” (Acts Phil. 4.5). It is appropriate to point out that the icon does not evoke a self-healing, and the inscription speaks of leprosy and mentions a woman rather than a young girl. The sixth scene (fig. 7), which shows the healing of the hand of a young man named Aristarchus, who confronted the apostle, must correspond to what is recounted in Acts of Philip 6.10, then 11 and 12: A young Jew in the assembly takes Philip by the beard,22 “yet Philip felt no pain, but being mildly angered by those present, he said: ‘Look, I tell you that this hand will be withered and your ears painfully deaf, and your right eye maimed ….’ And his right hand hung withered.” A little later “Philip turned to Ireus and said: ‘Approach and place your right hand upon his head and make the sign of the cross of Christ, and he will be cured.’” The seventh scene is more difficult to interpret (fig. 8). The inscription claims that it depicts an exorcism. The Acts of Philip are content to mention – and only once – some exorcisms in the midst of a summary: “Also many demons as they were being driven out of people were crying out like they were being whipped and they were saying: ‘Have you come here, Philip, to drive us from this place? Look, we admit to being defeated by the name of Jesus’” (Acts Phil. 4.1). I wonder, then, whether, in spite of the inscription, we are not dealing with an episode recounted in Acts of Philip 6, the freeing of slaves: “And the father of the boy and his mother glorified God exceedingly. And he ordered all the slaves whom they had promised to set free to come to the place where the boy had been raised. And when Philip fixed his eyes on the slaves, he said to them: ‘Slaves until today, but now free people through Christ, do no neglect your own salvation!’” (Acts Phil. 6.21). Four arguments plead in favor of this hypothesis. First, the freeing of the slaves follows in close sequence the Aristarchus episode in Acts of Philip 6, as the seventh scene follows the sixth on the icon. Second, in the Acts of Philip the freeing of the slaves is a narrative episode while exorcisms are only mentioned in a summary in Acts of Philip 4. Third, most of the stories in the Acts of Philip bring Philip in contact with an individual; but in the freeing of the slaves here in the seventh scene, Philip encounters a group. Here and there a group comes to meet Philip. Fourth, it may be that the nudity of the people approaching Philip is a conventional way of representing slaves.

22 There is a discrepancy here between the text and the image: the icon always shows the apostle Philip as beardless in contrast to the apostle Bartholomew.


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The eighth scene (fig. 9) depicts the saints persecuted by the Jews: “But when the crowd saw Ireus standing there they were enraged and said, ‘Let us not listen to Ireus, but let us do what we are daring to do!’ And they approached Philip in order to whip him” (Acts Phil. 6.7). The ninth scene (fig. 10) illustrates the welcome that Ireus reserves for the apostles: “‘Rise, enter into my house, and rest yourself in peace.’ Then Philip quickly reported to him everything that had happened in his house” (Acts Phil. 5.12). And later, “When Philip heard this he began to teach: ‘Blessed are those who are straightforward in the word of Jesus ….’ And Ireus was glad, because Philip entered into his house” (Acts Phil. 5.25–26). In the tenth scene we encounter an image whose interpretation is not undemanding (fig. 11). Two options present themselves. According to the first, the scene depicts an imprisonment of the apostles. Indeed, in Acts of Philip 5–7 the apostles encounter opposition, but they do not end up in prison. I would like, therefore, to discard this hypothesis. According to the second, which I intend to retain, the scene represents the lodging of the apostles in an abandoned building that they commandeer. It is possible that the image depicts the building as consisting of storehouses: “‘Who will receive me as a guest in this city?’ As he was thinking these things, suddenly a beautiful child appeared to Philip on his right side, pointing out to him a shelter among some storehouses in which many foreigners were lodging. So Philip went in as a foreigner. Now the storehouses belonged to a certain great archivist” (Acts Phil. 4.2). But an option that may be more reasonable is that the image depicts a dispensary mentioned later: “Once they had entered the city, the apostles found a vacant dispensary near the gate in which no doctor was established” (Acts Phil. 13.2). The eleventh scene portrays the resurrection of a young man (fig. 12). But which resurrection is it? There is a resurrection in Acts of Philip 1 that has already been represented in the second scene. Perhaps this could be the resurrection that comes at the conclusion of the dispute between Philip and the high priest in Acts of Philip 2, the resurrection of the son of a dignitary, suffocated by a demon: “And he [Philip] said to the man: ‘Bring your son to me, and I will give him back to you alive through my Christ’…. [He] raised him up, and delivered him alive to his father” (Acts Phil. 2.23). But it seems more likely to me that the scene presents the resurrection narrated in Acts of Philip 6. Here Philip is engaged in another dispute with the Jews, but the scriptural combat becomes also a competition of thaumaturgies: “Nereus, the father of the one who had died, said: ‘Let my only son be raised’…. Then with no further delay, Philip, after looking up to heaven, said a prayer, and when he approached the stretcher, he laid his hands upon the boy” (Acts Phil. 6.19–20). Theophilus, such is the name of the young man, thus resuscitates and leaps from his bedding. The twelfth scene (fig. 13) represents the victory of the apostle, probably over the high priest Ananias: “And immediately the earth was split open below the


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place where Ananias stood …. And in that moment the earth opened its mouth and received him as far as his neck …. The high priestly garment, however, detached itself from his body and flew away” (Acts Phil. 2.18, 21, 23). One could also ponder whether the scene does not represent the conflict that opposes the apostle to the Jew Aristarchus in Acts of Philip 6 (but he does not sink into the earth) or the dispute between Philip and the proconsul in Acts Phil. Mart. 27 (but the proconsul is not Jewish). One may affirm without hesitation that the thirteenth scene depicts the entry of the apostolic group into the high place of the cult of the viper in the city, sometimes called Ophiorymos or Hierapolis (fig. 14). “When they reached the city limits, behold, there were two large dragons in front of the city gate, one on the right side and one on the left, keeping watch lest any stranger enter the city. For by breathing upon them, they would blind their eyes. As the apostles were entering, the dragons raised their heads, and when they saw them at the gate they were roaring to one another. But when Philip looked toward them they saw the ray of light of the Monad, shining in his eyes, and in that moment they turned their heads aside and they died” (Acts Phil. 13.3). The meaning of the fourteenth scene (fig. 15) is also clear. It describes the healing of blind Stachys: “Now there happened to be near that place the house of a rich man named Stachys, who had been blind for forty years. When he heard Philip saying these things as he sat by his window, he wept before his children and said: ‘Help me and take me to those people residing at the gate; for they are able to heal my eyes and grant me light’…. So after the sons with his slaves rose and took hold of his hands, they led him to the apostles” (Acts Phil. 14.1–2). And later: “Then, after he stretched out his right hand and took hold of Stachys, Philip said: ‘Attach yourself to me, you who have lingered in your blindness on account of your ignorance’” (Acts Phil. 14.6). Even if it does not mention explicitly a prison, Acts of Philip Martyrdom 14 clearly supposes an arrest of the apostolic group: “And having returned plenty of anger to the torturers who were accompanying him, he [the proconsul Tyrannognophos] said: ‘Bring me these agitators!’ The torturers rushed into the house of Stachys, arrested Philip, Bartholomew, Mariamne, as well as the leopard and the goat, and brought them forcibly.” It is certainly the result of this arrest that the fifteenth scene depicts (fig. 16). The sixteenth scene registers the martyrdom (fig. 17). But it does not depict the torture inflicted – as Papaioakeim proposes – on Bartholomew.23 Since the man who is suspended upside-down is beardless and the icon consistently represents Bartholomew wearing a rich beard, whereas Philip is a young beardless man, the

23 Gerassimou and Papaioakeim, Ο άγιος Φίλλιπος, 38. On the contrary, Chatzichristodoulou in Ioakeim, Άρσος, 287, is correct in identifying Philip here.


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figure can only be the apostle Philip. We read in Acts of Philip Martyrdom 19: “They pierced the ankles of Philip, brought hooks, passed the nerfs de boœuf across his heals and hung him upside-down on a tree located before the door of the sanctuary.” The seventeenth scene (fig. 18) is perplexing. It depicts the crucifixion of an apostle. While one might immediately expect it to be the apostle Philip (since the icon is devoted to him), there are two details that – on the contrary – seem to suggest Bartholomew: the apostle has a beard and the end of the name Bartholomew appears in a readable section of the partly erased inscription ( μαιος).24 Should we take this as an error on the part of the painter, who should have represented Philip? Note the following quotations from the text: “When the crowds came up [from the abyss], they looked at Philip and saw him hanging head downwards …. Then Philip, still hanging there, addressed them and said …. Therefore, do not grieve because I am hanging in this way; for I bear the type of the first human brought head downwards upon the earth and am once more being made alive through the cross of wood from the death caused by transgression” (Acts Phil. Mart. 32–34, recension Γ). But one should not forget that Bartholomew is also tortured. He is hung on a wall: “And they stretched out Bartholomew facing Philip, and they pinned his hands to the wall of the temple gate” (Acts Phil. Mart. 19, recension Γ). Bartholomew, however, does not die at that moment, for Philip obtains for his companion the following favor: Bartholomew will be released from his cruel position. This would explain why, on the icon, Bartholomew is back to normality in the next scene, where he mourns Philip in the company of Mariamne (scene eighteen). One should also not forget that in Acts Phil. Mart. 31 (recensions Γ and Θ) the Lord announces that Bartholomew will later die by crucifixion in Lycaonia. The painter may have presented this scene as an anticipation of that event. The eighteenth and final scene represents the remains of Philip immediately preceding his burial (fig. 19). While hanging upside-down during his passion, the apostle instructs as follows: “Now as for me, I am going to the Lord; take my body and prepare it for burial in leaves of Syrian paper and do not place a shroud on me, because the body of the Lord was wrapped in linen cloth. When my body has been prepared for burial in the paper leaves, bind it with papyrus cords, and bury it in the church” (Acts Phil. Mart. 37).

See Papamastorakis, “Pictorial Lives,” 63 (endnote 56 of p. 53).  



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Fig. 1: The vita icon of the apostle Philip in the Church of St. Philip, Arsos (Cyprus). Pictures by Kostas Gerassimou and Kyriakos Papaioakim. Courtesy of Mr. Gerassimou and Mr. Papaioakim.

Fig. 2: The calling of Philip by Jesus.


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Fig. 3: The raising of the Son of the widow.

Fig. 4: The dangerous sailing episode.

Fig. 5: The baptism of Charitine and her family.

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Fig. 6: The healing of Charitine.

Fig. 7: The healing of Aristarchos.



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Fig. 8: The freeing of slaves, or the collective exorcism.

Fig. 9: The confrontation with the Jews.

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Fig. 10: The Apostle Philip in Dialogue with Ireos.

Fig. 11: The lodging of the apostles in an abandoned building or the imprisonment of the apostles.



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Fig. 12: The resurrection of Nereus’ son.

Fig. 13: The victory of the apostle over the high priest.

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Fig. 14: Entry of the apostolic group into the city of the Viper.

Fig. 15: The healing of the blind Stachys.


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Fig. 16: Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne in prison.

Fig. 17: The torture of the apostle Philip.

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Fig. 18: The crucifixion of Bartholomew or Philip.

Fig. 19: The apostle Philip’s remains.



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The Inscriptions Certain inscriptions are easily readable and correspond to what we expect, such as the one that accompanies the first scene where we read the names of St. Philip and Jesus Christ and the command recorded in John 1:43: “Follow me!” If one does not take offense at the spelling, one quickly recognizes the inscription on the second scene: “The saint resuscitating the dead” (Acts Phil. 1). The third amplifies the topic of the represented scene by stating, “saint saves the boat,” which indicates that the painter knew the account of the storm that was calmed and of the avoided shipwreck (Acts Phil. 3). The inscription accompanying the sixth scene does not pose a problem: it evokes the healing of the young man’s paralyzed hand in Acts of Philip 6. The same goes for the inscription on the eleventh scene, “The saint resuscitating the dead (man)” (Acts Phil. 2 or 4), as well as for the inscription on the twelfth scene, “The saint sending the high priest alive into Hades” (Acts Phil. 2). The inscription on the thirteenth scene is also easy to read: “The saints enter into Hierapolis” (Acts Phil. 13). The inscription on the fourteenth scene, which announces the miraculous healing of blind Stachys (Acts Phil. 14), is partly erased. The fifteenth states: “The saints seated (difficult to read) in prison” (Acts Phil. Mart.); and finally the eighteenth: “The last care given to the saint” (Acts Phil. Mart.). In certain cases, the inscription is erased and even an on-the-spot examination may not allow for its reestablishment. This is true of: the fourth scene (the baptism of Charitine and her parents, Acts Phil. 4); the ninth scene (the reception by Ireus, Acts Phil. 5 or 6); and the sixteenth scene (the torture of the apostle hanging by his feet, Acts Phil. Mart). The inscription on the seventeenth scene is difficult to read, but one can discern the end of the name Bartholomew and mention of the hanging (Acts Phil. Mart.). In other cases the inscription is problematic. Thus the fifth scene is accompanied by the following caption: “The saint heals the face of the woman afflicted with leprosy.” Nothing in Acts of Philip 4 states that Charitine was afflicted with leprosy. The text of Acts says that the young girl suffered in her eye and was ashamed to present herself disfigured. The image agrees therefore with the text of the Acts of Philip and not with the inscription. Nothing in the illustrated scene indicates that the suffering comes from leprosy. The image, however, departs from the text of the Acts of Philip on one point: in the story the young girl is commanded to heal herself, while in the image it is the apostle who performs the miracle.25 Personally, I wonder if the writer of the inscriptions sometimes has it wrong. This is the case when he speaks of an exorcism of demoniacs in the seventh scene, which probably depicts the freeing of the slaves recorded in Acts of Philip 6.  

25 The text BHG 1528, represented by the Parisinus gr. 1551, specifies that the girl’s eye was afflicted with leprosy.

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And he simplifies the persecution of the saints, attributing it wholly to the Jews (eighth scene), when at Nicatera it is the citizens of the city – of whom some are Jews – who attack Philip (Acts Phil. 6).26 The same can be said of the scene where the three apostles are seated “in prison” (tenth scene), for the text of the Acts of Philip does not mention any imprisonment at the time but only the search for a modest lodging (Acts Phil. 4 or 13).27

II. Interpretation The Presence of the Animals Two animals accompany the apostolic group, beginning in the second scene – that is, from the resurrection of the widow’s son (the equivalent of Acts of Philip 1, although in the literary work they do not appear until Acts of Philip 8). At first glance, the figure appears to be only a leopard accompanied by its black shadow. But a more attentive look, focused in particular on the ninth scene (the apostles received by Ireus), reveals that the black figure is not the shadow of the leopard but the silhouette of the kid goat: we can see clearly the small beard and two horns that are beginning to grow. Whereas numerous literary witnesses demonstrate their theological reserve in regard to the participation of the animal world in Christian redemption and eradicate the presence of the leopard and the kid, the painter of the icon, at the instigation of the Acts of Philip themselves, retains the memory.28 He does not go, however, so far as to depict either their conversion or their desire for baptism and participation in holy communion. The Absence of Nicanora While the numerous manuscripts of the martyrdom indicate the role that the conversion of the governor’s wife played in Philip’s martyrdom, no scene from the icon makes a place for Nicanora. It is as if the iconographer had to choose between two causes. He retains the victory of Philip over the cult of the viper and foregoes the conversion of the spouse of Tyrannognophos as the cause of

26 Here again BHG 1528, represented by Parisinus gr. 1551, attributes the opposition to the Jews of the city. 27 The document BHG 1528, represented by the Parisinus gr. 1551, mentions an imprisonment at this point. 28 On the presence and meaning of animals in the apocryphal acts of the apostles, see Christopher R. Matthews, “Articulate Animals: A Multivalent Motif in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles,” in The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Harvard Divinity School Studies (eds. François Bovon, Ann Graham Brock and Christopher R. Matthews; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999) 205–32; Janet E. Spittler, Animals in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: The Wild Kingdom of Early Christianity (WUNT 2.247; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008).


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the persecution. As my list of Byzantine memories of the apostle Philip shows,29 the painter of the Arsos icon is not the only one who omits the role played by Nicanora and her husband in the persecution of the apostolic group. The Presence of Mariamne Stepping away from the Acts of Philip themselves, there are certain Greek texts and several versions relating to the apostle that ignore his sister.30 In the eyes of many orthodox, the Acts of Philip presents her as too active: Does she not baptize there? Does she not teach? But from the end of antiquity the place of women in the life of the Church is well delimited – confined to a few charitable responsibilities and subordinated. It is remarkable then that the icon at Arsos, like the Acts of Philip, has preserved the memory of Mariamne and her ministry.31 However, just as certain manuscripts of the Martyrdom of Philip tend to limit the ministerial functions of this woman, the icon of Arsos, while admitting the existence of Philip’s sister, progressively diminishes her importance. She is fully present at the beginning, in the second scene that recounts the resurrection of the widow’s only son (Acts Phil. 1). But she is half-hidden behind her two male companions in the sixth scene that depicts the healing of the young man with the paralyzed hand (Acts Phil. 6). Then she disappears almost completely in the seventh scene, the liberation of the slaves (or the exorcism of the demoniacs) (Acts Phil. 4 or 6). She reappears however toward the end of Philip’s life, in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and eighteenth scenes. The Selection of Episodes All creation implies selection. The person who commissioned the painting, the iconographer, or the painter of the model that the iconographer copied, was not able to represent all the episodes in the Acts of Philip such as he knew them; furthermore, he may not have had at his disposal exactly the same text of the Acts of Philip as we find in Xenophontos 32. It is fitting then to examine what he retained, and to attempt to understand the reasons behind his choices and omissions. I have already mentioned certain absences, such as the reception of the animals into the community of believers, and the episode of Nicanora and her husband Tyrranognophos.

29 See in particular Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos’ account on the apostle Philip, above, n. 14. 30 See for example the Laudatio (BHG 1530b). For the versions see Bovon, “Les Actes de Philippe,” 4437–443. 31 See François Bovon, “Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip,” in Which Mary: The Marys of Early Christian Tradition (SBL Symposium 19; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002) 75–89.

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If one follows the sequence of the scenes that frame the portrait of the apostle Philip, one notices a significant beginning. The first scene, the calling of Philip, corresponds to the presence of Philip in the Gospel where he is most evident, namely, in the Gospel of John. In so doing, the painter perhaps intends to secure biblical authority for the whole story, particularly for the following noncanonical narratives. He then moves to events that take place at the beginning of the Acts of Philip: the resurrection of the widow’s only son as he leaves Galilee (second scene, Acts Phil. 1) and the crossing of the ocean in a boat (third scene, Acts Phil. 3). The attentive viewer notices – and this is hardly a surprise – that at this point Acts of Philip 2, which takes place at Athens, is not represented here. We know that this episode appears secondary in the Acts of Philip and that its position in the overall work is uncertain.32 On the Arsos icon it comes later (perhaps scene eleven and certainly scene twelve). The next two scenes rejoin Acts of Philip 4, the healing of Charitine. However, one must note that, at times, artists allow aesthetic demands to take precedence over narrative logic. Thus the fourth scene, which probably represents the baptism of Charitine and her parents, is depicted before the healing of the young woman that, according to the narrative, takes place beforehand. I see a reason for this inversion: in situating the baptism first, in the upper right corner, the artist had at his disposal a horizontal rectangle that was suitable for presenting the baptism of the group and a vertical rectangle for the healing of the young girl walking to the encounter with the apostle. Moreover, placing the healing of the young woman at the left edge of the icon served as a counterpart for the healing of the young man, the scene that follows, placed at the right edge. The iconographer then concentrates on the episodes that play out at Nicatera and make the character of Ireus famous. There are no less than five scenes devoted to Acts of Philip 5–6; the Acts of Philip 7 episode that recounts the construction of a church, which is dispensable to the development of the story and could be an addition, is absent from the icon. I recognize first the healing of the young man who was punished by the apostle (sixth scene, Acts Phil. 6), then the freeing of the slaves (I maintain this interpretation rather than the one that interprets the seventh scene as a collective exorcism, Acts Phil. 6). Next is the discussion with the public assembly, the Jews in particular, including Aristarchus, who ends up inflicting evil treatment on the three saints (eighth scene, Acts Phil. 6). Then there is the welcome that Ireus offers to the apostolic trio (ninth scene, Acts Phil. 5, implicitly at the end of Acts Phil. 6). And finally, the incarceration of the three saints (tenth scene, implicitly Acts Phil. 6), which one must perhaps understand rather as lodging in an available facility – i.e. in an archival depository (Acts Phil. 4) or an abandoned dispensary (Acts Phil. 13).

32 As I mentioned earlier, the text BHG 1528, represented by the Parisinus gr. 1551, places the episode later in the narrative. It does not seem to be the only one that chooses that option.


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Frédéric Amsler and Christopher Matthews have shown, each in his own way, that the intrigue of Acts of Philip 6 resembles that of Acts of Philip 2 at Athens, and that Acts of Philip 2 is probably a rewriting of Acts of Philip 6.33 I also have said that Acts of Philip 2, the episode at Athens, was not solidly anchored in second rank. The viewer is therefore not surprised to see the resurrection of the young man and the defeat of the high priest as the eleventh and twelfth scenes. The identification of Philip’s victory over his adversary from Jerusalem (twelfth scene) is easy, for one sees in the scene the ground splitting apart and swallowing the high priest Ananias up to his head, as well as the priestly habit that takes off into heaven to be preserved until this day (Acts Phil. 2). As for the resurrection (eleventh scene), it is either the one found in Acts of Philip 2 or – more likely – its counterpart in Acts of Philip 6, the resuscitation of the young Theophilus, son of Nereus. It looks like the iconographer had at his disposal a version of the Acts of Philip that had the content of Acts of Philip 2 in the place of Acts of Philip 6: the punishment of the high priest in the abyss and the rescue of his garment, represented in the twelfth scene, is absent in Acts of Philip 6 and present in Acts of Philip 2. To this I add the fact that the upper horizontal part of the icon moves straight from Acts of Philip 1 to Acts of Philip 3, thereby ignoring Acts of Philip 2. As I stated earlier, the iconographer does not represent the conversion of the animals (Acts Phil. 9 and 12). I add here that he does not mention further the two victories over the dragons (Acts Phil. 9 and 11). We should recall that Acts of Philip 10 is lost; I do not think that it is represented on the icon. We come then to the arrival of the apostolic group to Ophiorymos, which takes place in Acts of Philip 13. Here in the thirteenth scene the identification is clear: they near the city, represented by a city wall with a gate, two towers, and one house. They have just achieved a decisive victory over the two serpents that, as genuine sentinels, forbade those who are not followers of the cult of the viper access to the city. Defeated, the reptiles writhe in pain before dying while the apostle and his companions ready themselves to enter the city. What comes next is logical and corresponds to the plot of the Acts of Philip. One sees the healing of Stachys (Acts Phil. 14, fourteenth scene), the imprisonment of the three saint apostles (Acts Phil. Mart., but implicit only in the written text, fifteenth scene), the torment of Philip hung upside-down (Acts Phil. Mart, sixteenth scene), the temporary torture or the prophesied crucifixion of the apostle Bartholomew (Acts Phil. Mart, seventeenth scene), and the repose of Philip, the holy martyr, wrapped in his paper bandages from Syria and laid in his coffin (Acts Phil. Mart.). In summary, the major scenes that are absent from the icon are the destruction of the dragons (Acts Phil. 9 and 11), the conversion of the animals and their

33 See Frédéric Amsler, Acta Philippi. Commentarius (CCSA 12; Turnhout: Brepols, 1999) 86–127; Christopher Matthews, Philip, Apostle and Evangelist: Configurations of a Tradition (Supplements to Novum Testamentum 105; Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2002) 156–97, esp. 186–89.


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request for holy communion (Acts Phil. 8 and 12), the asceticism of Nicanora and the anger of her husband, the governor Tyrannognophos. Other elements, many of which would be difficult to illustrate, also do not figure in the scenes that frame the portrait of St. Philip. These include Philip teaching, the unexpected arrival of the apostle John at Ophiorymos, Philip’s error that subjects his enemies to public scorn, the intervention of the eagle, the storm, and the mob.


The icon at Arsos is an impressive witness to the cult of Philip during the Byzantine period. It is particularly valuable since this cult was never very popular and the surviving memories are few. Compared to the triumph that Peter and Paul achieved at Rome, or that John gained at Ephesus, the success of the apostle Philip in Phrygia remained modest. Rare, this witness of Cyprian origin is very precious. Its value increases if one admits, as I have a tendency to do, that the iconographer and his commissioners had in their hands a copy of the Acts of Philip. The analysis shows that the artist took a measure of liberty with the text, as was customary. It may also be that his text of the Acts of Philip was not exactly the same as the one provided by the Athos manuscript Xenophontos 32. In neglecting the Acts of Philip 8–12 it is consistent with the other main manuscript of the Acts of Philip, the Vaticanus gr. 824. At some places the icon shares the opinion of the summary BHG 1528, represented by the Parisinus gr. 1551. But the Arsos icon and the Xenophontos 32 manuscript are the two unique witnesses to Philip’s victory over the snakes at the city gate (Acts Phil. 13). The Arsos icon is also the exceptional witness to many episodes in the apocryphal acts: from the resurrection of the widow’s son in Galilee and the dangerous sailing episode, to the healing of Charitine and the restoration of sight to Stachys; from Ireus’ hospitality and the opposition of the town meeting, to the presence of the leopard and the kid; from the apostle’s instructions to wrap his body with strips of paper from Syria, to his agony of being hung upside-down. A two-fold task remains for future research, regarding 1) the origin of the icon and 2) the origin of the cult of Philip and Mariamne on Cyprus during the first half of the thirteen century C. E. Where was the Arsos icon painted? Is it a Cyprian production, since there is no documented vita icon from Constantinople?34 Or does it come from another part of the Byzantine Empire (Sinai, for example)? On the flip side, did the cult of the apostle first develop in Constantinople, the relics being transferred from the capital to the island35 in order to protect them

34 I owe this information to a recent conversation with Dr. Nancy Patterson Šev enko. She also added that no sources indicate that such vita icons were used in Constantinople. 35 I am also indebted to Dr. Nancy Patterson Šev enko for the following references concerning the translation of Philip’s relics on July 31: Konstantin C. Doukakis, Μέγας Συναξαριστὴς


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from the Frank invasion? Or should we imagine the constitution of this cult on Cyprus itself? Should we consider it to be the result of a Western initiative under the Lusignan dynasty to counterbalance an Eastern influence? Regarding the origin of the cult, I opt for the first solution – a relocation from the capital – since the second solution does not explain the presence of Greek manuscripts about the apostle Philip in other parts of the Byzantine Empire, and the third solution does not take into sufficient consideration the fact that the Latin story of Philip36 is quite different from the story told by the icon and the Greek Acts of Philip.

Post Scriptum

This paper had already been sent to the editor of Apocrypha when I met briefly with Professor Annemarie Weyl Carr at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D. C. Dr. Carr is a historian of Byzantine art and an expert on Cyprus. In a long letter (April 15, 2010) she drew my attention to an article by Ioannes A. Eliades (Ιωάννη Ηλιάδης, “Η προσκυνηματική εικόνα του αγίου Φιλίππου στο Άρσος Λεμεσού,” Ορθόδοξη Μαρτυρία 74 [Φθινόπωρο 2004] 9–12). She also told me the importance of this paper: “Eliades’ study opens with a study of the scenes of the arrival of the relic of St. Philip’s skull in Cyprus in the Lusignan period that are depicted on the reliquary of the skull, now in the monastery of the Holy Cross, Omodos, in Cyprus. The reliquary was made in 1774, replacing the original one, but the scenes on it still show the Lusignan-era church and portray both the Latin lord, ΤΖΕΡΝΙΖΟΣ, and a figure labeled ΜΠΑΛΟΒΙΝΟΣ ΦΙΛΑΝΔΙΑΩΕ [= ΦΛΑΝΔΡΙΑΝΩΗ?] – presumably Baldwin of Flanders, thus plausibly one of the two Latin emperors of Constantinople by that name. This suggested to Eliades that the relic had come from Constantinople in the time of or as a gift from one or the other Baldwin. Indeed, the sole and beloved son of the second Baldwin (1228/1237–1261) was named Philip; Baldwin was with Louis IX in

πάντων ἁγίων (14 vols.; Athens: Papageorgiou, 1889–1897) 7:485–87; and Enrica Follieri, I calendari in metro innografico di Cristoforo Mitileneo (2 vols.; Subsidia hagiographica 63; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1980) 1:265 n. 261. 36 For the Latin story, see BHL 6814–817; BHL is the abbreviation for Socii Bollandiani, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina Antiquae et Mediae Aetatis (2 vols.; Subsidia Hagiographica 6; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1898–1901) 6814–817; see also Henryk Fros, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina Antiquae et Mediae Aetatis: Novum Supplementum (Subsidia Hagiographica 70; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1986); Bovon, “Les Actes de Philippe,” 4437–438. In the West, in the Latin texts as well as the iconographic documents (for example the large painting by Domenico Muratori in the Church of the Twelve Apostles at Rome, dated 1704), Philip dies after a victory over the god Mars and the expulsion of a monster in the company of James the Minor, and not in the presence of Bartholomew and Mariamne. See Bovon, “Les Actes de Philippe,” 4437–438. James however is not mentioned in the chapter on Philip in Jacobus of Voragine’s Golden Legend; see Jacques de Voragine, La Légende dorée (eds. Alain Boureau et al.; La Pléiade 504; Paris: Gallimard, 2004) 351–53.

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Damietta, and who knows  – might have had reason to court the Lusignans.” Dr. Carr goes on to give her understanding of the icon itself. Here is what she writes: “The panel itself is a complex one. I suspect that it is a composite, with the wide frame added around an originally unframed panel. Certainly the central figure is of a different date from the scenes surrounding it. It is of superb quality, from the thirteenth century – probably pretty early in the century, and most likely to have been made by a painter trained in Constantinople. This would not exclude his being a Cypriot, and the patterns in the plaster relief of the saint’s halo, which are repeated in other thirteenth-century Cypriot icons (though not quite so early as this), suggest that the icon was made on Cyprus. I think Eliades is quite right in suggesting that the icon was made in response to the translation of the relic.” Three elements emerge from this conversation with Dr. Carr and from my reading of Eliades’ paper. First, a historical situation has been suggested as well as a connection with the Lusignan dynasty. Second, it is probable that the icon was made in response to the translation of the saint’s relics from Constantinople to Cyprus. Third, it is possible that the icon has been elaborated in two phases: first, in the early-thirteenth century, the central figure; then, perhaps in the early-fourteenth century, the eighteen scenes that frame the portrait of Saint Philip. This hypothesis however should be verified through an examination of the material support of the icon. Besides Dr. Carr, I would like to thank Prof. Bertrand Bouvier, Prof. John Duffy, Dr. Bruce Beck, Prof. Kimberley Patton, and Father Joachim, Librarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology for their help.

17. Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003)

Pierre Bonnard was a teacher, introducing divinity students and laypeople to the historical and theological significance of the New Testament through the means of a careful philological reading. He was an intellectual leader as the editor of the Protestant Swiss periodical Revue de théologie et de philosophie, founded in 1868. In collaboration with J. Dupont, he prepared an incisive reading of the Lord’s Prayer and with a group of New Testament scholars and theologians a common translation and interpretation of the epistle to the Romans. This was the beginning of the first French ecumenical translation of the Bible (Traduction Œcuménique de la Bible; 1972 for the New Testament, 1988 for the whole Bible). Bonnard was also a church authority: influential in his denomination, the Église libre du Canton de Vaud, a minority denomination in which he worked with colleagues and friends of the other Protestant denomination of his country, l’Église nationale protestante du Canton de Vaud, for a successful reunification of these churches in 1966. He taught from 1945 to 1966 at the Faculté de théologie of the Église libre du Canton de Vaud and from 1966–1978 at the Faculté de théologie of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, leading generations of students to a right understanding of the Gospels and Pauline epistles. In France, he led many groups of laypeople of the Équipes de recherches bibliques. Bonnard’s intellectual and spiritual world must be interpreted from within his denomination, a church independent from the state, intellectually alive, marked by an intellectual tradition and a constant eye turned toward Germany. R. Guisan had, a generation before Bonnard, shared this double allegiance to the present intellectual discourse, mostly in conversation with historians, and to the ancient spiritual history, mostly in conversation with theologians. The heavy influence of Karl Barth on Bonnard’s generation brought a third element, namely, the theological dimension, to his philological and historical reading of the New Testament. These multiple activities as an instructor and church leader, in combination with his conviction of the primary role of personal encounter and oral teaching, did not prevent Bonnard from writing an impressive series of books and articles. One of Bonnard’s first works is a thin but incisive volume on the topic of edification in the New Testament (1948). Against the dominant tendency of liberal Protestant exegesis in his time, the Swiss scholar refused to directly connect the concepts of edification and personal faith. According to him, the Hebrew

17. Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003)


Bible as well as the New Testament notion of edification has first a communal aspect comprising the people of Israel and the early church. Individualism, as 1 Corinthians shows, is the major threat to the edification of the community. God and Christ are the major architects of this construction, but they delegate this function to the apostles and even to the members of the congregation. The guiding principle of edification is not the building itself but the presence of God in the community and the readiness to welcome the Lord. The motive of edification is not simply rhetorical, for many dangers threaten the construction. It is mainly in the cult of the church that Paul saw the best defense against moral and doctrinal individualism. Bonnard is respectful of this historical evolution and suggests, for example, that the epistle to the Ephesians, not written by the apostle, transformed the Pauline concept of edification into an allegory, even as it kept its christological core. One of Bonnard’s many talents was to explain texts, and his dissertation, presented to the Faculté autonome de théologie protestante of the University of Geneva, is nothing less than a full commentary of the Gospel of Matthew. His understanding of the First Gospel coincides with the first intuitions of redaction criticism. It is impressive to note that Bonnard’s work on Matthew appeared around the time Gunther Bornkamm launched this new method in Germany (with G. Barth and H. J. Held, Überlieferung und Auslegung im Matthäusevangelium, 2d ed., 1961) and K. Stendahl paid particular attention to the exegetical devices of Matthew (see The School of Saint Matthew and Its Use of the Old Testament, 1954) by comparing them with the newly discovered scrolls from the Dead Sea caves. As he argues in the preface of the second edition of his commentary, Bonnard sees a Christian community, not solely its leaders, as the first readers of the Gospel of Matthew. The author considers himself their teacher. As the instructor of this community in a historical situation, the Evangelist tries to give his audience tools to apprehend the situation and listen to Jesus Christ, the teacher of the past and the Lord of today. He does so through a redactional reinterpretation of Mark, Q and other special materials. As a historical example, Bonnard addresses the situation of Syria: the Matthean community had to defend the recollections of Jesus, of which the origin lay in Galilee and Jerusalem, in the struggle with the synagogue after the destruction of the temple and before the expulsion of the Christians from the Jewish worship. Ultimately, Matthew showed his readers how to be disciples of the Lord in a sense that was at last concrete. In addition to Matthew, Bonnard read and interpreted Pauline epistles. An active member of the team of the Commentaire du Nouveau Testament, published first by Delachaux et Niestlé in Neuchâtel, then by Labor et Fides in Geneva, he commented on two of Paul’s genuine epistles, Philippians and Galatians. His exegetical interests led him to read finally the Johannine corpus. His commentary of the Johannine epistles, unduly neglected, is a masterpiece of New


17. Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003)

Testament scholarship. The introduction to this volume presents in less than ten pages a convincing reconstruction of the Johannine community through three generations. This history of the Johannine trajectory should be compared with the views of R. E. Brown (The Epistles of John, 1982) and J. Becker (Das Evangelium des Johannes, vol. 1, 1979). The first and most influential of the papers gathered in Bonnard’s essays, which also lends its name to the collection, is entitled “L’anamnèse, structure fondamentale de la théologie chrétienne au Ier siecle” (first edition published in 1961, second edition in 1971, final edition in the volume Anamnesis, 1980). The author prefers to speak of “structure” of faith and avoids the term “essence” in his references to Christianity. He considers that the early Christians were able to avoid two diametrically opposed temptations: the simple keeping of memories of the past of Jesus and the enthusiastic invocation of the Spirit. The Ebionites represented the group who succumbed to the danger of passéisme, or nostalgic historical reconstruction, and the author of the Odes of Solomon represented the Christians who succumbed to the danger of actualisme, or the use of the present as the key for interpreting the past. What Bonnard calls anamnèse is the solution that allows for avoidance of these two temptations. Anamnesis for the first Christians meant the presence of the Lord in the respectful memory of the past: the past of the cross, of Jesus’ ministry, of the people of Israel. Paramount to Bonnard’s position was that the risen Christ of today has lived and spoken in history. The Eucharist, in particular, was the place and the time in which this anamnesis occurred. As Bonnard stated, “le point décisif est celui d’une actualité sotériologique constituée par la célébration d’un fait historique, fondateur du salut ‘dernier’” (“the decisive point is the one of a soteriological actuality constituted by the celebration of a historical fact, foundation of a ‘last’ salvation,” 1980, 5). Among Bonnard’s key theological motifs are the following: God’s centrality and his majesty (in the Calvinist tradition of the Soli Deo Gloria); the primary role of God’s righteousness and its expression in Christ’s death on the cross (Pauline heritage); the strong criticism of any reduction of Christian faith to a mere spirituality; the valorization of community over the danger of individualism; the political and social dimension of the Christian kerygma (for these three aspects, Bonnard’s dependence was on socialism, not on Marxism); and the decisive role of memory: in the belief that Christianity has to do with the past of Israel and with Christ’s incarnation, Bonnard asserts that revelation is not in front of the church but behind the church. Christians have to “remember” in the active way of the zakar the Hebrew Bible. It is not perchance that Bonnard devoted a short monograph to the topic of “edification” of the church and that his collection of essays carries the title Anamnesis.

17. Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003)


Works Anamnesis: Recherches sur le Nouveau Testament. Geneva: Lausanne, and Neuchâtel: Revue de théologie et de philosophie 1980. With a bibliography of Bonnard’s work on 219–22. (Cahiers de la Revue de théologie et de philosophie 3). L’Épitre de saint Paul aux Galates. Neuchâtel, Delachaux & Niestlé, 1953. (CNT 9). L’Épitre de saint Paul aux Philippiens. Neuchâtel, Delachaux & Niestlé, 1950. (CNT 10). Les Épitres johanniques. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1983. (CNT 13c). L’Évangile selon saint Matthieu. Neuchâtel: Delachaux & Niestlé, 1963. 2d ed., 1970. 3d ed., 2002. (CNT 1). Jésus-Christ édifiant son Église: Le concept d’édification dans le Nouveau Testament. Neuchâtel: Delachaux et Niestlé, 1948. (Cahiers théologiques de l’actualité protestante 21).

Studies Marguerat, Daniel. “Pierre Bonnard (1911–2003): In Memoriam.” RTP 135 (2003) 289–97. Marguerat, Daniel and Jean Zumstein, eds. La mémoire et le temps. Mélanges offerts à Pierre Bonnard. Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1991. (Le monde de la Bible 23). Molla, Claude F. “Les épîtres johanniques.” RTP 117, 4 (1985) 305–11. Smyth-Florentin, Françoise. “Bonnard, Pierre, 1911–2003,” Foi et Vie 102 (2003) 3–7. Zumstein, Jean. “Pierre Bonnard, exégète du Nouveau Testament.” Hommage à Pierre Bonnard. Bulletin du Centre Protestant d’Études 7–8 (1978) 5–12.

18. Jacques Dupont (1915–1998)

Though he was never a university professor, Dom Jacques Dupont was an exceptional teacher and a great exegete as well as one of the most influential and prolific French-speaking Roman Catholic biblical scholars of the second half of the twentieth century.

I. Life

Born in 1915 in Liege, Belgium, Dupont became a priest in 1940. After the customary sacerdotal education, he entered the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Louvain. At the same time, he enrolled in the university’s Orientalist Institute. Despite his degree in Oriental philology and history, he turned to the study of the New Testament under the influence of his advisor, Lucian Cerfaux. In 1946, he received his doctorate in theology with a dissertation entitled La Sagesse de Dieu dans les Épîtres de saint Paul. He then took a degree in biblical studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1948. In the following year, he was appointed maître agrégé the Faculty of Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain with a book that would establish his scholarly reputation, Gnosis. La connaissance religieuse dans les épîtres de saint Paul. His intellectual education was completed with periods of study in Paris at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, with a diplôme under the direction of Oscar Cullmann (Syn Christôi. L’union avec le Christ dans les épîtres de saint Paul, published in 1950) and in Jerusalem at the École Biblique. For many years Dupont taught at the Studium of the Benedict Abbey at Saint-André-lez-Bruges. In 1970 he became a Benedictine monk and spent most of his life at the monastery of Saint-André de Clerlande in Ottignies, Belgium, a daughter institution of Saint-André-lez-Bruges. From 1964 to 1965 he participated in the Second Vatican Council, as did Father Béda Rigaux, as the advisor to A.-M. Mgr. Charue, bishop of Namur. Between 1984 and 1985 he was president of the international and interdenominational Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. Most important have been the many lectures that he was invited to give in southern Europe, particularly in Italy, and in South and Central America. His influence has been immense in countries of Romance languages. His impact has been less tangible in American, British, and German scholarship. This was one

18. Jacques Dupont (1915–1998)


of the undue results of the Germanic and Anglo-Saxon predominance of that period. He was beloved by his students in Italy, Spain and Brazil. He died September 10, 1998 (on his life see Ghuesquière, 3–5, and Standaert).

II. Work Dupont’s first monographs were devoted to the apostle Paul, but his following works dealt with the book of Acts. He had been asked to prepare the volume on the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible de Jérusalem. Following this, he published seminal articles on the Second volume of Luke’s double work. See his Études sur les Actes des apôtres (1967) and Nouvelles Études sur les Actes des apôtres (1984). Particularly important are a status quaestionis on Acts (1900–1950) and his paper on “Le salut des Gentils et la signification théologique du livre des Actes.” One of Dupont’s strengths was his sovereign knowledge of the current state of scholarship in all modern languages. Another characteristic of his investigations was the examination of Luke’s theological identity. Trained in the period of form criticism, Dupont added to this methodological approach redaction criticism. One of his original books was the review study on the question of sources in the book of Acts (Les sources du livre des Actes. État de la question [1960]; ET The Sources of the Acts: The Present Position [1964]). Paralleling his interest in Acts, Dupont turned to the Synoptic tradition and the Gospels. No one should ignore his masterful three volumes on the Beatitudes. Approaching these works the scholar realizes one of Dupont’s merits: for him scholarship was a never-ending task, and in this period he turned to revise his work and update his articles. The first volume of his Béatitudes was completely revised and expanded in a second edition. An initial example of Dupont’s theological method and exegetical practice is one of his readings of the book of Acts. Among his many contributions to Acts is his 1977 address to the Louvain Journées Bibliques, “La conclusion des Actes et son rapport à l’ensemble de l’ouvrage de Luc.” It is an admirable analysis of the last chapter of Acts, Paul’s ministry in Rome. Through a redactional analysis, the Belgian exegete showed that, far from missing a narrative on Paul’s death, Acts 28 was a perfect ending of Paul’s stay in Rome, of Paul’s long ministry, of the book of Acts and of the whole work of Luke. Small philological details, as well as literary devices such as inclusions, parallelisms and narrative progression, led him to the formulation of his literary and theological conclusion. The second example of Dupont’s practice is his reading of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55). Many commentaries insist on the social and/or spiritual dimensions of Mary’s prayer. For Dupont, though the religious and political implications


18. Jacques Dupont (1915–1998)

of the Magnificat were certainly evident, the hymn was ultimately, in his view, a manifesto on God, a God whose power would in the end liberate the oppressed. A final example is Dupont’s understanding of Jesus’ parables, as they are illustrated in Pourquoi des paraboles? La méthode parabolique de Jésus (1977). Dupont was aware of Adolf Jülicher’s sharp criticism of any dogmatic and allegorical reading of the parables, nor was he ignorant of Dodd’s interpretation featuring “realized eschatology” and of the more recent renewed interest for the parable as metaphor. He knew also Joachim Jeremias’ understanding of Jesus’ parables as polemic language. In this context, he again read the Gospels and discovered a limpid solution, so simple that it had long been overlooked in the course of theological discourse on the texts. Jesus’ parables were a tool Jesus chose to communicate with his audience. From a linguistic standpoint, the parables were used not to instruct but to ask for answer and to call for a decision. If Dupont never wrote a commentary, he explained to his students essentially every passage of the Synoptic Gospels, and the two-volume collection of his papers on the Synoptic Gospels also in essence covers every passage. Dupont’s approach is aligned with the theological, addressing the redaction of each Gospel, as well as the weight of the tradition and the impact of the historical Jesus. What he finds finally is the manifestation of God’s love for the poor and God’s intervention to reestablish God’s salvific righteousness. Works

Les Actes des apôtres. Traduction et notes. With introduction by L. Cerfaux. La Sainte Bible traduite en français sous la direction de 1’École biblique de Jérusalem. Paris: Cerf, 1964. Les Béatitudes. 3 vols. Paris: Gabalda, 1954–1973. vol. 1. Rev. ed., 1958. Reprinted 1969. Le discours de Milet, testament pastoral de saint Paul (Ac 20, 18–36). Paris: Cerf, 1962. (LD 32). Essais sur la christologie de saint Jean. Le Christ, parole, lumière et vie. La gloire du Christ. Bruges: Éditions de l’Abbaye de Saint-André, 1951. Études sur les Actes des apôtres. Paris: Cerf, 1967. (LD 45). Études sur les évangiles synotiques. 2 vols. Louvain: Louvain University Press and Peeters, 1985. (BETL 70A-B). Gnosis. La connaissance religieuse dans les épîtres de saint Paul. Louvain and Paris: E. Nauwelaerts, 1949. 2d ed., 1960. Nouvelles études sur les Actes des apôtres. Paris: Cerf, 1984. (LD 118). Pourquoi des paraboles? La méthode parabolique de Jésus. Paris: Cerf, 1977. Lire la Bible 46. Les sources du livre des Actes. État de la question. Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1960. ET with additions, 1960. ΣΥΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΩΙ: L’union avec le Christ suivant saint Paul. Première partie: “Avec le Christ” dans la vie future. Bruges: Éditions de l’Abbaye de Saint-André; Louvain: E. Nauwelaerts; Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1952. Les tentations de Jesus au désert. Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1968. (Studia Neotestamentica, Studia 4).


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Les trois apocalypses synoptiques (Marc 13; Matthieu 24–25; Luc 21). Paris: Cerf, 1985. (LD 121).


Angelini, M. G. and G. Barbaglio, eds. Testimonium Christi. Scritti in onore di Jacques Dupont. Brescia: Paideia, 1985. Anonymous. “Bibliografia degli scritti di Jacques Dupont.” Testimonium Christi. Scritti in onore di Jacques Dupont. Brescia: Paideia, 1985. xix–lxiii. Ghesquière, Théodore. “Les étapes de la vie d’un moine exégète.” À cause de I’Évangile. Études sur les Synoptiques et les Actes, Mélanges offerts à Dom Jacques Dupont. Ottignies: Éditions de l’Abbaye de Saint-André. Paris: Cerf, 1985. (LD 123). 3–5 Neirynck, Frans. “L’exégèse catholique en deuil. R. E. Brown – J. Dupont.” ETL 74 (1998) 506–16. Refoulé, F. “Bibliographie du Jacques Dupont,” À cause de l’Évangile. Études sur les synoptiques et les Actes, Mélanges offerts à Dom Jacques Dupont. Ottignies: Éditions de l’Abbaye de Saint-André. Paris: Cerf, 1985. (LD 123). 809–26 Standaert, Benoît. Au carre jour des Écritures. Le Père Jacques Dupont, moine exégète. Ottignies: Publications de Saint-André, 1998.

19. The Woman at the Window: A Study in Intertextuality Between Aeschylus and the Book of Judges

In the Bible that I used to read in the evening as a youth, I made a note in the margin, alongside verses 28 to 30 of the fifth chapter of Judges: “See Aeschylus, the beginning of Persians.” I have never forgotten this parallel and I am happy today, having at last made a small investigation of it, to present the results to the readers.1 Chapter 4 of the book of Judges recounts a victory over Sisera, achieved jointly by the prophetess Deborah, a charismatic leader of Israel, and Barak, the courageous warrior of Nephtali. The imposing army belonging to Sisera, the king or general of Canaan,2 comprises nine hundred chariots of fire ( Judg 4:2–3). The Song of Deborah in chapter 5 is a song of victory, one of the most ancient texts in the Hebrew Bible. The traditional date of this text has long been placed in the 12th century B. C., even though the date maintained by various recent scholars ranges between the 10th and 8th centuries B. C.3 After an invitation to praise, an invocation, a declaration of faith, a mention of the social and political situation of the times and some new invitations to sing ( Judg 5:2–12), the hymn evokes the battle preparations, the battle itself, the routing of Sisera and his humiliating death ( Judg 5:13–27). Here is what we read immediately afterwards: Out of the window she peered, the mother of Sisera gazed through the lattice: “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?” Her wisest ladies make answer, indeed, she answers the question herself: “Are they not finding and dividing the spoil? – A girl or two for every man;

First published in French in Κορυφαίῳ ἀνδρί. Mélanges offerts à André Hurst (eds. Antke Kolde et al.; Recherches et rencontres 22; Geneva: Droz, 2005) 587–94. I thank Margot Stevenson for her excellent translation of this article into English. 2 He is general by the orders of King Jabin of Hazor in Judg 4:2. Sisera is presented as king in Judg 5:28–30. 3 See J. Alberto Soggin, Le Livre des Juges (CAT 5b; Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1987) 74–75.  



19. The Woman at the Window

spoil of dyed stuffs for Sisera, spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for my neck as spoil?” ( Judg 5:28–30)4

The Song concludes with these words:

“So perish all your enemies, O Lord! But may your friends be like the sun as it rises in its might.” ( Judg 5:31)5

At the beginning of Persians, we find ourselves, as here, in the camp of the beaten enemies, in the presence of women who undergo the historical event.6 In a dramatic way, Aeschylus evokes anxious waiting on the part of Atossa, the mother of the king of the Persians, the enemies of Greece; she leaves her palace in order to see what is happening. Yet she, the mother of Sisera, ignores her son’s defeat: “But look, [announces the leader of the chorus] here is a light like the eyes of the god, the mother of our king, my Queen. I bow low before her.”7 Atossa then says: For this very reason I have left the gold-decorated palace and the chamber which belongs to Darius and myself, and have come here. My heart, too, is racked with anxiety, and to you, my friends, will I make a disclosure. (Persians, 159–162)

4 The language of the Song of Deborah, being archaic, is difficult. See the philological remarks of C. F. Burney, The Book of Judges (2d ed.; London: Rivingtons, 1920) 154–157. 5 On the song and the role of women in the book of Judges, see Baruch Margalit, “Observations on the Jael – Sisera Story ( Jgs 4–5),” in Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom (eds. David P. Wright et al.; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1995) 629–641; Robert B. Chisholm, “The Role of Women in the Rhetorical Strategy of the Book of Judges,” in Integrity of Heart, Skillfulness of Hands: Biblical and Leadership Studies in Honor of Donald K. Campbell (eds. Charles H. Dyer and Roy B. Zuck; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1994) 34–49, esp. 38–39; Corinne Lanoir, “Le livre des Juges, l’Histoire et les Femmes,” Foi et Vie 96 4 (1997) 55–71. 6 See Aeschylus, Les Suppliantes – Les Perses – Les Sept contre Thèbes – Prométhée enchaîné (ed. and trans. Paul Mazon; 6th ed.; Collection des Universités de France; Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1953) tome I; Aeschylus, Les Perses (ed. Jacqueline de Romilly; Érasme; Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1974). About the queen Atossa and her dream, see James C. Hogan, A Commentary on the Complete Greek Tragedies: Aeschylus (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984) 225; about the patriotic and ideological tendencies of Aeschylus, see Thomas Harrison, “Aeschylus, Atossa and Athens,” in Ancient Iran and the Mediterranean World: Proceedings of an International Conference in Honour of Professor Józef Wolski held at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, in September 1996 (ed. Edward D browa; Electrum 2; Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 1998) 69–86; about the queen herself, Patricia Crespo Alcalá, “Los personajes femeninos en la tragedia de Esquilo entre la acción y la pasión,” in El fil d’Ariadna. Universitat de València, 3–5 de maig 2000 (eds. Francesco De Martino and Carmen Morenilla; El teatre clàssic al marc de la cultura grega i la seua pervivéncia dins la cultura occidental 4; Le Rane/ Studi 29) Bari: Levante, 2001) 83–105; for a commentary about the dream and some philological explanations, see Alain Moreau, “Le songe d’Atossa, Perses 176–214,” in Les Perses d’Eschyle (eds. Paulette Ghiron-Bistagne et al.; Cahiers du groupe interdisciplinaire du théâtre antique 7; Montpellier: Université Paul Valéry, 1993) 29–51. 7 Persians, 150–152. English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth in volume I of Aeschylus (2 vols; LCL 145; London: W. Heinemann; New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1926).


19. The Woman at the Window

While awaiting the messenger (who will be a messenger of misfortune) the queen recounts a premonitory dream and receives some consolation from her advisors. A first explanation for the kinship between these two texts comes to mind: situations of war (victor/vanquished) and social and political situations (man/ woman; common people/royalty), having been such as they were in antiquity, it was inevitable that similar events should unfold in analogous circumstances. The kinship between these two texts seems to me, however, to go deeper. Attributing this kinship to coincidence – an accident of similar circumstances – is insufficient. The contrary solution – to claim a direct literary dependence of one text upon the other, i.e. of the Hebrew book of Judges upon the Greek dramatist – while equally daring, is not much more compelling, notwithstanding that the Greek version of Judges did not yet exist. Rather than direct literary dependency, I instead believe that the two texts are linked together by intertextuality, in virtue of a common literary motif. I would call this literary motif “the woman at the window.” Such a motif was formed, fixed, and diffused throughout the literature of the period. One finds, indeed, in Hebrew and Greek literature, examples of scenes “at the window” or “upon the walls,” where women, whether wives or spouses, matrons or maidens, wait and observe, patiently or impatiently, nourished equally by fear and by hope. Indeed, the content of this waiting can vary. In one instance, the woman – most often the mother of the hero – is worried about the return of her son who has left for the war and, as she depends upon him, about her own fate. In another, the woman – the spouse, lover or mistress – hopes to catch a glimpse of his coming or to espy the presence of the man she loves and who attracts her. In the second book of Kings, the violent plight of war is exposed: Jehu has killed Joram, king of Israel, and enters Jezreel. Meanwhile, in the moments just prior to being thrown violently from the ramparts at the command of Jehu, Jezebel, the anxious queen mother, places herself at her window to observe: “When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; she painted her eyes, and adorned her head, and looked out of the window” (2 Kgs 9:30). Jezebel can no longer be anxious here except about her own fate, since she has just learned of his tragic death.8 In the book of Proverbs, we come across the plight of love in times of peace. Here, Wisdom herself, in such manner as a woman, observes from the window: “For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, and I saw among the simple ones, I observed among the youths, a young man without sense.” (Prov 7:6–7)  

8 See also 2 Sam 6:16 and 1 Chr 15:29: at the window, Michal, the daughter of king Saul, watches the young king David who takes the ark to Jerusalem and dances before the sacred object. The relation between Michal and David is composed of love and mistrust. See finally Qoh 12:3: the author speaks of old age, of the day when “those who look through the windows see dimly.”

19. The Woman at the Window


In his didactic concern, the author of the book of Proverbs exhibits the unbecoming predicament of a youth who is seduced by a prostitute, in order the better to bring out the value of moral norms (Prov 7:8–23). Instead of seeing a sage who might fall in love with her, Wisdom perceives here a fool who allows himself to be carried away by her rival, the woman of bad conduct. The sixth book of the Iliad recounts the last visit of Hector to his spouse Andromache and the last kiss that the father gives to his son Astyanax. The arrival of Hector is a surprise for his wife. The Trojan princess had done what every woman does who is anxious about the general fate of the battle and the particular destiny of her husband: she has left her room in order to go to see. So speaking Hector of the glinting helmet left her. He went straight to his own pleasant house, but did not find the white armed Andromache at home – she had gone with her child and a fine-dressed maid and was standing on the tower in wailing and lamentation. (Il., 6.369–373)9

To review, the literary motif of the “woman at the window” exists in two types. In the first type, the woman worries about the return of her son or husband from the war. In the second, the woman is concerned about a lover. The second situation, the scene between lovers, exists also in the Greek tradition. For example, it is recounted that Phaedra, observing from the height of the temple of Aphrodite, looks at Hippolytus as he trains in the adjacent stadium.10 Ovid recounts the story of the poor and unfortunate Iphis who kills himself out of spite. Anaxarete is of high birth and has neglected him, unmoved as she watches the funeral procession pass from her window. The divinity, who is doubtless Aphrodite, does not put up with such indifference. She literally petrifies Anaxarete.11 Ovid adds that even now a statue of the young girl can be found in Salamis (Cyprus), in addition to a temple consecrated to Aphrodite, who bends over to watch. These literary motifs have weight due to their relation to the mythic world of gods and goddesses. There exists indeed, as one has just seen, a description of Aphrodite bending towards the window in order to observe. At Trezene, the city that faces Athens from the other coast of the Saronic Gulf, Aphrodite used to be venerated as κατασκοπία, “she who observes.”12 At Cyprus and in 9

English translation by Martin Hammond in The Iliad (Penguin Classics; New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 1987). Further below, the housekeeper explains to Hector the absence at the house of his mistress: “She has gone to the great tower of Ilios, because she had heard that the Trojans were failing, and the Achaians winning a great victory.” (Il. 6.386–387) 10 See Pausanias Descr. 2.32.3 11 See Ovid, Metamorphoses 14.698–764; and Plutarch, Dialogue on Love 20 (Moralia 766C– D). 12 See Pausanias, Descr. 2.32.3; see also Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge, L’Aphrodite grecque. Contribution à l’étude de ses cultes et de sa personnalité dans le panthéon archaïque et classique (Kernos supplément 4; Athens: Centre international d’étude de la religion grecque antique, 1994) 176–181, 185 n. 97, 413 and 468.


19. The Woman at the Window

Phoenicia, she is adored in a similar way as “she who bends over to observe,” παρακύπτουσα.13 By necessity and without doubt, the origin of Aphrodite may be placed in the Semitic world, in Phoenicia. Aphrodite is similar to Astarte. It is equally advisable to search in this Semitic world for the origin of the literary motif of the woman at the window. In fact, it seems fitting that so many Canaanite texts, as well as iconographic representations from this region, show the presence of a goddess who observes from a window. Archaeologists have even contributed an argument from material culture: Canaanite palaces used to have windows, furnished with a trellis, which permitted queens, princesses and other noble women to enjoy an accessible vantage point upon the world, without themselves being visible from the exterior.14 That these women desired to see various and sundry events – be it the outcome of the war or a chance lover – pertains to the social life of that time, just as is the case today. The condition of women, fortunately, however, has changed.15

13 In the Plutarch passage to which I refer here (see n. 11) it is the punished girl who has the name of παρακύπτουσα, but, as in the case of Phaedra (see n. 10) there is a close rapport between the human and divine levels, i.e. between the girl and the goddess. The Latin equivalent of παρακύπτουσα is prospiciens, just as Ovid teaches us in Ovid, Metamorphoses 14.759–761; about the goddess at the window, see Mitchell J. Dahood, “Canaanite-Phoenician Influence in Qoheleth,” Bib 33 (1952) 30–52 and 191–221, esp. 213–215; Wolfgang Fauth, Aphrodite Parakyptusa. Untersuchungen zum Erscheinungsbild der vorderasiatischen Dea Prospiciens (Abhandlungen der Geistes und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse, Jahrgang 1966, 6; Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, 1967); William F. Albright, “Some CanaanitePhoenician Sources of Hebrew Wisdom,” in Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East presented to Professor Harold Henry Rowley (eds. Martin Noth and D. Winton Thomas; VTS 3; Leiden: Brill, 1969) 1–15, esp. 10; William McKane, Proverbs: A New Approach (Old Testament Library; London: SCM, 1970) 334–335; Jean Rudhardt, “Quelques notes sur les cultes chypriotes, en particulier sur celui d’Aphrodite,” in Chypre des origines au moyen âge (ed. Denis van Berchem; Geneva: University of Geneva, 1975) 109–134, esp. 121; V. Pirenne-Delforge, L’Aphrodite grecque, 358–359; Michael D. Coogan, “The Goddess Wisdom – Where Can She Be Found? Literary Reflexes of Popular Religion,” in Ki Baruch Hu: Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Baruch A. Levine (ed. Robert Chazan et al.; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1999) 203–209. On the verb παρακύπτω, see W. Michaelis, παρακύπτω, TWNT (10 vols.; Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1954) 5:812–814. 14 See especially W. Fauth, Aphrodite Parakyptusa. 15 One should mention here the παρακυπτικόν, the opening which, from the gallery of a church or another public place, gave the Byzantine emperor and his imperial family a view that dips towards the altar, the arena, or the ring; see E. A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (From B. C. 146 to A. D. 1100) (Memorial Edition; 2 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914) s.v. παρακυπτικός, ή, όν; A. P. Kazhdan, “parakuptikon,” The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (3 vols.; New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) 3:1585. At Constantinople, such an opening existed at Saint Sophia, Saints Sergus and Bachus, and in the imperial box of the Hippodrome. In the Occident, one finds similar devices in the churches and princely chapels, for example at the royal chapel at Versailles. I thank here Bertrand Bouvier, who offered many helpful suggestions about this article and this point in particular.

19. The Woman at the Window


To return to our two particular cases, I would voluntarily impute Aeschylus’ literary decision to Orientalism.16 What could be more natural for a Greek author who wishes to evoke the defeat of the Persians, the enemies of his country, than to revert to an Oriental or Semitic motif? This Semitic motif portrays the queen, princess, spouse or goddess as one who, anxious about the future, tries to see the outcome of the battle! Our two texts share features in a more precise and particular way, in that both are the expression of a people who are small in number yet proud to have carried off a decisive battle against a nearby enemy, the latter renowned for their overwhelming superiority. In both, it is the mother of the king – not just any woman – who makes herself of dramatic concern. Finally, another tragic characteristic that the two share amounts to an anxiety that lacks wisdom and understanding. This anxiety is expressed upon the foundation of an accomplished disaster. On the one hand, the motif of the woman at the window, who is delighted to watch and proud to be admired, found a place in the art and music of the Occident; one may consider Mozart’s Don Juan,17 Goethe’s Faust, and Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande.18 On the other hand, the other motif (which we have discussed) has not disappeared, namely, that of the mother or the spouse who longs to see the return of her son or her husband who has left for the war. Here, one recalls the song, “Malbrough s’en va-t-en guerre.” The image of the woman as the vehicle of a double motif is that of the woman who is habitually confined in her chamber and always submissive to the world of men. Such social “givens” and assumed norms will change in the modern era, due to an evolution of morals and conscience. Certainly a woman at the window will appear once more. But this woman, like the “Mère Royaume” of “l’Escalade” at Geneva, will participate actively and autonomously in the defense of the city.19 Post scriptum: Since the publication of this paper, professor Klaus Balzer from Munich (Germany) drew my attention to an ivory carving from Nimrud, with a woman at the window. I reproduce here the picture and part of the explanation from The Ancient Near East in Pictures relating to the Old Testament (ed. James

16 I use this term while aware of the ideological weight placed upon it by European scholarship from the 19th century; see Edward W. Saïd, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994). 17 One recalls here the song of the “joli tambour,” especially the third stanza: “La fille du roi était à sa fenêtre.” 18 The author of the Acts of Paul and Thecla has recourse to this technique when he places Thecla at her window and depicts her as a lover longing to catch the remarks of Paul, who lodges in a house next door (Acts of Paul and Thecla 7). 19 For those who are unaware of the heroic patrimony of the city of Calvin, let us say that on the night of December 12, 1602, the people of Geneva resisted a surprise attack by the Savoyards. This day is celebrated each year under the name of “l’Escalade.” Let us not forget however that the predecessor of the “Mère Royaume” was a courageous woman in Israel of antiquity, who, high upon a tower, thrust a millstone upon the head of Abimalech and crushed his skull ( Judg 9:53).


19. The Woman at the Window

B. Pritchard; Princeton: NJ, 1954) no. 131, p. 39, and p. 265: “It has been suggested that the representation is of the goddess Ashtart (or Astarte), who like her sacred harlots, lures passengers-by from her window.” This piece proves that the presence of the woman at the window is attested as far as Assyria.

Carved ivory depicting a woman at a window. Copyright © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Publication Credits The Emergence of Christianity “The Emergence of Christianity,” Annali di storia dell’ esegesi 24 (2007) 13–29.

The First Christologies: Exaltation and Incarnation, or From Easter to Christmas “The First Christologies: Exaltation and Incarnation, or From Easter to Christmas,” Jesus Christ Today: Studies of Christology in Various Contexts: Proceedings of the Académie Internationale des Sciences Religieuses, Oxford 25–29 August 2006, and Princeton 25–30 August 2007 (ed. Stuart George Hall; Theologische Bücherei Töpelmann 146; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009) 27–43.

Response to Redescribing Christian Origins “Response to Redescribing Christian Origins,” Annali di storia dell’esegesi 25 (2008) 8–15.

The Gospel According to John: Access to God at the Obscure Origins of Christianity “The Gospel According to John, Access to God, at the Obscure Origins of Christianity,” Diogenes 146 (1990) 37–50.

Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles “Jesus Christ in the Apostle Paul’s Epistles,” in Ministry: International Journal for Pastors (July 2007) 5–7.

A Chapter of Johannine Theology: Revelation (translated by Fr. Paul Dupuis) “A Chapter of Johannine Theology: Revelation,” in Rastreando y exégesis en el Nuevo Testamento. En memoria del professor Mons. Mariano Herranz Marco (ed. José Miguel García Pérez ; Studia Semitica Novi Testamenti 17; Madrid: Ediciones Encuentro CEU Ediciones Fundación San Justino, 2011) 268–280.

The First Christians and the Signs from Heaven “Les premiers chrétiens et les signes du ciel,” in La Raison des signes. Présages, rites, destin dans les sociétés de la « Méditerranée ancienne » (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 174; Leiden: Brill, 2012) 385–416.

The Soul’s Comeback: Immortality and Resurrection in Early Christianity “The Soul’s Comeback: Immortality and Resurrection in Early Christianity (Ingersoll Lecture 2009),” Harvard Theological Review 103 (2010) 387–406.


Publication Credits

The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity  

“The Reception of the Book of Acts in Late Antiquity,” in Contemporary Studies in Acts (ed. Thomas E. Phillips; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2009) 66–92.

Beyond the Canonical and the Apocryphal Books, the Presence of a Third Category: The Books Useful for the Soul “Beyond the Canonical and the Apocryphal Books, the Presence of a Third Category: The Books Useful for the Soul,” Harvard Theological Review 105 (2012) 1–13.

At the beginning of the Clementine Homilies: The Letter of Peter to James “En tête des homélies clémentines. La lettre de Pierre à Jacques,” in Nouvelles intrigues pseudo-clémentines/Plots in the Pseudo-Clementine Romance (eds. Frédéric Amsler, Albert Frey, Charlotte Touati et Renée Girardet; Publications de l’Institut romand des sciences bibliques 6; Prahins (Switzerland): Editions du Zèbre, 2008) 329–335.

Regarding Manuscripts and the Digital Era “About Manuscripts and the Digital Era: A Personal Encounter” in Lire demain: Des manuscrits antiques à l’ère digitale (eds. Claire Clivaz, Jérôme Meizoz, François Vallotton, Joseph Verheyden; Lausanne: Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, 2012) 169–187.

The Prayer and Apocalypse of Paul in an Unedited Greek Fragment Kept at Sinai. Introduction, text, translation, and notes. With Bertrand Bouvier, “Prière et Apocalypse de Paul. Un fragment grec inédit conservé au Sinaï. Introduction, texte, traduction et notes,” Apocrypha 15 (2004) 9–30.

An Unedited Greek Fragment of the Acts of Peter? With Bertrand Bouvier, “Un fragment grec inédit des Actes de Pierre?” Apocrypha 17 (2006) 9–54.

From Vermont to Cyprus: A New Witness of the Acts of Phillip “From Vermont to Cyprus: A New Witness of the Acts of Philip,” Apocrypha 20 (2009) 9–27.

Bonnard, Pierre (1911–2003)  

“Bonnard, Pierre (1911–2003),” Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters (ed. Donald K. McKim; 2d edition; Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007) 205–207.

Dupont, Jacques (1915–1998)  

“Dupont, Jacques (1915–1998),” Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters (ed. Donald K. McKim; 2d edition; Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007) 394–396.

The Woman at the Window: A Study in Intertextuality between Aeschylus and the Book of Judges “The Woman at the Window: A Study in Intertextuality between Aeschylus and the Book of Judges,” Scripture and Interpretation 4 (2010) 113–120.

Index of Ancient Authors

Latin Codex k

82 n. 15



48 n. 27  

Parisinus graecus 881 Bodmer Papyrus II

237, 254 n. 25, 255 n. 26, 255 n. 27, 259  


Parisinus graecus 1551 Bodmer Papyrus X

Baroccianus 180

82 n. 15  

Latin Codex a

200, 201, 202, 205, 213

Angelicus graecus 108

I. Manuscripts

Codex Fuldensis

182 n. 37

Vaticanus aeth. 268


Vaticanus graecus 455


Vaticanus graecus 679

82 n. 14

Vaticanus graecus 824

Fragment Oxyrhynchus 2, 34 840

150 n. 17 154 n. 32  


181, 259

Vaticanus graecus 1641 200, 201

Vaticanus syr. 199



Papyrus Egerton

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Rossanensis

Sinaiticus arab. O

Codex Claromontanus 110 n. 18 (D 06)



Vaticanus Ottoboniensis 200, 201 graecus 1


Xenophontos 32




157 n. 45, 173, 181, 236, 239, 259  




Index of Ancient Authors

II. Greek, Latin and other Ancient Literature Ovid Metamorphoses 14.698–764 14.759–761

273 273 n. 11 274 n. 13

Pausanias Description of Greece 2.32.3 2.32.3

273 n. 10 273 n. 12

Petronius Satyricon 61–62

219 219 n. 59

271 n. 7 271

Aeschylus Persians 150–152 159–162

On the Soul

123 n. 60



Dante Alighieri Inferno, 2.31–33

155 155 n. 41



Philo of Alexandria 29, 231 On the Migration of Abraham 60 216 n. 48

273 273 n. 9

Philostratus Vita Apollonii 4.47 7.8ff

Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities 13.171 13.288 13.293 14.2.1 § 22 Jewish War II.8.6 II. II.162 Life of Flavius Josephus

1, 67, 167

Marcus Aurelius



Plutarch Dialogue on Love 20

273 n. 11

167 n. 48 67 n. 9 1 n. 5

67 n. 9


Pliny the Younger Letters 10.96.9–10



219 219 n. 60 219 n. 60

Pliny the Elder Natural History 22.65 § 135 25.29 § 105–107

1 n. 5, 67 n. 9 1 n. 5, 67 n. 9 1 n. 5, 67 n. 9 219 n. 58

164 n. 23 111

216 n. 49


Plato Laws 659D Phaedo


13 n. 68 13 n. 68

Horace Epistles I.1.33–40

Homer Iliad 6.369–373 6.386–387

164 n. 24

123, 164

Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 10.9


Index of Ancient Authors

2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms) 6:16 272 n. 8 7 18

2 Kings (4 Kingdoms) 2:1 9:30 19:29 22:8 20:8–11

196 272 78 150 78

1 Chronicles 15:29 17

272 n. 8 18

Nehemiah 9:6


Job 1:6–12 1:9–10 2:1–6 20:26

219 234 219 n. 57 234 233

Proverbs 1:20–33 27:9

195 140, 141 78 85 n. 23 18 85 n. 23 23 19 18 195 85 n. 23 194  

Psalms 1:1 45:7 (LXX 44:8) 74:9 78:43 (LXX 77) 89 105:27 (LXX 104) 110 118:25–26 132 133:1 135:9 (LXX 134) 148:4


270–276 270 n. 2 270 270 270 270, 270 n. 2, 271 271 275 n. 19

Judges 4:2 4:2–3 5:2–12 5:13–27 5:28–30 5:31 9:53

78, 85 n. 23 85 n. 23 198 194 85 n. 23 85 n. 23 186, 197 19 85 n. 23 85 n. 23 85 n. 23 85 n. 23

Deuteronomy 6:22 7:19 8:12 10:14 11:3 13:2 17:7 18:15, 18 26:8 28:46 29:2 34:11

135 44 n. 15 18

Numbers 18:8–14 21 24:17

21, 27 85 n. 23 94 194 194 79  

Exodus 3:14 7:3 28:36–38 30:1–10 30:34–38 31:16–17

194 78 83

1 Kings (3 Kingdoms) 8:27 13:3–6 18:19–40

111 n. 22 233 108 231 78 78 18 18 18

Genesis 1 1:27 4:09 6:1–4 9:12–16 17:9–13 49 49:1 49:10

III. Hebrew Bible (Tanakh, Old Testament)

197 194


Index of Ancient Authors

Daniel 5:5–30 6:28 7–8, 10 7:10 7:13 8:17 9:24 12:1–2 12:2

78 85 n. 23 78 198 25 78 150 n. 19 109 21, 122 n. 59

Hosea 1:6


Joel 3:1–5

83 n. 17

Amos 9:11–12


Zechariah 4:3 4:14 14:4

18 18 26

198 195

272 n. 8

Isaiah 7:9, 11 8:18 20:3 26:19 57:19 58:9 65:17–19

18 85 n. 23 85 n. 23 21, 109 232 100 n. 83 109

Jeremiah 28:1–17 28:15b 39 [32]:20–21

83 84 85 n. 23

Ezekiel 2:1 2:3 9:4 11:23

3 20 3 n. 13 220 26


Qoheleth 12:3

63:7 66:24

272 273 47 n. 23 58

7:6–7 7:8–23 8:22–30 8:22–36

IV. Deuterocanonical and Pseudepigraphical Literature

Lives of the Prophets 10.1


Odes of Solomon 3.10 3.8 10.2 11.7 15.8–9 23.12 27.2 29.7 39.7 42.1

101 115 115 115 115 115 101 n. 87 101 n. 87 101 n. 87 101 n. 87 101 n. 87


115 n. 38

5 Ezra 2.45

122 n. 58

4 Maccabees 13.13b–15

157 n. 48


4 Ezra 14

159, 180 218 n. 54

Ascension of Isaiah 4.1–12

2 Ezra 19:6

231 196

1 Enoch 6.1–16.4 63


Testament of Abraham 124 20.9–10 124 n. 69  

216 n. 48

28 47 n. 23, 58 29 85 n. 23 85 n. 23  

Testament of Reuben 2.1–3, 10

Wisdom of Solomon 7 7:21–8:1 7.25–26 8:8 10:16

113 n. 28

Sibylline Oracles 8.310–17

115 n. 38

Vision of Ezra

18 36 19 19

Psalms of Solomon 17–18 17.26 17.21–22

Index of Ancient Authors

V. Qumran Literature

216 n. 48 19

1 QS 4.9–11 9.10–11

VI. Rabbinic Literature y. Ta’anit 3.8

219 n. 58

30 119, 122 196 194, 233 9 83 82 80 80 n. 8 99 167 87 n. 31 83, 87 81 61 25 194 197  

10:23b 10:28 11:7 11:25 11:27 12:39–40 13:16–17 13:17 13:54, 58 14:13–21 15:14 16:2b–3 16:3 16:4 16:16 16:25 17:5 18:3

68, 80, 263 134 233 82 n. 15 194 194 232 86 n. 28 196 25 166 197 2 n. 10 233 167 n. 45 234 197 80 n. 8  

Matthew 3:11 3:12 3:15 3:16 3:17 4:1–11 4:7 5:5 5:11 5:18 5:20 5:21–22 5:32 5:33–37 6:15 7:21 7:22

VII. New Testament


Index of Ancient Authors


130, 142 n. 82 151 n. 22 93 164 94 79 94 267 36 94 81 94 233 232 86 n. 28 141 80 25 84 197 164 233 80 234

Luke 1:1–4 1–2 1:4 1:20 1:36 1:36 1:46–55 2:11 2:12 2:12, 34 2:34 3:17 4:1–13 4:12 4:18 4:23 6:22 9:28–36 9:32 10:1–20 10:12 10:13 10:18

197 25, 122 n. 57 19 43 n. 10 82 233 84 n. 22, 97 n. 68 81 30 81 83 24 43 n. 11 43 n. 10 25 3 23 230 82 n. 15 20 82 n. 15 81 23

80 23 232 80 232 2 n. 10 25 80 n. 8 43 n. 10 81, 89 79, 83 233 23 25 19 23 197 25 195, 233 233

10:23 10:45 11:1–11 11:15–17 11:27–33 11:28–29, 33 13 13:4 13:10 13:22 13:22–23 13:24–27 14:1–16:8 14:3–9 14:24 14:26 14:62 14:66–70 15:13 and 38 15:61 16:3 16:17, 20 16:19

Mark 1:11 1:12–13 1:22 1:43 2:18 – 3:6 2:28 6:2, 5, 14 6:45–52 8:11 8:11–12 8:12 8:29 8:31 8:33 9:7 9:18 9:41 9:43 10:11–12

25 198 135 233 197 198 233 233 25 81 166, 186, 197 97 n. 68 198 24, 122 n. 59 186 196 233 20 n. 14 3 20 122 n. 57 233 20 n. 14 82 n. 15, 196 20 n. 15 23 233

18:5 18:15–17 19:16–22 19:18 19:23 19:28 21:23–24, 27 21:31–32 23:8, 10 24:29–30 24:35 24–25 25:31 25:31–46 25:41 25:46 26:15 26:25 26:30 26:34 26:38 27:3,9 27:11 27:51–53 28:9–10 28:18 28:19–20


Index of Ancient Authors


1 1–12 1–18 1:1 1:2

1:14 1:14, 16 1:17 1:18 1:26 1:29–36 1:43 1:47–50 2:11 2:13–22 2:18 2:19–22 2:20 2:23 3 3:2 3:5 3:14 3:14–15 3:15–16 3:16 3:18 3:35–36 4 4:14 4:46–54 4:48 4:54 5:8 5:19–30 5:24 5:24–29 5:25 5:28–29 5:31–47 5:36 5:39 6:2 6:14 6:16–21 6:26 6:30 6:30–35


5, 29, 68, 70, 80, 119, 119 n. 47 238 91 40, 44 58 58  


58 47 48 n. 26 44 n. 14, 120 n. 50 47, 56–57 48 n. 25 59 56 59 25, 57 240, 254 58 47 n. 24, 55, 90 43 n. 10 92 92 2 n. 10 91 40, 42 91 134 n. 42, 197 22, 44 n. 12 44 n. 15 119 29, 40, 44, 47, 59 62 44 n. 13 41 119 n. 48 91 92 47 n. 24, 90 100 n. 83 44 n. 13 56 120 62 122 n. 59 45 n. 17 55 59 91 91 43 n. 10 92 n. 47 92 59  

1:3 1:11 1:12 1:12–13

3 n. 17, 9 23 197 81, 83 3 n. 14, 81 83 197 231 24 24 198 81 186, 197 166 233 111, 113 196 97 n. 68 84 24, 196 80 n. 8 233 233 84 n. 22 97 n. 68 84 n. 22 81 198 195 25, 122 n. 57 84 n. 22 122 n. 57 81 21 233 20 n. 15 233 100 n. 80 143 23

10:21 10:22 11:9 11:16 11:20 11:29 11:49 11:49–51 12:36–40 12:39 13:35 13:18–19 13:25, 27 16:17 16:18 16:19–31 16:24, 27–31 17:20–37 17:23 17:24 19:37 20:2, 8 21:1 21:7 21:5–38 21:11 21:11, 25 21:14 21:18 21:19 21:25 22:37 23:8 24:5 24:26 24:34 24:47–48 24:49 24:50–53 24:51


Index of Ancient Authors


24, 32, 35, 80, 126–146, 267 134 79 35, 40 14, 100 n. 80, 233 134 30 196 143 141 n. 80 126, 134 136 n. 56 136  


1 1–5 1–12 1:8 1:4–5 1:4–6 1:9 1:9–11 1:15 2 2:1–13 2:13



45 n. 19 62 63 63 63 45 n. 18, 100 n. 80 45 n. 18, 63 63 63 44 n. 12 63 8 70 8 44 n. 13 39 40 58 45 n. 20 40 40, 45 197 46 n. 22 57 7, 35, 46 n. 21 46 n. 22 20 n. 15 92 47, 91 54 46 n. 21 46 n. 22  

16:7–15 16:16 16:19–20 16:28 16:33 17 17:11 17:22 17:23–24 18–19 18–20 18:6 18:28–19:16 18:33–38 19:1–3 19:15 19:26–27 19:28 20 20:2–10 20:11–18 20:29 20:30–31 20:31 21 21:7, 20

15:1 15:3 15:12–17 15:18 15:20 15:26–27


45 n. 19 56 62 61 120 40 91 45 n. 19, 61 61 62 22, 44 n. 12, 56 62 42 62 91 45 n. 19 44 n. 13 91 45 n. 19, 120 n. 50 63, 110 232 57 56 58 91 43 n. 10 100 n. 83 91 n. 43 39 25, 40, 43 92 44 n. 12 62 22 47 n. 24 92 92 44 n. 12 46 46 n. 22 40, 43 40 44 n. 13 45 n. 19, 59 45 n. 18, 100 n. 80 63  

11:25–26 11:33 11:35 11:40 11:43–44 11:47 12:1–8 12:5 12:17–18 12:23–28 12:25 12:27 12:31–32 12:32 12:32, 34 12:37 12:37–38 13:1 13:1, 3, 33 13:23 13:23–26 13:34 14–17 14:1–14 14:6 14:15–31

6:35 6:40 6:44 6:68 6:68 7–8 7:31 8:12 8:15 8:19 8:28 8:31–59 9 9:1–7 9:16 10:7, 9 10:14–18 11:1–44 11:25


Index of Ancient Authors

83 n. 18 134, 139 28, 127, 135 33 33 135 139 139 140 134 n. 42 139 134 28, 79 6 28 88 22 134 128 141 n. 80 88, 134 8 n. 44 85 85 23 133 81 85 233 8, 40, 126 93 52 85 1 n. 5 133 81 27 141 n. 80 88 85 196 85 129 85 120 n. 51, 129 42 42 85  

5:3–4 5:12 5:17 5:31 6 6–8 6:8 6:1–6 7 7:36 7:52 7:55 8:1 8:4–25 8:14 8:18–24 8:40 9:2 9:3 9:3–19 9:4–5 9:16–17 9:32–35 9:32–11:18 9:34




4:34 4:35

9:36–43 10 10:1–11:18 10:9–16 10:13 10:15 10:17 10:34–43 10:38 10:44–48 11 11:15–17 11:19–30 11:19ff 11:20 11:25–26 11:27 12 12:1–17 12:5 13–14 13:1 13:4 13:4–12 13:33 13:46 14:3 14:8–10 14:23 15 15:1 15:1–5 15:1–29 15:5 15:10 15:12 15:16–17 15:29 15:36 16:6–7 16:10–17 16:25–34 17 18:9–10 19 19:1–7 19:1–20 19:11

138 83 n. 17 81 22 22 23 23, 36 141 141 83 n. 18 83 22 23 22 132 n. 35 81 133, 141, 141 n. 81 141 n. 80 141, 141 n. 80, 141 n. 81 135, 141 n. 80, 141 n. 81, 143 133 81 1 n. 5 22 134, 145 25 81, 85 26 154 81 231 85 27, 79 40 41 84 230 197 40 85 233 85 83 n. 18 234 83  

2:14 2:17–21 2:19, 22, 43 2:24 2:33 2:33–35 2:36 2:44 2:45 3:1–10 3:6 3:15 3:21 4:10 4:27 4:30 4:32


Index of Ancient Authors

52 n. 3 233 30 n. 64, 49 51 51 89 234 178, 217–218, 230 185 81 89 89 90  


12 12:12 12:1–4 12:9–10 12:11–13

2 Corinthians 4:4 4:5 5:19 8:9 10–13 10:18 11:14

15:3 15:3–4 15:5 15:7 15:12 15:42–49 15:44 15:49 15:50 15:51 15:53 16:22

52 n. 3, 263 165 9 89 52

1 Corinthians 1:10 1:21 1:22 1:30

49, 88, 157 n. 47 53 53 53, 157 n. 47 234 197 25 30 51 233 197 234 51 30 n. 64 82 n. 12 8 n. 44, 82 n. 12 82 n. 12 90 n. 38 24, 97 n. 68, 110, 115, 120 n. 51, 121 n. 56 25 51 20 n. 15 7 n. 38 121 121 n. 55 114, 121 121, 233 112, 114 110 121 24

30 22 36 23 49 51 49 51 51 90 n. 38 22 51 123 121 n. 54 120 49–50 51 52 30 n. 64 30 233 81 234 121 89

2:2 2:4 2:6 2:6–16 4:10 5:2, 13 5:7 8:6 9:16 11:7 11:18–19 11:19 11:23 12:3 12:10 12:28 12:29 14:22 15

Romans 1:3 1:3–4 1:3–5 1:4 1:16–17 3:21 3:21–22 3:24 3:24–26 4:11 4:24 5:15 6 6:3–11 7:7–25 7:18–25 8:3–4 10:4 10:9 11:36 13:9 15:19 16:10 12:1–2 15:18–19

196 85 122 n. 57 88 196 85 22 233 1 n. 5 233 195 196 85 267 86

20:5–15 20:7–12 20:10 20:38 21:1–18 21:8 21:10–11 22:7–8 26:5 26:11,14–15 26:18 27:1–28:16 27:13–26 28 28:1–6


Index of Ancient Authors


197 197

Hebrews 1 1:1–2 1:3 1:5–7 2:4 3:7 4:12 10:31 12:21

29 30 29 23, 29 197 81 197 122 n. 57 186, 197 196

234 9 n. 45  

James 1:12 5:14

2 Timothy 2:23–24 4:8

24 90 n. 39 81 24 n. 32 90 n. 39

233 22 233

263 49 50 22 84 22 22 194 22 51 50

159 26 20, 22 12 24 51 97 n. 68 4, 22, 51 121 n. 53

1 Timothy 1:13 3:16 6:10

Philippians 1:21 1:21 2 2:6 2:9 2:9 2:10 2:6–11 2:6–7 3:7–9

1 Thessalonians 2:9 2:9 3:11–12 3:17

70, 263 23 8 232 232 205 235 205 234

Ephesians 1:20 2 2:13 2:17 4:4–5 4:5 4:25 4:26

159 30 233 23

1 Thessalonians 1:9–10 1:10 2:14–16 4–5 4:1 4:13–5:11 4:14 4:23

Colossians 1 1:15 3:1

49 50

3:7–11 3:7–11

35, 263 22 51, 88 52 52 233 49–50 89 51 8 85 40 49 52 233 82 n. 12 52 52 29, 51 52 52 52 216 n. 48, 232 234 52 49, 198

Galatians 1:1 1:1, 12 1:3–4 1:6 1:13 1:13–17 1:15–16 1:17 2 2:1–10 2:11–14 2:19–20 2:20–21 3:1 3:5 3:13 4:1 4:4 4:4–5 4:9–10 5:2 5:19–23 6:2 6:13–14 6:14


Index of Ancient Authors

233 234

2 Peter 2:4


1 John 2:1, 12, 28 2:7–8 2:19 3:7, 18 4:4 4:20 5:21

80 234 54 7 234 234 185 234

Revelation 1:4–5 1:4,8

32, 149 98 21

1:7 1:10 2:1–7 2:10 11:17 12–13 12:1 12:3 12:7–18 13:1–10 13:11–18 13:13–14 15:1 16:5 16:13 16:14 19:20 22:20

198 197 120 n. 51 234 21 234 97 97 98, 234 98 97 98 97 21 98 98 n. 73 98 24

1 Peter 2:1 5:4

VIII. Christian Apocrypha with Nag Hammadi, Hagiography, and Related Literature Acts of Paul 9.1–28 9.22

128, 142, 153–154 129 n. 21 233

115, 115 n. 37, 153–154, 171

3 Corinthians

Acts of Andrew and Matthias 19 221

129, 152, 181 221

Acts of Paul and Thecla 150–151, 173–174, 181, 219–220 7 275 n. 18 22 220 n. 66, 221 37 219 n. 57  

Acts of Andrew 13.6 and 35.3

Act of Peter (Berolinen- 219 n. 60 sis Gnosticus 8502)

Acts of Peter

12, 128, 142, 178, 199–235 220 n. 66, 221 12 n. 60

5 35


7, 129, 180, 182, 201–202 221

Acts of John

Acts of Nereus and Achilles 13 221

Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles (NHC VI, 1)

212, 212 n. 37


Acts of Peter and Paul (BHG 1490)

Acts of John (Metastasis 150 of the Apostle John)


Index of Ancient Authors

97, 98, 98 n. 75, 116 n. 39, 117 n. 43, 149 98 99 99 99 n. 76 195 234  

1:2 1:6 2:11–13 3:14 12:27 14:3–4


Apocalypse of Peter


Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII, 3)

Apocryphon of John 7, 68 (NHC I, 2; III, 1; IV, 1; BG 8502, 2) Book of the Resurrection of Bartholomew 221 24.6


178, 213 n. 39  

De Transitu Mariae

129, 152 n. 28, 177, 201, 204 204 n. 20 221 221

Degrees of James Epistle of the Apostles 4–5 5 9–12 13–14 15 [26] 16 17 17 18 29 34 34–40

Apocalypse of Moses 17.1

Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V, 2) 101 n. 85, 131, 184 n. 1 23, 24–29 101 n. 85


130 99, 128 99 99 99 99 128 n. 18 99 100 100 100 99 n. 78 100 100  

Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena 221 7.10 25 221


Corpus Hermeticum  

11, 13

32 50.3 54.1

Acts of Thomas

Acts of the Apostles

Contendings of the Apostles

155, 184 n. 2

Acts of Pilate

29 32

129 n. 22, 150, 157 n. 45, 236–261 34 221

Acts of Philip, Martyrdom

1.7 2 3.10,15 6 7 7.12 8.7 9.4 11.3 12.8

129, 156, 173, 180, 204, 213, 214 197 129 n. 22 230 129 n. 22 129 n. 22 221 221 221 204 n. 20 113 n. 28

Acts of Philip


1 17 20

Exegesis on the Soul (NHC II, 6) Gospel of Judas

116 n. 39, 117 n. 43, 155, 156, 184 n. 1 152 n. 28 196, 198 194  

Epistle to the Laodiceans 158–159 Apocalypse of Paul

116 68, 148


Index of Ancient Authors

116 116 216 n. 47

Gospel of Nicodemus

155, 179

Life of the Apostle Andrew

Gospel of Peter 15–22

2, 5 82 n. 15

Martyrdom of Matthew 11 221

Life of Adam and Eve 9.1



Gospel of the Ebionites 94

Martyrdom of Thaddeus 22 113 n. 28

Gospel of Thomas

2, 8, 34, 38, 68, 70, 80, 81, 95, 96, 102, 147, 148, 149, 151 n. 24 96 n. 64 96, 96 n. 65 96, 96 n. 66 96 n. 63 96 n. 67

The Prayer of Paul (NHC I,1)

Protevangelium of James 94 n. 54, 152 n. 28, 176, 179 1–2 94 5:1 94 94 7:3 9:1 94 94 10:2 16:1–3 94 25.1 151

Pseudo-Abdias 211 Pseudo-Basil of Seleucia 150, 181

Gospel of Truth (NHC I,3 and XII, 2) 15.12–14, 35–36 116 n. 40 20.32–34 116 n. 40



1 20 50 89 113

Kerygma of Peter

95, 162, 165, 167



Letter of Peter to James 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.5 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 3.2

161, 162 164 n. 22 163–164 164 164 164 165 166 166 166 166 166 166



Questions of Bartholomew 4.22


Revelation of Stephen 2.5

201 218 n. 54

Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ


The Two Books of Jeû

101 n. 85

Treatise on the 116 Resurrection (NHC I, 4)


Letter of Peter to Philip 131



History of Joseph the Carpenter 113 n. 28 24.4

184 n. 1  

7, 149

Gospel of the Hebrews

Gospel of Mary 9 15.1–17.9


Index of Ancient Authors

IX. Patristic, Byzantine, and Medieval Literature Augustine of Hippo




151 Basil of Caesarea On the Holy Spirit 19.49 27.188b and 191b Rules Reg. breu. tract. 93; 131; 135; 148; 183; 187 Reg. fus. tract. 7.4; 19.1; 35.3

141, 220

141 n. 79

141 n. 79

Apophthegmata Patrum 14.16 158 n. 56

Apollinaris of Laodicea 110

141 n. 77 220 n. 63 141


Amphilochius of Iconium

Ammonius of Alexandria


Agnellus of Ravenna Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis


Acacius of Caesarea


34 100 n. 83 100 n. 83 100 n. 83

2 Clement 12 14:3 15:3–4

33, 69, 109, 135, 136, 156 City of God 120 109 22 22.1 109 n. 10, 120 n. 49 109 n. 11 22.2 22.3 109 n. 12 109 n. 13 22.4 22.6–7 109 n. 14 22.11 109 n. 14 109 n. 14 22.21 Against Maximinus the Arian 2.16.3 140 n. 74 The Predestination of the Saints 7.12 135 n. 46 Sermons 315.1 136 n. 51 320–324 136 n. 57


64 100 n. 82 100 n. 82 100 n. 82 100 n. 82

1 Clement 11:2 12:7 25:1 51:5

Apostolic Constitutions 212


126, 145




141 n. 81 141 n. 81


146 n. 108

Benedictine Rule 33–34 55

69, 135, 149, 150, 157 Festal Letter XXXIX 149 n. 13 216, 221 Life of Anthony 5 216 n. 51 6 216 n. 51 53 221 n. 70 Orations against the Arians 1.37 and 1.46–52 140


145, 146 145 n. 103 145 n. 102, 146 n. 104, 146 n. 105 146 n. 108  

Bede The Venerable Epistula ad Vigilium Expositio Actuum apostolorum Liber retractationis in Actus apostolorum Super Acta apostolorum Expostio

126, 144



Index of Ancient Authors

Decretum Gelasianum

155, 180

Catalogs of the Apostles 237

Didache of the Apostles 10.6 16:4 16:6

149 24 100 n. 83 100 n. 83


Ephrem the Syrian

139, 154, 212


Doctrina Petri

110 139 139 n. 69 139 n. 69 139 n. 69 139 n. 69

Epiphanius 65 Refutation of All Heresies Panarion 30 130 30.13.7–8 82 n. 15, 94 30.16.6 130 n. 28


Epistle to Diognetus 6 10 10.1–6

234 10 11 n. 55

Eusebius of Caesarea


42 n. 8 42 n. 8 12 n. 59 42 n. 7 149 n. 12  

Ecclesiastical History 2.1.1 2.23.1–19 3.5.3 3.5.3 3.25.1–7

136, 212

33, 42, 93, 142, 142 n. 82, 150, 151, 156, 181, 212

Cyril of Jerusalem

149, 232 100 n. 83 198

Epistle of Barnabas 4:14 19.10

Cyprian 126, 133 The Lord’s Prayer (Dom. or.) 32 133 n. 39 Works and Almsgiving (Eleem.) 6.25 133 n. 40 Epistles 133 n. 38 11(7).3.1 72 134 n. 42 The Advantage of Patience 133 n. 41 16 Testimonia against the 133 Jews 1.21 133 3:3 133 3:30 133 3:61 133 The Unity of the Catholic Church 25 133 n. 37, 133 n. 38


Didymus the Blind Treatise on the Trinity 1.27.29 2.6.23 2.7.2 3.2.22

Clement of Alexandria 39, 67 n. 11, 98 n. 75, 149 Excerpts from Theodotus 220 42.1 220 n. 64 Hypotyposeis 6 39 n. 1 Christ the Educator (Paed.) 3.85.3 219 n. 57 Miscellanies (Strom.) 2.22.131 111 n. 22 2.8.38 111 n. 22

Didascalia Apostolorum 212


Clement of Rome


Charisius of Philadelphia

136 n. 55

Catechetical Lectures 17.16–19

Complexiones Actuum 146 n. 106 apostolorum De institutione diuinarum litterarum 1.9.1 146 n. 107


Index of Ancient Authors

42 n. 8 42 n. 8 128 n. 15 42 n. 8 148 n. 10 98 n. 75, 148 n. 10 149 n. 11 148 n. 10 42 n. 8 IV, 7

149 198 197

Hermas The Shepherd 39.6 63.6



Hilarius of Poitiers De Trinitate 11.18

141 n. 75

215, 215 n. 46, 216 n. 47, 232

Historia Petri


Evagrius Ponticus

Hippolytus 64 The Apostolic Tradition 21 233

108 108, 108 n. 5, 108 n. 6  

Eustratios De statu animarum post mortem

6.25 6.25.8 7.25.16 On Divine Manifestation

Hesychius of Jerusalem 137 Homilia in s. Stephanum 9 136 n. 57

3.31.2–3 3.39.6 5.2.5 5.24.2–3 6.13.6 6.14.1

Against Heresies I.3.13 I.9.4 I.10 I.22.1 II.27.1

64, 67


216 n. 47


12 n. 62 233  

13 n. 67  

12 n. 62  

163 n. 18 64, 67 n. 10, 69, 100, 114, 166  


Irenaeus of Lyons Gregory the Great Moralia in Job XXXI.45


101 n. 85 166 n. 41 69 166 n. 41 166 n. 41  

9.2 35.3

152, 181 152 n. 26, 152 n. 27 221 221  

Gregory of Tours The Life of Andrew

219 n. 57 219 n. 57 100 n. 82


110, 113, 136, 113 n. 26 Encomium in sanctum 136 n. 57 Stephanum protomartyrem On the Soul and the 110, 110 n. 19 Resurrection Oratio in Pentecosten 41.11 136 n. 54

Gregory of Nyssa

12, 70, 100, 150, 163, 219

To the Ephesians 5.1–2 13.1 19:1–2 To the Magnesians 2 To the Philadelphians 10.1–2 10.2 To the Romans 1.1–8.3 To the Smyrnaeans 11.2–3 To the Trallians Proemium.



Gregory of Nazianzus

Ignatius of Antioch

215 n. 46

History of Peter and Paul

Gennadius De viris illustribus 11


Index of Ancient Authors


Justin Martyr Against All Heresies Dialogue with Trypho 88.1

64 64 101 n. 84 82 n. 15



211 150 n. 17 152 n. 28 211 n. 34

Martyrdom of Polycarp 3.2 197 9.2 197

Isidore of Pelusium


Jacobus of Voragine Golden Legend

260 n. 36

Maximus of Turin 137 Sermo Sequentia de avaritia et de Anania 137 n. 58 18  

Menologion of the Emperor Basil




Minucius Felix Octavius 8.3–9.2


Muratorian Canon




137, 146 n. 107, 201  

John Chrysostom

Methodius of Olympus 231


John Cassian Collationes V 216 n. 47 De institutibus coenobiorum V–XII 216 n. 47

109, 110 n. 17, 110 n. 18, 181, 212, 221 De viris illustribus 7 n. 38 42 n. 8 7 Epistulae 110 6:97–120 110 n. 16 Vita S. Hilarionis eremitae 40 221 n. 69


John of Thessalonica De Dormitione 1 1–2 9–11

John of Climacus The Ladder of Divine Ascent 213 n. 40

Homilies on Acts 126, 138 136 n. 50 1 1.1 137 n. 60 5.2 138 22.2 139 n. 64 139 n. 63 23.3–4 24.1–2 139 n. 65 Questions of John Chrysostom to the Lord concerning the Lord’s Day and the Liturgy 197


II.28.1 166 n. 41 III.1.1 42 n. 8 III.2.l 166 n. 41 III.11.1 166 n. 41 III.12.1ff 128 III.12.6 166 n. 41 III.13.3 128 III.14.1–4 128 166 n. 41 III.15.1 III.19.3 101 n. 85 III.20.1–2 101 n. 85 101 n. 85 III.20.3 III.21.1, 4, 6 101 n. 85 166 n. 41 IV.35.4 IV.38.3–4 112 n. 22 V 114 114 n. 29 V.1–14 V.6.1 111 n. 22 V.12.1–4 114 n. 31 V.16.1 111 n. 22 V.28.4 111 n. 22 111 n. 22 V.36.3 Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching 83.5 128


Nicetas the Paphlagonian Sermon 9 (BHG 1530) 237

Photius I of Constantinople Bibliotheca Cod. 112.113 161 n. 3  

216 n. 47


142 142 142 n. 84 142

Prudentius Dittochaeus 44 (45) 45 (46) 46 47 (48)

31, 32, 211, 212 n. 36 95 95 n. 56 95 n. 56 167 95 n. 59 218 n. 54 161    


195 Pseudo-Cyprian De rebaptismate

Philip the Monotrope

157, 212 157 n. 49

Philastrius of Brescia Diversarum hereseon liber

Philagathos of Cerami Laudatio (BHG 1530C) 237


Paul of Samosata


Palladius Lausiac History

197 117, 119

135 n. 47

195 95, 152 n. 28, 218 161 n. 2 131 95 n. 56 95 n. 56 95 n. 60 95 n. 56 218 n. 54 95 n. 57 95 n. 58 167 95 n. 61 95 n. 56 95 n. 56 95 n. 60 95 n. 56 95 n. 57 161 167 n. 47 164 n. 21  

Homilies 1.15.2 1.6.2–3 3.40–57 16.13.1–4 17.13–19 Letter of Clement to James 10.5 Recognitions Preface 12–15 1.27–71 1.40.1 1.41.2 1.55.5–6 1.58.1–3 2.17.5–18.1 2.9.2 2.45.5 – 2.46.2 3.40–60 3.58.5 – 3.59.11 5.11.4 8.6.1 8.25.4 9.29.1 10.54.1–2 Solemn Commitment 1.2 1.2–2.2


135 n. 45 111, 134 112 n. 23 111 n. 21


Against Celsus 1.57 2.1 2.17 2.45 3.46 5.8 8.26 Commentary on John 20.158 Commentary on Matthew 15.14–15 First Principles 2.10 3.6 Homily on Numbers 11.3 On Easter 36.36–37.2 On Martyrdom

157 n. 50, 212

67 n. 11, 110 n. 17, 111, 117 n. 43, 120 n. 49, 123, 126, 134, 149, 150, 232 134 134 134, 135 n. 48 134 134 134 134 134 148 n. 10 196 134

Priscillian of Avila Origen of Alexandria

Nilus of Ancyra

Index of Ancient Authors



Index of Ancient Authors


Pseudo-Macarius Homilia 40.1

216 n. 47

Baptism 132 4, 18 10 132 13 132 19 132 Patience 14 132 Prescription against Heretics 7,9 178 n. 24 22.10–11 130, 130 n. 27 220 The Crown 3, 4 220 n. 65 The Flesh of Christ 24.4 132 The Resurrection of the Flesh 51 132 55 132 112, 112 n. 25 The Soul §1 113 §4 112, 113 113 §7 §9 112, 113 113 n. 26 11–12 15.1, 4 113 n. 26 § 23 113 112 § 24 § 28 112 § 57 112

Regula Magistri 13.12 20.5 53.26 82.20–21 87.14 87.15 87.34

141 141 n. 80 141 n. 80 141 n. 80 141 n. 80 141 n. 80 141 n. 80 141 n. 80


152 n. 28, 161



Symeon Metaphrastes

237 n. 4


237 Synaxarion of the Church of Constantinople




Rabanus Maurus

Pseudo-Tertullian Adversus omnes haereses 130 6

Theodore of Mopsuestia 212

Tractatus in Lucae Euangelium 4.18

141 140 n. 73  

Turibius of Astorga 157 Epistula ad Idacium et Ceponium 5 157 n. 51  

64, 67 n. 10, 69, 112, 123, 126, 131, 178 132 130 n. 27 132, 132 n. 36


Victorinus of Capua

151, 182



132 n. 35 132 234

Against Marcion 5.2 5.2.7 Against Praxeas 28 30 Apology 1.6–7

Theodoret of Cyrus


82 n. 15, 151, 151 n. 24, 152 n. 25, 182  

Tatian Diatessaron


Index of Modern Authors  


Babut, E. Ch. 157 n. 50 Backus, I. 158 n. 54 B dili , C. 218 n. 55, 234 Bagatti, B. 93 n. 50 Baldwin, M. C. 202 n. 17 Balz, H. 61 n. 27 Balzer, K. 275 Barbaglio, G. 269 Barrett, C. K. 27 n. 50, 85 n. 24 Barth, K. 1 n. 4, 71, 158, 262

Barthélemy, D. 149 n. 15, 150 n. 16, 150 n. 19 Bauckham, R. 97 n. 70, 117 n. 43, 128, 128 n. 20, 234 Bauer, W. 65, 65 n. 4, 68, 69 n. 20, 82 n. 15, 195, 208 n. 28, 210 n. 31 Baumgarten, A. I. 124 n. 72 Baur, F. C. 65, 65 n. 4 Beck, B. 261 Becker, J. 18 n. 8, 42 n. 9, 48 n. 28, 90 n. 40, 264 Bedjan, P. 212 n. 37 Beissel, S. 136 n. 53 Benoît, A. 101 n. 88 Berger, S. 154, 171 n. 3 Berneker, E. 167 n. 50 Bernheim, P. A. 7 n. 39 Bernstein, A. E. 124 n. 72 Bertrand, D. A. 7 n. 38, 82 n. 15, 94 n. 55 Bethge, H. G. 8 n. 42 Betz, H. D. 7 n. 34, 89 n. 34 Beutler, J. 55 n. 7 Bieder, W. 126, 126 n. 3 Bieler, L. 58 n. 18 Birmelé, A. 73, 73 n. 33 Bittner, W. J. 47 n. 24 Blank, J. 60 n. 24, 62 n. 30 Blass, F. 206 n. 23, 208 n. 26, 208 n. 27, 209 n. 30 Blomart, A. 13, 13 n. 69, 36, 36 n. 5 Bloomfield, M. W. 215 n. 45 Böcher, O. 230 Bock, D. L. 147, 147 n. 4, 147 n. 5 Bodmer, M. 170 Boismard, M.-E. 129 n. 24 Bonhoeffer, D. 111 Bonnard, P. 30, 36, 36 n. 4, 42 n. 9, 54 n. 4, 90 n. 40 Bonner, C. 232  

Adams , C. 11 n. 57 Adler, N. 126 n. 1, 126, 136 n. 55, 136 n. 56 Aland, B. 172 Aland, K. 110 n. 15 Albright, W. F. 274 n. 13 Alcalá, P. C. 271 n. 6 Alexakis, V. 203 n. 19 Allenbach, J. 127 n. 7 Altendorf, H.-D. 68, 69 n. 20, 69 n. 23, 67 n. 13 Altermath, F. 121 n. 55 Amaya, H. G. 107 n. 1 Amphoux, C. 129 n. 24 Amsler, F. 32, 86 n. 28, 180 n. 32, 216 n. 51, 230, 258 n. 33 Amsler, S. 18 n. 9 Anderson, H. 122 n. 58 Anderson, P. N. 31 n. 68 Andresen, C. 68, 69 n. 20 Andrist, P. 174, 174 n. 8 Angelini, M. G. 269 Arendt, H. 123, 123 n. 64 Armand, D. 219 n. 60 Arnal, W. E. 33 Assmann, J. 124 n. 72 Attridge, H. 116 n. 40 Aune, D. A. 9 n. 46


Index of Modern Authors

Cabié, R. 136 n. 52 Calvin, J. 119, 119 n. 45, 122 Cameron, R. 1 n. 3, 32–38, 67, 67 n. 7 Camus, A. 37 Canart, P. 175, 175 n. 10 Caquot, A. 231 Carozzi, C. 117 n. 43 Carr, A. W. 260 Carrière , A. 171 n. 3 Casson, L. 11 n. 57 Cavallo, G. 183 n. 39

Dagron, G. 151 n. 20, 181 n. 35 Dahood, M. J. 274 n. 13 Daniélou, J. 157, 157 n. 46 Danker, F. W. 195 Davel, M. 124 n. 67 Davidson, A. I. 123 n. 64 de Boer, C. 149 De Conick, A. D. 96 n. 66 de Jonge, M. 17, 17 n. 3 de Labriolle, P. 33, 142 n. 85 Franchi de’ Cavalieri, P. 199, 199 n. 2, 199 n. 4, 200 n. 5, 200 n. 7, 212, 235 Debrunner, A. 206 n. 23, 208 n. 26, 208 n. 27, 209 n. 30 Dekkers , E. 178 n. 23 Delatte, A. 219 Delehaye, H. 177, 177 n. 17, 195 Delling, G. 4 n. 18, 28 n. 54  

Cerfaux, L. 126, 126 n. 4, 266 Chadwick, H. 69 n. 22 Chatzichristodoulou, C. 239 Chevalier, J. 219 n. 56 Chiesa, P. 235 Chilton, B. 93 n. 48 Chisholm, R. B. 271 n. 5 Christe, Y. 143 n. 92 Cirillo, L. 131 n. 29, 161 n. 1 Clavier, H. 197 Clivaz, C. 218 n. 54 Coarelli, F. 5 n. 27 Collins, J. J. 18 n. 8 Congourdeau, M. H. 110 n. 19 Constas, N. 124 n. 72 Conybeare, F. C. 139 n. 66 Conzelmann, H. 27 n. 52, 31 n. 67, 32, 61 n. 28 Coogan, M. D. 274 n. 13 Crossan, J. D. 67, 67 n. 7 Crum, W. E. 217 n. 52 Cullmann, O. 7 n. 36, 17, 17 n. 4, 19, 19 n. 12, 30 n. 64, 41, 41 n. 6, 124 n. 72, 162, 162 n. 7, 167, 167 n. 44, 168 n. 51, 266 Culpepper, R. A. 48 n. 28 Cumont, F. 124 n. 72 Cureton, W. 212 n. 37 Czachesz, I. 97 n. 70  

Bonnet, M. 236, 236 n. 2 Bonz, M. 4 n. 21 Bori, P. C. 141 n. 78 Boring, M. E. 9 n. 46 Bornkamm, G. 9 n. 45, 24 n. 38, 57 n. 13 Botte, B. 233 Bouchet, C. 110 n. 19 Bousset, W. 17, 17 n. 1 Bouttier, M. 3 n. 15 Bouvier, B. 116, 116 n. 39, 154 n. 32, 155 n. 38, 174, 177, 180 n. 32, 239, 274 n. 15 Boyarin, D. 29 n. 59 Brakke, D. 149 n. 13, 217 n. 52, 218 n. 55 Brändle, R. 11 n. 55 Braun, F. M. 41, 41 n. 4 Braun, W. 33 Brecht, B. 203 Bremmer, J. N. 97 n. 70, 124 n. 72 Briquet, C.-M. 175, 175 n. 9 Brock, A. G. 7 n. 35, 211, 211 n. 33 Brown, P. 123, 123 n. 64 Brown, R. E. 42 n. 9, 54 n. 3, 55 n. 5, 59 n. 22, 90 n. 40, 90 n. 41, 119 n. 47, 264 Browne, H. 138 Brox, N. 64 n. 1, 67 n. 8, 69 n. 21 Büchsel, F. 49 Budge, E. A. W. 214 n. 44 Buell, D. K. 9 n. 48, 231 Bultmann, R. 6 n. 33, 28 n. 55, 49, 55 n. 5, 56 n. 10, 61 n. 26, 62 n. 29, 62 n. 30, 62 n. 31, 91, 91 n. 44, 92 n. 46, 121 n. 54, 204, 204 n. 21 Bureau, B. 145 n. 99 Burney, C. F. 271 n. 4 Bynum, C. W. 112, 112 n. 24 Byrne, B. 121 n. 54, 123 n. 65


Index of Modern Authors

Haag, H. 234 Hadot, P. 123 n. 64 Hadot, P. 123

Fatio, O. 72 n. 31 Fauth, W. 274 n. 13, 274 n. 14 Feichtinger, B. 124 n. 72 Ferguson, E. 135 n. 49, 218 n. 55 Ferrarese, G. 126, 126 n. 4 Ferraro, G. 57 n. 14 Filoramo, G. 93 n. 51 Fischer, B. 220 n. 62  

Gamble, H. Y. 135 n. 49 Gavin, F. 108 n. 8 Geerard, M. 201 n. 14, 210, 210 n. 32, 214 n. 42 Geoltrain, P. 2 n. 7, 82 n. 15, 107, 107 n. 2, 113 n. 28, 115 n. 38, 159 n. 57 Gerassimou, K. 238, 238 n. 17, 239, 243 n. 23 Gerson, J. 152 n. 28 Geyer, H. G. 4 n. 18 Gheerbrant, A. 219 n. 56 Ghesquière, T. 269 Gianotto, C. 93 n. 51 Gignac, F. T. 138 n. 61 Gill, C. 124 n. 72 Godu, G. 136 n. 52, 136 n. 53 Goguel, M. 19, 19 n. 12 Goodspeed, E. J. 101 n. 84 Gounelle, R. 155 n. 37 Graham, W. A. 107 n. 1 Grant, L. 107 n. 1 Grappe, C. 7, 7 n. 40 Grass, H. 20 n. 15 Grässer, E. 30 n. 65 Gregory, A. 128 n. 14 Grundmann, W. 25 n. 41, 80 n. 8 Guillaumont, A. 215 n. 46 Guillaumont, C. 215 n. 46 Guisan, R. 262 Gunkel, H. 34 n. 2 Gunn, J. D. G. 8 n. 43 Gunnis, R. 239 n. 18  

Eck, D. L. 219 n. 56 Edsman, C.-M. 198 Ehrhard, A. 175, 175 n. 12, 177, 199 n. 3, 200 n. 6, 200 n. 8, 200 n. 9, 200, 200 n. 10, 200 n. 11, 201 n. 12, 201 n. 13, 213, 235 Ehrman, B. D. 147, 147 n. 7, 156 n. 42, 180, 180 n. 28 Eliades, J. 260 Eliav, Y. Z. 93 n. 48 Elliger, K. 230 Ellis, L. 11 n. 57 Epp, E. J. 129 n. 24 Erbetta, M. 2 n. 7, 210, 211 n. 32 Espinosa, R. R. 57 n. 11, 58 n. 19 Evans, C. A. 93 n. 48, 131, 147, 147 n. 3 Evans, E. 132 n. 36  

Fohrer, G. 78 n. 1 Follieri, E. 211, 211 n. 35, 259 n. 35 Fortna, R. T. 90 n. 41 Foucault, M. 123, 123 n. 64 Franco, I. 211 n. 35 Freedman, D. N. 230 Frey, A. 94 n. 54, 237, 237 n. 10 Frigerio-Zeniou, S. 239 Fros, H. 176 n. 15, 211 n. 32 Fuller, R. H. 17, 17 n. 5, 21 n. 17, 25 n. 39, 30 n. 66

Delorme, J. 21 n. 20 Demos, L. 109, 109 n. 9 Descartes, R. 123, 123 n. 61 Desreumaux, A. 213 n. 40 Dettwiler, A. 62 n. 31 Devos, P. 235 Dilley, P. 217 n. 52 Dinkler, E. 220 n. 62 Dodd, C. H. 58 n. 15, 62 n. 30 Dölger, F. J. 102 n. 89, 220, 220 n. 62, 220 n. 63, 220 n. 64, 220 n. 68 Donegani, I. 55 n. 7 Doukakis, K. C. 259 n. 35 Duchesne, L. 65 n. 4 Duckett , E. S. 145 n. 101 Dudley, L. 116 n. 39, 195 Duffy, J. 158 n. 56, 174, 261 Duplacy, J. 172, 172 n. 5 Dupont, J. 3 n. 12, 6 n. 33, 11 n. 58, 23 n. 29, 27 n. 50, 262 Dupuis, P. 54 n. 1


Index of Modern Authors


Jervell, J. 12 n. 65 Jewett, R. 89 n. 36, 120 n. 52 Johnson, S. F. 151 n. 21, 181 n. 35 Johnston, G. 57 n. 11 Jones, F. S. 93 n. 51, 162, 162 n. 6, 162 n. 15, 167, 167 n. 47 Jülicher, A. 268 Junod, E. 5 n. 28, 7 n. 37, 42 n. 8, 149 n. 13, 157 n. 49, 157 n. 50, 157 n. 51, 154 n. 31, 170 n. 2, 180 n. 30, 182

Haenchen, E. 6 n. 32, 6 n. 33, 27 n. 51, 30 n. 65, 83 n. 18, 128 n. 16 Hahn, F. 17, 17 n. 4, 22 n. 22, 23 n. 30, 24 n. 38, 198 Halkin, F. 176 n. 14, 177, 177 n. 18, 210 n. 32, 212, 235, 236 n. 1 Halten, T. 220 n. 67 Hanhart, R. 26 n. 47 Harl, M. 26 n. 47 Harnack, A. 6 n. 33, 14 n. 71, 130, 130 n. 26 Harrison, T. 271 n. 6 Hartman, L. 24 n. 36 Hauck, F. 233 Hausherr, I. 215 n. 45 Heil, C. 8 n. 41 Heintz, F. 83 n. 20 Heinz, A. 220 n. 62, 220 n. 67 Heise, J. 57 n. 12 Hengel, M. 6 n. 31, 26 n. 44, 26 n. 45 Hennecke , E. 210 Hilgenfeld, A. 65, 65 n. 2, 65 n. 4 Hilhorst , A. 156 Hill , C. E. 6 n. 30 Hillier, R. 144, 145 n. 99 Hills, J. V. 99 n. 77, 100 n. 79, 128, 128 n. 20 Hoffmann, P. 8 n. 41, 87 n. 30 Hogan, J. C. 271 n. 6 Høgel, C. 237 n. 4 Holtz, T. 4 n. 20, 24 n. 37 Hörhammer, F. 215 n. 45 Horner, T. J. 94 n. 54 Hurtado, L. W. 8 n. 43, 17, 17 n. 2, 28 n. 56, 84 n. 21, 116 n. 40 Hutter, E. 159, 159 n. 60




La Bonnardière, A.-M. 127, 127 n. 10 Labriolle, P. 12 n. 61 Lagrange, M.-J. 129 n. 23 Lalleman, P. J. 7 n. 37 Lamouille, A. 129 n. 24 Lampe, G. W. H. 164 n. 20, 195, 196, 198, 231, 232, 233,

Jackson, M. 125 Jacobson, A. D. 8 n. 41 Jakobson, R. 12 James, M. R. 155, 237 n. 9 Janssens, B. 179 n. 26 Jaubert, A. 41, 41 n. 4 Jeremias, J. 3 n. 16, 5 n. 26, 268

Ioakeim, E. 239 n. 19 Issacharoff, M. 12 n. 64 Izydorczyk, Z. S. 155 n. 35, 179

Kaestli, J.-D. 2 n. 7, 7 n. 37, 42 n. 8, 113 n. 28, 152 n. 28, 154 n. 31, n. 48, 157 n. 49, 157 n. 50, 157 n. 51, 159 n. 57, 170 n. 2, 179, 180 n. 30, 182, 210, 212 n. 36, 213, 231, 232 Kappler, R. 117 n. 43 Kappler , C.-C. 117 n. 43 Käsemann, E. 5 n. 24, 22 n. 23, 41, 41 n. 5, 123 n. 66 Kasser, R. 148 n. 8 Kazhdan, A. P. 274 n. 15 Keller, C. A. 78 n. 1 Kelley, N. 31 n. 69 Kessler, H. L. 142 n. 86, 143 n. 89, 143 n. 90 Kienzle , B. 154 n. 33 King, K. L. 1 n. 3, 7 n. 37, 68, 68 n. 15, 68 n. 17, 107 n. 1, 116 n. 42, 147 n. 6, 216 n. 47 Klauk, H.-J. 163 n. 16 Klijn, A. F. J. 130 n. 28 Klingenhardt, M. 130 n. 26 Kloppenborg, J. S. 8 n. 41, 13 n. 70, 86 n. 28, 87 n. 30 Koester, H. 40 n. 3, 80 n. 7, 160 n. 61 Koschorke, K. 67, 67 n. 12, 131 n. 33 Kossova , A. G. 180 n. 29 Kremer, J. 56 n. 10 Kretschmar, G. 12 n. 63


Index of Modern Authors

Nasrallah , L. 234 Neirynck, F. 269 Nelson, R. S. 143 n. 91 Nestle, E. 110 n. 15 Newhauser, R. 215 n. 45 Newsom, C. A. 194, 231  

Macchi , J. D. 124 n. 72 Macé, C. 179 Mack, B. L. 1 n. 3, 33, 35, 37 MacMullen, R. 234 MacRae, G. W. 116 n. 40 Madigan , K. J. 124 n. 72 Mahé, J.-P. 67, 67 n. 13, 67 n. 14 Maichle, A. 159 n. 59, 160 n. 61 Maisch, I. 29 n. 61 Makowski, J. F. 144, 144 n. 98 Mâle, E. 117, 117 n. 44 Mancini, I. 93 n. 50 Mandilares, B. G. 206 n. 24, 207 n. 25, 208 n. 27, 209 n. 29 Manoussakas, M. I. 195 Margalit, B. 271 n. 5 Marguerat, D. 11 n. 57, 11 n. 58, 13 n. 66, 23 n. 31, 86 n. 27, 128, 265

Markschies, C. 68 n. 18 Marrassini, P. 97 n. 70, 117 n. 43, 234 Marrou , H. I. 33 Martin, D. 107, 107 n. 2, 123 n. 61 Martin, M. J. 5 n. 26 Marxsen, W. 4 n. 18 Matthew, C. R. 32, 85 n. 25, 255 n. 28, 258 n. 33 Matthias, M. 72 n. 30 McClain, E. G. 219 n. 56 McDonald , L. M. 68 n. 19, 98 n. 74 McGinn, B. 234 McKane, W. 274 n. 13 McKendrick, S. 169 n. 1 McKinlay, A. P. 144 Meeks, W. A. 59 n. 21 Meier, J. P. 2 n. 11 Meiser, M. 129 n. 23, 217 n. 53 Menoud, P. H. 10 n. 53 Merk, A. 139 n. 67 Merk, O. 217 n. 53 Merleau-Ponty, M. 107, 107 n. 4, 123, 123 n. 62, 124, 124 n. 67, 125, Mermod, H. L. 124 Metzger, B. 5 n. 29, 98 n. 74 Meyer, M. 8 n. 42, 68 n. 15, 147, 148 n. 8 Michaelis, W. 274 n. 13 Miller, M. P. 1 n. 3, 67, 67 n. 7 Mimouni, S. 93 n. 50, 93 n. 51, 152 n. 28, 211 n. 34 Molla, C. F. 265 Moloney, F. J. 90 n. 41 Moltmann, J. 11 n. 56 Morard, F. 216 n. 47 Moreland, M. C. 8 n. 41 Moule, C. F. D. 60 n. 24 Muccio, G. 199, 199 n. 2, 199 n. 4, 200 n. 5, 200 n. 7, 213, 235 Müller, P. G. 55 n. 6 Müller-Abels, S. 127, 127 n. 13, 136 n. 56 Murray, R. 4 n. 22  

Lampe, P. 5 n. 25, 5 n. 27 Lampros, S. P. 172 n. 4 Landau, B. 178 Lanoir, C. 271 n. 5 Lattke, M. 115 n. 32, 115 n. 33, 115 n. 34, 115 n. 35, 115 n. 36 Laurence, R. 11 n. 57 Le Boulluec, A. 21 n. 16, 65, 65 n. 3, 67, 67 n. 11, 70 n. 24, 95 n. 56, 162, 162 n. 11 Le Goff, J. 113 n. 27 Leder, D. 124, 124 n. 70, 124 n. 71 Leipoldt , J. 217 n. 52 Leloir, L. 155 n. 39 León, D. M. 57 n. 11, 58 n. 19 Léon-Dufour, X. 22 n. 21, 47 n. 24, 48 n. 28 Leroy, J. 175 n. 11 Levenson, J. D. 124 n. 72 Lewis, A. S. 213, 213 n. 40 Lietzmann, H. 30 n. 62, 144 n. 94 Lim, E. 107 n. 1 Lipsius, R. A. 210, 211 n. 32, 212, 235, 237 n. 11 Lona, H. E. 124 n. 72 Lüdemann, G. 71 n. 27, 93 n. 49 Luther , M. 72 Luz, U. 9 n. 50, 20 n. 14, 23 n. 27, 24 n. 35, 82 n. 15, 83 n. 16, 122 n. 58


Index of Modern Authors

Sabourin, L. 25 n. 42 Saïd, E. W. 275 n. 16 Sanchez, S. J. G. 157 n. 50