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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

The Father William Most Collection

Apocrypha (NT)

[Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion (Washington: Corpus, 1979) vol. A-E, s.v. "Apocrypha (NT)", 213-19.]

1. Abdias, Apostolic History of, extant Latin collection of legends earlier circulated separately in Greek on the eleven Apostles and Paul. The contents are drawn chiefly from the canonical Gospels and Acts, from the Clementine literature and from heretical Acts. It was put together not earlier than 6th or 7th cent., probably in France. The preface asserts that Julius Africanus took the material from books written in Hebrew by Abdias (Obadiah), Bishop of Babylon, about the Apostles.

2. Abgarus, Epistles of Christ and, a work Eusebius (Histories 1.13) claims to have found in the archives of Edessa, and to have translated into Greek from Syriac. It consisted of two short letters: one from King Abgar V Ukkama to Christ, asking him to come and heal him, recognizing his divinity, and offering a safe city; a second, in which Christ replies that he will send someone after his ascension. No one today defends their authenticity. The letters (probably early 4th cent.) form part of the Acts of Thaddeus. In a similar account in Syriac, the Doctrina Addaei (c 400 A. D.) Jesus replies only orally via Ananias, who brings a portrait of Jesus he had painted.

3. Allogenes Supreme, a Gnostic work, in Coptic, found at Chenoboskion, Egypt, in 1946, probably written early in the 3d century. Porphyry reports that Plotinus the great Neoplatonist, fought against five apocalypses. This work may be one of the five.

4. Andrew, Acts of, an apocryphon telling of the travels, wonders, discourses, and martyrdom of Andrew. Scant remains of the original Greek are extant, dating from 2d or 3d century. There is also a shortened Latin form edited by Gregory of Tours. It is likely that Gregory pruned out unorthodox thoughts, such as the sweeping ascetic attack on marriage. Eusebius (Hiss. eccl. 3:25.6-7) puts it among the "forgeries of heretics." Epiphanius (Heresies 47) reports it was liked by the Encratites, the Apostolics, and the Origenians. Scholars disagree on Gnostic influence in these Acts. The account of the martyrdom also circulated independently. It includes an address to his cross in a long sermon.

5. Andrew, Fragmentary Story of, an extant Coptic fragment, an incident from one of the oriental Acts of the Apostles. A dog tells Andrew that a woman in the desert killed her illegitimate child and fed it to him. Andrew causes the dog to disgorge, the fragments are joined, and the child lives again.

6. Andrew and Matthias (Matthew), Acts of, an apocryphon telling how Jesus appeared to Andrew, told him to go to rescue Matthias who was then in his 27th day of captivity by cannibals who planned to eat him on the 30th day. Andrew boards a ship piloted by Jesus himself (whom Andrew does not then recognize) and so tells Jesus of his own earlier exploits. Andrew rescues Matthias, works many miracles, is tortured, cured by Jesus, nearly submerges the city by a miracle, saves it when the people repent, then baptizes them. The story is extant in Greek and Syriac and also in a Latin version prefixed by Gregory of Tours to his Latin edition of the Acts of Andrew. The Acts probably originated in Egypt. Matthias and Matthew are confused in the account.

7. Andrew and Paul, Acts of, an extent Coptic tale of fantastic adventures. Paul dives into the sea, reaches the underworld, visits with Judas. Andrew and Paul come to a city, find the gates locked, and cause them to disappear into the ground. They convert some 27,000 Jews.

8. Apostles, Epistle of the, the most important of the apocryphal epistles, completely unknown until 1895 when a Coptic version was found at Cairo. It probably originated in Asia Minor or Egypt in mid-2a century. It tells of the birth, miracles, and Resurrection of Jesus; then the epistle form is discontinued, and the apocalyptic form used: Jesus answers questions on the date of the parousia, the universal resurrec tion, judgment, and signs. Finally, the Ascension is described. The writer used the NT, esp. St. John, and also the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas. A few Gnostic tinges appear, but on the whole it is anti-Gnostic.

9. Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, a late compilation, heavily emphasizing the miraculous, on the infancy of Jesus. The first part depends on the Protoevangelium of James, the second part on the Gospel of Thomas, with the addition of many new and strange incidents in intervening chapters. The original was probably Syriac. Existing copies depend on an Arabic MS first published in 1697.

10. Armenian Gospel of the Infancy, a late apoc ryphon, drawing heavily on the Protoevangelium of James and the Gospel of Thomas. Its stories are very wordy, containing dialogues of unusual length.

11. Assumption of the Virgin, a group of apocryphal works, probably from the 4th cent., though the nucleus may go back to 3d, perhaps originating in Egypt. There are two chief forms. In the Coptic version, Jesus appears before the Apostles depart and tells Mary of her coming death and assumption. In the form found in Greek, Latin, and Syriac, the Apostles have already left, but at her request are transported back on clouds. Pope Pius XII defining the Assumption did not rest at all on these dubious accounts; rather, he ignored them in his survey of the development of the belief, and appealed instead to a facet of the virtually unanimous patristic New Eve tradition.

12. Barnabas, Acts of, a brief apocryphal work, extant in Greek, not earlier than the 5th cent., telling of the travels of Barnabas with Paul, and later without Paul, and of his martyrdom. It pretends to have been composed by Mark. It is largely an imaginative expansion of parts of the canonical Acts, much more sober than most apocrypha.

13. Bartholomew, Gospel of, a work mentioned by St. Jerome (Prologue to Matthew) and the Gelasian Decree. It is not sure that either knew the book. If it exists, it is probably to be identified with the Questions of Bartholomew, extant in Greek, Latin, and Slavonic. It is not earlier than the 5th cent., though perhaps based on much earlier materials, perhaps Gnostic. It contains answers made by Jesus after the Resurrection, by Mary and by Satan, in reply to Bartholomew. They deal chiefly with Christ's descent into hell, the annunciation to Mary, a vision of the bottomless pit given to the Apostles, Satan's replies on the sin and fall of the angels, and a short passage on the deadly sins.

14. Bartholomew the Apostle, Book of the Resurrection of Christ by, a Coptic apocryphon, probably from the 5th or 6th cent., a loosely strung together set of fanciful narratives mostly on the Resurrection of Christ and his descent into hell Stories from canonical Gospels are expanded altered, and combined. It contains strange inconsistencies: Jesus is twice buried; Thomas, who had raised his own son from the dead and made him bp., later on the same day doubts the Resurrection of Jesus.

15. Basilides, Gospel of, an apocryphal gospel known to Origen (Homily on Luke 1), Jerome, and Ambrose. Eusebius (Hiss. eccl. 4:7 6-7) mentions 24 books on the Gospel by Basilides. Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 4. 12) cites several passages from an Exegetica of Basilides. Hegemonius (Acta Archelai 67.4-11) also cites such a passage. According to Irenaeus (Heresies 1:24.3-4) Basilides was an Egyptian Gnostic of the early 2d century. Perhaps he revised the canonical Gospels to make them conform to his view, then commented on his work.

16. Corinthians, Third Epistle to the, apocryphon contained in the Acts of Paul. It is supposedly an answer to a letter sent by the Corinthians to Paul in which they reported that the heretics Simon and Cleobius taught that we must not use the prophets, that God is not almighty, that there will be no resurrection, that man was not made by God, that Christ did not become incarnate, that the world was made by angels, not by God.

17. Dositheus, Apocalypse of, a Gnostic work written in Coptic, found at Chenoboskion, Egypt, in 1946. It has the subtitle, "The Three Great Steles of Seth." It has not yet been published or sufficiently studied.

18. Ebionites, Gospel of the, an apocryphal gospel, probably of the first half of the 2d or early 3d cent., probably written E of the Jordan. Fragments are quoted by Epiphanius (Heresies 30.13, 14, 16, 22). The confused and unclear state of ancient testimony leaves modern scholars divided on how many Jewish-Christian gospels there may have been. Probably there were three: of the Nazareans, of the Ebionites, of the Hebrews Some believe the last two are identical works; others identify the Gospel of the Ebionites with the Gospel of the Twelve Apostles mentioned by Origen (Homil. in Luke 1). The Gospel of the Ebionites seems to have denied the virgin birth, averring that the union of a heavenly being with the man Jesus resulted in the Christ, the Son of God (a Gnostic trait). Jesus was to annul sacrifices. The work also appears to teach vegetarianism.

19. Egyptians' Gospel According to the, an apocryphal Greek gospel current in Egypt in the 2d cent., cited by Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 3.6, 9, 13). The citations show Gnostic opposition to marriage. It is also mentioned, unfavorably, by Origen, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius. Only fragments are extant. It seems to be unrelated to a Book of the Great Invisible Spirit or Gospel of the Egyptians, found at Chenoboskion in 1946.

20. Eugnostos, Letter of, a Gnostic work, written in Coptic, found at Chenoboskion, Egypt, in 1946. Soter, the bisexual creator, and Sophia Pangeneteira, the feminine counterpart of Soter, produce six bisexual spirits. The sixth of these is Archigeneter (male)-Pistis Sophia (female). Another Chenoboskion work, "Wisdom of Jesus" is based on this letter. In the former, Pistis Sophia is one of the aeons.

21. Hebrews, Gospel according to the, an apocryphal Gospel, probably from the first half of the 2d cent., perhaps from Egypt. Ancient testimony is not entirely clear. Some would identify it with the Gospel of the Ebionites. Jerome (De viris illustribus 2) says he translated it into Greek and Latin, and observes (On Matthew 12.13) that the Nazareans and Ebionites used it, and that many considered it the original of Matthew. The fragments do indicate some close relation to Matthew: it may have been a reworking and extension of Matthew, yet is probably a totally different book. Quotations by Hegesippus, Origen, and Eusebius seem to show it came from a writer of Ebionite tendency, e.g., James is placed above Peter and is depicted as hostile to Paul.

22. James, Apocalypse of, a Gnostic apocryphon, found at Chenoboskion in 1946, in Coptic codices. It is not yet certain if the work is correctly styled an apocalypse; further study is needed.

23. James, Ascents of, an apocryphon known only from Epiphanius (Heresies 30.16). He says that the Ebionites used this book. It told how James spoke against the Temple and sacrifices. It is strongly against St. Paul, who is called a Greek proselyte and who is said to have written against the law and circumcision. It is likely that James is described as making "Ascents" of the Temple steps and speaking from there (cf. The Clementine Recognitions 1.66-71).

24. James, Protoevangelium of, the earliest of the apocryphal infancy gospels, the chief source of several other similar infancy gospels, probably written in the mid-2d century. It is extant in many MSS, in Greek as well as in translations. Most of the work is taken up in retelling the birth of Mary, her being brought up in the Temple, her betrothal to Joseph (from whose rod a dove flew out and lit on his head), the annunciation of the birth of Jesus, Joseph's fears, the trip to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the midwife's testimony to Mary's continuing virginity, the episode of the Wise Men, the escape of John the Baptist from Herod, the murder of Zacharias by of ficers of Herod. It is certainly not by the Apostle James. Discrepancies seem to point to more than one author, who show considerable ignorance of the geography of Palestine. The style is sober, restrained, even artistic.

25. James the Great, Acts of, an apocryphon, the same as Book 4 of the Apostolic History of Abdias. It is a romance, a tale of magical wonders, the adventures and martyrdom of James, son of Zebedee. It pictures James as in frequent conflict with Hermogenes the magician and his follower Philetus. James converts the latter and gives him miraculous power. It exists only in Latin. Clement of Alexandria seems to quote a probable Greek original in his lost Hupotoposes (Eusebius, Hist. cccl. 2:9.1-3).

26. Jesus, Wisdom of, a Gnostic writing found at Chenoboskion in 1946. It represents Jesus after his resurrection as speaking with 12 disciples and 7 holy women. Mary Magdalen asks him about the origin and role of the disciples. It is based on another work found at Chenoboskion, the Letter of Eugnostos.

27. John, Acts of, probably the earliest extant apocryphal Acts, composed c. 150-180 A.D. About 70% of the whole work is in Greek, supplemented in some parts by the Latin version. From the 5th cent. it was ascribed to a certain Leucius, also regarded as author of all five apocryphal Acts used by the Manichaeans instead of the canonical Acts. Strong Docetic tendencies appear: the body of Christ sometimes seems material to John, at other times immaterial. A tone of ascetic hostility to marriage and everything sexual is evident. The extant portion contains no mention of John's miraculous escape from boiling oil (reported by Tertullian, De praescriptione 26). The work has had a considerable influence on literature and art, and is important as the oldest source on Eucharist for the dead.

28. John, Acts of (Prochorus), an apocryphon, a Greek work of romantic genre, from the 5th cent., extant in Greek and several versions. It pretends to record the acts of John, chiefly in his 15 years in Patmos. The author has used material freely molded from the earlier Leucian Acts of John. Byzantine art represents John as dictating these acts to Prochorus (Acts 6.5), a Jerusalem deacon.

29. John, Apocryphon and Secret Book of, two distinct apocryphal works written under the name of John the Apostle. The Apocryphon is a 2d cent. Gnostic work, whose contents were long known in part only from the partial resume of it given by Irenaeus (Heresies 1.29) without mention of its name. Today it is available in four MSS: a Berlin Papyrus 8502 (5th cent.; found in late 19th cent. near Akhmim, Egypt) and Codices 1, III, and VIII found about 1945 at Chenoboskion. The latter three date from 3d to 5th centuries. It opens with a narrative of a vision and the teaching is imparted, first in continuous discourse, then in a dialogue in which John questions Christ. The Secret Book has sometimes been considered as a later remolding of the Apocryphon. Though the two works deal in general with the same themes, they have nothing more in common, The Secret Book was the Interrogatio Iohannis et apostoli et evangelistae in cena secreta regni coelorum de ordinatione mundi istius et de principe et de Adam, brought from Bulgaria to N Italy c. 1190 by a Bp. Nazarius of a Cathar community.

30. Joseph the Carpenter, History of, an apocryphal narrative of the life and death of Joseph, and the eulogy spoken ova him by Jesus. It was written not earlier than 4th, not later than 5th cent. and is extant in Arabic and Bohairic. It is heavily dependent on the Protoevangelium of James and also on the Gospel of Thomas. It is aimed at the glorification of Joseph and the promotion of his cult, popular in Egypt.

31. Laodiceans, Epistle to the, a short (247 words) apocryphon, occasioned by Paul's statement (Col 4:16) that he wrote to the Laodiceans. It is a patchwork of phrases from the canonical epistles, esp. that to the Philippians. It was in existence in the 4th cent, as is seen from warnings against it that then began, though Gregory the Great thought it authentic (not canonical). It exists only in Latin, but there may have been a Greek original. The Muratorian Fragment mentions an Epistle to the Laodiceans as a Marcionist forgery, which probably was a different work.

32. Lentulus, Epistle of, a medieval apocryphon, purporting to be a letter to the Roman senate by Lentulus, a Roman official in Judea. The date is uncertain, probably 13th-14th century. It describes the physical appearance of Christ. *LENTULUS, LETTER OF

33. Marcion, Gospel of, an apocryphal book developed by Marcion from an earlier tradition or by the heretical sect he founded. Marcion and his followers rejected the OT and accepted only Luke and 10 Pauline Epistles of the NT. Hit gospel seems to have consisted of an abridgment of Luke dropping the first two chapters, modifying other parts to suit his Gnosticism, Docetism, Encratism, hostility to Judaism and the OT. A few have claimed Marcion used an earlier version of Luke; some think he also made occasional use of the other three Gospels.

34. Mary, Gospel of the Birth of, a Latin infancy gospel, drawing its substance from the first part of the gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. It tells of Mary's birth at Nazareth, the giving of her name by an angel, her life in the Temple, the miraculous selection of Joseph as her husband, and the birth of Christ. It has been traditionally but wrongly attributed to Jerome. It is not the same work as the Gnostic Birth of Mary.

35. Matthew, Martyrdom of, a late story, extant in Greek and Latin, of how Matthew was sent by Christ to the king of the cannibals. He plants a rod which grows into a tree and produces marvels. He is martyred by fire and buried in a iron coffin in the sea. The coffin rises, the king is converted, and becomes a bishop. The writer is interested in wonders not in religion or dogma. Dependent on Acts of Andrew and Matthias, but confused.

36. Matthias, Gospel of. A work mentioned by Origen (Homily 1 on Luke). Clement of Alexandria cites the Traditions of Matthias (Stromata 2.9; 3.4; 7.13). Some think the two may be one work; others are doubtful.

37. Messos, Apocalypse of, a Gnostic writing in Coptic found at Chenoboskion in 1946. Messos was probably Gnostic seer or prophet, not Moses, nor a mystic mediator. This work is probably one of the five apocalypses against which Plotinus fought, according to Porphyry.

38. Nazarenes, Gospel of the, a Gospel mentioned by Hegesippus, Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, written in Syriac or Aramaic (perhaps translated from Greek), probably composed in the first half of the 2d century. Fragments are extant. It seems to be not a proto-Matthew, but a development of the Greek Matthew, quite similar in narratives and discourse matter, but involving some fictional development of the tradition in the narratives. It was in use, according to Jerome, among the Nazarenes and Syrian Jewish Christians.

39. Oxyrhynchus Sayings of Jesus, from six small fragments of papyrus, found, among many others, at Oxyrhynchus (now Behnesa) about 125 miles S of Cairo, Egypt. In the Grenfell and Hunt edition they are numbered 1; 654; 655; 840; 1081; 1224; 1384. Papyrus 1 dates from soon after 200 A.D.; 654 from end of 2d or start of 3d cent.; 655, 2d or 3d cent.; 840 seems to have been in an amulet of the 4th to 5th cent.; 1081 dates from 3d or early 4th cent.; 1224, from early 4th cent.; 1384, 5th to 6th century. They contain fragments of "sayings of Jesus," probably mostly from apocryphal gospels. Papyrus 1081 seems to be a fragment of the Gnostic gospel Sophia Iesu. Most of them seem to show knowledge of and dependence on the canonical Gospels.

40. Paul, Acts of, an extant romance, written probably 185-200 A.D. in Asia Minor. A Coptic MS found in 1894 has proved that the Acts of Paul and Thecla, the apocryphal correspondence between Paul and the Corinthians, and the story of the Martyrdom of Paul are all parts of these Acts. Thecla, converted by Paul, breaks her engagement, escapes death in the arena, baptizes herself, is sent by Paul to preach and baptize. In the correspondence, the Corinthians write to Paul of false preachers. Paul refutes them. There is much stress (some unorthodox) on continence and the resurrection. The Acts clearly reject Docetism and Gnosticism. Most but not all the theological views in the Acts are orthodox. They contain the most famous ancient description of the appearance of Paul, which has influenced ecclesiastical art.

41. Paul, Apocalypse of, an apocryphal work that may have existed in several forms. Epiphanius (Heresies 38.2) mentions an Ascent Anabastikon of Paul, a forgery by Cainites, which is surely not to be identified with the extant Apocalypse, although it may be related to it. A Gnostic Coptic Apocalypse of Paul was found at Chenoboskion in 1946, but this has not yet been studied. The extant Apocalypse of Paul was written in the 4th or perhaps even the 3d century. The introduction asserts that it was found under the house of Paul at Tarsus during the reign of Theodosius. Sozomen (History 7.9) mentions the story, and adds that an sled priest of Tarsus in his day said no such find was known there The Apocalypse expands on 2 Cor 12.2: Paul is sent by Christ to preach penance to men, against whom all creation complains. He hears the reports of guardian angels, then Is shown the death and judgment of one just and one wicked man He sees paradise, is given a tour of hell, begs Christ for mercy for the damned, and obtains a l-day-per-week respite for them as a permanent commemoration of Jesus' Resurrection Finally, he has a second vision of paradise.

42. Paul, Passion of, a later Latin revision of the Martyrdom of Paul (which is part of the Acts of Paul). It is attributed to Linus. It adds several stories and a paragraph about Seneca's admiration for Paul and says that Seneca read part of Paul's letters to Nero.

43. Paul and Seneca, Epistles of, a set of apocryphal correspondence of Paul and Seneca, eight letters by the latter, six replies by the former, still extant. Seneca praises the sublimity of content of Paul's Epistles and asks him to be more careful of style. It was composed not later than the 3d century. Jerome (De viris illustribus 12) lists Seneca as a Christian writer because of these.

44. Peter, Acts of, an apocryphal romance (there is no evidence that it preserves historical tradition), composed probably before A.D. 200, perhaps in Asia Minor or Rome. We have about two-thirds of the whole. A large part, the Vercelli Acts, in Latin, probably written before A.D, 200. tells of Paul's departure to Spain, the arrival in Rome of Simon Magus who by wonders causes many to fall away, Peter's trip from Jerusalem to counter Simon, the latter's attempted ascension from the Forum, foiled by Peter, Peter's martyrdom (including the Quo vadis incident). Several other episodes, seemingly part of the Acts, are also extant. The work is probably not by a Gnostic but shows heavy Gnostic influence in places, as also Encratite and Docetic influences. Paul uses bread and water for the Eucharist. Peter moves his hearers to avoid sexual intercourse. The original complete form may have attacked marriage more strongly.

45. Peter, Apocalypse of, an apocryphal work extant in a number of versions: (I) a Gnostic apocalypse found in 1946 at Chenoboskion in Egypt; (2) an Apocalypse of Peter translated from the Arabic (cf. Woodbrooke Studies, Cambridge, 1931, 3.2). (3) an older apocalypse, probably dating from 125-150 A.D. It exists in two forms, an Ethiopic translation and a fragment in Greek from the tomb of Akhmim (found in Upper Egypt, 1887). The former seems closer to the original. The content is mainly imaginative visions of heaven and hell, probably borrowing imagery from Orphic-Pythagorean eschatology and oriental religions. Clement of Alexandria (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.14.1) seems to have considered it canonical. The Muratorian Canon lists it, but notes that "some will not have it read in church." Jerome and Eusebius consider it uncanonical. Sozomen (7.19) reports it was still used in the Good Friday liturgy in some churches in Palestine in the 5th cent. Its use in later apocrypha shows its popularity.

46. Peter, Gospel of, an apocryphal gospel of which a large fragment was found in 1886 in the tomb of Akhmim in Upper Egypt. The scribe seems not to have known any more of it, since he puts ornaments at both ends of the copy. It begins with Pilate washing his hands and ends with the appearance of Jesus at the Sea of Tiberias. It certainly depends heavily on the canonical Gospels. It is debatable how much Gnostic or Docetic influence is to be seen in it: at least, it prepares the way for later Gnostic work. A strong apologetic and also anti-Jewish interest is apparent. It was formerly known through a part of a refutation made by Serapion, quoted by Eusebius (Hiss. eccl. 6.12). Serapion calls it Docetic. Origen also mentions such a work. Theodoret says it was in use among the Nazarenes, but probably refers to a different work, in view of the anti-Jewish bias in the Gospel of Peter.

47. Peter, Passion of, a late Latin revision of the account of the martyrdom of Peter from the Acts of Peter, attributed to Linus, Peter's successor as bishop of Rome, but probably written not earlier than the 6th century. It adds some details to the story of the Acts, such as the names of Peter's jailers and a vision at the time of his crucifixion. It is purely legendary.

48. Peter, Preaching of, a nonextant apocryphon, professing to be a handbook of the preaching of Peter. A number of quotations from it exist, perhaps amounting to an epitome, in Clement of Alexandria's Stromata (6.5, 6, 15). He accepted it as genuine, while Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 3:3.1-4) rejected it. The several warnings against the worship of animals suggest it may have originated in Egypt. It does not seem to be the same as the preachings of Peter found in the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions.

49. Peter, Slavonic Acts of, a late, grotesque, apocryphal romance, with some Gnostic coloring, pretending to narrate Peter's experiences on the way to and in Rome and his death. A young child urges him to go. On the way Peter buys the child from the ship's captain. The child works miracles in Rome; the dead are raised and returned to their graves by Peter. After the crucifixion of Peter, the child appears, the nails fall from Peter, the child reveals he is Jesus. Extant only in Slavonic, it seems to have no connection with the Leucian Acts of Peter.

50. Peter and Andrew, Acts of, a short series of wonder stories with no seeming interest in doctrine, extant in Greek and Slavonic, a sequel to the Acts of Andrew and Matthias. Among other things: Andrew rides a cloud from the cannibal land to a mountain where Peter is preaching. Jesus appears as a child, orders Peter and Andrew to go to the land of the barbarians. Peter converts the hostile Onesiphorus by causing a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

51. Peter and Paul, Acts of, an apocryphon recounting Paul's journey from the island of Gaudomelete to Rome, and the work, close association, and deaths of Peter and Paul in Rome. Except for the early chapters, its content is essentially the same as the Passion of Peter and Paul that is arbitrarily ascribed to Marcellus. Extant only in Greek.

52. Peter and Paul, Passion of, the title of two apocrypha: (1) a late (not before 5th cent.) but quite orthodox apocryphon, extant in Latin and Greek. It is in substance identical to the Acts of Peter and Paul except for the early chapters. It is often, but without reason, attributed to Marcellus. (2) A quite different work extant only in Latin. Peter and Paul stay at the home of a relative of Pilate; reply to the claims of Simon Magus to be the Christ. The account of their deaths is brief.

53. Peter and the Twelve Apostles, Acts of, a Gnostic work found in 1946 at Chenoboskion, Egypt, to be distinguished from the Acts of Peter, the Ebionite Acts of the Apostles, and the Manichaean Acts of the Twelve Apostles.

54. Philip, Acts of, a late (not earlier than 4th or 5th cent.) romance, pretending to narrate the adventures, miracles, and death of Philip (by crucifixion, head down) at Hierapolis. Extant are 9 of the 15 acts, plus the martyrdom of Philip.

55. Philip, Gospel of, a gospel forged by Egyptian Gnostics (Heresies 26.13). Epiphanius quotes it, telling how the soul must reveal proper knowledge as it goes up to heaves and must be able to say it has not begotten children. The Pistis Sophia also seems to refer to this work. In 1945 a Gospel of Philip was found in the Gnostic library at Chenoboskion. Study of it is not yet completed, but it seems to be a different work, for it does not have the form of a gospel, and the citation by Epiphanius does not seem to occur in it.

56. Pilate, Acts of, an extant passion gospel consisting of two parts: (1) many fanciful and imaginative details on the trial and death of Jesus (1-11) and acts of the Sanhedrin that led to proofs of his Resurrection and Ascension (12-16); (2) the garish account of the two sons of Simeon who, being dead, had seen Christ's descent into hell and had returned to life (17-19). The present form of the first part probably datas to c. A.D. 350, though it is highly likely that a previous work on which this is based was known to Justin Martyr (First Apology 35; 48). This work seems to have originated as a reply to a pagan forgery, the Memoirs of Pilate, which Epiphanius (Hist. 9:5.1) says was full of blasphemy against Christ. A prologue in many MSS attributes this work to Nicodemus; composition is never attributed to Pilate. The relative age of the two parts is uncertain: probably they were not joined before the 5th century. Later appendices were added, esp. a letter from Pilate to Claudius on the trial of Jesus.

57. Pistis Sophia, a late title given to a group of works whose primitive title was "Books (Rolls) of the Savior. They are found in a Coptic parchment MS of the second half of the 4th century. In the first 3 of the 4 sections, probably composed 250-300 A.D., Jesus, 12 years after his Resurrection, replies to questions of Mary Magdalene, gives to her and the disciples information on the fate, fall, and redemption of Pistis Sophia (faith-wisdom), a being of the world Gnostic aeons. The Epistle of Eugnostos calls Pistis Sophia the name of the consort of the Savior, who seems to be bisexual. The fourth section (probably first half of 3d cent.) tells things recounted by Jesus right after his Resurrection and does not mention Pistis Sophia.

58. Pseudo-Matthew, Gospel of, a late Latin infancy gospel of 8th or 9th century. Our earliest MSS are of the 11th century. When certain infancy gospels had been condemned by Popes Damasus, Innocent I, and the Gelasian Decree popular interest seems to have motivated the writing of Pseudo-Matthew. It is substantially a rewrite, with additions, omissions, changes of the Protoevangelium of James and the Gospel of Thomas. It seems also to have aimed at the veneration of Mary as Queen of Virgins. It had great influence on medieval literature and art.

59. Savior' Dialogue of the, a Gnostic writing found at Chenoboskion, Egypt, in 1946 In it Jesus holds a dialogue with his disciples on cosmogony.

60. Silvanus, Teachings of, a Gnostic writing found at Chenoboskion, Egypt, in 1946, attributed to Silvanus (almost certainly the same as Silas), a companion of Paul, and the one through whom the First Epistle of Peter was sent, who probably put Peter's thoughts into words.

61. Stephen, Revelation of, an apocryphal apocalypse, now lost, known through its condemnation in the so-called Decree of Gelasius (early 6th cent.) along with the Apocalypse of Paul and that of Thomas. Some have conjectured, with scant reason, that the Revelation of Stephen has the same substance as the story of the discovery of the bodies of Stephen, Nicodemus, Gamaliel, and Gamaliel's son by Lucian (415 A. D.) a priest of Kaphargamala, near Jerusalem.

62. Thaddeus, Acts of, a set of Edessene legends, taking as its starting point the Epistles of Christ and Abgarus (extant), this work recounts how Thomas the Apostle after Christ's Ascension was divinely led to send one of the 70 Disciples, Thaddeus, to King Abgarus of Edessa. Thaddeus heals him and converts the entire community. The letters probably date from early 4th century. There is also another form of these Acts, the Doctrina Addaei, extant in Syriac, probably composed c. 400 A. D.

63. Thomas, Acts of, an apocryphal acts, probably originally written in Syriac in the first half of the 3d cent. at Edessa. They recount how Thomas was assigned to India, refused, and was forced by Christ, who sold him to a merchant, to serve Indian King Gundephorus as a carpenter. After many marvelous incidents, Thomas is martyred. The extant Greek is probably closer to the original than the Syriac text, which seems to have been much revised to purify it of Gnostic tendencies: Thomas is represented as the twin of Christ like him both in appearance and in redeeming work. Thomas specializes in urging renunciation of marriage. All attempts to prove the historicity of Thomas's mission to India have failed.

64. Thomas, Apocalypse of, formerly known only through its condemnation in the so-called Gelasian decree (6th cent.), found in the early part of the 20th cent. in two versions, the longer in MSS dating from 8th and 9th cent., the shorter in MSS of 5th and 11 or 12th centuries. The first part of the longer version is probably an interpolation from the 5th century. The second corresponds to the shorter version and is probably earlier than the 5th century. In it Christ is pictured as describing to Thomas the events of the 7 days that precede the final consummation of the world.

65. Thomas, Gospel of, a title given to two apocryphal gospels: (1) the infancy Gospel according to Thomas, extant in Greek, Syriac, and other versions, which recounts the Childhood of Jesus between the ages 5 to 12. It is a welter of tasteless (and worse) wonder stories, e.g., a child running dashes against Jesus; Jesus strikes him dead; Jesus is found making clay birds on the Sabbath, is rebuked, brings them to life. The present form is probably later than 6th cent., but it may go back to the late 2d cent.; (2) the Gospel of Thomas found at Chenoboskion in 1946. It contains hardly any narrative, is a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus. It seems to be the Manichaean gospel mentioned by Cyril of Jerusalem (Catecheses 6.31). Hippolytus attributes such a gospel to the Gnostic Naasenes, probably this one (Heresies 5.2). Perhaps the Manichaeans reworked the Gnostic gospel. It may go back to the mid-2d cent., but it is not later than the beginning of the 3d century.

66. Titus, Apocryphal Epistle of, an apocryphon of uncertain date, discovered in an 8th-cent. Latin MS in 1896. It is really an address on virginity and a denouncement of "spiritual marriages" in which ascetics of both sexes lived under one roof, with no sexual contacts. It perhaps originated in Priscillianist circles in Spain. The original may have been Greek; the style is barbarous.

67. Virgin, Apocalypse of. There are two such apocalypses, of late origin. One, extant in Greek, relates how the Virgin Mary asks Michael to see the tortures of the damned. She is moved to pity, obtains from her son a respite for them on all subsequent Pentecost days. The other apocalypse, now extant only in Ethiopic (perhaps originally Greek), retells chapters 13-44 of the Apocalypse of Paul with some alterations and additions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: V. R. Gold, "Gnostic Library of Chenoboskion" Biblical Archeologist, 15 (1952) 70-88; E. 1. Goodspeed, Modern Apocrypha (1956); idem, Strange New Gospels (1931); R. M. Grant and David N. Freedman, Secret Sayings of Jesus (1960); E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha (ed. W. Schneemelcher; tr. R. McL. Wilson, v. 1, 1963; v. 2, 1964); M. R. James, Apocryphal New Testament (1953); Quasten (1950) v. 1.



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