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14, 2003



, Turnhout
All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced,

stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior permission of the publisher.

ISBN 2-503-52263-7
Printed in the E.U. on acid-free paper


Revue fondee en 1990 par Jean-Claude


revue internationale des litte ratures apocryphes
international journal of apocryphal literatures

Directeur de publication
J.-D. Dubois

Secretaire de redaction
M.-J. Pierre

Comite de redaction
F. Amsler, P. Geoltrain,
R. Gounelle, S.C. Mimouni, S.J. Voicu

Comite scientifique
I. Backus, B. Bouvier, F. Bovon, Z. Izydorczyk,
S. Jones, E. Junod, A. Le Boulluec, J.-N. Pe re s,
M. Starowieyski

Revue publiee avec le concours scientifique

de l 'Association pour l 'e tude de la litterature apocryphe chretienne
de la Societe pour l 'etude de la litterature apocryphe chretienne

Preliminary Reedition and Translation of the Gospel of the
Savior : New Light on the Strasbourg Coptic Gospel and the
Stauros Text from Nubia
par Stephen E mmel

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

Dosithe e de Cilicie
par Richard G oulet

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


Die griechische Petrus-Apokalypse und ihre Relation zu

berlieferungstragern apokalyptischer Stoffe
ausgewahlten U
par Thomas J. K raus

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


Pre- and Post-canonical Passion Stories. Insights into the

Development of Christian Discourse on the Death of Jesus
par Pierluigi


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


The Greek Manuscript Tradition of the Infancy Gospel of

par Tony Chartrand-Burke

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


vangile de l 'En Je sus a l 'ecole. L 'enseignement dans l 'E

fance selon Thomas
par Lucie Paulissen

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


Christ Polymorphism in Jerusalem, Taphou 14 : An Examination of Text and Image

par Gretchen K reahling

McKay . . . . . . . . . . .


L 'esegesi della setta offitica dei Perati. Analisi di Ippolito,

Haer. V,16
par Annarita M agri

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


Des `Freres du Seigneur ' sur le sie ge primatial de Perse

par Florence J ullien

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


Essai sur la structure primitive de la Vie d 'Adam et E
par Jean-Pierre

Pettorelli . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Role of Omissions in the History of the Literary Development of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve
par Johannes Tromp

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


Critique : V erus Israel. Nuove prospettive sul giu-

par Claudio Z amagni

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


Rendus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


rec us a la Re daction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




Stephen EMMEL
Westfalische Wilhelms-Universita t Mu nster


New Light on the Strasbourg Coptic Gospel and
the Stauros-Text from Nubia

For Prof. Barbara Aland, esteemed colleague,

on the occasion of her retirement, July 2002

The recently published ``Gospel of the Savior '' (editio princeps

1999) has already been shown to be a second manuscript of the work
known from the ``Strasbourg Coptic Papyrus '' (editio princeps 1900).
The Old Nubian ``Stauros-Text '' (known also from an as yet unpublished Coptic version) also witnesses to this work. When these witnesses are combined, the work gains something of a new identity.
Although this work is certainly a ``narrative gospel '' in some sense, its
surviving portions consist largely of sayings of Jesus (``the Savior '')
in conversation with his disciples (``the apostles ''). The author has
mixed sayings known from the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels with material that is otherwise unknown. The new gospel seems to
have served in turn as a source of inspiration for the author of the
``Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ '' (by the apostle Bartholomew). The article concludes with a translation and the Coptic text.

vangile du Sauveur '' (editio princeps

Il a deja ete demontre que l '``E
1999) est un deuxieme manuscrit de l 'uvre connue sous le nom de
``Papyrus Strasbourg copte '' (editio princeps 1900). Le ``Stauros-


: This article is a revised version of a paper read at the annual meeting

of the Association pour l 'e tude de la litterature apocryphe chre tienne, Dole,
27 June 2002, whose committee I thank most cordially for having invited me
to participate in that very interesting event. See my summary of that paper,
``The `Gospel of the Savior ' : A New Witness to the Strasbourg Coptic Gospel, ''Bulletin de l 'Association pour l 'e tude de la litterature apocryphe chre tienne 12 (2002) 9^12 (but I did not intend for my translation to be printed
there). I profitted greatly from the discussion of my paper with other participants in the meeting. I should note that what is said below about the relevance of the ``Stauros-Text '' to the subject of this paper is the result of a
discovery that I made while revising the text of my lecture for publication.

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 9-53

s. emmel


Text '' en vieux-nubien (connu aussi d 'apre s une version copte encore
inedite) est lui aussi un te moin de cette uvre. Ces te moins etant
combines, l 'uvre trouve une


d 'identite

nouvelle. Bien qu 'il

s 'agisse vraisemblablement d 'un ``e vangile narratif '', les e lements subsistants sont en grande partie compose s de paroles de Je sus (``le Sauveur '')






apo tres '').

L 'auteur

vangile de Jean et des Synoptiques

melange des paroles connues de l 'E
avec des mate riaux inconnus par ailleurs. Le nouvel e vangile para| t, a
son tour, avoir ete une source d 'inspiration pour l 'auteur du ``Livre de
la Resurrection de Je sus le Christ '' (par l 'Apo tre Barthelemy). L 'article en fournit une traduction anglaise et le texte copte.

An ``Unknown Gospel '' Becomes Known :

The Gospel of the Savior

When an ``unknown gospel ''

becomes known which hap-

pens only rarely in any case it is very seldom that the new discovery turns out to contribute directly to our knowledge of
some other ``unknown gospel '' that had been discovered previously. But just such a rare series of events has occurred in the
case of the recently published ``Gospel of the Savior. ''

The existence of seven Coptic parchment codex leaves in the

Berlin Papyrussammlung bearing parts of ``a new ancient gospel '' was first made generally known in 1996 in a paper read by
Charles W. Hedrick at the Sixth International Congress of Coptic Studies.

Three years later, Hedrick published an edition,

translation, and commentary, in which he and his collaborator

1. I use the expression ``unknown gospel '' in the sense of ``apokryph gewordene Evangelien, '' as Dieter Lu hrmann has so nicely designated this body of
literature in his admirable recent contribution to its study, Fragmente apokryph gewordener Evangelien in griechischer und lateinischer Sprache, in collaboration with Egbert Schlarb (Marburger theologische Studien, vol. 59 ;
Marburg 2000).
2. The most famous previous example of such a turn of events is the discovery of a complete Coptic version of the Gospel of Thomas, which shed a
completely new light on the identity and character of the few previously
known fragments of the same work ; see, for example, Claudio Gianotto,
vangile selon Thomas, '' in : E
crApoc (= Franc ois Bovon and Pierre Geol``E
crits apocryphes chre tiens, vol. 1 [Paris 1997]) 23^53, especially
train, eds., E
the introductory remarks on pp. 25^30.
3. Charles W. Hedrick, ``A Preliminary Report on Coptic Codex P.Berol.
gypten und Nubien in spa tantiker und christlicher Zeit. AkInv. 22220, '' in : A
ten des 6. Internationalen Koptologenkongresses, Mu nster, 20.^26. Juli 1996,
edited by Stephen Emmel, Martin Krause, Siegfried G. Richter, and Sofia
Schaten, vol. 2, Schrifttum, Sprache und Gedankenwelt (Sprachen und Kulturen des Christlichen Orients, vol. 6.2 ; Wiesbaden 1999) 127^130.


the gospel of the savior

Paul A. Mirecki assigned the

to the newly discovered fragments.4 The text's fragmentary condition,5
combined with an apparent lack of narrative coherence, led the
editors to be cautious about identifying the genre of the work.
While they believed that ``the generic designation `gospel' is in
keeping with the nature of [the work's] contents,'' they hesitated
as to ``whether the Gospel of the Savior is a narrative gospel like
the Gospel of John, or from a dialogue/discourse gospel like certain texts in the Nag Hammadi library . . . such as The Apocryphon of James ([Nag Hammadi Codex] I, ), The Book of
Thomas (II, ), The Dialogue of the Savior (III, ), or The (First)
and (Second) Apocalypses of James (V, and ),'' and they also
considered the possibility ``that the Gospel of the Savior is comprised of gospel-like material that was originally embedded in
another text of a different genre, such as a homily or a letter''
(pp. 17^19). Also the late Hans-Martin Schenke, who was among
the first few scholars to study the newly edited text closely, expressed uncertainty about the narrative sequence of the work 6
``wenn unser Text u berhaupt eine `Reihenfolge' hat,'' as he put it.
Both because of this puzzling lack of narrative coherence in
the edited text, and because I am interested in codicology in any
case, when I began to study the
in preparation
for reading this new addition to the corpus of apocryphal gospels with a group of advanced students of Coptic, I looked
closely at the arguments that Hedrick and Mirecki had offered
for their reconstruction of the manuscript. The codicological
analysis that
underlies their edition results in an unusual codex
structure,7 but nevertheless I was on the verge of becoming convinced that their arguments were cogent, when I noticed from
Gospel of the Savior

editio princeps

Charles W. Hedrick and Paul A. Mirecki,

(Santa Rosa, CA, 1999); see p. 17 on the assignment of the
title to the work (which I abbreviate below as
Only two pages survive nearly complete. The next-best preserved pages
are lacking some 50% or more of their text.
Hans-Martin Schenke, ``Das sogenannte `Unbekannte Berliner Evangelium' (UBE),''
2 (1998) 199^213, at p.
At least one quire of only two bifolia (which the editors identifed as pages
99^106 of the codex), with adjacent quires of indeterminate size (Hedrick
and Mirecki,
[n. 4 above] 6). Citing Eric G. Turner,
(Haney Foundation Series, vol. 18; [Philadelphia] 1977) 61^64, the editors suggested that these two adjacent quires most
likely contained three or four bifolia each, probably not just one or two, although they opted for the latter structure in the graphic presentation of their
reconstruction on p. 8, and in the assignment of page numbers 113/114 to
frg. 1H(B)/1F(A).

Gospel of the Savior : A New

Ancient Gospel

Gos. Sav.



Zeitschrift fur antikes Christentum


Gospel of the Savior

Typology of the Early Codex


s. emmel


the full set of photographic plates at the end of their book (pp.
124 ^151) that the editors had consistently reversed the identifications of flesh and hair sides of the surviving parchment codex
leaves. That is to say, they had mistakenly identified the flesh
side of each leaf as the hair side, and the hair side as flesh.
Because Coptic parchment codexes like all parchment codexes display certain regularities in their make-up with regard
to the sequence of flesh and hair sides,

any error in identifying

the different sides of the leaves of a dismembered codex, such as

in the present case, is likely to have a significant impact on the
probability or even validity of the reconstruction of that codex,
by which I mean the reconstructed order of its pages. In the case
of the manuscript of the Gospel of the Savior, the editors ' interchange of hair and flesh sides led them to propose a reconstruction that is unlikely at best. I have addressed this error in a
recent article in the Harvard Theological Review, and I will not
repeat here what I have already explained in detail there.


fice it to say that the most likely reconstruction of the codex results in identifying the main extant fragments (frgs. 1^4, being
three bifolia and one single leaf) as a series of fourteen consecutive pages (pp. 97^110) from a single quire (the seventh) of a
``normal '' Coptic parchment codex, and that this reordering of
the leaves over against what was presented in the editio princeps
puts the text as such into an order that is more easily comprehensible, and therefore more satisfactory, than before.


8. Put briefly, the ``skin pattern, '' or sequence of F(lesh) and H(air) sides, of
the first leaf of a normal quire, that is, a gathering of eight leaves (four nested bifolia folded in half), is F/H, and from then on H faces H, and F faces
F, in accordance with the ``Gregory Rule '' (Caspar Rene Gregory, ``Les cahiers



grecs, ''






Comptes rendus 4th ser. 13 [1885] 261^268, esp. pp. 264^267), such that at
the center of the quire the facing pages are both F, and the skin pattern of
the last leaf of the quire is H/F. (For further details concerning the basic assumptions about codex structure that underlie the reconstruction of a Coptic
parchment codex, see my book, Shenoute 's Literary Corpus [2 vols. ; Corpus







111^112) ; Leuven, in press] 3.4, criterion 3, ``codex structure '' [= pp.

59^61 in the preliminary version of the same title, Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1993]).
9. Stephen Emmel, ``The Recently Published Gospel of the Savior (`Unbekanntes Berliner Evangelium ') : Righting the Order of Pages and Events, ''
Harvard Theological Review 95 (2002) 45^72, esp. pp. 61^64 on the codicology of the manuscript.
10. Compare my translation and commentary (``Righting the Order '' [n. 9
above] 52^60) with the translation and commentary in the editio princeps
(Hedrick and Mirecki, Gospel of the Savior [n. 4 above] 29^112) ; or with
other commentaries likewise dependent on the editio princeps : April D. De-

the gospel of the savior


Indeed, I think it is safe to say that only after this correction

of the editio princeps may we call this work a ``gospel '' with
some degree of confidence. I myself have expressed outright the
opinion that the work ``is a narrative gospel. ''


This judgment

was based mainly on two considerations. First, the extant portion of the work seems to presuppose the narrative framework
of the canonical Gospel story as it unfolds between the Last









numbers of the extant portion suggest that the complete work

was comparable in length to one of the longer canonical gospels,









would fall on about the same pages in a manuscript of comparable format.


This is a matter to which I will return below.

The Gospel of the Savior Is the Same Work as the

``Strasbourg Coptic Gospel ''

Having put the surviving pages of the Berlin manuscript of

the Gospel of the Savior into order, we may now turn to the remarkable circumstance that this newly discovered text is, in fact,
a second witness to the work that has been known for a century
from the ``Strasbourg Coptic Gospel Fragments. '' It is not that
we now have two parts of one and the same manuscript in two
different modern collections, but rather we now have parts of
two different manuscripts of one and the same ancient work.
This observation too I have already presented elsewhere (in my

Conick, Voices of the Mystics : Early Christian Discourse in the Gospels of

John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature (Journal for the
Study of the New Testament, Supplement Series, vol. 157 ; Sheffield 2001)
136^151 (where [p. 145] one notes that DeConick sensed that something
might be amiss with the arrangement of the fragments in the editio princeps,
and her belief that frgs. 5, 7, and 11 should have been associated with ``the
hymn to the Cross '' was prescient) ; Martina Janen, ``Apokryphe Jesustraditionen, '' chap. 6 in : Jesus nach 2000 Jahren. Was er wirklich sagte und tat,
by Gerd Lu demann (with contributions by Frank Schleritt and Martina Janen ; Lu
neburg 2000) 813^876, at pp. 868^876, ``Anhang : Das Evangelium
des Erlosers (Papyrus Berolinensis 22220) '' (where Gos. Sav. appears in a
commented translation ``wegen seiner Aktualita t '' and because it is ``in vieler


repra sentativ

fu r



Literatur '' ;




874^875] there appears a bit of noteworthy prescience in connection with the

``Kreuzeshymnus '' bzw. ``Stauros-Hymnus, '' on which more below).
11. Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 48, thus championing one of
the alternatives proposed by the editors (Hedrick and Mirecki, Gospel of the
Savior [n. 4 above] 16^19, on which see above).
12. See my calculations in ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 49 n. 19.

s. emmel


contribution to a Festschrift for Hans-Martin Schenke that was

published shortly before his recent death), and I will not repeat
myself here except to summarize briefly certain aspects of my
previous investigation.


Probably most readers of this journal know the Strasbourg

Gospel primarily from Daniel A. Bertrand 's entry ``Papyrus
crits apocryphes
Strasbourg copte 5^6 '' in the first volume of E
chre tiens.


There it is said of the two fragmentary papyrus

leaves :
Bien qu 'il soit extre mement endommage , le second [feuillet] laisse
appara| tre une pagination ^ 157 et 158 ^ qui, si elle se rapporte
bien aux morceaux conserves, indiquerait qu 'ils appartenaient a
un ouvrage de grande ampleur. Il pourrait en effet s 'agir de la fin
vangile. . . . Le recto du fragment v est sans
d 'un veritable E
doute a rapprocher de la prie re sacerdotale [John 17]. Le verso
renvoie a la scene de Gethsemani. Apres une lacune de grandeur
indeterminee qui devait correspondre aux re cits de la Passion, le
recto du fragment vi [that is, pages 157^158] reprend vraisemblablement avec une apparition du Ressuscite annoncant la venue
du Saint-Esprit. Enfin, le verso para| t etre une sorte de conclusion dans laquelle le re dacteur souligne ses pre rogatives pre sentes
d 'apotre et qui devait co| ncider a peu de chose pre s avec l 'epilogue de l 'ecrit.

vangile '' was alThat we have to do here with ``un ve ritable E

ready the opinion of the first scholars who studied these fragments, Adolf Jacoby (working in collaboration with Wilhelm


and Carl Schmidt,


at the turn of the nineteenth


13. Stephen Emmel, ``Unbekanntes Berliner Evangelium = the Strasbourg

Coptic Gospel : Prolegomena to a New Edition of the Strasbourg Fragments, '' in : For the Children, Perfect Instruction : Studies in Honor of HansMartin Schenke on the Occasion of the Berliner Arbeitskreis fu r koptischgnostische Schriften 's Thirtieth Year, edited by Hans-Gebhard Bethge, Stephen Emmel, Karen L. King, and Imke Schletterer (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean



54 ;








360^366 on the identity of the Gospel of the Savior and the Strasbourg Gospel (at the top of p. 365, please note that ou in ounam should be underlined
in both columns).
crApoc 425^428.
14. E
15. Adolf Jacoby, Ein neues Evangelienfragment (Strasbourg 1900) 25 : ``ein
vollstandiges Evangelium. ''
16. Carl Schmidt, review of Jacoby, Evangelienfragment (n. 15 above), Go ttingische gelehrte Anzeigen 162 (1900) 481^506, at p. 497 : ``ein wirkliches
Evangelienbuch. ''

the gospel of the savior


It was Schmidt who had first recognized the great interest of

the recently acquired fragments, during a visit to Strasbourg in
the summer of 1899, and it was he who had reassembled a number of smaller fragments to form the two incomplete leaves that
came to be known as Copte 5 and 6. Not long after Schmidt 's
visit, a dozen or so additional small fragments of the manuscript
were found in the Strasbourg papyrus collection, all of which Jacoby









ments. So Schmidt quickly made a second trip to Strasbourg to

try to place the new fragments, and he described what success
he had in his sharply critical review of the

editio princeps

. One

of the results of Schmidt 's second trip to Strasbourg was that he

reassembled four of the new fragments into a third fragmentary
leaf, Copte 7, which, however, remained effectively unknown to


It is the fragments of this leaf, assembled by Schmidt

after the publication of the

editio princeps

, together with the first

two lines of Copte 5r, that provide the evidence for proving to
my mind beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that the
parchment manuscript in Berlin and the papyrus manuscript in
Strasbourg are two copies of one and the same ancient work.
Hence, in effect, the

Gospel of the Savior

serves to expand our

knowledge of the Strasbourg Gospel, and to give this work,









manuscript than in the Berlin manuscript, something of a new

At this point I want to refer to my translation of this newest
of our ancient gospels, printed below in the antepenultimate section of this article, where I have tried to show graphically how
the texts of the two manuscript witnesses overlap (which is the
proof that they witness to one and the same ancient work).
What I present below is, first of all, a very slightly revised re-

Gospel of the Savior

Harvard Theological Review

print of my translation of the

ready been published in the

, which has al.



here I have expanded my translation by the addition at the end

17. See Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 355^360 for an account of the
ill-starred history of the publication of the Strasbourg Gospel. On Copte 7
(formerly Kopt. 7, frgs. 2, 3, 4, and 6), see pp. 361^366 (where, however, the
statement on p. 366 that the four fragments comprising Copte 7 are now
``joined together '' in Strasbourg is not accurate : Kopt. 7, frgs. 2, 4, and 6
are joined together, but frg. 3 was simply placed nearby the others in the
same glass frame ; frg. 4, however, should not have been joined directly to
frgs. 2 and 6 either, although it does belong to the same leaf as the three
other fragments).
18. Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 51^61.

s. emmel


of a fresh translation of the Strasbourg fragments,


based on a

new edition of them that I am presently preparing. One can see

where the text of the Berlin manuscript coincides with the text
of the Strasbourg manuscript beginning in verse 100b, where I
have marked the overlapping text by using boldface type in the










100b^106, are the three surviving pieces of Strasbourg Copte 7r

(corresponding to pages 109 :42^110 :2 in the Berlin manuscript),
while the next three stretches of bold text, in verses 115^119, are
Copte 7v (corresponding to pages 110 :37^111 :1 in the Berlin
manuscript). The final point of overlap occurs in verse 125,
where the first two lines of Strasbourg Copte 5r have the same
text as the unplaced Berlin fragment numbered 23F in the



. As the translation shows, this identification of the text

of Strasbourg Copte 5r lines 1^2 with the text of fragment 23F

lines 3^7 of the Berlin manuscript has made it possible to restore
the lacunas in the Strasbourg fragment with some degree of certainty.



Ecrits apocryphes chretiens

these lines entirely untranslated.

, Bertrand had wisely left


This last point of textual convergence, combined with the

likely hypothesis that Strasbourg Copte 7 and 5 are consecutive,
in this order, makes it possible to identify the unplaced Berlin
fragment 23 hypothetically, but convincingly, I think as belonging to pages 111/112 of the Berlin manuscript, that is, as
the only fragment so far identified from the leaf that comes immediately after the series of seven leaves that are the bulk of
what survives of the parchment codex.


As such, the verso of

this fragment, 23H, should correspond to the text of Strasbourg

Copte 5v, at about the middle of the page. Unfortunately this
leaf is broken off just a few lines before the point where the texts
would converge, so that the expected textual overlap cannot be
tested. In the translation of verses 149^150 below, the underlined text is the translation of Berlin fragment 23H (according
to my restoration). It is too bad that the subject matter of the
text at this point is not more obviously continuous across the lacuna (equivalent in length to about five lines of the Berlin manuscript, corresponding to 3^4 lines of the Strasbourg manuscript)

19. Cf. Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 360 with n. 30, and 368^369.
20. See Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 361^362.


427, where the first word translated (``Amen '') is in line 5 of

Copte 5r.
22. See Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 367 for details of these fragment placements in the two codexes.

the gospel of the savior


between the end of Strasbourg Copte 5v (ending with what I

have designated the beginning of verse 149) and the Berlin fragment (beginning with what I have made the end of verse 149).
At any rate, if my restorations of the lacunas in the Berlin fragment are correct, we at least have to do with a further address
by the Savior to his disciples.


To summarize, the first stretch of bold text in the translation

printed below, in verse 100, and the stretch of underlined text in
verses 149^150 mark the limits of the overlap between the remains of our two manuscripts of this work : up until verse 100
we have only the Berlin manuscript as a witness, after verse 150
we have only the Strasbourg manuscript as a witness, and in between verses 100 and 150 we have both manuscripts as witnesses
both of them unfortunately quite fragmentary.

Summary of the Strasbourg Fragments in Relation to

the Gospel of the Savior
Combining the Strasbourg and Berlin manuscript witnesses in
verses 100^119 makes it possible to restore the text of both
manuscripts more completely and with greater certainty than
was possible previously. With verses 100 ^109 we come to the
end of what I have called ``an amen responsory between the Savior and his disciples ''


; and in verses 110 ^119 we have a curious

and remarkable speech addressed by the Savior to the cross (an

address that begins probably already in verse 97), in which he







After a lacuna of nearly half a page of the Berlin manu-

23. I must note again (cf. Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' [n. 9 above] 49 with
n. 20) that the word ``disciples '' does not occur anywhere in the extant text,
where this group (of which Andrew, John, and probably Judas are named
explicitly ; see also n. 58 below) refers to itself rather as ``the apostles '' (see
n. 29 below).
24. Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 58^60, cf. p. 50 with nn.
28^29. On this genre of text ``liturgisch gepra gte Passagen, in denen auf Jesu Logien stets ein abschlieendes `Amen ' folgt '' see now Jo rg Frey, ``Leidenskampf und Himmelsreise. Das Berliner Evangelienfragment (Papyrus
Berolinensis 22220) und die Gethsemane-Tradition, ''

Biblische Zeitschrift

2d ser. 46 (2002) 71^96, at pp. 79^80.

25. See now Frey, ``Leidenskampf '' 81^82 : ``Eine solche Rede Jesu an das
Kreuz ist in der alteren Literatur nicht bekannt . . . . la t sich mit aller Vorsicht festhalten, da dort [im UBE] eine Sprachform aufgenommen ist, die
sich ansonsten erstmals in Apostelakten des spa ten 2. Jh.s [v. a. in den Petrus- und den Andreasakten] findet und nicht nur eine allgemeine Verehrung
des Kreuzes, sondern zugleich eine bestimmte Form der Ma rtyrerfrommigkeit impliziert. ''

s. emmel


script, this speech by the Savior seems to come to an end with

what I have numbered verse 125, where it is now clear that the
opening lines of Strasbourg Copte 5r (marked ``S 123* '' in the
translation printed below) have to do with a tree as Euge ne
Revillout correctly supposed


the tree that is the cross. This

is an interesting verse, behind which there seems to lurk an image of the crucified Jesus as the tree 's fruit, by which the tree
(the cross) became ``known in [the] lands of the [foreigners] ''
(i.e. the Gentiles ?).


This verse concludes with ``Amen ! '' as in

verses 73^109 (the ``amen responsory ''), and this ``Amen ! '' at
the end of verse 125 seems to punctuate the Savior 's address to
the cross in verses 110^125 and to introduce a continuation of
the amen responsory, verses 126^132,


which probably con-

tinues to the end of a long lacuna that follows verse 132, namely
the bottom half of Strasbourg Copte 5r (for which I have reserved the verse numbers 133^137).
When the text resumes on the verso of Copte 5 (with what I
have numbered verse 138), we have a narrative statement in the
first person plural (as everywhere else in the extant portion of
the work where a narrative voice speaks


) : the Savior turns ``to

us, '' and he makes statements that we know from Matt 26 :45//

14 :41





hand ''),


26 :41//Mark

14 :38 (``The spirit indeed [is willing], but the flesh [is] weak ''),
and Matt 26 :38//Mark 14 :34 (``So [remain] and watch [with
me] ''). The following statement by the disciples, in verse 142


[the Son] of God, are [afraid, then] what are

vangile des douze Apo tres, ''

26. Eugene Revillout, ``L 'E






vangile des XII Apo tres re cemment decouvert, ''

``L 'E





14 = 2d

165 ;


Revue biblique 13 = 2d

ser. 1 (1904) 167^187, 321^355, see p. 336 ; also in his edition of 1904 (see n.
70 below), p. 43.
27. Of course one might compare Matt 12 :33c//Luke 6 :44a (``the tree is
known by its fruit '') or, elsewhere in early Christian literature, the


Gospel of

NHC I 18 :24^26, ``He (Jesus) was nailed to a tree (the cross) and be-

came fruit of the knowledge of the Father '' (trans. Harold W. Attridge and

Nag Hammadi Codex I

(The Jung Codex), edited by Harold W. Attridge, vol. 1, Introductions,
Texts, Translations, Indices [Nag Hammadi Studies, vol. 22 ; Leiden 1985 ;
reprinted in vol. 1 of The Coptic Gnostic Library : A Complete Edition of the
Nag Hammadi Codices, edited by James M. Robinson (5 vols. ; Leiden
2000)] 55^117, at p. 85, slightly altered ; cf. Bentley Layton, The Gnostic
Scriptures [Garden City, NY, 1987] 254).
crApoc 427 to frg. 5r, lines 5^22.
28. Corresponding in E
George W. MacRae, ``The Gospel of Truth, '' in :

29. Twice, in verses 35 and 142, this first-person plural voice is explained
appositively as ``the apostles '' (cf. n. 23 above).

the gospel of the savior

do] ? ''),



makes it clear that Jacoby was right the objections

of Schmidt and others notwithstanding that in verse 140, Jesus

refers the weakness of the flesh to himself.


We may perhaps

compare the apparent emphasis on Jesus ' hesitation over his salvific role as expressed in the three prayers in Gethsemane (verses
45^60), and his efforts to encourage the cross in






its salvific role



comforts his disciples with statements that we know from John

15 :20 (``Remember everything [I said] to you ! [For if] they persecuted [me, they will] persecute you '') and John 16 :33 (``I have
[overcome the world] ''). And after that, as it seems, he reassures
them with a visionary description of the heavenly garments that
have been prepared for each of the disciples individually (if my
restoration of verse 150 [= Berlin frg. 23H] moves in the right direction).
My summary thus far has covered the first two surviving
leaves of the Strasbourg manuscript, namely Copte 7 and 5,
both of which have lost any page numbers that might once have
been written on them. However, by comparison with the Berlin
manuscript, I calculate very approximately that these two
leaves are pages 121^124 of the papyrus codex.


If so, there

then follows a lacuna of some thirty-two pages before the third

extant leaf of the Strasbourg manuscript, Copte 6, on which the
page numbers 157 and 158 survive. As I have already pointed
out elsewhere,


this lengthy gap accords well with the difference

30. Left untranslated in

31. Jacoby,

EcrApoc 428, frg. 5v, lines 10^13.

Evangelienfragment (n. 15 above) 20^21 ; Schmidt, review (n. 16

above) 499 ; Ernst von Dobschu tz, review of Jacoby,

Evangelienfragment , Li-

terarisches Centralblatt fu r Deutschland 51 (1900) 1081^1082, at col. 1082 ;

Paul Wernle, review of Jacoby,

Evangelienfragment , Theologische Literatur-

zeitung 26 (1901) 74^75, at col. 74 ; Theodore Zahn, ``Neue Funde aus der alten Kirche, ''

Neue kirchliche Zeitschrift 11 (1901) 347^370, 431^450, at pp.

362^363 ; Wilhelm Spiegelberg and Adolf Jacoby, ``Zu dem Strassburger



Antikritik, ''

Sphinx 4 (1901) 171^193, at pp.

176^177 and 183^184. Recently, Janen (``Apokryphe Jesustraditionen '' [n.

10 above] 846) has sided with Jacoby on this matter. On the other hand, the
thorough and illuminating investigation by Frey of ``die markinische Gethsemane-Szene und ihre fru he Rezeptionsgeschichte '' in connection with


Sav. 34^59 (``Leidenskampf '' [n. 24 above] 85^95) leads to the conclusion,
``Christologisch wird in dieser Darstellung [im UBE] auch der letzte Rest der
menschlichen Schwa che und Hinfa lligkeit des irdischen Jesus u berwunden ''
(p. 94), which suggests that further exegetical reflection on the meaning and
purpose of

Gos. Sav. 139^141 is called for.

32. Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 367^368.

33. Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 368.

s. emmel


in content between Copte 5 (approximately pages 123 124),

which indicates a setting in Gethsemane, and Copte 6 (pages
157 158), which seems rather to belong to a narration of a
post-resurrection appearance of the Savior. Missing between
these two extant sections of the Strasbourg codex might be the
Betrayal and Arrest, the Trial and Crucifixion, and then the





In any case, as for what little survives of the last







particularly noteworthy are two themes that con-

nect the Savior 's post-resurrection appearance explicitly with

earlier parts of the work known only from the Berlin manuscript, namely the revelation of ``the glory of the Savior 's divinity and the full glory of his lordship '' (compare verses 216
and 229 with verse 68), and the investiture of the disciples ``with
the power of their apostleship '' (compare verses 216 and 230
with verse 36). In both cases, the earlier occurrences seem to be
explicit anticipations of the later event.

Length, Character, Title, and Date of the

Gospel of the Savior

As already stated at the outset, my willingness to entertain
the hypothesis that the Betrayal and Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion, and then the Resurrection might be lost in the lacuna between Strasbourg Copte 5 and 6 is based on two assumptions :
first, that the work in question began on page 1 both in the
Strasbourg manuscript and in the Berlin manuscript ; and second, that the work as a whole was structured more or less according to the pattern of the Synoptic Gospels. However, even
if this estimate of the length and character of the work is accurate, it remains unclear to what extent the narrative framework
of this gospel is actually narrated, and not simply more or less
presupposed. As Schmidt expressed it with regard to the Strasbourg fragments,
schon die unvermittelte abrupte Verknu pfung der drei synoptischen Spru che [Matt 26 :45.41.38, or Mark 14 :41.38.34, in what I
call verses 138^141] verra t die Hand eines Compilators, der nicht
Geschichte im Sinne der Evangelisten schreiben will, sondern die
Thatsachen als gegeben voraussetzt, daher auch sie nur soweit
benutzt, als sie fur den allgemeinen Gang der Lebensgeschichte
Jesu nothwendig sind.


34. Compare the summary statement by Bertrand in

35. Corresponding in


428 to frg. 6rv.

36. Schmidt, review (n. 16 above) 499.


425, quoted

the gospel of the savior


It is noteworthy also in the earlier part of the gospel (verses

1^132) how little there is (or, at least, how little survives) in the
way of outright narrative statements. Apart from the narration
of the disciples ' vision of the Savior 's ascent to the Father 's
throne room in verses 28^44, narrative statements in this part of
the gospel are effectively limited to formulaic introductions of
the speakers : ``Andrew replied and said '' (verse 5), ``The Savior
said to us '' (verse 27), and so on. On the other hand, I would argue that the only point in the extant text where a narrative statement might be said to be noticeably absent is between verses 12
and 13, just after Jesus has said (in verse 12), ``Rise, let us go
hence ; for my betrayer is at hand. '' In verse 13 he simply continues speaking, without anything being said to indicate that he
and his disciples did in fact ``rise '' and ``go hence. '' But then
again, that is exactly how it is between John 14 :31 and 15 :1 : Jesus says, ``Rise, let us go hence, '' but then he goes right on
speaking : ``I am the true vine, '' and so on. There is no advance
in the narrative until the beginning of John 18, when Jesus and
the disciples cross the Kidron valley and enter a garden on the
other side. In my view, it is most likely that the author of the

Gospel of the Savior

has simply imitated the style of the Gospel

of John here, without concern for the absence of narrative elements that would make the story as such more logical.
Still, the fact remains that in our present state of knowledge
of this work, a statement such as mine, that ``the


is a narrative gospel, ''


Gospel of the

is open to challenge. For exam-

ple, it is thinkable that the entire work concentrated on events

beginning only with the Last Supper.


That still might be a

``narrative gospel '' in the sense in which the

for example, is


Gospel of Thomas

a narrative gospel but it would not be a

narrative gospel in the sense in which I have hypothesized, that

is, beginning with the birth or baptism of Jesus and following his
life according to the canonical model through to his ascension.
But let us leave this realm of speculation and return to the
text that we have before us at present. First I should state
clearly, once and for all, that the work in question appears to
have nothing whatsoever to do with Gnosticism in any historically meaningful sense (occasional statements in the secondary
literature that might give an impression to the contrary notwith-

37. Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 48.

38. Or perhaps a little earlier, if the repeated word ``pound ''
frg. 24H (Hedrick and Mirecki,

Gospel of the Savior

to do with the Anointing in Bethany (John 12 :3).


, in Berlin

[n. 4 above] 82^83) has

s. emmel


standing). And even though this work wins a sharper profile,

and even something like a new identity, through joining the
Strasbourg and Berlin witnesses together, it remains impossible
to identify it as any of the famous ancient apocryphal gospels
that have been transmitted to us only in fragments or only by
name. Elsewhere I have reviewed the improbability or even impossibility of such attempted identifications and expressed, therefore, my own satisfaction with the provisional designation
``Gospel of the Savior '' as an assigned title in the sense of a
``gospel characterized by the use of `the Savior ' for designating
Jesus. ''


However, a new line of research in this connection one that

cannot yet be pursued with thoroughness not only promises to
provide yet two more witnesses for the text of the

Gospel of the

Savior, but also offers additional grounds for reflection on an alternative title that might be more appropriate for this work.
Racing against the day when the Aswan Dam will submerge a
250-mile section of the Nile Valley, University of Chicago ar-

39. Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 370^372. The objections offered
by Frey (``Leidenskampf '' [n. 24 above] 74^75)

have not caused me to

change my mind on this issue (I may note that designations for Jesus in this
work other than ``the Savior '' occur only under special conditions : the disciples address him as ``Lord, '' and he is called ``the Son '' only during the interview with his Father, who addresses him as ``my son ''). In any case, I may
repeat here that any title such as ``Unbekanntes Berliner Evangelium '' or (as
Frey prefers) ``Berliner Evangelienfragment '' now needs to have the adjective ``Straburger '' joined to it in some way in order to be accurate. Alternatively, one might well incline toward calling this work a ``Gospel of the
Apostles '' or something similar (Hedrick and Mirecki,

Gospel of the Savior

[n. 4 above] 106, quoted in n. 76 below ; cf. Lu hrmann,

Fragmente [n. 1

above] 13), without necessarily suggesting an identification with any of the

known gospels with such a title (as Frey [``Leidenskampf '' 74 n. 18] has
warned against, referring to


[= Wilhelm Schneemelcher, ed.,


bersetzung (6th ed. ; 2 vols. ; Tubintestamentliche Apokryphen in deutscher U

gen 1990^1997)] 1 :300^306 =

NTApoc [= Wilhelm Schneemelcher, ed., New

Testament Apocrypha (English translation edited by R. McL. Wilson ; 2d

ed. ; 2 vols. ; Cambridge and Louisville 1991^1992)] 1 :374^382 ; on the other
hand, Frey himself [``Leidenskampf '' 93^94] provides grounds for reflecting
on whether Origen 's famous reference to ``The Gospel of the Twelve '' [see


1 :36^37, 138, 300 =


1 :44^46, 166, 374] might have been

to the ``Unbekanntes Berliner/Straburger Evangelium '' rather than to the

Gospel of the Ebionites, as has long been generally assumed [see NTApo
1 :138^139 =
tion ``the


1 :166, where the foundations for making the equa-

Gospel of the Twelve Apostles (mentioned by Origen) = the Gospel

of the Ebionites (attested by Epiphanius) '' now seem to me to be rather


the gospel of the savior

chaeologists recently



unearthed a major manuscript discovery.

Dug from the ruins of a 10th century Christian monastery on the










prayer book containing a hymn to the Cross recited by Jesus before the Crucifixion and a hitherto unrecorded conversation between Christ and his disciples after the Resurrection.

These are the opening words of an article that appeared in

Time Magazine on 7 January 1966,


which goes on to summa-

rize, partly using translated excerpts, the post-resurrection dialog set on the Mount of Olives, which scholars familiar with the
scant surviving literature of Christian Nubia recognized immediately as the so-called ``Stauros-Text '' (or ``Discourse upon the
Cross '') that survives in an Old Nubian parchment codex purchased in Egypt in 1906 by Carl Schmidt.


``More vivid, '' re-

ports the Time Magazine article, ``is Jesus ' hymn to the Cross, ''
the ``opening verse '' of which is then translated. A report in the
London Times from two weeks earlier (see n. 40 above) had
quoted this same ``opening verse '' as well as several more verses :

40. In November 1965, according to The Times (London), 24 December

1965 (Late London Edition, no. 56,513), p. 6, bottom (``New Light Thrown
on Early Christianity, Ancient Prayer Book Found in Egypt '').
41. Qasr al-Wizz, near Faras (Pachoras) : see George T. Scanlon, ``Excavations at Kasr el-Wizz : A Preliminary Report, '' Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 56 (1970) 29^57, pls. 31^45 ; 58 (1972) 7^42, pls. 2^19.
42. ``New Words of Jesus ? '' in the Religion section, p. 32. I am indebted to
Dr. Jan Helderman (Amsterdam) for bringing this article to my attention in
1996 (in a context entirely unrelated to the present one ; see International
Association for Coptic Studies, Newsletter 37 [1996] 14).
43. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin ^ Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung,
Ms. orient. quart. 1020. See especially F. Ll. Griffith, The Nubian Texts of
the Christian Period (``Einzelausgabe aus den Abhandlungen der Ko nigl[ichen] Preuss[ischen] Akademie der Wissenschaften, Jahrgang 1913, phil.hist. Classe Nr. 8 '' ; Berlin 1913) 4^6, 41^53, pl. 2 ; Gerald M. Browne,
``Griffith 's Stauros-Text, '' Studia Papyrologica 22 (1983) 75^119 ; idem, Literary Texts in Old Nubian (Beitrage zur Sudanforschung, Beihefte, vol. 5 ;
Vienna 1989) 22^29, 85^87 ; C. Detlef G. Mu ller, ``Die nubische Literatur.
Bestand und Eigenart, '' in : Nubia, recentes recherches. Actes du Colloque nubiologique international au Muse e national de Varsovie, 12^22 juin 1972, edited by Kazimierz Michaowski (Warsaw 1975) 93^100, esp. pp. 95^100 ; and
idem, ``Die nubische Literatur. Bestand und Eigenart, '' Oriens Christianus
62 (1978) 196^199. For the identification of the Coptic text as the ``StaurosText '' known in Old Nubian, see George R. Hughes, ``A Coptic Liturgical
Book from Qasr el-Wizz in Nubia, '' in : The Oriental Institute Report for
1965/66 (Chicago 1966) 10^13, plus cover illustration, at p. 12 ; Jean Simon
and Hans Quecke, ``Koptische Bibliographie 19 (1966), '' Orientalia n.s. 36
(1967) 157*^211*, at pp. 159*^160* (no. I.2) ; Scanlon, ``Excavations '' (n. 41
above) 58 :18^19 n. 4.


s. emmel

In the second part [of the prayer book] is a hymn to the Cross
with antiphonal parts. . . . The second part is believed to refer to
another gathering of the Apostles on the Mount of Olives before
the Crucifixion, at which Christ recited a hymn to the Cross.
[a] Rise up, rise up, O holy Cross, and lift me, O Cross.
[b] I shall mount upon you, O Cross. They shall hang me
upon you as a witness to them.
[c] Receive me to yourself, O Cross. Amen.
[d] Do not weep, O Cross, but be joyful, O Cross. Amen.
[e] I have put on the Crown of the Kingdom.

The line that I have labelled b is the same (in Coptic probably
word-for-word the same) as Gos. Sav. 106 (in my previously
proposed reconstruction and translation : ``[I] will mount you, O
cross. [I] will be hung upon you as a [testimony against them] ''),
while lines d and e are the same as Gos. Sav. 108a (``[Do not]
weep, O [cross], but rather [rejoice] '') and 127a (``[I have] taken
[the crown] of the kingdom '').


Furthermore, line c suggests a

convincing restoration for the damaged text of Gos. Sav. 107a

(which I have adopted in the translation and Coptic text printed
below), while the Coptic text of line a will perhaps make it possible to restore the text of Gos. Sav. 102b ^103a, which is badly
damaged in both the Berlin and the Strasbourg manuscripts.


have to say ``will perhaps make it possible, '' because the manuscript from Qasr al-Wizz has not yet been published, except for
photographs of several pages,


none of which, however, are

from what the reports describe as a ``hymn to the Cross. ''

44. Here, incidentally, is further evidence that the Berlin manuscript of the
Gospel of the Savior and the Strasbourg gospel fragments witness to one and
the same work : these excerpts from Qasr al-Wizz overlap both manuscripts.
45. Page 109 :51^55 in the Berlin manuscript : see the synoptic presentation
of both manuscripts offered in Emmel, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 365.
46. Known to me are published photographs of : ff. 1v^2r (Gawdat Gabra,
Cairo : The Coptic Museum and Old Churches [Cairo 1993] 90, in color ;
through the holes in f. 1v one can see a few letters of f. 4v) ; ff. 3v^4r (The
New York Times, 24 December 1965, p. 15, top [``Old Coptic MS. Unearthed
near Abu Simbel, Prayer Book, Put at 10th Century, Found at Monastery
Ruin ''] ; Time Magazine, 7 January 1966, p. 32 [see n. 42 above] ; George T.
Scanlon, ``Slip-Painted Pottery from Wizz / La poterie engobe e de Wizz, ''
African Arts / Arts d 'Afrique 2.1 [1968] 8^13 and 65^69, at pp. 65 and 67^69
[description] and fig. 4 on p. 10, in color ; see further Orientalia n.s. 35 [1966]
159* [see n. 43 above]) ; ff. 4v^5r (Scanlon, ``Excavations '' [n. 41 above]
58 :18 [description] and pl. 11.2, while pl. 11.1 is a black-and-white reproduction of f. 1v) ; and f. 6v (Hughes, ``Coptic Liturgical Book '' [n. 43 above] cover illustration). Gabra recorded the manuscript as being Coptic Museum
inv. 6566, but in the meantime it might have been transferred to the Museum
of Nubian Civilization in Aswan (cf. Gabra, ``Nubian Monuments in the

the gospel of the savior


As far as I can judge from the published information I have

seen, this small-format codex of seventeen parchment leaves,


found in November 1965 in ``almost perfect condition '' on the

floor of a ruined medieval monastic cell at Qasr al-Wizz in Central Nubia, is inscribed on ff. 2r^17r, with f. 1r blank, and with
full-page decorative crosses on ff. 1v and 17v. The text on f. 2r
runs as follows : ``A speech (logos) that our Savior and our Ruler, Jesus Christ, caused his holy, glorious apostles to know, before his ascension, concerning the power and the . . ., '' at which
point the page ends, and I have no knowledge of just how the
text continues on the verso. But this introduction corresponds
closely to the text of pages 1^2 of the Old Nubian manuscript of
the so-called ``Stauros-Text, ''


and after that the two manu-

scripts continue to be parallel in content up until the beginning

of the Coptic ``hymn to the Cross, '' which does not occur or
rather, which does not occur in the same form in the Old Nubian manuscript.


Coptic Museum : Exhibition, General Catalogue and Concordance, '' in :

tudes nubiennes, conference de Gene ve. Actes du
d 'etudes







vols. ;

Congres international

Neucha tel


2 :263^264, at p. 263 with nn. 2^3).

47. Folio 1 seems to be conjugate with a stub. On the pages that have been

published, there are 10^11 lines per page in a single column. The dimensions
are given by Gabra (n. 46 above) as ``16.5

17.5 (size of page) '' ; cf. the

anonymous note titled ``Manoscritto copto scoperto in Egitto, '' Accademie e

biblioteche d 'Italia 34 (1966) 270^271, at p. 271 : ``Il volume misura 35 centimetri per 17. '' Neither the early press reports nor the preliminary scientific
reports by Hughes and Scanlon (see nn. 41^43 and 46 above) provide any
measurements or any clear information about the manuscript 's codex structure.
48. Compare Browne 's translation, Literary Texts (n. 43 above) 22 : ``A
speech which our Savior, who rules over us, Jesus Christ, spoke concerning
his suffering and his coming in glory and the glorious, life-giving cross, and
which he caused his holy apostles to know, when he was going to ascend to
the heavens. Let the peace of God, our Savior, and his life-giving cross be
with all of us. Amen. '' The Old Nubian manuscript is also a small-format
parchment codex (with pages ``about 12 by 9 cm., '' according to Griffith
[Nubian Texts (n. 43 above) 41], with 12 lines per page in a single column),
comes from a church in Serra East, which was only a little south of Qasr alWizz, and is of about the same age as the Coptic codex (dating very roughly
around the year 1000 ; see the two articles by Mu ller with identical titles cited in n. 43 above) ; see further Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' (n. 43 above) 77^79.
49. Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' (n. 43 above) 76 and 101^110 ; idem, Literary
Texts (n. 43 above) 86 notes on 9 :5, 14 :2, and 16 :9^11 ; idem, ``Old Nubian
tudes nubiennes (n. 46 above) 1 :379^387, at pp. 379^380.
Literature, '' in : E
A little more information about the content of the first section of the Coptic
manuscript can also be gleaned from some of the brief published accounts
referred to in the preceding notes.

s. emmel


The two manuscripts go their separate ways at page 18 of the

Old Nubian manuscript (corresponding to folio 12r of the Coptic manuscript). At this point the narration of the post-resurrection dialog comes to an end with a doxology spoken by the
apostles, after which a new text is introduced,


a ``hymn to the

Cross, '' to be sure, but not the one ``recited by Jesus before the
Crucifixion '' that occurs at this point in the Coptic manuscript.
In fact, the new text beginning on p. 18 of the Old Nubian
manuscript is an excerpt from Ps.-Chrysostom, In venerabilem
crucem sermo, an Old Nubian version of which is known from a
manuscript discovered during the archeological excavation of











strophes in the ``Stauros-hymn '' in the Ps.-Chrysostom sermon

and related texts vary a good deal from witness to witness,



in all of its variety it is still something quite different from the

Savior 's address to the cross in the Gospel of the Savior (verses


At the end of the excerpt from Ps.-Chrysostom in the

50. ``And truly, beloved, if you wish to know the power of the cross, hear its
power '' and so forth. See Griffith 's comment (Nubian Texts [n. 43 above] 49
n. 3) : ``Christ 's discourse to the apostles seems to end with the last paragraph
[that is, with the doxology], and the following [quoted at the beginning of this
note, in Browne 's translation] appears to resume the address of the apostles
to the church which began on p. 2. '' This ``address of the apostles to the
church '' beginning on p. 2 of the Old Nubian manuscript cannot be any more
than the vocative introduction, ``Beloved ! It came to pass, '' and the following narrative frame of the post-resurrection dialog, ``when one day our Savior







Olives ''





resurrection of the dead '' (Old Nubian manuscript pp. 2^4, trans. Browne).
51. Hughes, ``Coptic Liturgical Book '' [n. 43 above] 12 ; cf. the London
Times [n. 40 above], where it was reported that ``a manuscript in Nubian,
found in Sudan about 10 miles from Kasr al-Wizz '' was in the process of being conserved (``the pages . . . are being separated '') and that this manuscript and the newly discovered Coptic manuscript ``may be similar. '' The
Ps.-Chrysostom manuscript was edited by Gerald M. Browne, Chrysostomus
Nubianus : An Old Nubian Version of Ps.-Chrysostom, In venerabilem crucem
sermo (Papyrologica Castroctaviana, vol. 10 ; Rome and Barcelona 1984) ;
see also idem, Literary Texts (n. 43 above) 28^45 and 87^89, and ``Old Nubian Literature '' (n. 49 above) 379^380. The excerpt included in the ``Stauros-Text '' begins on page 14 (line 11) of the Old Nubian Ps.-Chrysostom
manuscript and ends on page 16 (line 20).
52. See Griffith, Nubian Texts (n. 43 above) 51^53 ; Hermann Junker, ``Die





Sprache, ''

Oriens Christianus 6 (1906) 437^442 ; Browne, Chrysostomus Nubianus (n. 51

above) 54^58 (cf. Browne, Literary Texts [n. 43 above] 26 ; ``Old Nubian Literature ' ' [n. 49 above] 380).
53. Hughes (``Coptic Liturgical Book '' [n. 43 above] 12) reported that ``the
second part of the Berlin Nubian text [i.e. the ``Stauros-Text ''] is not the
same as the second composition in our Coptic book. ''

the gospel of the savior


Old Nubian ``Stauros-Text '' (on page 28 of the manuscript), the

sermon resumes (by ``the sermon '' I mean what Griffith called
``the address to the church ''), once again marked by the vocative
``Beloved, '' and thereby adding a short conclusion to the text
(including a citation of Matt 25 :34) and a final doxology. The
last sentence on page 31 of the Old Nubian manuscript seems to
be a comment by the copyist,


and the rest of the manuscript

(pages 32^36) is a kind of dedication, indicating that the donors

of ``this entire book '' (meaning the little booklet in which the
``Stauros-Text '' was copied) had been ``ordered to save their
soul and to write it '' (that is, to commission its production ?),
after which they ``deposited [it] in the Jesus Church of Serra
East '' an act of penance ? ``in the name of the glorious
cross. ''


As for the corresponding second section of the Coptic ``prayer

book '' from Qasr al-Wizz, where also ``Jesus was seated one day
on the Mount of Olives with his apostles about him, '' there he
``sang for the apostles a succession of short hymns to the cross ''
to which ``he asked the apostles to respond with `Amen ' after
each hymn. ''


Of course it is unwise to speculate too much on

the contents of an unpublished manuscript, especially when it

has not yet even been fully described, but it seems almost certain
that at least one section of this ``prayer book ''


perhaps just a

few sentences (those quoted in the early press reports), but probably a number of pages was excerpted from the

54. ``Praised









Gospel of the

completed ! ''


Literary Texts [n. 43 above] 28). The Greek equivalent occurs at

the end of the Old Nubian version of Chrys.

cruc. : ``Praised be God, who

completed <my> work ! '' (trans. Browne, ibid. 44, but adopting his proposed
emendation [p. 89 note on 24 :17] of

ton ergon to to emon ergon ; cf. his Chry-

sostomus Nubianus [n. 51 above] 138).

55. See further below, n. 91, and compare the similar dedication at the end




above] 72^75 and 137^140 ;


Chrysostomus Nubianus [n. 51

Literary Texts [n. 43 above] 28^29 and 44^45),

in which the booklet is described as that which its donors ``wrote in awe and
deposited on the cross resting in the Jesus Church of Serra East. ''
56. Hughes, ``Coptic Liturgical Book '' (n. 43 above) 11^12.
57. It needs hardly to be pointed out that the preliminary designation of this
manuscript as a ``prayer-book or breviary '' (Scanlon, ``Excavations '' [n. 41
above] 56 :29 n. 1 ; and elsewhere) or as a ``missal '' (Hughes, ``Coptic Liturgical Book '' [n. 43 above] 10) should not be maintained. The object itself
might be (like the Old Nubian ``Stauros-Text '' and Ps.-Chrysostom booklets) a kind of votive offering to a church (and hence might be called a
``prayer book '' in some sense, although certainly not in the sense of a ``breviary '' or ``missal ''), but the text as such has to be described differently.

s. emmel


Savior, namely from the Savior 's address to the cross in verses
97^125 and from the continuation of the amen responsory that
follows, at any rate at least verse 127a. If so, this manuscript
will thus provide a third, highly welcome witness for this part of
the Coptic text, as well as a significant piece of information for
















Christ and his disciples '' (thus the article in


Time Magazine)

with which the Coptic booklet begins ? In this case, despite the
fact that only six pages of the Coptic text are available for study
in published photographs, we have the entirety of the Old Nubian translation in the ``Stauros-Text '' as a guide to the presently unavailable parts of the Coptic text. And one need note
only that the conversation here is in fact not between ``Christ
and his disciples, '' but between ``the Savior '' and ``we apostles ''


whom the Savior addresses once with the phrase ``O

my holy members ''


in order to raise the suspicion that this

section too derives from the

Gospel of the Savior . In fact, I

would hazard the opinion that it is the ending of this gospel, for
which reason I have included it in my translation below after












``Stauros-Text '' booklet, the donor invites ``whoever exults in

this entire book, and anyone ( ?) of those who listen to the book
of the life-giving cross . . ., a man who loves God and loves the
glorious cross '' to ``come, exulting in what Doukas [the donor] . . . and his wife Jaue deposited in the Jesus Church of Serra East. ''


Despite the evident circularity of this statement, it

suggests a possible alternative title for the

Gospel of the Savior,

58. Here Peter gets added to the list of those apostles who are named individually ; cf. n. 23 above. Since Old Nubian has no definite article (Gerald
M. Browne,

Introduction to Old Nubian [Meroitica, vol. 11 ; Berlin 1989] 9

[ 3.2]), the expression for ``we apostles '' could as well be translated by ``we,
the apostles, '' as occurs in the

Gospel of the Savior . I thank Prof. Browne for

his confirmation of this point.

59. See Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' (n. 43 above) 108 note on 15 :10. Compare

Gos. Sav. 27, 72, and the unplaced Berlin frg. 9H :4^5 (Hedrick and Mirecki,
Gospel of the Savior [n. 4 above] 60^61), on which see Schenke, ``UBE '' (n. 6
above) 202.
60. Browne,

Literary Texts (n. 43 above) 28. Cf. the similar statement at the

end of the Ps.-Chrysostom booklet : ``Whoever exults in this entire book,

called the praise ( ?) of the glorious cross, a man who loves God and loves
the cross, . . . let him come, exulting in what '' the donor and his wife wrote
in awe etc., as quoted in n. 55 above (Browne, ibid. p. 44 ; cf.

Nubianus [n. 51 above] 72^74 and 138^139).


the gospel of the savior


namely : The Book of the Life-Giving Cross, or simply The Book

of the Cross.


In the absence of any clear identification of the work under

discussion with some other known work, an answer to the question of the date of this gospel seems to depend, at least for the
time being, primarily on an answer to the question of its literary
relationship to other known works, especially the canonical gospels. In this regard, students of the Strasbourg Gospel and students of the Gospel of the Savior can be divided into two groups :
those, on the one hand, who have viewed the work as largely independent of the canon, such as Jacoby,



or Hedrick and Mi-

and who thus have suggested a date for its composition

during the second century ; and, on the other hand, those who
have viewed the work as dependent on all four canonical gos-

61. It remains to be seen whether any such reference occurs anywhere in the

``Stauros-Text ''










compare the original title of The Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Our Lord (cited below at n. 68 and thereafter), which can be referred to
crApoc 299^302).
briefly as the Book of the Resurrection (so, for example, E
62. Jacoby, Evangelienfragment (n. 15 above) 4 : ``kann eventuell bis ins 2.
Jahrhundert zuru ckreichen '' ; cf. p. 25 : ``Es ist wohl kaum anzunehmen, dass
man in spaterer Zeit, als das

euagge` lion tetra`morfon bereits kirchlich sanc-

tionirt war, noch ein vollsta ndiges Evangelium ^ und ein solches ko nnen wir
mit mehr als Wahrscheinlichkeit fu r das unsere voraussetzen ^ verfasst und
gebraucht habe. Die spa tere Zeit hat nur noch legendarische Ausspinnungen
der unbekannten Lebensabschnitte des Herrn hervorgebracht. Allerdings
wird man bei der Wahrscheinlichkeit der Abha ngigkeit vom vierten Evangelium hochstens in das zweite Drittel des zweiten Jahrhunderts hinaufgehen
konnen . . . . ja es scheinen stellenweise noch echte, historische Stu cke alter
Tradition selbsta ndig hier benutzt worden zu sein. '' Jacoby (p. 30) was even
willing to consider the possibility that the Strasbourg Gospel served as a
source for the Gospel of John (``recht unwahrscheinlich, wenn auch . . . mo glich '').
63. Hedrick and Mirecki, Gospel of the Savior (n. 4 above) 23 : at least one
instance of ``an independent performance of a saying [my verse 71b] acquired from the oral tradition . . . suggests that the Gospel of the Savior was
composed at a time when Christian oral traditions were still as influential as
written gospel texts. Thus the latest date for the composition of the Gospel
of the Savior that best fits these conditions is the latter half of the second
century before the canonical gospels had consolidated their influence over
the church, and at which time the oral tradition remained a viable competitor to the written texts ; but it is scarcely possible to be certain. '' See further
Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 46 n. 11 (deleting ``but '' near the
end of line 7), and now see also Charles W. Hedrick, ``An Anecdotal Argument for the Independence of the Gospel of Thomas from the Synoptic Gospels, '' in : Bethge et al., For the Children (n. 13 above) 113^126, at pp.
119^123 (but then see Frey, ``Leidenskampf '' [n. 24 above] 76 with n. 25,
78^79, and 94^95).

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pels, such as Schmidt,




or Bertrand,


and who thus

have suggested dating the composition of the work no earlier

than the third century (or at least would hesitate to date it any
earlier). A terminus ante quem ca. 400 is offered by the probable
antiquity of the papyrus codex in Strasbourg,


and perhaps also

by the date of composition of the Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Our Lord,


for which the Gospel of the Savior per-

haps served as a source (more on this topic below) and which is

perhaps attested first by Jerome.


Relationship of the Gospel of the Savior

to Other Gospel Literature
This last consideration leads to my final point on this occasion, namely an interesting hypothesis that Anton Baumstark
sketched out in his review from 1906 of the first fascicle of Revillout 's book, Les apocryphes coptes.


There Baumstark ob-

64. Schmidt, review (n. 16 above) 499 : ``Ein derartiges Evangelium [dependent on John as well as the Synoptic Gospels, and also in Schmidt 's opinion
showing knowledge of the letters of Paul, in my verses 128^130] kann
m.E. hochstens am Ende des 2. oder Anfang des 3. Jahrh. componiert sein. ''
65. Felix Haase, Literarkritische Untersuchungen zur orientalisch-apokryphen




11 :




Evangelienfragment geho rt einem Apokryphon vermutlich des 3. Jahrhunderts an. ''

66. E

426 :







ne otestamentaires

d 'origines varie es, paulinienne, synoptique et johannique . . . incite a ne pas

situer la composition de l 'original ^ copte ou grec, on ne sait ^ avant le

siecle. '' Note also that Baumstark (review [n. 70 below] 264), allowing

that the Johannine element forbids too early a dating for the Strasbourg
fragments, was nonetheless also willing to consider a date in the second century : ``leur caracte re-me me me para|t devoir les faire remonter au moins au

siecle et peut-etre au second, sans trop de difficulte . ''

67. In any case, on paleographical and codicological grounds, probably not

later than the fifth century ; see my recent observations in this regard, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 369^370.

Abbreviated below as Book Res. See Jean-Daniel Kaestli and Pierre

Cherix, ``Livre de la Re surrection de Jesus-Christ par l 'Apo tre Barthelemy, ''

crApoc 297^356 ; cf. NTApoc
in : E
69. NTApoc

1 :537 = NTApo

1 :553^557 = NTApo

1 :437^440.

crApoc 258, where Jean-Da1 :424 ; but cf. E

niel Kaestli suggests that Jerome 's reference might be to the Questions of


255^295 ;


1 :539^553


1 :425^437 ; ApocrNT [= J. K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford 1993 ; I use the revised reprint of 1999)] 652^668).
70. Anton Baumstark, review of Euge ne Revillout, Les apocryphes coptes,
vangiles des douze Apo tres et de saint Barthelemy (Patrologia
vol. 1, Les E
Orientalis, vol. 2.2 [pp. 117^198] ; Paris and Freiburg im Breisgau 1904), Re-

the gospel of the savior


served that the word ``Savior '' soter, ``comme de signation absolue de Jesus, '' is characteristic of several works of apocryphal
gospel literature that he sensed to be closely related (``apparentes ''), namely the various works that he had discerned among
``les restes que Revillout tient pour les de bris d 'un seul et me me
ecrit. ''


This line of parentage, argued Baumstark,

demande seulement d 'e tre tiree au clair. Partout il s 'agit d 'une

combinaison de la tradition de Jean et de celle des Synoptiques.
Partout le premier a une influence pre ponderante. . . . Leurs liens
de parente ne se bornent pas aux seuls rapports qu 'ils ont avec
les ecrits canoniques [but also the ``rapports '' that they have with
one another]. . . . Qu 'on se rappelle ici maintenant que le Ps.Barthelemy [i.e. the Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, see
vangiles canoniques
n. 68 above] para| t avoir utilise a co te des E
un cinquieme evangile fort ancien qui lui offrait diffe rents details
manquant dans ceux-ci. . . . On soupc onnera des lors qu 'il y a
vis-a-vis de cet ecrit-la une dependance ge nerale tantot mediate
tantot immediate ; d 'ou l 'affinite constatee entre nos textes. . . .
Le plus naturel est de les [the family of works in question, whether composed originally in Coptic or in Greek] supposer originai gypte meme, et ne devrait-on pas en dire autant de leur
res de l 'E
source mediate ou imme diate ?





Baumstark 's




source commune que nous pressentions derrie re le Ps.-Barthe lemy,


Douze ''







might be the Gospel of the Egyptians,



whether as

vue biblique 15 = 2d ser. 3 (1906) 245^265. I have already made a few summary remarks on this topic, ``Prolegomena '' (n. 13 above) 371 n. 49, and
71. Baumstark, review (n. 70 above) 264^265. Compare the reviews of Revillout 's book by Paulin Ladeuze (``Apocryphes e vangeliques coptes. Pseu vangile de Barthe lemy, '' Revue d 'histoire eccle siastique
do-Gamaliel ; E

[1906] 245^268) and Montague Rhodes James (``Some Coptic Apocrypha, ''
Journal of Theological Studies 7 [1906] 633^634). Revillout had tried to assign many of his fragments to a single work, which he identified as the Gospel of the Twelve Apostles.
72. The Gospel of Gamaliel : NTApoc

1 :558^560 = NTApo

1 :441^442 ;

ApocrNT 159^160.
vangile des Douze '' Baumstark means, in this
73. By ``le problematique E
context, the Strasbourg Gospel fragments, which were practically the only
part of Revillout 's motley corpus that Baumstark allowed might have ``la
vangile des Douze Apo tres '' (p. 262, lines 6^4 from
pretention d 'etre un E
below ; compare his preceding discussion of the Strasbourg fragments [``XII
A 7^9 '' in his reference system, as explained by him on p. 246] on pp.
vangile des Douze Apo tres '').
259^262, under the heading, ``Un E
crApoc 473^477 ; NTApoc
74. E

1 :209^215 = NTApo

1 :174^179 ; ApocrNT

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Hippolytus 's

citations (in


Naassenes) or from Clement of Alexandria.

though the tell-tale ``vocable absolu de


of the

Remarkably, al-

swty`r '' as a designation

for Jesus happens not to occur in the surviving fragments of the

Strasbourg manuscript, which Baumstark included in his hypothesis nonetheless, the addition of the Berlin manuscript 's witness








decisively, for here Jesus is always designated ``the Savior. '' Indeed, if I may put it this way, Baumstark 's ``proble matique
vangile des Douze '' has become the with respect to its title,
also problematic ``Gospel of the Savior. ''


I imagine that nowadays most scholars would be skeptical of

any claim that the occurrence of the term ``Savior '' as a ``de signation absolue de Je sus '' might be used to group works of
apocryphal literature into meaningful families. However, the
occurrence of the term ``Savior '' is not the most interesting or
important part of Baumstark 's hypothesis. Rather, what interests me is his observation of a possible literary relationship be-

Gospel of the Savior, on the one hand, and the Book of

the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the other. (Here I will leave
the Gospel of Gamaliel out of further consideration, as well as
the question whether or not the Gospel of the Egyptians might
tween the

belong to this family too a question on which I myself expect

to remain agnostic, unless additional fragments of this work
should ever be discovered.) In my recent article in the

Theological Review,


I have already drawn attention to several

parallels between the Gospel of the Savior and the Book of the
Resurrection, which I will try to summarize here. I should state

at the outset that a closer investigation of these parallels, and

especially any search for additional such parallels, will have to
take into consideration the differences that exist among the
three witnesses to the



Book of the Resurrection




that we have,



75. Baumstark, review (n. 70 above) 265.

76. It is interesting to note in this connection that the editors of the Berlin
manuscript speculated that ``in reference to a functional title, and in relation
to genre and authority (name), this text [the work witnessed to by the Berlin

might originally have been


as the Gospel of the

Apostles, or the Apocalypse of the Apostles '' (Hedrick and Mirecki,

of the Savior [n. 4 above] 106). See also n. 39 above.


77. Compare Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 48 at n. 18, etc.

the gospel of the savior

more complicated than it might at first appear to be.



Take for

example the case of Gos. Sav. 70 (which is the saying of Jesus

that is also the core of John 20 :17) : ``Do not touch (or hold) me
until I ascend to [my Father and your Father], to [my God and]
your God, to my Lord and your Lord ! '' The end of this verse in
the Gospel of the Savior, ``to my Lord and your Lord, '' does not
occur in the Gospel of John (which says, ``Do not hold me, for I
have not yet ascended to the Father ; but go to my brethren and
say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to
my God and your God ''), but it does occur in Book Res. 9 :3
(Westerhoff, pp. 104^107), although only in manuscript C. Manuscript A has instead the shorter form of the saying that we
find also in John (while the relevant page of manuscript B is
A similar case is Gos. Sav. 33, with which I would compare
Book Res. 18 :1 (Westerhoff, pp. 152^155), where Bartholomew
recalls a scene of transformation and ascension on the Mount of
Olives, which the apostles witnessed sometime before the Resurrection, and in which
the seven firmaments opened up one after another, and our bodies became as bright as snow. And we stared and saw our Savior
as his body went up into the heavens, his feet placed firmly on the
mountain with us. He stretched out his right hand and sealed us
twelve, and we went with him on high to the tents of the good Father, to the seventh heaven.


That is what we read in manuscript C, while the other two

witnesses are either very similar (manuscript A, pp. 87^88, an
unpublished leaf in Paris) or else much more concise (manuscript B). Although Gos. Sav. 28^36 is not exactly the same, its
fragmentary text can be restored convincingly with elements
sometimes verbatim from this passage in the Book of the Res-

78. For the Coptic texts, we now have the edition of Matthias Westerhoff,
Auferstehung und Jenseits im koptischen ``Buch der Auferstehung Jesu Christi,
unseres Herrn '' (Orientalia Biblica et Christiana, vol. 11 ; Wiesbaden 1999).
But for purposes of referring to the work as such, I prefer to use the chapter
crApoc (pp. 307^356), giving upon occaand verse numbering supplied in E
sion also the corresponding page numbers in Westerhoff 's edition. The manuscript sigla are the same in both publications (manuscripts A and B come
from the library of the ``White Monastery '' of Shenoute ; manuscript C
comes from a church in Illarte , Nubia [see Bentley Layton, Catalogue of
Coptic Literary Manuscripts in the British Library Acquired since the Year
1906 (London 1987) 84^85 (no. 80)]).
79. Translations from the Book of the Resurrection are my own.

s. emmel


urrection, most notably in the phrase, ``We saw our Savior having penetrated all the heavens, [his] feet [placed firmly on] the
[mountain with us, his head penetrating the seventh] heaven ''

Sav. 33).



Gospel of the Savior then goes on with an

extended narrative introduction (verses 34^44) to the Savior 's

three prayers in the garden, whereas the three manuscripts of

Book of the Resurrection have slightly variant versions of the

statement, ``Then the Savior (``Son '' in manuscript A, p. 88 !)







saying . . ., ''


serves to introduce the Savior 's request that the Father bless the
apostles with a blessing without end ( Book

Res. 18 :2 [Wester-

hoff, pp. 154^155]). There follows the scene in which God blesses
each of the apostles ( Book

Res. 18 :2^17), a scene that could be

described as the investiture of the disciples with the power of

their apostleship. In thus characterizing this scene in the

Book of

the Resurrection , I am purposefully using the language of Gos.

Sav. 36, where the disciples describe themselves as experiencing
their vision of the Savior 's ascent to the seventh heaven ``clothed
with the [power of] our apostleship. '' Most probably the last
part of the narrative introduction to this vision,

Gos. Sav. 44,

states that the Savior ``threw himself down at his Father 's feet ''
or ``at the Father 's feet, '' which is what we find in

Book Res.

pahtf ejnmpat mpeiot (whereas manuscripts

B and C have simply pahtf mpefeio t, ``threw himself down before
18 :2, manuscript C,

his Father ''). Even though the corresponding lines in the


of the Savior are almost entirely lost through damage to the

parchment, I am reasonably confident of the restoration by
comparison with the identical statement in

Gos. Sav. 51, where

the Savior 's second prayer is introduced with the words, ``[Then]

80. Compare Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 54^55 note on


Sav. 33, where, however, the parentheses enclosing the reference ``manuscript C, p. 38 :15^16 '' should be deleted (cf. p. 65 note on

Gos. Sav. 33). For

further instances of this image of a giant savior towering from earth to highest heaven, and its probable ultimate background in Jewish mysticism, see
Jarl E. Fossum,

The Image of the Invisible God : Essays on the Influence of

Jewish Mysticism on Early Christology (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus, vol. 30 ; Freiburg [Schweiz] and Go ttingen 1995) 32^38 (in the chapter
titled ``The Image of the Invisible God : Colossians 1.15^18a in the Light of
Jewish Mysticism and Gnosticism '') and 106^107 (in the chapter titled ``Partes Posteriores Dei : The `Transfiguration ' of Jesus in the

Acts of John '' ; on

the apparently complex history of the relevant section of the

Acts of John ,

87^105 [including the famous ``Hymn of Christ, '' which has the form of
an amen responsory, on which see n. 24 above], see Pieter J. Lalleman,


Acts of John : A Two-Stage Initiation into Johannine Gnosticism [Studies on

the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, vol. 4 ; Leuven 1998] 12 and 25^68



the gospel of the savior


again the Son threw himself down at his Father 's feet ( pahtf

ejnmpat mpef| ot, partly restored), [saying] . . . '' And finally I

should point out that the angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, and elders who adorn the throne room in the seventh heaven in

Gos. Sav. 38^42 also make an appearance at the end of

Book of the Resurrection (18 :17 [Westerhoff,

chapter 18 of the

pp. 166^167]), but only in manuscript C, whereas manuscript B

sums them all up as ``all the ranks ( tagma) of the heavens. ''
This complex of similarities warrants the hypothesis that in

Gospel of the Savior we have one of the sources from which

the author of the

Book of the Resurrection drew material for his

own composition.


Although I have not made a thorough inves-

tigation of this hypothesis, I have taken note of several additional points of similarity between the two works that tend to
confirm it. I mean the unusual form of address ``O my holy
members, '' which occurs at least three times in the

Gospel of the

Savior (verses 27 and 72, frg. 9H) and twice in the Book of the
Resurrection (20 :6.13 [Westerhoff, pp. 170^171 and 174^175]) ;
the designation of the Savior as (among many other things, of
course) ``the son of the king '' ( Gos.

Sav. 82 and Book Res. 13 :2

[Westerhoff, pp. 124^125]) ; use of the genre ``amen responsory ''


Sav. 73^132 and the ``Hymns of the Angels '' in the Book

of the Resurrection 13^16 [Westerhoff, pp. 124^149]) ; occurrence of the

descensus ad inferos motif (at least alluded to in

Gos. Sav. 7, and much elaborated in the Book of the Resurrection

6^7 [Westerhoff, pp. 76^93]) ; and finally, simply the use of ``the
Savior '' as a designation for Jesus, exclusively so in the


of the Savior, and very often in the Book of the Resurrection.

It remains to be seen to what extent the identification of the

Gospel of the Savior as a source of the Book of the Resurrection

of Jesus Christ if such it is might help to illuminate the intentions and methods of the author of the

Book of the Resurrec-

tion, or even to provide insight into the original structure of the

Gospel of the Savior in its entirety. With respect to the Gospel of
the Savior, of course, it is likely that there will be a good deal of
discussion about its own sources, especially as long as there is
the possibility that some part or stage of the oral Jesus-tradition

81. I have already pointed out elsewhere (``Righting the Order '' [n. 9 above]
54 note on

Gos. Sav. 29^36) that Kaestli and Cherix ( EcrApoc 341 note on

Book Res. 18 :1^17) recognized that ``ce passage, qui rapporte la be nediction
prononcee sur chacun des apo tres lors d 'une scene ante rieure a la Resurrection, vient s 'intercaler dans le dialogue entre Barthe lemy et les apotres
(17,1^3 et 19,1^2) ; il a peut-e tre une autre origine que ce dernier. '' My suggestion is that this ``autre origine '' is, in some way, at least in part, the

pel of the Savior.


s. emmel


can be discovered there, or that it is at least relevant to the Synoptic problem.


I trust that ample attention will be paid also to

the Gospel of the Savior 's relationships to other works of extra-canonical early Christian literature, such as the Acts of John
87^105 (``John 's Preaching of the Gospel ''),


for example. On

this occasion I have purposefully focused my remarks on the

















because I am a Coptologist. And as a Coptologist working

``dans ce domaine ou se croisent le fragmentaire et l 'apocryphe ''


it is particularly satisfying to see the emergence of an in-

creasingly clear line of transmission connecting a work that was

most likely composed in Greek and then translated into Coptic
(as what we now know as the Gospel of the Savior) with works
that were almost certainly elaborated in Coptic (if that is what
happened in the case of the Book of the Resurrection and the
Gospel of Gamaliel and other Coptic literature dependent on
them). Coptologists believe that such must have happened in
many cases, but we are still only at the beginning of exploring
the process as a phenomenon of the development of Coptic literature. Indeed, there are as yet not many cases where the process

82. Hedrick, in an essay that is, as a whole, a plea to convince the unconverted that the Gospel of Thomas ``must be considered a primary source in
the quest to reconstruct the Jesus of history '' (``Anecdotal Argument '' [n. 63
above] 124), has argued that ``the Gospel of the Savior [as well, i.e. in addition to the Gospel of Thomas] should be brought into a discussion of synoptic
traditions, and perhaps even into the synoptic problem itself, assuming we
are interested in the history of the tradition. What we learn about this
author 's method may enlighten us about the methods of the canonical evangelists themselves '' (p. 123). On the other hand, Titus Nagel (``Das `Unbekannte Berliner Evangelium ' und das Johannesevangelium, '' Zeitschrift fu r
die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 93 [2002] 251^267), on the basis of Gos.
Sav. 12^23 and 67^92, has demonstrated the dependence of the Gospel of the
Savior (``UBE '') on the Gospel of John : ``Die beste Mo glichkeit zur Erkla rung der zahlreichen Wortlautu bereinstimmungn mit dem Joh (aber auch
mit dem Mt), die teilweise als Zitate zu bezeichnen sind und insgesamt in hoher Dichte auftreten, stellt die Annahme der literarischen Abha ngigkeit dar
und zwar Abhangigkeit in dem Sinne, da das UBE ohne die vorgenannten
Texte nicht in der vorliegenden Form ha tte verfat werden ko nnen '' (p.
264). Compare Frey, ``Leidenskampf '' (n. 24 above) 76 : ``Da [der Autor
des UBE] Mattha us und Johannes in ihrer redaktionell u berlieferten, schriftlichen Textgestalt verwendet, ist eindeutig. ''
83. E

997^1009 ;


2 :179^186

ApocrNT 316^322.
84. Baumstark, review (n. 70 above) 245.


2 :163^171 ;

the gospel of the savior


be explored. I hope that the


Gospel of the Savior

, which is so

interesting in so many ways, will contribute to this exploration.

Translation of the Gospel of the Savior

(``Berliner/Straburger Evangelienfragment '')

The following translation is a slightly revised version of my

previously published one,


expanded by the addition of the

Strasbourg fragments at the end (in verses 115^232, as already

discussed above), by the insertion of some words and phrases
that appeared previously only in my footnotes (this latter material is printed here in italics, as in verses 4 and 6, for example ;
italics also mark a few restorations given

exempli gratia

, as well

as explanatory matter), and by the addition at the end (after

verse 232) of the post-resurrection dialog from the so-called
``Stauros-Text. ''


I have enclosed in square brackets much that

is only slightly uncertain paleographically, preferring to give the

impression that some portions of the text are less securely established than is in fact the case. In fact I regard the translated portions as fundamentally sound (for the basis of the translation of
the Berlin manuscript, see the Coptic text that is printed below,
following the translation). Stretches of text more than a few letters long that are too badly damaged to be translated are measured in lines of the Coptic manuscript in Berlin (1 line = ca.
11^12 letters ; 32 lines = 1 column ; 64 lines [in 2 equal columns]
= 1 page ; 1 line of the Strasbourg papyrus codex is calculated

85. Emmel, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9 above) 52^60. Except for a few very
minor, technical adjustments, I have not altered my previous division of the
text into verses. But I have altered my division of the verses into paragraphs
so that these last now correspond to the paragraphing used by the copyist of
the Berlin manuscript, where the beginning of a paragraph is marked by a
letter (sometimes slightly enlarged) in ekthesis and ornamented with a paragraphus (cf. Hedrick and Mirecki,

Gospel of the Savior

[n. 4 above] 10^11) :

verses 5, 12, 25, 35, 46, 58, 61, 65, 67^69, 72, 73, 81, 82, 87a, 87b, 88^90, 92,
94b, 95^97, 99, 100a, 100b, 101, and 104 (at the beginning of verse 104 there
is a paragraphus, but no ekthesis ; sometimes a lacuna makes it impossible
to be certain that both ekthesis and paragraphus occurred). In the following
cases I have restored such paragraphing in a lacuna : verses 6, 28, 45, 50, 51,
56, 60, 77, 83^86, 91, 94a, 98, 106, 107, and 110.
86. I give this passage, which seems to be the end of the gospel, according to
Browne 's







Literary Texts



above] 22^26, very slightly altered here and there in accord with the style of
the rest of my translation), adding in footnotes my own translation of the
Coptic text in so far as it is presently available (see n. 46 above and the Coptic text below), as marked in the translation by ``C f. 3v '' and so on.

s. emmel


for this purpose as equivalent to 1.44 lines of the Berlin manuscript). Throughout the translation, occurrences of ``you(r) '' refer to a plurality of addressees (for which Coptic, like Greek,
has marked forms), except where it is indicated otherwise by the
context or by the abbreviation ``sg '' (singular) in parentheses ; in
all these cases (verses 25, 45, 57, 67, 68, 97^128, and 142),
``you ''









forms distinguishing masculine from feminine). The diction of

my translation is consciously modelled on the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible. For a basic commentary on the work, the
reader may consult the footnotes to the previous publication of
my translation. For the meaning of the boldface type in verses
100b^125 and the underlining in verses 149^150, see above at
nn. 19^22.
Manuscripts :



sammlung, P.Berol. inv. 22220 ;



C = Cairo, Coptic Museum inv.

6566 (now in Aswan, Museum of Nubian Civilization ? see n. 46

above) ;

= Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbe-

sitz, Orientabteilung, Ms. orient. quart. 1020 (Old Nubian) ;


Bibliotheque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg, papyrus

copte 5^7. Manuscripts B, N, and S are cited according to their
original page numbers, partly reconstructed,


except where the

beginnings of B frg. 23F and 23H are indicated in verses 125

and 149 ; manuscript C is cited according to folio numbers so far
as these are known to me at present (ff. 2r, 3v^5r, and 6v only).

The Savior converses with his disciples (after the Last Supper)
. . . (B 97) [ . . .

12 lines untranslatable

. . . ] the kingdom of

heaven at your right hand. 2 Blessed is he who will eat with me

in the kingdom of heaven. 3 [You] are the salt [of] the earth, and
[you] are the lamp that gives light to the world. 4 Do not sleep
and do not slumber [until you clothe yourselves] with the garment of the kingdom, which


I have bought with the

blood of grapes ! ''

5 Andrew replied and said, ``My [Lord]

lines untranslatable . . . ]. ''

6 [The Savior replied and said ,

. . .


(B 97 :ii)


[ . . .



ble . . . ]. 7 Since I have healed those of the [world], I must [also

go] down to Hades on account of the others who are bound
there. 8 So now what is necessary


(B 98)

[ . . .

23 lines untrans-

. . . everything carefully]. 9 I for my part will appear to

87. Strasbourg Copte 7 and 5 are numbered as pages 121*^124*, the asterisks marking the uncertainty of assigning precisely this series of numbers
to the fragments, as already discussed above.

the gospel of the savior


you with joy. For I know that you are able to do everything with
joy. 10 For a human being [has] free will (B 98 :ii) [ . . . 9 lines
untranslatable . . . ]. 11 So now [while] you [are] in the body, do
not let matter rule over you !
12 ``Rise, let us go hence ; for my betrayer is at hand. 13 And
you will all flee and fall away because of me. 14 You will all flee
and [leave me] alone ; 15 yet I am not alone, for my Father is
with me. 16 I and my Father are one and the same. 17 For it is
written, `I will strike the shepherd, and (B 99) the sheep of the
flock will be scattered. ' 18 So I am the good shepherd. 19 I lay
down my life for you. 20 You too, lay down your lives for your
[friends], so that you might please my Father ! 21 For there is no
commandment greater than this, that I should [lay down my] life


22 For







23 Because I accomplished [his] will. 24 Because [I am] divine

and yet I [became human . . . 5 lines untranslatable . . . ]. ''
25 [When the Savior had finished speaking, we asked him, . . .
6 lines untranslatable . . . ] (B 99 :ii) how soon [will you . . . ]
or remember us, send for us, take us out of the world, and let us
[come] to you ? 26 [ . . .

26 lines untranslatable. . . ]

(B 100)

[ . . . ]. '' 27 The Savior said to us, ``O my holy members, my

blessed seeds, [rise] and [ . . . ] pray [ . . . 12
ble . . . ]. ''

lines untranslata-

A vision on the Mount

28 [ . . .



untranslatable . . . ]

(B 100 :ii)



mountain. 29 We became as spiritual bodies. Our eyes opened

wide in every direction. The whole place was revealed before
us. 30 We [saw] the heavens, and they [opened] up one after another. 31 The guardians of the gates were alarmed. 32 The angels
were afraid and [fled] this [way] and that, thinking [that] they
would all be destroyed. 33 We saw our Savior having penetrated
all the heavens, [his] feet [placed firmly on] the [mountain with us,
his head penetrating the seventh] heaven. 34 [ . . . 8 lines untranslatable . . . ] (B 101) . . . all the heavens.
35 Then before us, the apostles, this world became as darkness. 36 We became as [those] among the [immortal] aeons, with
our [eyes penetrating all] the heavens, clothed with the [power
of] our apostleship, and we saw our Savior when he had reached
the [seventh] heaven. 37 [ . . . 7 lines untranslatable . . . ] the



38 [The





[bowed down] on [their faces. 39 The] cherubim [bowed down]

before [his . . . ]. 40 [The seraphim] lowered their [wing]s. 41 The
[angel]s (B 101 :ii) that [are outside the Father 's curtain sang.
42 The









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[down] before the Father 's [throne]. 43 All [the saints brought a]

robe. 44 [And] when [they had wrapped him, the] Son [threw himself
down at his Father 's feet . . . 2

lines untranslatable . . . ].

The Savior prays three times to his Father

45 [ . . .







Son) . . . why] are you (sg) weeping and [distressed], such that
[the] entire angelic host [is alarmed] ? ''
46 [And] he (the Son) replied [in this] manner, ``[ . . . 5 lines
untranslatable . . . ] (B 102) [ . . . ] . . . [ . . . ] 47 I am [greatly
distressed . . . ] kill [ . . . ] at the hands of the [people of] Israel. 48 O my [father], if it be [possible], let this [cup] pass from

me ! 49 Let [me] be [ . . . ] at the hands of some other [ . . . ]

people who [ . . . ] if [ . . . ] Israel [ . . . 3
table . . . ]. ''
50 [The


replied . . .


lines untransla-

untranslatable . . .


that] salvation [might come] to the entire world. ''

51 [Then] again the Son threw himself down at his Father 's
feet, [saying], 52 ``[O my father. . . 5 lines untranslatable. . . ]
(B 102 :ii) to die with joy and pour out my blood for the human
race. 53 But I weep greatly on account of my beloved ones,
[Abraham] and Isaac [and] Jacob, [because on the] day of judgment [they will] stand, [whereas] I will sit upon [my] throne and
pass [judgment] on the world, 54 [while they] say to me, `[ . . . 8
lines untranslatable . . . ] the glory that was given to me [on]
earth. 55 O my [father, if it be possible, let this cup] pass from
me ! ''
56 [The Father replied] to him for [the] second time, 57 ``[O
my] son, you do not (B 103) [ . . . 28 lines untranslatable . . . ]. ''

58 The Son [replied] for the [third] time, 59 ``O [my father], if
[ . . . ]

(B 103 :ii)

(B 104)
60 [ . . . 32

[ . . .



untranslatable . . . ]. ''

lines untranslatable . . . ] (B 104 :ii) [ . . . 29

lines untranslatable . . . ] he [came to] complete [the service until

he returns] to them. (B 105) [ . . . 22 lines untranslatable . . . ].

The Savior converses with his disciples (after the vision)

61 [ . . . 5 lines untranslatable . . . ] prophet. '' 62 [The Savior]
said to us, ``No lot surpasses your own, nor is there any glory
more exalted (B 105 :ii) than [your own. 63 . . . 31 lines untranslatable . . . ] (B 106) [ . . . 31 lines untranslatable . . . ] 64 O entirety (B 106 :ii) [ . . . 2 lines untranslatable . . . ].
65 ``O [ . . . 19 lines untranslatable . . . ] cross [ . . . 5 lines untranslatable . . . ] three [days I will] take you [ . . . ] with me and

the gospel of the savior

show you [the] things you desire

(B 107)


[to] see. 66 So [do not

be alarmed] when [you] see [me] ! ''

67 We said to him, ``Lord, in what form will you reveal yourself to us, or in what kind of body will you come ? Tell us ! ''
68 John spoke up and said, ``Lord, when you are ready to reveal yourself to us, do not reveal yourself to us in all your glory,
but change your glory into [some other] glory so that [we might
be able to bear] it, lest we see [you and] despair from [fear] ! ''
69 [The Savior replied], ``[I will rid] you [of] this [fear] that
[you] are afraid of, so that by seeing you might believe ! 70 But
do not touch (


hold) me until I ascend

(B 107 :ii)

to [my

Father and your Father], to [my God and] your God, to my

Lord and your Lord ! 71 If someone [comes close] to me, he [will
get burned. I] am [the] blazing [fire. Whoever is close] to [me] is
close to [the fire]. Whoever is far from me is far from life.
72 ``So now gather [unto] me, O my holy members, [ . . .

lines untranslatable

. . . ]. ''

An amen responsory between the Savior and his disciples

73 [He] said to us, ``I am among you [as] a child. '' 74 He said,

or He)]
(B 108)
``[Those who] want [to set the world] against me [are] plot-

``Amen ! '' 75 ``A little while I am among you. '' 76 [We (

responded, ``Amen ! ''

ting against me, because I am a stranger to it. 78 So behold ! Now

I [am grieving] on account of the [sins] of the world. 79 [But I
am rejoicing] on [your] account, because [you have



in [the world]. 80 So become acquainted with [yourselves], that

you might profit me, and I will rejoice over your work ! ''
81 ``I am the king. '' ``Amen ! ''
82 ``I [am] the [son] of the king. '' [``Amen ! '']
83 ``I [am . . . '' ``Amen ! '']
84 ``[I am . . . and] you have no [

other]. '' ``Amen ! ''

85 ``I am fighting [for] you. You too, wage war ! '' ``Amen ! ''
86 ``I am being sent. I in turn want to send
``Amen ! ''
87a ``[ . . . ], O [

(B 108 :ii)

you. ''

each person among] you ! '' ``[Amen] ! ''

or apart from)] the world.

87b [I] want to [bring] you joy [for (

[But grieve] for [the] world instead, just as if you had not entered
it ! '' ``Amen ! ''
88 ``Do








instead ! ''

``Amen ! ''
89 ``I have overcome the world. And you, do not let the world
overcome you ! '' ``Amen ! ''
90 ``I have become free [
free from [it] ! '' ``Amen ! ''


the world. You too, [become]

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91 ``[I will be] given [vinegar and gall] to drink. But [you], acquire life and [rest for yourselves] ! '' ``Amen ! ''
92 ``I will be [pierced] with a spear [in my] side. 93 He who
saw it, let him bear witness and his testimony is true ! ''
``Amen ! ''

(B 109)
3 lines untranslatable

94a ``[ . . .

. . . ]. '' ``[Amen] ! ''

94b ``[Whoever will . . . ], I for my part will [ . . . him]. ''

``[Amen] ! ''
95 ``Whoever has [ . . . ] me, I [for my part] will make him
[ . . . ] with me. '' ``Amen ! ''
96 ``Whoever does not [partake] of my body [and] my blood
is a stranger to me. '' ``Amen ! ''
97 ``[ . . .
``[Amen] ! ''
98 ``[ . . .

8 lines untranslatable

. . . ]



[ . . . ]. ''

5 lines untranslatable . . . ] cross. '' ``Amen ! ''

sg). '' ``Amen ! ''
(B 109 :ii) [dispensation . . . 5 lines untranslata-

99 ``I [will hasten to] you (

100a ``A


. . . '' ``Amen ! '']

100b ``You (

sg) [

. . . ] since [ . . . ]

(S 121*) cross [

. . . ]. ''

``Amen ! ''
101 ``For those on the [right will] take shelter [under you, apart
from] those on the [left, 102 O] cross, [ . . .


5 lines untranslata-

. . . ], 103 O cross, [ . . . ] you [ . . . ] height . . . [ . . . ] for

this is your desire.

104 ``O cross, do not be afraid ! 105 I am rich. I will fill you
with my wealth.
106 ``[I] will mount you, O cross. [I] will be hung upon you

(B 110) as a [testimony against them. '' ``Amen ! '']

107 ``[Receive me to yourself, O cross ! . . . 5 lines untranslatable . . . ]. 108 [Do not] weep, O [cross], but rather [rejoice]










109 that he is [gentle] and [lowly] ! '' ``Amen ! ''

The Savior addresses the cross (for a second time)

110 [The] second [ . . .

3 lines untranslatable

. . . ] but 111 [I

am] rich. I will [fill you] with my wealth. 112 [A little while], O
cross, and what is lacking will become complete, and what is
stunted will become full. 113 A little while, O cross, and what
has [fallen] will rise. 114 [A little while], O [cross], and the entire
fullness will become complete.


. . .

(S 122*)

(B 110 :ii)

115 [ . . .

5 lines un-

. . . ]. I, [laughing, see] you. [Many]

peoples [too] have been waiting for you, one [laughing] and rejoicing,


116 [Precede]



cross !

117 [You] and I, O [cross, we are





brothers. 118




We are strangers

the gospel of the savior

and. . .

9 lines untranslatable




. . .

119 I]

24 lines untranslatable . .
Glory] be to you, the [tree] whose





(B 111) [me.
. (B frg. 23F = 111 :25) 125
[ fruit] appeared (S 123*) [so


120 . . .





that] it [might] be known in [the] lands of the [foreigners] and be



(B 111 :[ii])







has . . . ] a multitude of . . . [ . . . ]. '' ``Amen ! ''

The amen responsory continues

126 ``So give me your [ . . . ], my Father, so that [ . . . might]
endure with me [ . . . ]. '' ``Amen ! ''
127 ``[I have] taken [the crown] of the kingdom [ . . . ] crown
[ . . . ] . . . [ . . . ] them [ . . . humility], without their having
[ . . . ]. 128 I [have] reigned [ . . . my] Father, you will make
[ . . . ] be subject to me.
129 ``[Through]



[ . . . ]





naught] ? Through the [ . . . ]. '' ``Amen ! ''

130 ``Through whom [will] the sting of death [come to perish] ? [Through the] Only-Begotten. '' [``Amen ! '']
131 ``To whom belongs [the] kingdom ? It [belongs to . . . ]. ''
``Amen ! ''
132 ``[Through
``Amen ! ''
133 . . .




[ . . .

+ lines untranslatable

exist ?

. . . ]

Through . . . ''

(S 124*)

The Savior comforts his disciples

138 Now







[ . . . ]


[his . . . ], he turned to us and said [to us], 139 ``[The hour] is at

hand, when I will be taken [from you]. 140 The spirit indeed [is
willing], but the flesh [is] weak. 141 So [remain] and watch [with
me] ! ''
142 [And] we, the [apostles], wept [and] said, ``But [if] you,











do] ? ''

143 He answered [and said to us], ``Do not be afraid [of] perishing, but rather [ . . . ] all the more ! 144 [Do not be afraid] of the
146 [For
147 So,

[ . . . ]!



145 Remember


rejoice !





you !




+ lines untranslatable

148 For






frg. 23H = 112 :58) . . . shame. 150 [Your names have been written on] your [robes, which] are coming down [ . . . ] spreading . . . [ . . . ] (B [113]) [ . . . 13
lines untranslatable . . . ]
(S [125*^156], in which lacuna, the Betrayal and Arrest, the
Trial and Crucifixion, and the Resurection perhaps occurred) .
world], 149 and I have [ . . .

. . . ]

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The Savior appears to his disciples after the Resurrection

[ . . . 216 . . . (S 157) reveal] my full glory to you and tell

you about your full power and the mystery of your apostleship. ''

217 [ . . . ]




[ . . .




table . . . ] (S 158) 229 our eyes penetrated everywhere, and we

saw the glory of his divinity and the full glory of his lordship. 230









[ . . . ] became like [ . . . ] light [ . . . with] him. 232

231 Our

[ . . . 7


nes untranslatable, after which the rest of the work is wanting, unless the so-called ``Stauros-Text '' provides the ending . . . ]

The Savior sends his apostles into the world to preach (= the first
part of the ``Stauros-Text '')
When one day our Savior (N 3) was sitting on the Mount of
Olives, it being forty days before he was going to ascend to the









around him, he revealed to us an ineffable mystery : the things

from the heavens (C f. 3v)


and the things upon the earth, and

that he would take ( ?) and (N 4) judge the dead and the living,
and concerning the resurrection of the dead. And Peter answered and said, ``Our Lord and God, and (C f. 4r) release of
our hearts, and physician of the hearts that, stinking in sin, have
received a wound, (N 5) you have revealed to us every mystery,
and now (C f. 4v) reveal to us the mystery that we ask you. ''
And the Savior answered and said, ``O my chosen one, Peter,
and you, my heirs and servants, (N 6) I did not conceal (C f.
5r) from you any word that you asked me, did I ? And now also
I will not conceal, and I will reveal to (C f. [5v]) you the thing
that you ask me. ''
And Peter answered and said, ``Our Lord and God, we wish
(N 7) that you will cause us to know the mystery of the glorious

88. Coptic version : Instead of ``forty days, '' the Coptic has ``four days ''
(Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' [n. 43 above] 103 note on 3 :1^5). (C f. 3v) and the
things upon the earth, and how he would judge the living and the dead, and
the resurrection of the dead. And Peter spoke up and said to him, ``Our Lord
and our God and (C f. 4r) the Savior of the souls and of everyone who
hopes in you, and the healing of the souls that have been wounded by sins,
you have revealed all the mysteries to us. And now, again, (C f. 4v) will you
reveal to us the mystery that we are going to ask you about ? '' The Savior
answered and said, ``O my chosen one, Peter, and you, my fellow heirs, have
I (C f. 5r) ever concealed from you a single matter that you have asked me
about ? Nor will I conceal anything from you, but rather, if you ask me, I
will reveal all to (C f. [5v]) [you]. For a little bit of information about C
ff. 5v^6r (which Browne calls pp. 8^9), see Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' (n. 43
above) 104 notes on 6 :11 and 7 :8.

the gospel of the savior




for what reason, when you will judge in justice,

you will come having with you the sign of the glorious cross, in
order that, hearing from you concerning this, we may preach it
to the

(C f. 6v)


entire world. ''

(N 8)

And the Savior answered and said, ``O my chosen one, Peter,
and you, my brothers, you know all the things that the unjust
Jews did to me, and

(C f. [7r]) also the words of affliction that,

(N 9) they said to me, and

when they hanged me on the cross,

that they spat in my face, struck me on my mouth, put on me a

crown of thorns, clothed me with a garment of red linen, and
after this, all the words of reviling

(N 10)

that they said to me.

For this reason will I come having with me the cross, in order to
reveal to them their offense and to bring upon their head all
their injustices.


``And now listen to me,

(N 11)

if haply I may tell you about

the glorious cross and its great glory. When, sitting upon the
throne of glory, I will judge the whole world, the glorious cross
will stand in my right hand, in the valley of Josephat ; its root
will irrigate the earth,

(N 12)

and its branch will overshadow

the third part of the earth. And all who have believed in the
cross with their whole heart will stand under it. If he has fed the
hungry in its name or clothed the naked or, moreover, written a
book of its praise

(N 13)

and given it to the church,



in it with his whole heart, when he comes to those who have followed it, he will rest under the shadow of the cross,


until I

cease judging the world. And after I have ceased separating the
just and the sinners,

(N 14)

again the cross will ascend to the

heavens in glory. And all who believe in it, following it, will as-

89. Coptic version :

(C f. 6v)

entire world. '' The Savior answered and said,

``O my chosen one, Peter, and you, my brothers, you know all the things that
the lawless Jews did with me, and

(C f. [7r]).

For some information about

C ff. 7r^12r (which Browne calls pp. 11^21), see Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' (n.
43 above) 105^111.
90. Corresponding to N 8^10, the excerpted translation of the Coptic text
given in

Time Magazine

(at n. 42 above) is : ``O my chosen one, Peter, and

you my brethren, you know the lies which were told against me on the Cross,
and the spitting at me . . . and the great contempt which was spoken against
me. This is why I will bring the Cross with me, so that I may reveal their
shame and shall put their sin upon their heads. '' The ellipsis points are not
of my making, but stand in the published translation.
91. Is this clause a part of the original text (see Browne, ``Stauros-Text '' [n.
43 above] 106^107 note on 13 :1^9) ? In any case it justifies the hope of the
donors of the Old Nubian booklet to the Jesus Church in Serra East that by
having written it (or having had it written) and having deposited it in the
church, their souls would thereby be saved (see above, at n. 55).
92. Cf.

Gos. Sav. 101.

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cend to the kingdom of the heavens,

life and the paradise of joy.


(N 15)

in order to inherit eternal

And by no means will I

judge them, either in word or in deed, but the power of the glorious cross will save and rescue them.
``And now, O my holy members,
whole world,

(N 16)


go forth and preach in the

in order that, following after it, invoking

continually ( ?) the glorious cross, they may have a shield which

will save and which is strong armor, which protects with such
glory ( ?) on that fearful day. ''


And when we, the apostles, (N 17) heard these things, which
are the message of the Savior, coming, worshipping him, speaking, we said, ``The glory is yours, Father who are in the Son, and
Son who are in the Father, being together in the Holy Spirit,

(N 18) Amen,
mercy] and grace cover ( ?) us. ''

now and up to the ages of eternity,

ways loving us, [

93. Cf.

Gos. Sav.

because, al-

1^2 and my note thereon, ``Righting the Order '' (n. 9

above) 52.
94. See above with n. 59.

(C f. 11r) and atLiterary Texts [n. 43

95. Coptic : ``in order that they may follow after the cross
tain this great glory on that fearful day '' (Browne,

above] 86 note on 16 :9^11 ; idem, ``Stauros-Text '' [n. 43 above] 108^109

notes on 16 :1^2.9.9^10).

the gospel of the savior



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the gospel of the savior



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the gospel of the savior



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the gospel of the savior


Richard GOULET
U.P.R. 76 - C.N.R.S., Villejuif


Dans son Monoge nes, Macarios de Magne sie (fin du IV siecle de

notre ere) mentionne a deux reprises un encratite du nom de Dosithe e
de Cilicie, qu 'il pre sente comme l 'auteur d 'un ouvrage en huit livres
dont il cite un passage. Il ne semble pas que l 'on puisse identifier cet
heretique a l 'un ou l 'autre des Dosithe e connus, comme Dosithe e de

In his Monogenes, Macarius of Magnesia (IVth century C.E.)

twice mentions a certain Dositheus of Cilicia, who was the Encratite
author of an eight-volume work from which Macarius quotes a sentence. This heretical Dositheus does not seem to be identical with any
of his hononyms known from elsewhere, such as Dositheus of Samaria.

Le nom de Dosithe e de Cilicie ne nous est connu que gra ce a

deux passages du Monogenes de Macarios de Magne sie, un auteur de la fin du

iv siecle. Cet ouvrage, egalement connu sous le

titre d 'Apocriticus, relate les cinq journees d 'un debat oratoire

public ayant oppose l 'auteur chretien a un adversaire pa|en dont
le nom n 'est pas donne . En deux ou trois pe riodes pour chaque
jour du debat, l 'adversaire produit a la suite une serie d 'objections contre des passages du Nouveau Testament ou contre les
doctrines chretiennes, puis le chretien fournit un nombre correspondant


re ponses .





re ponses


mentionne Dosithe e de Cilicie, qu 'il pre sente comme un encratite, auteur d 'un ouvrage en huit livres dont il cite un passage et
resume les doctrines.
1. Un premier passage, emprunte au livre IV, repond a une
objection de l 'adversaire pa| en ainsi formulee :

1. Voir Macarios de Magnesie, Le Monogenes. Introduction generale, e dition critique, traduction franc aise et commentaire par Richard Goulet, coll.
Textes et traditions 7, Paris, Vrin, 2003, 2 vol., 383 p. et

iv -445 p. On ne

disposait auparavant que de l 'e dition de Charles Blondel, acheve e par Paul

Monogeny`q. MacaFoucart : MAKARIOU MAGNCTOS, Apokritikoq y

rii Magnetis quae supersunt ex inedito codice edidit C. Blondel, Paris, 1876,

viii-232 p.

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 55-72

r. goulet


1. Il est possible de tenir en toute e vidence pour douteuse une autre petite phrase, la ou le Christ declare : ``Veillez a ce que personne



e gare :







prevaudront de mon nom, en disant : ``C 'est moi, le Christ '' et ils
egareront beaucoup de gens '' (Mt 24, 4-5). Et voici que trois
cents ans ou me me davantage ont passe et personne, nulle part,
ne s 'est presente comme etant le Christ. 2. A moins que vous ne
parliez d 'Apollonios de Tyane, cet homme pare de la philosophie
sous tous ses aspects. Mais, vous ne sauriez en trouver d 'autre ;
or, ce n 'est pas d 'un seul, mais de plusieurs que (le Christ) dit :

``Ils surgiront '' (Mt 24, 11) .

Macarios s 'efforce de montrer dans sa re ponse que la pre diction du Christ s 'est bien re alisee :
2. Si je te presente ce que rapportent les chroniqueurs, quant aux
lieux et aux paroles prononce es, tu conna| tras sans equivoque la
prescience du Christ : car beaucoup, en abusant du nom du Sauveur, ont seduit les foules par leur apparence exte rieure et a la fin
les ont entra|nees dans leur propre perte. 3. En tout cas, pour
prendre un exemple, Mani en

Perse, qui a utilise



masque le nom du Christ, a par son erreur corrompu entie rement

une grande satrapie, puis une grande partie de l 'Orient et aujourd 'hui encore continue a corrompre, en semant subrepticement dans le monde habite ses germes funestes. 4. Un autre,
Montan, en Phrygie, qui, de me me, s 'est fait appeler du nom du
Seigneur, qui a reve tu une fausse apparence d 'asce se et a montre
qu 'en lui demeurait un de mon fatal, a propage son erreur par
toute la Mysie jusqu 'en Asie ; et le de mon blotti et dissimule en
lui s 'est re vele si puissant que pour un peu il plongeait le monde
habite dans le venin de l 'erreur. 5. A quoi bon te dire, a propos
de Cerinthe, de Simon ou bien de Marcion, de Bardesane, de
Droserios, de Dosithee de Cilicie ou de milliers d 'autres dont
j 'hesite a evoquer le grand nombre, combien tous ces gens et leurs
adeptes, en adoptant l 'appellation de ``christianisme '', ont fait
que leur erreur etait innommable dans le monde ? Ils ont pris
comme butin des captifs innombrables. 6. En tout cas, pour prendre un exemple, ceux qui accordent leur foi a ces gens
des antechrists ou a des antidieux

comme a

ne veulent plus prendre le titre

de chretiens, mais ils aiment e tre appeles du nom de leurs chefs :

manicheens, montanistes, marcionites, drose riens et dositheens.
7. Tu vois d 'innombrables ante christs en legions funestes aiguiser
d 'une facon terrible (leur langue) contre le Christ et contre les
chretiens et tu dis que personne ne s 'est pre sente de ceux dont le
Sauveur a pre dit (la venue) ? Tu vois, en armes, la ligne de bataille

2. Macarios de Magnesie, Monoge nes IV 5, 1-2 ; p. 246, 13-20 Goulet.

dosithe e de cilicie


des antidieux et tu rejettes la prescience du Sauveur ? Eh bien, il


ne faut pas rejeter ses paroles, mais leur donner son assentiment .

A part Droserios et Dosithee de Cilicie, les noms cite s par

Macarios (Mani, Montan, Ce rinthe, Simon, Marcion et Bardesane) sont des figures classiques de l 'he resiologie chre tienne. En
tant qu 'exemples d 'ante christs, ces diffe rents noms devaient e tre
suffisamment connus, aux yeux de Macarios, pour qu 'il ne soit
pas necessaire de fournir beaucoup d 'informations a leur sujet.
Leur caracteristique commune serait d 'avoir e te des fondateurs
de sectes portant leur noms : maniche ens, montanistes, marcio4

nites, droseriens et dosithe ens .

2. Au livre precedent, Macarios avait fourni sur Dosithe e davantage de renseignements. Dans son objection, l 'Adversaire
s 'en prenait a la pratique chre tienne de la virginite consacree et
l 'opposait a des textes comme

I Tim

4, 1 contre les faux-prophe -

tes qui, a la fin des temps, abuseront les croyants en les incitant

I Cor

a la continence et a l 'abstinence, ou encore

7, 25, dans le-

quel Paul affirme ne pas avoir de pre cepte du Seigneur a propos

des vierges :

3. Macarios de Magne sie,




` lwq



` s



IV 15, 2-7 ; p. 280, 5-31 Goulet : 2. Ei

` pouq




` gnwsin,

` gouq



` sjw,


` mati


` matoq pollou
q edele`asan
` menoi dia
roq a
fainome`nou sjy
n sfw
` leian y
negkan. 3. Au
ti`ka gou
kai te`loq eiq ty
n au
n a
n o
n men satrapei`an,
noma tou
` menoq polly
en Persi`di to
n de ty
` ran t
` meron fhei`` n die`fheire kai me`jri ty
q a
q jw






4. Alloq en Frugi`a

tw lego
q kai pe q ou
` menoq o
` mati tou
n u
Kuri`ou a








` rion,



` n




` wn en au
n oikoume`nyn mikrou
` menoq, w
` tw
q ty
dai`mwn kai krupto

Mar` nyq farma

` kw
vai tw
q pla

. 5. Ti` soi peri Kyri`nhou kai Si`mwnoq y

Droseri`ou y
Dosihe`ou tou

` nou y
ki`wnoq erw

Ki`likoq y
n o
toi kai tou
` twn oi zylwtai
llwn w
` nteq ou
q pa
le`gein to

hoq, w


` nyn


` santo;


` rihma

` menoi,





` smw



` fura.

` toiq peiho
` menoi ou
q Antijri`stoiq y
ntihe`oiq oi tou
6. Auti`ka goun w
` mati tw
` rjwn filou
ll' ep' o
Jristianoi jrymati`zein ehe`lousin, a
n exa
` zeshai Manijaioi kai Montanitai kai Markiwnistai kai Droserianoi
` peda kata

kai Dosiheanoi`. 7. Ora

n Antijri`stwn lumantika
q pollw
konyme`na, kai le`geiq myde`na patou
kai tw
n Jristianw
n deinw
q y
n proeipen o
` r; ble`peiq a
` taxin, kai
plisme`nwn para
ntihe`wn w
reinai w
n pro
` gnwsin tou

de`on a
heteiq; a
ll' ou
hetein a
sugkata Swty
roq a
ti`heshai toiq lejheisi par' au

4. Les noms de Cerinthe, de Simon et de Bardesane ne sont toutefois pas repris dans l 'enume ration des sectes fonde es par ces heretiques.

r. goulet


Et pourquoi certaines personnes qui gardent la virginite s 'en vantent-elles comme d 'un grand exploit et disent-elles qu 'elles ont
ete remplies de l 'Esprit-Saint, comme celle qui a enfante Jesus ?

Macarios repond que Paul entendait montrer que la virginite

tient son me rite du fait qu 'elle est un acte libre et empe cher les
heretiques de dissimuler leur fausse doctrine sous le couvert
d 'un si noble mode de vie.
24. Ils discourent a l 'aventure et dispensent un enseignement
vain, outrageant la cre ation et calomniant les cre atures de Dieu,
ces etres produits pour la jouissance (de l 'homme) et sa nourriture, non pour l 'exce s, la satie te et une vie de de sordre, mais pour
l 'action de grace et la communion des croyants (cf.

1 Tim 4, 3).

25. C 'est sous cet aspect que se sont propage s les disciples des
Manicheens. La contre e des Pisidiens et des Isauriens, de me me
que la Cilicie, la Lycaonie et toute la Galatie, connaissent de telles heresies dont les noms me mes sont difficiles a prononcer. Ils
se nomment en effet encratites, apotactites et ermites, non pas
chretiens ; ce ne sont pas des prote ges de la grace celeste, mais des
apostats et des exiles de la foi evangelique, qui pre tendent cependant edifier l 'acropole de la religion sur l 'abstinence de nourriture.
26. Par exemple,

Dosithee qui est parmi eux le chef de file, un Ci-

licien de race, soutient sa doctrine au moyen de huit livres entiers

et rehausse son enseignement par l 'e clat de son langage. Il de crie
sans ambages le mariage comme une action ille gale et tout a fait
contraire a la loi : ``Le monde, dit-il, tient son origine d 'une
union, mais veut trouver sa fin gra ce a la continence ''. 27. Il soutient que boire du vin et manger de la viande est abominable et
tout a fait execrable. Il ame ne en verite d 'une facon impitoyable
une brulure cruelle contre ceux qui lui obe issent. Pour un tel motif, la creation entie re est, selon lui, maudite, l 'existence tout entiere merite la defiance et constitue un mal pour tous les hommes.
Par conse quent de tels hommes ont offense le Divin en outrageant la beaute des creatures et n 'ont ete d 'aucune utilite au bien
commun, me me s 'ils enseignent la virginite et la pratique d 'une

temperance extre me dans la vie .

5. Macarios de Magnesie,

Monogenes III 36, 2 (p. 196, 14-15 Goulet).

` ousi kai ma
` tyn so ytoreu
6. III 43, 24-27 (p. 232, 12-34 Goulet) : 24. eiky
n kti`sin u
kti`smata tou
` llonteq, ta

ri`zonteq kai ta
fi`zontai ty
rin kai ko
` n, ou
` mena men eiq a
` lausin kai trofy
` ron kai zwy
k eiq u
` lyvin. 25. Toiou
jaristi`an toiq pistoiq kai meta
taxi`an, a
ll' eiq eu
toi de



` taq





` rwn jw
` ra, Kiliki`a te kai Lukaoni`a kai pa
kai tw
n Isau
sa Galati`a, w
q epwnumi`aq ergw
r kai Apotaktitai
paggeilai Egkratytai ga
kai ta
deq a
` sfugeq ty
Jristianoi` tineq, ou
de pro
kai Erymi`tai kalou
ntai, ou
q ou

dosithe e de cilicie


Il est difficile dans ce passage de pre ciser les liens historiques





pre suppose

cheens, (b) les encratites, les apotactites









et les ermites , (c) Do-

l 'encratisme


ante rieur


developpement du maniche isme , on peut supposer que ces differents groupes, y compris les disciples de Dosithe e, sont rapproche s








similaires pluto t qu 'en vertu d 'une appartenance formelle au

` ritoq,


` twn




` tai





` dymoi,




` polin.

` rjwn,
26. Ame`lei Dosi`heoq o korufaioq par' autoiq, Ki`lix to ge`noq upa

lwn kratu
` nei to
` do
` gma kai lampro
` tyti le`xewn megalu
di' o
bili`wn o
hesmon ergon kai li`an para
` nomon a
n ga
` mon,
nei to
n to
gma, a
n a
n esje dia

` smoq ty

le`gwn Dia
men koinwni`aq o
de ty
q egkra te`loq he`lei laein . 27. Oinou de geu
` lyvin mutei`aq to
sin kai krew
n meta








` mpan


` ratoq,


` n,





` tw






` gw







` q o
sin epilay

` twn


` lloq


` ein, ka
n w
n parheneu
n ty
den ou
fe`lysan, ka
santeq kai ou
` nyn en bi`w
kran swfrosu
` skwsi.

Panarion 60, 1, 1, (t. II, p. 380, 11-15 Holl), les apotactiques s 'appelaient egalement les apostoliques. Ils etaient proches des encrati-

7. Selon E

` lontai
` masan, bou
tes : Meta de tou`touq alloi eautouq Apostolikouq w
de kai

q eautou
q le`gein fula
` ttetai ga
r par' au
my toiq to






` spasma



` twn,

` sei ga
` mon ou
para Egkratitw
n te kai Tatianw
n kai Kaharw
n, oitineq fu

de`jontai. On les trouvait, selon E

Panarion 61, 2, 1, sur un territoire

` rw
n Frugi`an te kai Kiliki`an kai Pamfurestreint ( en oli`gw
): peri ty

li`an (t. II, p. 382, 4). Information semblable et peut-e tre de rivee d 'E
chez Theodore bar Koni,

Livre des scolies (recension de Seert), Mimro XI 86

CSCO 432, Scriptores Syri 188, Louvain,

(ed. R. Hespel et R. Draguet, coll.

1982, t. II, p. 231) : les apostoliques appele s apotactites... ils ressemblent

aux encratites... Les


sont e galement mentionne s par d 'autres

auteurs de l 'epoque : Amphiloque d 'Iconium, qui les associe aux encratites

Contra Haereticos, li. 814, voir aussi li. 623), Basile de Cesaree qui les assoLettre 119, 47) et l 'empereur Julien
(Contre Heracleius 18) qui parle d 'eux comme une he resie des Galileens .
Apotactique appara| t deja dans les Actes de Philippe 6 : Ils prirent Philippe

cie aux saccophores et aux encratites (

pour un philosophe, du fait qu 'il se de plac ait dans l 'accoutrement d 'un apo n o
` wn
tactique ( Edoxan gar ton Fi`lippon einai filo`sofon, epeidy y
` mati a

piphane ne parle pas des ermites. Macarios semble le seul a presenter un

8. E
tel groupe comme heretique.
9. La tradition heresiologique le rattache a Tatien au II

Panarion 46, 1, 8 (t. II, p. 204, 13-14) :

pisiecle. Cf. E

` tou ga
r kata

n oi Egkratitai lego
` menoi tou
` teq u
` rjousi. Voir aussi

47, 1, 1 (t. II, p. 215, 2-3) : Egkratitai` tineq outw kalou`menoi touton ton
n diade`jontai.

r. goulet


manicheisme. Dans cette perspective, les re gions geographiques

enumerees par Macarios pour ces he re sies ``semblables '' au manicheisme (toiau`taq

ai re`seiq),

c 'est-a-dire ``la contre e des Pisi-

diens et des Isauriens, de me me que la Cilicie, la Lycaonie et

toute la Galatie '', ne correspondraient pas a l 'aire d 'extension
du manicheisme comme tel, mais plus ge neralement a celle d 'un
encratisme relativement mal de fini


. En ce qui concerne Dosi-

thee, une appartenance au maniche isme s 'accorderait mal avec

le fait que dans le premier passage que nous avons cite , Mani et
Dosithe e etaient presentes comme les fondateurs de deux sectes
Le mouvement me me du passage de Macarios semble supposer que Dosithee est un repre sentant privile gie d 'un phenomene
encratite largement re pandu a son epoque et l 'emploi de pre sents accentue l 'impression qu 'il s 'agit d 'un he retique contemporain.
On peut ajouter que les liens que Macarios semble entretenir
lui-meme avec l 'Asie mineure sugge rent qu 'il disposait d 'une information personnelle sur cet he retique par ailleurs inconnu de
la tradition litte raire


Macarios attribue a Dosithee huit livres et lui conce de une

grande habilete dans l 'expression. Mais, selon Macarios, cette
habilete entend dissimuler l 'he terodoxie de la pense e. Ces huit
livres de Dosithe e nous sont evidemment tout aussi inconnus
que leur auteur. Il n 'est pas su r que Macarios les ait jamais lus.
A la fin du IV


siecle, les ecrits heretiques avaient gagne depuis





e te


dans les rares notices he resiologiques qui nous en ont conserve

des bribes. On ne peut cependant exclure qu 'il ait pu appre cier
lui-meme la qualite litteraire de cet ouvrage. Le fait qu 'il en
connaisse une phrase et la cite textuellement, invite a tout le
moins a penser que Macarios disposait d 'une documentation
ecrite, a moins que telle tradition locale ait garde le souvenir
d 'un slogan caracte ristique.

piphane, est sensiblement

10. L 'aire d 'extension de l 'encratisme, selon E
plus vaste : Pisidie, Phrygie


Asie, Isaurie, Pamphylie, Cilicie, Ga-

latie, le pays des Romains (Rome ou Constantinople ?) et Antioche de Syrie.


Voir E
47, 1, 2-3 (t. II, p. 215, 5-6.10-13 Holl) : Plyhu`nousi
toi kai ei q deuro en te t Pisidi` a kai en t Frugi` a t kekaume`n
de ou
outw kaloume`n. (...) Ei si de kai en me`resi tyq Asi` aq kai en t Isau`rwn
kai Pamfu`lwn kai Kili` kwn g kai en Galati` a ydy de kai epi tyq
Rwmai` wn <kata> me`roq, alla kai epi tyq Antioje`wn tyq Suri` aq, ou
pa`nt de`, <espartai ( ?)> y toiau`ty ai resiq.
11. Les indices rattachant Macarios a l 'Asie mineure sont rassemble s dans
l 'Introduction de mon e dition, t. I, p. 55-56.

dosithe e de cilicie


L 'encratisme de Dosithe e est caracterise par une condamnation absolue du vin, de la viande et du mariage. Ce rigorisme
n 'a rien que de tre s courant chez nombre de gnostiques, de me me que chez les manicheens. On peut simplement rappeler que
dans certaines sectes, l 'abstinence de viande e tait liee de facon
etroite a une condamnation de la procre ation et de la sexualite .
piAinsi, chez les e bionites, on s 'abstenait de viande, selon E
phane, parce que les viandes animales viennent d 'un accouplement




` twn)





valesiens, selon le meme auteur, on s 'en abstenait parce qu 'elles

provoquaient des excitations sexuelles


. Peut-e tre Dosithee eta-

blissait-il un lien analogue entre d 'une part, l 'abstinence de vin

et de viande et d 'autre part la condamnation du mariage.
La courte phrase de Dosithe e conserve e par Macarios nous


d 'entrevoir

l 'univers

me taphysique



cette ethique rigoriste etait propose e. On devine ici, comme c 'est

souvent le cas dans la gnose, une continuite entre vision du







Dosithe e

semble comporter des connotations mythologiques. Il se pose en

negation de l 'ordre du monde tel qu 'il se consolide par la suite
des generations. Interrompre cette cha| ne de generations, c 'est
nier la structure qui perpe tue le desordre, c 'est poser le geste
d 'anti-creation qui libere l 'homme du De miurge mauvais :

piphane, Panarion 30, 15, 3-4 (t. I, p. 352, 15-353, 8 Holl) : Emvu`jwn
12. E
n au
te to

bionites) a
pe`jeshai kai krew
(sc. L 'apotre Pierre selon les E

` syq a
llyq edwdy
q kai au
toi`, kai pa
q ty
q a
n pepoiyme`nyq le`` per kai au
` twn a
q Ebi`wn kai Ebiwnitai pantelw
pe`gousin, epeidy
q tou


` sq



` nousi,







` sashai



` jwn


ek sunousi`aq kai epimixi`aq swma

` twn einai au

metale`gousi dia
q o
louq tou
q a
` nomen, w
epimixi`aq a
` q te kai gu q einai au
q kata
q bdeluktou
` matoq au
n lyrwdw
q exemehe`nta.

piphane, Panarion 58, 1, 4-7 (t. II, p. 358, 12-24 Holl) : En men t ek13. E






` gonto


` hysan







` toq


` nteq


` kopoi

n o
toi de peri a
li`gwn, kai au
n kai exousiw
n kai <meta
n Arjontikw







` bwsin

twq doxa
llwn ou
` zousi.
(conjecit Holl in apparatu) a


` hy,


` jwn




` nei





` non




` gkyq au
n a
` te pa
` nei
pote`mwsi, to
ton y
n metalamba
n o
dy pepaume`noq a
n eiq to
` neshai
q y
noq kai myke`ti epiki`ndunoq w



` twn






` non




n tro
` pon, a

` kiq kai xe`nouq parerjome`nouq

parti`zousi to
ton a


` tou





` goq.

` santeq

` t

` zousi




` gkyq




` touq



` teukton

faire`sewq. Reference dans PGL, s.v. emvujoq.

n melw
n a




` zontai


r. goulet


rjy`) d 'une union (koinwni` a), mais il

Le monde tient son origine ( a
veut trouver sa fin ( to


grace a la continence (egkra`teia)


Cette union sexuelle primitive n 'est pas clairement identifie e.

Si l 'homme a le pouvoir de mettre fin au monde pre sent grace a
la continence, on peut imaginer que la cause du mal est l 'union
primitive de l 'homme et de la femme. Mais puisque la continence peut entra|ner la fin du monde et que c 'est la cre ation entiere






n 'est



l 'union

ve qui n 'a aucune valeur de miurgique qui est en

d 'Adam et d 'E
cause, mais peut-e tre une union anterieure a l 'origine du cosmos. Dans cette perspective, cet encratisme devrait e tre caracterise comme gnostique, en tant qu 'il implique une condamnation
radicale de la cre ation.
3. Une identification a ete proposee par Th. Zahn



l 'historien


l 'e veque


pour no-

d 'Antioche,

Alexandre, aurait de place un certain Dosithe e de Seleucie vers

le siege de Tarse en Cilicie


. Cet Alexandre, 38

siege d 'Antioche, aurait ve cu au debut du V

e veque sur le

sie cle (413-421) et

le siege original de Dosithe e serait Seleucie sur le Calycadnos en

Cilicie. Cette identification est se duisante, mais pre sente des difficultes : ce Dosithee de Seleucie ou de Tarse nous est pre sente
comme un e veque orthodoxe. Il est utilise par Socrate pour justifier le droit des eveques a changer de diocese. Dosithee de
Seleucie est mentionne dans le



comme un ad-

versaire des sabelliens et des disciples de Praxe as et d 'Hermoge ne. Ce Dosithee e tait donc un defenseur de l 'orthodoxie niceenne. Zahn doit lui supposer des tendances asce tiques exage rees qui auraient permis a ses adversaires de l 'assimiler contre
son gre aux encratites. Rien ne nous permet de faire cette supposition. D 'autre part, le Dosithe e de Macarios n 'est probablement pas un simple he re tique encratite, mais un gnostique, du
moins s 'il faut en croire la phrase cite e par Macarios qui semble
faire reference a la vision gnostique du monde. Enfin, le de but
du V


s. semble une date un peu tardive pour notre personnage.

Ibid., p. 230, 26-27 Goulet.

Ibid., p. 230, 30-31 Goulet.

16. Th. Zahn, Zu Makarius von Magnesia ,

ZKG 2, 1878, p. 450-459, no-

tamment p. 457.
17. Socrate, Hist. eccl. VII 36 : Dosi` heon ton Seleukei` aq epi` skopon Ale`xandroq o Antiojei` aq epi` skopoq ei q Tarson tyq Kiliki` aq mety`gagen.

Praedestinatus (qui dicitur), I 41, PL 53, 1847, p. 599, 37 : His occurrit

Dositheus episcopus Seleuciae, docens eum (sc. Hermogenem) totam Trinitatem negare, dum se aestimat unitatem defendere. (...) Deitas enim sic recipit
unitatem substantiae, ut distinctionem personae non perdat.

dosithe e de cilicie


Tout porte en effet a croire que le Monogenes doit etre date du

debut du dernier quart du IV



4. Un autre candidat possible est Dosithe e de Samarie, fondateur d 'une secte samaritaine pre chretienne


. Les arguments en

faveur de cette identification ne sont pas ne gligeables. Tout

d 'abord, Dosithee avait des pre tentions messianiques manifestes
puisqu 'il se pre sentait comme le prophe te annonce par Mo|se en
Deut 18, 15. Et les auteurs chre tiens lui attribuent l 'intention de
se pre senter comme e tant le Christ. Origene parle en ces termes
du personnage :
Apres le temps de Je sus, Dosithe e de Samarie voulut persuader




qu 'il

e tait





pre dit


Eusebe egalement attribue a Dosithee des pretentions messianiques dans sa Theophanie :

Apres le temps du Sauveur, les Samaritains ont accorde foi aux
pretentions de Dosithe e a etre le Prophe te predit par Mo| se. Ils
ont ete trompes par lui en ce qu 'il de clarait qu 'il etait le Christ


On se souviendra que les Samaritains avaient de veloppe une

interpretation messianique de Deut 18, 15 qui leur etait propre.
C 'est en ce sens que la Samaritaine de Jn 4, 19 accueille Je sus au
puits de Jacob comme le Prophe te attendu.
Selon Eulogius


, certains Samaritains qui s 'appelaient eux-

memes dositheens proclamaient comme le prophe te annonce en

Deut 18, 15, un certain Dosthe s ou Dosithee.
Dosithee de Samarie etait par ailleurs un fondateur d 'e cole,

19. Pour la datation du Monoge ne s, voir l 'Introduction de mon e dition, t. I,

p. 57-65.
20. Voir sur l 'histoire de cette secte l 'ouvrage de S.J. Isser, The Dositheans.
A Samaritan sect in late Antiquity, coll. Studies in Judaism in late Antiquity 17, Leiden, 1976,

x-223 p.

21. Origene, C. Celse I 57 : Kai meta touq Iysou de jro`nouq yhe`lyse kai o
q Dosi`heoq peisai Samareiq o
ti au
q eiy o
` menoq u

` q. Selon VI 11, il se serait dit fils de Dieu .
se`wq Jristo

22. Eusebe, Theophania, fr. 15, ed. H. Gressmann, GCS 11, 1 [Eusebius III
q jro

` 2], 1904, p. 33, 24-27 : auti`ka <gar> Samareitai Dosi`heon meta

` menon au
n einai to
n u
Mwse`wq profyteuo
` menon
nouq tou
roq geno
` tyn epei`shysan, a
n Jristo
n au
n einai
p' au
q to
patyhe`nteq u
` nashai. Eusebe mentionne ensuite Simon et Montan.

23. Eulogius apud Photius, Bibliotheque, cod. 230, p. 285 a 32-37 Bekker =
t. V, p. 60-61 Henry.


r. goulet

pere des dositheens, ce qui rappelle le qualificatif korufai oq que

Macarios decerne a Dosithee de Cilicie24.
Dosithee appara|t chez certains commentateurs de 24, 4-5
(``cette generation ne passera pas avant que tout cela ne soit arrive '') comme un exemple typique d'heretique se faisant passer
pour le Christ. Origene, qui lisait le passage de
dans le
contexte du discours eschatologique de Jesus rejetait une interpretation
trop litteraliste de ce passage en la pretant aux ``simples''25. Selon lui, l'histoire de la premiere generation chretienne
n'aurait guere connu d'antechrists au sens propre, c'est-a-dire
d'hommes se faisant passer pour le Christ, sinon Dosithee de
Samarie, pere des Dositheens, et le Simon des
Le sens veritable du passage, selon Origene, serait que tout discours faux
qui interprete les Ecritures de fac on erronee doit etre perc u
comme un antechrist, comme usurpant le titre de parole de



Ceux qui ont une comprehension simpliste, jugent que ces paroles
(de 24, 4-5) signifient seulement ce qu'elles disent, du fait que
beaucoup allaient venir en se faisant passer pour des Christs,
ayant en eux egalement certaines vertus admirables et des paroles
susceptibles d'entra|ner la croyance de nombreux auditeurs, eux
qui se seraient montres des hommes dignes par leur pouvoir de
seduction. (...) Il enseigne par ces paroles que tout discours qui
est etranger a la verite et qui pretend etre la parole de Dieu, est
un antechrist; ainsi il est possible de comprendre ce que (Jean)
dit: ``Et maintenant il y a eu beaucoup d'antechrists'' ( 2, 18),
puisqu'une seule parole est vraie. Mais comme le montre l'etude
des textes, il n'y eut pas a l'epoque des apotres de nombreux
hommes qui se soient dits des Christs, sinon peut-etre
, dont parlent les
, qui declarait etre la Grande Puissance de Dieu (cf.
8, 9-10). En dehors d'eux il n'y en eut pas ni avant ni apres,
autant que je le sache. Mais tout discours qui propose une interpretation des Ecritures et leur (doctrine de) foi, mais ne possede
pas la verite, doit a juste titre etre tenu comme antechrist, venant
au nom du Christ et disant que ``Je suis le Christ'', mentant
et ne
pouvant pas du tout montrer en soi la forme de la verite26.

I Jn

Dosithee de

Samarie, qui a donne son nom aux dosithe ens,




Le terme se retrouve ailleurs dans le

et, applique a Pierre
(p. 99, 13 Goulet) ou a Pierre et Paul (181, 20), il entend bien les presenter
comme les chefs de file de la tradition chretienne.
Voir A. Le Boulluec,
t. II:
Paris, 1985, p. 502 et
n. 222.
(Mt 24, 4-5), ed. E. Klostermann & E.
38 [Origenes XI], 1933, p. 59-60:




La notion d 'he resie dans la litterature grecque (II -



Clement d 'Alexandrie et Origene,

Comm. ser. 33 in Matth.


Qui simpliciter intellegunt, arbi-

trantur quod hoc solum haec verba significant, quoniam multi erant venturi

dosithe e de cilicie


L 'auteur anonyme de l 'Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum tente

vangile et fait
lui aussi d 'identifier les faux-christs dont parle l 'E
appel, comme Orige ne, a l 'exemple de Dosithe e :
``Plusieurs en effet viendront en mon nom, disant : ``Je suis le
Christ '', et ils en se duiront beaucoup. '' Cela, l 'Apo tre (Paul) le
dit egalement pour ceux qui vecurent avant la prise de Je rusalem,
car auparavant devaient venir des faux-christs. C 'e tait la en effet
le premier signe de la destruction de Je rusalem : ce qui arriva re ellement. Vinrent en effet au nom du Christ Dosithee, et Simon et
Cleonius et Varisuas et bien d 'autres que l 'Apo tre mentionne
p|tres. Ils dirent cela e galement pour nos pe res qui vedans ses E
glise ne soit tente e, car beaucoup de paroles
curent avant que l 'E
mensongeres des heresies devaient venir, (disant) : ``Je suis la parole de Dieu, le Christ ''. Et cela fut le signe de l 'assaut contre
glise, ce qui se produisit e galement. Il est vrai en effet qu 'al 'E
glise ne soit prise d 'assaut du temps de The odose, du
vant que l 'E
fait de la prevarication de nombreux (chre tiens), de nombreuses
doctrines avaient pre ce de du temps de Constantin, proclamant :
``Voici la parole de Dieu ''


Christos se adserentes, habentes in se etiam quasdam virtutes mirandas et verba quibus provocent multos ad credendum, qui dignos se seductione praebuerint. (...) [I Jn 2, 18] Docet his verbis omne verbum, quod a veritate extraneum
est et adserit se verbum esse dei, Antichristum esse ; sic enim possibile est intellegere quod ait : et nunc Antichristi multi facti sunt , cum unum sit quod est
verum. Sicut autem manifestat historia lectionum, non multi fuerunt homines
in tempore apostolorum qui Christos se esse dixerunt, nisi forte Dositheus Samareus unde et Dositheani dicuntur, et Simon de quo referunt Actus, qui se
virtutem esse dei magnam pronuntiabat. Praeter hos neque ante neque postmodum fuerunt, quantum ad scientiam meam. Sed omnis sermo, qui profitetur expositionem scripturarum et fidem earum, non autem habet veritatem, juste
Antichristus esse intellegendus est, veniens in nomine Christi et dicens quod
ego sum Christus, mentiens et minime potens ostendere veritatis formam in se.
27. Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum, hom. 48 (chap. 24), PG 56, 1859, p.
901 : Multi enim venient in nomine meo, dicentes : Ego sum Christus et multos
seducent. Hoc et Apostolus (cf. II Thess 2, 3) dixit iis qui fuerunt antequam
caperetur Jerusalem, quia prius venturi fuerant pseudochristi. Etenim hoc erat
signum primum destructionis Jerusalem : quod vere factum est. Venerunt enim
Dositheus, et Simon et Cleonius et Varisuas in nomine Christi, et alii multi,
quos apostolus in Epistolis suis tangit. Hoc et patribus nostris dixerunt, qui
fuerunt prius antequam tentaretur Ecclesia, quia ventura fuerant haeresum
multa verba mendacia : Ego sum Verbum Dei, Christus. Et hoc signum fuit
expugnationis Ecclesiae, quod et factum est. Vere enim priusquam ex tempore
Theodosii, praevaricantibus multis, expugnaretur Ecclesia, multa dogmata
praecesserunt ex tempore Constantini, dicentia : hoc est verbum Dei. Selon P.
Nautin, L 'Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum et les ariens de Constantinople , Revue d 'Histoire Eccle siastique,



p. 381-408 ;



commentaire aurait e te originellement compose en grec dans le milieu the ologique des derniers ariens de Constantinople.

r. goulet


Le commentateur a lui aussi bien vu que le contexte imme diat

de la prophetie est le discours de Jesus annoncant les tribulations precedant la chute de Je rusalem. Il semble cependant dans
la suite du passage rejoindre l 'interpre tation spirituelle d 'Orige ne en identifiant les ante christs aux doctrines he re tiques de
l 'epoque plus recente, de Constantin a Theodose.
Apollinaire de Laodice e operait une distinction semblable :
Il annonce deux fins : une premie re, celle de Je rusalem, une seconde, celle du monde entier. Et qui sont ceux qui vinrent ``en
son nom '' ? Simon le magicien qui se disait la Grande Puissance
(cf. Ac 8, 9-10). Est venu Manichee, est venu Dosithee, un Samaritain qui disait etre le prophe te annonce par Mo|se. Montan a dit
poux, le Paraclet, le Toutdans ses ouvrages : Je suis le Verbe, l 'E
Puissant, je suis le Tout


On voit par ces diffe rents paralleles que le nom de Dosithee figure systematiquement, a co
te de ceux de Simon, Mani ou Montan, comme incarnation standard de l 'ante christ.
En faveur d 'une identification, on pourrait e galement rapprocher les huit livres de Dosithe e avec ``l 'Octateuque mosa|que ''
qu 'aurait falsifie Dosithee de Samarie, contemporain de Simon
le Magicien, ``par d 'innombrables additions ba tardes '', selon le
Decret proclame contre les Samaritains par Eulogius, patriarche
d 'Alexandrie (de 580 a 607)


Orige ne attribue lui aussi des ouvrages a Dosithe e de Samarie :

Il faut mediter aussi sur la parole (dite par la Samaritaine a propos du Messie) : ``Lorsque Lui viendra, il nous annoncera toutes
choses '' (Jn 4, 25). La parole a-t-elle e te dite par la Samaritaine
d 'apres la tradition ou d 'apres la Loi ? On ne doit certainement
pas ignorer que tout comme Je sus s 'est leve du sein des Juifs, non
seulement disant mais aussi de montrant qu 'il e tait le Christ, de
meme un certain Dosithe e issu des Samaritains disait e tre le
Christ prophetise. C 'est de lui que viennent jusqu 'a nos jours les
Dositheens qui font circuler e galement des livres de Dosithe e et

28. Apollinaire fr. 122 sur Mt 24, 5-14 : Dio kai du`o suntelei`aq proanafw-

nei mi`an men tyn tw

n Ierosolu`mwn, deute`ran de tyn tyq oikoume`nyq pa`syq. Kai ti`neq ylhon epi tw
ono`mati autou ; Si`mwn o ma`goq le`gwn
eauton einai tyn du`namin tyn mega`lyn, ylhen Manijaioq, ylhen Dosi`heo`q
tiq Samarei`tyq ton upo Mwse`wq anakyrujhe`nta profy`tyn le`gwn eauto`n.
` eimi o lo`goq, o numfi`oq, o
Montanoq eipen en oikei`oiq suggra`mmasin egw
ta pa`nta. Cf. J. Reuss, Matthaus-Kompara`klytoq, o pantokra`twr, egw
mentare aus der griechischen Kirche, coll. TU 61, Berlin 1957, p. 42, 1-8.
29. Voir Photius, Bibliotheque, cod. 230, p. 285 b 2 Bekker = t. V, p. 61 Henry.

dosithe e de cilicie


certaines fables le concernant qui racontent qu 'il n 'a pas gou te a

la mort (cf. Mt 16, 28), mais se trouve quelque part dans le
monde. Et voila pour ce qui concerne la lettre (du passage)


Sur un point au moins Dosithe e de Samarie montrait, comme

son homonyme, un certain rigorisme : selon Orige ne, il enseignait que l 'on doit rester jusqu 'au soir dans la position dans laquelle on a ete surpris par le jour du sabbat (Ex 16, 29)
5. Sur Dosithee de Samarie



, notre source la plus ancienne

est un fragment des Hypomnemata d 'Hege sippe


conserve par

Eusebe de Cesaree (Hist. eccl. IV 22, 5). Il raconte qu 'apre s les

episcopats de Jacques le Juste et de Sime on fils de Cleophas a Jerusalem, Thebouthis qui n 'avait pas e te choisi comme e veque
provoqua l 'eclosion d 'heresies ``a partir des sept sectes (juives)
dont il e tait aussi membre : de ces sectes sortirent Simon, le pere
des simoniens, Cleobius, le pere des cleobiens, Dosithee, le pe re
des dositheens, etc. ''. Dosithe e est ainsi le pere d 'une heresie qui
a son point d 'origine dans une secte juive apparente e a celle de
La litte rature pseudo-cle mentine est plus riche en de tails sur
la secte de Dosithe e (Hom. II 24 ; Recogn. II 8). Il est evidemment






de tails



contient un tel tissu de le gendes. Mais cette litte rature a contribue pour sa part a la constitution d 'une interpre tation chretienne des origines du gnosticisme et me rite d 'etre mentionnee,
ne serait-ce que pour le lien e troit qu 'elle e tablit entre Simon et
Dosithe e. D 'apres ces documents, Simon et Dosithe e etaient
membres d 'une me me secte fondee autour du souvenir de Jean-

30. Origene, In Johannem XIII 27, 162 : Hewryte`on





panta po
` teron a
` sewq t
min a
naggelei y
ekeinoq, a
Samarei`ti sper a
ti w
` mou ; ou
Iou k a
gnoyte`on me`ntoi ge o
di eirytai y


` q







Dosi` heo` q

` non




n proefyteume`non jristo
` n, a
f' ou
einai to
ro me`jri eisin oi
fe`ronteq kai

bi` blouq tou Dosihe` ou






` houq tina
` me q peri au
kai mu

geusame`nou hana
` tou a
` nontoq. Kai tau
q my
ll' en tw
noi w

pou tugja




le`xin. Voir aussi la traduction de Ce cile Blanc dans SC

222, p. 121-123.
31. Origene, De Principiis IV 3, 2 :

n esti Dosi`heoq o
` q,
Alloi de`, w

` skonteq ty
` tyq diygy
` sewq oiontai epi tou
` matoq, ou
q toiau
` tou, me`nein me`jriq espe`raq.
tiq en t

32. Sur les sources historiques concernant Dosithe e, voir A. Hilgenfeld, Die







1966, p. 157-161.
33. Sur le sche ma he resiologique d 'He gesippe, voir Le Boulluec, op. cit.,
p. 92-112.

r. goulet






d 'e tudes



Dosithe e

s 'empara de la direction de la communaute et Simon, a son retour, dut manuvrer habilement pour e vincer Dosithee du poste
qui lui revenait. Cette secte samaritaine comptait trente membres, dont une femme, He lene. Le chef messianique de la secte
` q, Celui qui est debout.
se nommait le estw

6. Un dernier passage demande a etre etudie, c 'est le temoi piphane sur Dosithe e de Samarie. Voici ce que dit de
gnage d 'E
piphane dans sa notice :
Dosithe e et des dositheens E
Les dositheens divergent des sectes pre cedentes de plusieurs facons. Ils admettent en effet la re surrection et on trouve chez eux
des regles disciplinaires. Ils s 'abstiennent de nourritures animales ;
il y en a meme parmi eux qui pratiquent la continence a l 'egard du
mariage apres avoir vecu <dans le mariage> ; d 'autres gardent me me
la virginite. Pour ce qui est de la circoncision, du sabbat et du fait
de ne pas toucher a personne parce que tout homme est re pugnant, ils ont les memes positions (que les sectes precedemment
mentionnees). Une tradition rapporte qu 'ils gardent le jeune et
pratiquent l 'asce se. Le motif de ces positions chez Dosithe e est le
suivant : bien qu 'il fu t Juif d 'origine et qu 'il excella t dans la discipline conforme a la Loi, il s 'unit aux peuples samaritains, parce
qu 'il n 'avait chez les Juifs que le deuxie me rang, qu 'il pretendait
au premier et qu 'il en e tait frustre. Comme chez les Juifs il n 'e tait
pas juge digne d 'etre conside re comme quelqu 'un d 'important, il
se tourna vers la race des Samaritains et fonda cette he resie.
S 'etant retire quelque part dans une caverne a cause d 'une supe riorite dans la soi-disant sagesse, se mortifiant vainement et hypocritement



jeu ne,






manque de pain et d 'eau, de par sa volonte libre, bien su r... Quelques jours plus tard, lorsqu 'on vint a sa recherche, on trouva le
corps qui sentait, regorgeant de vers, et (on de couvrit) qu 'un
nuage de mouches bourdonnait au-dessus de lui. Ayant ainsi
ruine en vain sa propre vie, il fut pour ses disciples l 'auteur de
leur heresie, lui a partir duquel ses imitateurs s 'appellent dositheens ou encore dosithe niens


piphane, Panarion, I 1, 13, t. I (GCS 25, 1915), p. 205, 13-206, 18 Holl :

34. E
Dosihe`wn, a
kolouhi`aq <ig`>.
n aire`sewq <d `>, ty
q de a


` toiq




` pouq.

` stasin


` jwn a
toiq eisin emvu
pe`jontai, a
si kai politeiai par' au
twq> (conj. Holl in ap` ontai a
` mou meta

tineq au
n egkrateu
paratu) biw
sai, a



` ousin

` twq




` tteshai pa
` bbaton kai to
` nein tino
q dia
` nta a
q au
q fula
` ttein kai exaskeishai eisa
` gei
moi`wq ejousi. Nystei`aq de tou

` goq.


sunemi`gy a

` fasiq




` menoq eiq ta

Ioudai`wn o





n Samareitw
n ehny, en pai-

` sei de <t
` kwn deuterw
` sesi` te taiq par' au
n no
` mon proy
> kata
` menoq de ta
n kai my
prwteia kai a
xiwhei`q ti para

dosithe e de cilicie

te moignage







l 'image de Dosithe e : les origines juives, le lien avec les Samaritains, la recherche de la premie re place et la pratique scrupu piphane ne dise rien du
leuse de la Loi juive. Il est e tonnant qu 'E
le messianique revendique par l 'heresiarque. Mais d 'autres
traits sont encore plus surprenants : le ve getarisme et le jeu ne, la
continence et la virginite . La croyance en la re surrection est e galement un trait original. Il contredit d 'ailleurs au moins un autre
temoignage, celui d 'Eulogius qui pre tend au contraire que Dosithee de Samarie niait la re surrection


Pour expliquer la pre sence de ces traits singuliers, Zahn


piphane avait pu inte grer dans sa notice des traits

sugge re qu 'E
empruntes a Dosithee de Cilicie, chez qui ces pratiques asce tiques et me me encratites sont explicitement atteste es par Maca piphane aurait donc confondu Dosithe e de Samarie et
rios. E
Dosithe e de Cilicie
son e dition





` sato.

. Cette hypothese a ete rejetee par Holl dans

et, plus recemment, par Jarl Fossum













, parce que

` tyn





twq a
` goq ejei ou
q lo
pe`matai`wq kai u
q en nystei`a
n w
datoq, ekousi`a
` m. Meta
rtou kai u
hanen en endei`a
hen t


` ntaq



` tou






toq toi`` lykaq kai ne`foq muiw

esmyneuke`nai. Ou
exe`rvan te skw
n ep' au
twq matai`wq to
n eautou
toiq ty
nun ou
bi`on katastre`vaq aitioq ge`gonen au
per oi au
` menoi Dosi`heoi eitoun Dosihynoi kalou
n mimou
aire`sewq, ex ou
ntai. L 'Anacephalaiosis contient quelques renseignements supple mentaires :
` menoi` te t
` jw
` ousi de nekrw
per xe`non
` stasin, o
n a
... pisteu
esti Samarei`taq (t. I, p. 166, 27-167, 2).

35. Apud Photius, p. 285 b 5-6 Bekker.

36. Art. cite, p. 357-358.
37. Cette hypothe se a ete reprise par A. von Harnack, Geschichte der alt berlieferung und der Bechristlichen Literatur, Leipzig, 1893-1897, t. I : Die U













Ju licher,


Dositheos 11, RE V 2, 1905, col. 1609 ; voir aussi art. Dositheos 10,
col. 1608-1609. Si elle etait retenue, cette identification inviterait a situer notre Dosithee avant la date de composition du Panarion, que l 'on situe en
377. Cette datation correspondrait par ailleurs avec la date de composition
probable du Monogenes.
38. Holl, op. cit., p. 206 : Die Erzahlung des Epiph. beruhrt sich sehr nahe
mit dem bei Abu 'l Fatch (Montgomery, the Samaritans p. 256) Berichteten ;
dadurch wird es vollends unwahrscheinlich, dass Epiph. unsern Dositheus
mit dem bei Macarius Magnes III 43 ; S. 151, 26 ff. Blondel genannten Enkratiten vermengt haben sollte (so Zahn ZKG II 458).
39. Jarl Fossum, Sects and Movements , dans A.D. Crown (e dit.), The
Samaritans, Tubingen, 1989, p. 293-389, en particulier p. 300 n. 33 : l 'hypothese de Zahn y est pre sentee comme totally unnecessary, as the practices
ascribed to Dositheus by Epiphanius were observed by many people in the
first century and even fit with the other representations of Dositheus . En

r. goulet


des tendances encratites seraient e galement attribuees a Dosithee de Samarie dans la Chronique samaritaine de Abul 'l-Fath
au XIV



. Les sources parlent effectivement de jeu nes et

meme d 'interpretation stricte de la Loi juive, mais il est sans

doute trompeur de parler d 'encratisme a ce propos.
piphane a de fait confondu deux
Il est difficile de prouver qu 'E
Dosithe e, mais il faut au moins reconna| tre que les traits encratites prete s a Dosithe e de Cilicie ne sont nulle part ailleurs attestes










pid 'imaginer trop rapidement, sur la base du te moignage d 'E

phane, que Macarios pensait a l 'heretique bien connu lorsqu 'il
parlait de Dosithe e de Cilicie.
7. D 'autres apparitions du nom de Dosithe e peuvent etre laisses en dehors de notre enque te. A Nag Hammadi, on a retrouve
une Reve lation de Dosithe e des trois ste les de Seth, traduite par
Michel Tardieu. Selon ce dernier, ce Dosithe e mythique serait
sans rapport avec Dosithe e de Samarie


. Le terme dosithe ens

(dostheens, gens de Dosti) sert egalement a designer des mandeens au XI

livre des Scholies de Theodore Bar Koni (chap.

86). Aucun trait ne rappelle les te moignages concernant Dosithee de Samarie ou Dosithe e de Cilicie


8. Faut-il donc identifier Dosithe e de Samarie et Dosithe e de

Cilicie ? On peut etablir des rapprochements, mais les informations precises que l 'on possede sur chacun des homonymes ne
sont jamais explicitement confirme es pour le second. Par exemple, on peut les pre senter tous les deux commes des rivaux du
Christ, mais le Samaritain est conc u comme le Prophe te annonce par Mo| se, a la rigueur comme le Messie, et s 'inscrit dans

realite, pour le ve ge tarisme de Dosithee (p. 317 sq.), l 'auteur semble s 'en re piphane et l 'abstention du vin est de duite d 'une
mettre au temoignage d 'E
phrase obscure d 'Abul 'l-Fath
. . Fossum presente le Dosithee de Macarios
comme a Cicilian encratite .
40. Voir The Kitab al-Ta 'rikh of Abu 'l Fath
. . Translated with notes by Paul
Stenhouse, The Mandelbaum Trust, Sydney Univ. pr., 1985. Holl citait
l 'ouvrage classique de J.A. Montgomery, The Samaritans. The Earliest Jewish Sect. Their History, Theology and Literature, New York, 1907, reimpr.
avec une introduction de A.S. Halkin, New York, 1968, xxiv-358 p. avec
planches et cartes. Sur cette chronique re digee en 1355 de notre e re (756 de
l 'hegire),


e galement

P. Stenhouse,


Chronicles ,


Crown, op. cit., p. 218-265.

41. Voir l 'introduction de M. Tardieu a sa traduction, Les trois ste les de
Seth. Un e crit gnostique retrouve a Nag Hammadi , RSPhTh 57, 1973,
p. 551 ; Le Boulluec, op. cit., p. 103 n. 245.
42. Voir Theodore bar Koni, Livre des scolies (recension de Se ert) traduit
par R. Hespel et R. Draguet, t. II : Mimre VI-XI, coll. CSCO 432, Scriptores
syri 188, Louvain, 1982, p. 257-259.

dosithe e de cilicie


ve te ro-testamentaire,






s 'inscrit manifestement dans un contexte encratite spe cifiquement chretien et c 'est Macarios qui voit en lui un ante christ. On
parle de huit livres de part et d 'autre, mais dans un cas, il s 'agit
de la falsification de ``l '


mosa|que '', c 'est-a-dire du

Pentateuque et des trois livres suivants




l 'autre



e voque

(Josue, Juges, Ruth),




compose avec art et dont on peut citer un passage. Sauf chez

piphane, les aspects encratites ne sont jamais e voques dans les
sources relatives au Samaritain ; inversement, le te moignage de
Macarios ne presente pas Dosithee dans une perspective samaritaine ni a proprement parler messianique. C 'est pluto t en tant
que promoteur de doctrines he re tiques originales que ce personnage peut-etre presente comme un faux-Christ : ses disciples ne
sont plus les sectateurs du Christ, mais de Dosithe e. Enfin, Dosithee de Samarie remonte aux origines du christianisme et a









da|sme, tandis que Dosithee de Cilicie est pre sente comme un

contemporain dont l 'influence est imme diatement liee a l 'expansion du mouvement encratite en Asie mineure. Il faut donc
maintenir la distinction entre les deux personnages.
Mais alors, puisque Dosithe e de Samarie e tait chez Origene et
d 'autres auteurs un des exemples-types de l 'ante christ, Macarios se serait-il trompe sur les origines de Dosithe e en le rattachant a deux reprises a la Cilicie ? Rien n 'est moins su r. Tout
d 'abord, le fait qu 'il puisse nous parler de Drose rius


et des

droseriens montre qu 'il pouvait de tenir sur les heretiques des informations originales qu 'il nous est impossible de confirmer.
D 'autre part, il n 'est pas su r qu 'en presentant tous ces heretiques comme des ante christs, Macarios n 'ait pas de passe sa pensee. Pour autant que nous le sachions, pas plus qu 'Apollonius
de Tyane, deja evoque par l 'adversaire, Marcion et Bardesane
ne se sont jamais pre sente s comme le Christ. Macarios leur reproche a tous de s 'etre fait appeler ``du nom du Seigneur '' ``en
adoptant l 'appellation de christianisme '' et d 'avoir finalement

43. Il n 'est sans doute pas fortuit qu 'un Drose rius valentinien, probablement fictif, apparaisse dans le dialogue pseudo-orige nien



contre les Marcionites (IV 1, 840 A Delarue). Voir l 'e dition de W.H. Van


Bakhuyzen :

Der Dialog des Adamantius




Leipzig, 1901. Traduction

anglaise re -

Adamantius : Dialogue on the True Faith in God ; De Recta in Deum

Fide. Translation and commentary by Robert A. Pretty, edited by Garry W.
cente :

Trompf, coll. Gnostica : Texts and Interpretations 1, Leuven, 1997,

204 p. Trompf, p. 20, rejette l 'identification du Drose rius fictif de l '

tius avec l 'heretique de Macarios.

xxi -


r. goulet


trahi ce nom en imposant a leurs disciples de porter leur propre

nom. Me me sans revendiquer un titre divin ou un ro le messianique, en tant qu 'he retiques ils se posaient en ante christs. C 'est
donc par l 'autorite doctrinale qu 'ils revendiquent qu 'ils sont des
adversaires du Christ. Macarios s 'inscrivait en cela dans une ligne d 'interpre tation remontant a Origene.
Dosithee de Samarie etait une figure tellement connue dans la
litterature heresiologique qu 'on s 'expliquerait mal pourquoi il
serait venu a Macarios l 'idee de le rattacher a la Cilicie. La seule
hypothese que l 'on puisse envisager, en se fondant sur la pos piphane, est que,
sible confusion similaire qu 'aurait commise E
dans ce

topos litteraire sur les heretiques antechrists, il ait substi-

tue au Dosithee de Samarie de la tradition, un Dosithe e plus

recent, peut-etre un contemporain


connu dans un environne-

ment geographique plus voisin.

Nous pouvons donc conclure, d 'apre s ces documents, qu 'il
n 'y a rien qui nous permette d 'identifier Dosithe e de Samarie et
le Dosithe e de Cilicie dont parle Macarios et que le te moignage
de Macarios de Magne sie nous fournit des renseignements pre cieux sur un auteur heterodoxe par ailleurs inconnu.

44. Puisque Macarios lui attribue des disciples, il est possible qu 'il faille le
situer une ou deux ge nerations avant celle de l 'auteur.

Thomas J. KRAUS
Amberger Str. 2 c, D-92318 Neumarkt



Die Arbeit an und mit den griechischen Manuskripten der ApkPetr

im Zuge der Erstellung einer kritischen Edition fu hrt zu Aufschlussen
uber das literarische Verha ltnis dieser Apokalypse zu anderen, ausgewahlten apokalyptischen Texten sowie zu wichtigen Anhaltspunkten
hinsichtlich Herkunft und Hintergrund der urspru nglichen ApkPetr.
The work on and with the Greek manuscripts of ApcPeter done in
the course of the preparation of a critical edition leads to some information about the literary relation of this apocalypse to other selected
apocalyptic texts as well as to significant clues to the origin and background of the original ApcPeter.

1. Hinfuhrung
Nach wie vor sind die antiken christlichen Apokryphen


kinder der wissenschaftlichen Bescha ftigung, werden kaum als

* Dank schulde ich Peter van Minnen, der mir im Laufe des 23. Internationalen Papyrologenkongresses in Wien vom 22. bis 28. Juli 2001 das Manuskript



Vero ffentlichung





Apocalypse of Peter ', The Apocalypse of Peter (ed. J.N. Bremmer ; Leuven,
forthcoming) zur Verfu gung stellte. Zeitschriften und Reihen werden angefu
hrt nach S. Schwertner, Internationales Abku rzungsverzeichnis fur Theologie








papyrologischer Konventionen werden Papyri und entsprechende Editionen

abgekurzt nach J.F. Oates et al., eds., Checklist of Editions of Greek, Latin,
Demotic and Coptic Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets (last rev. 15 March, 2001
[http ://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus/texts/clist.html] ;



dated) ; gedruckte entsprechende Fassung J.F. Oates et al, eds., Checklist of

Greek and Latin Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets (BASPPap.S 9 ; Atlanta


1. Zur Begrifflichkeit vgl. E. Junod, ` `Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament ' :

Une appellation erronne e et une collection artificielle. Discussion de la nouvelle definition proposee par W. Schneemelcher ', Apocrypha 3 (1993) 17-46 ;
C. Markschies, ` `Neutestamentliche Apokryphen '. Bemerkungen zu Geschichte und Zukunft einer von Edgar Hennecke im Jahr 1904 begru ndeten
Quellensammlung ', Apocrypha 9 (1998) 97-132, bes. 122-127.

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 73-98

t. j. kraus


eigensta ndige, wertvolle Zeugen einer la ngst vergangenen Zeit,

ihre Textzeugen nicht als Fingerabdru cke konkreter Menschen

Vielfach werden Apokryphe von Anfang an

verzweckt, das soll heien, sie gelten so lange als interessant, bis
die Frage gekla rt ist, was sie hinsichtlich zu der Entstehungsgeschichte der kanonisch gewordenen neutestamentlichen Texte
beitragen und welche literarischen Beziehungen sie zu diesen
Dies trifft uneingeschra nkt auch auf die erhaltenen griechischen Manuskripte der sogenannten Petrus-Apokalypse (ApkPetr)






Beobachtungen fehlen, die Manuskripte und die Menschen hinter diesen bleiben unberu cksichtigt, obgleich das alles die notwendige


fu r



Interpretation des Texts selbst darstellt.



fu r






Erstaunlich ist ohne-



Manuskript P.Cair. 10759, den sogenannten Akhm| m-Codex

(Akhm.), bis vor Kurzem keine detaillierte Beschreibung
was analog auch fu r dessen Fundumsta nde


zutrifft. Dem allen

soll auch durch eine im Entstehen befindliche kritische Edition

der Manuskripte der grApkPetr Rechnung getragen werden, die
ich zusammen mit Tobias Nicklas erarbeite.

Allen voran Richard J. Bauckham ist es zu verdanken, dass

eine wissenschaftliche wie facettenreiche Diskussion um Apk-

2. Das



fu r






Kraus, ` Ad fontes : Gewinn durch die Konsultation von Originalhandschriften am Beispiel von P.Vindob. G 39174 ', Bib. 82 (2001) 1-16 ; Id., `P.Vindob.
G 2325 : Das sogenannte Fayu m-Evangelium - Neuedition und kritische
Ruckschlusse ', ZAC 5 (2001) 197-212 ; T. Nicklas, `Die `Juden ' im Petrusevangelium (PCair 10759) : Ein Testfall ', NTS 46 (2001) 206-209.
3. Vgl. van Minnen, `The Greek Apocalypse of Peter ' : ``In this article I discuss the Greek fragments of the Apocalypse of Peter from Egypt from a palaeographical, codicological and philological point of view. I hope some
basic insights will follow from this discussion with implications for the historical and theological interpretation of the text. ''
4. Auszunehmen sind die pala ographischen Anmerkungen von O. von Gebhardt, Das Evangelium und die Apokalypse des Petrus

( Leipzig

1893) und

v.a. von G. Cavallo/H.Maehler, Greek Bookhands of the Early Byzantine Period, A.D. 300-800 (BICS.SP 47 ; London 1987) Nr. 41.
5. Hierzu nun van Minnen, `The Greek Apocalypse of Peter '.
6. Vgl. meinen Vortrag `Entstehungsprozess einer kritischen Edition fru hchristlicher Apokryphen. Das Beispiel Petrusevangelium ' im Rahmen
des 23. Internationalen Kongresses fu r Papyrologie, Wien, 22.-28. Juli 2001.
Beide Editionen erscheinen in der Reihe Griechische christliche Schriftsteller

die griechische petrus-apokalypse










Abha ngigkeit






was ich anderen Orts besta tigen konnte. Sonstige wich-

tige Schriften, die im Titel auf Petrus Bezug nehmen (mit Ausnahme





2Petr ),



deutlichen Zitationen und/oder Anspielungen, also keine nennenswerten



Aufschlu sse





Die eigene intensive Arbeit an den Manuskripten hilft

nun, die Relation von ApkPetr zu 2Petr systematischer zu kla ren, zudem zu zeigen, dass die literarische Abha ngigkeit bereits
r grApkPetr belegbar ist, a thApkPetr diesbezuglich nur dort
Eingang zu finden braucht, wo Ergebnisse zu illustrieren sind.


Zudem wird die Beziehung von ApkPetr zu anderen ausgewa hlten

berlieferungstra gern




und der Frage nachgegangen, ob hier nur gemeinsame apokalyptische Motive und Inhalte auf der Wort-, Begriffs- und Vorstellungsebene vorliegen wie fu r 2Petr und zahlreiche apoka-

7. Vgl. v.a. mit Literaturangaben R.J. Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account of Research ',

ANRW 2.25.6 (1988) 3713-52 ; Id., `The Apo-

calypse of Peter. A Jewish Christian Apocalypse from the Time of Bar

Kochba ',

Apocrypha 5 (1994) 7-111, bes. 107-11.

8. Vgl. R.J. Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ',

the Dead. Studies of the Jewish and Christian Apocalypse

The Fate of

(ed. Id. ; NT.S 93 ;

Leiden-Boston-Ko ln 1998) 290-303. So schon F. Spitta, `Die Petrusapokalypse und Der Zweite Petrusbrief ',

ZNW 12 (1911) 237-242.

9. Hinsichtlich der Abha ngigkeit der ActPetr (um 180-200) von 2Petr R.J.

Jude, 2 Peter


(WBC 50 ; Waco/Texas 1983) 149. Generell W.

`Petrusakten ',




Diesbezu glich


Spitta, `Die Petrusapokalypse ', 242, mit Verweis (u ber G. Ficker, `Petrusak-

NTApo [1904] 447) auf ActPetr 20 mit 2Petr 1,16.18.

Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 386-390. Dies gilt auch fur die Relation zwischen EvPetr und

ten ',

10. Insbesondere fu r EvPetr und KerPetr vgl. Kraus,

ApkPetr, was bereits M.R. James (`A New Text of the Apocalypse of Peter ',

JThSt 12 [1911] 578)

indirekt einra umte, wenn er von ``not exact correspon-

bereinstimmungen stehen zudem in redaktionellen

dences '' schrieb. Die U
Passagen bzw. sind motivisch bedingt. Vgl. C.D.G. Mu ller, `Offenbarung
des Petrus ',


II 565. Dennoch bleibt eine Verbindung zwischen bei-

den aufgrund der Fundumsta nde von


10759 mo
glich. Ein U

der Argumentation bei Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ',

11. Fur einen Textvergleich zwischen a thApkPetr und 2Petr vgl. die Anmer-

Your Eyes Will Be Opened. A Study of the Greek

(Ethiopic) Apocalypse of Peter (SBLDS 97 ; Atlanta/Georgia 1988) 95kungen von D.D. Buchholz,

97.139-152 (145-152 [Bodl.] u. a thApkPetr).266-375 (344-357 [Vindob.] und

athApkPetr).413-424 ; Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ',

t. j. kraus


lyptische Traditionen bereits geklart


oder auf literarische

Beziehungen geschlossen werden kann.

2. Die griechischen Fragmente der ApkPetr einige Vorabkla rungen

Bereits M.R. James wies darauf hin, dass die beiden Pergament-Fragmente Bodl.Ms.Gr.th.f. 4 (P) und P.Vindob.G 39756
fortan als (Bodl.) und (Vindob.) zum selben Manuskript geho ren.


Mir vorliegende Fotos der beiden und eine Untersuchung

des einen Originals vor Ort in Wien besta tigen dies nachhaltig,
insbesondere was die Ho hendimension des fragmentarischen,
nur mehr ein Blatt bietenden Bodleian- und des Doppelblattes
des Wiener-Fragments (beide 5,3 cm), die Zeilenanzahl von 13
pro Seite und allem voran die Ausfu hrung und Gestaltung der


angeht. Deshalb mu ssen beide Fragmente in Zu-

kunft konsequent als zu einem Codex zugeho rig behandelt werden. Gerade die pala ographischen Daten des Miniatur-Codex
legen nahe,


dass dieser auf das fu nfte Jahrhundert festzulegen

12. Vgl. Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 358-360.379-382 (so fu r
grHen, athHen, grBar, syrBar, ApkEsdr, Sib.Or. 2-3, Offb 21,1-8 und die
[spat]antike Mythologie).
13. Vgl. M.R. James, `The Rainer Fragment of the Apocalypse of Peter ',
JThSt 32 (1931) 278. Aufgenommen etwa von M. Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del
Nuovo Testamento III : Lettere e apocalissi (Torino 1969) 224 Anm. 12.
(Bodl.) wurde erstvero ffentlicht von James, `A New Text ', 157.367-369.
(Vindob.) wurde herausgegeben von C. Wessely, Les plus anciens monuments
du christianisme 2 (PO 18,2 ; Paris 1924) 482-483 (noch als Fragment der
ActPetr), identifiziert von F.J. Do lger, Pro Salutis. Gebet und Gesang im
christlichen Altertum (LWQF 16/17 ; Mu nster

1972) 354 Anm. 2, v.a. aber

von K. Prumm, `De genuino Apocalypsis Petri textu : Examen testium iam
notorum et novi fragmenti Raineriani ', Bib. 10 (1929) 62-80 und mit Verbesserungen wiedervero
ffentlicht von James, `The Rainer Fragment ', 270-279.
Zu beiden die Transkription von van Minnen, `The Greek Apocalypse of Peter ', Appendix.
14. Transkriptionen und pala ographische Daten der Fragmente erscheinen
15. Treffend verweist van Minnen (`The Greek Apocalypse of Peter ', Appendix) auf die sogenannte Cotton Genesis als Vergleichsmanuskript. Vgl.
Cavallo/Maehler, Greek Bookhands, Nr. 24a. Dabei dient das MiniaturFormat (5,3 x 7,8 cm) als unterstu tzendes Argument. Vgl. die Datenu bersicht bei E.G. Turner, The Typology of the Early Codex (University of Pennsylvania 1977) 29-30 (XIV).

die griechische petrus-apokalypse


ist, nachdem (Vindob.) fruher auch auf das dritte bzw. vierte
Jahrhundert datiert wurde.


Doch der Codex (Bodl.) + (Vindob.) aus dem fu nften Jahrhundert und (Akhm.)


aus dem sechsten sind aber klar junger

als 2Petr. Wird damit nicht zeitlich Verschiedenes zueinander in

Vergleich gesetzt ? Sicherlich ist immer im Auge zu behalten,
dass es sich bei 2Petr in den meisten gedruckten Ausgaben um
einen aus zahlreichen Handschriften zusammengestellten Text


noch dazu mit nur wenigen Manuskripten, die der

mutmalichen Abfassungszeit einigermaen nahe kommen. Zudem gilt es das Alter der herangezogenen Textzeugen wie deren
hiervon beeinflussten Sprachgestalt stets zu bedenken, liegt zwischen der Beschriftung von (Bodl.) + (Vindob.) und (Akhm.)
auch ein Jahrhundert, handelt es sich bei Letzterem um eine
moglicherweise verku rzte, jedoch sicher u berarbeitete und redaktionell gestaltete Version der urspru nglichen Fassung der
ApkPetr. Doch auch der a ltere griechische Codex stellt eine
spatere Version der Originalfassung dar, steht redaktionell in
unklarer Relation zu (Akhm.). Weitergehende Aufschlu sse sind
nur, neben den Kirchenva terzitaten, durch die von einer griechischen Fassung abstammenden athApkPetr mo glich, die jedoch
wiederum von den erhaltenen griechischen Fragmenten zu unterscheiden ist. Erst der a thiopische Text ermo glicht aufgrund
seiner Gestalt wie seines Umfangs Ru ckschlusse textgeschichtlicher Art.


16. Vgl. die getrennte Behandlung und Datierung bei Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ', 4715. Gesondert auch bei Buchholz, Your
Eyes Will Be Opened, 146-154.228, aber mit Verweis auf James (154-155)
und Muller, `Offenbarung des Petrus ', 563. Ferner J. van Haelst, Catalogue
des papyrus litteraires juifs et chre tiens (Paris 1976) Nr. 617 und 619. Die Datierung geht zuru ck auf Wessely, Les plus anciens monuments 2, 482.
17. Vgl.



fu r






Bookhands, Nr. 41.

18. Dies betrifft v.a. den eklektischen Text in ECM (Editio critica maior),



und die Trilingue von J.M. Bover und J.O 'Callaghan . Hierzu

Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 12-18.

19. Hierzu P. Marrassini, `L 'apocalisse di Pietro ', in : Etiopia e oltro. Studi
in onore di Lanfranco Ricci (ed. Y. Beyene/R. Fattovich/P. Marrassini/A.
Triulzi ; Studi Africanistici. Serie Etiopica 1 ; Napoli 1994) 171-188 sowie der
athiopische Text in Relation zu den griechischen Fragmenten (221-232) ; R.




Pierre ',

in :



chretiens I (e d. F. Bovon/P. Geoltrain ; Bibliothe que de la Pleiade 442 ; Paris

bersetzung (752-774).
1997) 747-751, mit folgender U

t. j. kraus


3. Die Manuskripte der grApkPetr und 2Petr

Die Wiedergabe der Texte erfolgt nach Fotos und eigenen



berpruft wurden auch die in der AnmerU

kung genannten Editionen.


(Akhm.) und 2Petr


(Akhm.), 6. Jahrhundert


tyn emyn exodon


en aujmyrw




ege`nonto de kai veudoprofytai ... esontai veudodi-




twn exelho`ntwn




ex autwn esontai
veudoprofytai ... (vgl. auch
odouq kai do`gmata poiki` loi


ai re`seiq apwlei` aq

tyq apwlei` aq dida`xousin


di ouq y odoq tyq alyhei` aq



oi blasfymounteq tyn odon

tyq dikaiosu`nyq


my epegnwke`nai tyn odon tyq





odon tyq dikaiosu`nyq

outoi de ysan oi afe`nteq









auch [Bodl.] v8-13 ; s.u.)


ma`lista de touq opi` sw sarkoq


epihumi` a






moijei` aq)


meiji` aq







20. Fur (Vindob.) und (Bodl.) deckt sich diese grundsa tzlich im Bestand mit
`The Greek Apocalypse of Peter ', Appendix. Auf Punkte, Apostrophe, Akzente und dergleichen braucht in diesem Zusammenhang nicht eingegangen
werden. Die hier abgedruckte Wiedergabe berichtigt die Druckfehler im
Text von (Vindob.) + (Bodl.) in Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort,
noch et
21. Fur (Akhm.) : U. Bouriant, `Fragments du texte grec du livre d 'E
de quelques e crits attribue s a saint Pierre ', Memoires publies par les membres
de la Mission arche ologique francaise au Caire 9 (Paris 1892) 91-147 ; J.A.
Robinson/M.R. James, The Gospel According to Peter, and the Revelation of
Peter (London 1892) 89-92 ; O. von Gebhardt, Das Evangelium und die Apokalypse des Petrus (Leipzig 1893). Fu r (Vindob.) : M.R. James, `The Rainer





Peter ',





Fu r

(Bodl.) : M.R. James, `A New Text of the Apocalypse of Peter ', JThSt 12
(1911) 157.367-369. Die Angabe der Bezugsstellen der jeweiligen Manuskripte folgt fur (Akhm.) der Einteilung in 34 Verse durch A. Harnack,
Bruchstucke des Evangeliums und der Apokalypse des Petrus (TU 9,2 ; Leipzig
1893), fu r (Vindob.) der Folios, Seiten und Zeilen, d.h. F1r1-13, F1v1-13,
F2r1-13 und F2v1-13 wie fu r (Bodl.) der Angabe der Seiten und Zeilen, d.h.
r(ekto)1-13 und v(erso)1-13 da nur ein Blatt des urspru nglichen Doppelblattes erhalten.

die griechische petrus-apokalypse



moijali` doq



tou ko`smou

omi` jlai ... elauno`menai,

oiq o zo`foq tou sko`touq tety`rytai



nefe`lai sko`touq


en to`pw

(vgl. da-

bei A21)






tyq twn aposto`lwn umwn

kuri` ou


tyq entolyq tou heou

(auch A24.31)


(vgl. auch 2,21)

Der Text des Akhm| m-Codex hat deutliche Beru hrungspunkte mit 2Petr,


dabei auch einige von dessen zahl- wie aufschluss-

reichen Hapax legomena (aujmyro`q,

bo`rboroq, mi` asma ).


berarbeitung fu r diesen jungen

nnen auf die redaktionelle U
Codex, womoglich als Angleichungstendenz an 2Petr zu interpretieren sein


bzw. ihre Verwendung in der thematischen Aus-

richtung begrundet liegen. Durch diese alleine ist noch lange

keine klare Verbindung der beiden Texte erbracht.
der Gebrauch des Superlativs von



Ebenso ist

in 2Petr 1,4 (sonst nicht

22. Korrektur von Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 392.
23. Ohne (Vindob.) und (Bodl.) fu r (Akhm.) und 2Petr mit Vergleichsmaterial Harnack, Bruchstucke, 87-88 ; F.H. Chase, `Peter, Second Epistle of ', A
Dictionary of the Bible. Vol. III (ed. J. Hastings ; Edinburgh 1900) 814-815 ;
C. Bigg, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle of St. Peter
and St. Jude (ICC ; Edinburgh

1902 ; repr. 1961) 207-209. Anm 1. Fu r

athApkPetr und grApkPetr heute Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse

of Peter ', 294-303.
24. Zu den Hapax legomena in 2Petr Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer
Ort, 318-348, dabei 330 zu


341-343 zu


325 zu

mi` asma.

Zur Definition des Begriffs sowie der ausfu hrlichen Erfassung eines `Hapax
legomenon ' auch Id., ``Uneducated ', `ignorant ', or even `illiterate ' ? Aspects
and Background for an Understanding of




in Acts 4.13 ', NTS 45 (1999) 438-444. Unzutreffend hier Bauckham, `2 Peter
and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 298. Bei A24 mit


mi` asma

und 2Petr 2,10 mit

mi` asma in
miasmo`q kein

handelt es sich um zwei verschiedene Wo rter (vgl. zudem

2Petr 2,20). Semantisch gesehen besteht zwischen

signifikanter Unterschied (vgl. auch das Verb

mi` asma

miai` nw


in A32). Zu beiden vgl.

Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 325-326.

berleitung sieht A1-3.17-18.21 Mu ller, `Offenbarung
25. Als redaktionelle U
des Petrus ', 565.
26. So sind fu


die jeweiligen Kontexte nicht miteinander ver-

gleichbar. In 2Petr 2,22 geho rt es zum Bestand des festen Sprichwortes, wa hrend A23.31 die u bliche Beschreibung des Hades widerspiegeln. Vgl. M.
Aubineau, `Le the me de <bourbier> dans la Litte rature grecque profane et
chretienne ', RSR 47 (1959) 186-189.201-202 ; Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 279 ;
Id., `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 298 ; Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Hintergrund, 341-343.392-393.

t. j. kraus


im NT) und A11 zu bewerten.


Die sprachlich nicht u bereins-

timmende, jedoch auch euphemistische Umschreibung des Todes









literarischen Mo glichkeiten zuzurechnen, aus denen Autoren be-

veudoprofytai (entspreveudoma`rtureq A29) wie die odoi kai do`gmata poiki` loi
tyq apwlei` aq (A1) sind gangige Topoi und damit wenig charak-

liebig scho pfen. Die Erwahnung der


teristische Elemente fur den Nachweis einer literarischen Abhangigkeit.


Analoges gilt fu r den finsteren Strafort (A25.27

mit 2Petr 2,17, zumal die Wolken dort jeweils unterschiedlichen

Sinn haben) und das `Gebot des Herrn ' bzw. `Gottes ' (A30 und
2Petr 3,2). Ebenso verbreitet ist die Vorstellung von der Verwerflichkeit des Ehebruchs (A24 und 2Petr 2,14), zumal keine sprach bereinstimmung besteht (
liche U

moijei` a gegenuber moijali` q).

Aufschlussreich ist ein Blick auf den Einsatz der Weg-Terminologie in A1.22.28.34 gegenu ber 2Petr 1,11.15 ; 2,2.15.21. In
2Petr dient diese als Mittel zur Versta rkung des Kontrastes zwischen den



und den

zur Darstellung des Weges

der Irrlehrer und denen, die ihnen nachfolgen, sowie den Adressat/innen, die den `Weg der Wahrheit ' (2,2) bzw. den `Weg der
Gerechtigkeit ' (2,21) gehen sollen, und ist entsprechend von
programmatischer Bedeutung. Dabei scheint es sich weniger nur
um eine allgemein zuga ngliche Terminologie zu handeln, sondern vielmehr um eine besonders fur die Petrus-Literatur typische




ApkPetr und 2Petr.





fu r

Auffa lligerweise bietet (Akhm.) den `Weg

der Gerechtigkeit ' (A22.28) und den `Weg Gottes ' (A34) stets
als Negativcharakterisierung fu r die Gottesla sterer, jene eben,
die diesen Weg verlassen haben, die zudem als


`Wege und Lehren des Verderbens ' lehren (A1). Mit diesem ein beltater
her geht der Gedanke der gerechten Strafe fu r die U


rder '), basierend auf der absoluten Gerechtig-

keit Gottes (vgl. Ps 19,10 ; Offb 16,7 ; 19,2 ; dazu 2Petr 1,1). Da-

27. Zur Seltenheit von

me` gistoq

vgl. Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer

Ort, 319.
28. Zu Justin Dial. 82,1 und 2Petr 2,1 Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer
Ort, 340. Auch ist der Topos `Irr- ' bzw. `Falschlehrer ' weit verbreitet. So
z.B. fu r Qumran S.J.D. Cohen, `False Prophets (4Q339), Netinim (4Q340),
and Hellenism at Qumran ', JGRChJ [http ://www.jgrcj.com] 1 (2000) 5566.
29. Hierzu E. Repo, Der ,,Weg`` als Selbstbezeichnung des Urchristentums :




132,2 ; Helsinki 1964) 91-93.104-107 ; zu

Stil und historischer Ort , 355-356.



odoq und composita Kraus, Sprache,

die griechische petrus-apokalypse

durch, v.a. durch Verwendung von Bildungen zu


diky`, gelingt in

ApkPetr und 2Petr die Unterscheidung zwischen Gerechten und

Ungerechten. Die Schwerpunktsetzung der ApkPetr auf die detaillierte Beschreibung der Strafen und Qualen bringt dabei mit
sich, dass die Behandlung der Gerechten (etwa A14.20) ku rzer






Abha ngigkeit


ApkPetr und 2Petr zu erweisen, ist die vermeintliche Verkla rung

in ApkPetr (A4-20). Klare Bezugspunkte zur synoptischen Tradition (Mt 17,1-8 und Mk 9,2-10 ; Lk 9,28-36) sucht man vergebens, wobei durchaus motivisch Mt als Hintergrund aufscheint.
Vielmehr ist die Erscheinung der beiden himmlischen Besucher
in (Akhm.) allenfalls als mit Verkla rungstraditionen verwandt
zu bezeichnen, geht es doch mehr um die Darstellung der `gerechten Bru der ' in der Vision als um die Offenbarung Jesu Christi wie in 2Petr 1,16-18.


Trotz der Undeutlichkeit etlicher Indizien fu r eine literarische

Beziehung zwischen (Akhm.) und 2Petr ist die Summe der Beobachtungen entscheidend, lassen sich nicht alle und insbesondere
nicht die groe Zahl der Indizien nur durch gemeinsame Motive,
Vorstellungen und Traditionen schlussig erklaren. Der Codex
kann zwar anhand 2Petr selbst redaktionell u berarbeitet worden
sein, doch legen die Summe der gesammelten Beru hrungspunkte
sowie die Beobachtungen in (Bodl.) + (Vinbob.) eine Kenntnis
von 2Petr fu r den Verfasser der urspru nglichen ApkPetr nahe,
was dann auch die Verwendung von charakteristischen Hapax
legomena wie motivisch fu r 2Petr auffalligen Motivkomplexen,
die sich in (Akhm.) wiederfinden erkla rt. Das entscheidende Argument fu
r die Abhangigkeit ist die Tatsache, dass beide griechischen





Redaktionen der grApkPetr zugeho rig, deutliche Bezu ge aufweisen.





ha tte




schatzt werden ko nnen, dass er anhand von 2Petr u berarbeitet

worden ware.

30. Dies weist fu r ApkPetr in Richtung apologetischer Tendenzen wie das

r 2Petr nahe liegt. Die Wahl der Autorita t des Petrus ist hier fo rderlich.
Vgl. Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 405-408.
31. Vgl. Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ', 4735-4736 ;
Id., `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 302-303 ; Kraus, Sprache, Stil und
historischer Ort, 110-111.377.

t. j. kraus


Der Codex (Vindob.) + (Bodl.) und 2Petr


(Vindob.), 5. Jahrhundert

ta me`gista kai ti`mia ymin



` ratai






taq epa[g]geli`aq mou aq

... kata


to epa`ggelma autou


tyn klysin kai eklogy`n


epyggeila`myn autoiq

toiq klytoiq kai ekkle`k-


` non basilei`an
eiq tyn aiw



toiq (lies ekle`ktoiq) mou









swtyroq Iysou Jristou


q oti tajiny` estin y



` mato`q
apo`hesiq tou skynw

pi`e to poty`rion o
epyggeila`myn soi


q kai ku`rioq ymw



idou edy`lwsa` soi, Pe`tre

Iysouq Jristoq edy`lwse`n


(Bodl .), 5. Jahrhundert




outo[i d]e` eisin o[iti]neq

odon eplany`hysan


(zu odoq s.o. 2,2.21 ; auch


o[do]n (vgl. A34 ;








touq en pla`ny



ty tw

n ahe`smwn pla`ny


adi`kouq ... kolazome`nouq


` [l]wn




` zw

auch [Akhm.] A21.33)

Die weiteren Indizien besta tigen die Beobachtungen hinsichtlich (Akhm.). Mag die Vorstellung der epa`ggema/


Jesu Christi noch auf die jeweilige Bedeutung der Verheiung

selbst zuruckzufu hren, also thematisch begru ndet sein, ist sie
dennoch in F2r1-5 und 2Petr ( epa`ggelma 1,4 ; 3,31


; epaggeli`a

3,4.9) ahnlich und allenfalls durch die Darstellungsperspektive

(in grApkPetr spricht hier Jesus Christus) zu unterscheiden. Bemerkenswert wird dies dann, wenn man beru cksichtigt, dass die
Vorstellung von Christi Verheiungen in der christlichen Litera-

32. Fur Transkriptionen findet das Leidener Klammersystem Verwendung.

Vgl. E.G. Turner, Greek Papyri - An Introduction (Oxford

1980 [Nachdruck

1998]) 70-71.187-188 ; H.-A. Rupprecht, Kleine Einfu hrung in die Papyruskunde (Die Altertumswissenschaft, Darmstadt 1994) 18.26.
33. Bei Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 300, abgedrucktes
,,auytoiq`` beruht wohl auf einem Druckfehler.

` ggelma Kraus, Sprache, Stil und histori34. Zum bibl. Hapax legomenon epa
scher Ort, 293-294.324.

die griechische petrus-apokalypse

tur vor 150 noch selten Ausdruck findet.



Der Hinweis auf die

Berufenen und Auserwa hlten bzw. Berufung und Auserwa hlung

ergibt zunachst allenfalls ein Indiz fu r ahnliche Vorstellungen.
In dessen unmittelbarer Folge allerdings verweisen (Vindob.)
und 2Petr auf die

ai wni` oq basilei` a.

Weniger diese Verbindung

mit Jesus Christus, die durchaus in der christlichen Literatur

vor 150 anzutreffen ist, als vielmehr

ai wni` oq basilei` a

selbst ist


Sprachlich unterschiedlich gestaltet ist die Voraussage von

Petri Sterben in (Vindob.) und 2Petr. In der erhaltenen fru hchristlichen Literatur (vor 150 v.Chr.) wird nur mehr Joh 21,18
(wo 13,36 aufgegriffen wird) Petrus der Tod prophezeit.



erfolgt diese jeweils in spezifisch euphemistischer Formulierung











Kelchworte (Mt 20,22.23 ; Mk 10,38.39 ; vgl. auch Jesu Gebet in


Mt 26,39 ; Mk

14,36 ;


22,42 ;

dabei noch

18,11). Wenn dann in 2Petr 1,14b folgt, dass der

Iysouq Jristo`q


ku`rioq ymwn

Petrus (moi) u
ber den eigenen bevorstehenden

Tod in Kenntnis gesetzt, ihm dies ero ffnet (dylo`w) hat



sich dies wiederum, wenngleich an anderer Stelle wie mit leicht

anderer Ausrichtung, in (Vindob.) F2r8-9 findet,


so spricht

das fur deutliche und charakteristische inhaltliche Korrespondenzen zwischen grApkPetr, hier in der spa teren Form (Vindob.),









Beziehungspunkte in dichter Abfolge auf, was zudem auf eine literarische Beziehung hinweist.







Konstatiertes. So stellt die Rede vom Verlassen des `geraden

Weges ' (und damit Einschlagen des falschen Weges Bileams ;

katalei` pw eine
afi` ymi) dar, ist gleich-

2,15) bzw. des `Weges Gottes ' (Bodl. v8-12) mit

auffa llige Verbindung (dagegen A34 mit


Besta tigung





35. So zu Recht Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 300. Vgl.
2Clem 5,5.
36. Vgl. Bauckham, Jude, 2Peter, 192 ; Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 299. Ferner H. Balz, `Art.
114 ; U. Luz, `Art.

basilei` a ', EWNT

ai w`nioq ',


1 (1992) 112-

1 (1992) 491.

37. Vgl. Bauckham, `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 300 ; Kraus,
Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 395. Ferner E. Peterson, `Das Martyrium
des hl. Petrus nach der Petrus-Apokalypse ', Id., Fruhkirche, Judentum und
Gnosis. Studien und Untersuchungen (Rom-Freiburg-Wien 1959) 88-91, der
1Clem 5,4 und AscJes 4,2-3 (fu r letztere schon James, `The Rainer Fragment ', 273-274) diskutiert.
38. Vgl. G. Schunack, `Art.
39. Vgl.

dylo`w ', EWNT

1 (1992) 707-708.

Bauckham , 2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter, 300.

t. j. kraus


(Akhm.) und dabei auch von a thApkPetr 10. Dies passt wiederum gut zur bereits besprochenen Weg-Terminologie. Nur mehr
der Vollstandigkeit halber, da zudem in unterschiedlichen Kontexten verwendet, bleiben




festzuhalten. Je-

doch ist nicht zu u bersehen, dass wiederum (Bodl.) das fu r die

Bestrafung der Frevler bzw. Ungerechten in (Akhm.) und 2Petr
Ausgesagte besta tigt, zudem nun mit Worter, die auch in 2Petr
vorkommen. Dieses Bild erga nzt auch (Bodl.) v4-8, wo vom
Verbrennen der (frevelhaften) Ma nner und Frauen im Feuer der
Gotzenbilder die Rede ist (

y kau`siq twn ei dwlomanwn zu 2Petr

kauso`w fur den Brand am

3,10.12 mit dem Hapax legomenon

Tag des Endgerichts).

Alles in allem also ergibt der Vergleich zwischen dem Text

des Codex (Bodl.) + (Vindob.) mit 2Petr mehr als nur zufa llige
Beruhrungspunkte, die alle fu r sich isoliert betrachtet als Zufa lligkeiten, gemeinsame Vorstellungswelten, Motive bzw. a hnliche






erkla ren


mogen, in der Summe jedoch nicht mehr derart plausibel zu machen sind. Eben deshalb ist die urspru ngliche ApkPetr von 2Petr
als abha ngig anzunehmen, da sich sowohl in (Bodl.) + (Vindob.)
aus dem funften als auch in (Akhm.) aus dem sechsten Jahrhundert klare Bezu ge finden lassen. Gegen eine umgekehrte Abha ngigkeit spricht die sprachliche Einheitlichkeit des 2Petr sowie
die bestehende kompakte Reihenfolge der Beru hrungspunkte in
2Petr 1,4-15 (und 2,1-22), die in grApkPetr, erhalten als spa tere
(Bodl.) + (Vindob.) und (Akhm.), durch die detaillierte Darstellung



Zu chtigungen






berlieferungstra ger apokalyptischer Stoffe und

4. Ausgewahlte U

Die eben aufgezeigten Beru hrungspunkte zwischen grApkPetr

und 2Petr gehen klar uber das hinaus, was hinsichtlich der Relation von 2Petr und Traditionen vom Weltende bzw. der Weltzeit
bereits ausgewiesen wurde : 2Petr bedient sich ebenso einer typischen







ju discher




fru hchristlicher

Texte, was vor allem grHen, a thHen, grBar, syrBar, ApkEsdr,

Sib.Or. 2-3, Offb 21,1-8 meint, verweist dabei aber noch u ber

40. Hierzu Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 333.

41. So im Ergebnis Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ',
4722-4723 ; Id. , `2 Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter ', 302-303.

die griechische petrus-apokalypse


diese hinaus auf die Literatur der (Spa t)Antike. Eine ahnliche
oder gar gleiche Wort- und Begriffsverwendung u berschreitet jedoch in keinem dieser Fa lle ein bestimmtes Ma,


was auch

analog fu r diverse in der Literatur diskutierte Texte gilt.


berliefeDennoch erweisen sich bestimmte apokalyptische U

rungen in dieser Hinsicht als erfolgsversprechender als andere.
So werden beispielsweise literarische Beziehungen schon lange
r ApkPetr und Sib.Or. 2 angenommen. Dass dabei zwischen
athApkPetr und Sib.Or. 2 klare Verbindungen bestehen, hat
Dennis D. Buchholz ausfuhrlich nachgewiesen.


Hinzu kommt

in (Vindob.) die uberraschende Erwa hnung, dass Gla ubige, genauer klytoi` und eklektoi` (F1r1-4), die Rettung von Verdammten aus der Bestrafung erbitten ko nnen. Dergleichen findet sich
auch Sib.Or. 2,330-338, wo auch weitere Anknu pfungspunkte
mit ApkPetr vorhanden sind. Fu r einen leichteren Vergleich wie
zur besseren Bezugnahme wird dieser Abschnitt hier wiedergegeben :

fhitoq allo pare`xei.

330 toiq kai o pantokra`twr heoq a
eusebe`sin, opo`tan heon afhiton aity`swntai,
ek maleroio puroq kai ahana`twn apo brugmw
` pouq sw
` sei kai touto poiy`sei
sai dw
lexa`menoq gar esauhiq apo flogoq akama`toio
llos aposty`saq pe`mvei dia laon eautou
335 a
` nion ahana`toisin
eiq zwyn ete`ran kai aiw
, ohi oi pe`le ku`mata makra`
li`mnyq aena`ou Ajerusia`doq bahuko`lpou.
,,Und der allherrschende, ewige Gott wird noch etwas andres
jenen Frommen verleihn, wenn sie flehen zum ewigen Gotte :
Aus dem schrecklichen Feuer und unverga nglichen Leiden wird
er die Menschen zu retten verleih`n : Dies wird er vollfu hren.
Denn er sammelt sie wieder, versetzt sie aus rastloser Flamme
anderswohin und entsendet sie seinem Volke zuliebe zu einem
anderen und ewig wa hrenden Leben, zur Flur des sel 'gen Elysiums, wo weithin die Wasser ihm flieen vom Acherusischen
Fluss, des ew`gen, von grundloser Tiefe.`` (Sib.Or. [Gauger])


42. Vgl. Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 359.

43. Hierzu Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ', 4724-4733.
44. Vgl. Buchholz, Your Eyes Will Be Opened, 44-46.348. Auf Sib.Or. 2
(238-338 bzw. 330-338) verweisen James, `The Rainer Fragment ', 272 ; Id.,
`A New Text ', 52-53 ; Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ',
4738.4740 ; Muller, `Offenbarung des Petrus ', 565.
bersetzung entstammt der ausgezeichneten Aus45. Die (poetisierende) U
gabe J.-D. Gauger, Sibyllinische Weissagungen. Griechisch-deutsch (Sammlung

Tusculum ;








t. j. kraus

Auf Bitten seiner Frommen wird Gott die Verdammten aus

Feuer und Leiden, in dem sie sich bereits befinden, erretten und
sie zum ewigen Leben in das Elysische Feld, wo die Wasser der
Acherusischen Flusses flieen, fu hren. Es verblufft hier, dass
der Acherusische See o rtlich mit dem Elysischen Feld verbunden
scheint, wo doch beide Orte eigentlich zu unterscheiden sind. Inhaltliche Korrespondenzen wie auch solche in Begrifflichkeiten
und Wortern mit (Vindob.) F1r+v stechen ebenso sofort ins Auge wie die kompositionellen und sprachlich-stilistischen Unterschiede. Eine im Dienste der besseren Les- und Vergleichbarkeit
fortlaufende unkritische Wiedergabe des hierbei entscheidenden
Textes hilft dies zu verdeutlichen. Fu r eine kritische Transkription sei verwiesen auf van Minnens Studie, die in der anstehende
Edition der Manuskripte der grApkPetr und die pala ographische Beschreibung von (Bodl.) + (Vindob.), die ich noch vor dieser







beziehen sich dabei nicht auf die Zeilen der jeweiligen Seite des
Fragments, sondern sind als Referenzhilfe gedacht fu r den meist
stichisch angeordneten Text, der sich in dieser Anordnung naturlich nicht auf dem Fragment findet.

[par]e`xomai toiq klytoiq mou kai ekle`ktoiq mou

on ean aity`swntai`


me ek tyq kola`sewq

` sw autoiq kalon ba`ptisma en swtyri`a

kai dw
yn kalousin en tw
me`roq dikaiosu`nyq meta
n agi`wn mou.

kai oi eklektoi` mou

kai apeleu`somai egw









,,Ich werde meinen Berufenen und meinen Auserwa hlten den

gewahren, den sie aus der Strafe (heraus)stellen, und ich werde
ihnen eine gute Taufe geben in der Rettung aus dem Acherusi-

textkritische Ausgabe bleibt J. Geffcken, Die Oracula Sibyllina (GCS 8 ;

Leipzig 1902) mit den Nachdr. 1967 und 1979 (Verweise auf die Handschriften und ihren Wert : XXV-LIII). Gauger selbst gibt an, wo seine Ausgabe,
bersetzung von A. Kurfe, Sibyllinische Weiseine Revision von Text und U
sagungen (Munchen 1951) ist, von Geffcken abweicht (vgl. 539-541 und
Nachwort, 561-564).

(Vindob.) liest hier on ean ety`swntai` me. Zur Schreibung von e statt ai

vgl. die Belege in F.T. Gignac, A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman
and Byzantine Periods. Vol. I : Phonology (TDSA 55 ; Mailand 1975) 191193. Ferner E. Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemaerzeit. Band I : Laut- und Wortlehre. 1. Teil : Einleitung und Lautlehre.

Bearb. v. H. Scholl (Berlin 1970) 14 (83.85-86, bes. 86 Zeilen 8-10).

die griechische petrus-apokalypse


schen See, was man so nennt im Elysischen Feld, einen Teil der
Gerechtigkeit mit meinen Heiligen. Und ich werde weggehen,
ich und meine jubelnden Auserwa hlten, zusammen mit den Patriarchen in meine ewige Ko nigsherrschaft.``







notwendig :

(Vindob.) 3 bietet einen Genitiv zum Pra positionalausdruck (

swtyri`a Ajerousi`aq li`mnyq









e n


auffasse. Wie noch zu zeigen sein wird, erfolgt die Tau-

fe wie eine Reinigung von den Su nden im Acherusischen See,

bevor die Betreffenden vor Gott gelangen ko nnen. Grundsa tzlich ist der See, in den meist der Fluss Acheron mu ndet, der Ort,
an den in der Unterwelt die Seelen der Toten gelangen bzw. der
auch als Eingang in das Totenreich galt. So kann die Rettung
bzw. das Heil darin bestehen, dass die Menschen u ber den Tod
hinaus in einem Bad von ihren Su nden gereinigt werden mu ssen,
um diesen Ort der eschatologischen Taufe dann auch wieder
verlassen und in die ewige Ko nigsherrschaft (

mou basilei`an

eiq ty n aiwni`an

) hinein gelangen zu ko nnen. Weniger deutlich

aber ebenso tendentiell in diese Richtung weist auch a thApkPetr

14. Generell bleibt jedoch fu r (Vindob.) zu u berlegen, was eine
bersetzung ,,eine gute Taufe im Heil des acherusischen
direkte U


impliziert ? Sicherlich auch, dass die Rettung, das letztli-

che Heil nur u ber die von Sunden reinigende, eschatologische

Taufe in diesem See fu hrt. Wird dadurch nicht die Rolle des Sees
missverstandlich, wenn doch das Heil in diesem liegt bzw. es dieser ermoglicht ?
Zuruck zu Sib.Or. 2 und (Vindob.) : Die Unterschiede der
Kompositionen von Sib.Or. und (Vindob.) liegen allenfalls im
Detail, was auch durch die unterschiedliche Erza hlperspektive
und Ausgestaltung, der poetischen gegenu ber einer prosaischen
Konzeption, bedingt ist. Denn wa hrend die Sibyllinen hier in
Berichtform die Gunst der Frommen ausfu hren (deshalb in drit-

pare` xei
par e` xomai dw`sw
eu sebeiq
klytoi` e klektoi`

ter Person, etwa 2,330

, 332

), wird in (Vindob.)

Petrus durch Jesus Christus inhaltlich Analoges offenbart (erste

Person, 1 [

Frommen (2,331

wahlten [Vindob.] 1

47. Als ablativen

, 3

). Zudem zu erwa hnen sind die

) gegenuber den Berufenen und Auser,

), die Bezeichnung der Stra-

Genitivus separationis auch bei James, `The Rainer Frag-

ment ', 271 : ``... a fair baptism in ( or unto) salvation from the Acherusian lake ... ''
48. Muller, `Offenbarung des Petrus ', 575 Anm. 43. Ferner Buchholz,


Eyes Will Be Opened , 228 ; Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento III,
224 Anm. 12 : ... loro un bel battesimo salutare nel lago che nel campo Elisio e detto Acherusio .

t. j. kraus


fe (332

e k maleroio puro` q e k ty q kola` sewq

, 2

), der Rettung (als

Verb 333, als Substantiv 3). Diese Aspekte sollen soweit genu gen, waren fur sich genommen Indizien fu r Motivverwandtschaft






bereinstimmungen wie der gesamte Ablauf der Geschehnisse

in beiden Texten fu hren dann aber zur Erkenntnis, dass zwischen beiden Texten eine literarische Abha ngigkeit besteht. Die
Erwahnung der Errettung der Gottlosen auf Bitten der Gla ubigen









2,338 und (Vindob.) 3 bzw. Elysischen Feld 2,337 und (Vindob.)



wie auch die besonders auffa llige Erwahnung der Strafe fu r

die Abtreibung von Kindern 2,281-289 und (Akhm.) 26



auch athApkPetr 8 legen damit nahe : In Sib.Or. 2 ist ApkPetr

vorausgesetzt. Dabei kann die gemeinsame Verortung von See
und Feld in Sib.Or. im Vergleich mit (Vindob.) durch die Interpretation des sprachlich unterschiedlich zu verstehenden Genitivs

herru hren.



punkt des Zusammenhangs von



Clu` sion pedi`on






in beiden Kontexten, dazu noch die

Seltenheit des Zweiten in ju disch und/oder christlich gefa rbten

Schriften, ist ein nicht von der Hand zu weisendes Indiz.
Liegt nun in (Vindob.) 2 (= F1r4-7) ein Schreibfehler vor und
ist die urspru ngliche Fassung

o e a n aity` swntai` me

, wie van

Minnen vorschla gt ? Dies wu rde etwa athApkPetr 14 nahe legen.

Zudem handeln 4 Esra 7,102-115 ; syrApkBar 85,1-15 (bes. 12) ;
grApkBar 16 (erga nzt aus slawApkBar) davon, dass auch das
Bitten der Frommen die Frevler letztendlich nicht retten kann.
Somit wu rde in (Vindob.) Gott den



e klektoi`


ren, um was ( ) sie ihn bitten, nicht, wie (Vindob.) u berliefert,

49. Ausfu
hrlich E. Peterson, `Die Taufe im Acherusischen See ', VigChr 9
(1955) 1-20 bzw. unter demselben Titel in Id., Fruhkirche, Judentum und
Gnosis. Studien und Untersuchungen (Rom/Freiburg/Wien 1959) 310-332.
Petersons Festlegung auf die ju dische Apokalyptik als Hintergrund ist zu
einseitig, kommen doch auch andere Texte in Betracht (v.a. Plato Phaedo
112e-114b ; Pausanias 1,17,5 ; ferner Acherousia als Eingangsort in den Hades bei Hdt. 5,92 ; Xen. An. 6,2,2 ; Diod. Sic. Library 14,31,3. Hierzu die Artikel zu `Acheron ' bzw. `Acherousia ' in den einschla gigen Lexika.
50. Zudem gibt Clemens von Alexandrien in seinen Eclogae propheticae 41
(O. Stahlin/L. Fruchtel/U. Treu, Clemens Alexandrinus III [GCS


ein Stuck wieder, das auch a thApkPetr 8 und v.a. (Akhm. 26) zu finden ist :

Dio kai Pe` troq e n ty Apokalu` vei fysi kai a strapy puro q pydwsa
a po twn brefwn e kei`nwn kai ply` ssousa tou q o fhalmou q twn gunaikwn
kai proy` rjonto e x au twn flo` geq puro q kai ta q
gunaikaq e plysson kata twn o fhalmwn



26 :


die griechische petrus-apokalypse

um wen (

o n




Dann ha tte Sib.Or. 2,330-338 einen defekten Text

ubernommen, wie er in (Vindob.) vorliegt und mo glicherweise

auch bereits dort auf eine entsprechende Vorlage zuru ckgehen
konnte. Die These ist in sich schlussig und v.a. durch den Vergleich mit a thApkPetr 14 nicht von der Hand zu weisen. Dennoch lieen sich auch fu r die andere Moglichkeit, eben den
Textbestand in (Vindob.) mit

o n

als ursprunglicher Lesart, Be-

lege anfuhren. Zu denken ist dabei an Lact. Div.inst. 7,18,2, der

ein Hystaspes-Orakel bezeugt, demzufolge Jupiter das Flehen
der Frommen fu r die Sunder erhoren wird.


Auf Plato, Phaedo

112e-114b (es geht dabei eher um die Vergebung durch jene, die
Opfer der Freveltaten von su ndigen Seelen geworden sind)
werde ich an anderer Stelle ausfu hrlich eingehen, wenn es um
den moglichen Hintergrund von (Vindob.) gehen wird, der nicht
exklusiv im judischen Milieu liegen muss.
noch die koptische ApkEl 41,17-42,2



Ferner kommen

und TestLev 5,6 in den

Sinn. Beide weisen darauf hin, dass die Erfu llung der Bitten erst
in der Zukunft erfolgen wird. Prinzipiell scheint aber einst
durchaus die Moglichkeit diskutiert worden zu sein, dass Verdammte und Frevler aus dem Strafort und damit aus der Strafe
selbst heraus gerettet werden ko nnten.


Damit kame auch eine

Betonung der Allmacht Gottes zum Ausdruck, die sich menschlicher Vorausberechnung entzieht, letztlich auf Glaube und
Hoffnung verweist.
Neben Sib.Or. wird bei der Diskussion von ApkPetr v.a. auch
auf 4Esra verwiesen. Doch genaue Beziehungen zu grApkPetr


Ferner Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento III, 504 Anm. zu

330ss und Gauger, Sibyllinische Weissagungen , 488, die auch auf die Handschriftengruppe

verweisen, in der sich eine

a nti`rrysiq

gegen Origenes

(wohl De princ. 2,10,5-6 ; Cels. 5,15) findet, derzufolge die Gottlosen niemals
dem Feuer der gerechten Strafe entkommen ko nnen.

Vgl. Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento III, 504 Anm. zu 330ss ;

Gauger, Sibyllinische Weissagungen , 417-418.489. Zu den Orakeln des Hystaspes H. Windisch, Die Orakel des Hystaspes (Amsterdam 1928) ; R. Merkelbach, Mithras. Ein persisch-ro mischer Mysterienkult (Wiesbaden 1998)

In diese Richtung fu hren aber die Arbeiten von E. Peterson. Ebenfalls

ohne Verweise auf mo gliche (spat)klassische profane Traditionen Erbetta,

Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento

III, 224-225 Anm. 11-12.

Die Kapitel- und Verseinteilung nach G. Steindorff, Die Apokalypse des

Elias, eine unbekannte Apokalypse und Bruchstu cke der Sophonias-Apokalypse

(TU 17,3a ; Berlin 1899). Dies entspricht 5,27-29 nach der neuen Aus-

gabe von D. Frankfurter, Elijah in Upper Egypt (Minneapolis 1993).


Hierzu auch Gauger, Sibyllinische Weissagungen, 488-489.

t. j. kraus


lassen sich nicht ausmachen. Zwar ergeben sich A
zwischen athApkPetr 3 und 4Esra 4,12 (,,Es wa re besser, wenn
wir nicht da wa ren ...``


) ; 5,33 ; 8,44.47 (die Liebe des Scho pfers

r den Menschen als sein Gescho pf) sowie erscheint die Bezeichnung Gottes als ,,Ho chster`` in a thApkPetr 3 und sehr ha ufig in 4 Esra ab 3,3, jedoch ko nnen diese ebenso gut motivischtraditionell wie durch andere Schriften motiviert sein.



ges gilt fu r 4 Esra 7,102-115, das rettende Bitten der Frommen

r die Frevler. Allenfalls 4Esra 7,126 kann einen erkennbaren





wa hrend

athApkPetr 7 durchaus mit 4 Esra motivisch konform geht und

davon handelt, dass die Gottlosen im Leben nicht an die Konsequenzen ihres Handelns gedacht haben bzw. vorgeben, von diesen nichts gewusst zu haben, weist (Akhm.) 24 in eine andere
Richtung :

ouk e pisteu`omen e leu`seshai ei q touton ton to`pon.

,,Wir hatten nicht geglaubt, an diesen Ort zu kommen.`` Weitere

Verbindungspunkte zwischen den Manuskripten von grApkPetr
und 4Esra ergeben sich allenfalls durch die a hnliche Thematik
und mogliche gemeinsame Vorstellungen wie Traditionen apokalyptischer Art. Klare Anspielungen oder sogar Zitationen lassen sich nicht erkennen.
Als fruchtbarer erweist sich ein Blick in die ApkPaul, deren
Abha ngigkeit








punkte zwischen beiden Apokalypsen sind auch zu konstatieren.

Die Besichtigung der Ho lle, die Beschreibung der Strafen und
ihrer Orte (ab ApkPaul 31, was stark an die Aufza hlung in ApkPetr erinnert, etwa athApkPetr 7-10 und [Akhm.] 21-26), die stete Unterscheidung von Gerechten und Su ndern, die Erwahnung
des Feuerflusses sowie die Vision von der Begegnung mit den
drei Patriarchen im Paradies (47 ; vgl. [Vindob.] 5-6) lassen sich
dabei aber zunachst einfach auch als thematisch und motivisch
bedingt betrachten. Selbst die Bitte des Paulus um Gottes Erbarmen fur die aus eigenen Verschulden Verdammten (41-43) vermag fur sich genommen noch nicht als deutliche literarische

56. Nach A.F.J. Klijn,

Die Esra-Apokalypse (IV. Esra) (GCS ; Berlin 1992)

ad loc.
57. Vgl. Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : Account ', 4724-4725. Die
Haufigkeit der Bezeichnung

Altissimus (,,Hochster``) fur Gott betonen in ih-

ren Ausgaben B.M. Metzger, `The Fourth Book of Ezra ',

521 ; Klijn,

OTP I (1983) 520-

Die Esra-Apokalypse, 5 Anm. zu 3,3. Diese Bezeichnung ist eben-

falls im AT haufig, dort v.a. im Psalter (u.a. Ps 18,14 ; 73,11 ; 78,35 ; 83,18 ;
91,1 ; 92,1).
58. Vgl. H. Duensing/A. de Santos Otero, `Apokalypse des Paulus ',



II 645-646. Zur Diskussion Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An

Account ', 4740.

die griechische petrus-apokalypse









schlielich werden jene Verdammten um des Erzengels Michael

und des Paulus Willen am Tag der Auferstehung von den Toten
einen Tag Erquickung (44-45), jedoch auch nicht mehr, als Gnade erhalten. Vielmehr erinnert eine andere Stelle, ApkPaul 3-6,
an 2Petr 3,15. Bei beiden geht es um die das Gericht aufschiebende

go ttliche







traditionell und mo glicherweise durch eine Verzo gerungsapologetik bedingt ist (vgl. Hab 2,3 ; 1QpHab 7,1-14).


Wenn dann aber Paulus ab ApkPaul 20 das Innere des Paradieses gezeigt wird und er zur Stadt Christi am Acherusischen
See gelangt (22-23), sie von vier pra chtigen Flu
ssen umflossen
wird, erinnert dies an die Verheiung der eschatologischen Tau-

kai dw`sw au toiq kalo n ba` ptisma e n swtyri`a

Ajerousi`aq li`mnyq
fe in (Vindob.) 3 :


Wie im `Buch der Auferstehung Jesu Chri-

sti von Bartholoma us dem Apostel ' (u.a. auch `Fragen des Bartholoma us ' genannt) und der ApkMoses 37 (Handschrift D)
mussen die Su nder im Acherusischen See gereinigt, in diesem
Sinne getauft werden, bevor sie vor Gott gelangen ko nnen.


Dieses Motiv scheint auch anderswo auf : BKU I 23 (= P.Berol.

inv. 5527), ein koptischer Zauberpapyrus mit gnostischer Fa rbung aus dem vierten bis fu nften Jahrhundert, bietet eine Art
Kompilation apokalyptischer Einzelmotive, u.a. auch den Acherusischen See, der unter dem Thron Iao Sabaoths hervorstro mt
(hierzu Offb 22,1-2). Zudem ist die Rede davon, dass Jesus
Christus u.a. tituliert als Pantokrator (Z. 4.64.81) auf die
Erde herabgesandt wurde und nach seiner Auferstehung diejenigen aufrichtet, die bereits in den Zu chtigungen waren (Z. 8-9

ausfu hrlicher






Euphrat (68) lasst keine weiteren Schlusse darauf zu, ob es sich

hier um einen die Gottesstadt umgebenden See oder einen eigenen Strafort selbst handelt (vgl. ApkPaul 22-23).


Der Anfang

dieses Papyrus deckt sich mit jenem eines ebenfalls koptischen

im Britischen Museum (London Oriental Manuscript 5987, dort

59. Vgl. Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 385.

60. Grundsatzlich zur Verbindung von ApkPetr und ApkPaul durch das
Motiv des Acherusischen Sees Peterson, `Die Taufe im Acherusischen See '
(1959), 316-320.
61. Vgl. V. Stegemann, Die Gestalt Christi in den koptischen Zaubertexten
(Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte und Kultur des Altertums und des Mittelalters 1 ; Heidelberg 1934) 23 ; Peterson, `Die Taufe im Acherusischen See '
(1959), 320-323.
bersetzungen und Anmerkungen von A. Kropp, Ausge62. Hierzu die U
bersetzungen und Anmerkungen (Brussel
wahlte koptische Zaubertexte II : U
1931) Nr. 44 ; Stegemann, Die Gestalt Christi, 20-23.

t. j. kraus


die Zeilen 20-22) aus dem fu nften Jahrhundert, der aus magischen, gnostischen wie biblischen Elementen kompiliert ist, auf
den hier aber nur mehr verwiesen wird.
groe Pariser Zauberpapyrus ( Bibl.


Dagegen zeigt der

Nat. suppl. gr. 574 = Pap.

Graec.Mag. IV) aus dem vierten Jahrhundert, dass der Acherusische See keineswegs grundsa tzlich schon christlich-eschatologisch als Ort der reinigenden Taufe gepra gt sein muss, bevor der
Eingang zu Gott erfolen kann. Er fu hrt in einem Liebeszauber
(Z. 1390-1495) den See unter den Beschwo rungsworten an, dabei





Ajerousi`ate li`mny Aidou








weiteren geographischen Bezeichnungen wie Namen von Totengeistern bewirken, dass dem Sprecher des Zaubers die Angebetete








Ia` w Sabaw`h


bezeichnet wird (1484-1485), weist dies aber dann doch

auf den synkretistischen Charakter des Liebeszaubers hin, der

zumindest ju dische Begriffe, jedoch kaum ebensolche Vorstellungen entha lt.


Noch zwei weitere Indizien tragen dazu bei, dass ApkPetr

und ApkPaul in Relation betrachtet werden mu ssen : die Strafe
r die Totung der eigenen Kinder bzw. deren Abtreibung und
die die Strafe vollziehenden Engel. Von Ersterem handeln nicht
nur a thApkPetr 8, (Akhm.) 26 und entsprechend Clem. Alex.,

Ecl. proph. 41, sondern auch ApkPaul 40. Und eben in diesem
Zusammenhang kommt die Rede auf die Engel des Tartarus, denen obliegt, den Kindern Erbarmen und den su ndigen Mannern
und Frauen Strafen zuteil werden zu lassen. Entsprechend wird
ein Engel als Temlakos (a thApkPetr 8 als Umschrift fur Teme-

63. Verzeichnet bei W.E. Crum,

Catalogue of the Coptic Manuscripts in the

British Museum (London 1905) 418-420. Vgl. Stegemann, Die Gestalt Chris bersetzung der entscheidenden Stelle bei Peterson, `Die
ti, 19, und die U
Taufe im Acherusischen See ' (1959), 318. Die Ausgabe besorgte A. Kropp,

Ausgewahlte koptische Zaubertexte I : Textpublikation (Brussel 1931) 2228.83 ; Id.,

Ausgewahlte koptische Zaubertexte II, Nr. 43. Zum Zusammen-

hang mit Nr. 44 vgl. Kropp, Nr. 44 (S. 161) : ,,Das Stu ck [

P.Berol.inv. 5527 ;

Anm. d. Verf.] sieht wie eine Zusammenfassung von XLIII aus.`` Ins Englische u
bersetzt mit kurzer Einleitung von R. Smith, in M.W. Meyer/R.
Smith, eds.,

Ancient Christian Magic. Coptic Texts of Ritual Power (Prince-

ton/N.J. 1999) no. 70.

gypten vgl.
64. Fur den religio
sen Hintergrund des griechisch-ro mischen A
R.S. Bagnall,

Egypt in Late Antiquity (Princeton, 4


printing with correc-

tions 1996) 261-309. Ferner Literatur in Meyer/Smith,

Ancient Christian

Magic, 397-409 und die Online-Bibliographien von B.S. Spaeth, Tulane University/Louisiana

(http ://www.tulane.edu/~spaeth/magic98/biblio.html)

u. J.-G. Bodard, University of Reading (http ://www.rdg.ac.uk/~lkpbodrd/

magbib/egypt.html ; auf beide letzter Zugriff am 30.10.2001).

die griechische petrus-apokalypse

louchos im Sinne von ,,Schutz[-Engel]``



) bzw. Temelouchos be-

zeichnet, dem die Kinder u bergeben werden (Clem. Alex., Ecl.

ta bre` fy ta e ktehe` nta tymelou`jw paradi` doshai ;

tauta agge` lw tymelou`jw paradi` doshai ; zu den Strafen

proph. 41,1

48,2-49 ;







2,6). Eben jene als Temelouchos (in grApkPaul 16 und koptApkPaul 18), Tartaruchos (a thApkPetr 13 und grApkPaul 18)
oder Tartarus-Engel (ApkPaul 40) Bezeichneten sind in ApkPaul diejenigen, die Strafe oder Erbarmen zumessen, eine durchaus









ouchos als Strafengel, dem, wie in P.Berol.inv. 10587 (col. 1,3-7)

angefu hrt, die Zu chtigung der Gesetzlosen, Lu gner und Meinei gypdigen obliegt, hat sich in der magischen Vorstellungswelt A











Diese Indizien zusammengenommen mo gen durchaus auf eine literarische Abhangigkeit schlieen lassen,





selbst bei aller



Art. Denn neben den Einzelindizien macht das gerade der jeweilige enge Kontext von Abtreibungsmotiv, von Erbarmen und
Strafe sowie den Engeln sehr wahrscheinlich. Auch eine gemein bereinstimmunsame Tradition ko nnte als Erkla rung fur die U
gen beider Apokalypsen veranschlagt werden,


wobei dennoch

der Eindruck verbliebe, dass ApkPaul die Beschreibungen von

65. Vgl. Buchholz, Your Eyes Will Be Opened, 321. Mit einigen Verweisen
und Erlauterungen Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento III, 222 Anm.
66. In athApkPetr 9 wird der Zornengel Ezrael von Temlakos/Temelouchos
klar unterschieden. Grundsa tzlich J.-M. Rosenstiehl, `Tartarouchos-Temelouchos, Contribution a l 'etude de l 'Apocalypse apocryphe de Paul ', in : Id.,
ed., Deuxieme journee d 'etudes coptes (CBCo 3 ; Louvain-Paris 1986) 29-56.
67. Neben der Bitte, Temelouchos zu senden (col. I,3-7), entha lt der koptische Papyrus noch eine Racheaufforderung an Uriel (16-20), Raphael (2124 : als jenen, der Temelouchos anweist) und eine Liste von 21 Engeln (col.
2,8-19). Vgl. Kropp, Ausgewahlte koptische Zaubertexte II, Nr. 72 ; C.D.G.
Muller, Die Engellehre der koptischen Kirche. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte
gypten (Wiesbaden 1959) 314 ; W. Beltz,
der christlichen Fro mmigkeit in A
`Die koptischen Zauberpapyri der Papyrussammlung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin ', APF 29 (1983) 79-81 ; ins Englische u bersetzt und kurz eingeleitet von R. Smith, in : Meyer/Smith, Ancient Christian Magic, no. 92.
berlieferungssitua68. Dann ApkPaul von ApkPetr. Dafu r sprechen die U
tion und der kompaktere Zusammenhang von ApkPetr gegenu ber der dublettenreichen ApkPaul, die klar u ber ApkPetr hinausgeht.
69. Vgl. die Argumente bei M. Himmelfarb, Tours of Hell. The Development
and Transmission of an Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature
(Diss., Univ. of Pennsylvania 1981) 294-308.

t. j. kraus


Strafen und Strafort wie einzelne Motive aus ApkPetr aufgenommen und mit weiteren Quellen zu einem Ganzen verarbeitet
habe, was angesichts der vielen Dubletten nicht vo llig gelungen


Abschlieende Anmerkungen zu Datierung und Einordnung

von (gr)ApkPetr
Durch die Eckpfeiler 2Petr (110-130 n.Chr.

Ecl. proph.


), Clem. Alex.,

41.48-49 (Ende 1., Anfang 2. Jahrhundert ; hierbei

auch Eusebius,

Hist. eccl.



), Sib.Or. 2 (fur das demnach

keine Fruhdatierung in Frage kommt


) und ApkPaul ergibt

sich fur grApkPetr eine Datierung auf die erste Ha lfte des zweiten Jahrhunderts. Eine Engfu hrung der Abfassungszeit auf 132135 uber die Interpretation des Gleichnisses vom Feigenbaum
als Bezug auf Bar Kokhba sowie die angebliche Christenverfolgung unter ihm ist nicht zwingend. Denn weder dieses Gleichnis
(athApkPetr 2), noch die Vision am Ende (a thApkPetr 15-17)
mussen exklusiv aus einer solchen ju disch-christlichen Perspektive zu lesen sein, die genau diese Verfolgungssituation zugrunde
legt. An Martyrern und falschen Messiassen mangelte es in der
damaligen Welt keinesfalls. Entsprechend muss die urspru ngliche ApkPetr auch keine ju disch-christliche Apokalypse mit dieser eindeutigen Verortung auf Bar Kokhba hin darstellen.


ber den Abfassungsort la sst sich nur spekulieren. Allerdings

verweisen viele der genannten Motive und Vorstellungen (z.B.
der Feuerfluss etwa a thApkPetr 12 ; ApkPaul 36 ; der Acherusi gypten. Hierzu
sche See oder der Strafengel Temelouchos) auf A
passt auch die Rezeption durch Clemens von Alexandrien und
die ApkPaul sowie die Analogien der angefu hrten magischen
Papyri. Und gerade grApkPetr, erhalten in erster Linie in Gestalt von (Akhm.) und (Vindob.) + (Bodl.), bietet hierbei Auffa lliges.




70. Zur Datierung vgl. Kraus,






Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, 411-414.

Hypotyposeis auch eine Apoka-

71. Nach Eusebius hat Clemens in seinen

lypse, die als die des Petrus bekannt oder benannt war, unter die umstrittenen Schriften geza hlt. Also hatte Clemens ApkPetr, wenn es sich dabei um
diese heute bekannte handelte, gekannt.
72. Vgl. Gauger,

Sibyllinische Weissagungen, 438-439.

73. Mit van Minnen, `The Greek Apocalypse of Peter ' gegen die Engfu hrung von R.J. Bauckham, `The Two Fig-Tree Parables in the Apocalypses of
Peter ',


104 (1985) 269-287 ; Id., `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Ac-

count ', 4738 ; Id., `The Apocalypse of Peter. A Jewish Christian Apocalypse ', 16-41.

die griechische petrus-apokalypse


komplexen Zusammenhange der Versionen wie der Textzeugen

bleiben andere Orte nach wie vor diskutabel.
Wie schon fur 2Petr gezeigt




, fanden pagane bzw. profane

griechisch-ro mischen





ApkPetr. Entsprechendes ist hinsichtlich der Erwa hnung des

Acherusischen Sees und des Elysischen Feldes in (Vindob.) zu
konstatieren. Sicherlich sind beide im Hinblick auf das eschatologische Bad bzw. die Taufe hin christlich verortet. Dennoch
bleiben nicht nur ju dische Traditionen als Hintergrund festzuhalten, sondern kommen in dieser Hinsicht ebensogut (spa t)klassische Vorstellungen in Frage. Eine Adaption ebendieser
liegt auch aus soziokulturellen Gru nden nahe, garantiert das
dann die Fullung urspru nglich heidnischer Motive und Ideen
durch christliche Inhalte und damit eine bessere Versta ndlichkeit, etwa fur Konvertiten.
Um nochmals auf den Acherusischen See und die Elysische
Ebene, die synonymisch als
gen '



maka`rwn nysoi, als `Inseln der Seli-

zuru ckzukommen :




gangigen Vorstellung des Acherusischen Sees als Ort des Todes

und damit christlich interpretiert als Ort der eschatologischen
Reinigung von den Su nden, der Taufe zur Auferstehung schon
als Besonderheit auffiel,


wird durch das Elysische Feld noch

augenfalliger. Denn das kommt in diesem Zusammenhang nur

(Vindob.) 4, athApkPetr 14 und Sib.Or. 2,337 vor. Des Weiteren
sind (spat)klassische Texte genau auf ihre Relevanz und Aussage





10,508-515 ; Paus. 2,35,10).

74. Zur









Interessantes bietet Plato, Phaedo





Peter :



count ', 4738-4739, mit Pra ferenz fu r Palastina passend zu seiner Argumentation fur den Bezug auf Bar Kokhba. Mu ller, `Offenbarung des Petrus ',
563-566, etwa pla diert fur A
75. Vgl. Kraus, Sprache, Stil und historischer Ort, bes. 313-353.358-360.379382.390-396.
76. Zu betrachten ist auch Hen 17,5-7. Sowohl grHen als auch a thHen nennen den Acherusischen See nicht explizit, handeln aber von einem Feuerstrom, der wie Wasser fliet, von allen groen Stro men und einer groen
Finsternis, von der Mu ndung dieser Stro me und des Abgrunds. Letztlich









Henochbuch ',

JSHRZ 5,6 (1984) 547 Anm. 6c : ,,Sind zu dieser mythischen Geographie

die griech. Hadesflu sse Styx, Acheron, Kokytos, Pyriphlegeton zu vergleichen (vgl. Homer, Odysseus 4,561f. ; 10,513ff. ; 24,11ff.) ?``
77. Bereits R. Knopf ( Das Nachapostolische Zeitalter. Geschichte der christlichen Gemeinden vom Beginn der Flavierdynastie bis zum Ende Hadrians [Tu
bingen 1905] 372-373) und V. Stegemann ( Die Gestalt Christi, 23) verwiesen
in diese Richtung. Zu nennen sind auch Hdt. 5,92 ; Xen., An. 6,2,2 ; Thuc.,
Pel. 1,46,4 ; Strabo, Geogr. 7,7,5 ; Diod. Sic., Library 14,31,3.

t. j. kraus


113d-114c hierbei, ohne dass gleich von Abha ngigkeit bzw. Beeinflussung die Rede sein soll. Zwar findet sich dort das Motiv
der Furbitte nicht, sind es die Frevler selbst, die fu r sich bitten
und flehen. Doch ist davon die Rede, dass die meisten Verstorbenen Plato nennt hier die `mittelma igen Wandels ' zum
Acheron kommen, u bersetzen und schlielich zum See (113d)
gelangen, der schon vorher (113a) als Acherusischer identifiziert
wurde. Dort ist nun der Ort der Reinigung und Bue fu r ihre
Vergehen. Su nder mit groen, aber heilbaren Vergehen mu ssen
nach der Dauer eines Jahres darauf hoffen, dass ihr Flehen und
bles angetan
Bitten jene zur Verzeihung erweicht, denen sie U
haben und diese sie aus dem Tartarus in den See hinaus lassen
(114a-b). Somit wird der

Ajerousi`a li`mny

zum Ort der Reini-

bergang aus der Verderbnis des

gung und Bue wie auch zum U
Tartarus hinauf dorthin, wohin die in ihrem Leben als bewa hrt
befundenen Seelen gelangen, die dann wiederum auf der Erde







sind ohnehin schon in noch scho nere Wohnungen gekommen,

vollig ohne (irdische) Leiber (als Ausdruck ko rperlicher Verlangen ; vgl. auch

Phdr. 246c), wo Zeit und Raum ohne Bedeutung

sind, wie es auch auf der Insel der Seligen ist, die nicht explizit
genannt wird. Festzuhalten bleibt aber auch als Tatsache bei
Plato : Es gibt eine Gruppe von Menschen, fu r die es aus dem
Tartarus kein Entrinnen mehr gibt, die sogenannten Unheilbaren.


So ergeben sich durchaus Vorstellungen, die jenen in (Vin-

dob.) nicht unahnlich sind, jedoch ebenso spezifisch individuelle

Unterschiede, wie das generell fu r alle hier bereits angesprochenen Texte zu konstatieren ist.
Dennoch, ein weiteres Beispiel aus ApkPaul soll die Mo glichkeit des Eingangs von profanen, bereits alten klassischen Vorstellungen abschlieend beleuchten helfen. In Abschnitt 23 ist
neben der Erwa hnung der Taufe im Acherusischen See und der
berfahrt in die Stadt Christi von vier Stro men die Rede, welU
che diese Stadt umgeben. Die Flussnamen sind jene aus Gen
2,10-14, die den Garten Eden bewa ssern : Pison, Euphrat, Gihon
und Tigris. Verbunden mit der durch

Ajerousi`a li`mny


brachten Vorstellung des Unterweltsees, der durch die Setzung








wird, verweisen die vier Flusse auch auf die Beschreibungen der

78. Vgl. zur Stelle

The Phaedo of Plato (ed. by R.D. Archer-Hind ; London-

New York 1894) 136-139 ; Plato,

Phaedo (ed. by C.J. Rowe ; Cambridge

Greek and Latin Classics ; Cambridge 1993) 286-289. Ferner H. Gauss,


losophischer Handkommentar zu den Dialogen Platos II,2 : Die Dialoge der literarischen Meisterschaft (Bern 1958) 76-77.

die griechische petrus-apokalypse


Totenwelt (Hades, Tartarus), in der Acheron, Kokytos, (Pyri)Phlegethon und Styx flieen (u.a. Hom.,

Od. 10,508-515, wo

Kokytos und Pyriphlegethon in den Acheron mu nden ; Plato,

Phaedo 112e-113c, wobei hier der Acheron entgegen des a uersten Ringflusses des Okeanos in den Acherusischen See fliet



Diese werden in den orphischen (und pythagoreischen) Deskriptionen vom Totenreich mit den vier Elementen und Himmelsrichtungen systematisch in Verbindung gebracht (vgl. Orph. fr.
123.125), wodurch der in den

Ajerousi`a li`mny

mundende und

diesen selbst oder zusammen mit Kokytos wie (Pyri)Phlegethon


Aje` rwn


mit Luft und

Su den


wird. Wenn schon der See genannt wird, zu dem in der griechischen Mythologie die Seelen der Toten kommen (etwa Plato,

Phaedo 113a) bzw. der als Eingang zur Unterwelt gilt, den Herakles benutzt haben soll (Xen.,

An. 6,2,2 ; Apoll. Rhod. 2,730),

dann kann auch die orphische Darstellung wie jene Grundvorstellung von den Unterweltstro men hier als Einfluss zu sehen
sein, naturlich aber nicht ohne Gen 2,11-14 und die genannten
Paradies-Flu sse.


Entsprechend lasst sich auch mit ApkPetr verfahren, was anhand orphischer Vorstellungen hinsichtlich des Acherusischen
Sees und des Elysischen Feldes bereits erfolgte.


Eine einseitige

exklusive Zuerkennung von Motiven, Traditionen, Vorstellungen oder sogar potentiellen literarischen Abha ngigkeiten zur einen oder anderen Richtung hin, ob ju disch oder (spat)klassisch,
geht an den Realita ten der damaligen Welt vorbei. Verwiesen
sei in diesem Zusammenhang nur auf Flavius Josephus, der im
Fortgang seiner Charakterisierung der drei philosophierenden
judischen Gruppen

Farisaioi Saddukaioi




2,117-166) vor allem auf die Besonderheiten Letzterer abhebt.

berzeugung zu, die Ko rper und deren
Ihnen schreibt er die U
Stoff seien verga nglich, die Seelen jedoch unsterblich und fu r
immer bleibend (2,154). Wie die Griechen na mlich weisen sie
den guten Seelen ein Leben jenseits des Ozeans, den schlechten
einen dunklen Ort zu, welche bei den Griechen `Inseln der Seligen ' und `Hades ' heien (2,156 :

79. Zu den Stellen in

maka` rwn ny soi



). Jo-

Od. und Phaedo die Kommentare in Plato, Phaedo

(Rowe) 284-286.
80. Zum Jenseitsbild der Orphik und Pythagoreer pra gnant J. Kroll, `Elysium ',

Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen :

Geisteswissenschaften . Heft 2 (1953) 19-22.

81. Vgl. fur ApkPetr etwa Knopf,

Das Nachapostolische Zeitalter, 372-373.

Ferner Bauckham, `The Apocalypse of Peter : An Account ', 4726-4733. Zu

`Elysium ' bzw. synonymischen

maka` rwn ny soi

die einschla gigen Lexika verwiesen.

(`Inseln der Seligen ') sei auf


t. j. kraus

sephus zeigt damit seine Kenntnis religio ser Sachverhalte verschiedener sozio-kultureller Herkunft.


Und ein ebensolcher

unmittelbarer Zusammenhang, bisweilen sogar eine so groe

Vermengung unterschiedlicher Vorstellungen wie anhand der
Zauberpapyri gezeigt wird fu r den gegebenen Kontext der
(gr)ApkPetr kaum sonstwo so deutlich wie im griechisch-ro mi gypten, ganz unbenommen, ob die urspru ngliche grApkschen A
Petr letztlich wirklich dort entstanden ist. Naheliegend ist dies
angesichts der thematischen wie motivischen Hintergru nde, der
dargestellten Zusammenha nge und des vielschichtigen Vorstel gypten fur das Christentum der ersten
lungsrahmens, den A
Jahrhunderte bot, sehr wohl.


Vgl. Jos., Bell. 2 (Hrsg. mit Einl. und Anm. v. O. Michel u. O. Bauern-

feind ; Darmstadt 1959). Dies verdeutlicht Josephus noch anhand ihm bekannter







gezuchtigt werden (Sisyphus, Tantalus, Ixion, Tityus).






Classics and Religious Studies

University of Ottawa


Insights into the Development of Christian Discourse
on the Death of Jesus

The recent researches carried out by Helmut Koester, John Dominic Crossan and Marianne Sawicki have helped to put into a new light
the vanishing silhouette of the pre-Markan passion narratives. Koester and Crossan have stressed the contribution of the

Gospel of Peter

as an autonomous witness, independent from the canonical gospels.

Sawicki has elaborated the hypothesis of a practice developed out of










community. Finally, Crossan has tried to reconcile both approaches in

his monograph on

The Birth of Christianity , published in 1998. There,

he proposes to attribute the authorship of the narrative component to

the women of the earliest community, while the men would be responsible for the exegetical contribution. In the present essay, I argue that
we should reconsider the degree of originality and antiquity of the

Gospel of Peter or at least what has survived. Additionally, the

comparison between some passages and details of the passions according to Mark and to the

Book of the Cock (an apocryphal passion sto-

ry of the fifth/sixth century) is especially useful to bring out the

traces of a pre-Markan writing that we could qualify, with He lene Cixous, as ``feminine. '' This evidence confirms the broad outline of the
reconstructions undertaken by Koester, Crossan and Sawicki.

Les travaux recents d 'Helmut Koester, John Dominic Crossan et

Marianne Sawicki ont contribue a eclairer d 'une lumie re nouvelle les
contours evanescents des re cits de la passion pre -marcienne. Koester

et Crossan ont revalorise , d 'abord, l 'apport de l ' E

de Pierre en

tant que temoin independant des evangiles canoniques. Sawicki a de fendu, ensuite, l 'hypothe se de l 'existence d 'une complainte fune bre
prononcee et mise en sce ne, a l 'origine, par les femmes de la communaute de Jerusalem. Crossan a essaye de reunir, enfin, les deux approches dans un ouvrage consacre a

La naissance du christianisme ,

publie en 1998, dans lequel il propose d 'attribuer la maternite des elements narratifs aux femmes de la communaute primitive, tandis que la
paternite de la composante exegetique reviendrait aux hommes. Dans

la presente etude, apres avoir ramene la contribution de l ' E


Pierre ou de ce qu 'il en reste a des proportions plus raisonnables,

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 99-128

p. piovanelli


je compare certains passages et de tails des recits de la passion selon

Marc et de celle selon le Livre du coq (un re cit apocryphe de la pase

sion du v -vi

siecle). Cette demarche permet de faire mieux ressortir

les traces d 'une e criture pre-marcienne que l 'on pourrait qualifier,

avec Helene Cixous, de feminine , ce qui confirme les grandes lignes
des reconstructions entreprises par Koester, Crossan et Sawicki.

O my mother, storm-tossed and

distressed, what will you do when the
word reaches you ? `Delight of my eyes,
crown of my head, ' you will mourn for
me with flowing tears.*

I. Searching for the Earliest Passion Stories

The origins of Jesus ' passion and resurrection narratives in

the canonical gospels are relatively obscure and disputed.

* From the Dirge of Moses Remos, edited and translated by T. Carmi (Carmi Charney), The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse (New York : Penguin
Books, 1981), 439. Moses Remos (c. 1406-30) was a Jewish physician accused of having poisoned a Christian patient and executed at the age of
twenty-four in Palermo. The present essay is part of a larger project on the
passion narrative of the apocryphal Book of the Cock (see below, n. 45)
sponsored by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Ottawa). A preliminary version of it (``D 'un re cit de la Passion [Marc
14-16] a l 'autre [Livre du Coq] : De la quete d 'un sens theologique a la recherche d 'un effet dramatique '') was presented at the conference La Bible en re cit, organized by the Institut romand des sciences bibliques (IRSB) and the
Reseau de recherche en analyse narrative des textes bibliques (RRENAB) at
the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), March 2002 (the proceedings are
in press). I would like to express my gratitude to Albert Frey, Jean-Daniel
Kaestli (IRSB), Elizabeth Parton (Ottawa), and Claudio Zamagni (Lausanne) for their contributions to this article. I would clarify that the terms
``canonical '' and ``apocryphal '' (rather than ``intra- '' and ``extra-canonical '')
are used here for the sake of convenience, as their historical and even theological value is of course questionable, at least up to the end of the second century C.E. Unless otherwise stated, all the translations of the ancient texts
are my own.
1. For the canonical narratives, see Raymond E. Brown, The Death of the
Messiah, from Gethsemane to the Grave : A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels, 2 vols. (Anchor Bible Reference Library ; New
York : Doubleday, 1994). For the apocryphal texts, see Maurice Geerard,
Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti (Turnhout : Brepols, 1992) ; Wilhelm
Schneemelcher, ed., New Testament Apocrypha, 2 vols. (trans. R. McL. Wilson ; Cambridge : Clarke ; Louisville : Westminster/John Knox Press, 199192 [based on the sixth German edition, 1989-90]) ; J. Keith Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament : A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in
an English Translation (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1993 [revised and newly

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


large majority of specialists generally assume that the text of

Mark 14-16 is the oldest written passion story preserved among
the New Testament writings. According to the well-known ``two
documents'' theory, the other synoptic gospels would have followed the guidelines of Mark's version here more than elsewhere, Matthew2 26-28 in a rather faithful manner and Luke 2224 more freely. Even the authors of John 18-20 and possibly of
the apocryphal Gospel of Peter would have known and built
upon the basic elements of the same original story.3 However,
the question of the origins of this passion story according to
Mark is completely open. Is it the author of the second
who is primarily responsible for such a new creation?4 Or, more
plausibly, has the evangelist made use of an oral source or tradition, or even a preexisting written document? Further, if we admit this possibility, can we trust in Mark's faithfulness and
qualify him as a ``conservative redactor''? In other words, is it
still possible to see the shadows of this hypothetical pre-Markan
passion narrative behind the actual text of Mark 14-16?5
translated edition of Montague R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924)]); Franc ois Bovon and Pierre Geoltrain,
eds., Ecrits apocryphes chretiens, vol. 1 (Bibliotheque de la Pleiade 442;
Paris: Gallimard, 1997 [vol. 2, edited by P. Geoltrain and J.-D. Kaestli, is
In spite of the criticism recently voiced by Mark S. Goodacre (The Case
against Q : Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem [Harrisburg:
Trinity Press International, 2002]) and other scholars, ``neo-Griesbachian''
theories or ``Mark without Q'' hypotheses are raising more composition and
narrative problems than they solve. For a defense of Q as well as an overview of the ongoing debate, see now Robert A. Derrenbacker, Jr. and John
S. Kloppenborg Verbin, ``Self-Contradiction in the IQP? A reply to Michael
Goulder,'' Journal of Biblical Literature 120 (2001) 57-76.
For a well-balanced presentation, see Raymond E. Brown, ``Appendix I:
The Gospel of Peter A Noncanonical Passion Narrative,'' in idem, The
Death of the Messiah, vol. 2, 1317-49. I will outline and criticise below some
aspects of John Dominic Crossan's reconstruction of the so-called ``Cross
Gospel,'' a hypothetical ancestor of the canonical passion stories surviving
only in the actual Gospel of Peter.
An opinion held by, e.g., Etta Linnemann, Studien zur Passionsgeschichte
(Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments
102; Go ttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970); or Burton L. Mack, A
Myth of Innocence : Mark and Christian Origins (Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1988).
See the useful surveys of Marion L. Soards, ``Appendix IX: The Question
of a Premarcan Passion Narrative,'' in Brown, The Death of the Messiah,
vol. 2, 1492-524; and Edwin K. Broadhead, ``In Search of the Gospel: Research Trends in Mark 14-16,'' Australian Biblical Review 43 (1995) 20-49.




p. piovanelli


In spite of the apparent silence of Paul 's epistles and Q, which

represent our oldest Christian documents,

some years ago Hel-

mut Koester detected the traces of an ancient and independent

passion tradition underlying the Gospel of Peter.

More recently,

he has inferred that the traditional formulas quoted by Paul in

his first letter to the Corinthians (15 :3-7) presuppose not only
the existence of an institutionalized ritual, but also of more developed narrative and exegetical contexts. This means that some
full narratives of Jesus ' passion and death were already circulating in the Christian communities at the beginning of the 50s of
the first century C.E. Therefore, Koester contemplates the possibility of a long process of ``oral performances '' inserted in the
frame of the Christian ritual. Those recitals would later give rise
to the actual versions of the gospels of Mark and Peter.

Following in Koester 's wake, John Dominic Crossan has recently contributed to the discussion concerning the origins of
the passion narratives providing an answer that is, in his opinion, definitive. In 1998 he published an impressive monograph
on The Birth of Christianity, with the eloquent subtitle of Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately after the Execution of Jesus.

In this book, the outcome of more than twenty

years of research, Crossan tries to demonstrate that the collection of the passion/resurrection narratives in the canonical gospels originally came from what he calls the ``Cross Gospel, '' the
primitive form of which would have been preserved by the Gos-

6. In this connection, it matters little that Q is a hypothetical and reconstructed text. Note that its first critical edition has just been published by James M. Robinson, Paul Hoffmann, and John S. Kloppenborg, The Critical
Edition of Q : A Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark
and Thomas with English, German and French Translations of Q and Thomas
(Hermeneia Supplements ; Minneapolis : Fortress Press ; Leuven : Peeters,
7. See Helmut Koester, ``Apocryphal and Canonical Gospels, ''


Theological Review 73 (1980) 105-30 ; cf. also idem, Introduction to the New
Testament, vol. 2 : History and Literature of Early Christianity (Foundation
and Facets ; Philadelphia : Fortress Press ; Berlin/New York : de Gruyter,
1982), 162-3.
8. See Helmut Koester, ``Jesus ' Presence in the Early Church, '' Cristianesimo nella Storia 15 (1994) 541-57 (553) ; idem, ``The Historical Jesus and the
Cult of the Kyrios Christos, '' Harvard Divinity Bulletin 24 (1995) 13-8 ; idem,
``The Memory of Jesus ' Death and the Worship of the Risen Lord, '' Harvard Theological Review 91 (1998) 335-50 (347-8) ; cf. also idem, Ancient
Christian Gospels : Their History and Development (London : SCM Press ;
Philadelphia : Trinity Press International, 1990), 216-40.
9. San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1998. Cf. the review of Franc ois
Bovon, in Harvard Theological Review 94 (2001) 369-74.


pre- and post-canonical passion stories

. The members of the community of Jerusalem would

have written this
in the 40s of the first century
C.E., in a context of crisis provoked by the anti-Christian actions undertaken by king Agrippa the First (41-44 C.E.). They
would have reinterpreted the oral traditions of the previous decade according
to the biblical story pattern of the persecution/
vindication,10 thus producing a new narrative
of rehabilitation
one more collective than individual.11
The first difficulty in Crossan's treatment of the
lies in his interpretation of the episode of the cross that follows the resurrected Christ out of the tomb.12 In this account,
pel of Peter

Cross Gospel

Gospel of Pe-


A narratological model originally detected by George W. E. Nickelsburg, ``The Genre and Function of the Markan Passion Narrative,''
73 (1980) 153-84.
See Crossan,
, 481-525 (``The Other Passion-Resurrection Story''). Among Crossan's previous studies, especially noteworthy is his exhaustive monograph,
(San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988); it was anticipated
by idem,
Polebridge Press, 1992 [first edition, 1985]), 123-81; and popularised by
Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), 375-6, 381-94; and idem,


Theological Review

The Birth of Christianity

The Cross That Spoke : The Origins of the

Passion Narrative

Four Other Gospels : Shadows on the Contours of Canon

The Historical Jesus : The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant

Who Kil-

led Jesus ? Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the

(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), passim; as well

as by John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan Reed,
(New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 227-8.
Note that different aspects of Koester's and/or Crossan's reconstructions have been previously criticised by Raymond E. Brown, ``The
and Canonical Gospel Priority,''
33 (1987)
321-43; Joel B. Green, ``The Gospel of Peter: Source for a Pre-canonical
Passion Narrative?,''
(1987) 293-301; Frans Neirynck, ``The Apocryphal Gospels and the Gospel
of Mark,'' in Jean-Marie Sevrin, ed.,
Death of Jesus

Excavating Jesus : Beneath

the Stones, Behind the Texts


Gospel of


New Testament Studies

Zeitschrift fu r die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft

The New Testament in Early Christiani-

ty La reception des ecrits neotestamentaires dans le christianisme primitif

(Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 86; Leuven: University Press, 1989), 123-75 (reprinted in idem,
[ed. Frans Van Segbroeck; Bibliotheca Ephemeridum
Theologicarum Lovaniensium 99; Leuven: University Press, 1991], 715-72);
Susan E. Schaeffer, ``The Guard at the Tomb (
8:28-11:49 and
Matt 27:62-66; 28:2-4, 11-16): A Case of Intertextuality,'' in Eugene H. Lovering, Jr., ed.,
Scholars Press, 1991), 499-507; Alan Kirk, ``Examining Priorities: Another
Look at the
's Relationship to the New Testament Gospels,''
40 (1994), 572-95; Robert E. Van Voorst, ``Extra-canonical Accounts of the Death of Jesus,'' in John T. Carroll and Joel B.
Green, eds.,
(Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995), 148-61; idem,
(Studying the Historical Jesus; Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2000), 205-9; and Martha K. Stillman, ``The Gospel of
Evangelica II : 1982-1991.



Gos. Pet.

Society of Biblical Literature : 1991 Seminar Papers

Gospel of Peter

New Testament Studies

The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity

Jesus Outside the New Testament : An Introduction

to the Ancient Evidence

p. piovanelli


during the night of Sabbath the soldiers who were keeping guard
at the sepulcher heard a loud voice from heaven and saw two
young men entering (9 :35-37).
``And while they were relating what they had seen [to Petronius
the centurion and the elders], they see again three men come out
from the sepulcher, and two of them sustaining the other, and a
cross following them. And the head of the two was reaching unto
heaven, but that of him who was led of them by the hand was taller than the heavens. And they heard a voice out of the heavens
saying, `Have you preached to those that sleep ? ' (

koimwme` noiq ;)

e ky`ruxaq toiq

And from the cross there was heard an answer,

`Yes ' '' (10 :39-42).


The closest parallels to some details of this at first sight peculiar









27 :62-66 (the guards at the tomb) ; 28 :2-4 (the intervention of

the angel of the Lord), 11-15 (the bribery of the guards) ; Ascension of Isaiah 3 :14b-17 (the guards at the tomb ; the descent of
the angel of the church ; the intervention of the angel of the Holy
Spirit and Michel ; the Beloved who emerges from the tomb sitting on their shoulders),


and possibly a late gloss to Mark 16 :4

Peter : A Case for Oral-Only Dependency, '' Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 73 (1997) 114-20.
13. For an excellent commentary of this passage, see Maria Grazia Mara,
vangile de Pierre (Sources chre tiennes 201 ; Paris : Cerf, 1973), 172-90 ; as
well as the certainly old and biased but still useful work of Le on Vaganay,
tudes bibliques ; Paris : Gabalda, 1930), 287-303.
vangile de Pierre (E
L 'E
14. We can now read the Greek fragmentary text as well as the full Ethiopic
version of this passage in the admirable edition of all the extant witnesses
published by Paolo Bettiolo, Alda Giambelluca Kossova, Claudio Leonardi,
Enrico Norelli, and Lorenzo Perrone, Ascensio Isaiae : Textus (Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum 7 ; Turnhout : Brepols, 1995), 60-1 (Ethiopic), 142-3 (Greek), 370-1 (Latin synopsis of both texts) ; see also Norelli 's
exhaustive Commentarius (Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum 8 ;
Turnhout : Brepols, 1995), 201-6. Waiting for the publication of an English
version of this commentary in the Hermeneia series, the reader can refer to
the studies of Robert G. Hall, ``The Ascension of Isaiah : Community Situation, Date, and Place in Early Christianity, '' Journal of Biblical Literature
109 (1990) 289-306 ; idem, ``Astonishment in the Firmament : The Worship
of Jesus and Soteriology in Ignatius and the Ascension of Isaiah, '' in Carey
C. Newman, James R. Davila, and Gladys S. Lewis, eds., The Jewish Roots
of Christological Monotheism : Papers from the St. Andrews Conference on
the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (Supplements to the Journal
for the Study of Judaism 63 ; Leiden/Boston/Ko ln : Brill, 1999), 148-55 ; Jonathan Knight, Disciples of the Beloved One : The Christology, Social Setting
and Theological Context of the Ascension of Isaiah (Journal for the Study of
the Pseudepigrapha, Supplement Series 18 ; Sheffield : Sheffield Academic

pre- and post-canonical passion stories

in the Codex Bobbiensis (the presence of two [ ?] angels).




shared elements could stem either from a midrashic rereading of

Matthew 's passion,


or more probably from a preexisting oral



Isaiah, and the Gospel of Peter.







According to Crossan, the Gospel of Peter ``describes Jesus

arising at the head of `them that sleep, ' leading out the holy ones
who are released from Hades in his triumphant train. They form
a great cruciform procession behind him hence my Cross Gospel title and respond to God 's question about their deliverance with a choral yes. ''


However, nothing in the preserved

text of the Gospel of Peter leads to the opinion that the speaking
cross is such a triumphant procession announcing the collective
rehabilitation of the persecuted community. Moreover, this in-

Press, 1996) ; Richard Bauckham, ``The Ascension of Isaiah : Genre, Unity

and Date, '' in idem, The Fate of the Dead : Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (Novum Testamentum, Supplements 93 ; Leiden/Boston/
Koln : Brill, 1998), 363-90 ; Greg Carey, ``The Ascension of Isaiah : An Example of Early Christian Narrative Polemic, '' Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 17 (1998) 65-78 ; Darrell D. Hannah, ``Isaiah 's Vision in the
Ascension of Isaiah and the Early Church, '' The Journal of Theological Studies 50 (1999) 80-101 ; idem, ``The Ascension of Isaiah and Docetic Christology, ''





165-96 ;




``Worship and Monotheism in the Ascension of Isaiah, '' in Newman, Davila,

and Lewis, eds., The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism, 70-89.
15. Even if in this case, according to Darryl W. Palmer, ``The Origin, Form,
and Purpose of Mark xvi.4 in Codex Bobbiensis, '' The Journal of Theological Studies 27 (1976) 113-22, an ascension from the cross and not from the
tomb is implied.
16. As maintained by Joseph Verheyden, ``L 'Ascension d 'Isa| e et l 'E
de Matthieu : Examen de AI 3,13-18, '' in Sevrin, ed., The New Testament in
Early Christianity, 247-74.
17. As cogently argued by Enrico Norelli, L 'Ascensione di Isaia : Studi su un
apocrifo al crocevia dei cristianesimi (Origini, nuova serie 1 ; Bologna : Dehoniane, 1994), 142-59. Jonathan Knight also, in his recent essay ``The Portrait
of Mary in the Ascension of Isaiah, '' in F. Stanley Jones, ed., Which Mary ?
The Marys of Early Christian Tradition (Society of Biblical Literature, Symposium Series 19 ; Atlanta : Society of Biblical Literature, 2002), 91-105, accepts the plausibility of such a trajectory (98-100).
18. Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, 504 (see also 488-9). Note that in his
previous studies Crossan was less affirmative : ``I do not know for sure whether it is wise to ask how exactly the author visualizes that cross. Possibly it is
an exclusively verbal symbol. But, while I am more certain of the cross as
symbol of the common Passion of Israel and Jesus, I think it might be just
possible that the author visualizes them following Jesus in a great cruciform
procession. Maybe '' (The Cross That Spoke, 387) ; and ``That, at least, is
how I imagine the author 's intention, not as depicting a walking, talking
wooden cross '' (Who Killed Jesus ?, 197).


p. piovanelli

terpretation does not seem to take into due account the belief in
the return of the glorious cross manifestly a real and personified one as ``the sign of the Son of Man, '' which, according to
Matthew 24 :30, will appear in heaven at the moment of the parousia. Thus, this mysterious sign is explicitly identified with the
cross in a prophecy ascribed to Elijah in a Christian addition to
his apocryphal Apocalypse 3 :3 (``when the Christ comes, [...] he
will walk upon the heaven 's vaults with the sign of the cross
leading him ''), as well as in a promise made by Jesus himself to
the apostles, as stated in Apocalypse of Peter 1 :6 (``I will come
on the clouds of heaven with a great host in my glory, with my
cross going in front of me '') and repeated almost word for word
in Epistula Apostolorum 16 (``I will come as the sun [...], with the
wings of the clouds carrying me in [my] glory and the sign of
[my] cross going on in front of me '').


This evidence clearly demonstrates that the motif of the animated cross made its first appearance at the beginning of the
second century C.E., approximately at the same time and in the
same milieus that witnessed the spread of the first traditions on
the descent of Christ to the underworld.


It would be rather

surprising then to detect the simultaneous presence of both the

personified cross and the descent to Hades motives in a text supposedly written many decades before the canonical gospels
that completely ignore these motives


and other apocryphal

texts such as the Ascension of Isaiah or the Apocalypse of Peter

19. Crossan discusses some of these citations, as well as other traditions, in

his The Cross That Spoke, 382-6. For a more comprehensive survey, see
Jean-Marc Prieur, ``La croix vivante dans la litte rature chretienne du II


cle, '' Revue d 'histoire et de philosophie religieuses 79 (1999) 435-44 (439-41).

The same tradition is still at work in a text as late as Pseudo-Methodius '
Apocalypse (14). I wonder if the possible ``scriptural '' origin of such a belief
is not an unknown prophetic passage quoted for the first time in Epistle of
Barnabas 12 :1 (``And when will all these things be accomplished ? Says the
Lord. When the tree will fall and rise, and when blood will flow from the
tree '') and attributed later to Isaiah.
20. In this case, the evidence is more impressive, including 1 Peter 3 :18-4 :6 ;
Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Magnesians 9 :2 ; Ascension of Isaiah 4 :21 ;
10 :7-10 ; 11 :19 ; Odes of Salomon 42 :11-22 ; Acts of Thomas 10 :4 ; 156 :2 ; the
agraphon quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI.6.45.1 ; Questions
of Bartholomew 1 :6-7 ; Epistula Apostolorum 27. This large corpus has been
recently reviewed by Re mi Gounelle, La descente du Christ aux enfers : Insti tudes Augustiniennes, Serie Antiquite 162 ;
tutionnalisation d 'une croyance (E
tudes Augustiniennes, 2000), 35-59, who tentatively sugParis : Institut d 'E
gests a Syrian origin for the first descent traditions.
21. Even if, according to Crossan 's earlier reconstruction (see his The Cross
That Spoke, 17), each of them should have used the Cross Gospel as an additional source besides Mark 14-16 for the passion episodes.

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


that pick up just one of them. Admittedly, this combination

of different elements is true only for the middle or even late second century C.E.

Epistula Apostolorum.


Another and even more serious difficulty is represented by

the conditions of uncertainty that surround the textual transmission of the

Gospel of Peter.

Its major surviving fragment is,

more exactly, a long excerpt copied at the beginning of a composite codex of the eighth/ninth or even the fifth/sixth century
(PCair 10759), which was discovered in the grave of a monk at
Akhmim (the ancient Panopolis), in 1886-87. This manuscript
contains the long passion fragment taken from the


Gospel of Pe-

(pp. 2-10), followed by the transfiguration episode and the

description of the places of the righteous and the sinners from


Apocalypse of Peter

(pp. 13-20) copied in a cursive writing.

In the next pages and written in uncial script, there are the

1 Enoch 1-32, corresponding to nearly the

Book of the Watchers (pp. 21-66), and finally, a
short excerpt of the Martyrdom of Saint Julian of Anazarbe (pp.
Greek version of

whole of the

Especially noteworthy are not only the eschatological overtone of the anthology, but also the reworked nature of at least
one of the texts for which a comparison with other more complete and reliable witnesses is still possible, i.e., the

of Peter.


The eschatological recasting of the Akhmim fragment

is particularly evident when compared with the Ethiopic text,

which has the punishments and rewards sequences in the re-

visions of the fate of the sinners and the righteous after the final
versed order and, more significantly, introduced as



Accordingly, we cannot exclude the possibility that

the actual excerpt of the

Gospel of Peter

has also been heavily

22. For Koester too, the episode of the speaking cross is but one of the ``nu-

Gospel of Peter] which are

Ancient Christian Gospels, 217-8 ; cf. also 233, n. 2).

merous features [in the


obviously secondary ''

Eyes Will Be Opened : A Study of the Greek (Ethiopic) Apocalypse of Peter
23. The Ethiopic version has been reedited by Dennis D. Buchholz,

(Society of Biblical Literature, Dissertation Series 97 ; Atlanta : Scholars

Press, 1988) ; and Paolo Marrassini, ``L 'Apocalisse di Pietro, '' in Yaqob
Beyene, Rodolfo Fattovich, Paolo Marrassini, and Alessandro Triulzi, eds.,

Etiopia e oltre : Studi in onore di Lanfranco Ricci

(Studi africanistici, Serie

etiopica 1 ; Napoli : Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1994), 171-232 ; see also

Apocalypse of Peter : A Jewish

Apocrypha 5 (1994)
The Fate of the Dead, 160-258). Note that these

Richard Bauckham 's seminal study, ``The

Christian Apocalypse from the Time of Bar Kokhba, ''

7-111 (reprinted in idem,

specialists all agree on the priority of the textual tradition preserved by the
Ethiopic version and its allies against what they consider to be a secondary
rewriting copied in the Akhmim fragment.

p. piovanelli


edited and reworked in the perspective of its inclusion in a collection either for personal devotion or for funerary use.



other words, the distance between the Akhmim fragment and

the lost original text of the Gospel of Peter could be greater than
what is usually thought


an assumption that seems to be con-

firmed by the presence of significant variant readings in two or

three small papyrus fragments possibly belonging to a previous
second-century edition ( ?) of the same text.


Concerning the approximate date of the Gospel of Peter or

of its original kernel, I wonder if we can confidently argue for
the first century C.E. only on the grounds that some of the Old
Testament passages used there for the description of Jesus ' pas-

24. Concerning the possible editorial differences between the Greek Akhmim text and the Qumran Aramaic fragments, the Greek Syncellus ' quotations and the Ethiopic version of 1 Enoch, see my previous studies, ``Sulla
Vorlage aramaica dell 'Enoch etiopico, '' Studi Classici e Orientali 37 (1987)
545-94 (555-7, 587-92) ; and ``Il testo e le traduzioni dell 'Enoch etiopico,
1976-1987, '' Henoch 10 (1988) 85-95 (92). The reader will find a good discussion of these variant readings in the first volume of the exhaustive commentary










Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1-36 ; 81-108 (Hermeneia ;

Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 2001), 135-328. In comparison with the previous texts, the fragment of the Martyrdom of Saint Julian of Anazarbe has
received little attention ; see Franc ois Halkin, Bibliotheca Hagiographica
Graeca, vol. 2 (Subsidia Hagiographica 8a ; Bruxelles : Socie te des Bollandistes, 1957), 73-4 (nn. 965-7e). According to the anonymous Bollandist who
republished it together with the corresponding excerpt taken from the eleventh century Greek manuscript n. 1488 of the Bibliothe que nationale (``Un






d 'Anazarbe, ''

Analecta Bollandiana


[1896] 73-6), the Akhmim fragment seems to preserve a text more original
and, at the same time, more abridged than the Parisian one (76).
25. Koester too expresses similar reservations, and aptly remembers that
the early textual transmission of the canonical and apocryphal gospels was
``very unstable '' (Ancient Christian Gospels, 219).
26. Edited by Revel A. Coles, ``2949. Fragments of an Apocryphal Gospel
( ?), '' in Gerald M. Browne et alii, eds., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. 41
(Graeco-Roman Memoirs 57 ; London : Egypt Exploration Society, 1972),
15-6, pl. II ; and by Dieter Lu hrmann and Peter J. Parsons, ``4009. Gospel of
Peter ?, '' in Revel A. Coles et alii, eds., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. 60
(Graeco-Roman Memoirs 80 ; London : Egypt Exploration Society, 1994), 15, pl. I. The first two fragments were reexamined by Dieter Lu hrmann,
``POx 2949 : EvPt 3-5 in einer Handschrift des 2./3. Jahrhunderts, '' Zeitschrift fu r die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 72 (1981) 216-26 ; and Jay C.
Treat, ``The Two Manuscript Witnesses to the Gospel of Peter, '' in David J.


Society of Biblical Literature : 1990 Seminar Papers

(Atlanta :

Scholars Press, 1990), 391-9 ; the third one by Dieter Lu hrmann, ``POx 4009 :



(1993) 390-410.


Petrus-evangeliums ?, ''

Novum Testamentum


pre- and post-canonical passion stories


sion are different from the corresponding materials employed in

the canonical writings.


This argument seems to underestimate

the creative role played by the collections of testimonia, or scriptural







Jesus '

ministry, all through the second century C.E. and even later.


Of course, the christological exegesis of the Jewish Scriptures

played a foundational role in the shaping of the very first traditions that would eventually produce the oral and then written
passion narratives.


However, it would be na| ve to assume that

the more an early Christian discourse on Jesus ' sufferings is endowed









Psalms, the more ancient these documents/traditions are. As indisputably later texts show, things probably evolved the other
way. At the same time, oral traditions must have continued to
influence the creation of new written narratives and to be in turn
influenced by them at an epoch of great creative freedom in the
absence of any organized attempt to impose an authoritative canon. Therefore, the greatest value of the Gospel of Peter one

27. An observation originally made by Ju rgen Denker, Die theologiegeschichtliche Stellung des Petrusevangeliums : Ein Beitrag zur Fru geschichte




36 ;

Bern/Frankfurt :

Lang, 1975), 58-77.

28. As demonstrated by the studies of Oskar Skarsaune, The Proof from
Prophecy : A Study in Justin Martyr 's Proof-text Tradition : Text-type, Provenance, Theological Profile (Novum Testamentum, Supplements 56 ; Leiden/Boston/Ko ln :


1987) ;





Testimonies :

Remarks on the Transmission of the Old Testament in the Early Church, ''
Immanuel 24 (1990) 207-19 ; Enrico Norelli, ``Il dibattito con il Giudaismo
nel II Secolo : Testimonia ; Barnaba ; Giustino, '' in idem, ed., La Bibbia nell 'antichita cristiana, vol. 1 : Da Gesu a Origene (Bologna : Dehoniane, 1993),
199-233 ; idem, ``Testimonia apocryphes dans le christianisme ancien : Projet
d 'un recueil et proble mes de me thode, '' Apocrypha 6 (1996) 12-8 ; Martin C.
Albl, ``And Scripture Cannot Be Broken : '' The Form and Function of the Early Christian Testimonia Collections (Novum Testamentum, Supplements 96 ;
ln : Brill, 1999) ; or Mark D. Nispel, ``Christian Deification and the Early Testimonia, '' Vigiliae Christianae 53 (1999) 289-304.
Consider that the process of developing narratives from scriptural prophecies is still at work in the Book of the Cock, an unpublished apocryphal passion gospel (see below, n. 45) probably written in the fifth or sixth century
C.E. !
29. The most important scriptural intertexture that supports the passion/resurrection narratives is mainly made up of Psalms 22 ; 31 ; 69 ; 89, Isaiah 5253, Zechariah 9-14, Daniel 7. On the use of these early testimonia, see the excellent syntheses of Donald Juel, Messianic Exegesis : Christological Interpretation of the Old Testament in Early Christianity (Philadelphia : Fortress
Press, 1988), 89-133, 151-70 ; and Joel Marcus, The Way of the Lord : Christological Exegesis of the Old Testament in the Gospel of Mark (Louisville :
Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992), 153-98.

p. piovanelli


of the many gospels written in the first quarter or even the middle of the second century C.E. does not lie in the preservation
of portions of an older and primitive document otherwise lost,
but in its existence in itself, as a precious testimony of a definitively bygone epoch anterior to the establishment of a more or
less rigid canon of the New Testament writings. Some of the exegetical and narrative traditions it conveys are quite ancient,
some of them were even imperfectly used by its predecessors,
and some others are more recent.



Be that as it may, setting aside a too simplistic ``two documents '' (i.e., Mark 14-16 and the

Cross Gospel) theory, we can

more aptly summarize the development of the passion narratives in the following diagram based on the assumption that existed only one pre-Markan written narrative (actually embodied
in Mark 14-16), a limited number of short collections of


nia, and a multiplicity of oral traditions (which have left their

imprints in 1 Corinthians 15 :3-7 ;

Ascension of Isaiah 3 :13-18,

and elsewhere, both in the canonical and the apocryphal texts).

Oral traditions


Written narratives


30. In Crossan 's opinion (see his



Four Other Gospels, 133-5 ; The Cross That

Spoke, 409-13 ; Who Killed Jesus ? , 223-7), the core of the original Cross Gospel would actually survive in Gospel of Peter 1 :1-2 ; 2 :5b-6 :22 ; 7 :25 ; 8 :2810 :42 ; 11 :45-49. While according to Koester (see his

Ancient Christian Gos-

pels, 220-40), the best candidates to the label of ancient traditions/narratives

are the scenes in 1 :1 ; 3 :6-9 ; 5 :16 ; 8 :29-10 :38a ; 10 :39b-40 ; 11 :45 ; 12 :5013 :57.
31. See above, n. 17.
32. See above, n. 22.

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


II. Searching for Laments and Commemorations

Crossan must be praised for bringing a new and original perspective into the theory of the elaboration of the original passion/resurrection







assigns to the ritual lament of early Christian women.




The his-

toricity of these feminine funerary lamentations, as well as their

contribution to the creation of the passion story, have recently
been suggested by Marianne Sawicki and Kathleen E. Corley.
I suggest that such grief over the loss of the body [of Jesus] was
the starting point of the reflection that culminates in a `finding '
of the empty tomb and a `seeing ' of Jesus as already risen from
the dead, '' Sawicki declared.


``I am suggesting that the passion

narrative had its origins in a grass-roots liturgical context dominated by women and ordinary people, '' Corley added.


Crossan elaborates upon these perspectives using the funerary

laments of Eileen O 'Connell for her husband (Ireland, eighteenth century), Chrysa Kalliakati for her mother, and Kalliopi
for her fiance (Greece, twentieth century) as a new set of intercultural parallels that can contribute to cast a different light on
the prehistory of the passion narrative.


These European wo-

men have painfully sung the posthumous ``biographies '' of their

beloved ones. In doing so, they have powerfully made resonant

33. See Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, 527-73 (``Exegesis, Lament, and
Biography '').
34. Marianne Sawicki, Seeing the Lord : Resurrection and Early Christian
Practices (Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1994), 257.
35. Kathleen E. Corley, Gender and Jesus : History and Lament in Gospel
Tradition (New York : Oxford University Press) but note that this quotation comes from Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, 528, because Corley 's
monograph, announced by Crossan as ``forthcoming, '' has not yet been
published ; cf. also eadem, Private Women, Public Meals : Social Conflict in
the Synoptic Tradition (Peabody : Hendrickson, 1993).
36. Crossan also mentions the potential lament that the mother of the seven
young Jewish boys martyred by Antiochus the Fourth could have performed
at least in theory

in the context of 4 Maccabees 16 :6-11 (The Birth of Chris-

tianity, 529-30). However, it would have been more appropriate to refer to

the vision of the woman in deep mourning for the death of her only son in
fact, the figure of Zion overwhelmed by the downfall of Jerusalem in 4 Ezra 9 :38-10 :59. For a sociological approach of this episode, see Dilys N. Patterson, ```The Earth Shook at Her Voice : ' Mother Zion as an Agent of
Transformation in 4 Ezra, '' a paper presented to the annual meeting of the
Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, in Edmonton (Alberta), May 2000.

p. piovanelli


their cry of despair and revolt against the society and the institutions deemed responsible for those disappearances.


Such comparisons between Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean societies, ancient and modern, but in any case pre-industrial, are absolutely relevant and appropriate to illustrate the
anthropological otherness of the Mediterranean culture as opposed to the contemporary Western culture in which we are all


Nevertheless, I believe that it is rather arbitrary to

adopt these grounds in order to definitively separate, as Crossan

does, the two ``original '' elements of the passion story, namely,
the narrative and the exegetical ones. The first one would come
from a funerary lament for Jesus ' death performed by the women belonging to the Jerusalem community, while the second
would be the outcome of the interpretation of the prophecies
supposed to foretell the sufferings inflicted on the Messiah.


37. See the anthropological studies of Margaret Alexiou, The Ritual Lament
in Greek Tradition (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1974) ; Loring
M. Danforth, The Death Rituals of Rural Greece (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1982), 71-115 ; Anna Caraveli-Chaves, ``The Bitter Wounding :
The Lament as Social Protest in Rural Greece, '' in Jill Dubisch, ed., Gender
and Power in Rural Greece (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1986),
169-94 ; eadem, ``Bridge Between Worlds : The Greek Women 's Lament as
Communicative Event, '' Journal of American Folklore 93 (1980) 129-57 ; and
Gail Holst-Warhaft, Dangerous Voices : Women 's Laments and Greek Literature (London/New York : Routledge, 1992).
38. See, e.g., the methodological reflections of Margaret Y. MacDonald,
Early Christian Women and Pagan Opinion : The Power of the Hysterical Women (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1996), 14-21, 27-41, about
the categories of ``honor and shame '' or the opposition between the sphere
of the public activities, traditionally reserved to the men, and the sphere of
the private life, where the women are relegated. Sawicki (Seeing the Lord,
243-50) has insightfully warned against a too mechanical and simplistic importation of the contemporary Mediterranean values into the ancient societies a few marvelous pages, full of knowledge and wisdom, which every
student interested in anthropological analyses of early Christian realities
should carefully read and think upon. However, the existence of such an anthropological specificity in the long-term (the ``I also have a moustache ''
common denominator) has recently been confirmed by the authoritative
inquiry of Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea : A
Study of Mediterranean History (Oxford/Malden : Blackwell, 2000), 485-523.
39. See the conclusion of Crossan 's chapter on ``Exegesis, Lament, and Biography : '' ``I imagine in that Jerusalem community two equiprimordial processes, exegesis and lament, engendered respectively by male and female
members. In the absence of a body and a tomb, female ritual lament wove
exegetical fragments into a sequential story. [...] What I imagine [...] is that
in the Jerusalem community the female lament tradition turned the male
exegetical tradition into a passion-resurrection story once and for all forever. The closest we can get to that story now is the Cross Gospel, whose insis-

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


The men would be considered responsible for such an intellectual contribution, as if they had the exclusive right to study the
Scriptures !


This calls to mind Head and Shoulders, a charming

short story written as only Francis Scott Fitzgerald could write.

In the following, I would like to tackle the question of the origins of the passion narratives from a relatively new point of
view. I will carry out a study of the internal texture of a sample
of some passages taken from our best witness, Mark 14-16, in
order to verify the hypothesis of the potential existence of a primitive, preexisting narrative. I will attempt to ascertain if such a
pre-Markan story bears the traces of a writing that we could
qualify, with He lene Cixous, as ``feminine. '' This kind of writing
does not (only) mean a special attention paid to some feminine
details or characters scattered through the narrative,


but, ac-

tence on communal passion and communal resurrection may be the strongest index of those origins '' (The Birth of Christianity, 573).
40. Contrary to a too simplistic understanding of the Mediterranean societies in general and of pre-rabbinic Judaism in particular, we have some evidence that sometimes Second Temple Jewish upper class women devoted
themselves to the study of the Torah. This is clearly the case of the Hasmonean queen Alexandra Salome/Shelamzion (76-67 B.C.E.), as brilliantly argued by Dilys N. Patterson, ``Honoured in Her Time : '' Queen Shelamzion
and the Book of Judith (Ph.D. thesis ; Ottawa : University of Ottawa, 2002),
186-9. This is also presumably true for the ``Therapeutrides, '' the female
members of the Jewish ascetic community described by Philo, whose evidence has been reexamined by Ross S. Kraemer, ``Monastic Jewish Women
in Greco-Roman Egypt : Philo on the Therapeutrides, '' Signs : Journal of
Women in Culture and Society 14 (1989) 342-70 ; eadem, ``Women 's Authorship of Jewish and Christian Literature in the Greco-Roman Period, '' in
Amy-Jill Levine, ed., ``Women like This : '' New Perspectives on Jewish Women in the Greco-Roman World (Society of Biblical Literature, Early Judaism and Its Literature 1 ; Atlanta : Society of Biblical Literature, 1991),
221-42 (222-3, 229-30) ; eadem, Her Share of the Blessings : Women 's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (New
York/Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1992), 113-7, 230-1. And even at
the beginning of the rabbinic era, according to Daniel Boyarin, Carnal Israel :







Angeles/London :

University of California Press, 1993), 167-96, ``while in Babylonia (at any

rate, late in the rabbinic period) it was unthinkable and perhaps terrifying
that a woman might study Torah, in Palestine it was merely uncustomary
and noteworthy '' (195).
41. In this connection, especially instructive is the discussion between Mary
K. Lefkowitz, ``Did Ancient Women Write Novels ?, '' in Levine, ed., ``Women like This, '' 199-219, who finds no special emphasis on ``those aspects of
women 's life apart from men occasionally described by ancient women writers : love for other women, particularly childhood contemporaries, the joys
of childhood, and love for a daughter '' (212-3) either in Joseph and Aseneth,
the Testament of Job, or the Acts of Paul and Thecla, and Kraemer, ``Wo-

p. piovanelli


cording to Cixous, it is rather a political and textual strategy

that dares to ``take the risk of

other, of difference, without feel-

ing threatened by the existence of an otherness. ''


It is primarily

an attitude against the adoption of the gender differences promoted by mainstream and normative, ``phallocentric '' society
and literature. It is not biologically grounded, and even a male
author can be capable of producing such an `` ecriture feminine, ''
provided that he accepts his own femininity.


And as specialists

of early Christianity we should think especially before addressing the question of any pre-canonical tradition on the recurrent phenomenon of the reemergence of such a femininity at the
beginnings of new (religious) movements. In Cixousian highly
imaged terms,
``There always has been femininity from time immemorial but it
has been repressed. It has never been unnamed, only suppressed.
Of course, one finds more femininity in texts that are written
`close to the savage heart, ' in texts that are still close to sources,
springs, to myth and to beginnings of literary movements before
they become institutionalized. Literature is like history. It is organized so as to repress and hide its own origin which always
deals with some kind of femininity. ''


men 's Authorship, '' 231-6, who considers, on the contrary, that Joseph and






details ''




should note that Kramer 's position on this particular pseudepigraphon has
evolved since then, and that in her recent monograph, When Aseneth Met Joseph : A Late Antique Tale of the Biblical Patriarch and His Egyptian Wife,
Reconsidered (New York/Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998), she leaves the question of the identity of its author perfectly open. Be that as it
may, in the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, ancient as well as
modern, to argue for gendered authorship is always an uncertain step, for
the excellent reason that such narratives only project images of the implicit,
not of the real, historical author.
42. Helene Cixous and Catherine Cle ment, The Newly Born Woman (trans.
Betsy Wing ; Theory and History of Literature 24 ; Minneapolis : University
of Minnesota Press, 1986 [French original edition, 1975]), 78. I am especially
grateful to Marc A. Hewson (Ottawa) for introducing me to Cixousian feminist thought.
43. See Cixous and Clement, The Newly Born Woman, 84-6, reasserting the
value of what they call ``the other bisexuality, '' ``that is to say the location
within oneself of the presence of both sexes, evident and insistent in different
ways according to the individual, the nonexclusion of difference or of a sex ''
44. Helene Cixous, Readings : The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, Kleist,
Lispector, and Tsvetayeva (trans. and ed. Verena Andermatt Conley ; Theory
and History of Literature 77 ; Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press,
1991), 3 (emphasis added).

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


In my opinion, it is possible to bring out the aporias of the actual Markan text thanks to the comparison, if the need arises,
with the parallel episodes of the rather unknown Book of the
Cock, an apocryphal passion story so called because of the miraculous resurrection of a cooked rooster during the Passover
meal shared by Jesus and his disciples in the house of Simon the
Pharisee, in Bethany. This late apocryphal text was probably
composed in Greek, in the years 451-79 CE, within the antiChalcedonian community which was centered around the two
monasteries founded on the Mount of Olives by Melania the
Younger and her husband Pinianus.


Such a comparative ap-

proach should allow us to have a better understanding of the

evolution of the ideological, social, and cultural textures



has occurred in the retelling of certainly the same story, but

more than four centuries later.
The most appropriate starting point is indisputably the small
alabaster jar containing the perfume made of nard used to anoint Jesus at Bethany in Mark 14 :3, the first of the ``four broken cornerstones '' buried in Markan narrative and unearthed
thanks to the scholarly feminist archeology work of Marianne


The episode of the anointing in Bethany in Mark

45. The Book of the Cock is based upon the four canonical Gospels as well
as some apocryphal and legendary traditions. I have translated the Ethiopic
crits apocryversion into French for vol. 2 of Geoltrain and Kaestli, eds., E
phes chre tiens, in press ; and I have carried out its first systematic study in
my ``Exploring the Ethiopic Book of the Cock, An Apocryphal Passion Gospel from Late Antiquity, '' Harvard Theological Review 96 (2003) in press.
Meanwhile, the reader can refer to the short presentations provided by Roger W. Cowley, ``The So-Called `Ethiopic Book of the Cock ' Part of an
Apocryphal Passion Gospel, The Homily and Teaching of Our Fathers the
Holy Apostles, '' Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1985) 16-22 ; Philippe
Luisier, ``De Pilate chez les Coptes, '' Orientalia Christiana Periodica 62
(1996) 411-25 (422-5) ; Pierluigi Piovanelli, ``Marius Cha| ne, Joseph Trinquet et la version ethiopienne du Livre du coq, '' Transversalites : Revue de
l 'Institut catholique de Paris 85 (2003) 51-62 ; and Re mi Gounelle, ``A
des volailles cuites qui ont chante lors de la passion du Christ, '' Recherches
augustiniennes 33 (2003) 19-63 (29-33, 55-61).
46. Following the socio-rhetorical model of textual communication developed by Vernon K. Robbins, Exploring the Texture of Texts : A Guide to SocioRhetorical Interpretation (Valley Forge : Trinity Press International, 1996) ;
idem, The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse : Rhetoric, Society and Ideology (London/New York : Routledge, 1996).
47. Sawicki, Seeing the Lord, 150 (the other three being, ``[2] the loaf broken
at Mark 14 : 22 ; [3] the body violated at Mark 15 :15-25 ; and [4] the tombstone dislodged at Mark 16 :4 '').

p. piovanelli


14 :3-9 is in many respects tight-lipped and enigmatic,


as dem-

onstrated by the comparison with the Gospel parallels (Matthew 26 :6-13, Luke 7 :36-50, John 12 :1-8), and especially the
late and much more developed narrative of the Book of the Cock
(3 :1-8).

Book of the Cock 3

Mark 14

And while he was at Bethany in the

Among the inhabitants of that city

house of Simon the leper, as he sat at

there was a woman who was a sin-

table, a woman came with an alabas-

ner. She heard that the Lord Jesus

ter flask of ointment of pure nard,

was in the house of Simon the leper.

very costly, and she broke the flask

So she rose, went to a perfume mer-

and poured it over his head.

chant, and said to him, ``I would like







fume, very expensive and with a delicate







from you to anoint my Lord Christ








that he should have compassion on

me and forgive my sins. '' He gave
her a luxurious and expensive perfume that she bought for three hundred denarii. And she hastened to go
to the house of Simon with delight.







down. She poured the perfume over

his head, wet his feet with her tears,
and wiped them with her hair ; and
the entire house was filled with the
fragrance of its scent.

48. On the different facets of this episode, see James F. Coakley, ``The
Anointing at Bethany and the Priority of John, '' Journal of Biblical Literature 107 (1988) : 241-56 ; Burton L. Mack, ``The Anointing of Jesus : Elaboration


Chreia, ''









Patterns of Persuasion in the Gospels (Sonoma : Polebridge Press, 1989), 85106 ; John Paul Heil, ``Mark 14,1-52 : Narrative Structure and Reader-Response, '' Biblica 71 (1990) : 305-32 ; Vernon K. Robbins, ``Using a Socio-Rhetorical Poetics to Develop a Unified Method : The Woman Who Anointed
Jesus as a Test Case, '' in Eugene H. Lovering, Jr., ed., Society of Biblical
Literature : 1992 Seminar Papers (Atlanta : Scholars Press, 1992), 302-19 ;
Yves Simoens, ``L 'onction eucharistique et la Ce ne nuptiale selon Marc
critures :
14,1-31, '' in Pietro Bovati and Roland Meynet, eds., Ouvrir les E
Melanges offerts a Paul Beauchamp a l 'occasion de ses soixante-dix ans (Lectio Divina 162 ; Paris : Cerf, 1995), 245-66 ; Guy Wagner, ``L 'onction de Be thanie : essai sur la gene se du recit de Mc 14/3-9 et sa reprise par Matthieu,
tudes the ologiques et religieuses 72 (1997) : 437-46.
Luc et Jean, '' E

pre- and post-canonical passion stories

But there were some who said to




the ointment thus wasted ?


For this

ointment might have been sold for






and given to the poor. '' And they re-

This dismayed Judas Iscariot, who






such an amount of perfume, instead

of selling it for three hundred denarii, and giving alms to the poor ? ''

This he said, not that he cared for


proached her.








charge of the money box, for he was

a thief and he used to give to his wife
what the Lord had entrusted him for






aware that Judas would find some


But Jesus said, ``Let her alone ; why

do you trouble her ? She has done a


The Lord Jesus said to them, ``Why

are you bothering this woman ? It is

For you al-

a good deed that she has done for

ways have the poor with you, and

me. For the poor, you will be able to

whenever you will, you can do good

find them, and have with you, but

beautiful thing to me.


them ;






you will not always have me.


She has done what she

for this perfume that she poured on

could ; she has anointed my body be-

me, she has done it this way for my

forehand for burying.


have me.

And truly, I say to you, wherever







And truly, I say to you, wherever the


holy gospel will be preached in the

whole world, what she has done will

whole world, this woman and what

be told in memory of her. ''


Revised Standard Version







too. ''

And the Lord Jesus turned towards

her and said, ``Your countless sins

are forgiven, for you have loved me
much. Go home in peace, and do not
sin again. ''
That woman went away, and it was





these words.

In the Gospel of Mark, the description of the place, the scene,











points : the reader knows that the scene is set ``at Bethany in the
house of Simon the leper, '' that ``he [i.e., Jesus] sat at table, ''
that an anonymous woman ``came with an alabaster flask, '' that
``she broke '' it and ``poured '' the perfume over Jesus ' head, remaining then silent (14 :3). The reader ignores all about her identity (for example, is she one of the famous Marys, the disciples
of the Lord ?), her social-religious status (is she a prostitute
and/or a sinner ?), as well as the motives that have pressed her
to act in that way (is she looking for forgiveness ?). One can only
guess from the deeply shocked reaction of some of the people
who are present (14 :4-5) that her gesture has cast a chill over
the company, and that the consequence of this could put Jesus
in an awkward position. The information provided by the narra-

p. piovanelli


tor is as concise as possible


and looks like the stage directions

that introduce the cues of a theatrical play. As it is exactly the

case in dramatic works, a new character comes on stage and
gives a silent performance, which will give rise to discussion and
This is clearly not the case of the account of the same episode
in the

Book of the Cock, where the woman is henceforth identi-

fied not with Mary from Bethany, Martha and Lazarus ' sister,
who anoints Jesus in John 12 :1-8, but with the anonymous sinner who anoints him in Luke 7 :37-50.


Additionally, at the end

of this episode, after the borrowing of the ``forgiveness '' and

``departure '' formulas from Luke 7 :47-48, 50 (``Your countless
sins [...]. Go home in peace ''), the narrator lets Jesus add this final recommendation, ``and do not sin again, '' taken from John
8 :11, making an explicit reference to the witness of the beloved
disciple (``and it was John the evangelist who witnessed these
words '').









reader that the anonymous sinner from Bethany and the adulteress of John 8 :1-11 are the same person.
The narrator also describes Judas ' shocked reaction, putting
it in terms like those found in John 12 :4-6 (``this he said, not
that he cared for the poor but because he was in charge of the
money box, for he was a thief ''). Then he adds an original comment about the complicity existing between Judas and his wife
in an instance of the misappropriation of funds.


But the reader

has no reason to worry as Jesus is very well informed about the

situation which, as it is usual in the
fectly under his control.


Book of the Cock,

is per-

49. ``Il est clair que le texte n 'est narratif qu 'en apparence. Il est en re alite
symbolique de bout en bout, '' as Wagner, ``L 'onction de Be thanie, '' 439,
puts it (in Wagner 's opinion, the woman represents the community of faithful).
50. The merger of the two episodes is also confirmed by the melding of the

Book of
the Cock 3 :1 ; see also 2 :6) from Mark and Matthew with the character of Simon ``the Pharisee '' (he is identified as such in Book of the Cock 2 :13 ; 4 :1)
character of Simon ``the leper '' (who receives such an appellative in

from Luke. Moreover, the description of the woman 's gesture is a skilful
harmony made of different elements taken from the canonical anointing narratives. In the

Book of the Cock 3 :3, she first pours the ointment over Jesus '

head (cf. Mark 14 :3, Matthew 26 :7), and wets his feet with her tears and
wipes them with her hair (cf. Luke 7 :38, John 12 :3) while the house is filled
with the fragrance of the ointment (cf. John 12 :3).
51. This new piece of information will be further definitively confirmed in
the story, in

Book of the Cock 4 :9-11, 19.

52. One should note that some Ethiopic manuscripts present a variant and
possibly more original reading, ``It was the Lord who had entrusted him

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


Looking at Mark, it is in Jesus ' reply (14 :6-9) that the woman 's gesture receives not only an explanation that fully justifies it, but also a legitimization that transcends the apparently
narrow limits of the episode. Concerning the justification of her
act, ``she has done a beautiful thing '' because ``she has anointed
[Jesus ']




burying. ''




Markan Jesus ' eyes, she is not seen as a passing madwoman or a

repenting prostitute, but as a true prophetess, the only clearsighted person invited to a meeting of blind people.


Hence the

astonishing praise that concludes Jesus ' speech and that, by a

rather unconventional mise en abyme, opens an unexpected window on the reader 's world.

ei q mnymo`sunon autyq)


Therefore, is ``in memory of her ''

an oblique signature pointing to a fe-

male author of this narrative,


or a clue that the male narrator

of the first part of the gospel has handed over the passion story
to a female colleague ? Is it a simple narrative or, more likely,
the memory of a

poiesis, a kind of liturgical (if we follow E tienne

Trocme 's reconstruction


) or theatrical performance (if we pre-

fer that of Marianne Sawicki



with the money box, so that he [i.e., Judas] should neither grumble [literally,
`he should not say in his heart '] nor find some pretext. ''
53. This is made even clearer at least, in the reader 's eyes thanks to the
insertion of the anointing narrative into the frame of the conspiracy of the
high priests against Jesus (14 :1-2) with the complicity of Judas Iscariot
(14 :10-11). On this literary device, see James R. Edwards, ``Markan Sandwiches : The Significance of Interpolations in Markan Narratives, ''


Testamentum 31 (1989), 193-216 (208-9).

54. ``This commentary unveils the symbolic gesture of the woman who has
just anointed his head : it makes this a place where the force of the passion
towards which Jesus is going is concentrated. That is why this gesture will
accompany the proclamation of the gospel throughout the world. It follows
from this that readers, becoming aware of Mark 's narrative, can immediately verify that Jesus ' saying is well-founded : it is realized the moment they
read it !, '' as Daniel Marguerat and Yvan Bourquin,

How to Read Bible Sto-

ries : An Introduction to Narrative Criticism (trans. John Bowden ; London :

SCM Press, 1999 [French original edition, 1998]), 108, insightfully put it.
55. ``One could surely, by the way, make a better case for Mark-as-a-woman obliquely signing her manuscript by that sentence at 14 :9 than one ever
did for Mark-as-a-man obliquely signing his by that flapping nightshirt in
the garden at 14 :51-52 '' (Crossan,

The Historical Jesus, 416).

tienne Trocme ,
56. See especially E

The Formation of the Gospel according to

Mark (trans. Pamela Gaughan ; London : S.P.C.K. ; Philadelphia : Westminster Press, 1975 [French original edition, 1963]) ; idem,

The Passion as

Liturgy : A Study in the Origin of the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels
(London : S.C.M. Press, 1983).
57. See Sawicki,
`her ' as a

Seeing the Lord, 151-4. Sawicki ``would [...] interpret the

subjective genitive, so that the anointing is the woman 's poiesis :

p. piovanelli


``This suggests a symposion where Jesus ' death is the focus of the
artistic performance and the conversation. A women 's histrionic
work has proposed to the symposiasts that Jesus died obediently,
faithfully, divinely, and freely. The script with this reading of Jesus ' death is no longer available to us. We do not know whether
it was a pantomime (as the story suggests), a drama, an epigram
or lyric, an epitaph, or another of the performance genres culturally attested for banquets in the Greco-Roman period. But we
are given to understand that this interpretation of Jesus ' stance
toward his own death caused consternation amid the assembled
company. There are divergent explanations of why. Luke mentions horror at the touch of a sinful woman ; the other Gospels
cite neglect of charitable obligations. This divergence indicates
that the canonical accounts all branched off from an earlier story
of an anointing. That earlier story, I suggest, was itself the precipitate of a prior practise of women 's talking and teaching about
Jesus in the years immediately following his death. ''


Sawicki concludes that it is a practice that could have developed out of the funerary laments performed by the Jewish women belonging to the hellenized elite of the city of Jerusalem.
These same matrons would have been the first members of the
Jesus movement to apply some key Septuagint passages to the
anointed of Bethany in order to give a (theological) meaning to
his tragic death. They would have mourned for him in their own
apartments (the gynaikon) at first, before repeating the laments
in the men 's dining hall (the andron).


Of course, it is quite difficult to assess the degree of historical









Nevertheless, Sawicki 's hypothesis has the great merit of putting together into the same explanation both the grieving and


``original ''







what she has made out of Jesus, her memory of him '' (151).
58. Sawicki, Seeing the Lord, 152.
59. See Sawicki, Seeing the Lord, 152, 164-7, 256-8. Note that, in Sawicki 's
opinion, ``The passion narrative, from Bethany to Golgotha, is Mark 's construction '' (167, referring in footnote 23 to Mack, A Myth of Innocence, 3234).
60. This assumption is clearly confirmed by the identification of the ritual
contexts to which belong the Psalms of lamentation that form the scriptural
intertexture of the passion narratives (see above, n. 29) either as collective
mourning (e.g., Psalm 69) or communal rejoicing rites (e.g., Psalm 22). See
the recent studies of Gary A. Anderson, A Time to Mourn, a Time to Dance :
The Expression of Grief and Joy in Israelite Religion (University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991), 82-95 ; and Esther M. Menn, ``No Ordinary Lament : Relecture and the Identity of the Distressed in Psalm 22, ''
Harvard Theological Review 93 (2000) 301-41 (306, 310).

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


Moreover, such a primitive passion story could have left other

imprints in the narrative texture of the Markan passion. Think
of the deliberate strategy aiming to deconstruct those normative
models that are the male disciples in general, and Peter in particular, the latter being publicly dishonored by one of the maids of
the high priest a woman !


and denying his Master (14 :66-

72) at the very place where, and at the exact time when Jesus
was confessing his Messianic condition to the Jewish authorities
(14 :53-65).


Think of the clear intention of emphasizing those

alternative models that are, in order of appearance, the Roman

centurion at the foot of the cross (15 :39, 44-45) ; the fearful
Mary of Magdala, Mary, the mother of James the younger and
of Joses, and Salome, who ``followed '' (
``ministered '' (

diakone` w)


akolouhe` w)

Jesus and

to him from the beginnings of his ac-

61. A Mediterranean peculiarity that did not catch Bruce J. Malina and
Richard L. Rohrbaugh,

Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels

(Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1992), 160-1, 274, 405.

62. The narrator of the

Book of the Cock judiciously corrects the bad im-

pression that such a denial could have produced on the reader. In the rest of
the episode (5 :32-35), he or she transforms the brief look cast by Jesus to Peter in Luke 22 :61 into a full discussion on human weakness and the benefits
of Christian forgiveness. The text runs as follow, ``


When he saw him, the

Lord Jesus told him, `Peter, remember what you said a moment ago with
your fellows. No one among you should dare to speak to me about my passion, for all those who know me will deny me.


I personally know that,

when the Son intercedes with the Father, even if the Lord shows mercy and
might, goodness moves away from human beings while evil grows in them.
Therefore, I forgive you, you who denied me three times. For I am compassionate and merciful. '


Then Peter said to him, ``My beloved Lord, you

know the weakness of the creation of Adam [cf. Romans 5 :12-14,

3 :4-7 ; 4 :30-31 ; 7 :116-118,

4 Ezra

2 Baruch 54 :15, 19 ; 56 :5-8]. ' And the Lord Jesus

replied, `If one of your brothers, a Christian, commits a sin, forgive him
seven times seven [cf. Matthew 18 :21-22, Luke 17 :3-4,

Gospel of the Nazo-

raeans 15]. For there is no human being free from sin on earth. And nobody
should say to himself, I am innocent and free from sin.


As for you, I en-

trust you with the keys of the kingdom of heaven [cf. Matthew 16 :19]. Go to
your brothers, and tell them about all that has happened to me. After they
will have crucified me on the wood of the cross, weep and lament for three
days. After that, I will resurrect from the dead. ' ''
63. On the technical use of this verb and its derivatives in Paul 's epistles to
designate a missionary collaboration established on an egalitarian level, see
Elisabeth Schu ssler Fiorenza 's observations in her groundbreaking monograph,

In Memory of Her : A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Chris-

tian Origins (New York : Crossroad, 1994 [first edition, 1983]), 168-75.
Luke 's editorial passage in 8 :1-3 is the only witness which specifies that
these women Mary of Magdala, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Susanna,
``and many others '' ``had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities '' (

teherapeume` nai apo pneuma`twn ponyrwn kai asheneiwn),


and were ``pro-

p. piovanelli


tivities in Galilee (15 :40-41, 47 ; 16 :1-8) ;


or the brave Joseph

of Arimathea, an influential member of the Sanhedrin (15 :4246).

It is certainly true that these three women, as well as ``many
others '' who came up with Jesus to Jerusalem, ``were looking
from afar '' (

apo makro`hen hewrousai) on the crucified man that

was dying terribly on the cross (15 :40-41). But is it really necessary for us to infer from this that they ``stopped before the end
of the trip, '' and they ``left him to complete all alone the journey
[that they had] begun [together] '' ? Or that ``less cowardly than
their male counterparts, they were wary of what could compromise them and to put them in danger, '' and their role is ``in fact
nothing to be proud of '' ?


Perhaps, it would be wiser to advo-

cate the presence here of an echo of Psalm 37 :12 (38 :11), ``My
friends and my neighbors get closer and stand against [literally,

apo makro`hen e stysan). Or even better, we could see in this withdrawal

`in front of '] me, and my closest kinsmen stand afar '' (

of the women one of the traces left by one of the main non-bibli-

vid[ing] for him [i.e., Jesus, or `for them, ' i.e., Jesus and the Twelve] out of
their means '' (

diyko`noun autw /autoi q e k twn uparjo`ntwn autai q).

Not so

surprisingly, the ``seven demons '' of the Lukan Magdalene and the financial
resources of the wife of Herod 's steward have given rise to many ingenious
but speculative studies as, e.g., Carla Ricci, Mary Magdalene and Many
Others : Women Who Followed Jesus (trans. Paul Burns ; Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1994 [original Italian edition, 1991]) ; Marianne Sawicki, ``Magdalenes and Tiberiennes : City Women in the Entourage of Jesus, '' in Ingrid
Rosa Kitzberger, ed., Transformative Encounters : Jesus and Women Reviewed (Biblical Interpretation Series 43 ; Leiden/Boston/Ko ln : Brill, 2000),
181-202 (reprinted in eadem, Crossing Galilee : Architectures of Contact in
the Occupied Land of Jesus [Harrisburg : Trinity Press International, 2000],
133-53) ; or Carmen Bernabe Ubieta, ``Mary Magdalene and the Seven Demons in Social-scientific Perspective, '' in Kitzberger, ed., Transformative
Encounters, 203-23. However, one should remember that these additions
correspond more to Luke 's late and re-patriarchalizing perspectives than to
the original situation of the Jesus movement in Galilee. In other words, to
paraphrase Sawicki, these rich city women were probably more common in
the entourage of Luke than among Jesus ' first Galilean followers.
64. In the Book of the Cock 9 :11, at the foot of the cross, together with
John, Mary, and other weeping anonymous followers, there are also ``the
women [their identity is not specified] who loved the Lord, and they [fem.]
too were crying for Jesus because of the beaming beauty of his face '' (adopting the reading of some Ethiopic manuscripts, whereas the printed edition
has, ``and they [fem.] could have been considered blessed because of their
[fem.] beaming beauty '').
65. As Simon Le gasse bluntly puts it in his recent commentary, L 'E
de Marc, vol. 2 (Lectio Divina, Commentaires 5 ; Paris : Cerf, 1997), 984-5
(cf. also Brown 's milder but essentially similar judgement in his The Death
of the Messiah, vol. 2, 1157-9).

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


cal hypertexts underlying the passion narrative, that is to say,

the description of Hector 's death in the
by Dennis R. MacDonald


Iliad, as cleverly argued

although in book XXII, the fact

that Trojan women were looking at the hero 's fate from the city
walls is actually not explicitly stated but rather implied. In any
case, these intertextual references do not explain in themselves
the fact that in the Markan passion the only trustworthy eyewitnesses to the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus always
and exclusively are the women of Mary of Magdala 's group.
It is also certainly true that Mark made the decision to conclude his or her work in a perfectly enigmatic manner dismissing, so to speak, the tradition of the women, afraid and unable
to speak (16 :8), and the tradition of the men, on the run and
scattered nobody knows where, without pronouncing in favor of
either. This lack of communication does not prevent the reader
from imagining that the disciples, Peter first, will finally regain
their self-control and will remember the promise made by Jesus
to meet them again, after his resurrection, in Galilee (14 :28 ;
16 :7). However, the perspectives and purposes of Mark as an
author are not necessarily the same as those of his possible
Therefore, taking into account the results of Helmut Koester,
John Dominic Crossan, and especially Marianne Sawicki 's researches, it would be tempting to see in the most ancient layers
of the pre-Markan passion story the work of a group of JewishChristian men and women belonging, in preference, to the Hellenistic party of the Jerusalem Church.


We could even ask the

question if such a group claimed to be more under the patronage, for example, of the charisma of a Mary of Magdala rather

66. See Dennis R. MacDonald,

The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark

(New Haven/London : Yale University Press, 2000), 143-7, 238-9 (note that
Crossan too makes an appropriate reference to the female laments for Hector at the end of the

Iliad [XXIV.723-775] in The Birth of Christianity , 534,

67. A meticulous analysis of the characters described in the Markan passion
leads Gerd Theissen to suggest a similar chronological bracket, somewhere
in the 40s-50s, for its original composition ; see his monograph,

The Gospels

in Context : Social and Political History in the Synoptic Tradition (trans. Linda M. Maloney ; Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1991 [German original edition, 1989]), 166-99. Note that in spite of Crossan 's wishful attempt to
transfer Theissen 's conclusions to the

Cross Gospel (The Birth of Christiani-

ty, 504-6), in at least one case the actual Gospel of Peter does not fit the criterion of anonymity that Theissen applies to the characters of Mark, i.e.,
when it gives the name of the centurion in charge of guarding the sepulcher
(8 :31).


p. piovanelli

than that of a Peter or of a James.68 Be that as it may, thanks to

their decision to put the different elements of the passion traditions and discourses into a coherent narrative, the members of
this group contributed to provide
a theological meaning for the
emotional shock of Jesus' death69 or to reduce, in social-scientific terms, the 70cognitive dissonance provoked by this highly
traumatic event.
III. The Final Triumph of the Failed Prophecy

At the end of the wide spectrum of the evolution of late-antique passion/resurrection stories, in the middle of the fifth or
even in the sixth century, the Book of the Cock suggests other
strategies of reading that are likely to produce a completely different effect on its readers or, more exactly, its audience. Its narConcerning the ``historical'' Mary of Magdala, see now the excellent
summary of scholarly debate and new perspectives drawn by Mary Rose
D'Angelo, ``Reconstructing `Real' Women in Gospel Literature: The Case
of Mary Magdalene,'' in Ross S. Kraemer and Mary Rose D'Angelo, eds.,
Women & Christian Origins (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1999), 105-28. For her reception in the apocryphal literature, see Franc ois
Bovon, `` Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip,'' in Jones, ed., Which Mary?, 75-89.
In this connection, especially noteworthy are the recent contributions of
Adela Yarbro Collins, ``The Genre of the Passion Narrative,'' Studia Theologica 47 (1993) 3-28; eadem, ``From Noble Death to Crucified Messiah,''
New Testament Studies 40 (1994) 481-503; eadem, ``Finding Meaning in the
Death of Jesus,'' The Journal of Religion 78 (1998) 175-96, highlighting the
relevance of the Biblical notions of sacrifice and vicarious suffering in the
process of making Jesus' death more ``noble'' and acceptable to an early
Christian audience.
This psychological phenomenon and its social consequences was at first
recognized and studied by Leon Festinger and his collaborators; see Leon
Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails:



A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World (New York: Harper & Row, 1964 [first edition,
1956]); Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford: Stan-

ford University Press, 1957). For the application of this model to early
Christianity, see especially John G. Gager, Kingdom and Community: The
Social World of Early Christianity (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1975),
37-49, 62-4 (even if Bruce J. Malina, ``Normative Dissonance and Christian
Origins,'' Semeia 35 [1986]: 35-59, subsequently has in my opinion,
wrongly disputed the usefulness of such an approach). In order to have a
good overview of the contemporary debate, see the studies collected in Jon
R. Stone, ed., Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy
(New York/London: Routledge, 2000).

pre- and post-canonical passion stories


rative presents a truly topographic itinerary of the passion drama, with its characters the good and the evil ones its scenery, its miracles, and its relics.
As we have previously noted, here the reader is frequently
made aware of the personal thoughts of the protagonist, a Jesus
who, in spite of appearances, knows and manages every situation in advance.


Therefore, the reader is perfectly aware that

Jesus is the Son of God who has agreed to become incarnate

and sacrifice himself for the salvation of human race. He or she
can now fully appreciate the spiritual significance of such a totally gracious act identifying in turn with Simon the Pharisee or
his wife Akrosenna,


with the anonymous sinner of Bethany or

the ``great disciple '' Peter, with the governor Pilate or his spouse



with the handsome John or the tearful Mary in des-

or even with the good thief Demas. He or she can also be

Book of the
Cock 3 :18 (``the Lord Jesus had already understood that the disciples were

71. For other examples of internal focalization on Jesus, see

deeply saddened because of the words about Judas that they had heard on
the Mount of Olives '') ; 6 :9 (``the Lord Jesus [...] was aware of the [bad] penchant [shared by all the members of Judas ' family] '') ; 9 :21 (``the Lord Jesus
realized that his mother 's heart was burning when she was weeping and
shedding bitter tears, and he did not wish her to be there when they would
give him gall and bitter vinegar to drink ; neither did he want that she see
when they would hit him with a spear, so that she would not die for it '') ;
10 :5 (``the Lord Jesus was aware of all that would happen, and how they
wanted to break his legs '').
72. This is a new character that only appears in the

Book of the Cock (see

2 :6-9, 12-15 ; 4 :1). Here, she plays the considerable part of an efficient woman, the hostess who receives Jesus and the disciples for the last supper in
her home, not in Jerusalem but at Bethany.
73. In this connection, we should not forget that in the Near East Pilate and










Concerning the posthumous fate of this couple in Egypt, see Luisier, ``De Pilate chez les Coptes, '' 411-21.
74. It is indeed in the
her first great roles as

Book of the Cock, in chapter 9, that Mary plays one of

Mater dolorosa, which will be so popular in medieval

piety from Byzantine liturgy to the York Mystery Plays. Thus, ``



our Lady, the Virgin Mary, saw her only son hung up on the wood of the
cross, her eyes could not keep back the tears, her heart failed in her chest,
and her soul was burned.


Life withdrew from her soul and her body as

well, and all her limbs began to tremble. Her mind was darkened and her
soul was on the point of leaving. Then, if her beloved son had not fortified
her heart, her soul could have left her. [...]


When she saw that, our Lady

Mary was distressed, and she knew no more where to go nor what to do. She
was weeping near the cross, broken-hearted, and saying, `Woe to me, my
son, poor me !


Woe to my eyes that are seeing you even when they injure

you, whereas you never done them harm but only good. So then, they put
you with the bandits. However, those who are crucified with you, as for

p. piovanelli


scandalized and express all of his or her indignation at the recollection of the injuries and the sufferings inflicted on Jesus because of Judas Iscariot or Saul of Tarsus,


of Caiaphas and

Annas or Herod Antipas, of the Roman soldiers or the Jewish

population of Jerusalem, or even of the evil thief Gestas. This
constant search to produce a dramatic effect on the reader represents the most salient narrative feature of this late apocryphal text.
In this connection, the most enlightening parallel is provided
by the description of the Holy Week liturgy of Jerusalem during

them, they committed shameful actions !


Come now, all you women who

gave birth, in order to know the pains that my son is suffering, in order to
weep with me for my son, born from me without impurity.


After having

seen him with my own eyes, I can say, Receive, Lord, my soul, before my
eyes see them slaughtering you and truly killing you, my son. For when I
saw that they were torturing you and inflicting pain on you, the soul was at
the point of leaving me because of you. ' ''
75. In the

Book of the Cock,

Saul (i.e., Paul) of Tarsus is the most ruthless

persecutor of Jesus. He is the one who makes the preliminary agreement

with Judas (4 :15-16) ; he arrests Jesus and deals so harshly with him (5 :1116) that Jesus has to admonish him, ``I warn you, Saul, you are going to cry
on the last days for the evil that you have done to me '' (5 :14) ; he then brutally leads Jesus to the court (6 :4) ; finally, he puts the crown of thorns on Jesus ' head (8 :32-33). This virulent anti-Paulinian attitude is one of the most
intriguing archaic features of the

Book of the Cock.

Saul 's ardor against Je-

sus is comparable to the impetuosity displayed by the ``man who was the
enemy '' (i.e., Paul) against James the righteous, the brother of the Lord, at
the end of the Jewish-Christian source incorporated in the first book of the


(1.27-71). On this document and its Jew-

ish-Christian outlook, see especially Gerd Lu demann,

Jewish Christianity

Opposition to Paul in

(trans. M. Eugen Boring ; Minneapolis : Fortress Press,

1989 [original German edition, 1983]), 169-94, 296-304 ; Robert E. Van

The Ascents of James : History and Theology of a Jewish-Christian

Community (Society of Biblical Literature, Dissertation Series 112 ; Atlanta :
Scholars Press, 1989) ; F. Stanley Jones, An Ancient Jewish Christian Source
on the History of Christianity : Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.27-71 (SoVoorst,

ciety of Biblical Literature, Texts and Translations 37 ; Christian Apocrypha

Series 2 ; Atlanta : Scholars Press, 1995) ; Luigi Cirillo, ``L 'antipaolinismo
nelle Pseudoclementine : Un riesame della questione, '' in Giovanni Filoramo

Verus Israel : Nuove prospettive sul giudeocristianesimo. Atti del Colloquio di Torino (4-5 novembre 1999) (Biblioteca di
and Claudio Gianotto, eds.,

cultura religiosa 65 ; Brescia : Paideia, 2001), 280-303 ; Claudio Gianotto,

Recognitiones I, 27-71 : La storia della salLe judeo-christianisme dans tous ses etats : Actes du Colloque de Je rusalem, 6-10 juillet 1998
``Alcune riflessioni a proposito di

vezza, '' in Simon C. Mimouni and F. Stanley Jones, eds.,

(Lectio Divina, hors se rie ; Paris : Cerf, 2001), 213-30 ; as well as the new

Les Reconnaissances du pseudo-Clement : Roman chretien des premiers siecles (Apocryphes 10 ;

French translation of Andre Schneider and Luigi Cirillo,

Turnhout : Brepols, 1999).


pre- and post-canonical passion stories

the years 381-84, which Egeria the pilgrim 76recorded in her famous
(30:1-38:2). She recounts that
on Holy Wednesday evening, in front of the screen of the Anastasis basilica as a presbyter reads the Gospel passage about Judas' betrayal, ``the people groan and lament at this reading
in a
way that would make you weep to hear them'' (34).77 In the
same way, on Good Friday before dawn at Gethsemane, ``by
the time'' the passage about Jesus' arrest ``has been read everyone is groaning and lamenting and weeping so loud that78 people
even across in the city can probably hear it all'' (36:3). Later,
during the day from twelve to three o'clock, in a courtyard between the Anastasis and the Golgotha hillock, with the help of a
series of cross-readings ``all about the things Jesus suffered''
taken from the Psalms, the Prophets and the New Testament
writings, ``they are teaching the people that nothing which took
place had not been foretold,
and all that was foretold was completely fulfilled'' (37:5-6).79 Then, Egeria goes on with the following comments: ``It is impressive to see the way all the people
are moved by these readings, and how they mourn. You could
hardly believe how every single one of them weeps during the
three hours, old and young alike, because of the manner in
which the Lord suffered for us'' (37:7).
Between the quest for a theological meaning that characterizes the most ancient passion narrative anterior to Mark 1416 and the search for a dramatic effect that is typical of the
, four to five centuries passed. The spiritual comfort
brought to a small dissident and persecuted community has given way to the management of the emotional itinerary
of the pilgrims during the Holy Week in Jerusalem.80 Of course, the
Travels to the Holy Land


of the Cock

All the passages are taken from John C. Wilkinson,

(Jerusalem: Ariel Publishing House; Warminster: Aris &
Phillips, 1981), 134, 136-8.
According to the
published by Athanase Renoux,
, vol. 2 (Patrologia Orientalis 36.2;
Turnhout: Brepols, 1971), 127, the reading in question is Matthew 26:3-16
or 14-16.
Still according to the
, 139), this reading is Matthew 26:31-56 or 36-56.
It is needless to say that the fulfillment of the scriptural prophecies at
the moment of the passion of Christ is also one of the most recurring themes
in the
(see 1:3, 17; 4:2; 5:21; 7:5; 10:2, 7; as well as the
variant reading in 5:32).
See the excellent syntheses provided by John C. Wilkinson,
(Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1977); E. D.
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982); Pierre Maraval,


Egeria 's Travels to

the Holy Land


Old Armenian Lectionary

Le codex armenien Jerusalem 121


Old Armenian Lectionary

Le Lection-

naire de Jerusalem

Book of the Cock



Pilgrims before the Crusades

Holy Land Pilgrimage in the Later Roman Empire, AD 312-460

Lieux saints et pelerinages


p. piovanelli

difference at the level of the narrative perspectives reflects other

major changes that have occurred, since the middle of the first
century, in the social and cultural horizons of the Mediterranean world in Late Antiquity. In the final analysis, such a contrast perfectly symbolizes the continuity and the hiatus that
separate the original intent and the actual realization of early

d 'Orient : histoire et ge ographie des origines a la conque te arabe


toire ; Paris : Cerf, 1985) ; and Claudine Dauphin, La Palestine byzantine :

peuplement et populations ,

Archaeopress, 1998).

3 vols. (BAR International Series 726 ; Oxford :

Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada



Compared to other apocryphal gospels, the Infancy Gospel


Thomas has received little attention in recent decades. The text has
but one prominent scholarly champion : Sever Voicu. Over the past
twelve years, S. Voicu has published several important articles on the
gospel 's text-critical problems. However, his work neglects the text 's
Greek manuscript tradition. This article seeks to redress that balance
with an analysis of the published and unpublished Greek manuscripts
of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. An argument is made also for a reevaluation of Sabaiticus gr. 259, an eleventh-century manuscript that
may prove invaluable for establishing the original text of the gospel.
The article concludes with some observations on the texts of several
early versions (Ethiopic, Syriac, and Old Latin) of the gospel.

vangile de l 'Enfance
Compare aux autres e vangiles apocryphes, l 'E
attribue a Thomas a recu peu d 'attention dans les de cennies recentes.
Le texte n 'a qu 'un seul de fenseur savant reconnu : Sever Voicu. Durant les douze dernie res annees, S. Voicu a publie plusieurs articles
importants sur les proble mes de critique textuelle de cet e vangile. Toutefois, son travail ne glige le texte de la tradition manuscrite grecque.
Le present article vise a redresser cette perspective avec une analyse
vangile de l 'Enfance atdes manuscrits grecs publie s et inedits de l 'E
tribue a Thomas. L 'auteur de fend la the se d 'une reevaluation du Sabaiticus






e tablir










l 'e vangile.

s 'ave rer
L 'article

conclut par quelques observations sur les textes de plusieurs versions

antiques (e thiopienne, syriaque et vieille-latine) de l 'apocryphe.

In the 1998 volume of Apocrypha, Sever J. Voicu presented a

comprehensive ``critical synopsis '' of the evidence for the In1

fancy Gospel of Thomas (IGT) . Over the course of his essay,

Voicu summarized a select amount of previous scholarship on
the text, provided details on the various manuscript sources, re-

1. S. V

oicu , ``Verso il testo primitivo dei Paidika

tou Kuri` ou i Iysou


conti dell ' infanzia del Signore Gesu ' '', in : Apocrypha 9 (1998), pp. 7-95.

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 129-151

t. chartrand-burke


produced the ancient citations and parallels, speculated on the

gospel 's origins and transmission paths, and presented readings
from all of the published and some of the unpublished witnesses
to the text. In total, the synopsis represents a pinnacle in IGT research and is as near to a critical edition as IGT has approached
in over 150 years. Few recent scholars have delved into the IGT
evidence quite as deeply as Voicu. Indeed, the sources are so
many and so varied that most scholars find the prospect of comprehensive text-critical work on IGT too overwhelming a task.
Others find the text 's contents so distasteful that they consider
further research into IGT 's origins and proclivities unworthy of
the effort. Voicu, therefore, must be commended for his contributions to our understanding of this sorely neglected text.
In many ways, however, Voicu 's work is incomplete. Numerous witnesses are left unexamined by Voicu, including additional Syriac and Latin Mss. The Greek tradition in particular
receives less attention than it deserves. Of the fourteen known
Greek Mss of IGT only six have been published. Voicu 's synopsis includes readings from one of these unpublished Mss, the important








remain unexplored. This neglect is due to Voicu 's dismissal of


the Greek tradition as ``de ja interpole '' . Though Voicu claims

IGT likely was composed in Greek, he believes the early versions of the text (Syriac, Old Latin, Georgian, and particularly
the Ethiopic) better represent the gospel 's original form. Notwithstanding

Voicu 's






more attention if for no other reason than to arrive at a greater

understanding of the later transmission of IGT. But more than
that, it is my own belief that Voicu has underestimated the value
of the Saba Ms, and overestimated the value of the Ethiopic tradition. The present work seeks to redress some of the omissions
and infelicities of Voicu 's work in an effort to broaden readers '
knowledge of both the Greek and non-Greek sources for IGT.

1. The Witnesses to IGT

Even the most casual reader of the apocryphal gospels has

some awareness of the various forms in which IGT is found.
The most well-known is the nineteen-chapter Greek text published by Tischendorf in his Evangelia apocrypha collection of

2. S. Voicu , ``Notes sur l 'histoire du texte de l 'Histoire de l 'Enfance de Je sus '', in : Apocrypha 2 (1991), p. 131 ; see also idem, ``Verso il testo primitivo '', op. cit., p. 24.

the greek manuscript tradition


1853 . Tischendorf 's edition was based on four previously pubr

lished Mss : Vienna, Phil. gr. 162, fol. 180 -187

catalog by P. Lambecius in 1675

(=O), listed in a

but subsequently lost (only


Lambecius ' excerpts of ch. 1 and part of ch. 2 survive) ; Paris,


Bibliotheque nationale, A.F. gr. 239, fol. 118 -119

lished by J.B. Cotelier in 1698

(=P) pub-

and consisting, ostensibly, of


only chs. 1-6 ; Bologna, Univ. 2702, fol. 76 -87

(=B) containing

19 chapters and published by G.L. Mingarelli in 1764 ; and its

``twin '', the similar Dresden A 187, part 1, pp. 523-30 (=D) first

published by I.C. Thilo in 1832 . None of these Mss is earlier

than the fifteenth century. Using D and B as his base, with variants from P and O, Tischendorf presented a 19-chapter text
that remains influential to this day. He dubbed this version
Greek A (=Ga) (BHG 779p) and published along with it Gb
(BHG 779pb), a shortened and radically rewritten version of the
text lacking chs. 12, 14-19 from a single fourteenth-/fifteenthv

r 9

century Ms (Cod. Sinai gr. 453, fol. 109 -113 ) . Tischendorf 's
editions of Ga and Gb have been extremely popularalmost all
subsequent editions and modern translations of IGT are based
on Tischendorf 's selection of Mss


3. C. von Tischendorf, Evangelia apocrypha, Leipzig, 1853 (2nd ed. 1876,

pp. 140-157).
4. P. Lambecius, Commentariorum de augusta bibliotheca caesarea vindobonensi, VII, Vienna, 1675, p. 270.
5. H. Hunger, Katalog der griechischen Handschriften der O
Nationalbibliothek, I, Codices historici, Codices philosophici et philologici,
Vienna, 1961, p. 265 lists the IGT portion of the Ms as missing. This unfortunate situation was confirmed by my own request for a copy of the Ms in
6. J.B. Cotelier, SS. Patrum qui temporibus apostolicis floruerunt, I, 2nd
ed., Antwerp, 1698, pp. 345-346.
7. G.L. Mingarelli, ``De Apocrypho Thomae Evangelio...epistola '', in : A.
Calogiera, Nuova Raccolta d 'opuscoli scientifici e filologici, 12, Venice,
1764, pp. 73-155.
8. I.C. Thilo,

Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, I, Leipzig, 1832, pp.

9. Tischendorf, Evangelia apocrypha, op. cit., pp. 158-163 ; first published
in idem, ``Rechenschaft u ber meine handschriftlichen Studien auf meiner
wissenschaftlichen Reise von 1840 bis 1844 '', in : Jahrbucher der Literatur
114, Vienna, 1846, pp. 51-53 and discussed in idem, De evangeliorum apocryphorum origine et usu, The Hague, 1851 (Verhandelingen ultgegeven door
het haagsche genootschap tot verdedigung van de christelijke godsdienst
12), pp. 210-212.
10. For example, see O. Cullmann, ``The Infancy Story of Thomas '', in :
W. Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, I, rev. ed., trans. R.M.
Wilson, Louisville, 1991, pp. 444-452 ; J.K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New
Testament, Oxford, 1993, pp. 68-83 ; M. Erbetta, Gli Apocrifi Del Nuovo

t. chartrand-burke


Unfortunately, the popularity of Ga and Gb has left the numerous other versions of IGT relatively unexplored. Tischendorf himself published three Latin witnesses to IGT : the first
from a fourteenth-century Vatican Ms (Vat. lat. 4578 ; =Lt)


which follows the longer form of Ga but adds three prelude

chapters that feature stories of the young Jesus in Egypt


; and

two witnesses to an older Latin translation : a fifth-century Latin





Vindobensis 563=Lv) containing fragments of chs. 2, 5, 7-9, 14,

and 19


, and IGT material incorporated into later Mss of the

Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (=Lm)


. Shortly after Tischendorf 's

day, an early Syriac text of IGT came to light. The first Syriac

witness (London, Br. Libr., Add. 14484=S ), published in 1865

by W. Wright from a sixth-century Ms, was greeted immediately
with theories of Syriac composition for IGT


. This theory was

championed later by P. Peeters, who sought to prove his case


with the help of a second Ms : Vat. Syr. 159 (=S ) dated to

the seventeenth century


. Unfortunately, he published only chs.

Testamento, I.2, Turin, 1981, pp. 78-101 ; L. M oraldi, Apocrifi del Nuovo
Testamento, II, Turin, 1971, pp. 247-279 ; W. M ichaelis, Die apokryphen
Schriften zum Neuen Testament, 2nd. ed., Bremen, 1958, pp. 96-111 ; and the
editions of A.

de Santos Otero, Los Evangelios Apocrifos, Madrid, 1941,

pp. 302-324 ; P.G. Bonaccorsi, Vangeli apocrifi, I, Florence, 1948, pp. 110151 ; and G. Schneider, Apokryphe Kindheitsevangelien, New York, 1995,
pp. 147-172 ; and used in R. F unk, New Gospel Parallels : John and the Other
Gospels, II, Philadelphia, 1985, pp. 235-286, and A. F uchs - F. Weissen-

gruber, Konkordanz zum Thomasevangelium : Version A und B, Linz, 1978

(Studien zum Neuen Testament und seiner Umwelt 4). Many of these editions and translations include variant readings from non-Greek traditions
only as appendices.
11. Not, as P.A. Siegmund

berlieferung der griechischen christlichen

( Die U

Literatur in der lateinischen Kirche bis zum zwo lften Jahrhundert, MunchenPasing, 1949, p. 36) first claimed, Vat. Reginae Sueciae 648 (12/13th c.). See
Tischendorf, De evangeliorum, op. cit., p. 213.
12. Tischendorf , Evangelia apocrypha, op. cit., pp. 164-180.
13. Tischendorf , Evangelia apocrypha, op. cit., xliv-xlvi. Most of the text
of Lv was previewed in T ischendorf , De evangeliorum, op. cit., pp. 214215.
14. Tischendorf , Evangelia apocrypha, op. cit., pp. 93-112. Ps.-Mt. was
published previously, though without the IGT appendix, by T hilo , Codex
Apocryphus, op. cit., pp. 337-400. He believed the IGT material to be a secondary addition to the text and therefore chose not to include it in his edition.
15. W. Wright , Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Testament, London, 1865, pp. 6-16.
vangiles apocryphes, II, Paris, 1914 (Textes et documents
16. P. Peeters , E
pour l 'etude historique du Christianisme 18), pp. 307-319.

the greek manuscript tradition


5-8, and only in a French translation. Significant portions of the

Syriac text (chs. 4, 6, 7, 11-13) can be found incorporated in a
Ms of the Life of Mary published by E.A.W. Budge from a thirb 17

teenth-/fourteenth-century Alqos Ms (=S )

. And finally, W.

Baars and J. Heldermann recently collated Go ttingen, Universir

tatsbibliothek, Syr. 10 of the fifth or sixth century (=S ) against

Wright 's Ms


. A fifth Ms, Urmia 43 (dated to 1863), listed by

A. Baumstark is apparently now lost










Tischendorf 's edition. First, the Ethiopic form of IGT can be

found in multiple late Mss of a compilation titled Ta 'amra 'Iyasus (Miracles of Jesus) (CANT 45) published by S. Gre baut in


. Second, a Georgian version is extant in a single fragmen-











eighth-century translation into Irish verse (Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 50)


is related to Lm and Lv ; together

they form three witnesses to the Old Latin text of IGT. It should
be apparent immediately from this list of witnesses that the evidence for the early versions predate all of Tischendorf 's Greek
Mss. The versions also differ greatly from his Ga text : several
chapters are missing (10, 17, and 18) as well as the introduction
which ascribes the text to Thomas, and readings within chapters

17. E.A.W. Budge, The History of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the History
of the Likeness of Christ, London, 1899, vol. I, pp. 67-76 (text), vol. II, 71-82
18. W. Baars - J. Heldermann, ``Neue Materielen zum Text und zur Interpretation des Kindheitsevangeliums des Pseudo-Thomas '', Oriens Christianus 77 (1993), pp. 194-197.
19. A. Baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur mit Ausschluss der
christlich-pala stinensischen Texte, Bonn, 1922, p. 670. On its current status
see Baars - Heldermann, ``Neue Materielen '', op. cit., p. 194 n. 17.
20. S. Gre baut, ``Les miracles de Jesus : Texte e thiopien publie et traduit '',
in : Patrologia orientalis 12.4 (1919), pp. 555-652.
21. The Ms was published simultaneously in Georgian (K. Kekelidze, Monumenta Hagiographica Georgica, pars prima, Keimena, Vol. 1, Januarium,
Februarium, Martium, Aprilem et Majum menses continens, Tiflis, 1918, pp.
115-117) and in Russian (L. Melikset-Bek, ``Fragment grusinskoi versii
`Djetsiva Hrista ' [A Fragment of the Georgian Version of the `Infancy of
Christ '] '', Hristianskii Vostok 6.3 [1917-1920], pp. 315-320). A Latin transla vangile de
tion was provided by G. Garitte, ``Le fragment ge orgien de l 'E
Thomas '', Revue d 'histoire eccle siastique 51 (1956), pp. 513-515.
22. J. Carney, ``Two Old Irish Poems '', Eriu 18 (1958), pp. 1-43. A new
translation of the Irish text is included in M. Mcnamara et al, Apocrypha
Hiberniae, I, Evangelia infantiae, Turnhout, 2001 (Corpus Christianorum
Series Apocryphorum 13), pp. 443-483.

t. chartrand-burke


are also often shorter, with the exception of ch. 6 which features
a lengthy speech by Jesus.
Two more forms of IGT remain to be noted. A third Greek
recension of IGT,


by A. Delatte in 1927


(BHG 779n), was published in an article

. The fifteenth-century Ms ( Cod.

Ath. gr.

355=A) begins with the Egyptian Prelude found in Tischendorf 's

late Latin version and features vastly different vocabulary and
syntax than both Ga and Gb. Correspondences between
the Latin version render it certain that

A and

Lt is a translation of Gd.

A is distinctive also for being the only published Greek Ms to

feature the speech of Jesus from chapter six found in the versions but missing in Ga and Gb. Of importance also to the
Greek tradition is the Slavonic family of Mss. The study of the
Slavonic version of IGT (= Slav) began in the late nineteenth
century, first by Russian and Serbian scholars, and more recently by Western scholars. The text is known in 16 Mss from






gained prominence in A. de Santos Otero 's

Evangelium des Thomas



Bulgarian Ms





Das kirchenslavische

. This study of the tradition features a






J (St. Petersburg, Library of the Russian Acad-

emy of Sciences,

A.I. Jacimirskij Cod. No. 15 ). In addition, de

Santos Otero combined readings from

J with variants from Gd,

P, O and several of the published versions in an effort to construct a Greek retroversion of the Slavonic source. He dated
IGT 's entry into the Slavonic milieu to an Old Bulgarian translation of the tenth or eleventh century. De Santos Otero was
heavily criticized for his work, in part for shortcomings in his
skills with the languages but particularly for believing a retrotranslation was even possible. Nevertheless, several scholars,
particularly O. Cullmann and R. Hock, felt the retroversion valuable enough to incorporate its readings into their treatments of

23. The designation Gc was used by M. L owe (``


of the Apocry-

pha : A Fresh Approach to the Gospels of James, Pseudo-Thomas, Peter and

Nicodemus '', in :

Novum Testamentum 23 [1981], pp. 56-90), P.A. Mirecki

(``Thomas, Infancy Gospel of '', in : D.N. F reedman ,

Anchor Bible Dictiona-

ry, VI, New York, 1992, pp. 540-544), and in my own work. Voicu 's preferred designation, Gd, is used here for ease of comparison with his synopsis.
vangile de l 'Enfance de Jacques : Manuscrit No. 355 de
24. A. Delatte , ``E
la Bibliotheque Nationale '', in :

Anecdota Atheniensia, I, Paris, 1927, pp.

25. A.

de Santos Otero , Das kirchenslavische Evangelium des Thomas , Ber-

lin, 1967 (Patristische Texte und Studien 6).

the greek manuscript tradition




. A new critical edition of the Slavonic Mss by T. Rose n is

based also on


, but Rosen wisely made no attempt to recover

the tradition 's Greek


. Now purged by Rose n of the


non-Slavonic variant readings introduced by de Santos,

stands revealed as merely a translation of Ga. For our purposes

the value of


lies in the antiquity of its form of the text. If

both Rosen and de Santos are correct in dating

the tenth or eleventh century



's origin to

, then the 19-chapter text was ex-

tant at least three to four centuries before the earliest known Ga

Ms and earlier too than any other Greek Ms.
Scholarship has been extremely slow in incorporating the
post-Tischendorf discoveries into editions and translations of
IGT. Only one of four Greek editions of IGT has integrated
readings from Gd into its text


; and the early versions have not

fared much bettermodern translations continue to feature the

19-chapter form of the text and only occasionally add the speech
from chapter six to their translations


. It is little wonder, then,

that many readers of IGT are unaware of the complexities involved in studying this text.

2. Recent Text-Critical Work on IGT

Voicu 's synopsis completes three decades of protracted but
fruitful text-critical research on IGT. Previously, the most sophisticated treatment of the Ms evidence was that of Stephen

26. Cullmann, ``The Infancy Story of Thomas '', op. cit. ; R.F. Hock,

Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas


, California, 1995 (The Scholars Bible

2), pp. 104-143.

27. T. Rose n,


The Slavonic Translation of the Apocryphal Infancy Gospel of



Upsaliensia 39).






Das kirchenslavische Evangelium des Thomas

The Slavonic Translation

28. A. de Santos Otero,

lin, 1967, p. 35 ; Rose n,

29. Hock follows


, Ber-

, op. cit. (cf. n. 25), p. 166.

primarily but uses Gd for chapter six thereby creating

a hybrid text. Bonnacorsi, de Santos Otero, and Schneider acknowledge the

discovery of Gd but do not utilize it.

30. Only Voicu 's French translation in F. Bovon - P. Geoltrain,

apocryphes chretiens


, I, Paris, 1997, pp. 191-204 fully acknowledges the va-

lue of the versions. He offers here a sixteen-chapter text based on the Ethiopic, Syriac, and Georgian versions. S. Gero, in his article ``Apocryphal
Gospels : A Survey of Textual and Literary Problems '' (in W. Haase [ed.]

Aufstieg und Niedergang der ro mischen Welt ANRW


], II.25.2, Berlin - New

York, 1988, pp. 3978-3984), also eschews the Greek Mss and summarizes
the contents of IGT based on the Syriac text.


t. chartrand-burke

Gero. In a 1971 article for Novum Testamentum


, Gero pre-

sented almost all of the known witnesses to IGT and placed

these in a stemma of transmission. Among Gero 's conclusions
on the history of the text were a dismissal of its ties to other
Thomas-related literature and an admission that the Greek tradition was a poor representative of the original form of the gospel. In its place, the author championed the Syriac and Old
Latin traditions as superior witnesses. However, Gero 's conclusions were based on a somewhat limited knowledge of the available Greek Mss. Along with the published Greek sources, Gero
was aware of only one unpublished Ms Cod. Vatopedi 37, first
noted in scholarship by R. A. Lipsius in 1890


and he had not

even seen its contents.

Gero 's conclusions on the value of the versions were developed further by Lucas Van Rompay in 1980


. Van Rompay es-

tablished that the four early versions of the text all derive from
a common short recension comprised of chs. 2-9, 11-16, and 19.
This short recension features also distinct readings within chapters. Unfortunately, few scholars took notice of Van Rompay 's
work until 1991 when it was given a wider audience in Voicu 's
first article on IGT in Apocrypha


. Voicu combined Van Rom-

pay 's conclusions with a collation of Sabaiticus gr. 259 (dubbed

Gs) made by Jacques Noret, who listed this and other unpublished Greek Mss in a brief 1972 note in Analecta Bollandiana


Using a table to indicate the correspondences between the various witnesses, Voicu demonstrated Gs 's median position between the early versions and the later Greek Mss (Gs does not
contain chs. 17 and 18, but it includes ch. 1 and ch. 10, the latter
placed between chs. 16 and 19). He indicated also at the time his
preference for the Ethiopic tradition as a witness to the earliest
form of the text. It alone places ch. 12 (The Miraculous Harvest)
following ch. 19, suggesting perhaps that this story is a late addition to the text, and it features a far less miraculous reading of
ch. 13 (Jesus Stretches a Beam). As for Sabaiticus gr. 259, Voicu
concedes in his critical synopsis that it is the ``migliore testimone

31. S. Gero, ``The Infancy Gospel of Thomas : A Study of the Textual and
Literary Problems '', in : Novum Testamentum 13 (1971), pp. 46-80.
32. R.A. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten und Apostellengenden,
2 vols., 1883-1890 (repr. Amsterdam, 1976), Erga nzungsband, p. 24.

L. Van Rompay, ``De ethiopische versie van het Kindsheidsevangelie

volgens Thomas de Israe liet '', in : A. Theodorides - P. Naster - J. Ries,

L 'enfant dans les civilisations orientales, Leuven, 1980, pp. 119-132.
34. Voicu, ``Notes sur l 'histoire '', op. cit.
vangile de l 'enfance selon Thomas '',
35. J. Noret, ``Pour une edition de l 'E
in : Analecta Bollandiana 90 (1972), p. 412.

the greek manuscript tradition


greco noto '', but the presence of chs. 1 and 10 along with some
unique readings leads him to consider the Ms of limited use


Aside from Voicu, the only published scholar who has used
Sabaiticus gr. 259 is T. Rosen in his critical edition of the Slavonic tradition


. Rosen 's work is a great step forward in the study

of IGT, not only for its welcome treatment of Slav but also for
its attention to the unpublished Greek Mss. Of the additional
eight witnesses, four are employed in his study


; however, only

a few readings from these Mss are reproduced, and then only to
aid in determining the relationship between the Greek and Slavonic material.
Any significant treatment of the wider body of evidence for
IGT should incorporate the evidence from the growing number
of unedited Greek Mss. Voicu 's synopsis does not. Indeed, except for Sabaiticus gr. 259 and the Syriac Ms from Go ttingen

(S ), Voicu takes his readings from only published Mss and editions, many of which are now sorely out-of-date. Even the readings









inaccurately. Given previous scholars ' neglect of the Greek Mss

of IGT, I decided to focus my doctoral work on retrieving and
collating all the known witnesses to the Greek tradition. My dissertation, completed in 2001 but as yet unpublished, features a
synoptic critical edition of the four Greek recensions of the text,
with Sabaiticus gr. 259 receiving particular attention as the best
witness to IGT in its original language


Voicu 's disregard for the Greek Mss is justifiable to some extent given the focus of his work : to recover the original form of
IGT. And the Greek tradition is certainly at some remove from
the short text witnessed by the versions. However, Sabaiticus gr.
259 has far closer kinship to the short recension than a reading
of Voicu 's synopsis would suggest. As for the other Greek Mss,
they may not assist in the task to recover the original form of
IGT but they do help to trace the larger transmission history of
the gospel. Scholarship, therefore, demands a comprehensive
evaluation of these Mss.

oicu, ``Verso il testo primitivo '', op. cit., p. 27.

ose n, The Slavonic Translation, op. cit.
See T. Rose n , The Slavonic Translation, op. cit., pp. 36-37 for a descrip-

36. V

37. R

tion of the Greek Mss used in his study. Of the unpublished Mss, Rose n was
aware of but unable to obtain L and R. He did not know of the existence of
M and C (for full details of these Mss see further below).
39. T. C

hartrand -Burke, ``The Infancy Gospel of Thomas : The Text,

Origins, and its Transmission '', Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 2001.


t. chartrand-burke


3. The Unpublished Greek Mss


Of the unpublished Greek Mss, seven belong to the previously

published recensions of the text. The remaining eighth Ms is


baiticus gr. 259 which is sufficiently distinct from the others to

warrant Voicu 's designation of the Ms as a separate recension
(Gs). Through careful analysis of the unpublished Mss, the texts
of Ga, Gb, and Gd can be established with greater precision and
Gs can stand revealed as an important witness to the original
text of IGT.

3.1 Greek A




gr. 91 (fol. 199 -204 ), 14/15th c


Cod. hist.

W entered scholarship in Noret 's list of unpublished Mss

and was subsequently used by Rose n.

W is an important Ms as

it is the most complete form of the Ga text available (it features

the entire 19 chapters as well as the speech from ch. 6 missing in
Tischendorf 's









tenth-/eleventh-century Slavonic translation, represents a form

of the text that is four to five centuries earlier than the Ms itself.
Major errors in

W are few the Ms shares corruptions with

other Ga Mss, as well as a lacuna in ch. 16. This lacuna goes

back at least to

W 's apograph, for the copyist has signaled the

error by placing an abbreviation for

symei` wson

(``notice '') in

the margin. Several small omissions occur (in chs. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7,

and 17) and some troublesome variant readings appear to have
been added (in chs. 7, 9, 10, 14).

W is particularly deficient in

ch. 19, where it appears to stray more than the other

Ga Mss

from readings common to all the recensions. The entire text has
been crossed out in the Ms, perhaps indicating a later reader 's
dislike for its contents.

40. For








Greek Mss of IGT see Chartrand-Burke, ``The Infancy Gospel of Thomas '', op. cit., pp. 101-116.
41. For catalogue entry see Hunger,

Katalog der griechischen Handschrif-

ten, op. cit., vol. IV, pp. 94-102. Photographs of the Ms were furnished by
sterreichische Nationalbibliothek.
the O

the greek manuscript tradition

Mount Athos,
16th c



Cod. Vatopedi 37 (fol. 21 -28 ), 14th/

The majority of this Ms hails from the first half of the

fourteenth century, with fol. 9-12 and 267-272 added in the last
half of the sixteenth century to supplement sections of texts lost
to damage. Several of IGT 's pages have also suffered damage :
fol. 23 and 24 (parts of chs. 5 and 6) contain large holes.

V was

first mentioned in scholarship on IGT by Lipsius in the revised

edition of his collection of Apocryphal Acts


. In his brief note

Lipsius revealed that the Ms contains a reading of ch. 6 longer

than those of the published Greek witnesses. This statement has
been repeated often


, but the Ms has not been examined any

further by Western scholars. However, it has been used in work

on the Slavonic text by Jacimirskij, Lu dtke, and Rosen. Jacimirskij compared

V with Tischendorf 's Ga text and determined

that the Ms contains readings closer to those of

kij was essentially correct.



. Jacimirs-

V, along with W, O, and P, contains

readings superior to Tischendorf 's base Mss ( B and

even occasionally shares readings with
rupt in

D), and

Slav absent from or cor-

W. Often, however, V agrees with B and D against the

other Ga Mss. Also,

V frequently abbreviates within chapters

and ends early following ch. 16 with a doxology


42. For catalogue entry see S. Eustratiades - Arcadios vatopedinos,


talogue of the Greek Manuscripts in the Library of the Monastery of Vatopedi

on Mt. Athos, 1924, repr. New York, 1969 (Harvard Theological Studies
11), pp. 13-14. A new catalog of the Vatopedi Mss (1-100) is being prepared
by Erich Lamberz who graciously provided notes on the Ms. A microfilm of
the Ms was furnished by the Patriarchal Institute of Patristic Studies in
43. Lipsius,

Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten , op. cit., Erganzungsband

dtke, ``Die slavischen Texte des Thomas-Evangeliums '', in :

24. W. Lu


zantinisch-neugriechische Jahrbu cher 6 (1927), p. 493 n. 1 mentions a short

note on the Ms by V. Istrin in :

Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnago prosvesh-

cheniya 305 (June 1896), p. 61. Efforts to obtain a copy of the article have
met with no success.
44. Including Gero, ``The Infancy Gospel of Thomas '', op. cit., p. 49 ; Noret, ``Pour une edition '', op. cit. ; Cullmann, ``The Infancy Story of Thomas '', op. cit., p. 439 ; Mirecki, ``Thomas '', op. cit., p. 541 ; Elliott,


Apocryphal New Testament, op. cit., p. 70 ; and Schneider, Apokryphe Kindheitsevangelium, op. cit., p. 40.
dtke, ``Die slavischen Texte '', op. cit., pp. 505-506.
45. See the discussion in Lu
Jacimirskij, and Lu dtke after him, erroneously named the Ms

Vatopedi 36.

46. Not, as Cullmann (``The Infancy Story of Thomas '', op. cit., p. 439)
says, ch. 14. Schneider (Apokryphe

Kindheitsevangelium, op. cit., p. 40 n.

134) erroneously states that the Ms contains only chs. 1-4. Halkin assigned

the Ms a separate designation as BHG 779pc.

t. chartrand-burke


3.1.1. The Subgroup

Tischendorf 's base Mss, B and D, share the same text as two
of the unpublished Mss. The four closely-related Mss, here identified as the subgroup

, derive from a common exemplar and

therefore share several errors and distinguishing characteristics :

they lack much of ch. 6, and contain corrupt words or sentences
in chs. 8, 10, 15, 18, and 19. Only on rare occasions does


to preserve a reading missing in the other Ga Mss.


Samos, Bibliothek Metropoleos, Ms gr. 54 (fol. 9 -21 ),

15/16th c


This Ms, previously mentioned in scholarship by Paul



, adds very little to our knowledge of the

subgroup. It

contains numerous spelling mistakes, truncated sentences (9 :2,

13 :2 and 19 :4), and omissions resulting from homoeoteleuton
(in 6 :2, 7 :2, and 14 :2). At times, the Ms is very difficult to read,
due in part to holes in the paper (fol. 10 has numerous holes ;
fol. 11 and 12 have holes through several lines), and also to varying contrast in the photography of the microfilm. M is closely
related to L (see below).

Mount Athos, M. Megistes Lauras, Cod. Lavra


(fol. 20 -28 ), 15th c



The existence of L was known to both Noret and Rosen but until now it had been previously evaluated or utilized


The Ms is clearly related to M scribal notes on fol. 260 and

396 pinpoint its origin in Samos, and most of the texts in M are
found among those in L (the first three texts in M even occur in
the same order in L). The evidence suggests that M is the exem-

Kata` logoq jeirogra` fwn

kwdi`kwn Iera q Mytropo` lewq Sa` mou Episymoniky Epetyriq Heologiky q
Skoly q Aristoteleion Panepisty` mion Hessaloni`kyq
Para` rtyma

47. For






pp. 41-42 (

, Thessaloniki, 1973,

13). A microfilm of this Ms was furnished by the

Center of History and Palaeography of the Cultural Foundation of National

Bank of Greece.
48. P. Ge hin, ``Heuristique des manuscrits grecs '', in : Bulletin de l 'AELAC
3 (1993), p. 14.
49. For catalogue entry see S. Eustratiades - Spyridon Lavriotis, Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts in the Library of the Laura on Mount Athos,
1925, repr. New York, 1969 (Harvard Theological Studies 12), pp. 169-170.
A microfilm of this Ms was furnished by the Patriarchal Institute of Patristic
Studies in Thessaloniki.
50. See Rose n, The Slavonic Translation, op. cit., p. 37.

the greek manuscript tradition

plar of


Lthe two share the errors listed under M (except for

that of 14 :1), with

L adding a few more (in 14 :2 L omits words

inserted later in the sentence, and there is a clear case of homoeoteleuton in 6 :2 where an entire line from

M is skipped),

L reproduces exactly the abbreviations used by M when M

shortens words to fit on a single line.

3.2. Greek B

Mount Sinai, M. Ag. Ekaterines,


39 -42 ), 15/16th c


Cod. Sinai gr. 532 (fol.

Of the unpublished Mss only one adds to our knowledge of the Gb recension.
and after him by Voicu


C was first mentioned by P. Ge hin

. Like Tischendorf 's Gb Ms,

C hails

from St. Catharine 's monastery and its text is extremely close to

S, though not close enough to suggest direct copying. C 's value

lies in its inclusion of a line missing from the letter speculation
section in Tischendorf 's Ms.

3.3. Greek D

Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana,


(fol. 163 -164 ), 15th c


Palatinus gr. 364

This fragmentary Ms, comprising only the Egyptian Prelude and chs. 1-2, is valuable for where it clarifies several sections of the Egyptian Prologue corrupt or abbreviated in

specifically, the teacher 's command to bring Jesus to him and

his subsequent pulling of Jesus ' ear (v. 6), and several errors in
v. 9. Despite the differences between

R and A, the two Mss must

be closely related to one another as they share the corrupt spell-

Tiberia` doq
ei q r u` aka e pi dia` basin r u` akoq

ing of

(Prologue v. 8) and the corruption


(Prologue v. 9).

e pidia` ba

(2 :1), and they both omit

is a poor witness to Gd, however, for it

contains a number of spelling errors and it omits several lines in

51. For catalogue entries see V.N. B enes evic ,

Catalogus codicum manu-

scriptorum graecorum qui in monasterio Sanctae Catharinae in Monte Sina

asservantur, vol. 2, 1917, repr. Hildesheim, 1965, p. 425 ; and V. G ardthausen , Catalogus codicum graecorum sinaiticorum , Oxford, 1886, pp. 129-130.
A microfilm of this Ms was furnished by the U.S. Library of Congress.
52. Ge hin , ``Heuristique des manuscrits grecs '', op. cit., p. 14 ; V oicu , ``Verso il testo primitivo '', op. cit., p. 25.
53. For catalogue entry see H. S tevenson ,

Codices manuscripti palatini

graeci Bibliothecae Vaticanae , Vatican, 1885, pp. 222-228. A microfilm of

the Ms was furnished by the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

t. chartrand-burke


2 :3 likely due to homoeoteleuton. The text cuts off mid-page

during 2 :4.
de Santos '

R first entered IGT scholarship in a 1969 review of

Kirchenslavische by Michel van Esbroeck

. His note

R 's existence and its connection to A has been repeated

often but never pursued



Vienna, O

Cod. theol.


gr. 123 (fol. 192 -193 ), 13th c. (second half)


This codex is extremely damaged, with pages missing,

mixed up, and waterdamaged. IGT itself appears to have once
been complete in the Ms but is now reduced to a few pages
(comprising chs. 10-19). If Hunger 's thirteenth-century dating is
correct, this is the second earliest Ms of IGT and the earliest
witness to Gd.

T 's readings occasionally agree with Lt over A

and also often approach those of Ga. It is likely, therefore, that

T represents a better witness to Gd than Delatte 's Ms. The Ms

has not been published, but Rose n, the first IGT scholar to note
the Ms as a witness to the text, used it peripherally


3.4. Greek S

Jerusalem, Bibliotheke tou Patriarcheiou,


gr. 259 (fol. 66 -72 ), 2 col., 1089/90


Cod. Sabaiticus

This well-preserved, dated Ms is the earliest extant Greek

54. M. van Esbroeck, review of A. de Santos Otero,

Das kirchenslavische

Evangelium des Thomas, in : Analecta Bollandiana 87 (1969), p. 262.

55. The Ms was mentioned subsequently by de Santos Otero (Die


berlieferung der altslavischen Apokryphen , II, Berlin, 1981 [Paschriftliche U

tristische Texte und Studien 23], p. 50 n. 2), Noret (``Pour une edition '', op.
cit.), Voicu (``Notes sur l 'histoire '', op. cit., p. 125), Cullmann (``The Infancy Story of Thomas '', op. cit., p. 440), Schneider (Apokryphe


evangelium, op. cit., p. 40), and was listed, but not used, by Rose n (The
Slavonic Translation, op. cit., 37).
56. For catalogue entry see Hunger,

Katalog der griechischen Handschrif-

sten, op. cit., vol. I, p. 81. Photographs of the Ms were furnished by the O
terreichische Nationalbibliothek.
57. Rose n,

The Slavonic Translation , op. cit., p. 37.

bibliohy`ky ytoi kata`logoq twn en tai q bibliohy`kaiq tou agiwta`tou apostolikou te kai kaholikou orhodo`xou patriarjikou hro`nou twn Ierosolu`58. For catalogue entry see A. Papadopoulos-Ke rameus,

mwn kai pa`syq Palaisti` nyq apokeime`nwn ellynikwn kwdi` kwn,

I, 1894,

repr. Brussels, 1963, pp. 384-388. For a full description of the Ms see C.N.
Constantinides - R. Browning,

Dated Greek Manuscripts from Cyprus to

the year 1570, Washington, 1993 (Dumbarton Oaks Studies 30), pp. 63-68.
A microfilm of this Ms was supplied by the U.S. Library of Congress.

the greek manuscript tradition


manuscript evidence of IGT and the only witness to the Gs recension. Damage to the Ms is minimal : 19 folios are missing,
the Ms has holes on several pages before writing (68, 69, and 70
of the IGT folios), and the outer columns of folios 72 and 144
are missing, resulting in the loss of several words in IGT 's
concluding doxology. In a note by a later hand added to the first

several folios (66 -68 ) of IGT, the text is identified erroneously

as a heretical gospel valued by the Manicheans and is discredited on the grounds that Jesus performed no miracles before his
appearance at Cana (John 2 :1-11)






. The copyist of






abound in IGT. The spelling errors likely resulted from the aural copying of the text (e.g.,

ti` gar oun




scribe was also unfamiliar with rules of accent. Fortunately, however, he seems to have made few critical mistakes in his task,
though several readings unique to the Ms remain difficult to decipher (in sections corresponding to Ga 4 :1 ; 5 :1 ; 6 :2, 2b ; 10 :1 ;
and 16 :1).
Though previously unpublished,

's version of IGT has not

gone unnoticed in scholarship. It was mentioned first in the catalogue entry of 1894 and then in 1969 when van Esbroeck listed
it as a witness that Tischendorf ``ignorait ''


. Three years later it

appeared in Noret 's list of IGT Mss. Noret 's collation of

though never published, was subsequently used by Voicu in his

work on the text. Besides Voicu, the only other scholar to have
utilized the Ms is Rose n, and even then only peripherally
cussions of

by Geerard and Schneider



. Dis-

were derived from

Voicu 's work.

Voicu 's critical synopsis dramatically underutilizes Gs. Since
Voicu favours readings from the early versions, Gs 's readings,
though often close to those of the early versions, are lost within
the evidence of the other Greek recensions. In several instances,
these readings are even reproduced incorrectly (Voicu fails to
mention Gs 's designation of Annas as the ``high priest '' in 3 :1,
and some unique readings from ch. 5 are omitted).

59. The note is reproduced in Constantinides - Browning,


, op. cit., p. 67.

60. Van Esbroeck, review of

Dated Greek

Das kirchenslavische Evangelium des Thomas

op. cit., p. 262.

61. Rose n,

The Slavonic Translation

Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti
Apokryphe Kindheitsevangelien

62. M. Geerard,

1992, pp. 37-39 ; Schneider,


, op. cit., p. 37.

( cant), Turnhout,
, op. cit., pp.

t. chartrand-burke


4. The Transmission History of IGT

Voicu 's neglect of the unpublished Greek Mss is justifiable to

a degree if one 's goal is to recover the ``original text '' of IGT
if such an objective is even attainable. Neither

Sabaiticus gr. 259

nor the other unpublished Greek Mss offer this much-anticipated ``original text '', but they do furnish new information that
helps to improve our readings of the three established recensions
and to sketch the transmission history of the text in greater detail.
To begin, IGT likely was composed in the second or third
century. Parallels to IGT 's Teacher story (chs. 6 and 14) in Irenaeus ( Adversus

haereses I 20, 1) and the Epistula Apostolorum 4

support such a dating, as do internal indications of early composition namely, the anonymity of the text and its shortage of
NT parallels. Its original contents are impossible to determine
but by the sixth century, the time of the earliest full Ms evidence, it did not contain chs. 1, 10, 17, and 18. Voicu would
eliminate also ch. 12 since it appears to be a late addition to the
Ethiopic tradition. The short recension of IGT is extant today
in the early versions of the text.
As the centuries passed, the Greek tradition of IGT saw continual revision. Chapters 1 and 10 were added, perhaps not simultaneously, sometime prior to the copying of

Sabaiticus 259

in the eleventh century. Several chapters also received slight

augmentation (brief epilogues were added to chs. 11, 13, and 15)
and alteration. This first expansion of the text is difficult to
date. The nineteen-chapter form of IGT was known as early as
the tenth or eleventh century when it was used by the translator

Slav. Gs, therefore, must predate this translation. Perhaps Gs

hails from the same period as expansions of other infancy tales

such as

Ps.-Mt. (assembled in the seventh century)




and the

Arab. Gos. Inf. (assembled prior to the

eighth or ninth century).


Significantly, all three of these aug-

mented texts include a corroborating witness to their traditions

just as the name of Thomas was added to lend authority to
IGT, a validation letter of Jerome was appended to a branch of

63. R. Beyers , ``Introduction generale aux deux testes edites '', in : J. Gijsel

Libri de Navitate Mariae, I, Pseudo-Matthaei Evangelium Textus et

Commentarius , Turnhout, 1997 (Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum 9), p. 13.

64. The ninth-century Syriac father Isho`dad of Merv seems to refer to

Arab. Gos. Inf. in his commentary of Matthew (see E lliott , The Apocryphal
New Testament, op.cit., p. 100).

the greek manuscript tradition


Ps.-Mt. tradition




Arab. Gos. Inf. begins with a claim

that its information comes from the books of the High Priest Joseph Caiaphas.
Also some time prior to the creation of

Slav further changes

were made to the text resulting in the creation of Ga. Ch. 10 was
moved to its current position, ch. 17 and 18 were added, and
several chapters (3, 6, 12 and 14) expanded. Ms

W appears to

preserve well this form of the text. From here IGT developed in
three separate directions. Before the twelfth century (the approximate date of the earliest Ms of

Lt), Ga was radically re-

written and the Egyptian Prelude added to form Gd. And by the
fifteenth century Ga had been copied and variously altered to
form the extant Ga Mss and abbreviated to form Gb.

5. Transmission Stemma


Old Latin (V)

Syriac (VI)

Ethiopic (pr. IV?)

Georgian (X)
+ 1 & 10 (VIII/IX?)

+ 17 & 18=Ga (pr. X)

Slavonic (X/XI)

Gs (Saba) (XI)

Ga Mss (XIV-XVI) +Egypt Prol.=Gd (ca. XII) Gb Mss (XIV/XV)

65. The letter was added to

duction, '' op. cit., p. 15).

Ps.-Mt. around the year 800 (B

eyers ,


t. chartrand-burke


6. Assessment of the Greek Tradition

Undeniably, the Greek Mss of IGT allow scholars to trace

more clearly the path of the gospel 's transmission. Where Voicu
and I disagree is over the value of the earliest Greek Ms :


ticus gr. 259. Though Voicu has had considerable contact with
Gs, he does not have sufficient confidence in the Greek tradition
to consider its readings valuable. Instead, Voicu turns to the
Ethiopic version (Eth ) as an important witness to the original
form of IGT.
Voicu values

Eth over all other witnesses to IGT because it

alone displays some apparently primary qualities. First, ch. 12

(The Miracle of the Harvest) looks to be a late addition to the
text ; it is placed with the story of Jesus Rides the Sunbeam after
ch. 19 therefore reflecting, perhaps, its incorporation into the
tradition at a later stage in the collection 's transmission. Second,

Eth 's vastly different reading of ch. 13 (Jesus Stretches a

Beam) is, to Voicu 's mind, form-critically earlier than other

readings of the tale. In

Eth 's telling of this story, Jesus merely

follows Joseph 's instructions for constructing the bed ; there is

no miraculous stretching of the wood. It is precisely the absence
of the prodigy in the Beam story that leads Voicu to believe

Eth 's version of the chapter is more original. Yet his argument
is far from convincing.

Eth 's reading ill-suits the miraculous te-

nor of all the other stories in the text. Furthermore, a Jewish

parallel to the tale from

b. Ta`an. 25, which may have some

bearing on the origin of the Beam story, reflects the more common form found in the other witnesses. Furthermore, Voicu
himself concedes that

Eth 's readings often are inferior to those

of other versions his translation of IGT in

chre tiens



Ecrits apocryphes

Syr and Geo far more than it does Eth. In

sum, the major differences in

Eth, while curious, appear to be

aberrations. Voicu 's position notwithstanding, the Ethiopic tradition is clearly too unstable, and the Mss far too late, to trust
where they depart from the other versions.
If the versions are indeed superior witnesses to an early form
of IGT, scholarship on the text would benefit significantly from
the discovery of a Greek Ms that agrees with the shorter text of
the versions. A Ms conforming to these expectations has not
been found, but Gs comes rather close. Gs contains ch. 1, found
otherwise only in the long recension, and ch.10, located in Gs
between chs. 16 and 19. However, readings within the chapters
agree far better with the versions than they do with those of the

66. Voicu , ``Histoire de l 'Enfance de Je sus '', op. cit.

the greek manuscript tradition


other Greek Mss. In addition, expansions found in Ga and Gd

5, 6, and 15 are absent, as are the entire chs. 17 and 18. As Voicu
rightly stated in his seminal discussion of Ms

in 1991, Gs ap-

pears to represent an intermediate stage in the development of

IGT between the short recension of the versions, on the one
hand, and the long recension of the later Greek Mss, on the


However, Voicu 's assessment of the text needs correction. It

is true that Gs has been interpolated, but if chs. 1 and 10 and
several small additions are removed, Gs is virtually a Greek witness to the text of the versions. Admittedly, the correspondence
between Gs and the versions is not perfect.

contains some

clearly aberrant readings : the curse on the boy in the marketplace (``Cursed be your ruling faculty '', 4 :1), for example, not
only disagrees with all other witnesses to the text but also ill-fits
the offense that occasions the punishment ; the sayings material
in chapter five contains some unique additions ; the speech in Gs
finishes earlier than the versions with the unique saying ``And
you will bear the name of salvation '' ; and finally, in an unusual
expansion, Zeno, the boy who perishes falling from a roof in ch.
9, returns to death after he exonerates Jesus of pushing him
down. Other, less significant variations can be explained as part
of the natural process of nine centuries of transmission. It is also
possible that some of the major variants in Gs are, in fact, more
representative of the original text, for there is certainly no guarantee that the versions are based on a branch of the tradition
any more reliable than Gs.
Voicu 's only justification for virtually ignoring Gs in his reconstruction of IGT is its addition of chs. 1 and 10 and its relatively










skepticism about the value of Gs is unfortunate, as it surely provides us with the best available witness to an early form of the
gospel in its language of composition.


67. Voicu , ``Notes sur l 'histoire '', op. cit., p. 120 ; see also idem, ``Verso il
testo primitivo '', op. cit., p. 26-27.
68. IGT 's Greek origin is rarely disputed but has never been proven. Voicu 's evidence of Greek composition is mostly intuitive (see V oicu , ``Verso il
testo primitivo '', op. cit., pp. 53-55). For a comprehensive discussion of the
issue, including a refutation of the theory of Syriac composition, see C har-

trand -Burke , ``The Infancy Gospel of Thomas '', op. cit., pp. 247-254.

t. chartrand-burke


7. Avenues for Further Study

It should be clear from the preceding discussion that Gs warrants greater attention than Voicu 's assessment of the Greek
tradition would suggest. Given that IGT likely was composed in
Greek, Sabaiticus gr. 259 would make an ideal base Ms upon
which to formulate a new critical edition of the text. Admittedly, the Ms is certainly not perfect it does not represent the
exact same form as the early versions and its readings are sometimes obscure but it is closer to the original text than any
other known extant Greek Ms.
Nevertheless, the early versions remain important witnesses
to an early form of IGT. But additional text-critical work needs
to be performed on several of the versions if they are to be used
appropriately. Voicu 's enumeration of the sources for the versions, while a significant step forward in research on IGT, needs
to be supplemented with information from additional unpublished Mss.
First, the Syriac text, one of the earliest and most important
available witnesses to IGT, requires a critical edition of its own
or at least a thorough analysis of the evidence. Only two of the
four known Syriac Mss (S

and S ) have yet been published in

their entirety, and even these Mss appear to suffer from some
omissions (in Voicu 's numbering, S
and 15 :3-4, and S

lacks 6 :2d, 6 :3-7 :3, 8 :2,

lacks 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 19). A third Ms, Pee-

ters ' S , apparently fills some of the gaps in Wright 's Ms


, but

its precise contents will remain a mystery until it is finally published. Confusion exists also regarding the contents of the fourth

Ms : S . Baars ' and Heldermann 's collation reveals that the Ms

lacks 4 :2, 5 :2-3 ; 6 :1, 2c, 3-4, most of 7, all of 14 and 15, and
parts of 19. Yet Voicu 's synopsis, which utilizes a collation of S

prepared for him by Fre deric Rilliet, includes readings from chs.
14 and 15. When asked about the discrepancy, Voicu said that
he was no longer in contact with Rilliet and that the matter
could only be settled by looking at the Ms itself


Our knowledge of the Syriac tradition may be supplemented

by an additional witness to the text overlooked by Voicu. The
Syriac IGT may be extant in Mss of the Vision of Theophilus
(CANT 56). A. Mingana lists several Mss of this text, described
as a complex of biographical material which includes Prot. Jas.,

vangiles apocryphes, op. cit., pp. xiii-xv for a comparison

69. See Peeters , E
of S

with Wright 's Ms.

70. S. Voicu , letter to author, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, January 31,


the greek manuscript tradition

Assum. Vir.,



and something titled ``Of the youth and growth of


Messiah ''






known about the latter text. Mingana chose to publish only the


section of the collection because the other sections, he

wrote, had already been published


A critical edition of the Syriac Mss would assist greatly in establishing the original text of IGT. The Syriac Mss are among
the earliest sources for IGT, and though they suffer from various lacunae, together they provide a complete witness to the
text. With a critical edition of this important branch of the tradition, the extent of the Go ttingen Ms can be established firmly,
the Vatican Ms completely published, and the Mingana Mss
Other branches of the tradition would also benefit from critical editions, particularly the important Old Latin and Ethiopic
texts. The Old Latin IGT is preserved in Tischendorf 's fragmen-

Lv), in


tary fifth-century palimpsest (

an Irish translation (

and it was incorporated into

(as chs. 26-42). It is be-

lieved that the IGT material is a late addition to

Ps.-Mt. ; there-

fore, the recent critical edition of the text by J. Gijsel employs

only Mss that do not contain this material. Unfortunately this
leaves numerous witnesses to the Old Latin IGT unedited. Only
the two Mss used by Tischendorf have been published to date

Vat. lat. 4578

lat. 1652 and these are

Ps.-Mt. However, two
Paris, B. N., lat. 1772 and Dijon,

and Paris, B.N.

considered to be poor, late witnesses to

notable Mss listed by Gijsel
Bibl. Mun.,


38 (20) feature the IGT material separated from

Ps.-Mt. with a new title. These Mss may in-

the remainder of

clude a version of the Old Latin IGT that is less altered and interpolated




Tischendorf 's


unpublished Mss of the Latin translation of Gd (




Lt) also remain

; however, their utility is limited : they aid in esta-

71. A. Mingana,

Catalogue of the Mingana Collection of Manuscripts ,


Cambridge, 1933, nos. 5, 39, and 48.

Vision of Theophilus '', Bulletin of

the John Rylands Library 13 (1929), pp. 384-385.

72. A. Mingana, ``Woodbrook Studies 5 :

73. This assessment of Tischendorf 's Mss was made by Beyers, ``Introduction '', op. cit., pp. 38-39.

Ps.-Mt. Mss that include all or part of Lt. AdditioLt are mentioned in Z. Izydorczyk, Manuscripts of the Evangelium Nicodemi : A Census, Toronto, 1993 (Subsidia mediaevalia 21). For a

74. Gijsel lists at least 21

nal Mss of

concise list of Gijsel 's and Izydorczyk 's Mss see Chartrand-Burke, ``The
Infancy Gospel of Thomas '', op. cit., p. 121.

t. chartrand-burke


blishing the text of Gd with greater precision but tell us nothing

about the original text of IGT.
The status of Eth is similar to that of Lm. Like Ps.-Mt., the
Ms base of Eth 's host text the Miracles of Jesus has been expanded since its initial publication. Gre baut 's edition is based
on a late manuscript of Paris ' Bibliothe que nationale (d 'Abbadie
168, 19th c.) with four others employed in the apparatus. These
Mss are considered now poor representatives of the Miracles


But additional Mss of the text exist. A list of Ta 'am-

ra 'Iyasus Mss published in 1975


places the number of Mss

featuring either IGT or other childhood tales at 25.


A new edi-

tion of the text is warranted especially if Voicu wishes to maintain his claim of Eth 's primacy.
Finally, the study of the various IGT traditions would be enhanced also by an English translation of Rose n 's critical edition
of the Slavonic family of Mss. Scholars of Slavistics may benefit









scholars possess the necessary command of the languages to

integrate the edition into their own endeavours.

8. Conclusion

Voicu 's critical synopsis of IGT fills a great need in scholarship for a comprehensive treatment of the available sources for
this neglected text. This article was intended to supplement Voicu 's synopsis by providing details on a branch of the Ms tradition that receives little attention in his work, and indeed little
attention in scholarship. Many of the unpublished Greek Mss
have been listed in catalogs and noted in discussions of IGT for
decades, some for over a century, yet they remain unpublished.
It has been thirty years since J. Noret announced his plans to
edit the Greek Mss for a prospective critical edition of IGT.

75. S. Gero , ``The Ta 'amra 'Iyasus : A Study of Textual and Source-Critical

Problems '', in : T. B eyene

(ed.), Proceedings of the Eighth International

Conference of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, 1988, p. 166 (see also V oicu ,
``Verso il testo primitivo '', op. cit., p. 22) calls Gre baut 's base Ms a ``deviant
text. '' His assessment is based on comparison with other Mss of the Miracles
that better represent the Arabic Gospel of John, the text that forms the bulk
of the Miracles.
76. V. Arras - L.

van Rompay , ``Les manuscrits e thiopiens des `Miracles

de Jesus ', '' in : Analecta Bollandiana 93 (1975), pp. 133-146.

77. These other tales variants of Jesus and the Dyer, Jesus Rides the Sunbeam, and Jesus and the Sparrows are found, though not always together,
in several Mss.

the greek manuscript tradition


That project is now completed in this survey and, to a greater

extent, in my doctoral thesis. But the other traditions, most notably the Syriac, Old Latin, and Ethiopic texts, require a similar
treatment if a complete critical edition of IGT is to be realized.
While it remains my argument that Gs is, at present, the best
witness we have to the gospel, the age of the Gs Ms and the various changes IGT has undergone over the centuries make comprehensive text-critical work on the early versions necessary if











Clearly a balanced integration of both the Greek and non-Greek

witnesses to IGT is required if the study of the text is to progress

Aspirant du F.N.R.S.
Universite Libre de Bruxelles

L 'E

Cette etude porte sur les paroles de Je sus a propos de la lettre alpha
(chap. 6,4). En commentant ce passage, nous voulons examiner les
trois episodes ou Jesus est repre sente face a un ma|tre d 'ecole. Il
s 'agira de souligner la cohe rence interne de l 'apocryphe.

This study deals with the sayings of Jesus about the letter alpha
(chap. 6,4). While commenting this passage, we intend to examine
the three episodes where Jesus is portrayed at school, and to underline the internal coherence of the apocryphon.

vangile de l 'enLe re cit apocryphe appele commune ment E

fance selon Thomas nous relate l 'enfance de Je sus et les miracles
que celui-ci a accomplis depuis ses cinq ans jusqu 'a ses douze
ans. Le texte que j 'e tudie ici appartient a une tradition longue et
complexe, et la reconstitution de l 'arche type reste extremement

problematique . J 'ai choisi de porter mon attention sur un des

vangile de l 'enfance, la recension grecque
etats attestes de cet E

longue . Bien qu 'ayant e te l 'objet de remaniements, celle-ci me

* Je tiens a remercier Sever Voicu pour avoir lu le pre sent article et m 'avoir
apporte des elements de re flexion.
1. Pour l 'histoire du texte, voir l 'article magistral de S. J. Voicu : Verso il
testo primitivo dei

Paidika tou kuri` ou Iysou

Racconti dell 'infanzia del

Signore Gesu , Apocrypha 9, 1998, p. 7-95 ; voir aussi S. G

ero , The Infancy

Gospel of Thomas. A Study of the Textual and Literary Problems, Novum

Testamentum 13, 1971, p. 46-80.
vangile de l 'en2. Les extraits de la recension grecque longue, dite A, de l 'E
fance selon Thomas sont issus de l 'e dition de Tischendorf, que j 'ai corrige e
par endroits (je prepare une nouvelle edition de cette recension), et les traductions, citees en italiques, sont personnelles (voir K.

von Tischendorf ,

Evangelia apocrypha, adhibitis plurimis codicibus graecis et latinis maximam

partem nunc primum consultis atque ineditorum copia insignibus. Collegit
atque recensuit Constantinus de Tischendorf, Leipzig,



1966], p. 140-157).

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 153-175

l. paulissen


semble repondre a une logique propre, et introduire dans la narration une coherence interne qui, pour elle-me me, ne manque
pas d 'interet.
En effet, les miracles tant punitifs que be nefiques que l 'enfant
Jesus re alise par la puissance performative de sa parole dans ce
texte, n 'ont d 'autre but que d 'amener les te moins de ses prodi3

ges a la re velation de sa nature et a la foi . En effet, il cause la

mort de deux enfants et rend aveugles les parents de l 'un d 'eux
au debut du recit (ch. 3, 2-3 ; ch. 4, 1 ; ch. 5, 1), mais il les sauve
peu apres, en disant : Moi, je suis venu d 'en haut pour les maudire, et pour les appeler a s 'elever, comme l 'a ordonne celui qui

m 'a envoye a cause de vous . Il accumule ensuite gue risons, resurrections et bienfaits miraculeux. C 'est par ces actes saisissants que l 'enfant fait reconna| tre sa divinite . Nous verrons plus
loin de manie re plus detaillee l 'interaction entre l 'attitude de Je sus et celle des gens, revelatrice de la coherence interne du re cit.
Paralle lement, Jesus suscite aussi l 'e merveillement par son savoir, qu 'il devoile a l 'ecole, au ma| tre et aux personnes pre sentes, la ou il est cense apprendre l 'alphabet (dans trois e pisodes



s 'ache ve


Je sus




Temple de Je rusalem avec les docteurs de la Loi, passage qui

vangile selon Luc (Lc 2, 41-52). Ces
cite, en le reamenageant, l 'E


te moignent



l 'importance


l 'ensei-

gnement dans ce texte.

La premiere partie de mon e tude portera sur les paroles que

Jesus prononce sur la lettre alpha au ch. 6, 4. Pour ce faire, j 'ai
l 'intention d 'examiner les termes qui ont e te choisis, en respectant le plus possible le texte des manuscrits ; j 'en proposerai ensuite une traduction. Puis, je me livrerai au commentaire de ce
passage. Dans un second temps, j 'aborderai l 'ensemble des trois
episodes qui presentent Jesus chez un ma| tre d 'ecole. Je m 'efforcerai de montrer la coherence interne du texte, ainsi que la
place de l 'enseignement dans notre apocryphe.

3. Voir a ce sujet : L. Paulissen, Jesus, enfant divin : processus de recon vangile de l 'enfance selon Thomas, a para|tre dans Les orinaissance dans l 'E



l 'humanisme

europe en.




international de l 'Universite Libre de Bruxelles et des Faculte s Universitaires

Saint-Louis, 15-18 mars 2000 (L. Couloubaritsis et B. Decharneux e d.), Ousia, Bruxelles.

anwhen pa`reimi ina autouq katara`somai (sic) kai eiq ta anw ka4. Egw
le`sw, kaha dieta`xato o apostei`laq me di umaq (ch. 8, 1).

je sus a l 'e cole

Premie re

partie : Les



Je sus







ch. 6, 4

Les revelations que Jesus livre au ch. 6, 4 sur la lettre alpha

constituent un passage difficile qui contraste avec la simplicite
du reste du texte. Avant d 'e tudier la dynamique des trois passa5

ges, reprenons le texte transmis ici par les manuscrits :

` tou stoijei`ou ta`xin, kai pro`Akoue, dida`skale, tyn tou prw

de pw
sjeq w
q ejei kano`naq kai me`sa jaraktyraq ouq, ora, xunou`q,





balefegiountaq, trisy`mouq, omogeneiq, uparpoujhen, zu-

gosta`touq, isome`trouq kano`naq ejei to a.

balefegiountaq D : ba`le fegiountaq B


uparpoujhe`n D : uparpoujhe` B

Une etude lexicographique s 'ave re indispensable pour comprendre ce passage et pour en de gager les diffe rents sens et tou6

tes les richesses .

Ta` xiq

: Le sens ge neral du mot ta`xiq est arrangement, mise

en ordre, disposition ; de rive du sens militaire, il signifie pos7

te, position, rang .

5. Les principaux manuscrits de la recension grecque longue sont ceux de

Dresde (Dresd. A 187, p. 523-530) et de Bologne (Bibl. Univ. 2702, f. 76v87v).
Voici la version corrige e qui est edite e par Tischendorf (Op. cit., p. 145146) et la traduction qu 'en propose avec re serve Michel (Ch. Michel et
vangiles apocryphes. Tome I. Prote vangile de Jacques, PseudoP. Peeters, E
vangile de Thomas. Textes annotes et traduits par Charles MiMatthieu, E
chel. Histoire de Joseph le charpentier. Redactions copte et arabe traduites et
annote es par P. Peeters, Paris, 1911, p. 171) :

de pw
` tou stoijei`ou ta`xin, kai pro`sjeq w
Akoue, dida`skale, tyn tou prw
ejei kano`naq, kai mesajaraktyra ouq oraq xunouq diabai`nonta, sunagome`nouq, uvouq men poreu`ontoq pa`lin de kefalaiountoq, trisy`mouq omogeneiq,
upa`rjouq de kai uposta`touq, isome`trouq kano`naq ejeiq tou a.
coute, ma|tre, la disposition du premier caracte re et remarque comme il a
des lignes et un trait median traversant les lignes que tu vois communes et re unies, la partie superieure avancant et les re unissant de nouveau, triples et homogenes,



subordonne es,

d 'egale

mesure :





l 'alpha.
6. Je voudrais remercier Guy Donnay, professeur a l 'Universite Libre de
Bruxelles, pour les conversations que nous avons eues a ce sujet.
7. Lsj,



II, 1




H. G. Liddell,

R. Scott


H. S. Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon compiled by Henry George Liddell and

Robert Scott. A New Edition Revised and Augmented throughout by Henry
Stuart Jones, Oxford, 1940


l. paulissen


Ce terme, que je traduis ici par position , fera l 'objet d 'un

plus long commentaire apre s l 'etude lexicale, e tant donne ses
multiples interpre tations au sein des paroles de l 'enfant Je sus.

Stoijei on

gra` mma


: Pour designer les lettres dans notre

texte, le substantif gra`mma est generalement utilise, tandis que


stoijeion n 'appara|t qu 'a deux reprises .

Le terme gra`mma designe un caracte re d 'ecriture , une
lettre (du point de vue graphique), et au pluriel les lettres,

l 'alphabet ;


Quant a stoijeion


repre sentent


l 'instruction


, il signifie element et peut, quand le

contexte s 'y pre te, se traduire par lettre , en tant qu 'e lement
de l 'alphabet



ou comme element constitutif de la syllabe et du

Plus spe cifiquement, chez les grammairiens grecs, le stoijeion,

l ' e lement ,


accidents :






pha ), le caracte re graphique (en l 'occurrence A), la position

ou ta`xiq (celle-ci fait reference a la position d 'une lettre a l 'interieur d 'une syllabe ou d 'un mot, ou a l 'ordre des lettres dans
l 'alphabet), et la valeur ou du`namiq (/a/ est une voyelle, longue
ou breve). Le stoijeion englobe donc le gra`mma parmi d 'autres


Enfin, les stoijeia sont aussi les ele ments dans differents domaines, comme la geometrie, la physique, l 'astronomie, l 'astrollogie, la philosophie et la religion


8. Gra`mmata au pluriel aux ch. 6, 2 (2x) ; 6, 3 ; 14, 1 ; 14, 2 ; 15, 1 et 15, 2 ;

en parlant de la premie re lettre : gra`mma aux ch. 6, 3 et 7, 1 ; stoijeion
aux ch. 6, 4 et 7, 3. Ces termes n 'apparaissent que dans les chapitres avec les
ma|tres d 'e cole.
9. Lsj, s.v. gra`mma, II, 1, a.
10. Lsj, s.v. gra`mma, IV.
11. Lsj, s.v. stoijeion, II, 1 ; Bailly, s.v. stoijeion, II (Bailly = A. Bailly,
dition revue
Dictionnaire grec-franc ais, redige avec le concours de E. Egger. E
par L. Sechan et P. Chantraine avec, en appendice, de nouvelles notices de mythologie et religion par L. Se chan, Paris, 1963


) ; Chantraine, t. IV, 1, s.v.

stei`jw, c (Chantraine = P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire etymologique de la

langue grecque. Histoire des mots, Paris, 1968-1980).
12. Ta tw
n gramma`twn stoijeia` te kai sullaba`q : Les lettres et les syllabes (Platon, Theete te 202 e).

q pe`fuke
adiai`retoq, ou pasa de`, all' ex y
13. Stoijeion men oun esti fwny
sunhety gi`neshai fwny` : La lettre est un son indivisible, non pas quelconque,
mais a partir duquel un son compose peut etre forme (Aristote, Poetique
20, 1456 b, 22).
14. J. Lallot, La grammaire de Denys le Thrace. Traduite et annote e par
Jean Lallot, Paris, 1989, p. 96 et 98.
15. Lsj, s.v. stoijeion, II, 2-5 ; Bailly, s.v. stoijeion, III ; F. Dornseiff,

Das Alphabet in Mystik und Magie, Leipzig-Berlin, 1925 , p. 14-17.

je sus a l 'e cole


Dans les Lettres de Paul, les e lements du monde ,

jeia tou ko`smou

ta stoi-

(Galates 4, 3 ; Coloss 2, 8 et 2, 20), font re fe-

rence aux forces spirituelles du monde, puissances invisibles qui

se confondent avec les anges ou les de mons


, et qui dominent

les hommes jusqu 'a ce que la foi en Jesus-Christ les libere


Alors que




sont souvent utilises sans dis-

tinction claire (au sens de lettres ), nous verrons que l 'auteur

differencie ces deux termes et les manipule en toute connaissance


. C 'est pourquoi je traduis

Kano` naq

O kanw`n


par element .

est un mot technique dont le sens ge neral

est baguette droite, barre , et qui peut de signer toute partie ou

piece d 'une machine ou d 'un assemblage de construction. Il reve t donc diverses significations, comme re gle des macons et
charpentiers, fleau de balance, tringles de rideaux, colonne de lit, barreaux d 'une fene tre ou d 'une cage, etc.



de l 'alpha ont donc deux caracte ristiques : ils sont

rectilignes et constituent des parties d 'un tout ; je traduis ce

terme par ligne droite .


i some`trouq

xunou`q jusqu 'a
kano`naq (le deuxieme), anteceouq... ejei to a, insere a l 'interieur de celle-ci.




se rapportent au mot

dent de la relative

Me` sa jarakty raq




jarakty`r, au sens de
oi twn gram-

marque gravee , peut s 'appliquer aux lettres :





Apophtegmes laconiens 214 f)

L 'adverbe






veut dire entre, au milieu de et est utilise

au pluriel chez Euripide


; en grec moderne, l 'adverbe



gnifie (en) dedans, a l 'interieur .

tude sur les relations entre Chre tiens et Juifs

16. M. Simon, Verus Israel. E
dans l 'empire romain (135-425), Paris, 1948, p. 403.
cole bi17. La Bible de Jerusalem. Traduite en franc ais sous la direction de l 'E
blique de Je rusalem. Nouvelle e dition revue et augmente e, Paris, 1998, Galates
4, 3, note m et Coloss 2, 15, note h.
18. Voir plus bas dans le commentaire des paroles de Je sus au ch. 6, 4 et
dans l 'etude des trois passages de l 'enfant a l 'ecole.
19. Lsj, s. v.
20. Le mot


I ; Chantraine, t. II, s.v.


kanw`n ;

Bailly, s.v.



qui n 'est atteste que dans notre passage, est une

correction (que je n 'adopte pas) et est traduit par trait me dian d 'une lettre (Lampe = G. W. H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, Oxford, 1961


jarakty`r, II, 2.
s.v. me`soq, V, 1. Euripide,

], s.v.

21. Lsj, s.v.

22. Lsj,

tatai :

Rhe sus 531 :

et l 'aigle vole au milieu du ciel .

me`sa d 'ai etoq ouranou po-

l. paulissen


me` sa jarakty req


sont les traces internes , les traits

interieurs .
Dans le cas de la lettre alpha, les trace s internes designent la
barre mediane brisee de l 'alpha epigraphique, graphie largement
repandue a l 'epoque romaine.
En effet, rappelons que l 'alpha e pigraphique, dont il est question ici, a une barre parfaitement horizontale a la fin du V
avant notre e re (


), puis la barre s 'incurve au cours du IV

cle et se brise dans la seconde moitie

du III

siecle (


). A

l 'epoque imperiale, cette barre brise e tend parfois a redevenir

un trait oblique comme a l 'epoque archa|que


Un alpha a barre droite necessiterait une correction dans le

jarakty ra


. Mais rappelons que les paroles de Je sus ac-

cordent toute l 'importance aux

kano` naq

de l 'alpha et non a la

barre de celui-ci.

Xunou` q

: L 'adjectif

xu` noq

signifie commun ou qui agit,

qui vit en commun . C 'est un terme poe tique tres ancien qui est
entre autres atteste chez Homere, Hesiode, Eschyle, Sophocle,
Pindare, Callimaque et He rodote, mais pas en prose attique ni










communaute et a mon sens, les participes qui suivent dans la

phrase specifient les actions communes de ces lignes droites

Diabai` nontaq

: Le premier sens, intransitif, du verbe


diabai` nw

est avoir les jambes e cartees, marcher a grandes enjambe es ,

depuis Homere et encore chez Plutarque et Lucien


Ce sens correspond bien a l 'alpha, qui est une lettre de forme

triangulaire. En effet, les ge ometres comparaient les co tes superieurs d 'un triangle a des jambes ecartees, d 'ou les appellations

i soskely` q
skalyno` q

de triangle isoce le (
triangle scalene (

, qui a les jambes e gales ) et de

, boiteux ).

Dans ce verbe que je traduis par s 'e carter , il me semble

interessant de retenir l 'idee de marche et de mouvement.

23. Descriptions et illustrations de M. Guarducci, Epigrafia greca, I, Caratteri e storia della disciplina. La scrittura greca delle origini all 'eta imperiale, Rome, 1967, p. 380.
24. Lsj, s.v.

xu` noq

; Chantraine, t. III, s.v.

xu` n

; Bailly, s.v.

xu` noq

, I et II.

25. S. Voicu sugge re que ces lignes sont attache es ensemble , par opposition au

compose de trois traits detachees. Mais cette traduction, descrip-

tive de la forme, occulte le dynamisme inscrit dans les participes.

26. Lsj, s.v.


, I.

je sus a l 'e cole

Sunagome` nouq

: Le verbe

faire se toucher



suna`gw signifie reunir, rapprocher,

. Je traduis ici le participe par se rejoi-

gnant .

Uvoume` nouq

: Le verbe

uvo`w, qui signifie au sens propre ele-

ver , est utilise dans l 'E

selon Jean dans le sens d 'elever

Jesus sur la croix ( Jn 3, 14 ; 8, 28 ; 12, 32 ; 12, 34), acte lie a la

gloire du Christ qui s 'explique par le sens figure de elever, glorifier, exalter (dans de tre s nombreux passages de la Septante






Lc 1, 52 ; 14, 11 ; 18, 14 ;

Mt 23, 12 ; Actes 13, 17 ; 2Cor 11, 7 ; Jacq 4, 10 ; 1Pierre 5, 6) ;

il est aussi employe pour dire elever a la droite de Dieu (Ac-

tes 2, 33


Lc 10, 15)


5, 31)


e lever

jusqu 'au

( Mt 11, 23 ;


Enfin, il peut s 'utiliser au passif a propos des planetes : monter vers le nord de l 'e cliptique ou atteindre une exaltation ,
c 'est-a-dire l 'efficacite apote lesmatique maximale


L 'emploi de ce verbe e voque la gloire et la monte e dans le

ciel ; il pourrait eventuellement faire allusion a la mise en croix
de Jesus, a son ascension et a son exaltation, ou a la trajectoire
des planetes.

Joreu` ontaq

: Le verbe

joreu`w signifie danser une danse cho-

rale et designe tout ce qui est en mouvement circulaire, comme

les corps celestes


. Cette evolution circulaire des dieux astraux

est, rappelons-le, marque e par la perfection. Le terme


peut avoir une signification physique, me taphysique et me me



Trisy` mouq

: L 'adjectif

tri` symoq est un terme de musique et de

tri` jronoq. Ce dernier signifie

prosodie qui est l 'e quivalent de

de trois temps , a savoir de trois syllabes courtes, ou d 'une

27. Lsj,


suna`gw, II,

28. W. Bauer,

2 ; Bailly,


suna`gw, II,


Griechisch-deutsches Wo rterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen

Testaments und der fruhchristlichen Literatur. 6. vo llig neu bearbeitete Auflage. Herausgegeben von Kurt Aland und Barbara Aland, Berlin-New York,


uvo`w, 1 et 2 ; Lsj, s.v. uvo`w, II, 1. Pour quelques notes sur l 'exal-

tation de Je sus, voir Fr. C. Grant et H. H. Rowley,

Dictionary of the

Bible. Second edition. Original edition by James Hastings revised by Frederick C. Grant and H.
29. Lsj,


30. Lsj,


dimbourg, 1963, p. 60,

H. Rowley, E

uvo`w, II, 3-4.

joreu`w, I, 1 et 4.

31. J. Trouillard, La figure du chur de danse (

vre de Proclos,


s.v. Ascen-

dans l 'u-

Permanence de la philosophie : melanges offerts a Joseph Mo-

reau, Neuchatel, 1977, p. 162-163.

l. paulissen


courte et d 'une longue


(ce dernier cas ne convient pas ici).

Cette notion de musique s 'accorde bien avec le verbe joreu`w

( danser en choeur ), raison pour laquelle je traduis trisy`mouq
par dans un rythme ternaire .
Bien que les droites composant l 'alpha ( kano`naq) soient au
nombre de deux, elles sont qualifie es de trisy`mouq et s 'articulent en trois temps. L 'explication pourrait en e tre la suivante :
ces deux droites sont de terminees par trois points le sommet
et les points infe rieurs gauche et droit- qui de terminent un triangle. L 'adjectif trisy`mouq (chaque co te de ce triangle e quivaut
a une breve un meme temps, une meme longueur) joint a

isome`trouq (deux kano`neq d 'egale longueur indiquent au moins

un triangle isoce le) suggere un triangle e quilateral. La mise en
relation avec joreu`ontaq, indique que ce triangle est inscrit dans
un cercle ; les trois points qui de terminent l 'alpha de finissent
aussi un cercle.


: L 'adjectif omogeny`q a pour sens de me me race,

de meme famille, de me me genre , et dans un sens plus ge neral

de me me sorte, semblable


L 'emploi de trisy`mouq aux cotes de omogeneiq, du triple et de

l 'un, evoque une structure triadique et pourrait faire allusion a
la Trinite, dans un contexte chre tien, ce terme pris au sens le
plus large. Dans cette optique, j 'ai choisi de traduire omogeneiq
par formant une famille .

Zugosta` touq

: Le verbe zugostate`w, a l 'origine peser avec

une balance et au passif, e tre en equilibre


, s 'applique ega-

lement au domaine religieux : d 'une part dans les spe culations

theologiques, dont celles des Ariens sur la Trinite et celles des
heretiques en general, et d 'autre part concernant l 'action divine,
a savoir l 'accueil d 'une prie re par Dieu et le jugement des a mes
par le Christ


. Paralle lement, le substantif o zugosta`tyq desi-

gne celui qui pese en public


, et fait par la suite re ference au

jugement des ames ou aux faux raisonnements des he re tiques


On peut de duire pour l 'adjectif zugo`statoq, seule attestation

connue, le sens de qui est en e quilibre , qui juge .

32. Lsj, s.v. tri`symoq, I ; s.v. tri`jronoq, 1.

` q, I.
33. Lsj, s.v. omogeny
34. Lsj, s.v. zugostate`w, I et II.
35. Lampe, s.v. zugostate`w, 2 et 3.
36. Lsj, s.v. zugostate`w.
37. Lampe, s.v. zugosta`tyq.

je sus a l 'e cole

Isome`trouq :


L 'adjectif iso`metroq est un mot rare synonyme

de isome`trytoq, dont le sens est de mesure e gale ou de

poids egal





entoure s





giountaq et uparpoujhe`n, me semblent malheureusement insolubles.

Sur base de cette e tude du lexique, je propose la traduction

suivante :
coute, ma| tre, quelle est la position du premier e lement, et ap E
prends de quelle manie re il possede des lignes droites et des traits
interieurs. Vois, les lignes droites que l 'alpha posse de forment une
communaute ,

s 'e cartent,



s 'e le vent,



choeur, ... , dans un rythme ternaire, forment une famille,

... , sont en e quilibre et d 'egale mesure.
Il est important de remarquer la diffe rence fondamentale entre le texte corrige


et celui des manuscrits. Dans le premier cas,

l 'explication de la lettre, bien que tre s complexe, se limite a une

description plane des lignes, qui peut se comprendre alle goriquement autour de la Trinite . Les manuscrits, eux, ouvrent une voie
vers le cosmos, l 'univers, et l 'on voit les lignes de l 'alpha se
mouvoir et danser dans les trois dimensions, dans le mouvement
circulaire et parfait des astres.

Apres cette exploration de l 'aspect lexical, quelques commentaires s 'imposent sur les paroles prononce es par Jesus.
Le terme stoijeion, de signification beaucoup plus large que
le gra`mma, appara|t la premiere fois dans la bouche de Je sus,
lorsque celui-ci de clare a Zachee qu 'il va lui re veler l 'alpha :

` tou stoijei`ou ta`xin, E

Akoue, dida`skale, tyn tou prw
ma|tre, la position du premier e lement (ch. 6, 4). Par le choix de
ce mot, l 'enfant annonce que son discours ne se limite pas au niveau de l 'alphabet.

Les paroles de Je sus comprennent donc plusieurs niveaux de

lecture. Tout d 'abord, l 'enfant envisage la ta`xiq de l 'alpha au
sens courant de disposition : il de crit la forme de la lettre et la
disposition des traits qui la composent. En fait, cela e quivaut a
expliquer l 'alpha en tant que gra`mma, ce qu 'essayait justement
de lui apprendre Zache e avec son savoir limite . Il le fait avec un

38. Lsj, s.v. iso`metroq et isome`trytoq.

39. Voir la note 5.

l. paulissen


vocabulaire deconcertant car recherche , rare, voire poetique ou

faisant reference au Nouveau Testament.

Jesus evoque egalement un autre aspect du premier




au sens grammatical, cette fois, de position . En effet,

ces deux notions sont tre s liees : une lettre est un

qu 'elle possede une




que ce soit dans l 'alphabet, dans un

mot ou dans une syllabe, et parce qu 'elle constitue un e lement

de ces derniers. Le premier ma| tre d 'e cole recite l 'alphabet de-

tou a ewq tou w,

puis l 'alpha jusqu 'a l 'omega (apo

ch. 6, 3) ;

l 'alpha en est la premie re lettre ou le premier e lement, et il est

appele comme tel aux ch. 6, 3 ; 6, 4 ; 7, 1 et 7, 3 ( to

gra`mma/stoijeion) . Jesus fournit
la ta`xiq de l 'alpha en mentionnant


une deuxie me precision sur

la lettre qui suit l 'alpha : le

beta (ch. 6, 3 et 14, 2). L 'enfant interdit a Zachee de parler de la

lettre suivante, beta, s 'il ne peut prouver sa connaissance de
l 'alpha, la toute premie re lettre.

Ensuite, on glisse d 'un vocabulaire technique et grammatical,

vers d 'autres niveaux. En effet, au-dela de la description des lignes de l 'alpha, se dessine sur un plan symbolique et cosmologique une explication sur l 'ordonnancement ( ta`xiq) et la nature
(fu`siq) de l 'univers ( to

alfa... kata fu`sin :

la nature de l 'al-

pha , ch. 6, 3).

Le verbe


peut evoquer les astres et les spe culations

sur la perfection du cercle et du Ciel. De me me,


peut faire

reference au cosmos et aux plane tes. Dans ces quelques mots,

deux figures geometriques apparaissent : le triangle et le cercle.
Le triangle, equilateral ou tout au moins isoce le, s 'inscrit dans
le cercle aux trois points qui de finissent l 'alpha, le sommet et les
deux points de la base.

Enfin, sur le plan the ologique, la


repre sente le rang dans

la hie rarchie de chacune des trois parties au sein de la Trinite , et



s 'applique a la divinite. Ces parties forment un tout

(xunou`q), elles sont separees (diabai` nontaq) mais re unies (suna-

gome`nouq) ;

elles sont elevees dans la gloire jusqu 'au ciel, ou elles

dansent sur un rythme ternaire ( uvoume`nouq,

sy`mouq) ;

joreu`ontaq, tri-

triples ( trisy`mouq), elles sont de la meme famille, dans

40. Je reviendrai plus loin sur le the me de la premiere et de la derniere lettre

de l 'alphabet et son lien avec Je sus.

je sus a l 'e cole


un parfait equilibre et ont le me me poids chacune (omogeneiq,

zugosta`touq, i some`trouq).
Devant un tel discours venant d 'un enfant qu 'il conside rait
comme son eleve, Zache e notons que Zache e est le seul ma|tre
d 'ecole que l 'on nomme dans le texte se sent terriblement humilie et il se lamente sans retenue. Il ne conna| t pas la premie re

n moi eipe kano`nwn tou

Kai ti` diygy`sashai peri w
prw`tou stoijei` ou ; ( Et que pourrai-je expliquer sur les lignes du

lettre :

premier e lement apres ce qu 'il m 'en a dit ? , ch. 7, 3). Zache e emploie a son tour le mot


mais il repete simplement le

terme qu 'a utilise Jesus pour introduire sa tirade ; il se sent de passe.

On voit que l 'auteur reconna|t l 'importance de ce passage par

les termes qu 'il emploie pour qualifier les paroles de Je sus au
ch. 7, 1 : allegories si nombreuses et si profondes sur la premie re

tosau`taq kai toiau`taq allygori` aq tou prw`tou

gra`mmatoq) et une telle explication et un tel enseignement (tosau`tyn apologi` an kai didaskali` an autou).
lettre (taq

Notons pour conclure cette premie re partie un passage parallele a la sce ne que nous venons d 'examiner, celui d 'Ire nee qui
critique notre re cit, ou en tout cas un apocryphe proche pre sentant Jesus enfant a l 'ecole : Dans le meme but, ils y ajoutent encore la faussete que voici : ``Lorsque le Seigneur e tait enfant et
apprenait ses lettres, le ma| tre lui dit, comme c 'e tait la coutume :
Dis alpha ; il re pondit alpha. Mais lorsqu 'ensuite le ma| tre lui eut
enjoint de dire be ta, le Seigneur lui re pondit : Dis-moi d 'abord toimeme ce qu 'est alpha, et je te dirai alors ce qu 'est be ta. '' Ils expliquent cette reponse du Seigneur en ce sens que lui seul aurait
connu l 'Inconnaissable qu 'il manifesta sous la figure de la lettre


Cette disqualification sera la premie re d 'une longue se rie qui

vangile de l 'enfance selon
perdure jusqu 'a nos jours. En effet, l 'E
Thomas a fait l 'objet des critiques les plus vives, tant au sujet du

dition et traduction dans A. Rous41. Ire ne e, Contre les heresies, I, 20, 1. E

seau et L. Doutreleau, Irenee de Lyon. Contre les he resies. Livre I. Tome
II. Texte et traduction (Sources chre tiennes 264), Paris, 1979, p. 288-289.

l. paulissen


personnage de Jesus enfant qu 'il met en sce ne




que sur sa forme

Seconde partie : les trois sce nes de Jesus a l 'ecole

Apres cet essai d 'interpre tation, passons maintenant a l 'etude

parallele des trois passages ou Jesus se rend a l 'ecole.
Ce triple episode a generalement ete considere comme une
meme histoire pre sentee a trois reprises avec quelques variantes
et donc comme un signe d 'incohe rence


Voici pour commencer un re sume des trois e pisodes ou Joseph confie Jesus a un ma|tre afin que l 'enfant apprenne l 'alphabet.
La premiere fois, dans un tre s long passage qui commence au
ch. 6 et se poursuit aux ch. 7 et 8, un ma| tre d 'ecole du nom de
Zachee, etonne (

e hau`masen)

par les paroles de Jesus, propose a

Joseph d 'instruire l 'enfant : ``Tu as un fils qui est sense et intelligent. Allons, confie-le-moi pour qu 'il apprenne les lettres, et moi,
avec les lettres, je lui enseignerai toutes les sciences, ainsi qu 'a saluer tous ses a|nes, a les honorer comme des a| eux et des peres, et
a aimer les enfants de son a ge. '' Il lui enonca donc toutes les lettres (


42. Par


depuis l 'alpha jusqu 'a l 'omega avec beaucoup



Je sus


de mon

acaria tre



crainte et stupeur par sa cruaute afin d 'etaler pue rilement aux yeux des au tudes sur les e vangiles apocryphes, Patres son pouvoir divin (M. Nicolas, E


p. 211-212).



Je sus





d 'enfant terrible, mechant, rancunier, faisant peur a ses parents et a tout le


(E. Renan,








glise Chretienne, Paris, 1879, p. 513).

L 'E
43. Selon Cowper, La langue est d 'une rare barbarie, le style irre mediablement





elle-me me




(B. H. Cowper, The Apocryphal Gospels and Other Documents Relating to

the History of Christ. Translated from the Originals in Greek, Latin, Syriac,
etc. With Notes, Scriptural References and Prolegomena by B. Harris Cow6

per, Londres, 1897 , p. lxxii).

Au sujet du jugement porte sur le niveau de langue et de la narration de
vangile de l 'enfance selon Thomas, voir M. Broze et L. Paulissen, Le
l 'E
grec des non-Grecs dans les textes chre tiens : ideologie et critique litte raire,
Modeles linguistiques et ideologies : Indo-europe en (ed. S. Vanseveren),
Bruxelles, 2000, p. 127-142.
44. C 'est notamment l 'avis de S. Voicu dans Fr. Bovon, P. Geoltrain et
crits apocryphes chretiens, tome I, Bibliothe que de la Pleiade, Paris,
al., E
1997, p. 192.

je sus a l 'e cole


de minutie et de clarte . Mais Jesus leva les yeux sur le ma| tre Zachee et lui dit : ``Toi qui ne connais pas la nature de l 'alpha,
comment peux-tu enseigner aux autres le be ta ? Hypocrite, enseigne d 'abord l 'alpha, si tu le connais, et alors nous te croirons au
sujet du beta. '' Puis, il se mit a reduire le ma| tre au silence sur la
premiere lettre, et lui ne savait que lui re pondre.


Jesus donne

alors des explications hautement symboliques sur la lettre al-

ta`xin) du premier
stoijei` ou), et apprends de quelle maniere il possede des

coute, ma|tre, quelle est la position (

pha : E
ele ment (

lignes droites et des traits inte rieurs. Vois, les lignes droites que
l 'alpha possede forment une communaute , s 'e cartent, se rejoignent, s 'elevent, dansent en choeur, ... , dans un rythme ternaire, forment une famille, ... , sont en e quilibre et d 'e gale



Zachee, embarrasse (ypo`rysen), honteux et malheu-





Je sus



(ch. 7).

Joseph confie Je sus a un deuxieme ma| tre, qui lui dit : D 'abord,










he bra|-

Malgre sa crainte, il essaie d 'apprendre l 'alphabet a

l 'enfant, qui ne lui re pond pas (ch. 14, 1). Finalement, Jesus lui
dit : ``Si tu es re ellement un ma|tre et si tu connais bien les lettres,
dis-moi la puissance (

du`namin) de l 'alpha, et moi je te dirai celle

du beta. '' Irrite, le ma|tre le frappa sur la te te. L 'enfant, dans sa

douleur, le maudit et aussito t, celui-la perdit connaissance et tomba face contre terre.


45. paidi`on fro`nimon ejeiq, kai noun ejei deuro para`doq moi auto opwq

dida`xw auto meta tw

ma`h gra`mmata, kai egw
n gramma`twn pasan epis q
ty`myn kai prosagoreu`ein pa`ntaq touq presbute`rouq kai timan autouq w
` taq (ch. 6, 2). Kai
propa`toraq kai pate`raq kai tou agapan touq sunylikiw
eipen autw
pa`nta ta gra`mmata apo tou a ewq tou w meta pollyq exeta`sewq tranw
q. Emble`vaq de tw
kahygyt Zakjai`w
Su to al le`gei autw









dida`skeiq ; Upokrita`,

ton ei oidaq di`daxon to a, kai to`te soi pisteu`somen peri tou b. Eita
` tou gra`mmatoq, kai ouk
yrxato apostomi`zein ton dida`skalon peri tou prw
isjusen autw
antapokrihynai (ch. 6, 3).
` tou stoijei`ou ta`xin, kai pro`sjeq w
46. Akoue, dida`skale, tyn tou prw
q ejei kano`naq kai me`sa jaraktyraq ouq, ora, xunou`q, diabai`nontaq,





omogeneiq, uparpoujhen, zugosta`touq, isome`trouq kano`naq ejei to a

(ch. 6, 4).
47. Prw
ton paideu`sw auto ta ellynika`, epeita ta ebraika` (ch. 14, 1).
48. Eipe de autw
o Iysouq Ei ontwq dida`skaloq ei, kai ei oidaq kalw
q ta

` soi erw
gra`mmata, eipe` moi tou alfa tyn du`namin, kagw
tyn tou byta.
Pikranheiq de o dida`skaloq ekrousen autou eiq tyn kefaly`n. To de paidi`on pone`saq katyra`sato auto`n, kai euhe`wq elipohu`myse kai epesen jamai
epi pro`swpon (ch. 14, 2).

l. paulissen


Enfin, un


ma| tre


Joseph :


l 'enfant a l 'ecole. Peut-etre que moi, si je le peux, je lui apprendrai

les lettres par la douceur. '' (...) Et il le prit avec lui avec crainte et
force apprehension, tandis que l 'enfant allait gaiement.



a l 'ecole, Jesus trouva un livre pose sur le pupitre et le prit. Il ne

lisait pas les lettres ( gra`mmata) qui s 'y trouvaient mais, ouvrant
la bouche, il parlait selon l 'Esprit-Saint et enseignait la Loi a son
entourage. Une foule nombreuse se rassembla et l 'entoura pour
l 'ecouter, et tous s 'e tonnaient de la maturite de son enseignement,
de l 'a -propos de ses paroles, et que de tels mots viennent d 'un petit









mais le ma|tre le rassura : Sache-le, mon frere, j 'ai pris cet enfant comme eleve, mais il deborde lui-meme de gra ce et de sagesse.


Lorsque Je sus entendit cela, il lui sourit aussito t et

dit : ``Puisque tu as parle correctement et que tu as rendu un juste

temoignage, gra ce a toi, celui-la aussi que j 'avais frappe sera gueri. '' Et a l 'instant meme, l 'autre ma|tre fut gue ri.








n 'est


comme certains tendent a le penser, une marque d 'incohe rence.

Comme le soulignent les the oriciens de la litterature, la repetition est certainement une des figures de style les plus puissantes


. De plus, ces trois e pisodes ne sont pas de simples redites.

49. Agage` moi to paidi`on eiq to paideuty`rion iswq an dunyhw
n auto met ' autou meta
kolakei`aq dida`xw auto ta gra`mmata (...) Kai labw
fo`bou kai ago`nou pollou, to de paidi`on yde`wq eporeu`eto (ch. 15, 1).
re bibli`on kei`menon en tw
n auto ouk anegi`nws50. eu
, kai labw
ke ta gra`mmata ta en autw
, alla anoi`xaq to sto`ma autou ela`lei pneu`mati











raio`sunelho`nteq pareisty`keisan akou`onteq autou, kai ehau`mazon en t w

tyti tyq didaskali`aq autou kai t etoimasi`a
n lo`gwn autou, oti ny`pion
n toiauta fhe`ggetai (ch. 15, 2).
men pare`labon to paidi`on w
q mahyty`n, au delfe`, oti egw
51. Ina eidq, a
to de pollyq ja`ritoq kai sofi`aq mesto`n estin (ch. 15, 3).
52. euhe`wq

prosege`lasen autw
kai eipen Epeidy orhw
q ela`lysaq kai

q emartu`rysaq, dia se kakeinoq o plygwheiq iahy`setai. Kai parauta
ia`hy o eteroq kahygyty`q (ch. 15, 4).
lements de stylistique franc aise, Paris, 1986, p. 96-97 et
53. G. Molinie , E
p. 148. J. Mazaleyrat et G. Molinie , Vocabulaire de la stylistique, Paris,
1989, p. 302. T. Todorov, Les cate gories du recit litte raire, L 'analyse structurale



(=Communications 8),



p. 134 :



commentaires sur la ``technique '' du re cit reposent sur une simple observation :










qu 'elle

concerne l 'action, les personnages ou bien des de tails de la description.

je sus a l 'e cole


Certes, les trois ma|tres ont pour objectif d 'enseigner l 'alphabet

a Jesus, mais le contenu de chaque passage est diffe rent. En effet, ces recits sont autant de facettes d 'un me me concept, le

stoijeion, et presentent aussi trois aspects de Je sus de maniere

complementaire et avec des e lements qui se repondent.

Quand Zachee, le premier ma|tre d 'ecole, tente de lui enseigner les lettres ( gra`mmata), Jesus, on vient de le voir, lui re pond
d 'apprendre pluto t de sa part ce qu 'est la lettre alpha ( stoi-

jeion), dont il aborde le gra`mma et la ta`xiq. Ses paroles ont aussi

une portee cosmologique (la ta`xiq et la fu`siq du monde) et theologique (la ta`xiq des trois parties de la Trinite et la fu`siq divine).

Le deuxieme ma| tre, lui aussi, s 'engage aupre s de Joseph a apprendre les lettres a Jesus, et de fait, il e crit pour lui l 'alphabet.
Pour toute reponse, Jesus lance : Si tu es reellement un ma| tre et
si tu connais bien les lettres, dis-moi la puissance (



l 'alpha, et moi je te dirai celle du be ta . Comme l 'enfant l 'a annonce, le chapitre 14 aborde la question de la du`namiq des lettres, c 'est-a-dire leur valeur linguistique, mais aussi et surtout
leur pouvoir, leur puissance. D 'irritation, le ma| tre frappe l 'enfant et aussitot, il tombe sans connaissance, maudit par lui. Voici une de monstration du pouvoir de Je sus, qui est en personne
l 'alpha et l 'omega, et peut-e tre bien de celui de la lettre alpha.



l 'Apocalypse


13 :



l 'alpha


l 'omega, le premier et le dernier, le commencement et la fin.

, o prw
to alfa kai to w
( Egw
toq kai o esjatoq, y arjy kai
to te`loq). Jesus est l 'alpha et l 'omega, premiere et derniere lettres de l 'alphabet grec, le premier et le dernier, le commencement et la fin, le principe et la finalite . Cela signifie, comme
dans la mystique grecque, qu 'il est le Tout et qu 'il contient en
lui depuis le premier jusqu 'au dernier e le ment du Cosmos


. Fai-

sant echo a cela, les paroles de Zache e au ch. 7, 3 presentent une

ambigu|te probablement voulue entre Je sus et l 'alpha, a moins
que le ma|tre ne parle des deux a la fois en disant : Je ne

connais ni le commencement, ni la fin de celui-ci. (ou gar a
` skw). Ce qui explique que Je sus recuse a
kai te`loq autou ginw
Zachee le droit de passer a la deuxieme lettre alors qu 'il ne
conna|t pas la premiere.

54. F. Dornseiff, Op. cit., p. 123 ; H. Leisegang, La gnose. Traduction de

Jean Gouillard, Paris, 1951, p. 222-223.

l. paulissen


Cette utilisation de termes linguistiques rappelle l 'exploitation symbolique du stoijeion comme gra`mma, ta`xiq et du`namiq
par Plutarque, tout au long du De E Delphico


. Selon Plutarque

(dans le De Iside et Osiride), l 'etude des symboles, des rites et

des mythes, constitue la manie re la plus fine d 'approcher les
choses divines ; ceux-ci forment une voie qui permet a l 'homme
de s 'elever vers une connaissance supe rieure


. L 'interpretation

symbolique des paroles de Jesus sur les lettres ouvre une voie
vers la revelation et a pour fonction d 'amener les hommes a
l 'eveil.
Le troisieme passage va au-dela des lettres, du gra`mma et de
tous les aspects du stoijeion ( Il ne lisait pas les lettres qui s 'y
trouvaient... ). Avant que le troisie me ma|tre essaie d 'instruire
Jesus, celui-ci prend un livre, vraisemblablement les E
Cependant, ce qu 'il prononce n 'est pas la lecture du texte ou des
lettres telles qu 'elles figurent dans le livre d 'ailleurs, il n 'a jamais appris a lire puisque les deux tentatives pre cedentes ont


mais l 'etape suivante : il parle selon l 'Esprit-Saint,

enseigne la Loi ( ela`lei pneu`mati agi`w

, kai edi`daske ton no`mon)
critures. Je sus se fait parole de Dieu vivante,
et commente les E
critures. Le savoir de l 'enfant ne concerne plus
il fait vivre les E
une seule lettre (l 'alpha) mais l 'ensemble de celles-ci, agence es
en mots et en phrases ; a partir des textes, Je sus passe a l 'interpretation inspire e, chose qu 'il n 'avait pas encore aborde e.

55. Dans ce traite , l 'E depasse la grammaire pour atteindre le plan symbolique, qui met en relation avec le divin ; sur le de passement des termes des
grammairiens, voir M. Broze et C. Van Liefferinge, De la linguistique a
la mystique : la terminologie de l 'E de Delphes de Plutarque, L 'E de Delphes
de Plutarque. Travaux du Centre de Philosophie Ancienne de l 'ULB et du Centre de Recherche Philologique de Lille-III, Ousia, Bruxelles, a para| tre. Plutarque utilise ces termes dans le De E Delphico sur divers plans, de la
grammaire a l 'approche du divin, par exemple en 1, 384 f-385 a ; 7, 387 e ;
9, 388 f ; 17, 391 f-392 a.
56. B. Decharneux


L. Nefontaine,






1998, p. 46.
vangile selon Jean (Jn 7, 15),
57. Une situation similaire se retrouve dans l 'E
lorsque Je sus se rend au Temple et commence a donner son enseignement :
Les Juifs s 'e tonnaient et disaient : ``Comment cet homme en sait-il autant, lui

qui n 'a pas etudie ? '' ( Ehau`mazon oun oi Ioudaioi le`gonteq Pw
q ou
cela, Je sus repond (Jn 7, 16) : L 'en` q ;). A
gra`mmata oiden my memahykw
seignement que je donne n 'est pas de moi, mais vient de Dieu qui m 'a envoye

ouk estin emy alla tou pe`mvanto`q me).

( C emy didajy

je sus a l 'e cole


Nous pouvons donc constater que la re partition des aspects du


a l 'interieur des differentes sce nes qui ont pour theme


l 'apprentissage


l 'alphabet

l 'ecole,



texte. Loin d 'etre une repetition sans signification, elle inse re

progressivement dans le texte les sens comple mentaires du


Outre la difference des points traite s dans chacun des trois
passages, les comportements des ma| tres et de Jesus pesent aussi
en faveur de la cohe rence interne du texte. Face a l 'enseignement de Je sus, le dernier ma|tre reagit avec calme il ne se
laisse emporter ni par le de sespoir comme Zachee, ni par la colere comme au ch. 14 et reconna| t l 'enfant a sa juste valeur.
Satisfait, Jesus lui sourit (prosege`lasen, ch. 15, 4), alors qu 'il
porte un regard se vere sur Zachee, qu 'il de sapprouve (to

ron tou ble`mmatoq,


ch. 7, 2). Ces deux termes, la se verite et le

sourire, semblent s 'opposer





re pondre. De

meme, le dernier ma| tre projette de proce der a l 'enseignement

des lettres par la douceur ( meta

kolakei` aq,

ch. 15, 1), alors que

son predecesseur frappe l 'enfant ; la douceur de l 'un re pond a la

violence de l 'autre et l 'opposition des attitudes qu 'adoptent les
ma| tres temoigne de la comple mentarite des passages. De plus,
gra ce a la juste reconnaissance qu 'il rec oit du troisie me ma|tre,
Jesus decide de sauver celui qui l 'a frappe et qu 'il a maudit au
ch. 14, 2. De meme, l 'enfant, satisfait de la lec on qu 'il a donne e
a Zachee, sauve au ch. 8 les enfants et les parents qu 'il a maudits pre cedemment, ce qui relie cet episode au reste du texte.


de veloppement


l 'alpha


Je sus



chee n 'est repete a aucun des deux autres passages, pas me me sous une forme lointaine.
La repetition de l 'histoire de Je sus avec un ma|tre d 'ecole








incohe rente

re fle chie









tion du recit.

Les trois passages, qui abordent l 'alpha et les lettres sous differents aspects, montrent e galement differentes facettes de Je sus. Le premier e pisode traite de la


de Jesus, c 'est-a-dire

sa place, son rang hie rarchique, au sein de la Trinite et l 'agencement des trois parties de celle-ci. Sa


est illustre e au

ch. 14, lorsque l 'enfant en fait usage pour maudire le deuxie me

ma| tre, et tout au long de la narration pour ope rer des miracles.
Enfin, le dernier e pisode devoile l 'inspiration divine de l 'enfant,
sa capacite de voir au-dela du trace des lettres et d 'interpre ter

l. paulissen


Une etude narratologique centre e sur les miracles re alise s par



confirme la coherence generale du recit. Examinons en

particulier les interactions entre les miracles de Je sus et les re actions des personnes pre sentes ; en effet, le miracle, en tant que signe, est un instrument de la foi


Tout comportement ne gatif a l 'encontre de l 'enfant Je sus est

sanctionne par un chatiment : des le debut du recit, Jesus fait se
dessecher un enfant qui a de truit ses jeux ; un autre enfant tombe
mort pour l 'avoir bouscule ; il rend meme aveugles les parents
du deuxieme garcon parce qu 'ils le bla ment


. Ce surprenant

portrait de Jesus a sans aucun doute contribue au discredit du

De me me, chaque punition est leve e par l 'enfant suite a une
attitude positive a son egard, qui repond aux attentes de celui-ci
et qui constitue un pas de plus sur le chemin de la re velation.

On remarque une progression dans la narration en fonction

de l 'evolution de l 'attitude des gens par rapport a Je sus. En effet, l 'enfant adapte son message et ses propres actes au niveau de foi de ses interlocuteurs.
Au debut, les villageois ne savent pas qui il est et il les punit,
suscitant la reprobation et la crainte


. Il rend la vie et le ve ses

58. Voir mon article cite a la note 3.

59. Le lien de cause a effet qui existe entre les miracles et la foi que ceux-ci
vangile selon Jean (Jn 4, 48-53),
engendrent est exprime notamment dans l 'E
lorsque Jesus dit avec un certain de pit : Si vous ne voyez signes et prodiges,
vous ne croirez donc jamais ! Le signe ( symeion), prend le plus souvent la
forme d 'un miracle : c 'est un acte que Je sus fait, devant un public plus ou
moins nombreux, et dont la vue provoque la foi (voir J.-P. Charlier, La
notion de signe ( symeion) dans le IV

evangile, Revue des sciences the ologi-

ques et philosophiques 43, 1959, p. 435-437).

60. Respectivement aux ch. 3, 2-3 ; 4, 1 et 5, 1.
61. Les parents prirent dans leurs bras leur enfant desse che en se lamentant
sur son jeune a ge et l 'amenerent a Joseph, et lui reproche rent d 'avoir un enfant
capable de faire des choses pareilles Oi de goneiq tou xyranhe`ntoq eba`sta-

san auton hrynounteq tyn neo`tytan autou, kai ygagon proq ton Iwsy`f,









(ch. 3, 3).
Et depuis lors, personne n 'osait l 'irriter de peur d 'e tre maudit et de devenir

po to`te eto`lma parorgi`sai auto`n, opwq my kataaveugle. Kai oudeiq a

ra`setai auton kai estai ana`pyroq (ch. 8, 2).
Contrairement aux apparences, les cha timents que Je sus inflige par la puissance performative de sa parole sont issus de sa volonte precise. En effet, au
ch. 5, 1. Je sus dit de certaines personnes qu 'elles subiront leur cha timent,
sans preciser lequel, et elles deviennent aussito t aveugles. On ne comprend
pas a cet endroit du texte pourquoi c 'est en les rendant aveugles qu 'il punit

je sus a l 'e cole


maledictions lorsqu 'il perc oit la foi dans son public : les personnes rendues aveugles recouvrent la vue de s l 'instant ou Jesus
voit que la lecon qu 'il a donnee au ma|tre d 'ecole Zachee, en le
plac ant devant sa propre ignorance par ses explications savantes, a porte ses fruits (ch. 8) et que le professeur le reconna| t
humblement. Ensuite, Je sus accomplit des miracles be nefiques,
jusqu 'a ce que le deuxieme ma|tre d 'ecole s 'irrite de la conduite
de l 'enfant et le frappe, puis tombe inanime . Il est sauve de sa
malediction grace a l 'attitude du troisie me ma| tre, qui reconna|t
humblement la gra ce et la sagesse de Jesus.

Les miracles de Je sus, qu 'ils semblent bons ou mauvais, provoquent la foi, et les actions male fiques de l 'enfant font partie
integrante de la strategie de l 'auteur : elles rece lent une cause et
un but plus eleves que de la mechancete infantile et s 'inscrivent
dans un projet revelateur et salvateur, comme l 'affirme Je sus en
personne au ch. 8,1 : Moi, je suis venu d 'en haut pour les maudire, et pour les appeler a s 'elever, comme l 'a ordonne celui qui
m 'a envoye a cause de vous.


Suite au malaise et a l 'etonnement provoque s par les signes de

Jesus, les habitants s 'interrogent et entament une re flexion autour de celui-ci


Par exemple, quand Je sus guerit un homme blesse par sa hache

au ch. 10, 2, la foule se prosterne devant lui en proclamant :
Vraiment, l 'esprit de Dieu habite cet enfant


. Lorsque Jesus

ressuscite un nourrisson (au ch. 17), la foule s 'e tonne et declare

les parents endeuille s qui l 'ont bla me de son acte. C 'est seulement trois chapitres plus loin que l 'auteur de voile la raison exacte pour laquelle cette
forme de punition a e te choisie : la volonte de Jesus, inexprimee sur le moment, est de faire co| ncider une infirmite physique (aveuglement des yeux) et
une infirmite spirituelle et intellectuelle (aveuglement du coeur).

anwhen pa`reimi ina autouq katara`somai kai eiq ta anw kale`sw,

62. Egw
kaha dieta`xato o apostei`laq me di ' umaq (ch. 8, 1).
63. D 'ou vient cet enfant, que chacune de ses paroles se re alise imme diatement ? Po`hen touto to paidi`on egenny`hy, oti pan ryma autou ergon estin

etoimon ; (ch. 4, 1).

Le theme de l 'etonnement comme point de de part d 'une de marche qui mene
a la philosophie est tres repandu dans l 'Antiquite, tant pa|enne que chre tienne. Voir notamment Platon, Theete te 155 d ; Aristote, Metaph. A, 2,
982 b 12-14 ; Plutarque, De E Delphico 2, 385 c ; Cle ment, Stromates II,
9, 45, 4.
64. Alyhw
q pneuma heou enoikei en tw
(ch. 10, 2).


l. paulissen

Vraiment, cet enfant est Dieu ou ange de Dieu, que chacune de

ses paroles se re alise immediatement.


Au ch. 18, Jesus fait re-

vivre un travailleur. Celui-ci se prosterne devant l 'enfant et la

foule en admiration s 'exclame qu 'il vient du ciel : Cet enfant
vient du ciel car il a sauve de nombreuses personnes de la mort et il
en sauvera tout au long de sa vie.


Bref, les miracles de Je sus amenent ceux qui en sont les te moins a croire en sa divinite , et plus les gens reconnaissent sa divinite , plus il sauve des vies et aide les gens par ses miracles, ce
qui fait encore accro| tre la foi.
L 'etude de la structure interne de l 'apocryphe montre que le re cit des miracles de Je sus, loin de constituer une compilation maladroite d 'anecdotes, est le fruit d 'un agencement re flechi.

De meme, les trois ma| tres d 'ecole sont amene s a croire en Jesus. Le premier, effondre apres avoir rec u une lecon d 'humilite ,
reflechit longuement sur la nature de l 'enfant : Cet enfant n 'est
pas de cette Terre, il peut me me dompter le feu. Peut-e tre est-il ne
avant la cre ation du monde. Quelles entrailles l 'ont porte , quel
sein l 'a nourri, je l 'ignore.


Il le reconna|t comme son ma|tre

et conclut par ces mots : Cet enfant est quelque chose de grand,
c 'est un dieu ou un ange, ou je ne sais quoi d 'autre.


Le deu-

xieme ma|tre est maudit puis sauve par Je sus, selon le sche ma
des miracles qui me nent a la foi. En ecoutant Jesus, le dernier
ma| tre loue la gra ce et la sagesse de l 'enfant, adoptant ainsi de
lui-meme l 'attitude que Je sus attendait, a savoir lui rendre un
juste temoignage ( orhw
q emartu`rysaq).

Les trois passages a l 'ecole constituent les e tapes d 'un cheminement qui trouve son point culminant, tant au point de vue de
la reconnaissance de la personne de Je sus que de l 'enseignement
vangile de l 'enfance
de celui-ci, les deux lignes directrices de l 'E
selon Thomas, au ch. 19, le dernier. Dans le Temple de Je rusalem, Je sus, age de douze ans, converse avec les Anciens et les
docteurs de la Loi, les de tenteurs traditionnels du savoir, et il

65. Alyhw
q to paidi`on touto y heoq yn y aggeloq heou, oti paq lo`goq

autou ergon estin etoimon (ch. 17, 2).

q gar vujaq eswsen ek hana`66. Touto to paidi`on oura`nio`n estin polla
tou, kai ejei sw
sai ewq pa`syq tyq zwyq autou (ch. 18, 2).
` sai
67. Touto to paidi`on gygenyq ouk esti, touto du`natai kai pur dama
ta`ja touto pro tyq kosmopoii`aq estin gegennyme`non. Poi`a gastyr touto
eba`stasen, poi`a de my`tra touto exe`hreve, egw
(ch. 7, 2).
68. Touto
(ch. 7, 4).

ti` pote me`ga esti`n, y heoq y aggeloq, y ti` eipw ouk oida

je sus a l 'e cole


leur enseigne la Loi et les paraboles des prophe tes

s 'emerveillent devant sa sagesse et le louent



. Ceux-ci

. Ce passage, pre-

vangile selon Luc

sentant une ressemblance frappante avec l 'E
(Lc 2, 41-52), en est une citation et de note une volonte de la part
de l 'auteur de raccrocher son re cit du jeune age de Jesus a un
texte qui faisait autorite . De plus, on peut voir ces e pisodes
comme la pre figuration de l 'enseignement de Je sus adulte dans
le Nouveau Testament.

Un signe de l 'importance de l 'enseignement dans notre apocryphe se mate rialise dans la longueur relative des passages


Alors qu 'un grand nombre de narrations sont courtes (ch. 1, 10,

11, 12, 13, 16, 17 et 18 : de 31 jusqu 'a 107 mots), les passages
d 'enseignement sont imposants : l 'e pisode de Zachee (ch. 6-8)
totalise 445 mots, celui du deuxie me ma|tre en contient 142 et
celui du dernier, 210 (comme ces deux chapitres se suivent, cela
forme meme un groupe de 352 mots) ; enfin, le dernier chapitre,
qui montre Je sus au Temple, en compte 243. Leur longueur imposante concorde avec leur importance dans le re cit.


Les revelations de Jesus sur la lettre alpha au ch. 6, 4 sont exprimees avec des termes rares, des mots qui ne sont parfois pas attestes ailleurs, des mots riches de sens et charge s par leur usage

69. Tous etaient attentifs et s 'e tonnaient de voir comment, bien qu 'e tant un
enfant, il reduisait au silence les anciens et les docteurs du peuple en expliquant
les points principaux de la Loi et les paraboles des prophe tes. (Proseijon de

pa`nteq kai ehau`mazon, pw

q paidi`on upa`rjon apostomi`zei touq presbute`rouq kai didaska`louq tou laou, epilu`wn ta kefa`laia tou no`mou kai taq
parabolaq tw
n profytw
n, ch. 19, 2).
70. Les scribes et les Pharisiens disent a Marie : Tu es heureuse parmi les
femmes parce que Dieu a be ni le fruit de tes entrailles. En effet, jamais nous
n 'avons vu ni entendu tant de gloire, de vertu et de sagesse. (Makari`a su ei

en gunaixi`, oti yulo`gysen o heoq ton karpon tyq koili`aq sou toiau`tyn gar
do`xan kai toiau`tyn aretyn kai sofi`an oute idomen oute ykou`same`n pote,
ch. 19, 4).
71. Je divise le texte en re cits qui correspondent chacun a un tout. La plupart du temps, un miracle e quivaut a un chapitre. Examinons la longueur de
chacun en nombre de mots.
Ch. 1 : 31 mots ; ch. 2-3 : 250 mots ; ch. 4-5 : 201 mots ; ch. 6-8 : 445 mots ;
ch. 9 : 122 mots ; ch. 10 : 80 mots ; ch. 11 : 64 mots ; ch. 12 : 72 mots ; ch. 13 :
107 mots ; ch. 14 : 142 mots ; ch. 15 : 210 mots ; ch. 16 : 61 mots ; ch. 17 : 107
mots ; ch. 18 : 66 mots ; ch. 19 : 243 mots.


l. paulissen

theologique. D 'autre part, l 'auteur fait preuve d 'une connaissance approfondie des termes techniques de grammaire, et utilise avec pertinence le stoijeion et ses differents aspects (gra`mma,

ta`xiq et du`namiq) tant sur le plan grammatical que symbolique.

De cela, il ressort que le niveau de langue de notre texte n 'est
pas du tout aussi bas que certains commentateurs ont pu l 'affirmer.

La structure du texte, qui a e te egalement critiquee, ne presente pas l 'incoherence qu 'on lui attribue. Le triple passage de
Jesus a l 'ecole, comme je l 'ai montre, expose differents aspects
de la lettre alpha et, paralle lement, de Jesus, et l 'usage ade quat
des termes techniques permet de rendre au texte sa cohe rence.
Les trois sequences sont comple mentaires par leur contenu et
presentent de nombreux renvois internes les unes aux autres.

Dans sa volonte de repandre son savoir divin et de montrer

par la qui il est, Jesus entreprend d 'enseigner a ceux qui veulent
l 'instruire, c 'est-a -dire les ma| tres d 'ecole. Le premier ma| tre
n 'est pas du tout pre pare a sa rencontre avec Je sus : il se fait
ecraser par la revelation de celui-ci et sort de sespere de son experience. Le deuxie me, quoique averti


, n 'est pas non plus receptif

a l 'enseignement de l 'enfant, il s 'irrite et le frappe, ce pour quoi

il est puni. Enfin, le dernier ma| tre est pret a accueillir le savoir
de Jesus, il reconna| t sa gra ce et croit en lui, a la satisfaction de
l 'enfant. Finalement, Je sus recoit des louanges au plus haut lieu,
au Temple de Jerusalem, de la part des plus grands ma| tres.
Le theme de l 'enseignement est tre s pre sent dans le texte et les
chapitres les plus longs lui sont conscre s. De plus, la strate gie
narrative de l 'apocryphe, qui vise a amener les gens a la reve lation de la nature de Je sus et a la foi, fait de cet e crit un texte
d 'enseignement.

Tant les miracles que Je sus accomplit que les passages de Je sus avec les ma|tres d 'ecole contribuent a amener les hommes a
vanreconna|tre sa nature, ses pouvoirs et son savoir divins. L 'E
gile de l 'enfance selon Thomas ne peint pas le tableau d 'un petit
Jesus vengeur et de moniaque qui maudit sans retenue ceux qui
le mettent en cole re, et la triple repetition du ma|tre d 'ecole
n 'est pas le signe d 'une narration mal construite et incohe rente.

72. Car le ma|tre connaissait l 'aptitude de l 'enfant et il le redoutait ( Cidei

gar o dida`skaloq tyn peiran tou paidi`ou, kai efoby`hy auto`, ch. 14, 1).

je sus a l 'e cole


Nous avons vu au contraire combien l 'agencement du re cit

est pense et combien chaque e lement est indispensable et a sa
place au sein de la narration.

L 'etude du texte dans sa recension grecque longue ne permet

sans doute pas de clarifier la structure de la narration a son origine, mais elle permet de jeter une lumie re sur la logique d 'un
des etats dans lesquels elle nous est parvenue.


McDaniel College,
Westminster, MD 21157


An Examination of Text and Image

An episode of Christ 's polymorphism involving Jesus ' multiple manifestations to the Magi during the Adoration was recounted in an
eighth-century sermon (with various attributions), and copied with illustrations in an eleventh-century manuscript : Jerusalem, Codex Taphou









combined with the inclusion of the sermon itself, presents the modern
audience with an intriguing glimpse into eleventh-century Byzantium.
The sermon and image together raise issues related to the acceptance
and availibility of apocryphal literature both in the eighth and eleventh
centuries, and further adds to our understanding of the expansion of
miniature cycles during the Middle Byzantine period.

Un sermon du VIII

siecle diversement attribue , copie avec des il-

lustrations dans un manuscrit du XI

s. (Jerusalem, Codex Taphou

14) rapporte un e pisode de polymorphie du Christ lors de ses multiples

manifestations durant l 'adoration des Mages. L 'illustration de cet
episode particulie rement polymorphe ainsi que son inclusion dans le
sermon lui-me me, donne au public contemporain un aperc u curieux de
Byzance au XI

s. Le sermon et son illustration posent des questions

liees a l 'acceptation et l 'accessibilite de la litterature apocryphe, tant


qu 'au XI

s., ce qui permet une meilleure compre hension de

la diffusion de cycles miniature s au cours de la pe riode byzantine me dievale.

The Patriarchal library in Jerusalem contains a wealth of important Byzantine manuscripts, among them the intriguing Taphou







seventeen homilies, sixteen of which are attributed to Gregory


The seventeenth, a sermon on the Nativity,


* I would like to express my sincere thanks to Sever J. Voicu for his generous support in helping me with the final version of this article.
1. For information on the complete works of Gregory of Nazianzus, see
Veronique Somers, Histoire des collections comple tes des Discours de Gre -

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 177-191

g. k. mckay


ally attributed to John of Damascus (but alternatively to John


of Euboia, John Chrysostom, and Andrew of Crete ), is interpolated between Gregory 's eighth and ninth sermon. An illustrated version of selected passages from two of Pseudo-Nonnos '








gory 's sermons completes the textual contents of Taphou 14.

Recorded on lines 13-27 of fol. 107r and illustrated on fol.

106v in the Taphou manuscript, the Nativity homily includes a
curious narrative regarding the Adoration of the Magi. In this
particular version of the Adoration story, the three Magi, after
completing their veneration of the Christ child, retire to a lodging place where they discuss their individual experiences. As
they recount their uncommon encounter, it becomes obvious
that each of them witnessed Christ in different forms : a child,
an adult, and an old man. This homiletic version of the Adoration








which states specifically that the Magi saw Christ only as a

young child and knelt to worship him (Mat 2 :1-12). By examining the theological openness of patristic writers to apocryphal

goire de Nazianze (Louvain, 1997). For the illustration of Gregory 's homilies, see George Galavaris,

The Illustration of the Liturgical Homilies of Gre-

gory of Nazianzus (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1969).

2. The sermon is known by the opening ``

Opo` tan to e ar e pe` lh

, '' which

translates to ``Whenever Spring comes around. '' The text of the sermon occupies fols. 92r-112v. The entire homily has been published ; see P. Bonifatius







Damaskos, ''


Texte und Studien, vol. 29 (Berlin and New York : Walter de Gruyter, 1988),
324-47. An earlier and inadequate edition was published by Sophronios Eu-

Lo` goq eiq ty n ge` nnysin tou Kuri`ou kai Heou kai Swty roq
Ne` oq poimy` n

stratiades, ``

y mwn

, '' in

, vol. III (Constantinople, 1921), 23-42.

3. Kotter, 307-308, esp. notes 5 and 6.

4. While Pseudo-Nonnos wrote commentaries for four of Gregory 's sermons (numbers 4, 5, 39 and 43), Taphou 14 includes only a selection of passages from commentaries 39 and 43, which are located at the end of the
manuscript on folios 307-313. For more on the textual contents of PseudoNonnos in Taphou 14, see Jennifer Nimmo Smith, ``A Revised List of the
Manuscripts of the Pseudo-Nonnos `Mythological Commentaries ' on Four
Sermons by Gregory of Nazianzus, ''

Byzantion 57 (1987) : 93-113. These in-

complete selections are also illustrated in the Taphou codex, with images similar in style to those in the rest of the manuscript. For more on these
illustrations see Kurt Weitzmann,

Greek Mythology in Byzantine Art (Prin-

ceton : Princeton University Press, 1951). For a critical edition of PseudoNonnos ' commentaries, see Nimmo Smith,

Pseudo-Nonniani in IV orationes

Gregorii Nazianzeni commentarii (Turnhout : Brepols, 1992). An earlier critical edition of Pseudo-Nonnos ' commentaries deals only with the Syriac version ;








the Pseudo-Nonnos

Mythological Scholia (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1971).

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem


literature, from which the eighth-century homily and the subsequent







explore the enigmatic concept of polymorphism and its contribution to the flowering of Byzantine manuscript illumination.
While fifty-eight manuscripts, ranging in date from the tenth
to the eighteenth century, include this Nativity sermon,


two codices include narrative cycles that illustrate the Nativity

homily Taphou 14 and Mount Athos, Esphigmenou 14.

It is

only the Taphou codex that includes an image that specifically

represents the Magi 's polymorphous vision. At the bottom of
fol. 106v, beneath two other representations (fig. 1),

the artist

portrays the Magi 's unusual visit with the Christ child. The importance of age delineation, so crucial to the account of the
polymorphous vision of Christ found in Taphou 14, is further
enhanced by the assignment of age-specific characteristics to the
Magi as well. The image thus depicts a young magus, a mature
magus and old magus.

Building on this symbolism, each of the

three Magi holds a separate image of Christ, who likewise ap-

5. For a complete list and discussion of the stemma, see Kotter, 312-23.
6. The relationship between these two codices and their illustrations will be
discussed in more detail later in this paper.
7. The two other representations that appear on this folio are literal illustrations of the text. At the top, an artist in the retinue of the Magi paints an
icon of the Virgin and child on a panel. The central image depicts the three
Magi and a priest from a pagan temple who are looking at the Virgin and
child icon that has been placed in a church-like structure, identified in the
text as a temple. The painter shown in the top right-hand image of this folio
has often been identified as Luke, who is traditionally attributed with having
painted the first icon of the Virgin and child. However, the text explicitly
mentions an artist of Persian descent who was travelling with the three
Magi. In this particular case, the image is probably intended to follow the
text, and thus depicts the artist dressed in what is to be recognized as far
eastern dress.
8. The depiction of the Magi in three different age-related forms has been
discussed by Elizabeth Sears,

The Ages of Man : Medieval Interpretations of

the Life Cycle (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1986), 90-94. Two
scholars, writing independently of each other, interpret the three-aged representation of the Magi as a visual representation of the Trinity. See P. Huber,

Die Kunstschatze der Heiligen Berge : Sinai Athos Golgota

Ikonen Fresken

Miniaturen (Zurich : Pattloch, 1980), 229 and Andre Grabar, Christian Iconography : A Study of Its Origins (Princeton : Princeton University Press,
1968), 113. Both scholars interpret the elderly depiction of Christ as God the
Father, the mature Christ as God the Son and the infant as the Holy Spirit.
Other scholars ' interpretations of this image will be mentioned later in this


g. k. mckay

Jerusalem, Taphou 14, fol. 106v.

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem


pears in three different stages of life. The eldest of the Magi is

shown reaching down towards the infant Christ child, situated
at the feet of his mother. The middle-aged wise man holds an
image of a mature Christ with a dark beard. The youngest of the
three Magi carries an image of Christ as an old, white-haired
man with a grey beard, often identified in iconographic tradition
as the Ancient of Days.

Such a puzzling account of Jesus ' enigmatic appearance in

three simultaneous age-related forms is an example of polymorphism.


While the canonical New Testament does not in-



Christ 's





Christian works contain accounts with polymorphous emphasis.


Although today many of these works are considered non-

9. The iconographic motif of an old man with white hair and beard, identified










`` o



n, '' is first recorded in the eleventh century. For more on the development of the Ancient of Days as an iconographic motif, I refer to my unpublished dissertation ``Imaging the Divine : A Study of the Representations of
the Ancient of Days in Byzantine Manuscripts, '' (University of Virginia,
10. This differs from metamorphoses, in which a being can change from one
form to another, but all witnesses see the same manifestations. For more on
polymorphism, especially its relationship to narratives about Christ, see Hugues Garcia, ``La polymorphie du Christ : remarques sur quelques de finitions
et sur de multiples enjeux, ''

Apocrypha 10 (1999) : 16-55 ; Peter J. Lalleman,

The Apocryphal Acts of John, ed. Jan N.

``The Polymorphy of Christ, ''

Bremmer (Kampen : Kok Pharos, 1995), 99-106 ; Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa,

``Polymorphie divine et transformation d 'un mythologe me : L 'Apocryphon
de Jean et ses sources, ''

Vigiliae Christianae 35 (1981) : 412-434 ; Eric Junod,

Gnosticisme et Monde Hellenistique, ed.

``Polymorphie du Dieu Sauveur, ''

Julian Ries (Louvain-la-Neuve : Institut Orientaliste, 1982), 38-46.

11. Although the canonical gospel accounts of Christ 's Transfiguration describe Christ transforming into a bright light before Peter, James and John,
this is not a simultaneous manifestation. While Christ is transfigured into a
brilliant light, the figures of the prophets Elijah and Moses also appear.
However, these two figures are independent of Christ and appear with him ;
Christ does not change into them. Most theologians interpret the Transfiguration as Christ 's first full revelation of his divine nature. For an overview
of the patristic exegesis of this event, see J. A. McGuckin, ``The Patristic Ex-

Studia Patristica (Papers of the International

Conference on Patristic Studies) 18 (1986) : 335-341.
egesis of the Transfiguration, ''

12. For a comprehensive list of instances of polymorphism in apocryphal

literature, see the index compiled by Sever J. Voicu in


Ecrits apocryphes

eds. Francois Bovon and P. Geoltrain (Paris : Gallimard, 1997).

Kantorowicz also discusses and lists evidence of apocryphal tales of polymorphism. See Kantorowicz, ``

Puer Exoriens. On the Hypapante in the MoSelected Studies (Locust Valley, NY : J.J.

saics of S. Maria Maggiore, ''

Augustin, 1965), 25-36, specifically 34 n. 55.

g. k. mckay


canonical, important patristic scholars, among them Origen and

Irenaeus, quoted apocryphal literature that often included narratives describing polymorphous visions.
The inclusion of the Magi 's anomalous vision of Christ 's
polymorphism presents the possibility that the eighth-century
author had knowledge of apocryphal texts (even at this late
date) and the means by which to obtain and read them. Certainly, this is not an untenable supposition. Apocryphal literature











Apostles, as well as texts meant for personal reflection and meditation, are known to have been in existence in early Christian
times. The discovery at Nag Hammadi, for instance, suggests
that works other than those now considered part of the canon
were available in the first centuries of the new religion.


It would appear that in the early Christian era, apocryphal

texts were very popular, a hypothesis supported by the evidence
of a number of recensions of non-canonical books, often translated into many different languages.





This popularity could be




merely as a form of mass entertainment. Mathews, however,

urges scholars to look deeper for theological messages imbedded
within these texts and to resist dismissing them simply because
they were popular.


Indeed, the evidence suggests that the most

learned of theologians had copies of apocryphal texts in their

private libraries and quoted from them in their exegetical writings.
In his study on books and learning in the early Christian period, Gamble remarks that many apocryphal writings could be
found in private, devotional libraries, especially among those
who were defending and shaping the theological doctrines of the
new religion. He notes that the

Shepherd of Hermas, the Acts of

John, the Acts of Peter, the Acts of Paul and Thecla , the Didache
and the

Protoevangelium of James , among others, all found their

13. For more on Nag Hammadi, see James M. Robinson,

The Nag Hamma-

di Library (San Francisco : Harper and Row, 1978, rpt. 1988). Other apocryphal texts in English translation may be found in

The Other Bible, ed. Willis

Barnstone, (San Francisco : Harper, 1984). A more recent and comprehensive compilation of apocryphal literature is found in Franc ois Bovon and
Pierre Geoltrain,

Ecrits apocryphes chretiens (Paris : Gallimard, 1997).

14. Thomas F. Mathews, ``The Early Armenian Iconographic Program of

the Ejmiacin Gospel (Erevan, Matenadaran MS 2374,

olim 229), '' East of

Byzantium : Syria and Armenia in the Formative Period , eds. N. Garsoian, T.

F. Mathews, R. W. Thomson (Washington, D.C. : Dumbarton Oaks, 1982),
15. Mathews, ``Armenian, '' 202.

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem

way into the private libraries of late antiquity.



Gamble further

notes that some theologians actually encouraged the private

study of these texts, while simultaneously banning all public
reading of them. For instance, according to his 39th Festal Letter of 367, Athanasius advocates the reading of the Shepherd of
Hermas in private, but not aloud in church.


The acceptance of

the Shepherd in the patristic community is particularly pertinent

here since a tale of polymorphism is found in the third vision of
the book, in which a woman miraculously appears to the shepherd as a young maiden, a mature woman and an old woman.


Another endorsement of the Shepherd as a private devotional

text is found in the Muratorian fragment, an early annotated
catalogue usually dated to the late second or early third century,
which lists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the four-gospel
canonical collection.


While the Muratorian fragment empha-

sizes the main books of the canon as it stands today, it also

states that ``Hermas composed the Shepherd quite recently in
our times in the city of Rome...and therefore it should indeed be
read, but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church. ''


It would appear that theologians took this advice since a num-

16. Harry Y. Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church. A History of
Early Christian Texts (New Haven and London : Yale University Press,
1995), 236.
17. Gamble, Books, 235. For the most recent critical edition of Athanasius '
letter, see Athanase, Lettres festales et pastorales en copte, ed. L-Th. Lefort,
Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, vol. 150 (1965) : 58-62. For
an English translation of this letter, see Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed.
Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Grand Rapids, MI : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987), vol. IV, 151-52. The letter is also discussed in Alberto Camplani, Le Lettere Festali di Atanasio di Alessandria : studio storicocritico (Rome, 1989). For a complete picture of fourth-century Christianity
gypte au
in Egypt, see Annick Martin, Athanase d 'Alexandrie et l 'eglise d 'E
cole francaise, 1996).
IVe siecle (383-373) (Rome : E
18. Carolyn Osiek, The Shepherd of Hermas : A Commentary (Minneapolis,
MN : Fortress Press, 1999), 60-88. See specifically 86 for a commentary on
the polymorphous vision.
19. Gamble, Books, 235. The full text of the Muratorian canon list in English translation may be found in the appendix of Harry Y. Gamble, The New
Testament Canon. The Making and Meaning (Philadelphia : Fortress Press,
1985), 93-95. For a recent study of the Muratorian fragment see Geoffrey
Mark Hahneman, The Muratorian Fragment and the Development of the Canon (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1992), but regarding his advocacy of a later
fourth century date for the fragment, see J-D. Kaestli, ``La Place du `Fragment de Muratori ' dans l 'histoire du canon, '' Cristianesimo nella storia 15
(1994) : 609-34.
20. Gamble, Canon, 95.

g. k. mckay


ber of patristic scholars including Clement of Alexandria,








and Athanasius (mentioned above), quote the


In addition to the Shepherd, other apocryphal texts were used

by theologians in the creation of their treatises. For instance, besides his reference to the

Shepherd, Irenaeus, in Book Four of

his Against Heresies, quotes the Gospel of the Egyptians.

wise, Origen, in



Contra Celsum, utilizes literature that appears

to have described a polymorphic vision of Christ. In this work

he remarks that ``even if there was just one Jesus, he was multiple in aspect for the spirit, and those who looked at him did not
see him in the same way. ''





While discussed primarily within



Celsus '


Origen 's

statements reflect a knowledge and by extension, acceptance

of the polymorphic nature of Christ.


Apocryphal texts, including those with narrative discussions

of Christ 's polymorphism, were available to theologians in later
Byzantine times as well. A case in point involves Photius, patri-

21. Clement of Alexandria cites the Shepherd numerous times in his work
Stromateis. For the exact references see Philippe Henne, L 'Unite du Pasteur
d 'Hermas, '' (Paris : J. Gabalda, 1992), 18.
22. Origen repeatedly cites the Shepherd in over twelve different works, too
numerous to list here. I again refer to Henne, 18 for a full list of citations
(see previous note).
23. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV.20.2. See Ante-Nicene Fathers, tr. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans,
1989), 488.
24. The use of The Shepherd may reflect the importance of this text in the
early theological community, as well as its relative acceptance. While knowledge of The Shepherd of Hermas in the early church is well documented, it is
still unclear whether or not the text was ever accepted fully by the church.
However, evidence of its continued popularity, or at least availability, in the
later centuries in Byzantium is suggested by the discovery of a Greek version
of the Shepherd that dates to the fifteenth century, which was found on
Mount Athos in 1855. A copy of such late date indicates that there was continued interest in this book and suggests that knowledge of certain apocryphal texts was not obliterated by church officials. See Osiek, 1-7.
25. Against Heresies, IV.17.2. ANF, 483.
26. Origen, Contra Celsum, II.64 and IV.16. The Greek text and French
translation of this passage may be found in M. Bonnet, I, Sources Chre tiennes 132 (Paris, 1967), 434-37 ; II, Sources Chretiennes 136 (Paris, 1968),
220-23. Gilbert Dagron, ``Holy Images and Likeness, '' Dumbarton Oaks Papers 45 (1991) : 23-33, esp. 28 n. 44, deals specifically with this text and Origen 's apparent familiarity with apocryphal literature.
27. For more on Origen 's discussion of polymorphy, see Jacques E. Me nard, ``Transfiguration et Polymorphie chez Orige ne, '' Epektasis : Melanges
patristiques offerts au Cardinal Jean Danie lou, ed. J. Fontaine and C. Kannengiesser (Paris, Beauchesne, 1972), 367-83.

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem


arch of Constantinople from 858-67 and 877-86. While compiling his

Bibliotheca in the ninth-century,


Photius employs sev-

eral apocryphal texts in order to specifically recount an episode

of Christ 's polymorphism. Photius quotes from the

Acts of Pe-

ter, the Acts of John, and the Acts of Peter and Andrew,


all of

which describe explicitly how Christ simultaneously revealed

himself as a young man, as an old man, and as an infant to his


While Photius mentions these texts in order to con-

demn them as erroneous, his obvious knowledge of them suggests that copies of apocryphal literature were available for
Byzantine theologians to study as late as the ninth century.


Photius ' apparent familiarity with apocryphal texts is not an

isolated occurrence at this time in Byzantium. In a recent article,
Bovon offers evidence that many Byzantine writers used apocryphal literature, specifically various apocryphal apostolic Acts,
in order to fill in details of the disciples ' lives lacking in the canonical accounts. Bovon produces several different examples of
the use of these texts, spanning many centuries of Byzantine
authorship, including the eighth century.


Aside from a contin-

ued interest in apocryphal acts, non-canonical gospels were likewise still in circulation in later Byzantine times, as exemplified

28. There is no agreement on the specific date of this work. Most agree that
it was completed before Photius went on a diplomatic mission as an ambassador to the Arabs. Photius took three such voyages in 838, 845 and 855.
Other scholars insist Photius completed this work at a much later date, after
875. For an overview of the problem, see

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium,

288. See also Sever J. Voicu, ``Teologia e iconoclasmo a Bisanzio, ''


della teologia nel medioevo , ed. Giulio D 'Onofrio (Casale Monferrato :

Piemme, 1996), 305-336, specifically 329, where he advocates a date between
842 and 858.
29. For the Greek text and French translation see

Bibliotheque, ed. Rene

Henry (Paris : Societe d 'edition Les Belles Lettres, 1960), 85. Dagron also
notes that Photius was ``surprised '' at reading the narrative account of
Christ 's polymorphism in these works, see Dagron, ``Likeness, '' 28 n. 44
(see n. 26 above).
30. Henry, 85. An English translation of this text may be found in Photius,

The Bibliotheca : A Selection Translated with Notes , trans. and ed. N.G. Wilson (London : Gerald Duckworth and Company Limited, 1994), 126-27.
31. For Photius ' judgment of Christ 's polymorphism and other similar ac ric Junod, ``Actes apocryphes et he resie : Le jugement de Phocounts, see E
tius, ''

Les Actes apocryphes des Apotres : Christianisme et Monde pa|en

(Gene ve : Labor et Fides, 1981), 11-24.

32. Franc ois Bovon, ``Byzantine Witnesses for the Apocryphal Acts of the
Apostles, ''

The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles , eds. Francois Bovon, Ann

Graham Brock, Christopher Matthews (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1999), 87-98.

g. k. mckay


by a portion of the text of the Gospel of Peter that was discovered in a sixth-century manuscript.


The evidence from Photius and the existence of a copy of an

apocryphal gospel in a sixth-century manuscript reflect an inclusive and comprehensive attitude towards texts, including apocryphal









acceptance of varying literary traditions was occurring at the

time of the creation of the sermon on the Nativity in the eighth
century and may explain the writer 's inclusion of the polymorphous vision of Christ to the Magi. In fact, the entire discussion
of the visitation and journey of the Magi seems to have been inspired by a work of eastern Christian origins, usually dated to
the fifth or sixth century and known by its edited title, Religious
Disputes in the Sassanian Court.


This provides further evidence

that patristic scholars looked beyond today 's New Testament

canon when composing their treatises.
While the creation of the eighth-century homily occurred in a
milieu where a multitude of texts were utilized, the actual copying of the Nativity sermon in the Taphou codex occurred in the
eleventh century. This may very well indicate an interest in, and
perhaps an acceptance of, Christ 's polymorphism at this time in
Byzantium as well. In the Taphou representation, the artist presents a unique visual expression of the ideas verbalized in the
Nativity homily. In the homily 's description of the Adoration
scene, each wise man approached the Christ child to venerate
him ; nothing is mentioned at this time in the discourse about
Christ 's three different manifestations. It is only after the Magi
stop to rest on their return journey that Christ 's polymorphous
revelation is fully comprehended.


The Taphou image conflates

33. Bovon and Geoltrain, 241 (see n. 12 above). For the French translation
of the Gospel of Peter, see 247-54.
34. Eduard Bratke, ``Das sogenannte Religionsgespra ch am Hof der Sassaniden, '' Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 19, 3 (Leipzig : J. C. Hinrichs, 1899). The story of the Magi in this homily
is also similar to narratives found in the Armenian Infancy Gospel, chap.
vangiles Apocryphes, II :
XI, 19-20 ; French translation by Paul Peeters, E
vangile de l 'Enfance (Paris, 1914), 143-44. There are also similarities in
L 'E
the Chronicle of Zuqnin and the Marco Polo legend. Both of these are discussed by Ugo Monneret de Villard, Le leggende orientali sui Magi evangelici
(Vatican City, 1952). For the Chronicle of Zuqnin, see 27-49 and 65-68. For
Villard 's discussion of Marco Polo, see 78-90.
35. Avner interprets the Magi 's discussion of their experiences as symbolic
of the manifestation of Christ 's presence in the performance of the liturgical
ritual. See Tamar Avner, ``The Impact of the Liturgy on Style and Content :
sterreichischen ByThe Triple-Christ Scene in Taphou 14, '' Jahrbuch der O
zantinistik 32 (1981) : 459-67. Rudy Favaro also discusses the iconographic

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem


the two events : the veneration of the child and the revelation of
his polymorphic nature. This conflation results, as LafontaineDosogne has pointed out, in an unusual synthesis that perfectly
reflects the narrative account and depicts the polymorphous
event when it actually occurred.


The ingenuity of the Taphou representation is even more apparent when it is compared to the only other illustrated version
of this sermon, found in the eleventh-century Athonite codex,







Christ child in Esphigmenou 14 (fol. 406v)





does not depict the

polymorphous event (fig. 2). Instead, the artist shows only the











(youth, adult and aged), approaching the Christ child, who is

depicted as an infant lying in a manger next to his mother. This
is a traditional portrayal of the Adoration scene, and makes no
reference to the polymorphous revelation that the Magi witness.
This difference, along with others related to the style and execution of the miniatures, suggests that Taphou 14 and Esphigmenou 14 were created independently.


There also appears to be

no earlier model from which the artist of either cycle could



nuances of Adoration of the Magi story in Taphou 14. See ``Un 'inconsueta
Adorazione dei Magi in un affresco di San Giorgio a Velo d 'Astico, '' Studi
sull 'oriente cristiano 4 (2000) : 229-244, specifically 242-43.
36. J.


``L 'Illustration






l 'homelie sur la Nativite attribuee a Jean Damasce ne, '' Le Muse on 100
(1987) : 211-24, specifically 221.
37. Mount Athos Esphigmenou 14 dates slightly later than the Taphou codex. While Esphigmenou 14 illustrates the same Nativity homily, the Athonite codex displays a


different narrative

cycle and



depict an image of the polymorphous event. Esphigmenou 14 is discussed in

detail by S. Pelekanides, Treasures of Mount Athos, vol. 2 (Athens : Ekdotike
Athenon, 1975), 361-383. A more recent and comprehensive treatment of
the codex can be found in the unpublished dissertation by Dimitris Cacharelias,






Codex :




Myths in Middle Byzantine Manuscripts '' (New York University, 1995).

38. Pelekanides, 378 and fig. 385 ; Cacharelias, 144, plate 76.
39. The relationship between the two illustrated Nativity sermon copies has
been analyzed by Cacharelias, who states that these differences suggest that
the two manuscripts represent two separate narrative cycles for this text.
For his discussion of the relationship between these two manuscripts see his
dissertation, 160-163.
40. In his discussion of representations of Hellenic oracles in Esphigmenou
14 and Taphou 14, Weitzmann suggests that the miniatures in the Taphou
14 codex may have been invented for that manuscript, and not copied from
an earlier model. See Kurt Weitzmann, `` Representations of Hellenic Oracles in Byzantine Manuscripts, '' Mansel 'e Armagan, Melanges Mansel, vol.


g. k. mckay

Mt. Athos, Esphigmenou 14, fol. 406v.

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem


If the Taphou image of Christ 's polymorphism is new, this

might suggest that the artist was familiar with the text of the sermon and invented a way to represent the event as it was happening










polymorphic vision appears on the following page of the Taphou manuscript, and not adjacent to the miniature itself, this
could certainly lead to speculation that the artist also acted as
the scribe. The artist, familiar with the words themselves, represents the event according to the narrative by depicting the magi







scene. If not the artist, then someone in the scriptorium either

a scribe or an individual responsible for the layout of texts and
images had knowledge of the entire story and suggested a way
to merge the different elements into one representation of the
Adoration image. Other studies on eleventh-century manuscript
production support this idea. Corrigan, in her research on Vat.
gr. 394, an eleventh-century copy of the

Heavenly Ladder, has

convincingly argued that one individual was responsible for the

text, layout, and imagery for the manuscript.


The originality observed in the Taphou illustrations, whether

the result of scribe, artist, or some other individual, adds to a
growing scholarly consensus that the eleventh century saw a
flowering of manuscript production, including elaborated miniature programs, new types of books, and original iconographic
subjects. Inventions in eleventh-century manuscript production
include the expansion of miniature cycles for marginal psalters
and gospel books,



as well as the creation of new types of illu-

1 (Ankara, 1974), 397-410, specifically 408. Bissera V. Pentcheva similarly

agrees that the two cycles were created independently. See her discussion of
the miniatures on fol. 106v of Taphou 14 in Mother of God : Representations
of the Virgin in Byzantine Art, ed. Maria Vassilaki (Milan : Skira, 2000), 392.
41. Kathleen Corrigan, ``Constantine 's Problems : The Making of the Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus, Vat. gr. 394, '' Word and Image 12 (1996) :
42. L. Marie s, ``L 'irruption des saints dans l 'illustration du Psautier byzantin, '' Analecta Bollandiana 68 (1950) : 153-162. Der Nersessian also points
out the innovative character of the Theodore Psalter (dated to 1066 by inscription) in L 'Illustration des Psautiers grecs du moyen a ge, II. Londres.
ditions Klincksieck, 1970). The Theodore Psalter is also
Add. 19352 (Paris : E
discussed by Jeffrey C. Anderson, ``On the Nature of the Theodore Psalter, ''
Art Bulletin 70 (1988) : 550-68 ; and more recently in Irmgard Hutter, ``Theodoros Bibliografos und die Buchmalerei in Studiu, '' Ojpwvra. Studi in onore
di Paul Canart per il LXX . Bollettino della Badia Greca di Grottaferrata 51
(1997) : 177-208.
43. Der Nersessian, ``Recherches sur les minatures du Parisinus Graecus
sterreicheischen Byzantinistik 21 (1972) : 109-117. For
74, '' Jahrbuch der O

g. k. mckay


minated books, such as the Octateuchs


and new illustrative cy-

cles for pre-existing texts, such as the romance of



Barlaam and

Similarly, the earliest extant illustrated copies of the

Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus date to the eleventh-century.


The appearance of two apparently separate illustrated

cycles of the Nativity homily Taphou 14 and Esphigmenou 14

in the same century, appears to validate the trend discussed
by the scholars just mentioned and further reflects artistic innovation in eleventh-century Byzantium.
The Taphou miniature also helps to qualify the eleventh-century Byzantine reception to the idea of polymorphism. The very
existence of the Taphou image reflects, at the least, an acceptance of the idea of the polymorphism of Christ even if the circle
of individuals who had access to the manuscript was limited.
Had this idea been banned completely it stands to reason that
this sermon would not have been copied and inserted into this
particular homiletic compilation, and certainly would not have
been illustrated in such a way as to specifically represent the
polymorphous event. If such a topic had been completely unacceptable, the artist could have shown the traditional Adoration
scene with three Magi approaching one Christ child, who is typically shown in the form of an infant. Instead, the polymorphic
nature of Christ seems to have been an important theme for the
creators of Taphou 14, who make sure that the triple manifestation of Christ is fully expressed through the visual images on the
The fact that the homily is copied at all in the middle Byzantine period is intriguing and perhaps suggests a revival of interest



canonized texts.








Since the patron of Taphou 14 is unknown,

more on this manuscript see S. Tsuji, ``The Headpiece Miniatures and Genealogy Pictures in Paris. Gr. 74, '' Dumbarton Oaks Papers 29 (1975) : 165203.
44. John Lowden, The Octateuchs. A Study in Byzantine Manuscript Illumination (University Park : The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992).
Lowden convincingly argues for an eleventh-century origin of this eightbook volume.
45. Der Nersessian, L 'Illustration du Roman de Barlaam et Joasaph (Paris :
E. de Boccard, 1937).
46. John R. Martin, The Illustration of the Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1954), 122. See also Corrigan, n.
41 above.
47. Cacharelias has suggested that at the time of the creation of the Taphou
manuscript (the late eleventh century), an interest in Neo-Platonism was
growing in popularity through the influence and presence of Michael Psellos.
More work is needed to determine the role of Michael Psellos and how the

christ 's polymorphism in jerusalem


and the exact purpose for the manuscript is similarly unclear, it

is difficult to suggest specific reasons for the text or the image.
However, the Taphou manuscript reflects an interest in polymorphism among eleventh-century Byzantines, which is evident
from both the narrative that the homilist provides and the innovative imagery created for the sermon 's adornment.
Together the sermon and the accompanying representations
reveal fascinating aspects of Byzantine thought and interest. Taphou 14, through both its Nativity homily and accompanying illustrations, infers an acceptance of Christ 's polymorphism, an
event quite outside the parameters of the church 's canonical
writings. The use of an image to express the idea of polymorphism as well as its placement in this unusual text adds to
our understanding of an expanding and changing role for art in
the middle Byzantine period, especially in the field of manuscript illumination.

ideas of polymorphism might have been received among those in his circle.
See Cacharelias, 133-35, 174, and 204.

Annarita MAGRI
Universite de Fribourg, CH


Analisi di Ippolito, Haer. V,16

L 'analisi approfondita del dossier esegetico dei Perati (vd. Ippolito, Ref. haer. V, 16) evidenzia l 'impiego di testimonia da parte di
questo gruppo gnostico ; inoltre, essi appaiono avere utilizzato materiali e procedimenti esegetici di origine cristiana, classica, come l 'allegoria, giudaica, come il midrash, e filoniana.

L 'analyse de taillee du dossier exe getique des Pe rates (cf. Hippolyte, Ref. haer. V, 16) revele l 'emploi de testimonia par ce groupe
gnostique ; de plus, on peut ve rifier qu 'ils ont utilise des materiaux et
des methodes exegetiques d 'origine chre tienne, classique comme l 'allegorie, juive comme le midrash, et philonienne.

La setta gnostica dei Perati e stata poco studiata in confronto


con altri gruppi gnostici . Questo contributo, frutto di una mia


precedente ricerca , si limitera per il momento a un 'analisi iniziale della sua esegesi, sulla base dell 'unico testo rimasto in proposito e riportato nell 'opera eresiologica attribuita a Ippolito di
Roma, la Refutatio omnium haeresium. In futuro, mediante altri
contributi, mi propongo di illustrare, proprio a partire dal proseguimento dello studio di questo materiale esegetico, tutta una
serie di deduzioni sulla natura e la collocazione geografico-storico-culturale del gruppo.

1. Sono riuscita a reperire solo quattro titoli specifici : A.M. Nola, Perati, in
Enciclopedia delle religioni, IV, Firenze, Vallecchi, 1972, coll. 1580-82 ; P.Th.
Camelot, Perates, in G. Mathon et al. edd., Catholicisme : Hier, Aujourd 'hui,
Demain, vol. X, Paris : Letouzey et Ane , 1985, pag. 1219 ; J. Montserrat-Torrents, Les pe rates, in Compostellanum 34 (1989), pagg. 229-42 e M. Tardieu,
The Perates and Their Gnostic Interpretation of Paganism, in Y. BonnefoyW. Doniger edd.,

Mythologies, vol. II, Chicago-London, University of Chi-

cago Press, 1991, pagg. 680-82. A questi contributi si possono aggiungere le

pagine dedicate alla setta in H. Leisegang, La Gnose, trad.fr.(2), Paris,
Payot, 1971 (I edizione tedesca 1924), pagg. 101-7.
2. Cfr. Annarita Magri, La Notizia di Ippolito sui Perati (Haer. V,12-18)
(tesi di specializzazione in Patristica), Universita di Friburgo, a.a.2000/01.

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 193-223

a. magri


Il testo cui fare riferimento e il paragrafo 16

del V libro della

Refutatio di Ippolito . Come e noto, questo volume stigmatizza

le sette gnostiche il cui denominatore comune e dato dall 'adorazione (o venerazione) del serpente, sette che la ricerca odierna
propone, seppur fra molte difficolta , di raggruppare sotto il nome di gnosi ofita, nell 'arduo tentativo di decifrarne lo svilup5

po . La parte dedicata al gruppo dei Perati occupa i paragrafi


12-18, immediatamente dopo quella consacrata ai Naasseni .

Il paragrafo 16 presenta una reinterpretazione della storia della
salvezza secondo un 'ottica peculiare, a partire da abbondante
materiale biblico. Tuttavia, occorre tenere presente che, prima
di esso, precisamente nel paragrafo 14, all 'interno del brano sui
Proasteioi (gli eoni periferici) e contenuta pure un 'oscura allusione a Esodo 15,22 : ivi la potenza del Caos, di carattere acquatico, da identificare con il Demiurgo e chiamata anche Kronos,

3. Per il testo, vd. Refutatio omnium haeresium, ed. M. Marcovich (Patristische Texte und Studien 25), Berlin - New York, de Gruyter 1986, pagg.
4. Non mi addentro nella fitta e controversa questione ippolitea. Preciso
soltanto en passant la mia adesione alla tesi divisionista, assai accreditata tra
gli studiosi italiani, secondo la quale il complesso delle opere attribuite a Ippolito di Roma risalirebbe a due scrittori (possibilmente omonimi) dalla personalita










durante la persecuzione di Massimino il Trace (235 d.C.) : cfr. i due volumi

collettivi Ricerche su Ippolito (Studia Ephem. Augustinianum n13), Roma,
Inst. Patristicum Augustinianum, 1977 e Nuove ricerche su Ippolito (Studia







1989. L 'opera piu recente e completa, anche se a volte discussa, sull 'intera
questione, rimane A. Brent, Hippolytus and the Roman Church in the third
century : communities in tension before the emergence of a monarch-bishop
(Supplement to Vigiliae Christianae n31), Leiden-New York, Brill, 1995.
5. Sull 'ofitismo, oltre a vari, generici, articoli enciclopedici, cfr. H. Leisegang, La Gnose, op.cit., pagg. 81-129 ; J.D. Kaestli, L 'interpretation du serpent de Genese 3 dans quelques textes gnostiques et la question de la gnose
``Ophite '', in J. Ries - Y. Janssens - J.-M. Sevrin edd., Gnosticisme et monde
hellenistique. Actes du Colloque de Louvain-la-Neuve (11-14 mars 1980),
(Publication de l 'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain, n27), Louvain-la-Neuve,
Universite Catholique de Louvain, 1982, pagg. 116-30 ; A. Welburn, Reconstructing the Ophite Diagram, in Novum Testamentum 23 (1981), pagg. 26187 ; G. Gianotto, Ofiti-Naasseni, in A. Di Berardino, ed., Dizionario Patristico e di Antichita cristiane, vol. II, Casale Monferrato, Marietti, 1984, coll.
2458-60 ; D. Good, Naassenes, Ophites, in E. Ferguson et al., ed., Encyclopaedia of Early Christianity, New York/London : Garland, 1990, coll. 63536 ; e di A. Orbe, Apuntes sobre el pecado original gno stico e El bautismo de
Jesus entre los Ofitas y los Valentinianos, in Estudios sobre la teolog|a cristiana








Nueva-Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, 1994, pagg. 271-85 e 441-90.

6. Ovvero, le pagg. 173-88 dell 'edizione del Marcovich.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


e detta godere di quanto viene emesso dai dodici occhi del precetto. Si tratta di una probabile assimilazione del Pleroma all 'immagine delle dodici sorgenti di Elim.
Diamo qui di seguito una traduzione del brano V,16 :
Orbene, li chiamano Perati, in quanto ritengono che <nessuno>
di quanti sono stabiliti nella generazione possa sfuggire al destino
fissato dalla generazione per i generati se infatti qualcosa e generato, si sostiene, e pure destinato integralmente alla corruzione, come ritiene anche la Sibilla ma solo noi, si dice, che
abbiamo conosciuto la necessita della generazione e abbiamo appreso minuziosamente le vie attraverso le quali l 'uomo e entrato
nel cosmo, noi soli siamo in grado di attraversare e oltrepassare
la corruzione. La corruzione e l 'acqua, ne , si afferma, il cosmo fu
annientato da alcun 'altra cosa piu rapidamente che dall 'acqua.
L 'acqua e, dicono, l 'elemento che funge da contorno fra gli eoni
> una potenza che si presenta come l 'acqua,
periferici, Kronos. <E
potenza ovvero Kronos alla quale nessuno di quelli stabiliti
nell 'ambito della generazione puo sfuggire. A ogni generazione
infatti, nella prospettiva di soggiacere alla corruzione, e preposto
come responsabile Kronos, e non potrebbe esservi generazione in
cui Kronos non sia d 'impaccio. Questa e <l 'acqua> di cui parlano
anche i poeti, quella che atterrisce persino gli dei :

Sappiano questo infatti la Terra e il vasto cielo al di sopra,

e l 'acqua fluente di Stige, che e il giuramento piu grande
e tremendo per gli dei beati

Questo non solo lo affermano i poeti, ma anche i piu sapienti

tra i Greci, uno dei quali e pure Eraclito, che dichiara : L 'ac8

qua rappresenta la morte per le anime . Questa morte ghermisce gli Egiziani su<l> Mar Rosso assieme ai loro carri ; giacche
tutti quelli che ignorano sono Egiziani. E questo significa, dicono, l 'uscita dall 'Egitto <cioe> dal corpo ; ritengono infatti
che l 'Egitto rappresenti il corpo l 'attraversamento del Mar
Rosso cioe dell 'acqua della corruzione, che e Kronos il
trovarsi al di la del Mar Rosso cioe della generazione e








dell 'ambito

del<la> generazione, dove si trovano, tutti insieme gli dei della

perdizione e il dio della salvezza.
Gli dei della perdizione sono, si sostiene, gli astri, quelli che arrecano a quanti sono generati la necessita della mutevole generazione.








mordevano e annientavano quanti credevano di aver attraversato il Mar Rosso. Quindi, ai figli di Israele che venivano morsi







7. Vd. Omero, Il. XV, 36-38 ; Od. V,184-86 ; h.ap. 84-86.

8. Vd. Eraclito, fr. 36 DK= fr. 66 Marcovich.



a. magri


perfetto, e quelli che credevano in lui non venivano <piu > morsi
nel deserto cioe dalle potenze. Non c '<e > nessuno dunque che
puo salvare e sottrarre al pericolo coloro che sono usciti dalla
terra d 'Egitto cioe dal corpo e da questo mondo se non
solo il serpente perfetto, nella pienezza delle pienezze. Colui
che spera in lui non viene annientato dai serpenti del deserto
cioe <da>gli dei della generazione <come> sta scritto, si sostiene, nel libro di Mose . Questo serpente, si afferma, e la potenza

che segu| Mose, la verga

tramutata in serpente. <In>

Egitto, i serpenti dei maghi <cioe > gli dei della perdizione si
erano opposti alla potenza di Mose , ma la verga di Mose li sottomise e anniento tutti.
Quanto al serpente universale si dice che questo e la parola sapiente di Eva. Questo e <il> mistero dell 'Eden, questo il fiume
<che fuoriesce> da Eden, questo il segno imposto a Caino, affinche chiunque lo trovasse non <lo> uccidesse. Questo, si afferma,
e Caino, il cui sacrificio il dio di questo mondo non accetto ,
mentre accolse quello insanguinato di Abele : il signore di questo mondo infatti si rallegra del sangue. Questo e colui che negli
ultimi giorni e apparso in forma di uomo ai tempi di Erode,
<colui> che fu generato a immagine di Giuseppe, venduto per
mano dei fratelli, al quale solo apparteneva la veste multicolore. Questo e colui che <fu generato> a immagine di Esau , di
cui si celebra la veste, sebbene egli fosse assente ; egli che non
ricevette la benedizione del cieco, ma si arricch| lontano da casa, senza prendere nulla dal cieco ; e Giacobbe vide il suo volto
affinche da uomo potesse vedere il volto di Dio. Riguardo a
lui sta scritto come Nemrod, gigante cacciatore al cospetto
del Signore. Molti, si afferma, ne sono i falsari, tanti quanti







d 'Is-

raele, serpenti ai quali sottrasse le vittime dei morsi quello perfetto, che Mose innalzo. Questo significa quanto sta scritto : E
alla maniera in cui Mose innalzo il serpente nel deserto, cos| e
necessario che sia innalzato il figlio dell 'uomo. A immagine
di questo <infatti>, fu nel deserto <il> serpente di bronzo che
Mose innalzo.
L 'immagine di questo solo, dicono, si vede continuamente in
cielo nella luce. Questo e il grande principio riguardo al quale
sta scritto <e> riguardo al quale e detto : In principio era il Verbo, e il Verbo era presso Dio e il Verbo era Dio. Questo in
principio era presso Dio. Tutto fu generato per mezzo di Lui e
senza di Lui nulla fu generato ; cio che e generato in Lui e vita.
In lui infatti e stata generata Eva, ed Eva e la vita. Questa e
l 'Eva madre di tutti i viventi, cioe la natura comune di dei e
angeli, esseri immortali e mortali, razionali e irrazionali ; colui

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


che infatti disse di tutti, ha inteso di tutti <gli esseri>. E se

gli occhi di qualcuno sono beati, costui levando lo sguardo
verso il cielo vedra la bella immagine del serpente nel grande
principio del cielo volgersi e costituire il principio di ogni movimento per tutti gli esseri generati <e> conoscera che senza di
lui <niente> sussiste ne delle realta celesti, ne di quelle terrestri,
ne di quelle sotterranee ne la notte, ne la luna, ne i frutti, ne
la generazione, ne la ricchezza, ne il viaggio insomma, niente
di cio che e esiste separatamente dalla sua manifestazione. Per

questo, si afferma, e il grande prodigio , visto in cielo da

quanti sono in grado di vedere ; infatti, presso la cima stessa
del suo capo -cosa che e tra tutte davvero incredibile per quanti
non lo hanno visto- tramonto e levata del sole si congiungono
l 'una all 'altro. Questo e colui riguardo al quale l 'ignoranza
disse :










mostro tremendo. Dall 'una e dall 'altra parte di esso sono

disposte la Corona e la Lira, e presso la cima del suo stesso
capo, dall 'alto, si vede l 'uomo degno di pieta , <chiamato> In
che tiene la punta del piede destro sul contorto Drago.
E presso il dorso dell 'Uomo in ginocchio si trova <il> Serpente
imperfetto, stretto dal Serpentario con entrambe le mani, a cui
viene impedito di toccare la Corona e che si situa presso il Serpente perfetto.

Il materiale esegetico del brano dei Perati

Per lo studio dell 'esegesi compresa nel brano, tralascio per il

momento le questioni sollevate dall 'uso di materiale poetico e
letterario greco, dai riferimenti mitologici, astrologici e dalla demonizzazione dell 'elemento acquatico : mi concentro invece sui
rimandi veterotestamentari. Procediamo innanzitutto a una loro
segmentazione a seconda dei passi biblici impiegati come punto
di riferimento.

1) La citazione dei dodici occhi non e che una fantasia aritmologica nata da Esodo 15,27 e Numeri 33,9, il passo della sosta
degl 'Israeliti presso le dodici sorgenti di Elim, che tanto suggestiono l 'esegesi ebraica e cristiana


. Il sostantivo ebraico `ayin

indica infatti la fonte, ma e termine omonimo di occhio


9. Da questo punto l 'anonimo autore segue Arato, Phaen. 46ss.

10. Vd. ad es. Origene, Hom. in Ex .7,3, in cui le dodici sorgenti divengono
simbolo della dolcezza del Nuovo Testamento.


a. magri

Nella mia precedente ricerca avevo ipotizzato che gli autori del
brano, per via di questo errore, non potessero conoscere
l'ebraico come lingua
materna e che ne avessero solo un'infarinatura superficiale12. Tuttavia, oggi preferisco pensare che non
si tratti di un errore casuale, bens| di un virtuosismo voluto13 ;
forse possiamo qui intravedere un procedimento tipicamente
midrashico, lo sfruttamento di un gioco di parole. Ritengo dunque possibile che lo sfondo di questo fraintendimento voluto
possa essere la ricchissima tradizione medio-orientale che associa la saggezza
e la conoscenza all'acqua e all'immagine della
Nel De fuga,15in un contesto riguardante il ciclo dell'educazione
(par. 183-87) , Filone interpreta Elim come portali, nel senso di entrata nella virtu. Per spiegare la sacralita del numero dodici egli ricorre poi al parallelo dello zodiaco e, quindi, alla
perfezione cosmica di questo numero. Lo zodiaco compare
d'altronde in numerose pitture di sinagoghe giudaiche16. Pare
quindi che questa interpretazione sacrale del numero sia tradizionale: il dato e interessante,
se pensiamo all'interesse dei Perati per l'astrologia17.
Il giudaismo rabbinico confer| grande importanza a questo brano veterotestamentario, e il miracolo di Elim era piu famoso di
Vd. Cod.Bruc. 5 nonche F. Brown - S.R. Drivers - C.A. Briggs, Hebrew
Oxford, Oxford University Press,
1951, pagg. 744-5.
Cfr. A. Magri, La Notizia di Ippolito sui Perati..., op.cit., vd. pag. 35.
Ringrazio per aver richiamato la mia attenzione su questa possibilita i
proff. F. Nuvolone, di Friburgo, ed E. Norelli, di Ginevra.
Cfr. G. Mantovani, Acqua magica e acqua di luce in due testi gnostici, in
J. Ries - Y. Janssens - J.-M. Sevrin edd., Gnosticisme et monde hellenistique.
Actes du Colloque de Louvain-la-Neuve (11-14 mars 1980), (Publication de
l'Institut Orientaliste de Louvain n27), Louvain-la-Neuve, Universite Catholique de Louvain, 1982, pagg. 429-39.
Vd. Philon d'Alexandrie, De fuga et inventione, ed. Esther StarobinskiSafran (Sources Chretiennes 17), Paris, Cerf, 1970, pagg. 242-43. L'etimologia di Elim e forse fondata sulla preposizione `el, verso, ma rimane dubbia.
Vd.ad es. L.I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue. The First Thousand
Years, New Haven & London, Yale University Press, 2000, passim, nonche
il classico, E. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman World, 13
voll. (Bollingen Series 37), New York, Pantheon, 1953-68.
Sullo zodiaco in Filone, vd. Praem. 65; Spec. II,177; Quaest.Ex. II,112.
A parte la sezione finale di questo paragrafo, di chiaro argomento astrologico, l'interesse dei Perati per questa materia e riconoscibile anche dal passo
V,14, che reca una lunga lista di nomi di eoni, desunti da tradizioni mitologiche e/o astrologiche.


and English Lexicon of the Old Testament,






l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


tutti gli altri luoghi per via dell 'acqua,il maggior prodigio delle acque


, simbolo dello studio della Legge, ma anche delle do-

dici tribu d 'Israele. Parallelamente la tradizione cristiana vide

nelle dodici sorgenti un 'allusione agli apostoli, opzione chiaramente estranea agli gnostici


Per quanto riguarda lo gnosticismo, il Codex Brucianus riporta

un passo dello Scritto senza Titolo, che, nel corso di un 'esposizione ampiamente condizionata dal numero 12 e dall 'astrologia,
definisce il Cristo il luogo delle dodici sorgenti razionali, portatrici di vita e capaci di comprendere il tutto


2) Per l 'attraversamento del Mar Rosso si veda Esodo 15,22.

La tradizione esegetica interpreta normalmente l 'Egitto in maniera negativa : soprattutto quella alessandrina vi vede un simbolo del corpo. Gia in Filone questa equivalenza o quella con le
passioni ricorre sistematicamente (vd. ad es. Congr. 83-88 ; Fug.
124 e 180 ; Leg.alleg. II,77). D 'altro canto, per gli antichi Ebrei,
questo paese era inevitabilmente connesso all 'idolatria, al culto
dei morti, alla magia, alle divinita teriomorfe, donde una profonda avversione per esso


Anche tra gli gnostici prevalgono le connotazioni negative, per

cui il Mar Rosso e l 'Egitto rappresentano allegoricamente la
materia, il mondo e il corpo : si vedano in generale, l 'Esegesi dell 'anima 130,20-28 e 137,12-13, la Pistis Sophia 18
che Ippolito attribuisce ai Naasseni



e le opinioni

. Secondo questi ultimi,

l 'Egitto simboleggia il disordine mondano e il fisico umano, responsabili della prigionia e della corruzione delle anime. Si tratta dunque di un 'interpretazione assai simile a quella dei Perati,

18. Vd. a questo proposito G. Kittel - G. Friedrich edd., Grande Lessico del
Nuovo Testamento (ed. italiana a cura di F. Montagnini et. al.), vol. III, Paideia, Brescia, 1967, cit. col.155.
19. Cos| Tertulliano, Marc. IV,13,387 ecc. Cfr. J. Danie lou, Sacramentum
futuri, Paris, Beauchesne, 1950, pagg. 149ss.
20. Vd. Unbekanntes altgnostisches Werk, 233,16ss in C. Schmidt und H.M.
Schenke edd. Koptisch-gnostische Schriften, I Bd., Berlin, Akademie Verlag,
1981, pag. 340.
21. Vd. H. Jonas, Lo Gnosticismo, trad. it., Torino, SEI, 1991 (ed. originale
inglese 1963), pagg. 135-36.
22. I testi di Nag Hammadi impiegano pero il procedimento allegorico in
modo sporadico : cfr. G. Filoramo e C. Gianotto, L 'interpretazione gnostica
dell 'Antico Testamento. Posizioni ermeneutiche e tecniche esegetiche, in Augustinianum 22, (1982), pagg. 53-73.
23. Vd. Ippolito, Haer. V,7,39-41 e V,8,2.

a. magri


che si esprimono in questo passo in modo analogo, connettendo

l 'Egitto al corpo


Non sempre comunque l 'Egitto possedette una connotazione

negativa : lo

Scritto senza titolo, p.170,33-171,1 lo considera una

sorta di paradiso, ove si manifestano segni straordinari, mentre

lo scritto ermetico

Asclepius 24 lo ritiene immagine del cielo


Osserviamo, infine, che Danie lou associa la tendenza al simbolismo cronologico e geografico, proprio della tradizione gnostica,
a quella analoga di Origene ; l 'autore sottolinea pero a giusto titolo come l 'orizzonte gnostico, a differenza di quello origeniano, sia astorico


3) Per i serpenti del deserto, si veda Numeri 21,6-8. Il passo e richiamato correntemente nella letteratura cristiana dei primi secoli, soprattutto in contesti fondati su materiale testimoniario


La teologia dei secoli II e III : il confronto della Grande

Chiesa con lo gnosticismo, vol. II, trad. it., Roma, Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, 1995, pagg. 126-27, che rinvia pure ad Atti di Tommaso 109 (Inno
della Perla) : ivi il principe abbandona l 'Oriente per `scendere in Egitto ',

24. Vd. A. Orbe,

mondo della corruzione e della morte, dimora del drago infernale, onde salvare la sostanza divina decaduta, Psiche (cit. pag.127). Per una traduzione
italiana dell ' Inno, vd. L. Moraldi ed., Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento II. Atti
degli Apostoli, Casale-Monferrato, Piemme, 1994, pagg. 389-97.
25. Vd. A.D. Nock et A.J. Festugie re edd., Hermes Trismegiste II, (4),
Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1983, pag. 326 ; cfr. A. Orbe, La teologia..., op.cit.,
vol.II, pag. 125.
26. Vd. J. Danielou,

Messaggio evangelico e cultura ellenistica,

trad.it., Bo-

logna, Ed. Dehoniane, 1975 (ed.originale francese 1961), pag. 578.

27. Gli studiosi hanno individuato nel brano riguardante i serpenti nel deserto un intrecciarsi delle fonti J ed E (con ricostruzioni diverse a seconda
del singolo specialista) ; tuttavia lo sfondo storico e sicuramente cananeo.
Per certuni si tratterebbe di una saga eziologico-cultuale, di cui restano
tracce pure in 2Re 18,4 : Ezechia avrebbe rimosso dal Tempio di Gerusalemme, a causa di derive idolatriche, l 'originario serpente di bronzo, chamato Nehushtan, poiche il popolo lo aveva frainteso, interpretandolo come un
simbolo di fertilita . J, devoto alla memoria di Mose , cercherebbe pertanto di
modificare la tradizione dell 'evento cancellando ogni traccia magica e sostituendovi l 'idea che il serpente di bronzo funse solo da aiuto per il riconoscimento della potenza di Dio. Lo Jahvista avrebbe quindi alterato, almeno
parzialmente, il racconto originario ; d 'altronde, la mitologia semitica vedeva nel deserto un 'estrema propaggine del regno del caos originario. Lo Jahvista trasforma conseguentemente i serpenti in punizione, ma alla fonte di
questa saga potrebbe collocarsi il riferimento a un culto a Jahve come protettore contro i serpenti, eventualmente derivato da un rito cananaico di
Ad alcuni ricercatori non e sfuggito il quadro simpatetico-magico dell 'atto
di Mose (una sorta di medicina omeopatica), valenza questa che potrebbe
non essere completamente scomparsa dall 'interpretazione che i Perati offri-

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


si veda Epistola di Barnaba, 12,5, che e un dossier sulla croce e il

battesimo, intessuto di riprese da testimonia, e avvicina il serpente di Eva a quello di Mose , secondo quanto gia fatto da Filone in Leg.all. II,71-81 e Agric. 94-109


; inoltre, Giustino, Dial.

91,4 ; ib. 94,1 ; ib. 112,1-2 e 131,4, passo, quest 'ultimo, che fonde, tra l 'altro, la storia dell 'uscita dall 'Egitto al materiale biblico











polemica tertullianea antimarcionita, si vedano pure Tertulliano, Iud. 10,10 ; Marc. III,18,7 e Idol. 5,3-4


, passi anch 'essi fon-

dati su liste di testimonia ; sempre in ambito latino e all 'interno

di una raccolta di testimonia originale, vd. Cipriano, Test. II,20.
Nell 'ambito della cultura gnostica, un parallelo molto interessante e che ha il merito di associare al tema del serpente di bronzo pure quello della verga di Mose (associazione probabilmente






Appare notevole che Giustino, in IApol. 60,3, associ al serpente
di bronzo proprio il celebre passo di Ti. 36 b-c, sul ``X '' che attraversa l 'universo, affermando che Platone si ispiro ai fatti dei
Numeri e che Mose avrebbe drizzato nel deserto una croce.
Danielou ricorda che questo episodio era associato alla vittoria
su Amalek gia nella tradizione giudaica, come segno della potenza di Dio



; e, in effetti, il passo in questione ricorre regolar-







Ireneo e Cipriano in associazione binomica con Amalek ; tuttavia, la sequenza di citazioni tertullianea appare ispirarsi a una
raccolta testimoniaria un po ' differente. L 'interpretazione giu-

vano dell 'episodio. D 'altro canto, l 'atto di innalzare il serpente lascia intendere che esso viene rappresentato morto : il presentarlo sconfitto su di un
palo, alla portata della vista di tutti, non e che una metafora della vittoria
sul pericolo e sul male che esso rappresenta. Cfr. J. Marsh - A.G. Butzer,
The Book of Numbers, in The Interpreters ' Bible, vol.II, Nashville (Tennessee), Abingdon Press, 1978, pagg. 135-308, (specialmente pagg. 242-43) ; P.J.
Budd, Numbers (The World Biblical Commentary 5), Waco, Word Books
Publisher, 1984, pagg. 232-35 ; J. Sharbert, Numeri, Wurzburg, Echter Verlag, 1992, pag. 84, n. 8.
p|tre de Barnabe (Sources Chre 28. Vd. P. Prigent et R.A. Kraft edd., E
tiennes 172), Paris, Cerf, 1971, pagg.169-71.
. Gauche edd., Justin Martyr. Oeuvres
29. Vd. G. Archambault-Pautigny - E
completes, Paris, Bibliothe que Migne, 1994, pagg. 245, 248-49, 271-72 e 302.
30. L 'interpretazione del brano verte, come sempre in Tertulliano, sulla
contraddizione tra il divieto biblico delle immagini e la fabbricazione del serpente, volta, ovviamente, alla tipologia della croce e qui particolarmente
adatta al soggetto dell 'opera.
31. Cfr. J. Danie lou, Messaggio evangelico..., op.cit., pagg. 252-53. Dello
stesso autore, cfr. pure Sacramentum futuri, op.cit., pagg. 144-51.

a. magri


daica normativa insisteva tuttavia non sul serpente, bens| sull 'azione di Dio come causa prima e unica della guarigione, come,
per esempio, in Sapienza 16,7. La fonte di questa esegesi sarebbe
Rabbi Eliezer ben Hircanus (I sec. d.C.), il che evidenzierebbe
una fonte palestinese per il Vangelo giovanneo


; i targumim e

l 'evangelista si collocano infatti sulla stessa linea interpretativa.

Al serpente di bronzo dedico infine un 'omelia di carattere esegetico, forse l 'unica in vari secoli, Severiano di Gabala (presso
Laodicea, in Siria) a cavallo tra IV e V secolo


4) Per il bastone di Mose , vd. Esodo 4,2-3 ; 17,7-15 ; Esodo 4,2-3

ricorre pure in Ippolito, Haer. VIII,14,8, sull 'eresia di Monoimo.
Questi versetti hanno offerto piu di uno spunto ai testimonia liturgici di carattere battesimale centrati sull 'acqua e sul legno e
si trovano in brani ampiamente dipendenti da essi : per Esodo
4,2-3, vd. Ps.Hipp. Pasch. 35, paragrafo che dice molto sui testimonia crucis


; per l 'altro passo, vd. ad es. Cipriano, Test. II,21,

in cui il riferimento alla verga di Mose si situa all 'interno dell 'episodio di Amalek di Esodo 17,9-14 ; un altro parallelo interessante e inoltre l 'epistola Ad Hieracem di Dionigi d 'Alessandria,
che riporta molte allusioni bibliche analoghe a quelle di questo
Esiste una serie testimoniaria incentrata sulla parola

ra`bdoq, in-

tesa come figura di Cristo ; il sostantivo infatti fa parte degli appellativi accordati al Messia. Si pensi solo a Isaia 11,1, che pare
il punto di partenza della raccolta : vd. anche Giustino, Dial.
100,4 ; 126,1. Una raccolta di testimonia di tal genere e presupposta, benche confusa con altre analoghe, quale quella su Cristo-roccia, anche da passi come Ireneo, Dem. 46


. Piu
oltre, a

Dem. 59, Ireneo si serve del collegamento del bastone di Mose al

germoglio di Iesse di Isaia 11,1-10, per riprendere il tema di
Cristo come verga, segno di potenza. Si noti che, in ambiente

32. Vd. L. Morris ed., The Gospel according to John, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971, pag. 225, n. 59 e T.W. Manson,
The Argument from Prophecy, in Journal of Theological Studies 46 (1945),
pagg. 129-136.
33. Cfr. PG LVI, 499-516.
34. Interessanti in proposito le annotazioni di G. Visona nel suo Pseudo-Ippolito, In Sanctum Pascha. Studio edizione commento, Milano, Universita
Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 1988, pagg. 410-12
35. Questo passo ha pure la caratteristica di sviluppare il tema della negativita dell 'Egitto e del Mar Rosso : vd. A. Rousseau ed., Irenee de Lyon, De monstration de la Predication apostolique (Sources Chretiennes 406), Paris,
Cerf, 1995, pag. 150.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


alessandrino, la verga rappresenta il ruolo pedagogico di Cristo

e la sua

dunamiq :

vd. Clemente, Paed. I,7,61. Esistono pure pa-

ralleli iconografici, che presentano il Signore con la bacchetta

del pedagogo in mano. Si tratta di una fusione con il motivo ellenistico della verga di Hermes, probabilmente assai attraente
per degli gnostici nutriti di sincretismo


Comunque i bastoni assumono un ruolo non secondario anche

in Esodo 12,3ss, ovvero nel brano tradizionale sulla Pasqua ;
passo che e legato a filo doppio, nella storia esegetica, con quello del serpente di bronzo


Il tema della verga e sviluppato pure dalla letteratura rabbinica.

Secondo un testo, il bastone di Mose e compreso tra le dieci cose
create da Dio al crepuscolo della vigilia del sabato


. Nel Canti-

co del mare, Zippora parla al futuro marito Mose di una verga

piantata nel giardino del padre Ietro : il fatto che egli sia in grado di prenderla ne testimonia la vocazione profetica. La verga
sarebbe stata creata da Dio alla vigilia del sabato, al termine
quindi della settimana creativa : consegnata ad Adamo, essa sarebbe stata poi trasmessa successivamente a Enoch, Noe , Sem,
Abramo, Isacco, Giacobbe, Giuseppe. Alla morte di costui, essa
sarebbe stata trafugata dai maghi del Faraone, per poi finire tra
le mani di Ietro (padre di Zippora), compreso tra i maghi. La
verga rappresenta quindi la tradizione dell 'originaria rivelazione divina : sembra evidente il rapporto di questa tradizione con
il testo peratico, cui sembra soggiacere qualcosa di assai simile


. D 'altro lato, l 'esegesi rabbinica era solita associare in un

medesimo passo allusioni a due brani impieganti termini comuni : in questa maniera, Esodo 7,11 era collegato a Numeri 21,8 e
Genesi 3,14 : vd. Targum palestinese Shemoth Esodo 7,9, che richiama il serpente genesiaco tramite la verga di Aronne e Mose ,
e Targum palestinese Numeri 21,6 che menziona pure il serpente
della Genesi.

tudes d 'exegese jude o-chretienne(Les Testimonia),

36. Vd. J. Danielou, E
Paris, Beauchesne, 1966, pag. 143.
37. Cfr. E. Norelli, Due testimonia attribuiti a Esdra, in Annuali di Storia
dell 'Esegesi 1 (1984), pagg. 231-82.
38. Sorprendentemente, esso non compare in varie altre liste analoghe : cfr.
J. Bowker, The Targums and Rabbinic Literature, Cambridge, University
Press, 1969, pagg. 113ss.
39. Vd. Umberto

Neri ed.,

Il cantico del mare. Midrash sull 'Esodo


Roma, Citta Nuova, 1981, pag. 76, dove si trova anche una ricca serie di
paralleli entro la letteratura giudaica.

a. magri


5) Per Eva, vd. Genesi 3,1


. Il personaggio biblico e visto qui

positivamente, simbolo di una natura universale di chiara impronta stoica, sulla base dell 'equivalenza Eva=vita e dell 'appellativo madre dei viventi, che compare alcune righe oltre


Anche in questo caso possiamo vedere un richiamo al filoniano

De agr. 95, dove, Eva e espressamente collegata alla Vita. Il ruolo biblico di Eva come madre dei viventi appare essere quindi
stato rivissuto alla luce di sfumature stoicizzanti.
D 'altro canto, esiste una tradizione midrashica secondo cui la
tentazione di Eva da parte del serpente avrebbe avuto contenuto
sensuale, in quanto esso le avrebbe inspirato la lussuria : se ne
trovano le tracce ad es. in 4Maccabei 18,7-8 e in Filone, Leg.all.
III,59, alla base della celebre allegoria secondo cui la donna rappresenta la sensazione e l 'uomo l 'intelletto, mentre il serpente e
assimilato al piacere, inteso in maniera ovviamente negativa.
D 'altronde, alcuni racconti midrashici (come Midrash Rabbah
17) aggiungono addirittura che essa fu creata dopo Adamo, solo
quando egli ne manifesto il desiderio, avendo Dio previsto il
peccato della donna, e che contemporaneamente a lei ricevette
la vita il serpente. Questi midrash recano la traccia di un 'identificazione tra Eva e il serpente, addirittura a livello fonetico


Tali tradizioni hanno dato probabilmente origine a certe sfumature di vari racconti gnostici sulle origini : ad es. Clemente Alessandrino,



gnostiche sulla


ge` nesiq


e sulla





chiaramente connesse al

peccato dell 'Eden ; Ireneo, in Haer. I,30,7, riporta invece il mito

ofita della profanazione della prima donna da parte degli arconti. Tuttavia, questa versione non pare aver influito su quella
peratica, in cui al contrario, la disobbedienza e vista positivamente, come fonte di sapienza : forse la definizione di Eva come
madre dei viventi, fusa a concezioni di tipo stoico, indusse in
questi gnostici l 'identificazione tra Eva come madre della vita e
Eva come datrice di sapienza. In tal caso, si potrebbe intravvedere in questa interpretazione il rifluire della corrente sapienziale









40. Sull 'interpretazione di Eva nello gnosticismo, cfr. M. Simonetti, Note

sull 'interpretazione gnostica dell 'Antico Testamento, in Vetera Christianorum
10 (1973), pagg. 103-26.
41. Cfr. M. Simonetti, Note sull 'interpretazione gnostica dell 'AT, in Vetera
Christianorum 9 (1972), pagg. 331-59, cit. pag. 345.
42. Cfr. I. Singer et alii edd., The Jewish Encyclopaedia (3), vol. V, New
York-London, Funk and Wagnalls Company 1925, pagg. 275-6.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


6) Sull 'Eden, vd. Genesi 2,8-10. Tale versetto e richiamato pure

in Haer. VI,14, brano in cui i simoniani recuperano una complessa simbologia sul corpo.
Qui il serpente-Logos e identificato con il mistero dell 'Eden,
un 'ovvia allusione agli alberi (della conoscenza del Bene e del
Male e della Vita) che erano al centro del Paradiso. La gnose
et la vie sont souvent associe es aux arbres du Paradis dans la

archa| que




XI,10 ;



V,11,72,2. Esiste un importante parallelo pure nello gnosticismo

valentiniano : nel Vangelo di Verita (vd. p.18,24-29), il Verbo,
vittima dell 'Errore, in quanto portatore di Verita , ne viene annientato e inchiodato al legno, divenendo cos| frutto della gnosi
proveniente dal Padre, munifico di doni e non di danni, per coloro che se ne cibano. A Cerfaux non e sfuggita ne la presenza del
motivo giudaico dell 'albero paradisiaco, ne il soggiacente richiamo alla riflessione giovannea sulla redenzione


. E

possibile che gli gnostici abbiano recuperato dei testimonia sull 'albero della vita. Non solo : a monte di questo motivo potrebbe
sussistere, da parte dei Perati (molto indebitati con il corpus giovanneo), la conoscenza di brani dell 'Apocalisse direttamente
connessi all 'immagine dell 'albero della vita, come Apocalisse
2,9 e 22,14.
D 'altro lato, Origene e testimone di una tradizione giudaica,


all 'esegesi




l 'Eden era posto al centro del cosmo come la pupilla dell 'occhio


; e il suo fiume sarebbe stato il Pheison. Si tratta di una

delle tante tradizioni ebraiche che almanaccavano sulla posizione dell 'Eden e che furono raccolte da Origene, il che conferma
la natura giudaica della riflessione nata intorno all 'esegesi di
questi versetti


. Krauss non ne identifica la provenienza esatta,

ma presuppone un legame con l 'antica credenza che la Palestina

fosse il centro del mondo e l 'Eden collocato vicino ad essa.
Infine, in ambito specificatamente cristiano, l 'albero della vita e
stato associato in eta assai antica alla croce : vd. Ignazio d 'An-

tudes d 'exegese jude o-chretienne..., op.cit., pag. 105.

43. Vd. J. Danielou, E
vangile de la Ve rite, in Recueil Lu44. Vd. L. Cerfaux, De Saint Paul a l 'E
tudes d 'exegese et d 'histoire religieuse, tome III, Leuven, Unicien Cerfaux. E
versity Press, 1985, pagg. 47-59, in particolare pagg. 52-53.
45. Vd. Hom.in Gen. II,8.
46. Vd. S. Krauss, The Jews in the Works of the Church Fathers, in Jewish
Quarterly Review 5 (1893), pagg. 122-57, in particolare pag. 148 ; G. Bardy,
Les traditions juives dans l 'uvre d 'Orige ne, in Revue Biblique 34 (1925),
pagg. 217-52, in particolare pag. 229. Tutto l 'articolo comunque conferma
la consistente presenza di motivi giudaici nell 'esegesi cristiana delle origini.

a. magri


tiochia, Trall. XI,1-2 ; Paralipomeni di Geremia 9,14 ; Giustino,

Dial. 86 ; Ireneo, Haer. V,18,3 ; Clemente Alessandrino, Strom.
V,11,72,2-5, che, come si e visto, connette la gnosi al legno


7) Per Caino, vd. Genesi 4,15 ; nel seguito sono ricordati i sacrifici offerti dai due fratelli al Dio dell 'Antico Testamento, vd.
Genesi 4,3-5.
Fra le sette che apprezzarono Caino in quanto testimone di
un 'economia opposta a quella del Demiurgo, vd. Ireneo, Haer.
I,31,1, Epifanio, Haer. 38,2-4 (sui Cainiti), in cui egli rappresenta l 'uomo spirituale ; negativi appaiono invece Ipostasi degli Arconti, p.91,11-31, che ripete il racconto genesiaco, per cui si
tratta di un uomo carnale ; Ireneo, Haer. I,30,9 dove, secondo
gli Ofiti, il serpente malvagio gli avrebbe ispirato il fratricidio ;
Epifanio, Haer. 40,5, che lo dice nato con Abele dal diavolo


Una concezione simile, che rivaluta i personaggi negativi della

Bibbia e associa Caino, Sodomiti ed Egiziani in un 'unica lode,






Marcione :




Si tratta di un 'esegesi chiaramente e consapevolmente preordinata a un intento polemico nei confronti dell 'economia demiurgica


; il sacrificio di Abele, d 'altra parte, viene qui interpretato

come cruento : probabile puntata polemica contro i sacrifici del



, ovvia reazione gnostica al legalismo delle correnti

giudaizzanti. D 'altro lato, esisteva tutto un filone, interno al

tudes d 'exegese judeo-chre tienne..., op.cit., pagg. 6147. Vd. J. Danie lou, E
48. Vd. M. Simonetti, Note sull 'interpretazione gnostica dell 'Antico Testamento, art. cit., in particolare pagg. 113-14, dove e ricordato pure questo
passo sui Perati.
49. Il testo e brevemente commentato da A. Orbe, La teologia..., op.cit.,
vol.II, pagg. 365-67 : gli oppositori del Demiurgo, infatti, accoglierebbero
nell 'Ade la discesa di Gesu , figlio del Dio misericordioso, e approderebbero
alla salvezza.
50. Vd. H. Jonas, Lo gnosticismo..., op.cit., pagg. 111-12.
51. Vd. M. Simonetti, Note..., art.cit., pag. 346, n.40. Gia in Filone Caino
rappresenta l 'uomo orgogliosamente ripiegato su se stesso e lontano da
Dio ; inoltre, dato che la Bibbia non accenna alla sua morte, Filone lo riteneva ancora in vita : cfr. deter. passim e J. Cazeaux, Philon d 'Alexandrie, exe gete, in ANRW, Bd. XXI, Te.I, pagg. 156-226. Per la figura di Caino nella
tradizione esegetica siriaca, molto dipendente dai testimonia, cfr. T. Nicklas,
So hne Kains. Beruhrungspunkte zwischen Textkritik und Interpretationsgeschichte am Beispiel Joh 8,44 bei Aphrahat, in Revue Biblique 108 (2001),
pagg. 349-59.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


giudaismo, di opposizione al culto sacrificale del Tempio, dai

Recabiti, fino agli Esseni e alla setta degli Ebioniti


8) Per Giuseppe, vd. Genesi 37,3-28. La veste multicolore che il

personaggio indossa e simbolo di onore, onore applicato dai Perati pure ad Esau ; nella tipologia cattolica, Giuseppe spogliato
della veste rappresenta il Crocifisso


. Per possibili paralleli, vd.

Iud. 10,6-7 ; Marc. III,18,3

10,4 ; Cipriano,




Zel. et liv. 5. I Perati sembrano dunque avere re-

cuperato, almeno in parte, una tipologia cristiana.

9) Per Esau , vd. Genesi 27,15 -27. Nel seguito e ricordata la benedizione a Giacobbe da parte di Isacco cieco, vd. Genesi 27,1.
In generale, l 'esegesi cristiana vi vedeva il primogenito renitente, sostituito dal secondogenito nel diritto alla primogenitura,
come il popolo gentile fedele aveva preso il posto di quello
ebraico : vd. ad es. Romani 9,13, dove Paolo spiega che il rifiuto
della primogenitura da parte sua rappresenta la gratuita dell 'elezione divina, non dipendente da meriti o da condizioni privilegiate.

Esau ,






d 'altro canto una questione scottante per gli esegeti giudaici

che, onde spiegare il suo rifiuto, si aggrappavano a presunte colpe passate o future, non citate dalla Bibbia. Spesso lo si accusava di gelosia contro il fratello Giacobbe, mentre Filone si serve
dell 'etimologia per allegorizzarne la figura e ritenerlo un malvagio privo di razionalita. In questo testo gnostico, al contrario, il
personaggio biblico e presentato in una luce positiva poiche e
stato in grado di arricchirsi all 'esterno della famiglia, ovvero
da spirituale, rimanendo estraneo ai legami carnali, secondo
un ribaltamento caro a vari sistemi gnostici

52. Cfr. H.J. Schoeps,


Ebionite Christianity, in Journal of Theological Stu-

dies 4 (1953), pagg. 219-24 ; sugli Ebioniti e le correnti giudaiche connesse, in

generale, cfr. A.F.J. Klijn - G.J. Reinink,

Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Chris-

tian Sects (Supplements to Novum Testamentum n36), Leiden, Brill, 1973.

53. Vd. M. Simonetti,

Note..., art.cit., pag. 346, n.38, che rimanda agli Atti

di Tommaso e al Canto della Perla come esempi di questa simbologia nello

gnosticismo ; vd. invece Melitone,

Pass. 59 e 69 per la cristologia ortodossa.

Per l 'interpretazione della figura di Giuseppe come tipo di Cristo, privilegiata tra l 'altro dall 'esegesi ippolitea, vd. J. Danie lou,

Messaggio evangelico e

cultura ellenistica..., op.cit., pagg. 312-13.

54. Questo brano in particolare, cos| come quello precedente, lascerebbe
supporre una possibile contiguita della tipologia di Giuseppe con quella del
serpente di bronzo.
55. Per la figura di Esau , cfr. GLNT, op.cit., IV vol., coll. 133-38 ; M. Simonetti,

Note..., art.cit., pagg. 346-47 ; J. Ho fer - K. Rahner edd., Lexikon fur

Theologie und Kirche, vol. III, Freiburg Brsg., Verlag Herder, 1959, coll.
1082-83, alla voce omonima.


a. magri

I Perati dovevano essere a conoscenza di questa tipologia piu

che tradizionale : la loro presa di posizione, che attribuisce il tipo del Cristo proprio a Esau , appare quindi una provocazione

10) Per Nemrod, vd. Genesi 10,9. Il personaggio rappresentava

una vecchia conoscenza del milieu gnostico e genericamente eretico, in quanto era considerato come uno degl 'iniziatori delle superstizioni astrologiche, della

magia e



del fuoco


Nella letteratura rabbinica e targumica, esso, tuttavia, e considerato un malvagio, soprattutto un ribelle, spinto a questo atteggiamento dalla sua stessa potenza ; infatti il suo nome veniva
legato al verbo marad, si ribello


. Il suo recupero puo pertan-

to celare un 'intenzione antigiudaica.

11) Il riferimento a Giovanni 3,14 e ovviamente associato all 'episodio di Numeri 21,8, per cui vedasi sopra.

12) Per il discorso sul Logos, vd. Giovanni 1,1-4. Si tratta di un

passo capitale nella letteratura cristiana antica, non solo ecclesiastica, ma pure gnostica, per cui poco distintivo : per l 'impiego
cristiano, una delle citazioni piu antiche e Ireneo, Haer. V,18,2 ;
per l 'esegesi gnostica, vd. Ireneo, Haer. I,8,5 ; Clemente, Exc.
Theodot. 6,1-4 ; ib. 19,1-2 ; ib. 45,3 ; Tolomeo, ep.3,6 ; Eracleone,
fr.1 ap.Or.Jo. II,14. Infine, il passo ricorre di continuo nell 'Adversus Praxeam di Tertulliano : vd.7,8 ; ib. 8,4 ; ib.21,1 ecc. La citazione esplicita di questi versetti giovannei appare significativa
soprattutto perche gli gnostici precedettero in questo gli ortodossi, gia agl 'inizi del II sec.


56. Vd. Rec.clem. I,30,7, dove e detto primo re di Babilonia e iniziatore del
culto persiano del fuoco, e Hom.Clem XI,3,2, dove lo si identifica con Zoroastro, dotato di notevoli arti magiche. Tuttavia, un altro passo delle Recognitiones, IV,29,1, lo identifica invece con il re assiro Nino, considerato in
ogni caso il primo uomo ad apprendere la magia. Il brano lascia intendere
comunque un rapporto con Zoroastro, di cui e descritta poco prima la morte
ad opera di un fulmine (vd. IV,27,5), dato che Nemrod e detto avere appreso
proprio da lui e ``come se un fulmine fosse disceso fino a lui '' le arti magiche.
Vd. A. Schneider e L. Cirillo edd., Les Reconnaissances du pseudo-Cle ment.
Roman chretien des premiers sie cles, Turnhout, Brepols, 1999, pagg. 300-1,
soprattutto la nota n 43.
57. Cfr. J. Bowker, The Targums..., op.cit., pagg. 179-81.
58. Sul Prologo di Giovanni, cfr. A. Dettwiler,

Le Prologue johannique

(Jean 1,1-18), in J.D. Kaestli, J.M. Poffet et J. Zumstein edd., La commu vangile de Jean aux deux
naute johannique et son histoire. La trajectoire de l 'E
premiers sie cles, Gene ve, Labor et Fides, 1990, pagg. 185-203. L 'autore discute anche la tesi bultmanniana, ormai sorpassata, di uno sfondo gnostico


l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati

13) Su Eva, vd. Genesi 3,20 e sopra.

14) Seguono riferimenti secondari come Matteo 13,6 e Luca
10,23. L'idea che il Figlio rappresenti il mediatore universale tra
il Padre e il mondo, corrente nella teologia dei primi tre secoli
della59 nostra era, e introdotta grazie all'allusione a Filippesi
2,10 .
15) Il riferimento al grande prodigio in cielo, potrebbe nascondere, al di sotto dell'impiego massiccio di Arato
46, una
possibile allusione ad Apocalisse 17,6, sfuggita al Marcovich. Il
versetto non viene mai ripreso nella letteratura cristiana precedente:60 la
presenta solo Tertulliano,
12,11 .
16) Per quanto riguarda i bastoni sull'abbeveratoio, il riferimento a Mose e erroneo, dato che si tratta in realta dell'episodio di
Genesi 30,37-39, che ha per protagonista Giacobbe. La ricorrenza di questo versetto rimane, secondo la
, assai
rara: il principale parallelo e rappresentato da Giustino.
86,2, gia richiamato 61sopra; possiamo aggiungere
134,5 e
IV,21,3 .
86 si trova in effetti la seguente sequenza: l'albero di vita (Genesi 2,9), il bastone di Mose (Esodo 4,17 e 7,8ss), la divisione del Mar Rosso (Esodo 14,16), la sorgente scaturita dalla
roccia (Esodo 17,5-6; Numeri 20,8), le acque di Mara (Esodo
15,22-25), l'episodio di Giacobbe (Genesi 30,37-38), un altro in
cui il patriarca attraversa il fiume grazie al suo bastone (Genesi
32,11) ecc. Piu oltre ricorre anche un riferimento all'episodio di




Biblia patristica





proposto per il Prologo: essa e minata dalla fede esposta in esso nei confronti della Incarnazione e dalla convinzione che il cosmo e opera di Dio. I paralleli con altri brani gnostici sarebbero quindi perfettamente spiegabili come
frutto del medesimo
della teologia sapienziale giudeo-ellenistica cui
l'uno e gli altri avrebbero attinto. Per le citazioni gnostiche del Vangelo di
Giovanni, cfr. J.M. Poffet,
, in
, op.cit., pagg. 305-21.
Vd. pure le idee analoghe dei Naasseni in Ippolito,
E noto che l'individuazione di citazioni neotestamentarie tra I e II sec. e
quanto mai problematica: cfr. J.M. Poffet,
, art.cit.; H. von Campenhausen,
, trad.fr., Neuchatel, Delachaux & Niestle, 1971
(prima edizione tedesca, 1968).
Vd. J. Danielou,
, op.cit., pag. 251, dove e ricordato pure questo passo dei Perati.

vangile de Jean au II
Indices de reception de l 'E

siecle, avant Irenee

La communaute johannique...




de Jean au II

Indices de reception de l 'E

siecle, avant Irenee

tion de la Bible chretienne


Messaggio evangelico...

La forma-


a. magri

Elim (vd.Esodo 15,27; Numeri 33,9). Sembra quindi che, dato il

gran numero di coincidenze tra questo passo, basato sui
, e quello dei Perati, questi ultimi abbiano fatto uso di una
fonte comune.



Caratteristiche generali dell 'esegesi dei Perati

Il rovesciamento dell 'AT

Prima di continuare e opportuno tenere presente un'osservazione, a mio avviso fondamentale, formulata da M.Simonetti: gli
esegeti antichi erano spesso indotti a isolare dal loro contesto
originale i versetti oggetto di commento, cosicche la loro interpretazione variava a seconda degli scopi e dell'inquadramento
ideologici dell'autore. Alcuni passi hanno attraversato una vicenda dottrinale assai62 tormentata, specie quelli coinvolti nelle
diatribe cristologiche . Il fatto non e indifferente rispetto alle
controversie esegetiche tra gnostici e ortodossi. Cerchiamo
quindi, innanzitutto, di inquadrare le caratteristiche dell'esegesi
E noto che gli studi sull'esegesi gnostica vetero-testamentaria
sono piu
arretrati di quelli afferenti i rapporti col Nuovo Testamento63. Nella sua panoramica d'esordio al
sul tema dell'esegesi veterotestamentaria in epoca pre-nicena, M.Simonetti ha tracciato un
quadro complessivo dell'argomento e si e soffermato pure sullo
gnosticismo. E risaputo che l'atteggiamento gnostico nei confronti dell'Antico Testamento non era univoco e che si andava
dal rifiuto completo, alla rivalutazione di alcuni passi in cui, all'insaputa degli estensori, avrebbe parlato Sophia, al ribaltamento, donde l'ammirazione per personaggi come Caino, Esau
X Incontro di stu-



dell 'Antichita

Cfr. M. Simonetti,


Osservazioni sull 'interpretazione teologica della Sacra

, in
II (1981), pagg. 301-19.
Cfr. G. Filoramo e C. Gianotto,
..., art.cit.; M. Simonetti,
, art. cit.,
pagg. 331ss e R.McL. Wilson,
, in G.
Widengren ed.,
, Stockholm-Leiden, Almqwist & Wiksell International-Sweden - E.J. Brill, 1977, pagg. 164-68: quest'ultimo articolo
sottolinea la difficolta dello studio del soggetto, a causa della limitatezza
delle nostre fonti, delle differenze d'approccio all'Antico Testamento tra
una setta e l'altra, della natura frammentaria o di estratto di numerosi documenti (in cui inoltre gli eresiologi potrebbero aver introdotto materiale spurio) e della natura evanescente dei riferimenti stessi, che oscillano tra
citazione, parafrasi midrashica, allusione e rielaborazione del testo biblico.

Scrittura in eta patristica



L 'interpretazione gnostica dell 'Antico


Note sull 'interpretazione...

The Gnostics and the Old Testament

Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Gnosticism.

Stockholm August 20-25 1973

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati




. Nella lista degli strenui oppositori dell 'Antico Testamen-

to vengono collocati pure i Perati : Haer. V,16,4-13 conterrebbe

una vera e propria storia della salvezza in funzione antidemiurgica, in cui il serpente e assunto a simbolo del Logos


In un suo articolo contiguo, pure Bianchi, richiamandosi tra

l 'altro a posizioni simili espresse da Tro ger, sostiene che i Perati
farebbero parte dell 'orientamento esegetico in cui si verifica
il rovesciamento delle posizioni, tramite lo scambio di ruoli e funzioni tra le principali figure dell 'Antico Testamento


Magne aggiunge invece che nell 'ambito di un 'esegesi favorevole

alla figura del serpente genesiaco, interpretato come un messo
inviato dal Dio vero per comunicare all 'uomo la conoscenza e
la salvezza, i Perati sono tra quelle sette che vedevano in questo
episodio la prima apparizione personale di Gesu prima di quella


. Infine, posizioni analoghe, ma un po ' piu sfumate, so-

no state espresse di recente da B.A.Pearson. In sostanza, egli riprende







Perati tra coloro che, invertendo i ruoli dei personaggi vetero-testamentari, assumono una posizione ``intermedia '' nei confronti
dell 'Antico Testamento : ne completamente negativa, ma nean-

64. Cfr. M. Simonetti, L 'interpretazione patristica del Vecchio Testamento

fra II e III secolo, in Augustinianum XXII, 1982, pagg.7-33 ; sugli gnostici,
vd. in particolare le pagg. 11-13. Bisogna notare che nel seguito dell 'articolo,
durante l 'analisi delle opere esegetiche tramandate sotto il nome di Ippolito,
Simonetti ribadisce la sua tesi divisionista , attribuendole a un omonimo vescovo orientale di formazione asiatica. Altra sintetica panoramica compresa
nello stesso volume e J. Gribomont, Nouvelles perspectives sur l 'exe ge se de
l 'Ancien Testament a la fin du III

siecle, in Augustinianum XXII, 1982,

pagg.357-63 ; da notare la seguente affermazione : De toute e vidence, tout

progres sur l 'histoire de l 'exe ge se gnostique e claire la problematique et les
glise, cit. pag. 359.
methodes qui se developpent au sein me me de l 'E
65. Vd. M. Simonetti, L 'interpretazione patristica...., art.cit., pag. 12.
66. Cfr. U. Bianchi, Polemiche gnostiche e anti-gnostiche sul Dio dell 'Antico
Testamento, in Augustinianum XXII, 1982, pagg. 35-51. Lo studioso ne conclude che quindi, all 'interno dello gnosticismo, la figura del salvatore e
sempre di origine cristiana ; cio suona in accordo con la tesi qui difesa.
67. Cfr. J. Magne, L 'exegese du recit du Paradis dans les e crits juifs, gnostiques et chretiens, in Augustinianum XXII, 1982, pagg. 263-70. Da notare
che l 'autore sostiene l 'anteriorita dello gnosticismo rispetto al cristianesimo
e abbraccia la tesi degl 'influssi gnostici su alcuni libri del Nuovo Testamento, il che, a mio giudizio, indebolisce considerevolmente la seconda parte
della sua argomentazione.

a. magri


che totalmente positiva


. Appare quindi indiscutibile che i Pe-

rati abbiano seguito il motivo del rovesciamento del Vecchio

comunque opportuno interrogarsi su quale forma di rovesciaE
mento i Perati si proponessero. Di recente, M.A. Williams ha
richiamato l 'attenzione sul fatto che gli studiosi hanno interpretato fino ad ora questo ribaltamento esegetico in maniera troppo generalizzata e indiscriminata, come sintomo di una forte vis
polemica gnostica e di una ribellione anche sociale, magari legata a circoli intellettuali giudaici desiderosi di reagire alla propria
posizione frustrante. Soprattutto, lo studioso giudica discutibile
la tendenza a sistematizzare quest 'ottica, a tal punto da ritenere
l 'esegesi gnostica in toto come ``esegesi della protesta '', una protesta di principio, ovviamente. In realta , il ribaltamento dei ruoli vetero-testamentari e molto piu discontinuo di quanto appaia
a prima vista e fortemente dipendente dall 'episodio o personaggio biblico coinvolto


. Williams propone che cio avvenisse so-

prattutto per risolvere difficolta esegetiche legate a brani biblici

particolarmente ostici : tuttavia, proprio in linea con l 'asserzione dello studioso ``there is no single `gnostic exegesis ' '', preferisco affiancare a questa ipotesi anche un 'altra osservazione.
La tessitura di un brano esegetico come quello qui proposto e
assai complessa e molteplici fattori vi sono all 'opera ; quindi e
necessario analizzare l 'esegesi di ogni singolo gruppo gnostico
per comprenderne le caratteristiche peculiari ed estrapolarne gli
elementi portanti. Una categoria come quella del rovesciamento
(o altre), laddove sia presente, non varia di significato solo a seconda dell 'oggetto dell 'esegesi (l 'episodio biblico analizzato, le
difficolta intepretative sottese ecc.), ma anche del soggetto (il
gruppo gnostico in questione), della sua storia, teologia, filoso-

68. Vd. B.A. Pearson, Old Testament Interpretation in Gnostic Literature, in

The Emergence of the Christian Religion. Essays on Early Christianity, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Trinity Press International, 1997, pagg. 99-121, in
particolare, 101-4. L 'articolo e la riedizione di B.A. Pearson, Use, Authority
and Exegesis of Mikra in Gnostic Literature, in M.J. Mulder ed., Mikra.
Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient
Judaism and Early Christianity (Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum
Testamentum II.1), Assen-Philadelphia, Van Gorcum, 1988, pagg. 635-52.

Cfr. M.A. Williams, Rethinking ``Gnosticism ''. An Argument for Dis-

mantling a Dubious Category, Princeton-New Jersey, Princeton University

Press 1996, in particolare le pagg. 54-79. Lo studioso colloca i Perati tra le
sette gnostiche in cui il rovesciamento e stato piu insistito, ma fa riferimento
solo a Caino, Abele e l 'episodio del serpente, vd. pagg. 60-3.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


fia ecc. Tutto questo possiede un forte influsso sulla scelta dei
moduli interpretativi da impiegare. L 'esegesi e il riflesso di un 'ideologia religiosa, ma non tutto lo gnosticismo puo rifarsi a
un 'ideologia univoca. Il presente contributo si focalizza quindi
su una setta sola, proprio per enuclearne i tratti individuali con
la migliore approssimazione. Nel caso dei Perati, il rovesciamento di significato del racconto biblico appare piuttosto forte
soprattutto in due casi.
1) L 'interpretazione del peccato dell 'Eden, inteso come positiva
apertura alla sapienza. Questo tratto pero , come si e visto, e
comune anche a molti altri gruppi gnostici e si connette facilmente all 'importanza fondamentale della conoscenza esoterica per lo gnosticismo.
2) L 'allusione a Caino, Esau , Nemrod, che ne fa dei personaggi
positivi. Come mi propongo di dimostrare prossimamente e
come gia appare dal commento, questo recupero sembra rimandare a una posizione antigiudaica compatibile con gli
sviluppi di alcune correnti cristiane tra fine del I sec. e inizi
del II.
L 'inversione di ruoli si limita a questo, ne puo essere invocata
per altri riferimenti, come quello all 'attraversamento del Mar
Rosso, all 'episodio di Elim, allo stesso serpente di bronzo. Abbiamo







scelta di passi che, grazie al rovesciamento, comunque ricostruisce, almeno parzialmente, la storia della salvezza in antagonismo con la tradizione ; tuttavia, vi si aggiungono numerosi altri
moduli esegetici di segno diverso e piu eclettico.

L 'allegoria e le componenti ellenizzanti

Infatti, sulla base di alcune affermazioni di Filoramo e Gianotto

riportate in calce, si potrebbe osservare che la setta in questione
non si muove solo sulla linea del rifiuto dell 'Antico Testamento
o di una sua ricostruzione attraverso un mito alternativo, bens|
gli accorda comunque un ruolo positivo, riallacciandosi a molteplici tecniche di matrice genericamente allegorica.
I vari modi in cui questo movimento interpretativo si realizzaprofondamente differenti, al punto da mettere in dubbio...la legittimita di un termine globalizzante come allegoria hanno
tuttavia in comune il presupposto che il testo sacro e comunque
ispirato in modo positivo, sia procedimenti di tipo demitologizzante, sia infine tentativi di estensione dell 'oggetto interpretato...fino







a. magri


tradizioni religiose, in uno sforzo espansionistico ed annessionistico certo tipico della tradizione allegorica antica


Frasi perfettamente adeguate al brano qui riportato. Inoltre,

parlando dell 'Esegesi dell 'anima, gli autori sottolineano come
questo testo usi sullo stesso piano Antico Testamento, Nuovo
Testamento e Omero
per dimostrare che il complesso di idee e di dottrine che stanno
alla base del sistema teologico gnostico non sia spuntato dal nulla...ma si colleghi, senza soluzione di continuita, ad una rivelazione che si e progressivamente affermata, chiarita e precisata nel
corso della storia


In effetti, il brano peratico pone sullo stesso piano una citazione

omerica, una eraclitea, versetti giovannei, neo-testamentari e
passi vetero-testamentari, proponendosi di individuare le tracce
lasciate dal Logos nella storia umana ovunque e indiscriminatamente, tra pagani e ebrei. Questo ha la conseguenza non minore
di accorpare tradizione pagana e giudeo-cristiana.
Bisogna tuttavia precisare che questa tipologia e rovesciata rispetto a quella cristiana : essa si concentra su di un evento delle
origini, estraneo alla dimensione temporale, su di una salvezza
da sempre implicita nel Pleroma e solo in attesa di rivelarsi, a
prescindere dal cammino storico umano. La rivelazione autentica si compira solo piu tardi, assieme all 'esperienza esistenziale
quotidiana dello gnostico. Come afferma Simonetti, ci troviamo
infatti davanti a una
vera e propria storia della salvezza...momenti di una economia
che ha come oggetto la salvezza del seme divino imprigionato nel

Una storia della salvezza privata di gran parte della propria storicita , tuttavia. Il ricercatore vede quindi al centro di questo brano





l 'Antico


realizzazione del Nuovo, pero secondo schemi gnostici



. A co-

ronare il tutto, un peso consistente e posseduto dalla tendenza

mitologizzante, che porta lo gnostico a

70. Vd. G. Filoramo e C. Gianotto, L 'interpretazione gnostica..., art.cit.,

pag. 66.
71. Vd. G. Filoramo e C. Gianotto, L 'interpretazione gnostica..., art.cit.,
pag. 66.
72. Vd. M. Simonetti, Note sull 'interpretazione..., art. cit., pag. 116.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


reinterpretare le tradizioni religiose...per scoprirne la vera realta religiosa soggiacente


Da notare che la tradizione rabbinica non considerava l 'allegoria come una vera e propria forma di interpretazione della Bibbia :


quest 'ultima,






tradizione ellenistica, anche se Filone riposava in gran parte sul

materiale proveniente dalla haggadah. L 'allegoria e qualcosa di
specificatamente greco, in quanto deriva dall 'esigenza, specie filosofica, d 'interpretare i miti, altrimenti per lo piu improponibili. Inversamente, il giudeo ellenista impiegava l 'allegoria per
giustificare agli occhi straniti dei pagani, quindi con intento
apologetico, i propri usi, apparentemente incomprensibili


. Il

testo peratico e chiaramente allegorico, si pensi solo all 'interpretazione dell 'Egitto ; quindi esso lascia presupporre forti interferenze ellenistiche.
L 'impiego dell 'allegoria da parte di questo gruppo gnostico approda comunque a esiti originali, dato che essa viene piegata all 'espressione








salvezza. Bovon puntualizza cos| che l 'interpretazione allegorica

del passaggio del Mar Rosso e degli Egiziani, da parte dei Perati, s 'inserisce nel quadro della polemica gnostica antibattesimale
del II sec. d.C.


. Infatti, gli gnostici rifiutano di riconoscere la

validita del sacramento oggettivamente impartito, cos| come il

mondo materiale, intriso, secondo loro, di negativita ; per questo, contrappongono alle acque di quaggiu e ai riti ad esse legati
una realta spirituale che li trascende e impostano di conseguenza
l 'allegoria. Essa viene quindi chiamata, come ben chiarisce questo esempio, a esprimere la spaccatura profonda tra materia e
spirito che attraversa l 'esistenza e una nuova visione del mondo,
radicalmente dualista. Come gia per i Greci essa serviva a ovviare il significato di miti che essi non potevano accettare nella loro
forma letterale, l 'allegoria gnostica richiama verso un mondo
superiore perfetto l 'attenzione del singolo che non si riconosce
piu nella realta quotidiana che lo circonda.

73. Vd. G. Filoramo, Riflessioni in margine alla natura della mitologia gnostica, in Cassiodorus I, 1995, pagg. 219-22, cit. pag. 222.
74. Cfr.



Exege se



exe gese



Beauchesne et ses fils, 1939, pagg. 207ss.

75. Vd. F. Bovon, ``Fragment Oxyrynchus 840 '', Fragment of a Lost Gospel,
Witness of an Early Christian Controversy over Purity, in Journal of Biblical
Literature 119 (2000), pagg. 705-28, in particolare pag. 724.

a. magri



Un punto di passaggio molto importante per la formazione dell 'esegesi dei Perati potrebbe essere stato il milieu giudaico alessandrino


. In particolare non bisogna dimenticare la corrente

esegetica esoterica giudaica applicata alla Genesi e all 'Esodo,

specie a partire da Filone. Questo autore e presente alla riflessione peratica. Paralleli di carattere concettuale compaiono di
frequente nella parte teologica del dossier sui Perati : soprattutto la discussione sul Figlio e sul Logos reca vistose tracce dell 'elaborazione

dell 'Alessandrino





quanto di tutto cio appartenga alla koine filosofica dell 'epoca, a

un, per cos| dire, filonismo volgare, derivato da una sorta di
divulgazione, e quanto invece a una frequentazione diretta dei
testi, capace di produrre risultati maggiormente originali. Ma
soprattutto in ambito esegetico, come si e visto, esistono nel testo



all 'autore

alessandrino :




l 'equivalenza Egitto-corpo, senza contare il tema del serpente di



. Gran parte delle interpretazioni riportate sono impen-

sabili senza la base imprescindibile costituita dall 'esegesi filoniana.

Rapporti con l 'esegesi giudaica

Non devono sfuggire inoltre alcuni procedimenti tipici dell 'esegesi rabbinica e, in generale, giudaica, presenti in questo testo.
Il brano possiede ad esempio una caratteristica, risalente al Vecchio Testamento : l 'uso del dimostrativo come formula esegetica
d 'introduzione e spiegazione di un 'immagine o di un concetto,

outoq esti` n

(ad es. in ...questo e la parola sapiente di

Eva. Questo e il mistero dell 'Eden, questo il fiume che fuoriesce











l 'ebraico hu ', il pronome che introduce la visione (come in Zaccaria 19), un sogno (Daniele 4,24), la spiegazione di un oracolo
(Isaia 9,14) ecc. Considerando che l 'esposizione utilizza di solito

76. Buone notizie in merito sono offerte da C. Aziza, L 'utilisation pole mique
du recit de l 'Exode chez les e crivains alexandrins (IVe me sie cle av. J-C.-Ier
siecle ap. J-C.), in ANRW, Bd.XX, Te.I, pagg. 41-65.
77. Cfr. A. Magri, La Notizia di Ippolito sui Perati..., op.cit, passim.
78. Per Filone e la sua esegesi, cfr. J. Cazeaux, Philon d 'Alexandrie, exe gete,
79. Vd. M. Marcovich, ed.cit., pag. 183, righe 46-47.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


il predicato nominale, il pronome dimostrativo serve da soggetto sia in frasi in cui il predicato e rappresentato dal significante
(oracolo, visione ecc.), sia in quelle in cui esso e il significato (interpretazione della visione ecc.). Si tratta quindi, evidentemente,
di una formula biblica propria della letteratura profetica e di
orientazione escatologica. Difatti, con le medesime sfumature,
essa si ritrova negli scritti di Qumran, come introduzione ai


harim, nonche nel Nuovo Testamento, specie per introdurre una

citazione biblica (si veda ad esempio Matteo 3,3) o la spiegazione di essa


. Il procedimento e ereditato, ovviamente, anche dal-









Quest 'ultimo passo contiene, in effetti, un brano esegetico risalente ai Simoniani, dai toni assai simili, senza contare alcune
coincidenze esegetiche, a quello peratico.
Ricorrono anche alcune volte formule che si rinvengono nella
tradizione veterotestamentaria, fino a quella neotestamentaria,

ge` graptai (ad es. nella frase : come sta scritto nel libro di

Mose, a V,16, 8)


Il brano si situa dunque nella tradizione che attinge al modello

profetico di rivelazione. D 'altro lato, il procedimento di attualizzazione, per cui un testo antico viene adeguato al presente,
era tipico della letteratura midrashica, specie in epoche difficili,
segnate da forti attese escatologiche. L 'interpretazione, e ne sono un esempio i



di Qumran, non si peritava di modi-

ficare addirittura il testo, la sua grammatica e il senso, con

alterazioni pure di rilievo e giochi di parole.
...The biblical text is atomized into single words or phrases which
are then used as key words on which interpretations are now
erected in conformity with the general specification. ...The atomization of the text results, of course, in a complete disregard of

80. Vd. J.A. Fitzmyer,

The Use of Explicit Old Testament Quotations in

Qumran Literature and in the New Testament , in New Testament Studies 7

(1960-61), pagg. 297-333, specie pag. 312.
81. Vd. E. Earle Ellis,

The Old Testament in Early Christianity , Tubingen,

J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1991, pagg. 83-84. Sulle formule introduttive
alle citazioni, cfr. pure B. Metzger,

The Formulas Introducing Quotations of

Scripture in the NT and the Mishnah , in Journal of the Biblical Literature 70

(1951), pagg. 297-307.
82. Vd. M. Marcovich, ed.cit, pag. 183, riga 41 ; e vd. ancora J.A. Fitzmyer,

The Use..., art.cit., pagg. 300ss.

83. Sulla letteratura e la definizione di

pesharim, cfr. G. Brooke, Qumran

Pesher : Towards the Redifinition of a Genre , in Revue de Qumran 40 (1981),

pagg. 483-503 e, dello stesso,

Exegesis at Qumran. 4Q Florilegium in its Jew-

ish Context (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series
29), Sheffield, Sheffield Academic Press, 1985.

a. magri


contextual meaning and of whatever more or less conventional or

orthodox readings were in existence. Now such procedures are
not foreign to Midrashim. Metathesis of letters, substitution of
roots, word-play on similarly sounding although differently written forms are indulged in to a considerable degree.

Si trattava di procedimenti non del tutto codificabili, come avverra invece per altri dell 'esegesi rabbinica, quali le regole di
Hillel ; essi erano riscontrabili pure nella letteratura tannaitica.
...The commentator viewed the prophetic text as a vision whose
meaning, already known in fact, was to be unriddled. The method used was that of establishing a relationship between the
events in the history of the community and the biblical text by
means of literary devices that depended, for the most part, upon
auditory word-plays arrived at in several ways. There is non mere
external point to point correspondence between biblical text and
event, but rather a subtle interplay of text and event in which
both are in one way or another brought into congruence


Questa tendenza a giocare con le parole potrebbe spiegare lo

sfruttamento dell 'omonimia tra occhio e sorgente su cui ho


l 'attenzione.




rientrare nella categoria del ma 'al, espediente esegetico ebraico

assimilabile alla paronomasia, volto a sfruttare l 'identita o somiglianza di struttura consonantica o di suono tra due vocaboli,
per farne sortire interpretazioni inattese


Dato che il midrash e una forma di interpretazione della Bibbia

che la attualizza per edificare il lettore


, il presente testo parte

da una struttura sostanzialmente midrashica. Nella fattispecie,

si tratterebbe di un midrash implicito, una sorta di riscrittura o
trasposizione del brano allo scopo di una differente applicazione. Ma il fedele gnostico e inserito in un quadro cosmico astorico, il che rende l 'appello al singolo diretto, ma pure stemperato
in un continuum temporalmente indefinito, ben al di la del presente storico immediato. Quindi, la letteratura gnostica, ancor-

84. Vd. L.H. Silberman, Unriddling the Riddle. A Study in the Structure and
Language of the Habakkuk Pesher (I Q p Hab.), in Revue de Qumran 3
(1961), pagg. 323-64, cit. a pag. 332-33 e 334.
85. L 'ipotesi e valida se consideriamo l 'omonimia come un caso particolare
della paronomasia, nella fattispecie, il giocare sull 'uguaglianza fonica, ma
non semantica, di due termini ; il latino la definisce traductio. Sul ma 'al, vd.
L.H. Silberman, A Note on 4Q Florilegium, in Journal of Biblical Literature
78 (1959), pagg. 158-9 e W. Bacher, Die Exegetische Terminologie der ju dischen Traditionsliteratur, Leipzig, J.C. Hinrichs 'sche Buchhandlung, 1905,
pagg. 111-2.
86. Vd. E. Earle Ellis, The Old Testament..., op.cit., pag. 92.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


che progressivamente spogliata di una concezione storica della

realta , e rivelazione di un presente escatologico, proiettato ora
non piu sull 'orizzonte collettivo di una comunita , come Qumran, di un popolo, come quello ebraico, o di una Chiesa, bens|
su quello individuale, astorico ed esistenziale del singolo, alla ricerca di una salvezza personale, un po ' come nei misteri ellenistici. Potremmo allora interpretare questo fenomeno come un
adeguamento dei procedimenti midrashici e propri della letteratura di rivelazione a una nuova temperie, quella gnostica. Non
solo : questo midrash gnostico appare contaminato dall 'allegoria. Inoltre, come gia l 'impiego delle citazioni vetero-testamentarie e subordinato all 'esaltazione di Gesu , cos| lo e qui al
messaggio gnostico, laddove il testo rimane il referente primario
nel metodo ebraico.
Quindi, se confrontiamo la definizione classica di midrash data
da R. Bloch con quanto osservato nel




dossier peratico, potremo




Bloch caratterizza il midrash con cinque tratti :

1) Muove esclusivamente dalla Bibbia.
2) Ha carattere omiletico e scaturisce dalla predicazione sinagogale.
3) Promuove una migliore e piu approfondita comprensione del
testo, grazie a vari sistemi, tra cui primeggia quello di spiegare la Scrittura con la Scrittura.
4) Attualizza la Parola, adattandola alle esigenze presenti.
5) Rappresenta la base di sviluppo per il commentario a scopo
normativo (halakhah) e narrativo-edificante ( haggadah)


Rispetto a questa descrizione, l 'esegesi peratica si presenta come

segue :
a) Non fa esclusivo riferimento alla Bibbia, ma pone sul suo
stesso piano il mondo extragiudaico (mito, poesia, filosofia
greci, tradizioni orientali ecc), cercandovi tracce della rivelazione universale. In questo, reca il marchio di un ambiente
fortemente sincretistico.
b) Si lega al culto, ma a riti di carattere esoterico e difficilmente
definibili dall 'esterno della setta, piu affini ai misteri ellenistici (di cui rimane traccia nel ricco materiale mitologico del
par.14). In questo senso, non indirizza, come l 'omelia, a un
comportamento moralmente orientato, ma svela l 'apparte-

87. Vd. R. Bloch,

Midrash, in L. Pirot - A. Robert - H. Cazelles edd., Dic-

tionnaire de la Bible. Supplement, vol.5, Paris, Librairie Letouzey et Ane ,

1957, coll. 1263-84, soprattutto 1263-7.

a. magri


nenza degli adepti a una natura privilegiata e di origine divina,

c) Usa sincretisticamente i sistemi esegetici piu vari, ma non per
capire il testo cos| come prodotto dal suo estensore, bens| per
scoprirvi in ogni modo la rivelazione presupposta dal gruppo.
d) Non si propone di attualizzare la Scrittura in riferimento a
un presente storico ben definito, ma in relazione alle esigenze
esistenziali dello gnostico di riscatto dal mondo di quaggiu ;
esse si proiettano sull 'orizzonte atemporale della condizione
del seme divino gnostico, imprigionato nel mondo.
e) Di







svuotati d 'importanza.
Qualche parola infine sulla presenza di elementi aggadici, evidenziati dal commento. La haggadah rappresentava una tradizione






integrarne le notizie storiche, e di carattere morale




. I Padri av-

vicinavano le sue tradizioni narrative secondo i canoni dell 'esegesi grammaticale classica, quindi in maniera del tutto difforme
dall 'approccio rabbinico, maggiormente centrato sugli aspetti
estetico e didattico. La scuola antiochena rifiutava le espansioni
haggadiche, ritenendole inutili speculazioni fondate, in maniera
poco solida, sulle preterizioni della Bibbia ; la scuola alessandrina invece (in particolare Origene) si mostro piu recettiva, ritenendo la haggadah originata a partire da fonti diverse dal testo
sacro, ma non meno legittime, come la tradizione orale e la congettura. In questo senso, pare che i Padri alessandrini abbiano
seguito un 'antica opinione giudaica che accordava alla haggadah una notevole autorevolezza, di contro a una concorrente,
che la poneva in secondo piano rispetto alla halakha. Le accordarono quindi il ruolo di fonte storica, opinione ravvisabile pure
nell 'impiego che ne fanno Flavio Giuseppe e, talora, Filone


indubbio che i Perati vi abbiano attinto come a una delle tante

fonti di rivelazione loro disponibili ; vicini in questo alla linea
alessandrina, hanno di sicuro privilegiato l 'haggadah a fronte
dell 'halakhah, che per loro non rivestiva probabilmente alcun

88. Cfr. F. Manns, L 'exe ge se de Justin dans le Dialogue avec Tryphon, te moin de l 'exegese juive ancienne, in Essais sur le Judeo-christianisme, Jerusalem, Franciscan Printing Press, 1977, pagg. 130-52.
89. Cfr. A. Kamesar, The Evaluation of the Narrative Aggada in Greek and
Latin Patristic Literature, in Journal of Theological Studies 45 (1994), pagg.
37-71 ; ottima bibliografia sull 'argomento in J.R. Baskin, Rabbinic-Patristic
Exegetical Contacts in Late Antiquity : A Bibliographical Reappraisal, in
W.S. Green ed., Approaches to Ancient Judaism V. Studies in Judaism and Its
Greco-Roman Context, Atlanta, Georgia, Scholars Press, 1985, pagg. 53-80.

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


interesse. Questo fatto, come anche quanto indicato in precedenza sui metodi esegetici giudaici da loro impiegati, implica
che essi appartenevano, in qualche modo, al mondo giudaico,
anche se non certo a quello ortodosso palestinese, dati i loro
contatti con il sincretismo ellenistico.

La storia della salvezza secondo i Perati

Veniamo ora ai contenuti. Simonetti riassume cos| : la storia della salvezza viene ricostruita in funzione dell 'apparizione del Logos, ma secondo schemi gnostici ; dal Logos e partita la positiva
trasgressione di Eva e
e raffigurato nel mistero del paradiso e soprattutto nel fiume che
scorre di qui come forza che da vita alla terra ; protegge, dopo
l 'uccisione di Abele, Caino che lo raffigura, cos| come lo raffigurano Esau e Giuseppe ; egli e il Signore al cui cospetto stava Nemrod, e colui che ha lottato con Giacobbe ; in ultimo ha preso
forma d 'uomo in Gesu .

Simonetti puntualizza che, secondo la teologia dei primi secoli,

era il Logos ad apparire nelle teofanie vetero-testamentarie. In
sua funzione si spiegano pure le inserzioni positive di Giuseppe
e Giacobbe, per le quali si avverte ancora l 'uso tipologico della
Grande Chiesa. Per il resto e evidente il ribaltamento dell 'Antico Testamento


In generale si puo concordare : i Perati sembrano aver conferito

nella loro riflessione il ruolo centrale al Logos, secondo linee simili a quelle sviluppate dalla teologia della Grande Chiesa del II
sec. e in continuita con la riflessione giovannea. L 'autore manca
di sottolineare proprio la ripresa di versetti del Quarto Vangelo,
un aspetto fondamentale del dossier. In questo, il gruppo si allinea a vari altri gnostici del II sec., i quali paiono aver utilizzato
il Vangelo giovanneo con notevole anticipo rispetto agli esegeti


. Infine si ricordi l 'abbondanza di paralleli che indu-

cono a pensare a un utilizzo massiccio di testimonia come fonte

esegetica da parte dei Perati per la costruzione di questa ``storia
della salvezza '' : elemento questo che riprendero tra breve.
Anche se il concetto di storia della salvezza appare, nello gnosticismo, appiattito in un rifiuto acosmistico della temporalita
storica, in questo caso assistiamo a una vera e propria ricostru-

90. Vd. M. Simonetti, Note..., op.cit., pagg. 345-46.

vangile de Jean au II
91. Cfr. J.M. Poffet, Indices de re ception de l 'E
avant Irenee..., art.cit.


a. magri


zione della storia della salvezza in funzione del Logos : anche se

la sua immanenza continua nella vicenda umana finisce per togliere valore a qualsivoglia idea di sviluppo o evoluzione. In tal
senso, i Perati portano a compimento, nei confronti del testo biblico, un 'operazione piu sottile e complessa di quanto riferito fino ad ora : oltre al recupero di modalita esegetiche cristiane
(testimonia), ellenistiche (allegoria), filoniane ed ebraiche, essi
provvedono a una risemantizzazione della vicenda biblica, corretta ed adattata ad esprimere contenuti gnostici. Questi diversi
elementi vengono quindi rifusi in un nuovo insieme, grazie al
procedimento esegetico ben descritto da Pearson come ``riscrittura '' e presente in vari testi di Nag Hammadi (Apocrifo di Giovanni,




letteratura pseudoepigrafica






. Il punto d 'arrivo di questa ``ri-

scrittura '' e dato, in questo caso, dal mito gnostico, alternativo

alla storia biblica.

Conclusioni preliminari
Come appare evidente dal parallelo con il passo di Giustino,
Dial. 86,2, brano tutto basato su testimonia


, i Perati hanno uti-

lizzato con ogni verosimiglianza materiale testimoniario analogo. Il numero delle coincidenze e elevato, comprensivo di casi
assai rari, come Genesi 30,37-38 o Esodo 15,22-25 ; cio lascia
pensare a una fonte comune. Mi riservo un 'analisi piu approfondita della questione a un secondo momento : possiamo tuttavia osservare fin da ora che l 'impiego di testimonia rimanda con
sufficiente sicurezza a un milieu giudeo-cristiano, anche se, come
si e visto, contaminato da interferenze ellenistiche. Inoltre, anche se i testimonia cominciarono a svilupparsi nel giudaismo
precedente il cristianesimo


, il ruolo centrale assunto dall 'ese-

gesi giovannea del serpente di bronzo (si veda Giovanni 3,14) e

dal Logos lascia supporre un forte indebitamento dei Perati con
il cristianesimo. Questo spiegherebbe anche la loro conoscenza
dei procedimenti dell 'esegesi giudaica e haggadica e concorde-

92. Cfr. B.A. Pearson, Old Testament Interpretation..., art.cit., pagg. 114ss.
Nutro comunque dei dubbi sul fatto che alcuni di questi testi, come afferma
lo studioso, siano il frutto di interpolazioni cristiane su un fondo originario
gnostico esente da tracce cristiane.
93. Cfr. P. Prigent., Justin et l 'Ancien Testament, Paris, Librairie Lecoffre,
1964, specialmente da pag. 194 in poi.
94. Cfr. sull 'argomento J.A. Fitzmyer, 4Q Testimonia and the New Testament, in TS 18 (1957), pagg. 513-37 e E. Lupieri, Il cielo e il mio trono. Isaia
40,12 e 66,1 nella tradizione testimoniaria, Roma, Ed. di Storia e Letteratura,

l 'esegesi della setta ofitica dei perati


rebbe con la derivazione da un ambiente a forte coloritura sincretistica, quale quello delle prime chiese esterne alla Palestina.
Quindi i Perati erano, verosimilmente, ex-cristiani, eredi del giudeo-cristianesimo, ma forse provenienti dalle



diaspora (o dalle chiese dei gentili), in cui forte era la contaminazione coll 'ellenismo. Si noti che molti studiosi dell 'esegesi
gnostica vetero-testamentaria, a seguito delle loro ricerche, sono
divenuti dubbiosi quanto all 'esistenza di uno gnosticismo giudaico pre-cristiano


: dubbi che, almeno fino a questo momen-

to, paiono in perfetto accordo con i tratti qui attribuiti ai Perati.

95. Vd.. B.A. Pearson, Old Testament Interpretation..., art.cit., pagg. 102-3 ;
la tesi non e comunque sostenuta dall 'autore.

Florence JULLIEN
ATER College de France
Institut d 'histoire des christianismes orientaux



Les listes patriarcales du sie ge de Seleucie-Ctesiphon, en Perse, attestees des le VI

siecle, presentent les premiers titulaires comme des

parents de Joseph le charpentier. Elles te moignent d 'une de marche de






l 'E



re velent

glise a pu utiliser une tradition apocryphe pour renforcomment une E

cer son nouveau ro le patriarcal. Ce processus constitue un trait fondamental






sie ge.




prerogatives davidiques et l 'argument de parente eclairent cette strategie.

The patriarchal lists of the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, in Persia,
known since the VIth century, present the first bishops as relatives of
Joseph the Carpenter. They show a real reflection on the origins of the
Syro-Oriental Church and reveal how a Church was able to use an
apocryphal tradition to reinforce its new patriarchal role. This process
is a fundamental caracteristic of the religious policy of the See. The
recuperation of Davidic prerogatives and the parental argument throw
light on this strategy.

Des les premie res annees de son organisation au V

glise de Perse
(apres la periode des persecutions de S apu
r II) l 'E
a re alise une reflexion concernant les origines de son sie ge patriarcal. Les tout premiers titulaires de l 'e veche de Se leucie-Cte siphon, Abr|s, Abraham, Jaqu b et Ah
. adabuh|, sont directement
rattaches a Joseph le charpentier, aure oles ainsi des prerogatives
familiales mais aussi messianiques et davidiques. Cette invention trahit un libre rapport a l 'apocryphe. Nous voudrions souligner ici les me canismes d 'utilisation de la litte rature apocryphe
dans l 'elaboration d 'une strate gie mise au service d 'un dessein

La finalite des listes patriarcales

Disons d 'emble e que le titre de listes patriarcales est anachronique puisque le terme de patriarche n 'est applicable en

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 225-236

f. jullien


Perse qu 'a partir du V

sie cle . Ce genre litte raire etablit en effet

la lignee successorale des premiers titulaires du sie ge de Seleucie-Ctesiphon, les Villes royales, capitale de l 'empire des Perses,







c 'est-a -dire


avant l 'etablissement de la distinction patriarcale. Les listes te moignent

d 'une

de marche







glise syrienne orientale. Elles de crivent une suite hie rarchique

l 'E
ininterrompue depuis les temps de fondation par Ma r Mari,
l 'un des Soixante-dix disciples, missionnaire de la valle e du Tigre

jusqu 'en

Perse ,


d 'Adda| ,




l 'apo
tre . Le recours au college apostolique, la re ference au

ele ment


d 'un




sont magnifies a la dimension d 'un fait historique essentiel.

Mais si cette refe rence a l 'autorite apostolique reste certes valorisante, le rattachement a la famille me me de Jesus fait surenchere. Aussito t apres les premiers evangelisateurs apparaissent
quatre proches parents de Joseph.

Les listes et leurs auteurs

glise de Perse ont e te publie es

Les listes patriarcales de l 'E
pour la premiere fois dans leur ensemble au XVIII

siecle par J.

S. Assemani dans le second tome de la Bibliotheca Orientalis .

1. de








Katholikos ? , Melanges E. Tisserant III/2, (= Studi e Testi 233), Rome,

1964, 429-450 ; Fiey, J. M., Les e tapes de la prise de conscience de son
glise syrienne orientale , L 'Orient syrien 12/1,
identite patriarcale par l 'E



ller, C. Detlef



G., Stellung




Bedeutung des

Altertum ,


christianus 53, 1969, 227-245.

2. Jullien, C., Jullien, F., Les Actes de Mar Mari l 'apo tre de la Mesopotamie, (= Apocryphes 11), Turnhout, 2001. Le plus souvent, Adda| et Mar
Mari sont les premiers dans l 'ordre de succession patriarcale, parfois associe s en une mission commune (chez les compilateurs du Livre de la Tour
par exemple), parfois differencies (Mari est alors le continuateur de l 'uvre
d 'Adda|, comme dans le Carmen heptasyllabum).
3. Plusieurs traditions le rattachent en effet aux contre es de l 'empire sassanide, Jullien, C., Jullien, F., Apotres des confins. Processus missionnaires
chretiens dans l 'empire iranien (= Res Orientales XV), Paris, 2002, 79-92 ;
4. Assemani, J. S., BO II, Rome, 1721, 387-397 (cf. BO III/1, 611-612). Re cemment, J. F. Coakley a pre sente deux nouvelles recensions comportant les
successions patriarcales depuis les origines apostoliques qui compilent les
sources connues (essentiellement Barhebraeus), Coakley, J. F., The Patriarchal List of the Church of the East , in Reinink, G. J., Klugkist, A. C.,
After Bardaisan. Studies on Continuity and Change in Syriac Christianity in

des ``fre res du seigneur ''

Les sources les plus anciennes remontent au IX


siecle ; mais des

indications suggerent que des recensions de noms puissent avoir

circule bien auparavant.
lie Djauhari, me tropolitain de Damas en 893,
(Le Pseudo-)E
offre la source la plus ancienne. Le texte a e te etudie par I. Gui5

di .
lie bar Sinaya (XI siecle) a etabli
Le metropolite de Nisibe E

la succession episcopale du siege de Seleucie dans son Opus chronologicum, compilation bilingue (syriaque et arabe) divise e en

deux parties . C 'est dans la premie re que se trouve cette liste depuis les origines jusqu 'a Jean V (mort en 905). D 'apre s M. J.
lie qui aurait ve Higgins, cette uvre serait celle d 'un Pseudo-E
lie (1008-1046) et apre s l 'eveque de
cu avant le metropolite E

. ra (vers 850), qui est sa source principale . Cet Opus, vaste
compilation, s 'inspire d 'ouvrages aujourd 'hui perdus d 'auteurs

anterieurs des VII -IX

siecles, tels H
. enan|so`, Iso
. de Bas

ra, le catholicos Timothe e I



siecle, l 'auteur syro-oriental Mari Ibn Suleyman re -

digea en arabe son Livre de la Tour pour le guet et la controverse,

en s 'inspirant d 'une source aujourd 'hui perdue dont certaines
composantes remonteraient au V

siecle . Dans sa seconde par-

tie, il elabore une histoire de type encyclope dique a partir de la

recension des patriarches syriens orientaux depuis les de buts de

Honour of Pr. H. J. W. Drijvers, (= Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 89),

Louvain, 1999, 65-83.
5. Assemani, J. S., BO II, Rome, 1721, 392 ; Guidi, I., Ostsyrische Bischofe und Bischofssitze im V., VI. und VII. Jahrhundert , ZDMG 43,
1889, 388-393.
6. Cette chronique se trouve essentiellement dans le ms. BL Add. 7197 (extrait dans le ms. Berlin 102, Sachau 108, fol. 144-147). Ainsi que le pre cise
W. Wright, le manuscrit est contemporain de l 'auteur, Wright, W., A Short
History of Syriac Literature by the Late William Wright, Londres, 1894, 236
lie de Nin. 6. La premiere edition fut effectuee en 1888 par Lamy, T. J., E
sibe, sa chronologie, Bruxelles, 1888 ; E. W. Brooks la re visa, Brooks, E. W.,
Eliae Metropolitae Nisibeni Opus chronologicum. Pars prior, (= CSCO 62a,
script. syr. 21), Paris, 1910, 44-45 ; ibid., (= CSCO 63a, script. syr. 23), Paris,
1910, 27.
7. Higgins, M. J., Chronology of the Fourth-Century Metropolitans of
Seleucia-Ctesiphon , Traditio, (= Studies in Ancient and Medieval History,
Thought and Religion 9), New York, 1953, 45 n. 1.
8. G. Westphal a e tudie ces compilations des origines a Dad | so
` (premiere
moitie du V

siecle), degageant des documents anciens. Ses e tudes compara-

tives ont permis de relever des diffe rences notables lui permettant de conclure




qu 'il






episcopales en ce cas, Se leucie-Cte siphon/Kokhe, Westphal, G., Untersuchungen uber die Quellen und die Glaubwu rdigkeit der Patriarchenchroniken, Strasbourg, 1901, 17-19.

f. jullien


l 'evangelisation de la region de Ctesiphon jusqu 'a son epoque


(travail prolonge jusqu 'en 1317) . S

. annan, de Mos. liba Ibn Yoh
soul, et `Amr Ibn Matta|, de T
. irhan, au debut du XIV
elaborerent un resume du travail de Mari


sie cle,

Barhebraeus s 'inspire du Livre de la Tour pour sa liste patriar glise syro-orientale est inte gree dans la
cale. Sa reflexion sur l 'E





eccle siastique,

l 'E


jacobite dont il e tait le maphrien, c 'est-a -dire le primat de

l 'Orient


L 'eveque me tropolitain de Bas

. ra, Salomon, est un contemporain de Barhebraeus. S 'il n 'e tablit pas de listes patriarcales stricto sensu, il enumere toutefois dans son Livre de l 'abeille, mais
sans de veloppement, les noms des primats depuis les origines


Par ailleurs, J. S. Assemani donne une liste tre s courte intitulee : Carmen heptasyllabum in quo nomina patriarcharum orientis
recenfentur. Il s 'agit d 'une sorte d 'homelie me trique redige e en
syriaque, d 'auteur anonyme, dont la date est inconnue


. Nous

avions remarque que certains details rejoignaient les listes des










avaient e te releves : ces deux sources mentionnent Kas kar pour

ville d 'origine d 'Abraham le second primat, successeur d 'Abr| s ;
elles debutent leur succession par Adda| , des Douze, suivi de
Mar Ma ri, des Soixante-Dix ; elles precisent que Papa est mort
martyr. Ces convergences pourraient laisser supposer l 'existence
d 'une


d 'inspiration.






Pa pa

comme martyr est e galement retenue par la Chronique de Se ert,

9. Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri et Slibae de patriarchis nestorianorum commentaria. Pars prior, Rome, 1899 ; ibid., Pars altera, Rome, 1897.
10. Ms. Vat. ar. 41 ; BL Add. 2889 en karchouni (S
. liba), ms. Vat. ar. 110
tres mutile (`Amr). Putrus, G., Mari ibn-Sulaiman. Al magdal (la Tour),
deuxie me porte, Doctorat EPHE, Paris, 27 juin 1975, 20-22 (non publie ) ;
Holmberg, B., A reconsideration of the Kitab al-Mag dal , Parole de
l 'Orient 18, 1993, 255-273. `Amr se sert des sources me mes de Mari, en les
amplifiant ou en les elaguant. S
. liba s 'inspire largement de `Amr tout en faisant remonter la date de composition de son uvre a l 'an 1643 des Grecs
(1331/1332 de notre ere) pour pre tendre a l 'originalite .
11. Pour la liste, Abbeloos, J.-B., Lamy, T. J., Gregorii Barhebraei Chronicon ecclesiasticum III, Paris, 1877, 3-26.
12. Traduction anglaise, Budge, E.A.W., The Book of the Bee, Oxford,
1886, 116. Avant lui, Schoenfelder M., Salomonis Liber Apis, Bamberg,
13. Assemani, J. S., BO II, Rome, 1721, 388-390, n. 2. Cf. Sachau, E., Verzeichniss der Syrischen Handschriften der Ko niglichen Bibliothek Berlin I,
Berlin, 1899, 232-235.
14. Cf. Jullien, C., Jullien, F., op. cit., 229.

des ``fre res du seigneur ''

sous le regne de Vahram II



. L 'auteur du Carmen a pu s 'inspi-

rer d 'une source anterieure au IX

daction de la Chronique de Seert


siecle, date probable de la re-

Vers une source premie re

L 'hypothese d 'une source ancienne, voire de plusieurs listes

patriarcales diffe rentes anterieures a celles qui nous restent, est
donc posee. La Chronique de Se ert ne developpe pas a proprement parler une liste, mais elle comporte des e lements irrefutables concernant l 'ordre de succession des primats, ordre qui
rejoint les propositions des principales listes : ainsi, Sime on Bar
Sabba` e est presente comme le neuvie me metropolite de Seleu17
cie-Ctesiphon ; S ahdost sera le dixie me . Cette hypothe se expliquerait










conciliation de traditions diffe rentes. M. J. Higgins a fort justement remarque que certains elements glanes dans d 'autres sources permettaient de croiser les informations : ainsi en est-il par
exemple des Actes des martyrs persans qui suggerent l 'existence
de predecesseurs aux eveques martyrs de Seleucie durant le IV

siecle. Il en conclut que des e lements des listes pourraient re18

monter a la fin du regne de Sapu
r II .
Barhebraeus apporte par ailleurs un e le ment decisif. Dans sa
Chronique eccle siastique, il reporte la redaction des listes du
siege de Seleucie au milieu du VI

siecle. A cette epoque, le ca-

tholicos Joseph venait d 'etre depose (vers 555). Trois ans apre s
cet e venement, il aurait re dige une histoire des patriarches syroorientaux, ses pre de cesseurs


. S 'agissait-il d 'un genre litte raire

deja eprouve ? S 'est-il servi d 'une base documentaire ante rieure

(archives par exemple) ? Ainsi donc, des traces de re daction anterieure aux premieres listes connues (IX

lie de Dasiecle avec E

mas) permettent de supposer que le sie ge de Seleucie conservait

memoire de ses titulaires et de leur succession depuis le VI


au moins voire, avec la comme moraison des primats martyrs

(Bar Sabba` e, Barbasmin), depuis le IV

siecle. Selon l 'annaliste

. liba, l 'Orient chretien avait d 'ailleurs commence a ecrire son

15. Scher, A., Histoire nestorienne ine dite (Chronique de Seert) I/1 ,
PO 4, Paris, 1907, 237 [27]-239 [29].
16. Nautin, P., L 'auteur de la ``Chronique de Se ert '' : Iso`denah
. , Revue
de l 'Histoire des Religions 186, 1974, 113-126.
17. Scher, A., op. cit., 296 [86] ; 309 [99].
18. Higgins, M. J., art. cit., 68-69 ; 72 ; 88 ; 94.
19. Abbeloos, J.-B., Lamy, T. J., op. cit. III, Louvain, 1877, 31.

f. jullien


histoire et celle de la formation de ses communaute s chretiennes

au debut du IV



Les primats de Se leucie-Cte siphon ont ainsi fonde leur autorite hierarchique sur une ascendance prestigieuse, la famille de
Joseph. Pour ancrer fortement cet he ritage genealogique, les auteurs des successions patriarcales vont mettre en place trois arguments-clefs : l 'argument de parente , de ressemblance et de
messianite .

L 'argument de parente

Les chefs de l 'Eglise de Perse font pre valoir leur parente avec
les desposynes, proches du Christ par une filiation directe avec le
pere nourricier de Je sus. Ces pre rogatives en faisaient les he ritiers directs de la communaute chretienne de Jerusalem apre s la
mort de Jesus. Les ``freres du Seigneur '' ou desposynes benefi glise : ils furent
ciaient d 'une ve ritable aura dans la primitive E
meme preferes aux apotres pour la succession du sie ge de Je rusalem. Ainsi, d 'apre s Eusebe, les apotres porterent leur choix,
apres la mort de Jacques fils de Joseph (HE 2, 1, 2), sur un
autre parent du Seigneur selon la chair , Sime on cousin du
Sauveur le pe re de Simeon, Clopas, apparaissant comme le
fre re de Joseph (HE 3, 11). La mention de Jacques fils de
Joseph chez Euse be, que l 'on retrouve chez Cle ment d 'Alexandrie (Stromates 7, 93-94) et Orige ne (Hypotyposes fragment


renvoie en fait a la tradition apocryphe bien connue


Les arguments avances par les listes dites patriarcales pour

etablir une filiation avec Joseph se basent avant tout sur cette
litterature, qui justifie l 'existence de fre res charnels de Je sus par
un premier mariage de Joseph. Cette ide e d 'une paternite de Joseph, dont les fils sont Jacques, Joseph, Simon et Jude, se trouve
developpee par exemple dans le Protevangile de Jacques (9, 2)


20. Gismondi , H., op. cit., Pars altera, Rome, 1897, 15 (texte), 9 (traduction).
piphane (Panarion
21. Cette tradition fut reprise par certains e veques tels E
88, 7), Gre goire de Nysse, Oraison sur la re surrection du Christ 2, ou encore
Cyrille d 'Alexandrie, Commentaire sur Jean 7, 5.
tudes 1, 1878, 5-145. L a22. Cf. Corluy , J., Les fre res du Seigneur , E

grange , M.-J., Evangile selon Saint Marc, Paris, 1920, 87 ; 72-73. Sur l 'assimilation semitique frere/cousin, voir P ourkier , A., L 'heresiologie chez
piphane de Salamine, (= Christianisme antique 4), Paris, 1992, 434-438.
23. Frey , A., Protevangile de Jacques , in Bovon , F., Geoltrain , P.,
crits apocryphes chretiens I, Paris, 1997, 90.
(ed.), E

des ``fre res du seigneur ''


vangile de Pierre
l 'Histoire de Joseph (2), ou l 'E


, sur base de

l 'episode de Mt 13, 55 (Mc 6, 3) au cours duquel les habitants

de Nazareth s 'interrogent sur la sagesse du fils du charpentier
en evoquant ses ``freres ''.

Les notices concernant Abr| s, Abraham, Jaqu b et Ah

. adabuh|, les quatre premiers primats ante rieurs a Papa bar Agga| (qui
ouvre la pe riode proprement historique), sont ge neralement homogenes.
lie de Nisibe, Abr| s aurait recu la conse cration episD 'apres E
copale des mains de Sime on, fils de Clopas


. Un passage de

vangile de Jean souligne la proximite unissant Clopas a la fal 'E

mille du Christ : la femme de Clopas est aussi sur/cousine de
Marie, mere de Jesus (Jn 19, 25). Sime on cousin du Seigneur est
aussi un cousin d 'Abr| s en he breu 'bry` hw`


; ce dernier

appara|t chez certains auteurs comme un ``fre re du Seigneur '' :

Ibn Suleyman comme Barhebraeus le pre sentent comme un fils
direct de Joseph, l 'historien jacobite ajoutant alors que Jacques
(de Je rusalem) et Jose sont ses freres de sang
Concernant Jaqub



, troisieme primat de Se leucie, tous les au-

teurs a l 'exception de `Amr et S

. liba, l 'associent a la maison de
Joseph, a l 'instar d 'Abr|s. Le Carmen heptasyllabum souligne
meme sa consanguinite avec Joseph l 'artisan .

En revanche, par Abraham s 'effectue une ascendance collate rale. Le second primat qui figure dans les listes, apre s Mar Mari
(et quelquefois avant lui Ma r Thomas l 'apo tre) et Abr|s, est le
seul a n 'etre pas syste matiquement et directement affilie a Joseph. Mais il l 'est d 'une autre manie re puisqu 'il est apparente a

24. Voir Orige ne, Commentaire sur Matthieu 13, 55. Cf. egalement le prolo vangile du Pseudo-Matthieu Gijsel, G., Beyers, R., Libri de Natigue de l 'E
vitate Mariae. Pseudo-Matthaei Evangelium. Textus et commentarius,


Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphorum 9), Turnhout, 1997, 276-277.

25. Brooks, E. W., Eliae Metropolitae Nisibeni Opus chronologicum. Pars
prior, (= CSCO 62a, script. syr. 21), Paris, 1910, 44 ; ibid., (= CSCO 63a,
script. syr. 23), Paris, 1910, 27.
26. Mari Ibn Suleyman, comme `Amr et S
. liba, appuient egalement ce trait,
Gismondi, H., op. cit., Pars Prior, Rome, 1899, 4, texte fol. 131b.
27. Gismondi, H., op. cit., Pars Prior, Rome, 1899, 4, texte fol. 132a ; Abbeloos, J.-B., Lamy, T. J., op. cit. III, Paris, 1877, 19-22. `Amr et S
. liba n 'evoquent qu 'une parente avec Joseph sans autre pre cision, Gismondi, H., op.
cit., Pars altera, Rome 1897, 1-2, texte 3-4. Aucune indication par ailleurs
chez Salomon de Bas
. ra ni dans le Carmen heptasyllabum.
28. Nous avons conserve commodement l 'orthographe syriaque Jaqu b pour
distinguer le primat de Se leucie-Cte siphon de son homonyme de Je rusalem.

f. jullien


Jacques de Jerusalem, ``frere du Seigneur '' Jacques lui-me me

etant parfois designe comme fils de Joseph (nous l 'avons constate chez Eusebe notamment). Mari, `Amr, S
. liba et Salomon de
. ra se contentent d 'e voquer ses relations familiales, sans autre precision


. Les deux compilateurs arabes les plus tardifs,

`Amr et S
. liba, donnent une pe rennite a cette ligne e laterale : Jaqu
b, successeur d 'Abraham (le parent par alliance de Jacques de
Jerusalem), est aussi son propre fils, Ah
. ada bu
h| etant son petitfils.
L 'historien jacobite Barhebraeus va plus loin encore dans la
creation apocryphe en faisant d 'Abraham un fils de Jacques,
``frere du Seigneur ''


L 'argument de ressemblance

Le lien familial avec le Christ s 'exprime aussi par la ressemblance physique. Bien des indices l 'indiquent dans les listes : la
similitude des traits est un signe visible de l 'e lection des eveques
de l 'Orient.
Barhebraeus est le seul a ouvrir sa liste par la figure de Thomas

l 'apotre,


nom ``le jumeau ''










. Nous ne reviendrons pas sur la the matique








. Cet element donne d 'entree est une clef de compre hen-

sion de la succession patriarcale. Un ``air de famille '' caracte rise

les primats !
Cette thematique ne se retrouve pas vraiment dans les sources
relatives aux deux premiers e veques de Seleucie, Abr| s et Abraham en dehors de leur lien avec la maison de Joseph. Ce n 'est
pas le cas pour les deux suivants : Jaqu b appara| t comme le
double de Jacques de Je rusalem. Une lettre apocryphe d 'Ignace
d 'Antioche fait de Jacques l 'intime du Christ en re percutant
aussi la thematique gemellaire : Jacques est configure a Jesus

29. Salomon de Bas

. ra fait d 'Abr|s un descendant de la famille de Jacques,
Budge, E. A. W., The Book of the Bee, Oxford, 1886, 116.
30. Abbeloos, J.-B., Lamy, T. J., op. cit. III, Paris, 1877, 21-22.
31. Abbeloos, J.-B., Lamy, T. J., op. cit., 12.
32. Kuntzmann, R., La symbolique des jumeaux au Proche-Orient. Naissance, fonction et e volution d 'un symbole (= Beauchesne Religions 12), Paris,
1983, 166 ; Poirier, P.-H., Une etymologie ancienne du nom de Thomas et
sa source , Parole de l 'Orient 10, 1981-1982, 285-290.

des ``fre res du seigneur ''


en vie et manie re de parler, comme s 'il e tait son frere jumeau,

des memes entrailles ; c 'e tait comme s 'il voyait Je sus lui-meme
dans le respect des lignes de son corps


. Comme son homo-

nyme de Jerusalem, Jaqub est consacre dans la Ville sainte, et,

comme Jacques, il est lui aussi parent de Je sus (ici par la ligne e
de Joseph).
Par ces paralle les sous-jacents, les auteurs des listes faisaient
glise de Perse des he ritiers a l 'idendu titulaire du siege de l 'E
glise, apres Jesus.
tique du premier e veque de la primitive E
Avec Ah
. adabuh|, cette thematique de ressemblance est encore
plus marque e. Fils de Jaqu
. liba
b, il est depeint par Mari, `Amr, S
et Barhebraeus comme le portrait me me de son pe re. Son nom,
courant parmi les chre tiens de Perse et dans la litte rature talmudique


, signifie en effet qu 'il est un autre de son pe re , sem-

blable a lui. Cette similitude physique, sur laquelle insistent les

listes, fait de lui un autre Jacques par qui se prolonge l 'autorite
de la maison de Joseph .

L 'argument de messianite

Les e vangiles de Matthieu et de Luc proposent chacun une

liste genealogique de la famille de Joseph, pre sente comme fils
de David (Mt 1, 5-17 ; Lc 3, 23-38) : il e tait de la maison et de
la ligne e de David (Mt 1, 20 ; Lc 2, 4), de la ville de Bethle em ou

il se fait recenser (Mt 2, 1 ; Lc 2, 4). Les ``fre res du Seigneur '' be neficient naturellement de cette prestigieuse ascendance. L 'historien chre tien d 'origine juive du II

siecle, Hegesippe, connu

par Eusebe, temoigne de la survivance de ce ``clan '' davidide. Il

raconte comment certains desposynes, les petits-fils de Jude, auraient ete denonces aux autorites romaines sous le regne de Vespasien, puis de Domitien (HE 3, 20, 1, 6) ; celles-ci craignaient
en effet que ces heritiers de David ne revendiquent un jour le
Eusebe rapporte les noms des treize e veques qui, apres Simeon, fils de Clopas, et jusqu 'en 132, exerce rent l 'autorite sur
glise primitive (HE 4, 5, 3). A cette date, sous l 'empereur Hal 'E
drien, la charge primatiale s 'ouvre aux pa| ens convertis. Cette
periode marque la fin de l 'autorite des ``freres du Seigneur '' sur

33. Rendel-Harris, J.,

The Gospel of the Twelve Apostles, Cambridge,

1927, 57-58.
34. Chabot,






616-617 ;



Shabbat 24a ; Neusner, J., A History of the Jews in Babylonia II, (= Studia
post-Biblica 11), Leiden, 1966, 177-178.

f. jullien


glise primitive (HE 4, 6, 4 ; 5, 12, 1). Cet

le gouvernement de l 'E
evenement est essentiel : en effet les descriptions des auteurs des
listes montrent que la ligne e des ``davidides '' de la capitale des
Perses n 'est pas encore e teinte quant celle de Je rusalem dispara|t.
lie de Nisibe, les compilateurs du Livre de la Tour et BarheE
braeus sont seuls a proposer un cadre chronologique des dure es
d 'episcopat, ce qui permet de donner une moyenne quant a la
dure e de gouvernement des titulaires.

Abr| s

lie de Nisibe



. ada buh|

Au temps de Si-



En ses jours, Ar-

Premier eveque a

meon, fils de Clo-

de but du re gne des

das | r, fils de Pa-



Perses .


fait roi,

jours des rois des








Jerusalem .




Perses , (d 'apre s
. de Bas
Mari Ibn


Mort apres 16 ans

A sie ge pendant 22

Mort apres 18 ans

d 'administration.


et 7 mois.

Recoit le pallium


l 'adminis-

sous Antonin (129

en 483 des Grecs


eccle siale


(171 n.e.).

en 516 des Grecs

(89 n.e.).

Mort en 463 des

Mort en 501 des


Mort en 418 des

Grecs (151 n.e.).

Grecs (189 n.e.).

(204 n.e.).

`Amr et S
. liba


A siege 20 ans.








d 'Hadrien



d 'Hadrien





Mort en 531 des

Grecs (219 n.e.).






pendant 16 ans.

A sie ge pendant 12



dant 28 ans.





gneur apres 15 anne es de service.

35. Brooks, E. W., Eliae Metropolitae Nisibeni Opus chronologicum, Pars

prior (= CSCO 62, script. syr. 21), Paris, 1910 ; ibid., (= CSCO 63, script.
syr. 23), Paris, 1910.
36. Pour Abr|s : Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri et Slibae de patriarchis nestorianorum commentaria, Pars Prior, Rome, 1899, 5 ; texte fol. 132a ; Abraham :
ibid., 5 ; texte fol. 132b ; Jaqu b : ibid., 5 ; texte fol. 132b ; Ah
. adabuh| : ibid., 6 ;
texte fol. 133a.
37. Pour Abr|s : Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri et Slibae de patriarchis nestorianorum commentaria, Pars Altera, Rome, 1897, 2 ; texte 3 ; Abraham : ibid., 3 ;
texte 4 ; Jaqub : ibid., 3 ; texte 5 ; Ah
. adabuh| : ibid., 7 ; texte 12.
38. Pour Abr|s : Abbeloos, J.-B., Lamy, T. J., Gregorii Barhebraei Chronicon ecclesiasticum III, Paris, 1877, 21-22 ; Abraham : 21-22 ; Jaqu b : 23-24 ;
. adabuh| : 25-26.

des ``fre res du seigneur ''


Total des annees d 'administration eccle siale pour chacun :

Abr| s



. ada buh|

lie de Nisibe

Mari Ibn






et 7 mois

`Amr et S
. liba










vacance du sie ge




Si le de but du gouvernement d 'Abr| s commence sous Sime on

Clopas (mort en 107 de notre e re


), la fin du regne d 'Ah

. ada bu-

h|, dernier primat explicitement rattache a la maison de Joseph,

correspondrait au de but du III


Ces listes mettent ainsi en valeur l 'importance de la consanguinite messianique qui le gitimait la hierarchie ; mais il convient
d 'ajouter qu 'en Perse, ce trait n 'est pas anodin. En effet, a
l 'epoque arsacide puis sassanide, le titre davidique est l 'une des
grandes prerogatives du res galutha, exilarque juif dont la fonction est attestee pour le II



. Il existe autour des deux pre-

miers siecles de notre ere un meme processus d 'e laboration de

listes genealogiques tendant a prouver la parente davidide des
patriarches juifs. Ceux de Palestine, tout comme leurs homologues de Babylonie, incluaient de grandes figures de l 'histoire
d 'Israel


. La plus ancienne e laboration, artificielle, concernant

la genealogie davidique de l 'exilarque, le Seder Olam Zuta, daterait du V



. On sait d 'ailleurs que le roi He rode faisait

remonter ses origines a une tradition familiale davidique baby-

39. Eusebe, HE 3, 32.

40. Bashan, E., et alii, Exilarch , Encyclopaedia Judaica 6, Jerusalem,
1971, 10-27. Cf. Liver, J., David, dynasty of , Encyclopaedia Judaica 5,
Jerusalem, 1971, 1339-1345. Selon lui, la ge nealogie de David en 1 Ch 3, 124, du IV

siecle avant notre ere, reste un terminus ante quem et un mode le

pour les creations suivantes, id., Genealogical Table of the Davidic Dynasty according to Biblical Sources , Enziklopedyah Miqra' it, 1959, 641644.
41. Cf. TB Ta`an. 4, 2 ; Genesis Rabbah 98, 8 : Hillel par exemple compte de

grands ma|tres juifs des II -III

siecles dans sa genealogie. Neusner, J., op.

cit., 107-108.
42. Une liste anterieure au XII

siecle restitue une succession de noms jus-

qu 'a Zorobabel. Pomykala, K. E., The Davidic Dynasty Tradition in Early

Judaism. Its History and Significance for Messianism, 1995, Atlanta, 117120.

f. jullien




. Nul doute, etant donnee l 'aura de l 'exilarque de Ba-

bylonie, que les chretiens aient voulu se doter eux aussi d 'une
parente glorieuse qui le gitimait leurs pre tentions a l 'hegemonie.
Dans ce cas pre cis, le recours a l 'apocryphe para|t decisif, noyau
d 'une e laboration strate gique et politique. L 'argument royal et
messianique par la maison de Joseph contribuait a renforcer la
glise de Perse
position du titulaire du siege patriarcal de l 'E


; a

l 'instar de l 'exilarque de Babylonie qui rivalisait de notorie te

avec le patriarche juif de Palestine, les e veques de Seleucie s 'attribuaient glorieusement les traditions patriarcales les mieux ancrees et les plus anciennes.

Ainsi, le de veloppement argumentaire de ces documents, qui

se donnent pour objectif d 'e tablir les origines prestigieuses des
premiers eveques de Seleucie-Cte siphon, montre comment une
glise a pu utiliser une tradition apocryphe pour asseoir son
nouveau ro le patriarcal. C 'est au VI

siecle que des listes sont

pour la premiere fois atteste es elaborees a partir d 'elements

vraisemblablement plus anciens ; or cette pe riode est aussi celle
glise de Perse, devenue inde pendante apres un long proou
l 'E


, promeut le siege de Seleucie cinquie me patriarcat a la

place de Je rusalem


43. D 'apres Flavius Josephe, le roi idumeen cherchait ainsi a rassembler la

communaute juive autour de sa personne (Ant. Jud. 14, 1, 3 ; 9). Il aurait fait
detruire les registres conservant les ligne es patriarcales. Liver, J., The House
of David from the Fall of the Kingdom of Judah to the Fall of the second Commonwealth and after, Jerusalem, 1959, V-VII.
44. Entre la fin du I


siecle et l 'epoque d 'Hadrien appara| t une nouvelle

thematique messianique dans certaines sources talmudiques et midrashiques.

Les commentaires de Za 9, 9 e voquent deux Messies, l 'un fils de David,
l 'autre fils de Joseph (TB Sukka 52 a-b ; Midrash sur Gene se 49, 14, reprenant Is 32, 20). Cf. Lagrange, M.-J., Le messianisme chez les juifs (150 av.
J.-C. a 200 ap. J.-C.), Paris, 1909, 251-256 ; Jullien, C., Jullien, F., op.
cit., 251-252. Le role de ce second Messie reste impre cis. On ignore si les auteurs des listes chretiennes d 'Orient connaissaient cette dimension.
45. Deja sous Dad | s o
` en 424, elle s 'etait declare e administrativement inde pendante ; avec le synode de Ma r Acace (486), un pas de plus avait e te franchi. Labourt, J., Le christianisme dans l 'Empire perse, Paris, 1904,139-141 ;
Fiey, J. M., Les etapes de la prise de conscience de son identite patriarcale
glise syrienne orientale , L 'Orient syrien 12/1, 1967, 3-22.
par l 'E
46. Chabot, J.-B., Synodicon orientale, Paris, 1902, 160, trad. 419-420 :
Iso`yahb I


avait en effet eleve le sie ge de Se leucie-Cte siphon au rang de cin-

quie me patriarcat, selon un ordre pentarchique diffe rent de celui e labore en

553 au V

concile de Constantinople. D 'ailleurs, le synode de Ma r Isaac en

410 integrait de ja parmi les metropolites de l 'exterieur le sie ge de Jerusalem,

soumis a celui de Se leucie, qui prenait part, the oriquement, a l 'election du
catholicos, Chabot, J.-B., op. cit., 609 ; 619.

4, place du Marche
F-56290 Port-Louis



La question de la structure originelle de la Vie d 'Adam et E
uvre litte raire unique a l 'origine de toutes les formes connues de
l 'apocryphe, reste discute e. L 'etude synoptique de ces diffe rentes formes dans le lieu critique ou toutes les versions se retrouvent, c 'est-a dire au debut de la Vie grecque, conduit a l 'hypothese selon laquelle
l 'ignorance par celle-ci de la premie re partie de l 'apocryphe transmise
dans les autres versions, de coule de la volonte de son redacteur. Deux
motifs concordants pourraient expliquer cette de cision : le recit, destine alors a l 'assemblee liturgique, s 'y inse rait plus facilement sous
une forme reduite et cette reduction permettait d 'ignorer une exe gese
ve par Satan devenue theologiquement
de la premiere tentation d 'E

The question of the original structure of the Life of Adam and

Eve, sole literary work at the origin of all already known versions,
stays under debate. The synoptic study of the different forms of the
narration at the critical spot where all versions meet, that is at the beginning of the Greek Life, leads to the following hypothesis : the absence in the Greek Life of the first part of the apocryphon present in
other versions comes from the editor 's will to ignore it. Two converging arguments could explain this position : the narration, meant for liturgical purposes, fits better in a shorter form, and this shortening
avoids the theologically doubtful exegesis of Eve 's first temptation by

La decouverte des versions arme nienne et georgienne du recit

ve a souleve de nouveau la
apocryphe intitule la Vie d 'Adam et E

question de la structure primitive de cet apocryphe . Quand, en

1. Communication a la reunion de l 'AELAC a Dole le 28/06/2002. La

ve est resume e dans
bibliographie de base des e ditions de la Vie d 'Adam et E
J. P. P

ettorelli ,

ve, analyse de la tradition

La Vie latine d 'Adam et E

manuscrite , Apocrypha, 10 (1999), n. 1, p. 196 et n. 5, p. 198. Signification des sigles retenus ci-apres : gr = la Vie grecque telle qu 'on la conna| t au-

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 237-256


j.-p. pettorelli

effet, on connaissait seulement, d'un cote, une redaction

grecque, sous le nom d'
, et, d'un autre cote,
une version latine, intitulee
, de structure tres
differente l'une de l'autre, il etait permis d'expliquer ces differences en considerant ces deux
traditions comme des compositions litteraires distinctes2 a partir de traditions diverses
concernant le premier couple humain,
traditions dont il existait
par ailleurs d'autres temoignages3. La constatation que les recensions moyen-orientales reliaient
entre eux les recits de la premiere partie de la version latine4 et a leur suite l'integralite de la
redaction grecque manifestait que les formes connues jusque-la
n'etaient pas des collections diverses de traditions dispersees,
Apocalypse de Mo|se

Vita Adae et Evae

jourd'hui, quelle qu'en soit la forme precise, citee ici dans le texte de Nagel
repris par G. A. A
& M. E. S , ed.,
, 2d rev. ed., Atlanta, 1999 (= Synopsis 1999);
= traduction de l'armenien par M. Stone;
= traduction du georgien par J.-P.
Mahe ;
= le texte grec a l'origine de
ou sa traduction latine (cf.
note 3);
= la latine dans sa structure traditionnelle, reprise dans
Synopsis 1999; : texte commun aux deux formes latines;
: le texte
latin publie par W. M
Vita Adae et Evae ,
, 14,3, 1878,
p. 185-250; : le texte latin publie par J. H. M
, The `Vita Adae' ,
30 (1929), 121-149. Le decoupage des paragraphes correspond a celui de
. L'etude fondamentale de la tradition manuscrite de
l'apocryphe est celle de M. N ,
, Lille, 1974 (citee ci-apres N , 1974). La diffusion restreinte de la these de Nagel rendra souvent difficile au lecteur de s'y referer,
mais la valeur et la precision de ses analyses nous interdit de ne pas le citer.
Les elements essentiels de son travail sont repris dans l'introduction de D.
A. B
, Paris, 1987 (= B
1987). On se referera en particulier aux pages 43-47, ou D. A. Bertrand resume les analyses qui conduisent Nagel a distinguer trois recensions, ou familles de textes, distinction reprise ci-apres.
Cf. Nagel, 1974, p. 114, cite infra, p. 241. W. Meyer (op. cit., p. 207-208),
au contraire, affirmait avec force l'existence anterieure d'une uvre dans laquelle la grecque et la latine trouvaient leur origine.
Recensement de ces ecrits dans M. S ,
, Atlanta, Georgia, 1992, ch. 4,
, p. 84-123.
Le texte que transmet la tradition manuscrite grecque, texte connu aujourd'hui sous le nom de la
, ignore les pericopes qui constituent
la premiere partie du recit propose par les traditions latine et moyen-orientale de l'apocryphe. Ces pericopes racontent les premiers moments de la vie
terrestre de nos premiers parents: l'experience initiale de la faim et la recherche de la nourriture, la penitence dans le fleuve pour obtenir de Dieu le
retour au paradis, la deuxieme tentation d'Eve par Satan, suivie du recit par
celui-ci de sa propre chute et de la decision divine de chasser du paradis les
deux premiers formes du genre humain, les protoplastes, et enfin le recit de
la naissance de Ca|n, leur premier-ne.


A Synopsis of the Books of

Adam and Eve










Abhandlungen der ko nigl.

bayer. Akademie der Wissenschaften, philos-philologische Classe



J. T.S.

Synopsis 1999


ve, ApocaLa Vie grecque d 'Adam et E

lypse de Mo| se


ertrand, La Vie grecque d 'Adam et E







Adam and Eve

A History of the Literature of

The Secondary Adam Litera-


Vie grecque

essai sur la structure primitive


mais avaient pour origine une meme oeuvre litteraire, un recit

unique que nous appellerons la
. La decouverte de la traduction latine d'un texte, grec sans doute, tres
proche de celui dont dependent les versions moyen-orientales,
traduction conservee dans Paris, BNF, lat. 38325, a recemment
confirme cette perspective.
La recherche s'est alors concentree sur l'histoire de la composition de ce recit. A ce sujet, deux theses s'opposent depuis plusieurs annees: l'une, proposee par Marcel Nagel et reprise par
Marinus De Jonge et Johannes Tromp, considere la `Vie
grecque' dans la forme attestee par ses temoins les 6plus anciens
(le manuscrit D et son descendant le manuscrit S) , comme la
forme originelle de toute la tradition de l'apocryphe; l'autre, defendue par G. Anderson et M. E. Stone, veut voir dans la forme
grecque a l'origine des versions armenienne et georgienne, et,
peut-on ajouter maintenant, de la version latine attestee par les
manuscrits et , la forme originelle de l'apocryphe.
Devant le desaccord persistant entre ces deux theses, l'essai
presente ici voudrait d'une part montrer la difficulte de repondre a la question posee par les arguments proposes jusqu'ici, et
tenter d'autre part de mettre en uvre une methode differente
pour aider a cette reponse et en decrire les premiers resultats.
Dans cet essai, on appellera
le texte, grec a
l'origine mais inconnu de nous dans cette langue, que traduisent
de fac on plus ou moins fidele les
versions armenienne-georgienne et les deux versions latines7 ; et
le texte de la
seule recension grecque attestee aujourd'hui.
Vie d 'Adam et E



forme longue

forme courte

Premiere presentation de ce temoin dans J. P. P

Vie latine
d'Adam et Eve. La recension de Paris, BNF, lat. 3832 ,
, LVII (1999), p. 5-52 (= ), citee ci-apres
ALMA,1999. Une forme analogue des premiers paragraphes de cette tradition est aussi transmise par le manuscrit de Milan, Bibliotheque ambrosienne, O 35 sup. (= ), cf. I
La Vie latine d'Adam et Eve ,
LVI (1998), p. 72-77
Le lecteur voudra bien excuser la citation des manuscrits par un sigle,
mais il etait difficile de les citer sous leur reference complete. Pour les sigles des temoins grecs, on se referera a la liste proposee par B
, p. 40-43, et confirmee par M. E. S
, Atlanta, 1992 (= S , 1992), p. 8-11.
L'etude de la relation entre les deux formes latines, qui exigerait des analyses complexes, n'est pas abordee ici. Pour une premiere etude de cette
question, cf. J. P. P
Deux temoins latins singuliers de la Vie
d'Adam et Eve: Paris, BNF, lat. 3832 & Milan, B. Ambrosiana, O 35 sup. ,
XXXIII (2002), 1, p. 1-27.


Archivum Latinita-









, citee ci-apre s ALMA, 1998.




tone, A History of the Literature of

Adam and Eve




Journal for the Study of Judaism,


j.-p. pettorelli

1. Critique des arguments presentes par les differentes theses

1A. Limite des arguments propose s

Les analyses de M. de Jonge et J. Tromp8 ont surtout cherche

a preciser quelle etait la forme la plus authentique d'un certain
nombre de pericopes, pensant que les temoins de cette forme
pourraient etre consideres comme les plus proches de la structure originelle de l'Apocryphe. Et ils s'appuient sur la valeur indiscutable du texte de plusieurs pericopes grecques pour
confirmer la priorite de la seule forme grecque connue aujourd'hui. M. D. Elridge, dans sa these recente, resume bien la critique qu'on peut opposer a ce type d'argumentation: En fait,
a certains endroits la grecque semble representer la forme la
plus ancienne du re9 cit, a d'autres c'est la armenienne-georgienne qui le fait.
De son cote, G. A. Anderson10 s'appuie sur des analyses
concernant surtout la coherence interne de la forme longue. Il a
montre avec beaucoup de pertinence la coherence entre les recits
de la penitence dans la forme latine-armenienne-georgienne
(1:1-4, 18:1-21:3, 37:1-39:3) et les exposes d'Adam ( 7:1-8:2)
et Eve ( 15-30) dans la grecque. Mais, a mon sens, sa demonstration ne permet pas de conclure que la forme originelle
de l'apocryphe comprenait l'ensemble de ces recits. On pourrait
aussi bien admettre en effet, et c'est la these de Nagel etudiee ciapres, que seuls les recits de la grecque avaient ete mis en
forme dans le premier recueil de traditions qui allait constituer
; les recits propres a la forme longue y auVie






Vie d 'Adam et E

M. D J
& J. T
, Sheffield, 1997, p. 42-44; M. D J
The Literary Development
of the
, dans G. A. Anderson, M. E. Stone and J.
, Leiden, 2000 (=
), p. 239-249; J. T
Cain and Abel in the Greek and Armenian/Georgian Recensions of the
, p. 277296.
In reality, in some places the Greek Life appears to represent the earlier
form of the story and in others the Armenian-Georgian version does. M.
D. E
, Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha,
16, Leiden, 2001, p. 126.
G. A. A
Adam and Eve in the ``Life of Adam and Eve'' ,
, ed. by M. E. Stone & T. A. Bergen,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1998; I The Original Form of the
: a Proposal , dans
, p. 215-231, analyse a laquelle on joindra les autres etudes de cet auteur presentees dans ce meme volume.


romp, The Life of Adam et Eve and Related Litera-



Life of Adam and Eve

Literature on Adam and Eve. Collected Essays

erature 2000



Life of Adam and Eve




Dying Adam with his multiethnic Family. Understanding the

Greek Life of Adam and Eve



Biblical Figures outside the Bible


Adam and Eve

Literature 2000

Life of

essai sur la structure primitive


raient ete incorpores dans un deuxie me temps, et leur cohe rence

avec le recit initial aurait facilite cette incorporation.

Loin d 'etre inutiles, ces analyses favorisent la connaissance

ve, eclairent les intendu texte et du sens de la Vie d 'Adam et E
tions des differents redacteurs, enrichissent notre comprehension du recit, et aident a une lecture approfondie d 'un texte qui
pourrait para|tre simple ; mais la prolongation de la discussion
montre clairement qu 'elles ne peuvent servir a resoudre les questions de priorite des differentes redactions. Il m 'a semble que
seules des analyses poursuivies au plus pre s de la teneur, c 'est-adire



eux-me mes,





traient d 'eclairer cette question de priorite de l 'une ou l 'autre

forme. C 'est ce qu 'a voulu faire Nagel, mais sa de monstration
est trop elliptique pour emporter la conviction.

1B. Critique de la the se de Nagel

Dans son analyse


des relations entre la Vie grecque, d 'une

part, et les Vies georgienne alors seule connue des vies moyenorientales et latine, d 'autre part, M. Nagel re sume sa these de
la facon suivante


Dependant de l 'e crit grec (dont le te moin le plus ancien est le

groupe D-S), le recenseur (du texte grec a l 'origine de la Vie ge orgienne et de la Vie latine) s 'e carte de ce dernier lorsqu 'il ajoute
les traditions sur la pe nitence et sur la seconde tentation (lat-geo
1 :1b - 10 :1) et liee a celles-ci, la tradition de la chute de Satan
(ibid. 11 :1-17 :3). Absents de la Vie grecque primitive, ces recits
ont cependant un indeniable air de famille qui les unit aux traditions recueillies par l 'ancienne Vie. La meilleure explication de
cette conformite consiste a admettre que ces traditions avaient
toutes ete fixees dans un me me milieu et qu 'elles avaient circule
ensemble, quoique sous forme peut-e tre simplement orale. Dans
ce fonds traditionnel le re dacteur de la Vie grecque originale avait
retenu certaines pie ces, mais l 'interpolateur du texte A-T-L-C
(forme plus riche de gr I ) d 'une part, et le recenseur que nous
font conna| tre les versions latine et ge orgienne d 'autre part, en
ont reconnu d 'autres et les ont inse rees dans l 'ecrit.

11. Cette analyse constitue le ch. IV de sa the se. Cf. M. Nagel, 1974, ch.
IV, t. I, p. 113- 211 avec les notes correspondantes t. II, p. 155-222.
12. Nagel, 1974, t. I, p. 114. Les informations entre parenthe ses rappellent
les elements precises ailleurs par Nagel dans son e tude. Les italiques en soulignent les elements essentiels ; une analyse analogue a celle qui est citee se
trouve ibid. p. 69.

j.-p. pettorelli


Cet expose contient deux propositions distinctes. La premie re

concerne la forme la plus proche de l 'original de la Vie d 'Adam
ve : pour Nagel ce temoin est le manuscrit D (= Milan, B.
et E
ambr., C 237 inf.) du XI

siecle, confirme par le manuscrit S (=

Strasbourg, B. N. U. 1913), du XIII

sie cle. Pour lui, le texte

propose par ces deux temoins repre sente la forme originale de

l 'apocryphe, celle qu 'il appelle la Vie grecque primitive, l 'ancienne Vie.
La deuxieme proposition porte sur le fait que seuls quelquesuns des recits deja portes cependant par la tradition orale
auraient ete incorpores dans la redaction originale de l 'apocryphe. Nagel ne cherche pas a expliquer pour quelles raisons le
redacteur initial en aurait laisse de co
te quelques autres. Ces raisons peuvent etre multiples, et il est difficile de justifier ou de



these ;





pourra aider a verifier cette deuxie me proposition.

En revanche la premie re proposition ne semble pas confirme e
par ses propres analyses.

1B a Critique de la priorite du groupe DS

A l 'interieur de ce qu 'il appelle la premiere forme de la Vie
grecque, Nagel distingue deux groupes principaux de te moins :
un premier groupe qui a pour base les te moins D et S et un deuxieme groupe fonde sur les temoins A et T, auxquels il joint les
temoins L et C


. Ce deuxieme groupe propose un texte souvent

plus riche que le pre cedent, et Nagel montre tre s clairement la

dependance des versions latine et georgienne a l 'egard de ce deuxieme







qu 'elles



commun avec la seule forme grecque connue de nous, elles proposent les memes complements que lui


Cette de monstration de Nagel lui-me me


met clairement en

question la priorite du groupe DS par rapport au groupe ATLC.

Aucune analyse, en effet, ne fonde son affirmation de la priorite
du premier groupe, proposition qui l 'ame ne a presenter le texte
ATLC comme une forme de rive e du groupe DS


. Son argument

principal est le suivant :

13. Pour une description re sumee de ces groupes, se referer a Bertrand ,

1987, p. 43-45.
14. Cf. Nagel , 1974, p. 113 : Au texte II (de la recension I) que nous venons d 'e tudier s 'apparente la recension que nous font conna| tre les versions
latine et georgienne. Cette recension, en effet, est ... caracte risee par les lecons particulieres au groupe ATLC .
15. Ibid. I, ch. IV, 8, p. 155-159.
16. Ibid. I, p. 47-51, et les notes correspondantes II, p. 69-71.

essai sur la structure primitive


Il est impossible du seul point de vue de la transmission pale ographique deja que la lignee ATLC ait pre serve la des lecons primitives que les autres te moins du groupe auraient perdues.

argument qu 'il pre cise plus loin


Il est inconcevable que fussent omises par exemple les lec ons de
V, 3 relative a la maison d 'Adam, de XIII, 3-5 sur l 'apocalypse,
de XX, 5 touchant l 'identification de l 'arbre de la connaissance
et du figuier








qu 'aucun

ajout, aucun oubli n 'est inconcevable ou impossible. Les motifs


sont multiples

et n 'expriment





En fait, sauf me prise de ma part sur le sens de sa proposition,
l 'argument principal de Nagel, sous-entendu dans l 'expression
``transmission paleographique '', dont l 'auteur ne pre cise pas autrement le sens, est l 'anciennete de D (du XI
a A (du XIII

siecle) par rapport

siecle). Mais chacun sait que le manuscrit le plus

ancien n 'est pas ne cessairement le te moin le plus proche du texte


En revanche, de solides arguments mettent aujourd 'hui en

question la these de Nagel


1B b Anciennete de la forme longue. Date probable de la traduction latine a l 'origine de Pr

L 'existence de Pr, d 'abord, prouve l 'anciennete de la traduction latine de la forme longue


et donc celle de cette forme lon-

gue en grec. La copie de Pr en effet peut e tre datee de 1160

environ. Mais Pr n 'est pas le seul te moin de cette traduction.
Ma transmet aussi, mais malheureusement en partie seulement,
une traduction du me me recit et, bien que plus tardif (XIV


cle), a conserve des lecons plus proches de celles qu 'on peut supposer











17. Les references de chapitres indique es renvoient au decoupage de la Vie

18. Cf. Synopsis 1999, p. 34, 45, 58.
19. Le paragraphe suivant re sume des analyses de ja expose es plus longuement dans ALMA, 1999, p. 33-47.
20. Les temoins ge orgiens et armeniens de cette meme forme sont beaucoup
plus tardifs (XV



21. Cf. ALMA, 1998, p. 81. La comparaison entre le texte de Ma et celui

du groupe ATLC n 'est pas possible, puisque le texte de Ma s 'arre te au tout
debut de gr.


j.-p. pettorelli

conduisent a faire eremonter la forme initiale du groupe

au plus tard au XI siecle, c'est a dire a une date tres proche de
celle du temoin
le plus ancien de la recension grecque, date lui
aussi du XIe siecle.
De plus, cette decouverte renvoie a la transcription poetique
de la dans le poe22 me gaelique
, que les specialistes datent de 988 . Deja a la fin du XIXe siecle, des critiques23
avaient propose a l'origine de la partie du poeme consacree au
recit de la creation l'existence d'un texte qui `combinait' les
traditions de la latine et celles de la
grecque, c'est-adire la premiere partie de la latine, avec les pericopes, indiquees plus haut, de la penitence dans le fleuve jusqu'a la naissance de Ca|n, et la totalite de la grecque, et en particulier
son recit des funerailles des protoplastes, beaucoup plus developpe que celui de la
latine. La traduction latine a la
source de semble bien etre la `synthese' proposee. Elle serait
donc anterieure a 988.


Saltair Na Rann







Priorite du groupe ATLC

Ces analyses confirment l'anciennete de la forme longue et

permettent d'affirmer que l'existence d'une
traduction latine de
cette forme au plus tard au milieu du Xe siecle et sa relation avec
, t. I. Text and
translation by D. Greene & F. Kelly, t. II, Commentary by B. Murdoch,
Dublin, 1976. R. Thurneysen datait
de 988 (cf. op. cit. a la
note suivante, p. 98-99), hypothese admise par les editeurs de
, t. I, p. 7.
Cf. R. Thurneysen, Review of
, ed. W. Stokes , RC
(= Revue Celtique) 6 (1883-85), p. 96-109 et 371-373. R. Thurneysen ecrivait: Der Psalter folgt der
im Berichte von Adam und Eva's Busse (=
). Aber von dem Punkte an, wo die Erza hlung der
) einsetzt, schliesst er sich eng an diese an; so verku ndet
Gabriel die Geburt Seth's freilich hier dem Tode Abel's und auch
Adam's Tod liegt der Fassung der
sehr nahe. Die
hat nicht im griechischen Texte oder in irischer Uebersetzung dem Verfasser
vorgelegen, sondern lateinisch. Diess geht deutlich aus einigen unvera ndert
aufgenommenen lateinischen Wo rten hervor:
(v. 2205) und
(v. 2218).
par moi). Von lateinischen Bearbeitungen der
sprechen jedoch
weder Tischendorf noch Meyer'' (R. Thurneysen, op. cit., p. 104). Cf. aussi
, t. II, p. 32-34: The source of the SR Fall
narrative , concernant la presence dans
de plusieurs passages de la
dans une forme proche de et absents sous
cette forme de

The Irish Adam and Eve Story from Saltair Na Rann

Saltair Na Rann

The Irish Adam

and Eve Story


Saltair Na Rann


Vita Adae et Evae



Vie grecque




in tertio caelo



Es gab also damals in Irland einen lateinischen Text, wel-

cher die Bestandtheile der Vita und der Apocalypse in sich vereinigte

The Irish Adam and Eve Story

Saltair Na Rann

Vie d 'Adam et E


essai sur la structure primitive


toutes les autres versions latine, arme nienne et georgienne

interdit d 'en exclure sans autre argument la priorite . L 'argument de Nagel sur l 'anciennete de la forme courte, repre sente e
pour nous par

gr, en devient moins pregnant.

Une premiere conclusion, negative celle-ci, s 'impose : la se quence chronologique `forme longue-groupe ATLC-groupe DS '
ne contredit pas les donnees chronologiques qui de coulent de
l 'existence meme des temoins manuscrits. Encore faut-il montrer maintenant que le texte de la forme courte suppose l 'existence de celui de la forme longue.

2. Analyse du texte des diffe rentes traditions. Le lieu critique :

le debut de la

Vie grecque

2A. Le lieu critique

L 'analyse des diffe rentes traditions conduit a se concentrer
sur le lieu critique ou , dans chacune, pourront se manifester les
indices qui permettraient un choix clairement fonde sur les donnees textuelles.
Ce lieu ne peut e tre que celui ou toutes ces traditions se rejoignent, c 'est-a-dire le de but de
tions entre

gr. Analyser en ce lieu les rela-

gr et les autres formes, devrait permettre de re pondre

a la question de savoir si

gr presente des indices de l 'omission

des paragraphes concernant la pe nitence des protoplastes et les

sequences suivantes, ou si, dans les autres traditions, se manifestent des signes que ces paragraphes ont e te inseres dans la forme

Pour ce faire, rien n 'est plus e clairant que la synopse du de but


gr et des textes correspondants de chaque tradition

24. Cette synopse suit le texte de


gr, et conduit necessairement a presenter

l 'un apre s l 'autre deux passages de la

Vie qui dans les traditions latines et ar-

menienne-georgienne sont se pares par les re cits que celles-ci ont conserve
mais que la tradition grecque ne transmet pas. Le texte et la traduction anglaise de la


Vie grecque, la traduction anglaise des textes arme nien et georcites

d 'apres



Pr et Ma d 'apres les editions

indiquees note 5. Il a paru suffisant de ne retenir ici qu 'un seul des diffe rents textes de

lat-V, en considerant que son meilleur temoin etait la famille

rhenane I (R1), cf.

Apocrypha, 10, p. 221-229. Cette famille est publie e en

deux parties dans ALMA, 59 (2001), p. 5-73 et ALMA, 60 (2002), p. 171233.




j.-p. pettorelli

1[1]:1 (Synopse, pp. 1 & 26)

Cum expulsi fuissent Adam et Eua de paradiso,

fecerunt sibi habitaculum
Et factum est cum expulsus fuisset adam de paradyso et Eua mulier eius, exeuntes de paradyso, abierunt ad orientem,
et fecerunt sibi tabernaculum
Factumque est cum expulsus fuisset Adam et Eua de paradiso,
exientes de oriente permissi,
Meta to exelhein autou`q ek tou paradeisou,

After they had gone out of Paradise

It came to pass, when Adam went forth from the Garden with his
wife outside to the east of the Garden
they made tremselves a hut
It came to pass, when Adam went out from the Garden with his wife
Eve they went out at the eastern part of the Garden,
and Adam made a hut

22[1]: 2

R1 Et tulit Adam Euam

et puerum et duxit eos ad orientem.
Accepit ergo Adam uxorem suam
et puerum eius eduxit ad orientem.
Et post hoc accepit Adam Euam
et puerum et duxit eos ad orientem.

elaben Adam Euan [tyn gunaika autou ]

kai anylhen eiq tyn anatoly`n


Adam took Eve [his wife ]

and went to the east
Thenceforth Adam took Eve and the child and brought them to the
eastern region
As for Adam he took Eve and the child and he brought them
into the eastern parts

Le groupe lat-arm-geo evoque en 1:1 un premier deplacement

vers l'Orient, qui renvoie a Gen. 3, 24, et concerne la sortie du
paradis apres la condamnation du premier peche, et il ajoute: ils
se firent un abri . Il raconte ensuite les evenements qui ont suivi
cette premiere demarche: la faim, la penitence dans le fleuve, la
deuxieme tentation d'Eve, la condamnation de Satan et la naissance de Ca|n ; gr n'evoque que la sortie du paradis et ignore la
Les deux formes, longue et courte, se rejoignent en 22[1]:2
pour decrire un deuxieme deplacement vers l'orient. Selon la
forme longue, Eve, apres avoir interrompu sa penitence sur le
conseil de Satan deguise en ange et une deuxieme fois succombe
a la tentation, s'est exilee au Couchant, ou, aidee par des puissances celestes, elle a mis au monde Ca|n son premier-ne. Adam
alors prend sa femme et l'enfant et les ramene vers l'Est. La synopse montre que c'est bien le vocabulaire de ce deuxieme deplacement vers l'est qui est utilise par toutes les redactions, y

essai sur la structure primitive

compris gr, ou l 'expression



dam Euan tyn gunaika auelaben A

correspond tres exactement au latin accepit Adam Euam

uxorem suam atteste par Pr, et confirme, mais sans la pre cision
uxorem suam, par Ma et par quelques te moins importants de


. Les autres groupes de lat-V traduisent tulit.

Deux remarques comple mentaires :

- les mss. D et S se distinguent de tous les autres te moins de
gr, et des autres traditions pour s 'accorder avec LXX, Gen. 4,1,






e` laben



tardive ?

Confirmation de la valeur du groupe ATLC ?

- dans une phrase qui lui est commune avec tous les autres te moins, gr est seul a ignorer et puerum, ce qui pour lui allait de
soi puisqu 'il n 'a pas encore parle de la naissance de cet enfant


Ces constatations cependant ne permettent pas de de cider entre les deux hypotheses possibles :
1) ou bien la source des trois versions de la forme longue s 'est
greffe e tres exactement ici sur le texte `ancien ' pour reprendre
l 'expression de Nagel, entre les deux propositions : ``apre s qu 'ils
ve et la conduisit vers
furent sortis du paradis '' et ``Adam prit E
l 'est, '' et apre s avoir rappele les traditions concernant la naissance de Ca|n, elle ne peut le dissocier de ses parents ;
2) ou bien le texte grec traditionnel, voulant ignorer les paragraphes precedents, corrige l 'introduction aux traditions qu 'il
retient, et supprime et l 'enfant , dont il n 'a pas encore e te
Le lieu precis de la disjonction entre la forme longue et la
forme courte est donc clairement de termine


, mais a ce moment

de l 'analyse les deux hypotheses ne peuvent etre encore departage es.

25. Ainsi, Pa (= Paris, BNF, lat. 5327, du X

siecle) ecrit : Adam uero acci-

piens Euam et puerum perrexit ad orientem , et ang : Et Adam accipiens

Euam cum puero duxit eos ad orientem .
26. Quelques autres variantes doivent e tre note es, bien qu 'elles n 'aident pas
a resoudre le probleme a l 'etude. Mais elles constituent des indices significatifs de la complexite des relations entre les diffe rentes traditions. On notera
en particulier que gr, comme R1, temoin ici de la tradition de lat-V, ne conna|t pas l 'expression initiale commune a Pr, Ma, arm, geo : il arriva que ; que,
dans le me me sens, gr donne a l 'infinitif un sujet au pluriel et R1 met le verbe
expelli au pluriel tandis que les autres traditions mettent le verbe au singulier
avec pour sujet Adam seul ; en revanche le groupe gr-arm-geo utilise le verbe






` lleshai).
27. Cf. nagel, 1974, I, p. 134 sq.







j.-p. pettorelli


3. Passages qui corroborent l 'hypothe se de la valeur secondaire

de gr

3A. Le delai entre les naissances de Ca| n , d 'Abel et de Seth

22[1] :2 (suite)



Consummatis autem tribus annis


Et post annos


kai e meinen e kei e ty de` ka kai oktw kai mynaq du`o

and abode there eighteen years and two months


and he was there with her and then eighteen years and two months
were completed


and he stayed there. And when the eighth year and the second month
were completed

L 'emploi dans Pr du verbe consummatis, correspond a armgeo : when ... were completed ; gr n 'emploie pas cette expression,
mais n 'en veut pas moins pre ciser le delai entre deux evenements. La signification de ce de lai depend de la forme dans laquelle il est situe . Dans la forme courte, il mesure le temps qui
s 'ecoule entre la sortie du paradis et la naissance des deux fils ;
dans la forme longue, il mesure le de lai entre la naissance de
Ca|n et celle d 'Abel. Dans gr-arm, il est de 18 ans et deux mois,
dans geo, de 8 ans et 2 mois (en corrigeant gr-arm ?) ; il est reduit
a trois ans dans Pr, a une duree non precisee dans Ma ; lat-V utilise un simple adverbe de liaison : postea.
Pour determiner la situation originelle d 'un tel de lai, on se
rapportera a la tradition juive. Celle-ci, dans le cadre de l 'histoire des protoplastes, rapporte deux de lais : un de lai entre la
naissance de Ca|n et celle d 'Abel, et un autre de lai entre la mort
d 'Abel et la conception de Seth, ainsi e nonces dans le livre des
Jubile s :
- Jub. 4,1 : Dans la troisie me semaine, dans le deuxie me ju ve) enfanta Ca|n ; dans la quatrie me (semaine) (= 8 ans
bile , (E
( ?) apres Ca|n), elle enfanta Abel.


- Jub. 4,7 ajoute : Adam et sa femme continue rent de pleurer

Abel quatre semaines d 'anne es (28 ans). Dans la quatrie me annee de la cinquieme semaine (apres 32 ans ?), ils se re jouirent :
Adam connut de nouveau sa femme, et elle lui enfanta un fils. Il
lui donna le nom de Seth.


28. Le texte a retenir serait alors celui de geo : la huitie me anne e ; le sens de
la dure e precise de huit ans et deux mois reste inexplique .
crits intertestamentaires, Paris, 1987, p.
29. Cite d 'apre s la traduction de : E
652-653. Dans cette traduction, selon la note a IV, 1, p. 652, les mots en

essai sur la structure primitive


Le Targum du Pseudo-Jonathan en Gen. 4, 25 mentionne un

delai d 'une duree diffe rente entre la mort d 'Abel et la conception de Seth : Adam connut a nouveau sa femme au bout de
130 ans apres le meurtre d 'Abel, et elle enfanta un fils. Elle
l 'appela du nom de Seth


. La Septante, en Gen. 5, 3, allonge

cette dure e jusqu 'a 230 ans. Le midrash Gene se Rabbah, en

20,11, conna|t cette duree de 130 ans et, en 23,4, l 'attribue a la
mefiance d 'Adam a l 'egard de sa femme quant a la veritable origine de son premier fils


; une re flexion du meme type est reprise

par la Le gende de la Croix, et attribuee a la colere d 'Adam envers sa femme, dont le pe che a entra|ne tous leurs malheurs, et
d 'abord la mort d 'Abel


. Les tres nombreuses variantes qui de -

finissent dans la Vie latine, en 23 :5, les a ges des protagonistes de

cette histoire : Adam, Ca| n, Abel et Seth, se re ferent a l 'une ou a
l 'autre des traditions juives e voquees ci-dessus


La tradition juive ne semble donc pas s 'e tre interessee au delai

entre l 'expulsion du Paradis et la naissance de Ca| n


. On ne

peut guere douter qu 'initialement le de lai indique ici dans gr,

parallele a celui de arm-geo, s 'inserait entre la naissance de Ca| n
et celle d 'Abel ; son apparente insertion entre la sortie d 'Adam
ve du paradis et la naissance de Ca| n vient directement de
et E

italique sont atteste s par le te moin hebreu des Jubile s retrouve dans la grotte
11 de Qumran.
30. Targum du Pseudo-Jonathan, 4,25, traduction de R. Le De aut dans Targum du Pentateuque, Tome I, Gene se, Paris, 1978 (= SC 271), p. 109. Cependant le meme Targum du Pseudo-Jonathan 5,3 e crit : Adam avait vecu cent
trente ans quand il engendra Seth .
31. Cf. Midrach Rabba, T. I, Gene se Rabba, traduction francaise, ed. Verdier, Lagrasse, 1987, p. 234 et 262-3.
32. Cf. W. Meyer, Die Geschichte des Kreuzholzes vor Christus dans
Abhandlungen der philosophisch-philologischen Classe der ko nigl.-bayerischen
Akademie der Wissenschaften, XVI Bd., II Abt., 1882, p. 103-166, ici p. 132.
Sur ces variantes, cf. aussi M. Alexandre, Le Commencement du Livre.
Genese I-V, Paris, 1988, p. 386.
ve. Familles rhenanes,
33. Cf. J. P. Pettorelli, Vie latine d 'Adam et E
premie re partie , ALMA, 59 (2001), p. 72, n. 52.
34. Il n 'est pas possible d 'e voquer ici les differentes informations concernant le pe re, le lieu ou la date de conception et de naissance de Ca| n, proposees












Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, T. I, ch. III, The Ten Generations, The
Birth of Cain, p. 105-107, et T. V, ch. III, n. 1-7, p. 132-135 (Trad. fr., L.
Ginzberg, Les Le gendes des Juifs (Le Cerf, coll. Patrimoines), Paris, 1997,
p. 79-80, et notes p. 249-252) ; G. A. Anderson, Celibacy or Consummation in the Garden. Reflections on Early Jewish and Christian Interpretations of the Garden of Eden , Harvard Theological Review, 82 :2 (1989), p.

j.-p. pettorelli


l 'absence dans la forme courte du re cit de cette naissance, qui

n 'est e voque e qu 'au paragraphe suivant


22[1] :3

Concepit Eua

et genuit filium

nomine Abel,
et manebat Cain cum Abel in unum.

Consummatis autem tribus annis Adam genuit

Abel, quem uocauit uirtus.
Mansit uero Abel diu una cum fratre suo Cain.


Et post annos concepit

et peperit filium

quem uocauit Abel,

et manserunt in unum.

kai en gastri eilyfen y Eua kai ege`nnyse du`o uiouq, to`n Adia`fwtwn

to`n kalou`menon Ka`in kai to`n Amilabe`q to`n kalou`menoni Abel

Kai meta` tauta ege`nonto met ` ally`lwni Adam kai Eua koimome`nwn


de autw
And Eve conceived

and bore two sons

Adiapho tos who

is called Cain

and Amilabes who is called Abel

And after this Adam and Eve were with one another and while they
were sleeping

She became pregnant

and bore a son

Gap 'at ' whom the midwife named and called Abel
and they dwelt together

Eve became pregnant

and bore another son

whom the power of God called by the name Abel

and they remained there together

Il etait necessaire a la forme courte d 'annoncer au plus tard

ici la naissance de Ca| n, encore ignore e a ce moment du re cit,
mais il est difficile de croire que ce n 'est pas la forme atteste e
par les autres recensions qui sous-tend son texte


35. Remarque comple mentaire : pour le delai entre la naissance de Ca| n et

celle d 'Abel, c 'est le chiffre de dix-huit ans et deux mois qui est retenu dans
ve conserve es par les Arme niens : la
les deux formes de la Vie d 'Adam et E
forme longue, intitule e la Penitence d 'Adam, citee supra, et la traduction armenienne de la Redaction III de la forme courte (cf. J. Issaverdens, The
Book of Adam , The Uncanonical Writings of the Old Testament, Venice,
1934, p. 23).
36. La derniere proposition de cet extrait pose une question d 'un autre
ordre, qui ne concerne pas directement la structure initiale de l 'apocryphe,
mais que l 'on doit evoquer. Ma (mais non Pr) avec arm-geo ne precise pas
ve, Ca|n et Abel, les
quels etaient ceux qui vivaient ensemble : Adam et E
quatre premiers humains ? Peut-e tre faudrait-il conserver la forme la plus vague, mais les re dactions I et II de gr sont unanimes pour affirmer que c 'e tait
ve qui etaient (habitaient la meme maison ? s 'unissaient ?) l 'un
Adam et E
avec l 'autre. La redaction III du grec ne parle pas de cette vie commune,

essai sur la structure primitive


3B. Re action d 'Adam a l 'annonce du meurtre d 'Abel par Ca| n

23[2] :4

Dixit Adam : Vae mihi !

Ne forte interficiat Cain Abel,


Dixit igitur Adam :

Ne forte occidat eum

separemus eos ab inuicem.

Eipe de` Adam

Anasta` nteq poreuhwmen kai i`dwmen ti`
e sti to` gegono q au toiq my` pote o e jhro` q polem ti pro` q au tou` q
Poreuhe` nteq de` a mfo` teroi eu ron pefoneume` non to ni Abel a po jeiro q
Kain tou a delfou au tou
segregemus eos alterutrum.


and Adam said

Let us arise and go and see what has

happened to them (I fear) lest the ad-

versary may be assailing them somewhere.

And they both went and found Abel murdered by the hand of Cain his

Adam said to Eve

Surely Cain is killing Abel !

Come, let us separate them
for one another.


Adam replied to Eve and told her : Lest Cain plan to kill him
let us separate them from
one another

A la place de la reaction d 'Adam propose e ici par lat-arm-geo :

ne forte occidat eum, segregemus eos alterutrum (Pr)

ou analogue,
le grec utilise un autre discours


Et dixit Adam : Exurgentes eamus et uideamus quid evenit eis, ne

forte adversarius eos inpugnet. Surrexerunt igitur ambo et inuenerunt Abel quem interfecit Cain frater eius. (On notera que
cette forme du texte est atteste e par tous les te moins de gr)

mais indique seulement : apre s cela, un jour ... . Dans la tradition latine,
c 'est sans doute la decision ulterieure d 'Adam de separer les deux fre res qui
a entra|ne l 'evocation d 'une vie qui leur e tait commune. Il n 'est pas utile
d 'etudier ici la question de l 'origine du surnom de Ca| n : Diaphotos ou Adiapho tos. L 'analyse en a e te conduite par J. Tromp et reprise par M. D. Eldrige.












Georgian Recensions of the Life of Adam and Eve cite supra n. 8 ; M. D.

Elridge, op. cit. supra n. 9, p. 120-123.
37. Pour rendre plus evidente la relation avec le groupe Pr-Ma, 20 :1c-2a, le
texte de gr, cite plus haut en grec et en anglais, est ici traduit en latin. Ce
texte n 'a e te conserve en latin que dans lat-P. On en trouvera les transcriptions arme nienne et ge orgienne, tres enrichies, dans Synopsis 1999, p. 21-22.
Son absence dans lat-V, et son amplification dans arm-geo expliquent sans
doute que personne encore n 'avait fait ce rapprochement.

j.-p. pettorelli


qui transcrit, accommode a sa nouvelle place et met au pluriel la





lorsqu 'il

est rapporte e par




luminaria caeli, telle qu 'elle

ve ?) porte e jusqu 'a lui par les

(d 'E

Pr-Ma en 20 :1c :

Tunc uero dixit Adam : Exurgam et uadam ad Euam ut uideam

quare plorat, ne forte diabolus iterum eam inpugnet.Venit igitur
ad eam Adam, et inuenit flentem. (


Et dixit Adam : Surgam et uadam ad eam, et uideam qua propter

tangit illam deus, ne forte iterum serpens pungnat eam Et pergens
inuenit eam in lucto mangno. (




d 'Adam





mieux a la place qu 'elle occupe dans la forme longue. Adam sait

ve lors de sa deuxie me
ce que leur a cou te son absence aupre s d 'E
tentation par l ' adversaire (cf.

Pr, 9 :1 Tunc uero conturbatus est

aduersarius sathanas ). Alerte par ce qu 'il croit etre ses pleurs, il

ne peut la laisser affronter seule une fois encore ce me me adversaire. Il est urgent qu 'il se mobilise pour la rejoindre. En revanche, dans la forme courte, le re cit ne s 'appuie sur aucun lien
deja connu entre la jalousie de Ca| n et une suggestion de Satan.
Du reste, l 'adversaire n 'y a pas encore e te presente. On verra
donc ici un indice fort que

gr emprunte au recit de la naissance

de Ca|n tel qu 'il est conserve dans la forme longue et, faut-il
ajouter, dans la forme pre cise que proposait le grec que traduisent

Pr et Ma.

4. Dependance de la forme courte par rapport a la forme longue.

4a. La forme courte suppose la forme longue

Tels sont les indices convergents qui confirment l 'hypothe se
que le redacteur a l 'origine de la

Vie grecque, dans sa forme au-

jourd 'hui connue, a travaille a partir d 'une forme de la

Vie qui

comprenait les re cits attestes par toutes les autres recensions, a

tout le moins le recit de la naissance de Ca| n, puisque trois passages au moins de son texte ne peuvent s 'expliquer sans qu 'il le
connaisse :






l 'e vocation

d 'une

de marche

ve vers l 'est renvoie au re cit du retour vers l 'est

d 'Adam avec E
d 'Adam avec son e pouse et l 'enfant qu 'elle a mis au monde a
l 'occident, et non a la sortie du paradis vers l 'est apre s le premier peche decrite au tout debut de la






Vie par les autres verre dacteur


subtilement passe d 'un deplacement vers l 'est a l 'autre.



essai sur la structure primitive


- 2) le delai qui dans la forme courte para| t preceder la naissance de Ca|n renvoie en fait a celui qui dans la tradition juive
separe l 'une de l 'autre les naissances de Ca| n et Abel ; le redacteur de gr ne semble pas avoir aperc u le changement de perspective provoque par l 'absence du re cit de la naissance de Ca| n.

- 3) dans la forme courte, enfin, l 'invitation a se mobiliser

pour voir ce qui est arrive aux deux fils renvoie a celle par laquelle, dans la forme longue, Adam tente de se mettre en route
ve prise par les douleurs de
pour repondre a l 'appel a l 'aide d 'E
son premier enfantement. Elle suppose de plus la connaissance
de l 'Adversaire, et rappelle par ce mot le de but du recit de la
ve dans le fleuve, inconnu a ce stade dans la forme
tentation d 'E

Ces trois indices textuels confirment la de pendance de gr par

rapport au re cit de la naissance de Ca| n, et probablement aussi
a celui de la deuxie me tentation. Nous sommes ainsi conduits a
admettre la priorite de la forme longue dans son inte gralite sur
la forme courte.

4b. Motifs possibles de la re duction de la forme longue

Deux hypotheses pourraient eclairer ce qui semble bien e tre
une decision du redacteur grec de la forme courte d 'ignorer les
recits de la premiere partie de la forme longue :
- une premiere hypothese verrait dans la reduction de la Vie
grecque, non pas un accident de transmission, mais une volonte
d 'ecourter le texte pour pouvoir l 'inse rer dans le cours de la liturgie. Nagel, en effet, qui de crit avec precision le contexte de la
majorite des temoins qu 'il e tudie, souligne le fait que les principaux manuscrits qui ont transmis la Vie grecque, les manuscrits
D (pour partie), V, P, G, A, c 'est-a -dire parmi ses te moins les
plus anciens, et les manuscrits plus tardifs Q, H, F, me lent la
Vie a des lectures liturgiques, ce qui laisse supposer que la Vie
elle-meme etait lue dans un tel contexte


38. Ce constat s 'applique a la majorite des temoins de la Vie grecque. S 'il

est le plus souvent difficile de reconna| tre pourquoi la Vie est copiee au milieu de textes liturgiques, cette position du texte est nette dans plusieurs manuscrits. Cf. en particulier la description des manuscrits suivants : ms. D,
p. 3, avec l 'importante note 3 ; ms. V, p. 15 ; ms. P, p. 28 ; ms. G, p. 33 ; ms. A,
p. 52, et la note 11 ; ms Q, p. 263 ; ms. H, p. 270 ; ms. F, p. 294. (le manuscrit
est cite d 'abord selon la nomenclature de D. A. Bertrand, et on indique ensuite la page du tome I ou se trouve l 'analyse par Nagel de son contenu. On
se referera en meme temps aux notes correspondantes publie es dans le tome

j.-p. pettorelli


Dans l 'analyse du manuscrit L (= Athe nes, B. N., 286, 1518),

Nagel constate :
Il est en tout cas impossible de reconna| tre aujourd 'hui si la Vie a
ete reproduite dans le manuscrit ou dans son mode le pour servir
dans le cadre cultuel


remarque applicable sans doute a la majorite des temoins grecs,

mais c 'est, sans doute, dans et pour ce cadre que leur structure
avait ete de finie. Me me si Nagel lui-me me ne tire de cette constatation aucune conclusion ge nerale


, on peut admettre que

pour e tre utilise s dans la liturgie, ces re cits devaient conserver

des caracteristiques compatibles avec cette fonction


. Celle-ci a

pu conduire a e courter le texte pour le rendre compatible avec la

dure e d 'une lecture liturgique. Les spe cialistes de la liturgie byzantine pourront nous e clairer sur ce point.

39. ibid., I, p. 59.

40. A la fin de son e tude de la tradition du texte III, Nagel re sume son analyse ainsi : La Vie d 'Adam, comme d 'autres pseude pigraphes, s 'est trouve
melee aux lectures liturgiques, au moins dans certains milieux. Les textes liturgiques etaient alors (au XI

siecle) soumis a de profonds remaniements. Il

n 'est pas invraisemblable qu 'on ait de s lors tente de donner une forme par
certains cotes nouvelle aux ecrits apocryphes, a la Vie d 'Adam en particulier. .... Le XI

siecle, epoque d 'une intense activite de revision, pourrait

donc avoir entra|ne le remaniement du texte I de la Vie d 'Adam et l 'apparition du texte III. (ibid. p. 300). Comme il ressort du releve presente a la
note 38, ce ne sont pas seulement les te moins du texte III qui me lent la


d 'autres lectures liturgiques. On peut sans doute appliquer la re flexion de

Nagel a toute la tradition grecque aujourd 'hui connue.
41. De manie re analogue, et pour des raisons du me me ordre, un temoin de


latine (ms

du XII


. Cf.


10, p. 222), insere dans un sermonnaire

siecle, n 'a conserve que les chapitres 1 a 24 du recit, de cision inverse

de celle retenue par le re dacteur grec, due sans doute a l 'inte ret different de
ces deux lecteurs de la forme longue : l 'un plus sensible a l 'attitude penitentielle proposee par la premiere partie de la


, l 'autre plus sensible a sa sig-

nification eschatologique ou a la difficulte de conserver la premie re partie

devenue, pour partie au moins, inadmissible. En revanche, le fait que


presente un texte re duit a peu pre s aux memes limites que


ne releve

pas de la volonte de son redacteur de limiter le texte. Sa conclusion brutale

en utilisant l 'expression

nec indulsit

s 'explique mieux si le copiste avait

ut indulgeret
ut indulgeret ei modicum

sous les yeux une copie mutile e juste apres les mots
aussi par


dans l 'expression

, attestes

. Il a seulement es-

saye de conclure en reprenant le dernier mot de sa source en e crivant



essai sur la structure primitive


- la deuxieme hypothese, qui pourrait avoir guide la mise en

oeuvre de la premie re, est suggeree par J-D. Kaestli



Quaestiones ad Antiochum




, qui cite

Athanase, 10 (PG 28, 604 C) : Question : Quand et pourquoi le

diable est-il tombe ? Certains en effet font courir la fable qu 'il a
refuse d 'adorer Adam et que c 'est pour cette raison qu 'il est
tombe. Reponse : De tels discours sont le fait d 'hommes insenses. Car le diable est tombe avant qu 'Adam ait e te cree. Il est
evident que c 'est a cause de son orgueil, comme le dit le prophete Isa| e : Je placerai mon tro ne au dessus des nuages et je serai



Tre s-Haut






difficile de conserver un re cit qui proposait une tradition juge e

desormais 'insensee ', bien qu 'elle ait e te autrefois expose e par
Irenee de Lyon


. La forme courte pourrait e tre un temoin des

consequences de cette condamnation.


Les analyses presente es ci-dessus confirment, croyons-nous,

la priorite chronologique de la forme longue dans l 'histoire litte ve, et par la me me l 'existence d 'une
raire de la Vie d 'Adam et E
ve, a l 'origine de touuvre litteraire unique, la Vie d 'Adam et E
tes les formes de l 'apocryphe. Mais elles montrent aussi que
l 'opposition entre les deux the ses concernant la priorite de l 'une
ou l 'autre forme rappele es au debut de cette etude a pour origine
une certaine confusion entre deux proble mes distincts : le probleme de la structure initiale de l 'uvre et celui de la teneur de
son texte. C 'est sans doute une certaine inattention a la distinction entre ces deux proble mes qui a interdit jusqu 'ici d 'apporter
a chacun une re ponse totalement convaincante.
Il faut dire en effet que la priorite chronologique de la forme
longue n 'entra|ne pas qu 'une retroversion grecque des diffe rentes versions a supposer qu 'elle puisse aboutir a etablir un texte
unique permette d 'atteindre un texte grec meilleur que celui
qui est atteste par les temoins de la Vie grecque elle-me me dans
la partie qui lui est commune avec la forme longue.

42. J.-D. Kaestli, Le mythe de la chute de Satan et la question du milieu

ve , a para|tre dans les Melanges Bovon, ed.
d 'origine de la Vie d 'Adam et E
D. H. Warren, et alii, Leiden, Brill, 2003, p. 341-354.
43. Cf. Irenee de Lyon, Demonstration apostolique, ed. Sources Chretiennes,
n 406, 16, p. 105, selon lequel c 'est la jalousie de Satan a l 'egard d 'Adam
ve. Cette tradition est conserve e
qui a suscite et sa chute et la tentation d 'E
avec soin par le Coran : Cf. Coran, II, 30-37 ; VII, 11-22 ; XV, 28-40 ; XVII,
61-65 ; XVIII, 50 ; XX, 115-116 ; XXXVIII, 71-76.


j.-p. pettorelli

Entre le texte grec initial et celui que nous proposent aujourd 'hui les temoins des diffe rentes traditions, de nombreuses
relectures et copies sont intervenues, qui l 'ont modifie dans une
mesure qui reste inconnue. Ce sont des analyses de taillees du
grec de la forme courte, telles que celles de Nagel


et de ses suc-

cesseurs, qui aideront a approcher le texte original grec de la Vie

ve, et ces analyses sont essentielles a notre connaisd 'Adam et E
sance de l 'apocryphe.

44. On trouvera un exemple tre s significatif de la mise en uvre de cette approche dans les tentatives de re troversion de la premie re partie de la Vie latine par Nagel a partir du texte grec : Nagel, 1974, I, p. 180-187 et les notes
correspondantes, ibid. II, p. 192-204.

Johannes TROMP
Leiden University



Cette contribution veut montrer que l 'histoire textuelle de la Vie

grecque d 'Adam et Eve se caracterise autant par l 'omission que par
l 'insertion intentionnelles de certains passages. En outre, dans le domaine de la critique textuelle, les arguments litte raires utilises ordinairement pour de fendre ou nier l 'anciennete relative d 'une forme
longue en comparaison d 'une bre ve et vice versa, s 'ave rent non valables. L 'etablissement du texte le plus primitif doit e tre fonde sur des
arguments strictement stemmatologiques ; ce n 'est qu 'apre s la reconstruction de l 'archetype de la tradition manuscrite entie re qu 'il devient
possible de deceler les motifs qui peuvent avoir mene un copiste-redacteur a allonger ou a abreger le texte.
In this contribution it is argued that the textual history of the Greek
Life of Adam and Eve is characterized as much by omissions as by
additions. Moreover, the literary arguments that are commonly used
in the text-critical debate on the priority of a longer or shorter reading
have proved to be useless. The most primitive text should be established on purely text-critical, stemmatic grounds. Only then can a copyist 's or editor 's motivations for having apparently added or omitted
a specific passage be recovered.

It has often been noted that the history of transmission of the

Life of Adam and Eve has been extremely dynamic. The manuscripts represent a large number of various text forms, revealing
that many copyists have been intervening in the story in an active and creative way. The problems this poses for the textual
critic are intricate and demand great methodological rigour.
In the recent discussion on the various text forms of the
Greek Life of Adam and Eve and their interrelationships, attention has been focused on the historical priority of either the
``short '' or the ``long '' text forms. Although the terms ``long ''
and ``short '' in themselves are exaggerations, because the extras
of the ``long '' version are of limited size only, these extras are
nonetheless of great importance. A decision for or against their

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 257-275


j. tromp

priority is crucial for establishing the exact position of the Armenian, Georgian and Latin versions within the history of the
literary development of this writing. These versions, which represent an altogether different stage of development of the writing than the Greek version, include the elements which appear
as extras within the Greek tradition. If it can be proven that
these elements must have formed part of the earliest stage of the

Life of Adam and Eve, then it can be concluded that the Greek
manuscripts containing ``short '' text forms represent an abbreviated hyparchetype. If, conversely, the extras in the ``long ''
Greek text would prove to be additions, the position of the
translations would be an entirely different one. So far, however,
in the text-critical debate no conclusive evidence for either position has been brought forward.
In this contribution I shall restrict myself to the

Life of Adam

and Eve as it has been preserved in the Greek manuscripts. I

should like to make two main points : firstly, that arguments of a
literary nature, pleading for or against the priority of a reading
on the basis of narrative logic or language and style, should be
avoided in the text-critical discussion on the

Life of Adam and

Eve ; secondly, that a purely text-critical, stemmatical approach

of the history of the transmission of this document results in a
more refined view on the intricacies of its development than an
approach employing the crude categories of ``expanded '' or ``abbreviated '' only. By the phrase ``pure textual criticism, '' I mean
that form of textual criticism which attempts to reconstruct the
genealogical relationships between manuscripts and the texts
they represent on the basis of ``guiding errors '' ( Leitfehler ).


How to distinguish an addition from an omission ? The uselessness of literary arguments

For a reconstruction of the textual history of the Greek


of Adam and Eve , it is an absolute requirement that the exact







manuscripts are established. All previous editors of the text

have failed to do so. As a result, the printed editions that have
been made so far, suffer to a certain degree from arbitrariness,
depending too heavily on the editors ' tastes and intuitions.
Tischendorf 's edition of 1866 is the clearest example of this.
Tischendorf had the texts of four manuscripts at his disposal : he
had transcribed the text of one of them, manuscript A from
Venice, in full. The text of this manuscript suddenly breaks off
at 36 :3. Of manuscript D, from Milan, he says to have copied
only the beginning and the end. To judge from his apparatus, he

the role of omissions


meant 1 :1-2 :1 and 39 :1-43 :4. Tischendorf relied for parts of the
text of two other manuscripts, B and C, both from Vienna, on
the transcription by a certain Dr. Schenkl. The sigla B and C are
still used for these manuscripts, but it should be noted that
Tischendorf mixed up the texts of these manuscripts.

The main

text of his edition is that of manuscript A for 1 :1-36 :3 (at which

point the text of this manuscript breaks off), and that of B
(called C by Tischendorf) for the final part of the writing, 37 :143 :4. Additionally, the text of manuscript D was occasionally
used to correct readings in the text of B.

Why Tischendorf pre-

ferred A (and B) is nowhere explained. In short : Tischendorf 's

edition was based on a single, randomly selected manuscript
(A), complemented by the fictitious text of two mixed-up manuscripts (B/C), whereas a fourth manuscript, D, was practically
left out of consideration.
The shortcomings of this procedure were soon observed, except that the confusion of the texts of B and C went unnoticed,
so that this ghost-manuscript continued to confuse the text-critical discussion for a long time. Two years after the appearance of
Tischendorf 's edition, A.M. Ceriani of Milan published manuscript D in its entirety, noting that Tischendorf, because of a
lack of time, had grossly underestimated the importance of this
manuscript, and that his transcription was in need of correction.

Unfortunately, the leaves containing sections 18-35 are

missing from this manuscript.

C. Fuchs, in the introduction to his translation of the Life of
Adam and Eve underlined the importance of manuscript D.

Moreover, he had two more manuscripts at his disposal : E and F.

Essentially, however, Fuchs 's procedure was the same as that of
Tischendorf, the only real difference being that the readings of D
were more frequently preferred to those of A. However, because

1. Nagel, La Vie grecque I, pp. 37-38. It is likely that the confusion was due
to Tischendorf, and not to his Austrian collaborator. Tischendorf is noted
for having worked in a hasty and slipshod manner, whereas Schenkl is not
(the Schenkl in question is probably Karl Schenkl [1827-1900], the famous
philologist and editor of Ambrose, not Heinrich Schenkl [1859-1919] who
could not have made the transcript in the early 1850 's ; cf. Tischendorf,
Apocalypses, p. xii ; Nagel, La Vie grecque II, pp. 57-58). Moreover, it is easier to confuse two transcripts in the same handwriting, than to mix up two
manuscripts whilst transcribing them.
2. Tischendorf, Apocalypses, p. 19.
3. Ceriani, ``Apocalypsis Moysi, '' pp. 19a-b.
4. ``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' p. 507 : ``Die verha ltnismaig beste Textform hat D '' ; cf. already Ceriani, ``Apocalypsis Moysi, '' p. 19a, asserting
that the text of D ``praestare ceteris libris adhibitis in editione [sc. a Tischendorf]. ''


j. tromp

the genealogical relationships between all manuscripts involved

were hardly researched, the choice for the A- or D-text was made
entirely dependent on the editors ' and translators ' discretion.
An example of this is found in section 13 of the Greek

Life of

Adam and Eve. There, it is related that Eve and Seth travel to
the gates of paradise, to ask God to give to them some of the oil
from the mercy-tree, with which they would be able to soothe
the suffering of Adam, who is about to die. The archangel Michael answers Seth that he will not receive it now.
In manuscripts A and C, this answer is followed by an exposition on the time when this oil will be given to Adam and his posterity, namely in the end of time, when humankind, purified
from sin, will live in paradise, together with God. This passage,
because of its eschatological content conveniently designated as
the ``apocalypse '' of 13 :3b-5, will play an important role in the
rest of my contribution. Therefore, I let it follow here. Two
more manuscripts which have become known in the meantime,
L and R, also contain this passage. From manuscript T, which
is very close to A, the leaf which must have contained the passage, is missing. Remarkably, manuscript M, which is generally
acknowledged to represent the same text as R, does not contain
this passage (I shall return to this question below). Michael 's
answer to Seth, ou geny`setai` soi nun, in manuscripts CAL R is
continued with the following passage :

all ep esja`twn tw
n yme`rwn, ote anasty`setai pasa sarx
po Adam ewq tyq yme`raq ekei`nyq tyq mega`lyq, osoi esontai
2 a
laoq agioq. 4 to`te autoiq dohy`setai pasa eufrosu`ny tou pa4 radei`sou kai estai o heoq en me`sw
n. 5 kai ouk esontai

` pion autou, oti arhy`setai y kardi`a y

eti examarta`nonteq enw
6 ponyra ap autw
n kai dohy`setai autoiq kardi`a sunetizome`ny
to agahon kai latreu`ein hew

1 twn ymerwn] kairwn C ; twn kairwn A l ote] tote CA 2 ekeinyq tyq megalyq] tyq suntelyq C ; ekeinyq R l osoi] osoi autoiq C ; tote R 3 autoiq] om.

4 en mesw] ana meson R l kai ouk] oti autoi C 5 eti] om. C ; replaced be-

fore esontai R 5-6 y kardia y ponyra ap autwn] ap autwn y kardia y (y :

om. L) ponyra AL ; y kardia autwn C 6 kai dohysetai] om. C l autoiq kardia] om. C R 6-7 sunetizomeny to agahon (to agahon : tw agahw C) kai latreuein hew monw (monon replaced before hew C)] hew latreian monw R

5. Wells, who for his translation in Charles 's collection had made no independent study of the manuscripts, took manuscripts D and B/C as ``the chief
guides, '' but followed ``one of the others '' where the former were ``unsatisfactory '' (``The Books of Adam and Eve, '' p. 125).

the role of omissions












scripts '' (in his case, the witnesses for the passage were A and C
[designated as B following Tischendorf] ; it was absent from
BDEF). ``Nonetheless, '' he added, ``this could well be original,
because it agrees with what is said in section 28, and because
one expects some kind of comfort for Adam. ''

However, the

very same points can also be used to argue that this passage is
not original : a copyist may well have felt that Michael 's answer
as he found it was harsh and, in light of the promises made in
section 28, not the full truth ; therefore he may have decided to
supplement words of comfort, so that the passage is best regarded as an addition. Clearly, arguments such as used by Fuchs
can be used for either position, especially if the historical relationships between the various text forms are left unclear.

Genealogical research was done by J.L. Sharpe and M. Nagel. Sharpe 's dissertation of 1969 was not published and has exerted little direct influence.

The work by Nagel, published five

years later, has often been praised for its accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Nagel, who had twenty-three manuscripts at his

disposal, made a thorough investigation of all the similarities

and differences between them. He concluded that the witnesses
of the text could be classed into three main groups : one containing D, with a sub-group containing A and C ; a second containing E and F ; and a third consisting of manuscripts previously
unknown ; manuscript B was left unclassified. Nagel 's main criterion for this classification was that of text form. Almost all
manuscripts appeared to represent text forms which are the result of clearly recognizable, diverse editorial interventions. The
manuscripts were grouped together on the basis of their representing one of these revisions.
According to Nagel, the most primitive text form was mainly
represented by manuscripts DS and CATL, the former being
characterized by a number of common deteriorations of the


the latter by a relatively large number of additions.


None of their specific characteristics are found in manuscript V,

6. Fuchs, ``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' p. 509 ; cf. Stone, ``The Angelic
Prediction, '' pp. 128-131.
7. Cf. the discussion in Eldridge,

Dying Adam

, pp. 137-140.

8. It was used by M.D. Johnson for his translation in

Vie grecque

The Old Testament


. On the shortcomings of this translation, see Bertrand,

, pp. 39-40. A summary of Sharpe 's findings can be found in

Merk and Meiser, ``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' pp. 751-754.
9. Cf., however, the mild criticism of Bertrand,
10. Nagel,
11. Nagel,

La Vie grecque
La Vie grecque

I, pp. 9-10.
I, pp. 48-51.

La Vie grecque

, p. 39.

j. tromp


which Nagel believed to give a very pure rendering of the archetype, albeit in a strongly abbreviated form.


However, having grouped together the manuscripts on account of their text forms, Nagel failed to answer two very pertinent

questions :







related to each other ? And immediately following from this : (2)

how can one be sure that the text form represented by the
CATL-group represents an expanded version of the text ? Nagel
maintained that the CATL-group is characterized by the frequent presence of shorter or longer additions as compared to
the text of DS and V.


However, it has since been argued that

in most instances the opposite is more likely, and that the text of


DS is characterized by its


of several shorter or longer

Moreover, in the ensuing discussion about the prior-

ity of either text form, it has again become clear that the literary
arguments which were usually used in the debate on this matter,
are unfit for the purpose.


Some passages can be explained as

clarifications of a shorter text, and hence as additions, but an

equally good case can often be made for the opposite scenario :
superfluous details



economy. The story of the

presumably for

Life of Adam and Eve

reasons of

is as fluent or

clumsy with or without these phrases : their absence causes narrative lacunae and irregularities and so does their presence.
Nagel did produce a

stemma codicum


, but only a partial one,

including no more than eight manuscripts representing three

text forms : the so-called ``short '' text form of manuscripts D
and S, an expanded version of this text form represented by
CATL, and a revision of the latter in R and M.


Another revi-

sion, represented by eleven manuscripts of which NI and HE are

the most important ones, is left out. Nagel characterizes this text
form as a ``shallow redactional revision '' of little interest.



comments : ``Elle represente l 'uvre d 'un copiste qui, sans tou-

12. Nagel,

La Vie grecque

gel 's results, see Bertrand,

I, pp. 19-20. For convenient summaries of Na-

La Vie grecque

, pp. 43-45 ; Merk and Meiser,

``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' pp. 742-751.

13. Nagel,

La Vie grecque
Dying Adam
Dying Adam

I, pp. 48-51.

14. Eldridge,

, pp. 112-113.

15. Cf. Eldridge,

, p. 100.

16. This conclusion is also valid in the case of the discussion about the priority of the Greek version or the Armenian/Georgian versions ; cf. the discussions in Eldridge,

Dying Adam

, pp. 117-127, which at least (and perhaps at

most) show that arguments for either position, as long as they are based on
literary arguments, are unlikely to be conclusive.
17. Nagel,
18. Nagel,

La Vie grecque
La Vie grecque

I, p. 198.
I, p. 219.

the role of omissions


cher au fond me me de l 'original et sans y ajouter quelque e lement etranger, se contente de changer par endroit la forme de
l 'ecrit. ''


If this is true, and I think it is, this text form is not of

little interest, but of the highest importance, and its exact relationship to the other branches of the tradition is an urgent matter.
Perhaps even more serious is Nagel 's failure to classify manuscript V. He recognizes its importance as a text produced by a
copyist who had no intention whatsoever to make changes to
the text of his exemplar except to abbreviate it. Moreover, this
copy 's model must have represented the essence of the most
primitive text form. The text of manuscript V contains none of
the characteristics of either the DS-group, or the CATL-group.
Furthermore, Nagel has noted indications that suggest a certain
familiarity between its text and that of B and the NI HE-group,
but he felt that the facts were contradicting and allowed no firm


As a result, such questions as posed by the different versions

of Michael 's answer to Seth 's prayer remained unanswerable.
In the provisional edition Nagel prepared for A.-M. Denis ' Concordance grecque des pseude pigraphes d 'Ancien Testament, he
chose to include the long version, even if he had previously stated with great conviction that it was secondary, his main reason
being that it is inconceivable that a copyist would have left out
the promise of salvation for the eschatological future.



ever, this is exactly what must have happened to the text represented by manuscript M and the Slavonic version.


Thus, the

argument that it is more likely that 13 :3b-5 was added than that
it was left out, is nullified. I shall presently return to this matter.

19. Nagel, La Vie grecque I, p. 212.

20. Nagel, La Vie grecque I, pp. 19-20. It should be noted that his language
is somewhat less vague on pp. 50-51, where he seems to imply that the text
represented by V is also the one to which CATL secondarily testify. This,
however, is genealogically meaningless, if V and CATL have no secondary
readings in common : the common text which they represent may simply be
that of the archetype.
21. Nagel, La Vie grecque I, p. 51. D.-A. Bertrand, in his eclectic edition of
1987, did not include what he considered the addition of 13 :3b-5 (Bertrand,
La Vie grecque, p. 78 ; cf. pp. 119-120) ; so also Knittel, Das griechische `Leben Adams und Evas ', pp. 224-225. That Nagel with this provisional edition
did not intend to offer the most primitive text form of the Greek Life of
Adam and Eve (as supposed by Eldridge, Dying Adam, pp. 78, 83) is apparent
from the fact that he also included 29 :7-13, present in manuscripts R and M
only (cf. Eldridge 's own comments on p. 91). On this passage, see below.
22. Nagel, La Vie grecque I, p. 88 ; cf. II, p. 122.


j. tromp

In summary : if a stemma of the manuscripts of the Greek Life

of Adam and Eve

is to be drawn up, it must not be based on pas-

sages that may either be additions or omissions. The copyists of

this writing invested too much creativity for that approach to be
useful. Considerations of a literary nature, asking whether the
narrative logic of a story is better served with or without a certain passage, and measuring a reading with the standards of elegance or consistency, will not work in the case of the Life of
Adam and Eve.


In any event, it can no longer be taken for

granted that wealth of detail is indicative of addition. In some

instances it appears, for instance, that lack of detail may as well
be due to the disinterest of a bored copyist who wanted cut short
his task.

2. Omissions and the motivations to omit

This brings us to the question of omissions in the history of
the manuscript tradition of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve. I
will not be speaking about accidental omissions, caused by
homoioteleuton or other forms of parablepsis, or by physical
damage suffered by the exemplar, but only about omissions as
an editorial activity, bearing witness to the conscious decision
on the part of a copyist not to include a passage from his exemplar in his copy. The reasons for these decisions can be manifold, and should be investigated in each individual case in each
In this connection I should like to draw attention to the final
part of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve. Towards the end of the
writing, almost all copyists of this writing can be observed to abbreviate the story in some way or another. The copyist of manuscript V (or its exemplar), retains most of the text of sections 123, even if he tried to be economic. From section 24 onwards,
however, drastic cuts are made, and only those elements are
adopted that are absolutely necessary to let the story continue
and bring it to a close.


His main reason seems to have been to

save parchment or reading time.


A stunning example is that of the text represented by manuscripts AT. In 36 :3 it is told how Seth explains to his mother
Eve that the sun and the moon appear as black figures, because


Cf. Knittel, Das griechische ``Leben Adams und Evas , '' pp. 84-92.


See, for instance, the major cuts in 24 :2-26 :3, and the omission of 34 ;

40 :6 ; 43 :3-4.

Nagel, La Vie grecque I, p. 17.

the role of omissions


they cannot shine before the Light of all things, the Father of
lights, meaning of course God. In the text of AT, however, the
following reading is found : ``they cannot shine before the Light
of all things, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now





Amen. ''





breaks off. It cannot be ruled out that the model of this text was
physically defective, but one gets the strong impression that this
copyist felt that it had taken long enough, and welcomed the occasion to quit when he came across the word


In sections 32-37 of the earliest text form of the

and Eve

Life of Adam

it is told how Adam is pardoned after Eve, the angels

and the sun and the moon have said intercessory prayers. In section 38 a new part of the story begins. God mourns over the
body of Adam and promises him his restoration in the eschatological future. Then it is related with great detail how God and
the angels take care of Adam 's and Abel 's bodies and bury them
in a monument near paradise, followed by Eve 's death and burial. This last part of the story, sections 39-43, was apparently
too much for many copyists. Most of it is left out in the text of
the HE-group. The copyist of manuscript R (or its exemplar)
confined himself to some major outlines, and in almost all copies details here and there are suppressed.
The only text form of which the editor shows real interest in
the funerary details is that of NI.


In this passage, manuscripts

NI offer quite a number of readings which are unique to the text

form they represent. On the basis of stemmatic arguments it can
be shown that most of these extras in NI must be additions.


Most of these additions are minor phrases which serve to slow

down the advancement of the story. For instance, when the earliest text form can be reconstructed as having read ``And Eve
prayed '' (42 :4), the text of NI reads : ``And when she was about
to give up her soul from her body, she stood up and prayed. ''
From this and other examples it appears that the editor of the
NI text was prone to make additions to this part of the story,
which he apparently found interesting and important.
It should be noted, however, that this tendency to add does
not disqualify each and every extra in NI as an addition. A decelerating phrase is found in 40 :2. There it is said that God commanded the angels to fetch cloths and balsam from paradise.

to`te e poi` ysan pa`nta oi agioi aggeloi

kahwq proseta`jhysan upo tou heou. No scholar has adopted

The text of NI continues :

this phrase in the modern printed editions. However, in this in-

26. Cf. Levison, ``The Exoneration and Denigration, '' pp. 269-273.
27. For the stemmatic classification of NI, see below.

j. tromp


outwq poiy`sanepoi` ysan wq prose`taxen ku`rioq o heo`q), as well

stance, the reading of NI is supported by B ( kai


and M ( kai

as the Armenian and Georgian versions (48[40] :2). This example

shows how acutely aware we must be of both possibilities : because of his interest in the detail of this part of the story, the editor responsible for NI has added quite a few phrases, absent
from the other witnesses. At the same time, however, most other
manuscripts represent texts made by editors who had little interest in this part of the story, and had no qualms about omitting
phrases which were not absolutely necessary. What is an addition on one occasion, may well be an omission on another.
At this point, a few remarks concerning the nature and status
of apocryphal literature as compared to canonical or otherwise
classical literature are in order.


Writings that were in the process of reaching classical status

were still very much susceptible of being expanded, for instance
by liturgical formulae, passages from parallel writings of equal
status, or simply because a copyist found the text he was transcribing so important, that he felt that a certain element should
not be lacking. Such writings were copied because they were considered as authoritative, and the words contained in them were

per se

. Making additions to authoritative books can be

seen as an expression of a copyist 's desire to further enhance

their value, or perhaps, from a less noble motivation, to lend the
authority of the copied work to some of the scribe 's own convictions. In any event, it is unlikely that words or whole passages
were deliberately changed or deleted.
for the text-critical rule of thumb of


These are the grounds

lectio brevior potior

: the

shorter reading is more likely to be original than the longer.

This principle appears not to be valid for apocryphal literature. Copyists of apocryphal literature, in contrast to canonical
or otherwise classical literature, apparently felt free not only to
add material to the texts they were transmitting, but also to delete parts of it. This must reflect a relatively low status of these
texts in the eyes of the copyists. Deliberate omissions indicate
that the exact wording of the text was not considered important,
and that the story that was told was believed to be in need of


28. For the following paragraphs, cf. Picard,

Le continent apocryphe

, pp. 4,

284-287 ; Tromp, ``Zur Edition apokrypher Texte '' (forthcoming).

29. Cf. Bertrand,

La Vie grecque

, p. 47.

30. In none of its stages of development, does the

Life of Adam and Eve


to have been regarded as a ``well-established text '' which was to be treated

with respect, as Eldridge,

Dying Adam

, pp. 240, 255-256, suggests.

the role of omissions


The mere fact of copying of course shows that the writing was
not deemed altogether negligible. On the contrary, the production of heavily abbreviated copies may even be seen as a form of
preserving what was felt to be the essence of the writing in an easily handled way. In the case of the

Life of Adam and Eve

it was

apparently the message of the story rather than the exact written
text that was important to the copyists. Apocryphal literature,
then, was thought to contain truths, but writings of this kind
were not considered authoritative by themselves.
From this it follows that a copyist 's interpretation of the text
he was transcribing, that is, the way in which he envisaged its
purpose, could have great consequences for how he chose to
transmit it. It also explains why most manuscripts represent
texts characterized by both addition and omission. The copyist
who decided to transmit it in writing had already formed an idea
of what the story was about (probably being familiar with the
story through oral tradition). In many cases he will have produced a copy in which the point of the story, as he perceived it,
was intensified by omitting details which did not contribute to
it, and adding details which accentuated it.
To illustrate this point, I propose that we return to the question of Michael 's answer to Seth 's prayer, and investigate why
the ``apocalypse '' of 13 :3b-5 was left out in manuscript M and
the Slavonic version.


As was noted by Fuchs, related content

matter occurs in section 28 of the Greek

Life of Adam and Eve

Remarkably, this section 28 is also absent from manuscript M

and the Slavonic version ; moreover, in this instance, manuscript
R (which had retained 13 :3b-5) does not contain these lines,
either. Therefore, the suspicion arises that successive copyists responsible for this text form may not have been interested in promises for the eschatological future, and this is confirmed in other
instances. In sections 38-39, according to the main tradition, it is
described how the angels sing hymns on the future joy for Adam,
and God addresses the deceased Adam, promising him that he
will once again be restored to his heavenly throne. It is a relatively long passage, and it is entirely missing in RM



31. For a different evaluation of the tendencies of the text of RM than that
offered in the following paragraphs, see Levison,

Texts in Transition

, pp. 25-

30. According to Levison, the RM-text is mainly characterized by the removal of emotions and pathos of the leading figures in the narrative (cf. pp.
42-44). This observation is not inconsistent with my own views. Levison has
paid no attention to the omission of 13 :3b-5 in M and the Slavonic version.
32. With the siglum RM


I indicate that particular Greek text form to

which manuscripts R, M and the Greek text underlying the Slavonic version
jointly bear witness.


j. tromp

This is not to suggest that the editor of the RMslav-text had

objections to the concept of a happy eschatological future lying
in store for humankind. The apocalypse of 13 :3b-5 is still present in R, and a brief reference to the day of resurrection is present in 41 :2 RM (47 :3 according to the Slavonic numbering).
However, this editor was of the opinion that the point of the
story of Adam and Eve was a different one. The copyist of
manuscript M (or its exemplar) has even changed the title of the
work in this sense : whereas in most manuscripts the inscription
reads something like ``The Story and the Life of Adam and
Eve, '' manuscript M entitles the writing ``The Story of Adam 's
creation, expulsion and death. ''

According to

modern inter-

preters, the Greek Life of Adam and Eve was originally written
with a two-sided message, contrasting the certainty of death
with the hopeful prospect of eternal life.


No doubt, the editor

of RMslav shared those beliefs, but he did not think that they
were or should be the subject of a story about Adam and Eve,
which he regarded as a lesson that sin is inexorably punished by
misery and death.
Another major deliberate omission from the model used by
the editor of RMslav is that of 23 :4-26 :4, the passage in which
God condemns Adam, Eve, and the serpent in succession. According to RMslav God, on discovering that Adam and Eve
have sinned, has them sent from paradise without delay (27 :2).
In the curses as recorded in the other text forms of the Greek
Life of Adam and Eve, as well as in Genesis, God 's reasons for
the punishment of Adam, Eve and the serpent are given. By
leaving God 's grounds for his decision out, the editor of RMslav
suggests that God cannot be called to account for his actions.
After this, RMslav again joins the rest of the manuscript tradition for 27 :2-4. Adam entreats the angels to stop expelling
him. As they comply, Adam begs God for pardon. God, however, does not answer him, but asks the angels why they have
stopped chasing Adam, and if they are perhaps of the opinion
that it is God who has sinned. In response, the angels acknowledge God 's righteousness (27). The next passage, in which God
turns to Adam to explain that he will neither allow him to stay
in paradise, nor give him fruit from the tree of life (28 :1-29 :1),
is again deleted from RMslav. Again, therefore, the editor has
wanted to avoid a scene in which God is depicted as speaking directly to Adam. What follows is retained : Adam is permitted to

33. With variable degrees of emphasis on the centrality of this motif or

theme, see, e.g., Levison, Portraits of Adam, p. 174 ; Eldridge, Dying Adam,
pp. 226-230 ; Knittel, Das griechische ``Leben Adams und Evas, '' pp. 234-235.

the role of omissions


fetch frankincense from paradise to offer to God when he will

be outside (29 :2-6). However, the remark that he also received
``other seeds for his sustenance, '' is omitted.
The tendency of these omissions is quite clear. The editor of
this text portrays God as a judge whose verdicts need no justification and cannot be negotiated. Also the reason why these
omissions were made seems clear. It cannot have been the simple desire to abbreviate the story, for this scene is followed by a
large addition, unique to the text of RM



In this addition it

is related to Adam and Eve, finding that there is nothing to eat

for them outside paradise, decide to do penance by standing in
the river for a long period. According to RM, however, their effort fails, because the devil, disguising himself as an angel, seduces Eve for the second time by convincing her to break off her
penance prematurely (29 :7-13). This grim outcome matches the
purport of the preceding sections, from which Adam 's bargaining for pardon or at least a lesser punishment was deleted in order to portray God as an inexorable judge.


If this is seen in combination with the tendency to omit references to the eschatological salvation, it can be concluded that
this text form reveals an editor who delivered a sermon to his
audience in the worst Christian tradition, by threatening them
with hell and damnation. It should be acknowledged that in this
text form, too, Adam is eventually pardoned and assumed into
paradise in the third heaven, but not until after the hearers of
this version of the story have been made aware that sin is a matter to be taken very seriously, and not easily expiated by repentance.
It is clear, then, why the copyist of manuscript M (or its exemplar) omitted the apocalypse of 13 :3b-5. His action must be
seen against the background of a particular understanding of
the story of Adam and Eve, which differs considerably from that
attested by the mainstream of the Greek tradition. Whereas
most Greek text forms seem to emphasize God 's grace, offering

34. The story is also found in sections 1-17 of the Oriental and Latin versions, independent of the RM


text. The editors of the Greek text under-

lying the versions, and of the RM


text may have relied on a third,

written source. Alternatively, the editor of RM


knew the Greek text in-

cluding the penitence of Adam and Eve as found in the versions, the story of
which he epitomized and placed afer section 29 (cf. De Jonge, ``The Literary
Development, '' pp. 248-249).
35. Anderson, ``The Punishment, '' p. 58, has noted that in the

and Eve

Life of Adam

the mitigation of the punishment of Adam and Eve, as formulated

in their damnation after the fall, is an important motif. Strikingly, it is exactly this motif that has been removed by the deletions in RM


j. tromp


the comforting prospect of eschatological salvation, the editor

of RMslav and successive copyists stress the austerity of God 's
judgement and the necessity of avoiding sin. The omission of
13 :3b-5 in M and the Slavonic version is consistent with this interpretation of the story, and hence of the writing copied, the

Life of Adam and Eve.

The presence of 13 :3b-5 in manuscript R proves that its absence from M is the result of an omission, and part of a sustained strategy of revising the document by omission as much as
addition. It can also be concluded that the presence of this passage in manuscripts CAL and R is no evidence that the text
form underlying them is secondary to that represented by the
rest of the Greek tradition. The case of manuscript M does show
that editorial interventions in the text are not restricted to additions, as seems to be the case with authoritative literature, but
may as well consist of intentional, well-considered omissions. In
passing, it may be noted that the text form of RM slav has occasioned









which, because it turns the penance of Adam and Eve into a victory over the devil, has an altogether happy outcome.



The earliest text form of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve : the
case of 13 :3b-5
Next I turn to the question raised before, whether 13 :3b-5 is

added to CAL R, or omitted from DS. Since this passage is also

absent from the manuscripts left unclassified by Nagel, it is clear
that a closer investigation of their position in the genealogical
network of the manuscripts is crucial. If the text they represent
is independent of both that of DS and that of the CATL-group,
as Nagel suggested,


the absence of 13 :3b-5 in them weighs

heavily in favour of the secondary nature of these lines.

In the context of this contribution it is impossible to demonstrate in full the genealogical coherence of VB and the NI HEgroup on the one hand, and the independence of the text of their
ancestor of that of DS and the CATL-group, on the other. Some
brief indications, especially with regard to manuscripts V and B,
must suffice.


36. De Jonge and Tromp,

The Life of Adam and Eve, pp. 24-25.

37. See also the clarification of Nagel 's view in Merk and Meiser, ``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' pp. 746-747.
38. The argument for the genealogical link between the VB- the NI HEgroups is complicated by the fact that many representatives of these groups
contain individual revisions, mainly by omission (V), rephrasing of words

the role of omissions


For the conjunction of V and B, the evidence is sparse, mainly

because the copyist of B (or its exemplar) has made a drastic revision










Nonetheless, I think that the evidence that can be gathered is decisive. The main facts in this respect are the following. In 5 :1 it
is said that Adam brought forth ``thirty sons and thirty daughters. '' Both in V and in B this is replaced by the briefer, but adequate





daughters. ''



intelligent abbreviation, economizing on words but saving the

meaning, is found in 27 :5, where all manuscripts bear witness to

to`te oi aggeloi peso`nteq epi tyn gyn proseku`nysan tw kuri` w

. Both V and B read instead : to`te oi aggeloi
prose`pesan tw kuri` w
, compressing a phrase of five words ( peso`nteq epi tyn gyn proseku`nysan) into one well-chosen word
(prose`pesan). There are a few more instances in which V and B

a text reading :

have readings in common against the rest of the tradition, but in

those instances it cannot be ruled out that their agreement is due
to coincidence. Cumulatively, however, they may serve as corroboration of the evidence just cited for the conjunction of these
two manuscripts.
The text to which V and B together bear witness, is independent of those of DS on the one hand, and the CATL-group on
the other, because it contains none of the secondary characteristics of either.


This leads to the conclusion that the archetype of

(B), or forthright substitutions of sentences for others (NI HE). The main argument is based on 16 :2-3. There, KPG (members of the VB-group) and NI

fro`nimoq ei and fro`nimon onta respectively.

dia touto sumbouleu`omai` soi, more or less corresponding to
kai bou`lomai` soi harrysai pragma kai sumbouleu`sashai in NI HE ; in this

can be seen to agree in reading

Next, B reads

instance V seems to agree with DS in having no corresponding reading, but

in reality V retains

dia touto

(not recorded by Nagel), which can be seen as

a remnant of the text represented also by B. The text in CAL RM has a different addition, using entirely different words, and is most probably independent










Denigration, '' p. 262). It is likely that the reading in KPG,



kai akouso`n mou,

was also present in the text from which VB and the NI HE-group descend :
in 16 :3, NI HE have replaced the devil 's question as posed in the most primitive

form of the text by an altogether different remark, followed by

epa`kouso`n mou. Among the instances mentioned by Nagel, La Vie

II, p. 29, oq in 3 :2 may be singled out not for proving the coherence
witnesses, but at least for supporting its supposition. See further
8 :2 ; and

akolou`hei moi kai dw`sw soi

of these



in 18 :5-19 :1.

39. Compare, by contrast, the briefer expression in ATL : ``thirty sons. ''
40. For a list of secondary characteristics of DS, see Nagel, La Vie grecque
I, p. 10 ; although one might not agree with all items in this list, the secondary character of the text of DS in many of these instances is certain (pace
Knittel, Das griechische ``Leben Adams und Evas, '' p. 83).

j. tromp



Life of Adam and Eve

was copied three times ; from these

three copies, all extant manuscripts eventually descend.



implies that if one would want to defend the view that the presence of 13 :3b-5 in CAL R reflects the earliest attainable text
form of the

Life of Adam and Eve

, one would have to show the

likelihood of the omission of exactly this passage on two independent occasions.


Only through the study of the genealogical relationships of

the manuscripts (in which considerations of omission and addition must play no role in the discussions) can it be established
that the absence of 13 :3b-5 in DS and VB is more primitive than
its presence in CAL R, which in turn represents an earlier stage




13 :3b-5,





phrases in 13 :2b-3a, was omitted as part of a systematic revision

of the document.

Concluding remarks
In his contribution to the discussion about the relationships
between the Greek and Armenian/Georgian versions of the

of Adam and Eve


, M.D. Eldridge has commented upon the exist-

ing viewpoints by classifying them as two opposing models for

explaining the literary development of apocryphal literature :
the ``Growth by Accretion '' model and the ``Erosion of Particularity '' model. According to these models, the


Life of Adam and

is assumed to have developed by its being constantly either

expanded, or simplified. I hope to have shown that the process

has probably been much more complicated. The absence or presence of a particular detail in one of the text forms of the


must be studied and explained in each and every case for each
and every text form separately.
As a final example, I should like to point to the episode told
in sections 10-12. There it is related how Seth and Eve, on their
way to paradise to fetch medicine for Adam, encounter a beast
which attacks Seth. However, Seth rebukes it and commands it
to go. This part of the story ends with the remark that the animal indeed left (

kai e poreu`hy ei q tyn skynyn autou),

saying :

``Behold, I stand off from the image of God, '' a curiously abrupt
end to the episode (12 :3). In manuscripts ATL R this final re-

41. For further substantiation of this claim, see my ``Zur Edition apokrypher Texte. ''
42. It should be noted that the passage omitted in M is not exactly the same
passage as the one absent from DS VB NI HE.

the role of omissions


mark is preceded by the phrase : ``then the animal fled ( to`te

gen to hyri` on)


and left him wounded ''. The absence of this

phrase from both DS and the VB NI HE-group


shows that it is

an addition particular to the CATL RM-group, subsequently

omitted in both manuscripts C and M.
Only when it has been established that the phrase is secondary
can one explain why it was added (namely, to attenuate the
abruptness of the primary reading ;


its omission from C and M

is part of a larger omission, excluding also the words spoken by

the animal, intended to smoothen the narrative irregularity even
further). The fact that it is possible to give such explanations,
however, must not serve as an argument for its secondary character, for plausible explanations also exist for someone to have
omitted it.
Again, the Armenian and Georgian versions, generally held
to reflect a Greek text very close to that represented by the





phrase under discussion in the original







text. The Geor-

gian version has retained it, but the Armenian has curtailed it :
the latter retains only the phrase that the animal ``fled, '' probably reflecting


from the secondary phrase, but leaves out

the reference to Seth 's wound, as well as the phrase contained in

the earliest text form :

kai eporeu`hy ei q tyn skynyn autou.












where Seth is made the subject of this last phrase : ``and the
wounded man went to the hut of Adam his father '' (39[12] :3).
In the next sentence, however, it is said that Seth and Eve resumed their travel to paradise. If the


text contained the

interpretation of 39(12) :3 as found in the Georgian version, it is

all too understandable that this absurd turn of the story was
omitted from the Armenian version.
This state of affairs was summarized by Eldridge as follows :
``the detail about Seth being wounded is left out of the Armenian and the DSV but not the ATLC text of the Greek. ''


It is

clear, I believe, that such a summary is too brief in any event.

To conclude I should like to stress that I am well aware that
the earliest text form reconstructed by means of text-critical arguments only, was itself no more than a copy of the original

43. For this passage, the testimony of V is lacking, due to an accidental

omission caused by homoioteleuton.
44. Anderson, ``The Penitence Narrative, '' p. 36, has suggested that this detail is a reference to Gen. 3 :15. If this is true, it does not imply that it was
``original, '' as Eldridge,


Dying Adam

, p. 119.

45. Eldridge,

Dying Adam

, p. 113.

, p. 113, infers ; cf. Bertrand,

La Vie

j. tromp


document. It can be proven that in the single manuscript from

which all extant manuscripts eventually derive, corruptions resulting from errors made while copying were present. Moreover,
this earliest traceable text form also contains irregularities, inconsistencies and contradictions, partly due to the handiwork of
the document 's author, and partly due to the ever ongoing process of both addition and omission, which must also have been
operative before the emergence of the present text 's archetype.
Maybe some of the additions in the text to which the manuscript
tradition as a whole testifies can be discovered, but that is the










stances at which the suspicion arises that something has been

omitted. However, what has been omitted is irretrievable.


G.A. Anderson, ``The Penitence Narrative in the Life of Adam and
Eve, '' Hebrew Union College Annual 6 (1997), pp. 105-134 ; here
quoted from G.A. Anderson et al., Literature on Adam and
Eve. Collected Essays (Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha 15), Leiden 2000, pp. 3-42
, ``The Punishment of Adam and Eve in the Life of Adam and
Eve, '' in : G.A. Anderson et al., Literature on Adam and Eve.
Collected Essays (Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha
15), Leiden 2000, pp. 57-81
ve. Introduction, texte,
D.A. Bertrand, La Vie grecque d 'Adam et E
traduction et commentaire (Recherches intertestamentaires 1),
Paris 1987
A.M. Ceriani, Monumenta sacra et profana ex codicibus praesertim
Bibliothecae Ambrosianae V, Milan 1868
A.-M. Denis, Concordance grecque des pseude pigraphes d 'Ancien
Testament, Louvain-la-Neuve 1987
M.D. Eldridge, Dying Adam with his Multiethnic Family. Understanding the Greek Life of Adam and Eve (Studia in Veteris
Testamenti pseudepigrapha 16), Leiden 2001

46. At this stage of my research, I would dare to suggest three cases in which
the earliest text form of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve offers secondary ad-

dia`fwton ton kalou`menon and ton amilabeq ton kalou`meditions : (1) ton a
non in 1 :3, and tou uiou mou amilabeq tou epilegome`nou in 2 :2 ; (2) tout
estin tyq epihumi`aq, epihumi`a ga`r estin pa`syq amarti`aq in 19 :3 ; (3) kai
ylhon eiq ton para`deison, kai ekiny`hysan pa`nta ta futa tou paradei`sou
` pouq gegennyme`nouq ek tou Adam nusta`xai apo tyq eu q pa`ntaq anhrw
wdi`aq, jwriq tou Syh mo`nou oti ege`neto kahorw
n tou heou ekeihen proq to
ma tou Ada`m in 38 :4-39 :1.
47. Contrast Eldridge, Dying Adam, pp. 119-120.

the role of omissions


C. Fuchs, ``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' in : E. Kautzsch (ed.),

Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments II,
Tubingen 1900, pp. 506-528
M.D. Johnson, ``Life of Adam and Eve, '' in : J.H. Charlesworth
(ed.), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha II, London 1985, pp.
M. de Jonge and J. Tromp, The Life of Adam and Eve and Related
Literature (Guides to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha 4), Sheffield 1997
M. de Jonge, ``The Literary Development of the Life of Adam and
Eve, '' in : G.A. Anderson et al., Literature on Adam and Eve.
Collected Essays (Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha
15), Leiden 2000, pp. 239-249
T. Knittel, Das griechische `Leben Adams und Evas. ' Studien zu einer
narrativen Anthropologie im fru hen Judentum (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 88), Tu bingen 2002
J.R. Levison, Portraits of Adam in Early Judaism from Sirach to 2
Baruch (Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Sup. 1),
Sheffield 1988
,``The Exoneration and Denigration of Eve in the Greek Life of
Adam and Eve, '' in : G.A. Anderson et al., Literature on Adam
and Eve. Collected Essays (Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha 15), Leiden 2000, pp. 251-275
, Texts in Transition. The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (Early Judaism and its Literature 16), Atlanta 2000
O. Merk and M. Meiser, ``Das Leben Adams und Evas, '' in : H.
Lichtenberger et al. (eds.), Judische Schriften aus hellenistischromischer Zeit II, Gu tersloh 1998, pp. 739-870
M. Nagel, La Vie grecque d 'Adam et d 'Eve. Apocalypse de Mo| se IIII, Lille 1974
J.-C. Picard, Le continent apocryphe. Essai sur les litte ratures juive
et chretienne, Turnhout 1999
J.L. Sharpe, Prolegomena to the Establishment of the Critical Text
of the Greek Apocalypse of Moses, Diss. Duke University 1969
M.E. Stone, ``The Angelic Prediction in the Primary Adam Books, ''
in : G.A. Anderson et al., Literature on Adam and Eve. Collected Essays






15), Leiden 2000, pp. 111-131

C. Tischendorf, Apocalypses apocryphae Mosis, Esdrae, Pauli, Iohannis, item Mariae dormitio, Leipzig 1866
J. Tromp, ``Zur Edition apokrypher Texte, am Beispiel des griechischen Lebens Adams und Evas '' (forthcoming)
L.S.A. Wells, ``The Books of Adam and Eve, '' in : R.H. Charles,
The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in
English II, Oxford 1913, pp. 123-154

Universite de Lausanne


Depuis la parution de l 'ouvrage de Marcel Simon intitule


Verus Israel , les etudes sur le judeo-christianisme se sont con2

siderablement developpe es . Cinquante-et-une anne es apres la

premiere parution de ce classique (en 1948), un colloque s 'est
reuni a Turin pour rendre compte de l 'essor actuel des e tudes
sur le judeo-christianisme ancien. Les actes de ce colloque, qui a
reuni les meilleurs savants qu 'ils soient italiens ou non qui
se sont recemment occupe s des origines chre tiennes, viennent
d 'etre publie s sous le titre Verus Israel. Nuove prospettive sul giudeocristianesimo. Atti del Colloquio di Torino (4-5 novembre
1999), a cura di G. F

iloramo e C. Gianotto (Biblioteca di cul3

tura religiosa 65), Brescia, Paideia, 2001 .







e diteurs


l 'ouvrage, sur les principaux filons de ce champ d 'e tudes, a commencer par la de finition du phe nomene judeo-chretien (p. 9-18),
Fausto P


relit Verus Israel a la lumiere de son contexte

historique, qui est celui de la formation de Marcel Simon, et en

tudes sur les relations entre chre tiens et juifs dans l 'Empire
1. Verus Israel. E


(Bibliothe que




d 'Athe nes



Rome, 166), Paris, De Boccard, 1948 , 1964 .

2. En temoignent notamment, dans le monde francophone, deux importants
volumes, dus a Simon C. M

imouni :

Le Jude o-christianisme ancien. Essais

historiques (Patrimoines), Paris Cerf, 1998, et, avec la collaboration de F.


tanley Jones , le collectif intitule Le judeo-christianisme dans tous ses etats

(Lectio Divina, Hors Se rie), Paris, Cerf, 2001). Ces deux ouvrages ont e te recense s par Jean-Daniel D

ubois dans Apocrypha 13 (2002), p. 291-294.

3. Meme si tous les textes sont ici publie s en italien et en depit du fait que
rien n 'en est dit dans le pre sent volume trois d 'entre eux sont aussi dispo-

orival se trouve dans Apoana dans N. Belayche S.C.

nibles en version franc aise : l 'etude de Gilles D

crypha 11 (2000), p. 7-36 celle de Liliane V

imouni , ed., Les communautes religieuses dans le monde greco-romain. Es-

sai de de finition, Turnhout, Brepols, 2003, p. 201-241 ; et celle de Simon C.



dans Novum Testamentum 43 (2001), p. 264-299, avec des diffe -

rences sur lesquelles nous reviendrons.

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 277-286

c. zamagni


analyse quelques aspects qui donnent a reflechir ou meritent une

mise au point. Je signale les deux points de la critique de Parente
qui me semblent me riter le plus de conside ration. D 'une part il
s 'agit




l 'anne e





de part


l 'etude ; cette date ne se justifierait pas du point de vue de la

perspective du livre, car elle ne serait que de moindre inte ret
pour les chretiens et pour leurs rapports avec le juda| sme, a la
difference de la date de la destruction du Temple. Pour Parente,
ce choix de Simon s 'expliquerait par la volonte de laisser intentionnellement de co te des problemes qui auraient concerne des
textes ne otestamentaires (p. 25-26). Simon lui-me me, en repondant a cette critique dans son

Post-scriptum de 1964, ne proposa

pas des veritables nouveaux arguments en sa faveur et minimisa


le proble me . Ce probleme depend, me semble-t-il, en grande

partie de la de finition du jude o-christianisme adopte e, car un judeo-christianisme est compatible avec l 'existence du Temple : il
suffit d 'en nier l 'utilite sacrificielle, ce qui semble bien e tre le
sens de la re flexion theologique du groupe de Jacques (voir
l 'etude de Claudio Gianotto).
Mais la critique majeure que Parente re serve a

Verus Israel

concerne le pre suppose de toute la construction de Simon (p.

30), a savoir la the se que Simon lui-me me avait de finie dans le

Post-scriptum de 1964 comme centrale : l 'idee que le juda|sme fut un fort concurrent du christianisme de butant du fait
de sa disposition active au prose lytisme, et que la mission chre tienne s 'est donc faite en concurrence et en paralle le avec une
ve ritable mission juive (p. 29-35). Il s 'agit d 'une critique tout a
fait fonde e, qui a recemment fait l 'objet d 'une e tude de M. S.

Taylor , et qui trouve d 'autres confirmations, par exemple dans

l 'etude



Monaci Castagno

publie e




D 'autres critiques de Parente sont aussi pertinentes mais moins

centrales pour ce qui concerne la structure me me de l 'ouvrage,
et montrent tout simplement qu 'il s 'agit d 'un livre e crit il y a un
demi-siecle elles portent, par exemple, sur l 'ide e que les juifs
de la diaspora etaient plus helle nises que ceux de la Jude e postmaccabeenne, et, de fac on plus generale, sur l 'utilisation du couple orthodoxie/he terodoxie, qui ne refle te pas la situation re elle,
eclatee, du monde juif comme du monde chre tien.

4. Cf. M. Simon,

Verus Israel, 1964 , p. 478.

5. Cf. M. Simon,

Verus Israel, 1964 , p. 477 ; voir aussi p. 482-488.

6. M. S. Taylor,

Anti-Judaism and Early Christian Identity. A Critique of

Scholarly Consensus (Studia Post-Biblica, 46), Leiden New York Ko ln,

1995. Voir aussi la bibliographie sur le sujet propose e par G. Rinaldi,

Bibbia dei Pagani, I, Bologna 1997, p. 58-59 n. 92.


etude critique
Mauro P


esce , avant d 'etudier l 'Evangile de Jean, un texte cer-

tainement eloigne du phenomene judeo-chretien, se concentre

sur le sens des definitions en cours, exposant les proble mes lies a
l 'usage des cate gories pour decrire le judeo-christianisme (p. 4751). Quant au groupe de croyants qui font re ference a l '

de Jean


, il propose d 'appeler leur mouvement giovannismo

(p. 51), pour marquer leur distance a la fois du juda|sme et des

autres judeo-chre tiens que du christianisme posterieur. L 'analyse de


met en relief les communaute s de croyants en Je sus

dont cet evangile est l 'expression, avec leurs e volutions the ologiques, et notamment dans leurs rapports avec le juda| sme, tel
qu 'ils le percoivent a des moments diffe rents ; avec les autres
groupes de croyants en Je sus, et les rapports de ces derniers avec
le juda|sme. La redaction finale de l 'e vangile fait e tat de quelques options theologiques particulie res autant d 'aspects qui
montrent la transition vers une nouvelle religion : une christologie haute corrige celle qui e tait une lecture messianique plus ancienne





57-58) ;





materiel est spiritualise (p. 59-62), comme le signe identitaire de

la circoncision (p. 62-63), celui des signes cultuels exte rieurs (p.
63-64) et bien d 'autres signes, comme le sabbat (p. 64-65).
Romano P


etudie le the me de la mort re demptrice du

Christ dans le judeo-christianisme. Ce the me, cher a la tradition

ecclesiastique, n 'est pas pre sent dans la tradition chre tienne la
plus ancienne. Si, dans une partie de la tradition, il n 'y a me me
pas de reference a la mort de Jesus, comme c 'est le cas dans
1, 3b-4a, dans la

Source Q

et dans l '

Ep|tre de Jacques


(p. 71-81),

ce renvoi a la mort existe dans d 'autres textes, mais sans qu 'elle

ait une valeur re demptrice. C 'est le cas dans le re cit pre-marcien
de la passion (dont Penna suppose l 'existence a la suite de plusieurs savants), dans


2, 6-11 (texte qui fut aussi l 'objet d 'une

recherche jude o-chretienne de Peterson, comme le montre

Franco Bolgiani dans une e tude publiee dans ce meme volume),
et dans l 'ensemble de

Luc Actes

(p. 81-92). Meme si l 'origine

ancienne de l 'interpre tation du sens de la mort de Je sus comme







de pit



qu 'elle va se vulgariser apre s l 'analyse de Penna on conviendra que la mort de Je sus a connu a l 'origine bien d 'autres lectures (p. 92-93).
Lucio T

roiani ,

observant que, dans le Nouveau Testament,

les chretiens provenant des nations sont de finis par rapport au

signe de la circoncision (re serve aux juifs croyants en Je sus),
s 'interesse aux autres te moignages sur ce signe essentiellement
des textes grecs et latins (parmi les textes d 'auteurs pa| ens, particulie rement significatifs sont les passages de Perse et Petrone).

c. zamagni


L 'analyse de ces textes, et notamment des attestations juives

(Philon, Flavius Jose phe, etc.), conduit Troiani a remarquer que
la valeur de la circoncision, en tant que signe de finissant l 'appartenance au peuple (ou simplement a la religion) des juifs,
n 'est pas si univoque qu 'on le penserait a la seule lecture du
Nouveau Testament. Au contraire, l 'ensemble des te moignages
analyses montre que la circoncision peut aussi ne pas avoir une
importance fondamentale dans la de finition de l 'identite juive
(cf. notamment p. 96-101). On remarquera cependant que, sans
compter les auteurs pa| ens, les sources conside rees concernent
pour la plus grande partie le juda| sme de la diaspora (ou de
l 'epoque pre-maccabeenne) ; il s 'agit donc d 'un juda| sme qui
n 'est pas celui dont le jude o-christianisme est l 'expression.
De son co te, Claudio Gianotto

synthetise l 'histoire et la

theologie de la communaute judeo-chretienne de Jerusalem qui

fait reference a Jacques, telles qu 'on peut les reconstituer a partir notamment des te moignages neotestamentaires, en contrepoint








e tude,

remarquable par sa clarte , son exhaustivite et sa rigueur me thodologique, se signale notamment par la reconstitution des lignes
theologiques du groupe qui se re clame de Jacques. La perspective de Gianotto de crit en particulier les caracte ristiques d 'une
identite jude o-chretienne qui est, de s les debuts de ce groupe,
bien distincte tant du juda| sme que, evidemment, du christianisme paulinien ; elle a le me rite d 'expliquer ces distances de la

maniere qui semble la plus e conomique possible . Par l 'etude

des documents dont nous disposons, depuis l 'e p|tre qui porte le



jusqu 'aux


jude o-chre tiens


rieurs, Gianotto de signe parmi les caracte res theologiques de ce

groupe la fondamentale ne gation de la valeur du culte sacrificiel ;

c 'est




the ologique



considerablement le groupe de Jacques du juda| sme courant de

l 'epoque, qui reconna| t dans le culte du temple l 'expression directe de la Loi (p. 115-119).
Simon C. Mimouni analyse d 'une manie re precise et fouillee,

a partir du travail d 'Aline Pourkier sur le Panarion , la notice

piphane de Salamine consacre aux Nazore ens, un groupe
qu 'E
judeo-chretien de la deuxie me moitie du IV

siecle. E

qualifie les Nazore ens d 'he re tiques, mais Mimouni fait remonter leur origine directement au groupe jude o-chre tien primitif,

7. Voir par exemple l 'exe gese de la Loi de la part du groupe de Jacques qui
semble etre sous-jacente a la definition du decret apostolique.
8. L 'he resiologie



Paris, Beauchesne, 1992.






etude critique


en accord avec la recherche actuelle ; leur doctrine ne repre sente

donc qu 'une option the ologique differente, enracinee dans le judeo-christianisme ancien, et non une de viance plus re cente, pro piphane veut le
venant des orthodoxes Jesse ens, comme E
faire croire en fait, signaler que les Jesse ens representent la
plus ancienne the ologie chretienne equivaut a dire que les Nazoreens ne peuvent pas pretendre a autant, et qu 'ils n 'ont donc pas
de titres pour accre diter leur theologie (voir p. 143). Il faut relever que la premie re partie de la notice, celle concernant les Jesseens,



d 'e lements





l 'ascendance davidique de Je sus a des traditions qui ne sont certainement pas du I


siecle et qui se retrouvent re unies dans les

Questions a Stephanos d 'Eusebe de Cesaree. Quant au contenu

piphane n 'en
doctrinal des croyances des Nazore ens, le texte d 'E
donne tout compte fait que tre s peu d 'elements, dont le principal
est l 'usage archa|que du titre de


paiq pour Jesus (p. 134-135)

presente la Birkat ha-minim, la benediction

adressee aux opposants ou aux factions sectaires juives. Ce texte

est e tudie dans le detail, aussi bien en lui-me me (p. 169-179) que
dans le contexte de l 'ancien de bat sur la definition de l 'ensemble
des Shemoneh `esreh (p. 160-169). L 'e tude du contexte de la Birkat ha-minim se revele particulierement fe cond pour expliquer le

qu 'elle




re fe rence


judeo-chre tiens :


be ne diction , qui existait avant eux, a pu devenir une male diction adressee (aussi) aux croyants en Je sus precisement en tant
que juifs (voir p. 147-160 et 179-186). Cette synthe se, tres fouillee, passionnante et d 'une remarquable rigueur historique, montre que cette prie re ne peut eclairer que tres partiellement la
vision portee sur les judeo-chretiens pendant les premiers sie cles
par l 'Israel qui se reconnaissait dans les Shemoneh `esreh (p.
Gilles D


contribue a mieux definir un groupe de ju-

deo-chretiens atteste a Alexandrie et en Palestine entre le II

le IV


siecle, groupe qu 'il appelle les He breux , d 'apres le

nom que Clement d 'Alexandrie, Orige ne et Didyme d 'Alexandrie donnent a l 'evangile qu 'ils utilisent


. D 'apres Dorival, le

canon veterotestamentaire d 'Orige ne proposee par Euse be (Histoire ecclesiastique, VI.25.1-2) est le canon des me mes He-

9. La version francaise de cet article, signale e plus haut, est comple tee sur
quelques points et contient aussi la traduction de plusieurs passages du texte
piphane, ce qui en rend la lecture plus agre able.
d 'E
ce propos, cf. aussi l 'article du me me auteur dans le collectif cite Le
10. A
judeo-christianisme dans tous ses e tats, notamment aux p. 279-288, ainsi que
la version francaise de l 'article du colloque de Turin (susmentionne e), qui
est enrichie de quelques notes.

c. zamagni


breux qui lisaient cet e vangile (p. 203-209). De plus, dans plusieurs autres passages, Orige ne semble designer des judeo-chretiens




d ' Hebreux





equivalents), mais pas toujours les me mes judeo-chretiens : dans



e crits



He breux




l 'evangile et du canon vete rotestamentaire, mais dans les e crits

de Cesaree, il s 'agit de ressortissants d 'un autre groupe jude ochretien (p. 209-217) ; ce groupe palestinien serait celui qui sera
connu plus tard sous le nom de Nazore ens ; en outre, les deux
groupes pourraient provenir du premier noyau jude o-chretien
de Palestine, dont une partie de tachee aurait gagne Alexandrie
au tournant du I


sie cle (p. 217-219). Une fois l 'existence du

groupe alexandrin des Hebreux assuree, l 'hypothese selon laquelle le canon ve te rotestamentaire cite par Origene en est l 'expression trouve certainement un argument de poids dans le fait
qu 'il s 'agit d 'une liste qui n 'est pas atteste e ailleurs et que le
texte origenien a ete compose a Alexandrie ; meme si Eusebe,
lorsqu 'il






l 'entendre




d 'origine jude o-chretienne.

La partie la moins convaincante de la contribution de G. Dorival concerne le groupe jude o-chre tien palestinien son existence n 'est pas a mettre en question, mais Orige ne s 'y est-il
vraiment refe re de la maniere esquissee par Dorival ? Les trois
passages qu 'il utilise pour sa de monstration ne me semblent pas







jude o-chretien

alexandrin fut vraiment l 'e ponyme de l 'e vangile selon les He breux , il est vraisemblable qu 'il e tait originaire de Palestine et
qu 'il provenait donc de la me me souche que les Nazoreens


Mais si Hebreux fut une denomination courante pour ces judeo-chretiens alexandrins (qui se caracte risaient notamment par
leur usage d 'une exegese allegorique, developpee probablement
gypte, cf. p. 216 et 219), pourquoi Orige ne
apres leur arrivee en E
aurait-il designe de la meme maniere un judeo-chre tien palestinien (de tendance pre -nazoreenne ) ? Peut-etre Origene a-t-il
effectivement connu l ' He breu du fragment sur Ez 9, 3-4 a
Alexandrie (p. 212 et 216) et qu 'il l 'a ainsi appele a cause de
l 'evangile qu 'il lisait. Quant aux autres He breux re cemment
convertis dont il est question dans les deux autres textes e crits a
Ce saree il s 'agirait de la me me personne d 'apre s Dorival (p.
213-215) ils sont jude o-chre tiens de par leur origine ethnique
et religieuse, mais non, a en croire Orige ne, parce que leur foi se
rattache a un groupe judeo-chretien ou parce qu 'ils sont reste s

11. Ainsi Dorival, p. 219. Sinon comment lire les textes de Cle ment et les
exemples orige niens des p. 203-213 a l 'interieur de cette hypothe se ?

etude critique


attaches a une observance de la Loi (p. 215). Le paralle le avec

les Hebreux d 'Alexandrie n 'est donc pas certain et il est difficile de postuler, avec Dorival, l 'existence d ' un gruppo giudeocristiano

pro-paolino ,

Enrico N





l 'origine


analyse la situation du judeo-christianisme

antiochien dans les textes d 'Ignace d 'Antioche. La plus grande






consacre e

l 'etude



qu 'Ignace combat, attestant a la fois de leurs tendances doce tes

que de leurs tendances juda| santes. Depuis le XIX

siecles, plu-

sieurs savants ont propose differentes hypothe ses pour expliquer

ces donnees, car le fait de supposer un groupe de chre tiens qui
partage l 'ensemble de ces caracte res semble poser probleme.
L 'etude de Norelli commence avec un e tat de la recherche tre s
documente qui montre les limites de toutes les explications qui
ont ete proposees jusqu 'ici (p. 221-237), avant de se consacrer a
l 'etude des deux lettres d 'Ignace les plus significatives du point
de vue du judeo-christianisme : les ep|tres a la communaute de
Philadelphie et a celle de Magne sie. Les conclusions, bien argumentees et fort interessantes, demontrent, dans la ligne e d 'une
ancienne e tude de Einar Molland (p. 236-237) mais avec de nouveaux arguments, que, selon toute vraisemblance, les adversaires d 'Ignace ne sont que des doce tes n 'etant aucunement
soumis a des observances le gales et donc, qu 'il ne s 'agit pas de




ge ne ralement



237-252). La christologie d 'Ignace, bien que non doce te, n 'est

pas pour autant basse, comme le montre la confrontation avec
l 'Ascension d 'Isa| e (p. 253-255). La pole mique d 'Ignace se comprend bien dans le milieu antiochien : pour discre diter ses adversaires,








chre tiens



rapprochant, de maniere paradoxale, des juifs. Dans le contexte

antiochien, ou meme les jude o-chretiens ont probablement une
forte composante anti-juive (p. 256), ce proce de correspond au
renversement d 'identite le plus total possible (p. 255-257). Cette
perspective nous apprend beaucoup sur la doctrine ignatienne
(p. 261-264), et fournit surtout, d 'une manie re qui nous semble

l 'eclatement




chre tienne



sources nous permettent de percevoir (p. 257-261), un acquis remarquable pour la reconstitution de l 'histoire des origines du
christianisme antiochien.
Jurgen W


etudie les temoignages concernant la mis-

sion des judeo-chretiens du I




et II

siecles aux pa| ens. Pour le

siecle, les sources ne otestamentaires permettent une reconsti-

tution assez pre cise, en partie de ja presente e par l 'auteur dans

une etude parue en 1997. Wehnert reconstruit d 'une manie re

c. zamagni


eclairante la reaction rigoriste des jude o-chretiens d 'Antioche

au decret apostolique de Je rusalem : sans une observance
plus poussee de la Loi de la part de la communaute d 'origine
pa|enne, celle d 'origine juive n 'aurait pas pu/voulu la fre quenter/reconna|tre, (cf. p. 271-272) ; cette lecture stricte du ``de cret ''
(garder la purete des croyants juifs) s 'impose a Antioche, et Paul
quitte la ville (p. 267-273). Les jude o-chretiens tentent aussi par
la suite d 'imposer leur vision stricte, proposant de plus en plus
d 'obligations le gales selon le modele pratique a Antioche. Leur
activite missionnaire est bien documente e en concurrence avec
la mission paulinienne en Occident ; mais, cette fois, leur mode le
ne semble pas s 'imposer et la the ologie paulinienne appara| t
alors gagnante (p. 273-276), au point que les sources sur la mission jude o-chretienne pour le II

sie cle sont tres reduites, et

l ' e crit de base pseudocle mentin en est l 'un des rares exemples
(p. 276-279).
Luigi Cirillo analyse en detail le corpus apocryphe des pseudoclementines, a la recherche des traces de l 'antipaulinisme exprimees notamment dans l ' e crit de base et dans sa source


. Cirillo classe les critiques adresse es a Paul

dans cette oeuvre selon trois cate gories : l 'antipaulinisme historique la mention re ite re e du fait que Paul avait e te un ancien











disqualifier (p. 284-288) ; l 'antipaulinisme he re siologique

en attaquant l 'he retique Simon, l 'ecrit entend critiquer en re alite
la doctrine de Paul et son oeuvre missionnaire he retique ; en
effet, la doctrine de Simon telle que l 'e crit la presente est tres
proche de celle de Paul, ainsi que de celle de Marcion, champion
du paulinisme de la moitie du II

sie cle (p. 288-299) ; en dernier

lieu, Paul est encore l 'objet cache des critiques adressees aux
heretiques qui falsifient la doctrine de Pierre avec des fausses interpretations de sa doctrine de ve rite (p. 299-303). Le point
de vue adopte dans cette etude contribue a montrer a quel point
la the ologie paulinienne e tait ressentie certainement pas a tort
comme dangereuse pour la cause jude o-chretienne.



antiochien de la fin du IV




sie cle tel qu 'il ressort des home lies de

Jean Chrysostome, en de veloppant une intuition que Marcel Simon n 'avait pas exploite e, car elle sortait de ses limites chronologiques. L 'analyse ponctuelle des home lies du Chrysostome
(notamment de l '
deuxie me

Adversus Iudaeos



, y compris un fragment de la

rede couverte)


12. Voir la presentation du probleme litteraire, p. 280-284.

qu 'il

etude critique


avait plusieurs groupes de juda|sants parmi les croyants antiochiens ; ils participaient aux rites juifs et e taient refractaires
aux rappels a l 'ordre que la hie rarchie eccle siastique leur adressait (p. 308-331). Ces chre tiens proches du juda| sme prennent
vraisemblablement leur origine et leurs doctrines dans la premie re communaute judeo-chre tienne d 'Antioche, contre laquelle
Paul avait combattu en vain. Cependant, les nouvelles conditions sociales et eccle siales les obligent maintenant a rester dans
l 'ombre ; pour les me mes raisons et notamment aussi a cause
de nouvelles lois de l 'empire christianise ils ne sont sans doute
pas attires vers la synagogue par une campagne de prose lytisme
de la part de la communaute juive (p. 333-338). On ne saura
peut-etre jamais si ce mouvement jude o-chretien avait un cadre
hierarchique ou dans quel milieu leurs membres s 'enracinaient





c 'est

assure ment




glise officielle repre sentee par Chrysostome a se rieusement

l 'E
combattu. Les lumie res nouvelles que cette e tude jette sur une
communaute jude o-chretienne etonnante de vitalite au seuil du
cinquieme siecle restent neanmoins remarquables, tant par la
qualite que par la quantite des arguments avance s.
Enfin, Franco B


e tudie l 'apport d 'Erik Peterson a

l 'etude du jude o-christianisme. Peterson n 'a jamais de fini dans

une grande synthe se ce qu 'etait pour lui le jude o-christianisme,
car non seulement il n 'eut l 'occasion de s 'exprimer directement
en la matiere que dans quelques articles d 'encyclope die, mais
cela n 'aurait pas correspondu a sa manie re de travailler. Bolgiani reconstruit le judeo-christianisme selon Peterson a partir de
l 'ensemble de ses uvres, en re sumant ses re sultats notamment
dans les the ses des p. 360 et 364-366. Le jude o-christianisme est
une the ologie dont les caracte ristiques se retrouvent dans beaucoup de mouvements poste rieurs : on trouve des e lements juifs,
dont un certain nombre seront vite marginalise s par exemple
des composantes apocalyptiques, gnostiques ou magiques (voir
p. 354, 361-364 et 367) ; d 'autres se retrouvent dans la gnose
(p. 344-347, 358-359), le mande isme (p. 345-346 et 357-359), en
passant par Marcion (p. 358-359), par Paul (p. 362-363) et par










p. 363) ; on discerne e galement des traits apparemment propres,

comme l 'asce se encratite (p. 346-347). Presque en arche ologue
des doctrines, Peterson fait remonter au jude o-christianisme le
plus ancien ces e lements bien definis, qu 'il discernait dans des
textes et doctrines poste rieures.
D 'apres cette lecture, la pense e theologique de Peterson serait
censee constituer le cadre d 'ensemble qui unirait d 'une manie re
synthetique les eclats de cette vision qu 'il eut de la question (p.

c. zamagni


350-356). Me me en etant conscient du fait que l 'esquisse synthe tique la plus significative parmi celles signale es se trouve probablement dans

Die Kirche

(voir notamment p. 354-355), ceci me

para| t discutable, a moins de ne pas lire cette the ologie avec des
yeux d 'historien sinon, comment relier tous les the mes que Peterson prete au judeo-christianisme ? Quoi qu 'il en soit de ce
point particulier, la question est maintenant transmise au spe cialiste d 'aujourd 'hui : peut-on de terminer si son hypothe se sur
le judeo-christianisme est cohe rente (cf. p. 367-369), e tant donne
bien entendu que les de bats de la recherche du temps de Peterson ne sont plus vraiment actuels (cf. par ex. p. 345-348, et 356357) ?
Tel est le contenu de ce volume, qui est bien a la hauteur de
l 'uvre classique dont il porte le titre, et dont il met a jour la
plupart des pistes de recherche, me me s 'il ne peut pas les aborder toutes. Les auteurs et les organisateurs du colloque me ritent
d 'etre grandement fe licites ce qui n 'interdit pas de signaler






comme c 'etait le cas pour le volume de Simon



. Mais ces impre -

cisions ne sont qu 'un aspect tre s secondaire d 'un volume destine

a devenir un ouvrage de re fe rence irremplac able dans l 'attente
d 'une nouvelle synthe se sur ce que fut le jude o-christianisme ancien, synthese pour laquelle les temps ne sont pas encore mu rs.

13. Voir p. 26 n. 24, p. 371, l. 25, p. 143 n. 65 (l 'anne e est 2001), p. 202 :
``Toura '', p. 356 l. 2, p. 383 (re ferences a F. Blanchetiere).

Barthelemy, Dominique,
Paris, Cerf
(Lectio Divina, Hors Serie), 2000, 298 p. ISBN 2-204-064084.
Decouvrir l 'E

Cet ouvrage, qui recueille treize articles publies par Dominique Barthelemy de 1984 a 1994, tente de cerner progressivement la notion d'E critures
saintes et de preciser quels sont les regards critiques que celles-ci requierent
(p. 9). Si ce but est effectivement celui poursuivi par la tres grande majorite
des etudes reunies dans ce volume, celle intitulee Critique d'un exegete. A
propos de l'`Apocryphe' de Robert Pinget (chapitre VII) nous semble s'y
rattacher de fac on trop lache pour justifier la place qu'elle occupe dans ce recueil. La republication de ces etudes, dont certaines ne sont pas facilement
accessibles, est en soi a saluer, mais il est dommage que le public-cible n'ait
pas ete mieux defini. Des articles techniques comme celui qui porte sur Les
traditions anciennes de division du texte biblique de la Torah (chapitre
XIII) cotoient en effet des etudes tres generales comme celle intitulee Critique textuelle et critique litteraire (chapitre VI). En outre, aucune actualisation des articles n'a ete effectuee; la bibliographie n'est donc plus a jour
(on attendrait, par exemple, au debut du chapitre IX, un renvoi aux travaux
de G. Dahan) et D. Barthelemy ne repond pas aux critiques qui ont ete
adressees a certaines de ses theses, notamment a ses travaux sur l'assemblee
de Yabne. Il est, enfin, regrettable que des renvois internes n'aient pas ete
systematiquement introduits (ainsi, si la p. 48 renvoie aux p. 239-251, aucun
renvoi dans l'autre sens n'est effectue ; de meme, la mention de la Bible de
Vatable p. 187-188 n'est assortie d'aucun renvoi au chapitre IV qui lui est
entierement consacre). Cet ouvrage n'offre donc rien de plus qu'une republication de travaux qui ont en partie fait date. Dans la liste des sigles et
abreviations (p. 7-8) manquent les sigles HBT (p. 236) et IBSt (p. 237).
R. Gounelle

Ehrman, Bart D.,

New-York & Oxford, Oxford University
Press, 1999, xii + 436 p. ISBN 0-19-512483-9.

After the New Testament. A Reader in

Early Christianity,

vise a combler l'absence de recueils de textes aptes a accompagner un cours sur le christianisme des IIe-IIIe siecles. Il evite heureusement les travers de nombre de recueils de ce type: Ehrman a choisi de
donner les traductions integrales de certains textes, ou, le cas echeant, de privilegier de longues citations, evitant ainsi la juxtaposition de textes morcelles
qui caracterise tant de
D'autre part, les citations sont reparties en
rubriques thematiques et les ecrits apocryphes sont invoques comme des temoins historiques au meme titre que les premiers ecrits ecclesiastiques. Ainsi
copte de
et le
sont-ils evoques aux cotes des heresiologues proto-orthodoxes et les
comme les
figurent-ils aux cotes du
de Justin dans la rubrique La diffusion du christianisme: Les premiers
chretiens et leurs convertis . Ce traitement de la litterature apocryphe est
heureux. L'auteur aurait toutefois pu aller plus loin et renoncer au traditionnel chapitre consacre aux Ecrits `apostoliques' en dehors du canon: Les
apocryphes/pseudepigraphes du Nouveau Testament (chapitre VIII).
Dans ce chapitre non thematique, l'auteur retourne etonnamment aux clisourcebook




Second traite du Grand Seth

Actes de Jean

Actes de Thomas

Dialogue avec Tryphon

Apocrypha 14, 2003, p. 287-313

comptes rendus













points) : les apocryphes sont classe s conformement aux genres litteraires du

Nouveau Testament et les e vangiles apocryphes sont pre sentes comme des
complements aux quatre e vangiles canoniques (p. 237) ; ce denier point rend
vangile de Thomas ne soient
surprenant que les paralle les synoptiques a l 'E
pas signales (p. 237-244). En somme, ce recueil, bien informe et bien concu,
tient compte du renouveau des recherches sur les litte ratures apocryphes,
sans pour autant en tirer toutes les conclusions qui s 'imposent.
R. G



Frederic, L 'evangile inconnu. La Source des paroles

de Jesus (Q), Geneve, Labor et Fides (Essais bibliques, 30),

2001, 126 p. ISBN 2-8309-1029-X.
Ce livre, e labore et compose par F. Amsler, s 'inscrit dans le prolongement de plusieurs anne es d 'effort et de recherches minutieuses autour de la
question synoptique et de la source Q, mene es par l 'e quipe de l ' International
Q Project, a laquelle l 'auteur fut associe pour la traduction franc aise de la
Source reconstitue e, qu 'il presente aujourd 'hui de fac on autonome. Au milieu d 'un nombre toujours croissant d 'e tudes parues ces dernie res de cennies
sur ces sujets lie s, la reconstitution de la Source a laquelle sont parvenus les
membres du Q Project etait sans doute une des taches prioritaires pour la recherche, a la facon de l 'archeologie expe rimentale, pour voir comment c a
marche . Elle permettra a l 'avenir d 'autres avance es sur la composition, le
genre litte raire, la structure, la the ologie ou la place de la Source dans l 'histoire du christianisme a ses origines. En offrant aux lecteurs francophones
une version traduite de la Source reconstitue e, F. Amsler les met en me me
temps en prise directe avec un univers de recherches et de questionnement.
Son ouvrage se pre sente en trois volets, encha| nant une introduction ge nerale (p. 9-64), une traduction pourvue d 'un ensemble de signes permettant
l 'evaluation du degre de fiabilite de la reconstitution, et une pre sentation
continue du texte de la Source, sans interruption, sans signes diacritiques, ni
versets, ni titres.
Chaque partie repond a un objectif propre. La dernie re permet une immersion dans le texte de la Source dans une pre sentation qui evoquerait les
premie res copies du document (p. 8). Aussi se duisante et stimulante qu 'elle
soit, cette presentation extreme, sous la forme d 'un document clairement circonscrit, se heurte ne anmoins a certaines limites. Le caracte re hypothetique
de l 'existence de la Source et l 'incertitude qui persiste malgre tout sur son
contenu (p. 27) et ses contours, sont passe s au second plan. Toutefois, le
risque de confusion entre reconstitution et re alite peut etre elimine grace a la
deuxie me partie, plus technique, qui reproduit le texte traduit de la Source
en indiquant le degre de vraisemblance (p. 8). Les lecteurs familiarise s
avec la question synoptique trouveront dans ces pages une base de travail
pour des investigations plus avance es. La premie re partie est une introduction a la Source Q, accessible et tre s complete, redige e dans un style elegant.
L 'auteur introduit efficacement son lecteur dans les questions pe rennes et
complexes de l 'histoire de la recherche, du contenu de la Source, du genre litteraire (ou des genres litte raires ?), de la structure, des crite res de reconstitution,













connaissance du christianisme a ses de buts. Cette synthe se est re alisee avec

competence et savoir-faire. Des indications bibliographiques et l 'ajout des
references pour les auteurs anciens l 'auraient comple tee avec profit. Une bibliographie succincte est donne e a la p. 65.
Certains specialistes regretteront peut-e tre la facture journalistique du titre. Si la Source des paroles de Je sus a deja recu avec force arguments une


comptes rendus

designation analogue a celle des evangiles canoniques un point qui n'est

pas aborde dans l'introduction, le qualificatif inconnu sans autre forme
d'explication est en revanche ambigu. Il a pour lui de rappeler d'une maniere detournee que les arguments objectifs (les accords du vocabulaire et
l'ordre des
) en faveur de la Source Q ne sont pas suffisants pour expliquer le tres grand succes de l'hypothese. L'auteur rappelle a travers son introduction que la Source Q reste une hypothese, ni plus ni moins, mais avec
un tres fort degre de probabilite, nee dans le cadre de la question synoptique
qui n'a pas cesse d'etre posee depuis la premiere reconstitution de la Source
Q (par A. Harnack, en 1907), et qu'elle prouve son utilite par le tres grand
nombre de donnees qu'elle explique au sein de la double tradition - .
L'ouvrage de F. Amsler est un livre utile dont profiteront les etudiants et les
lecteurs avertis, et qu'un tres large public francophone appreciera pour ses
qualites didactiques.
P. Keith

Mt Lc

Robinson, James M., Hoffman, Paul, Kloppenborg, John

S. (eds.) & Moreland, Milton C. (Managing ed.),
Louvain / Paris / Sterling,
Peeters (Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology,
30), 2001, 176 p. ISBN 90-429-1056-9.
The Say-

ings Gospel Q in Greek and English, With Parallels from the

Gospel of Mark and Thomas,

Depuis la parution de l'edition monumentale de la Source Q, en 2000, de

nombreux ouvrages de vulgarisation et de semi-vulgarisation paraissent en
differentes langues sous l'egide de James M. Robinson, Paul Hoffman et
John S. Kloppenborg. Celui paru dans la collection Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology se singularise des autres en ce qu'il fournit au
lecteur le texte grec de la Source Q en regard de la traduction anglaise (sous
la forme allegee qui figurait au bas de chaque page de gauche dans l'
), et qu'il cite les paralleles de l'
Une concordance
des termes les plus significatifs de la Source Q figure aux p. 156-174. Autant
donc dire que ce volume est appele a rendre les plus grands services a ceux
qui ne souhaitent pas s'equiper de l'
, au format demesure.
Plusieurs regrets peuvent etre exprimes a l'egard de la longue introduction, qui a ete conc ue par James M. Robinson (p. 11-71) et qui s'adresse manifestement a un public tres bien informe (les nombreuses abreviations
employees dans les notes ne sont pas explicitees et certains developpements,
comme celui des p. 38-39, sont tellement succincts qu'ils ne sont pas comprehensibles sans un minimum de connaissances prealables). Elle s'ouvre,
par des questions terminologiques: faut-il parler de logi` a, de
lo`goi ou de Source Q (p. 12-26)? Suit une discussion de la langue dans laquelle la Source Q a ete composee (p. 27-30). Ce debut abrupt risque de laisser plus d'un lecteur perplexe. La section suivante est consacree a Albert
Schweitzer. Sans transition se succedent ensuite plusieurs chapitres consacres a L'essence du christianisme comme Q ou le Kerygme , La critique
des formes , Q dans la sequence lucanienne , Proclamation et redaction , L'origine sapientale de Q et
, L'edition critique de Q .
Cette succession de chapitres n'est pas convaincante, car James M. Robinson hesite constamment entre une histoire de la recherche chronologique et
une presentation problematisee. Les citations non commentees se succedent
et aucune ligne directrice ne se dessine vraiment de ce
, ou les positions defavorables a la Source Q ne sont pas prises en compte (il faut attendre une note de la p. 65, dans un paragraphe intitule The Minimal Q Text.
Pap. Q , pour apprendre que les recherches dont ce volume fait e tat sont


vangile de Thomas.

editio maior


medias res,



comptes rendus


controversees !), si l 'on excepte les travaux d 'Albert Schweitzer, qui sert a illustrer the price one pays for such a reversion from critical scholarship to a
more traditional view of sources (p. 35) !
La traduction anglaise, e galement due a James M. Robinson (cf. p. 6971), est de cevante. Le savant ame ricain rend parfois un texte grec inexistant
(cf. p. ex. Q 10 :24, ou wanted to see correspond a ...

ysan) ou de facon ap-

proximative (dans la me me phrase, never n 'a aucun e quivalent grec). Les

lacunes supposees ne sont pas indique es de fac on satisfaisante (cf. p. ex. Q
10 :9, ou aucune lacune n 'est signale e dans la traduction, et Q 12 :12, ou la lacune est a la fois traduite et signalee). La traduction de la Source Q et des

textes paralle les n 'a en outre pas ete uniformisee. C 'est ainsi que paredo`hy
moi est traduit en Q 10 :22 par has been entrusted to me et dans l 'Evangile
q est trade Thomas 61.3b par I was given ; en Q 12 :11, ei q taq sunagwga
duit par before synagogues , mais la me me expression, dans le texte parallele de Mc 13, 9, est rendue par in synagogues . D 'autres exemples du
meme type pourraient e tre signales, qui montrent que le recours au texte
grec par dela la traduction s 'impose impe rativement. On peut, de s lors,
s 'inquie ter des conclusions que d 'aucuns pourront tirer de la publication de
la traduction seule chez Fortress Press en 2001.
R. Gounelle

tude sur les Hymnes orphiques, LeiMorand , Anne-France, E

den / Boston / Ko ln, Brill (Religions in the Graeco-Roman
World, 143), 2001, xvi +374 p. ISBN 90-04-12030-0.
Dans la vaste production litte raire et religieuse circulant sous le nom
d 'Orphe e, la place occupe e par les Hymnes est tout a fait particuliere et l 'attention qu 'on leur porte trop souvent marginale. Il s 'agit d 'un recueil de
quatre-vingt-sept compositions en hexame tres grecs consacrees a diverses divinites du pantheon, auxquelles des offrandes sont adresse es. Datee du II
ou du III

siecle de notre e re, c 'est la plus grande collection du genre parve-

nue jusqu 'a nous. Hormis des articles de re flexion generale et d 'analyses
ponctuelles, une etude d 'ensemble faisait de faut. Le present ouvrage comble
donc une importante lacune dans les travaux sur la litte rature grecque en ge neral et sur la poe sie orphique en particulier.
Apres un court avant-propos relatant la gene se du projet (p.

xv-xvi ), A.-

F. Morand reproduit le texte des Hymnes edite par W. Quandt en 1955, avec
de menues variantes (p. 1-32). Une courte introduction fait ensuite le point
sur la place de cette collection d ' Hymnes dans la litterature orphique et sur
les travaux qui lui ont ete consacres depuis sa de couverte (p. 33-37). La question du genre litteraire est ensuite traitee de fond en comble dans le premier
chapitre de l 'ouvrage (p. 39-98). Le deuxie me chapitre (p. 101-152) aborde le
probleme des offrandes contenues dans les titres des Hymnes et celui des rituels qu 'elles impliquent, tandis que le troisie me porte sur les dieux invoque s
(p. 153-199). Apres un intermede iconographique constitue par un petit cahier de onze planches en noir et blanc (p. 200-208), le quatrie me chapitre (p.
209-230) traite de l 'au-dela et du destin de l 'a me, une composante essentielle
de la re flexion des orphiques. Sous le titre Le groupe des Hymnes orphiques , le cinquie me chapitre (p. 231-287) tente de caracte riser le (ou les)
groupe(s) ou association(s) au(x)quel(les) on doit ces poe mes ou qui les
ont utilise s dans leur pratique religieuse. Cette enque te est suivie d 'un riche
dossier iconographique (p. 288-298) et d 'une bre ve conclusion (p. 299-306).
Enfin, neuf pre cieux appendices (p. 307-346) comple tent cet ouvrage, qui
s 'acheve par une liste des abre viations (p. 347-349), une bibliographie (p.
350-361) et trois index (des sources et des auteurs anciens, des noms propres,
de me me que des references aux Hymnes orphiques, p. 362-374).

comptes rendus


Version quelque peu remanie e de la these de doctorat presentee par A.-F.

Morand a l 'Universite de Geneve, cette recherche est mene e avec soin et methode. L 'e criture y est claire, directe et sans artifice. Face a des textes e nigmatiques faisant un large usage de l 'e piclese pour exprimer la diversite des
manifestations du divin, l 'auteur fait le constat que l 'ordre des mots n 'est
pas fortuit et qu 'il re pond a des intentions profondes (et autres que me triques), au meme titre que les jeux sonores par lesquels ces Hymnes se distinguent si nettement des autres collections du genre dans l 'Antiquite . De plus,
pour comprendre ces textes re solument non-narratifs et par conse quent peu
explicites, l 'auteur n 'he site pas a recourir a diverses sources (e pigraphiques,
papyrologiques et iconographiques), qui lui permettent d 'e tayer son argumentation et d 'asseoir l 'e tude se mantique et lexicale qu 'elle a entreprise.
Cette multiplication des angles d 'approche consolide les re sultats en meme
temps qu 'elle rehausse incontestablement la valeur du travail.
La principale faiblesse de l 'ouvrage re side dans l 'absence de liberee de traduction francaise des Hymnes, qui privera nombre de lecteurs d 'un acce s a
des textes fascinants mais pleins de difficulte s. Les non-helle nistes pourront
toujours se rabattre sur les traductions de Pascal Charvet (La prie re. Les
hymnes d 'Orphee, avec une preface de Paul Veyne, Paris, 1995) et de Jacques
Lacarrie re (Hymnes et discours sacre s, Imprimeries nationales, 1995), qu 'A.F. Morand ne meconna|t pas, mais pour lesquelles elle ne semble pas avoir
beaucoup de conside ration. Il faut convenir que ces traductions ne sont pas
vraiment satisfaisantes, la premie re etant neanmoins preferable a la seconde.
Ceux qui lisent l 'italien pourront en revanche tirer le plus grand profit de
l 'edition bilingue, assortie d 'un commentaire de taille, que l 'on doit a l 'erudition de Gabriella Ricciardelli (Inni orfici [Fondazione Lorenzo Valla],
Rome-Milan, 2000) et dont A.-F. Morand dit n 'avoir pu tenir compte en
raison de la date de parution tardive. Ceux qui se sentent plus a l 'aise en allemand opteront pour la traduction de J. O. Plassmann parue sous le nom
d 'auteur Orpheus et sous le titre Altgriechische Mysterien, Munich, 1992.
Ce petit volume de poche, qui contient en outre la traduction de quelques lamelles d 'or et une postface de Fritz Graf, n 'a pas e chappe a l 'attention
d 'A.-F. Morand, mais nous aurions appre cie qu 'elle se risqua t a nous livrer
sa propre traduction des Hymnes, issue d 'une longue fre quentation des textes et d 'un dialogue nourri avec les personnes qui l 'ont accompagne e dans sa
recherche. Nous savons du reste qu 'une version franc aise en constant remaniement sommeille dans les tiroirs de l 'inspirateur de cette the se, le regrette
professeur Jean Rudhardt de l 'Universite de Gene ve, qui avait livre une nouvelle contribution sur le sujet dans un nume ro the matique de la Revue de
l 'histoire des religions, 219/4 (2002), consacre a L 'orphisme et ses e critures. Nouvelles recherches .
propos de traductions, j 'aimerais attirer l 'attention sur la version franA
caise de l ' hymne n 6 a Protogonos, que Marguerite Yourcenar avait inse ree
dans son anthologie de la poe sie grecque intitule e La Couronne et la Lyre
(Paris, 1979). Qu 'on les admire pour leur saveur particulie re ou qu 'on les rejette comme de hautes trahisons, il est inde niable que les traductions de
l 'auteur des Memoires d 'Hadrien s 'efforcent toujours de restituer quelque
ce titre, elles sont irremchose du souffle poe tique de la langue d 'origine. A
placables, me me si l 'exemple e voque, le seul de notre corpus de textes, n 'est
peut-etre pas le plus representatif et le mieux re ussi de sa production.
Hymne orphique : A
(Parfum : la myrrhe)
Je t 'invoque, o Protogonos, o double forme !
Aile d 'or, ne d 'un uf, errant au fond du ciel !
Toi qu 'on entend de loin, o taureau mugissant !
toi l 'enorme !
Toi l 'indicible ! O toi l 'occulte ! O

comptes rendus


Toi sonore toujours ! Toujours resplendissant !

toi dont le coup d 'aile est le rythme du monde !
Toi qui ouvres nos yeux au jour essentiel !
roi generateur ! O
prudent ! O
D 'accouplements divers dans la profonde nuit !
bonheur manifeste ! O
verite fe conde
Qui re pands tes bienfaits dans notre a me assagie !
Ma|tre du sacrifice et de la sainte orgie !
On pourra comparer cette traduction avec celle du poe te Leconte de Lisle,
qui nous a gratifie d 'une version en prose de la quasi-totalite des Hymnes orphiques (Paris, 1869).
En ce qui concerne la bibliographie, peu de lacunes sont a signaler. Je
mentionnerai tout au plus une e tude sur l 'harmonie du monde et l ' Hymne
orphique n 34 a Apollon (B. M. Palumbo Stracca, Harmonia Mundi in
Orph. Hy. 34 Quandt , Studi italiani di filologia classica 17/2 [1999], p. 177194), qui semble avoir e chappe a l 'attention d 'A.-F. Morand. J 'ajouterai encore la contribution de M. Hopman-Govers, intitule e Le jeu des e pithetes
dans les Hymnes orphiques , parue dans la revue Kernos 14 (2001), p. 35-49.
Cette etude est la version remanie e d 'un expose presente dans le cadre du
colloque Coralie (Cornell, Harvard, Lausanne) organise par Claude Calame a l 'Universite de Lausanne en mai 2000 sur le the me de La figure
d 'Orphe e et les poemes orphiques et dont quelques communications ont
ete publiees dans le numero de la revue Kernos mentionne ci-dessus. A.-F.
Morand y est remercie e pour ses suggestions, mais elle-me me ne semble pas
avoir eu le temps d 'integrer ce titre dans la bibliographie de son ouvrage. La
dernie re livraison de la revue Kernos (15 [2002]) signale en outre un article
consacre a deux epicle ses divines, dont la premie re, monogonos ou monogenes, interesse directement les Hymnes orphiques : J. Mart|nez de Tejada y
Garaizabal, Dos epetitos divinos en la epigraf| a tesalia , dans Tyq fili`yq

ta`de dw
ra. Miscelanea lexica en memoria de Conchita Serrano (Emerita,
Manuales y Anejos XLI), Madrid, 1999, p. 151-156.
Je note enfin que, compte tenu du genre et de la forme litte raires adoptees
dans ce recueil poe tique, on aurait souhaite qu 'A.-F. Morand tire davantage
d 'elements d 'interpretation de la metrique et de la prosodie des Hymnes,
dont les jeux sonores sont par ailleurs bien e tudie s. Quant a l 'acquis princi tudes, il est de confirmer avec autorite ce que d 'aucuns avaient
pal de ces E
mis en doute, a savoir le caractere orphique de ces Hymnes, qui, adresses a
des divinites atteste es dans d 'autres sources apparente es, expriment par des
circonvolutions poe tiques che res au chantre thrace et a ses epigones l 'unite
du divin sous la multiplicite de ses manifestations.
En conclusion, je crois pouvoir affirmer que cet ouvrage aux qualite s methodologiques indeniables projette sur les Hymnes orphiques un eclairage
nouveau, susceptible d 'inspirer d 'autres recherches, a son auteur comme a
d 'autres spe cialistes.
J.-M. R


onick, April D., Voices of the Mystics. Early Christian

Discourse in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient






Press (Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Supplement Series, 157), 2001, 191 p. ISBN 1-84127-190-X.
vangile canoPeu de textes paleochretiens sont aussi intrigants que l 'E
vangile apocryphe selon Thomas (ci-apres Jn et EvTh).
nique selon Jean et l 'E

comptes rendus


Depuis la de couverte, en 1945-46, du codex de Nag Hammadi contenant une

version copte de l ' EvTh venue completer l 'ide e qu 'on pouvait s 'en faire a
partir des seuls fragments de papyrus en langue grecque connus jusque-la
plusieurs savants se sont interroge s sur les rapports de ce texte avec les e vangiles canoniques. Certains sont convaincus de l 'inde pendance totale de ce recueil de logia a l 'egard des e crits du Nouveau Testament (J. D. Crossan),
d 'autres sont persuades du contraire (J. P. Meier), et d 'autres encore envisagent des liens et des contacts plus subtils et nuance s (J.-D. Kaestli). L 'auteur de Voices of the Mystics, connue pour son pre cedent ouvrage intitule
Seek to See Him : Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas, Leiden, Brill [Vigiliae Christianae Supplement 33], 1996), s 'inscrit, sans en avoir
peut-etre pleinement conscience, dans ce de bat.
Apres avoir pose les fondements me thodologiques de son approche (ch.
1) fondements emprunte s pour l 'essentiel aux the ories rhetoriques de l 'intertextualite elle en vient a brosser le tableau d 'une mystique de l 'ascension ce leste de l 'ame et de la vision de Dieu dans l 'Antiquite (ch. 2), pour
montrer ensuite (ch. 3) que la communaute johannique s 'est e rige e contre
des conceptions auxquelles les communaute s thomasiennes avaient adhere (ch. 4). Jn y repondrait en de veloppant une autre forme de mystique,
fondee sur la seule expe rience de la foi et de ses exigences (ch. 5). Enfin, la
controverse qui ressort de Jn et de l 'EvTh ne prend pas fin, selon l 'auteur,
au premier sie cle, mais se prolonge au-dela, comme l 'attestent des e crits tels
vangile du Sauveur, l 'Apocryphon de Jacques,
que la Predication de Jean, l 'E
l 'Ascension d 'Isa|e et le Dialogue du Sauveur, qui sont abordes dans le
sixieme et dernier chapitre de l 'ouvrage. Une bibliographie et des index biblique, apocryphe, gnostique et autres clo
turent le volume.
La the se centrale selon laquelle le quatrie me evangile refleterait une pole mique avec les valeurs des communaute s thomasiennes , telles qu 'on peut
les reconstituer a partir de l 'EvTh et d 'autres textes apocryphes, n 'est pas
nouvelle (cf. R. Bultmann), mais elle me semble reformule e de facon originale et stimulante. L 'opposition que l 'auteur de cele dans la conception du
salut permet de rendre compte de certains de tails du quatrieme evangile, notamment du portrait de l 'apo tre Thomas. L 'episode dans lequel ce dernier
affiche le plus grand scepticisme a reconna|tre Jesus dans la personne qui se
presente aux apotres apres la crucifixion (Jn 20, 24-29) est connu de tous.
Thomas, que la tradition appellera par la suite l 'incredule, demande a voir
pour croire. On se souvient de la re ponse que l 'auteur du quatrie me evangile
met dans la bouche de Je sus : Parce que tu me vois, tu crois. Heureux ceux
qui croiront sans avoir vu (Jn 20, 29). Selon A. DeConick, cette pe ricope,
qui doit etre appre hendee dans l 'e conomie globale du quatrieme evangile (et
non, comme on le fait parfois, hors de son contexte, auquel cas on en trahirait la signification), prend tout son sens si l 'on tient compte de la dimension
dialogale ou discursive qui sous-tend l 'e vangile tout entier et qui, de voile e, met en lumiere l 'opposition entre les repre sentants de deux groupes
religieux antagonistes, cette opposition portant donc essentiellement sur une
certaine conception du salut : la visio Dei, recherchee par les communaute s
thomasiennes en phase avec le mysticisme juif et les mode les de pensee helle nistiques (hermetisme, religions a mystere), face a la seule exigence de la foi
defendue par la ou les communaute s johanniques. Pour inte ressante et stimulante qu 'elle soit, cette ide e ne peut sans doute pas expliquer Jn dans son
entier et l 'on peut se demander s 'il est justifie de vouloir le reduire a un de bat polemique entre communaute s religieuses. Par ailleurs, je ne suis pas su r
que le jargon the orique et me thodologique du premier chapitre soit indispensable pour comprendre la the se de l 'auteur.
Comme c 'est souvent le cas avec les chercheurs ame ricains, le style de notre auteur est simple, clair et agre able. L 'ouvrage se lit en effet comme un roman a intrigues. Une fois la proble matique et les enjeux theoriques poses, le


comptes rendus

lecteur est porte par le sujet et ne peut contenir son desir d'en savoir plus et
de poursuivre sa lecture. Mais, comme on le constate tout aussi frequemment avec les chercheurs d'outre-Atlantique, notre auteur a tendance a negliger les travaux des specialistes europeens. Non qu'elle les ignore tous, car
elle mentionne et utilise les approches methodologiques des theoriciens europeens de la litterature et de la rhetorique tels Propp et Greimas ou
les etudes devenues classiques sur des points precis comme les ecrits de
Bultmann sur la tradition synoptique ou la these de doctorat de F. Morard
sur l'histoire du mot
mais elle oublie en revanche de faire appel
aux travaux les plus recents sur des textes pseudepigraphiques et apocryphes
qu'elle exploite dans son enquete. Je pense notamment aux travaux d'E. Norelli sur l'
, parfois meme meconnus de certains Europeens (
, Bologne, 1994;
. I-II, Turnhout, Brepols [Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphorum 7-8], 1995) ou ceux de J.-D. Kaestli sur
( L'utilisation de l'
dans la recherche actuelle
sur les paroles de Jesus , dans D. Marguerat, E. Norelli, J.-M. Poffet [eds.],
, Geneve, Labor et Fides [Le Monde de la Bible, 38], 1998, p. 373-395) et sur les
(avec E. Junod,
. I-II, Turnhout, Brepols [Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphorum 1-2], 1983), et bien d'autres encore, dont il serait
fastidieux d'etablir la liste dans le cadre de ce compte rendu. A propos de
, on fera remarquer en outre que l'auteur en fait un document judeo-chretien dans son commentaire (p. 66), mais le classe parmi les
apocryphes et pseudepigraphes de l'Ancien Testament dans son index
(p. 181). Ce flottement reflete bien les difficultes posees par un texte dont les
formes litteraires le rapprochent des pseudepigraphes de l'Ancien Testament,
alors que son contenu theologique est nettement chretien. Norelli a bien montre, dans sa these comme dans d'autres contributions, qu'il s'agit d'un pur
produit du christianisme ancien, meme s'il se refere et a pour titre le nom d'un
prophete d'Israe l. Les recherches sur la litterature pseudepigraphique en general ont revele qu'il ne faut pas interpreter a la lettre le titre de ces ecrits, meme quand il figure dans les manuscrits, car leur contenu et leur genre litteraire
sont parfois assez eloignes de ce que le titre seul donne a penser.
Hormis quelques fautes de frappe, specialement dans les citations d'ouvrages en langues franc aise et allemande, le livre d'April DeConick est
confectionne avec soin et merite d'etre lu.
J.-M. Roessli

Ascension d 'Isa| e

L 'Ascensione di Isaia. Studi su un apocrifo al crocevia dei cristiane-


Ascensio Isaiae

vangile de Thomas


Jesus de Nazareth. Nouvelles approches d 'une e nigme

Actes de Jean

Acta Iohannis

Ascension d 'Isa|e

Salzman, Michele Renee,

Cambridge (MA) & Londres, Harvard University Press,
2002, xiv + 354 p. ISBN 0-674-00641-0.

The Making of a Christian Aristoc-

racy. Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire,

Pour quelles raisons l'aristocratie romaine s'est-elle convertie au christianisme? Cette conversion a-t-elle change le christianisme? Et, inversement,
l'aristocratie a-t-elle change en se ralliant au christianisme? Ces questions
classiques, lourdes d'enjeux ideologiques et delicates a traiter, n'ont pas fini
de passionner les historiens de l'Antiquite tardive, notamment en Angleterre
et aux Etats-Unis. Michele Salzman se range clairement dans la prestigieuse
tradition anglo-saxonne qui privilegie l'histoire sociale et elle n'ignore rien
des travaux de ses devanciers (en premier lieu A. Cameron, J. Matthews, T.
D. Barnes, A. H. M. Jones, P. Brown). L'originalite et la valeur de son travail sont liees a la methode suivie et a la documentation examinee: l'enquete,
qui porte sur l'aristocratie senatoriale d'Occident entre les annees 284 (regne

comptes rendus


de Diocle tien) et 423 (mort d 'Honorius), se fonde en bonne partie sur la biographie de 414 personnages appartenant a cette classe senatoriale ; les trois
quarts de ce groupe sont des hommes et un peu plus de la moitie des chre tiens.
M. Salzman releve que ses predecesseurs ont eu tendance a proposer des
explications generales sur la base de cas particuliers (Ambroise, Symmaque,
Marius Victorinus, Me lanie l 'Ancienne, Me lanie la Jeune, Monique, Paula)
auxquels ils ont attribue un caracte re exemplaire. En historienne rigoureuse,
soucieuse de re duire autant que possible la part de l 'arbitraire, elle se propose de ve rifier leurs hypotheses et conclusions sur une base documentaire
aussi large que possible. Les resultats qu 'elle obtient fournissent, sur des
points importants, d 'inte ressants correctifs et des e lements nouveaux. Il appara|t ainsi que la recherche a jusqu 'a present surevalue le ro
le de certains
facteurs dans la conversion de l 'aristocratie : l 'influence exerce e par les empereurs, par les re seaux sociaux, par les relations familiales (les mariages
mixtes sont en effet tout a fait exceptionnels). Il appara| t aussi que le probleme de l 'adoption du christianisme par l 'aristocratie se natoriale ne se pose
pas dans les memes termes selon les pe riodes et surtout selon les lieux : un romain, membre d 'une tre s vieille famille senatoriale, avait moins de raisons et
plus de difficulte s a se convertir au christianisme qu 'un membre de la nouvelle aristocratie provinciale, par exemple en Espagne ou dans le sud de la
De facon generale, la conversion de l 'aristocratie se natoriale, si elle a e te




impe rial






appara| t

comme un lent processus marque dans un premier temps par une de saffection des pa|ens a l 'egard de leurs propres institutions ; a cet egard, Symmaque est tout sauf un personnage repre sentatif. Ce desinte ret ira de pair
avec une convergence croissante des aristocrates pa| ens et chretiens dans
leur facon de concevoir leur vie, de conduire leur carrie re, d 'exercer leurs
charges et responsabilite s. Salzman souligne a ce propos le ro le joue par
l 'idee de la nobilitas (distinction, appartenance par naissance a une classe superieure) dans les cercles aristocratiques de l 'e poque. Le christianisme valorisera cette ide e en lui faisant subir une mutation : la ve ritable nobilitas se
marque et s 'accomplit dans une vie chre tienne vouee a la vertu et a la saintete. Cette valorisation de la nobilitas qu 'illustre la celebre formule de Je ro
me dans son oraison fune bre de Paula : Paula, noble par la race, mais
bien plus noble par la saintete favorisera la conversion de l 'aristocratie
occidentale au christianisme en meme temps qu 'elle modifiera le christianisme en l ' aristocratisant .
. J



Kate, The Virgin and the Bride. Idealized Woman-

hood in Late Antiquity, 2nd ed., London / Cambridge (MA),

Harvard University Press, 1999, 180 p. ISBN 0-674-93950-6.


Pourquoi les chretiens ont-ils exalte la virginite et pourquoi, vers la fin du

siecle, les Romains ont-ils adopte cet ideal ? Pour repondre a ces ques-

tions, Kate Cooper commence par analyser la promotion de l 'affection

conjugale aux premiers temps de l 'Empire ; elle y de cele une vise e sociale,
car, en temoignant de l 'affection pour leur femme, les honestiores se montraient aptes a exercer le pouvoir pour le bien de leur cite . Elle assigne cette
meme vise e aux romans helle nistiques, ou la reunion finale des amants longuement separe s lui appara|t comme un gage du maintien de l 'ordre social.
Elle montre ensuite comment, tout en adhe rant largement au mode le de
l 'affection conjugale, les chre tiens ont de veloppe une rhe torique de la virginite pour affirmer leur supe riorite morale ; cette rhetorique s 'exprime no-

comptes rendus


tamment dans les Actes apocryphes qui de crivent l 'e clatement du couple










comprendre des lors que de grandes familles romaines en soient venues a

partager un ideal aussi subversif ? Ce qui a joue , selon Cooper, c 'est essentiellement le


de la virginite, qui leur donnait un surcro| t de respecta-

Au fil des pages, on se laisserait facilement griser par l 'allant de la de monstration si l 'analyse des textes n 'e tait biaisee par un pre juge reducteur, a
savoir que les conduites sexuelles qui y sont pre conisees cachent en realite
des enjeux de pouvoir : The preaching of continence appears in these texts,
but as a cipher... What we have in the Apocryphal Acts is an interest not in

per se


but in the threat to established autority... (p. 57).




pre cisement,



s 'interesse

qu 'aux recits ou des femmes, touchees par la parole de l 'apo tre, repoussent
les avances de leurs maris, comme si les re cits encratites n 'envisageaient pas
aussi d 'autres cas de figure. Ce parti pris s 'explique dans la mesure ou , selon
elle, les Actes ont adopte la forme des romans pour en subvertir l 'ide ologie :
the rejection of the romance 's ideal of passionate marriage was also a response to the romance 's call for renewal of the city (p. 52). Or, cette assertion est problematique a plus d 'un egard. Tout d 'abord, les romans ou les
Actes forment-ils des ensembles aussi homoge nes que Cooper l 'imagine ?
Ensuite, les romans sont-ils bien a celebration of sexuality in the service of



55) ?




de couvrir


stress on fertility (p. 56), alors qu 'il y est si peu question d 'enfants ? Tout
ce qu 'on y apprend en effet, c 'est que Daphnis et Chloe , fide les a la vie rustique qu 'ils ont toujours mene e, firent teter a leurs enfants les pis d 'une che vre et d 'une brebis (cf. IV, 39) et que, sur le point de retourner a Syracuse,
Callirhoe laissa a Milet, aux soins de Denys, son pe re putatif, le fils qu 'elle
avait concu de Che reas (cf. VIII, 5) ! Ou comment peut-elle y de celer encore
une incitation a l 'evergetisme, quand le pe re de Chloe rappelle, pour justifier
l 'exposition de sa fille, qu 'il avait alors dilapide tout son bien en chore gies
et trierarchies (IV, 35) ? Enfin, les Actes apocryphes sont-ils vraiment, a
l 'inverse des romans, a denigration of sexuality in the service of a challenge
to the establishment (p. 55) ? Peut-on se rieusement assimiler les apo tres a
des agitateurs cherchant a destabiliser la socie te

a leur profit

? N 'auraient-ils

pas e te eux-memes fort etonne s d 'apprendre qu 'en promettant la resurrection a ceux qui auront mene une vie pure, ils voulaient seulement voir how
the established relations of power could be undermined (p. 61) ? Pour e tablir la visee subversive des

Actes de Pierre

en particulier, ou des femmes,

exaltees par la predication sur la chastete , se se paraient de leurs maris

(ch. 34), Cooper recourt d 'ailleurs a un argument incongru, en rappelant
que la gre ve du sexe organise e par Lysistrata avait de ja un but politique !
Seulement qui d 'autre a jamais perc u la moindre affinite des

Actes de Pierre

avec la comedie d 'Aristophane ?

force de pre ter aux Actes une visee subversive, Cooper en vient d 'ailA
leurs a commettre certains contresens. Ainsi, toujours a propos des


Actes de

, 34, elle soutient qu 'en repoussant leurs maris, les femmes voulaient

protester contre leur unwillingness to recognize the apostle 's preaching as

a gift to the city rather as a challenge to (their) own authority (p. 50),
comme si leur refus n 'etait qu 'un moyen de pression (auquel elles auraient
renonce si leurs maris avaient embrasse la continence ?), et non un choix de
vie definitif ! Ou encore, partant du principe que les Actes ont adopte la
forme des romans pour en contester l 'ideologie, elle en vient a ecrire : The
apostle takes the place of the romantic hero, and since by doing so he must
conquer the affections of another man 's wife, it is no wonder that an attempt
is made to establish his lack of interest in sex (p. 49). On se croirait en plein
debat courtois ! En realite, si les Actes ont bien emprunte au roman certains

comptes rendus


elements e rotiques, rien ne permet pour autant de faire de l 'apo tre un rival
en amour du mari e conduit, et meme si, dans les Actes de Paul, il est dit de
Thecle qu 'elle etait aupres de Paul pour ainsi dire lie e a lui par l 'amour
(sundedeme`nyn t storg, ch. 19), on ne saurait oublier qu 'avant me me de
voir son visage, elle avait e te subjuguee par ce qu 'il annonc ait : la continence et la resurrection (ch. 5).
Ceci dit, en notant que the emphasis on the apostle 's continence may in
fact reflect narrative strategy rather than the author 's ascetic commitment
(p. 49), Cooper fait une remarque pertinente dans la mesure ou l 'on considere trop souvent l 'encratisme comme une constante des Actes apocryphes.
Mais, pour soutenir que le renoncement au sexe n 'y est peut-e tre guere plus
qu 'une contingence narrative, n 'aurait-il pas e te plus judicieux de remarquer
que le ke rygme encratite (et non la continence de l 'apo tre !) n 'intervient souvent qu 'au debut des recits de martyres ? Cela permet aussi de comprendre
pourquoi la continence fe minine est particulie rement mise en relief dans les
Actes, me me si des hommes aussi se se paraient du lit de leurs femmes
(Actes de Pierre, 34 ; cf. Actes de Paul, 11s.) : dans la mesure en effet ou la
condamnation de l 'apo tre (ou de l 'he ro|ne dans le cas des Actes de Paul) requerait l 'intervention d 'un personnage haut place , il fallait, pour declencher
sa colere, qu 'il fut atteint dans ce qu 'il avait de plus cher. Bref, me me si le
kerygme encratite provoquait des troubles, je ne crois pas que les apo tres le
proclamaient pour de stabiliser la societe, et meme s 'il fallait conce der a
Cooper que, vers la fin du iv

siecle, de grandes familles chre tiennes ont re-

couru au prestige de la virginite pour accro|tre leur influence sociale (the se

qui en soi n 'a rien d 'invraisemblable), rien ne me laisse soupc onner que les
auteurs des Actes travaillaient secre tement a l 'etablissement d 'un christianisme constantinien.
Il est dommage que les editeurs n 'aient pas saisi l 'occasion de cette re edition de l 'essai de Kate Cooper pour ve rifier les references aux romans, qui
sont parfois approximatives.
Y. Tissot

Mirecki, Paul & Beduhn, Jason (ed.), The Light and the
Darkness. Studies in Manichaeism and its World, Leiden /
Boston / Koln, Brill (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, 50), 2001, 222 p. ISBN 90-04-11673-7.
Ce recueil d 'etudes maniche ennes prend la suite d 'un autre collectif : P.
Mirecki et J. BeDuhn (ed.), Emerging from Darkness : Studies in the Recovery of Manichaean Sources, Leiden, Brill (Nag Hammadi & Manichaean
Studies, 45), 1997. Dans la premie re etude, ( The Metabolism of Salvation :
Manichaean Concepts of Human Physiology , p. 5-37), J. BeDuhn, resumant ici son ouvrage, capital par ailleurs (The Manichaean Body in Discipline and Ritual, Baltimore-Londres, J. Hopkins University Press, 2000), fait
le point sur ce que nous savons des rapports entre corps et a me. Rappelant a
la fois l 'importance du ro le joue par l 'alimentation dans le processus de salut, les rapports etroits liant l 'individu et le cosmos, - le premier n 'e tant tout
compte fait qu 'une parcelle du second -, l 'auteur tient a clarifier, dans cette
etude dense mais explicite, un certain nombre de points : le corps n 'est pas
seulement un instrument du Mal. Certes, il est par nature Matie re. Mais
l 'utilisation qu 'en fait l 'e lu le hausse au rang d 'instrument du Bien : par la
digestion, il participe, comme les Cate chumenes en preparant les repas rituels, a la libe ration des parcelles de Lumie re. Dans la meme perspective,
l 'auteur explique qu 'il faut cesser d 'appliquer au maniche isme un syste me
de pensee qui s 'inspire des the ologies occidentales, en attribuant a l 'ame du

comptes rendus


manicheen un caractere individuel : celle-ci n 'est ni plus ni moins qu 'une parcelle du divin, se paree prematurement de sa matrice et par la -meme souffrante. Elle ne peut etre qu 'une orpheline, tant qu 'elle n 'a pas rejoint cette
Lumiere qui seule lui permet de retourner a sa ve ritable nature en acce dant a
la plenitude de l 'Un. Le processus de salut, me me lorsqu 'il est applique a
l 'ame, reste cependant un proce de extremement concret, dont il convient de
prendre conscience si l 'on veut saisir le maniche isme a la maniere de ses
adeptes d 'alors. De me me, comme l 'explique P. M irecki

dans Mani-

chaean Allusions to Ritual and Magic Spells for Invisibility in the Coptic
Kephalaia (p. 173-180), il faudrait peut-etre remettre en question le rejet
ordinairement attribue aux manicheens des pratiques magiques ; certains
textes, en effet, prouvent qu 'ils en avaient une connaissance approfondie.
L 'article de J. K. C oyle ( Prolegomena to a Study of Women in Manichaeism , (p. 79-92), pose les premiers jalons d 'une e tude qui s 'annonce
d 'un grand interet. Tache difficile cependant, car les sources maniche ennes
sont souvent discretes au sujet des femmes. Cette e tude permettra sans doute
d 'enrichir le dossier, qui a de ja commence a se developper sur la base des
sources anti-maniche ennes ou documentaires gra ce, principalement, aux travaux de M. Scopello ( Julie, manicheenne d 'Antioche , dans Antiquite
tardive 5 [1997], p. 187-209, et Femmes et propagande dans le maniche glise 83 [2001], p. 35-44). La publiisme , dans Connaissance des Peres de l 'E
cation re cente des textes documentaires de couverts a Kellis (I. Gardner, A.
Alcock et W.-P. Funk, Coptic Documentary Texts from Kellis, vol. 1 [Dakhleh Oasis Project, Monograph, 9] Oxford, 1999, recense dans Apocrypha 12
[2001], p. 287-289 constitue en ce domaine un apport fondamental de sources manicheennes.
Le reste du volume s 'attache plus pre cisement aux sources elles-me mes,
que ce soit a leur identification ou a leur reconstitution. Ainsi certains articles sont-ils consacre s a ce que nous apprennent les sources anti-maniche ennes. D 'une e tude sur Didyme l 'Aveugle ( Didymus the Blind 's Knowledge
of Manichaeism , p. 38-67), B. B ennett conclut que Didyme ne posse dait
en realite qu 'une connaissance limite e des theories maniche ennes, et que son
argumentation derive vraisemblablement de celle qu 'Orige ne opposait aux
marcionites. Certains des reproches adresse s par Didyme a des groupes religieux inde termines ne concernent pas, comme on l 'a longtemps cru, les manicheens.










tenebrarum : The Division of Primordial Space in Anti-Manichaean Writers '

Description of the Manichaean Cosmogony (p. 68-78), de re etudier les
sources potentielles de trois auteurs anti-maniche ens : Titus de Bostra, Se vere d 'Antioche et The odoret de Cyr. Selon lui, ces sources ne proviennent
pas d 'une version syriaque du Livre des Ge ants mais d 'un texte grec, ayant
vangile Vivant.
vraisemblablement contenu des extraits de l 'E
Les sources maniche ennes proprement dites ne sont pas en reste. Z. G u-

la sci propose par exemple, dans Reconstructing Manichaean Book Paintings through the Technique of their Makers : The Case of the Work of
Religion Scene on MIK III 4974 Recto (p. 105-127), une analyse me thodique et pre cise d 'un des manuscrits en moyen-perse de Tourfan. Gra ce a cet
examen, l 'auteur parvient non seulement a reconstituer, au moins en partie,
les fragments manquants de la peinture, mais aussi a en analyser la symbolique. Elle montre ainsi qu 'une e tude approfondie des techniques picturales
utilisees par l 'illustrateur permet de reconstruire certaines des parties endommagees d 'un codex, ce qui laisse percevoir tout l 'inte ret d 'une telle approche : s 'il est possible de comprendre la technique de l 'illustrateur, il
devient alors envisageable de saisir ses intentions, voire son appre hension
personnelle des e pisodes qu 'il illustre. Certains textes maniche ens ont egalement pu e tre reconstruits par des rapprochements entre divers manuscrits.
C 'est ainsi que W. S undermann , dans A Manichaean Liturgical Instruc-

comptes rendus


tion on the Act of Almsgiving (p. 200-208), propose une reconstitution,

une traduction et un commentaire d'un fragment en moyen-perse de Tourfan et que P. Zieme, de son cote, rattache plusieurs fragments, qu'il traduit
et commente, dans A Manichaean-Turkic Dispute in Runic Script (p.
209-219), rendant ainsi peu a peu plus coherente notre connaissance des
sources manicheennes.
Notons encore que les lettres de Mani lui-meme, remises au gout du jour
par la decouverte a Kellis de plusieurs extraits coptes, occupent une place
non negligeable dans l'ouvrage. I. Gardner leur consacre un article ( The
Reconstruction of Mani's Epistles from Three Coptic Codices [Ismant elKharab and Medinet Madi] , p. 93-104), dans lequel il tente de definir, a
travers les trois textes coptes qui nous sont parvenus, le style dans lequel
s'exprimait Mani, le contenu global de ses Ep|tres, ainsi que leur fonction.
L'auteur s'interesse egalement, pour etayer ses dires, aux lettres qui nous
sont conservees d'une fac on indirecte, et en conclut que les preoccupations
de Mani, d'apres ses lettres, sont majoritairement d'ordre pastoral ou liees
aux pratiques religieuses. L'etude s'acheve sur un examen, voire une remise
en question, de l'authenticite de l'Ep|tre du Fondement, d'abord, parce que
son nom ne figure nulle part, ni dans la litterature manicheenne, ni chez les
auteurs plus tardifs comme Al-Nad|m, ensuite parce que son contenu, d'ordre cosmogonique, differe radicalement de celui des ep|tres retrouvees a Kellis. D'ou l'hypothese interessante selon laquelle il n'est pas impossible que le
titre ep|tre du Fondement ait ete attribue par les auteurs nord-africains ou
par les ecrivains latins a un ouvrage qui pourrait bien etre l'Evangile vivant...
Concernant les Ep|tres de Mani encore, G. Harrisson et J. BeDuhn, dans
The Authenticity and Doctrine of (Ps.?) Mani's Letter to Menoch (p.
128-172), reexaminent, a la lumiere des etudes les plus recentes, l'authenticite de la Lettre a Menoch, dont l'attribution a Mani avait toujours ete
contestee. Les auteurs reprennent et demontent un a un les arguments de
leurs predecesseurs, et montrent que, grace aux dernieres decouvertes, ces
arguments ne peuvent plus constituer, aujourd'hui, une preuve allant contre
l'attribution de cette ep|tre a Mani. Plus encore, la connaissance que nous
avons a l'heure actuelle du manicheisme et des ep|tres de Mani semble plutot
la confirmer.
Pour conclure, nous sommes ici face a un ouvrage a la fois serieux, bien
argumente, et qui ne craint pas d'aller de l'avant. Les conclusions parfois
surprenantes auxquelles parviennent les auteurs sont toujours etayees par
des preuves solides, et l'ensemble constitue une reelle avancee pour les etudes manicheennes.
C. Louis

Van Oort, Johannes, Wermelinger, Otto & Wurst, Gregor (ed.), Augustine and Manichaeism in the Latin West. Proceedings of the Fribourg-Utrecht Symposium of the
International Association of Manichaean Studies (IAMS) ,
Leiden / Boston / Ko ln, Brill (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, 49), 2001, xi +337 p. ISBN 90-04-11423-8.
Cet ouvrage vise a decrire les relations entre Augustin et le manicheisme,
autour de plusieurs axes: la connaissance du manicheisme qu'avait Augustin, les sources manicheennes d'Augustin autour de quelques grands themes,
quelques donnees manicheennes et enfin le degre de rupture d'Augustin avec
le manicheisme apres sa conversion.
Ce dernier point est aborde en premier. K. Rudolph montre que la
conversion d'Augustin au christianisme n'a pas signifie l'abandon total de

comptes rendus





maniche ennes.









puisque son but est d 'ebaucher, a travers le De Mendacio et le Contra Mendacium, une etude de l 'e loignement d 'Augustin par rapport au maniche isme.
Il examine, a propos des themes du mensonge et de la ve rite, les positions
des manicheens et d 'Augustin et de cele une similitude quant a l 'utilisation
des differents concepts, similitude que l 'on retrouve chez les philosophes
contemporains. Plus loin, M. L


interroge la validite de l 'opi-

clane, qui estime qu 'Augustin serait toujours un maninion de Julien d 'E

cheen malgre sa conversion (aux re ferences donne es en note 1, on peut ajouter J. Lossl, Julian von Aeclanum. Studien zu seinem Leben, seinem Werk,
berlieferung, Leiden, E.J. Brill [Supplements to Vigiseiner Lehre und ihre U
l 'issue
liae Christianae], 2001, en particulier p.129-130 et notes 268-269). A
de cet article, on arrive a la conclusion nuance e que, si la plupart de ces accusations




d 'E






convergence entre Augustin et les Maniche ens, ce qu 'il conside rait comme
dangereux pour la foi.
Les articles suivants traitent des proce des utilises par Augustin dans ses
controverses anti-maniche ennes. I. B

ochet s 'est interessee a l 'unite de l 'u-

vre De utilitate credendi, unite parfois remise en cause. Elle conside re cette
unite comme un fait e tabli et essaie de comprendre son utilite et pourquoi
Augustin a associe deux parties a premiere vue differentes : une sur l 'Ancien
Testament, l 'autre sur la foi. Ell