The Gospel of Nicodemus (2023)


From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
MR James translation and notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924


We do not yet have a genuine critical edition of this book: one by E. von Dobschütz is in preparation for inclusion in the Berlin Corpus of Greek Anti-Niceenian Christian Writers. A summary of the authorities currently available is therefore required.

In his Evangelia Apocrypha, Tischendorf divides the entire Scripture into two parts: (1) the passion story; (2) the descent into hell; and prints each of the following forms: six in total:

1. Part I, Recession A in Greek from Eight Manuscripts and a Latin translation of the Coptic version in the Notes.

2. Part I, Recession B in Greek from three late manuscripts.

3. Part II (Descent into Hell) in Greek from three manuscripts.

4. Part I in Latin, using twelve manuscripts and some old editions.

5. Part II in Latin (A) from four manuscripts.

6. Part II in Latin (B) from three manuscripts.

Tischendorf's text must be characterized as an eclectic text, probably not representing a single lineage, but presenting the book in a readable and undoubtedly correct form as a whole.

Besides the Latin, there are three ancient versions of Part I of considerable importance, namely:

Coptic preserved in an early papyrus in Turin and in some fragments in Paris. Last edited by Revillout in Patrologia orientalis, ix. 2.

Syriac edited by Rahmaui in Studia Syriaca, II.

Armenian edited by F. C. Conybeara in Studia Biblica, IV (Oxford, 1896): He gives a Greek rendering of one manuscript and a Latin rendering of another.

All of these correspond to Tischelldorf's Recession A of Part I: and this must be regarded as the most original form of Acta that we have. Recession B is a late and diffuse treatment of the same matter: it is not fully translated here.

The first part of the book, containing the passion and resurrection story, dates from the fourth century. Its primary purpose is to provide irrefutable testimony of the resurrection. Attempts have been made to show that this is an early date - for example, that it is the Scriptures Justin Martyr meant when in his apology he referred his Gentile readers to the "acts" of Christ's trial, which are in the archives to be preserved by Rome. The truth is that he simply assumed such records must exist. False "acts" of the process were written in the pagan interest under Maximinus and introduced into schools early in the fourth century. Some feel our book was a counterstrike to them.

The Account of the Descent into Hell (Part II) is a supplement to the Acta. It does not appear in any Oriental version, and the Greek copies are rare. It flourished primarily in Latin and was the parent of versions in all European languages.

The central idea, the liberation of the righteous fathers from Hades, is very old. Second-century writers are full of it. The embellishments, the dialogues of Satan with Hades, which are so dramatic, come later, perhaps with the development of the pulpit discourse among Christians. We find them in fourth-century sermons attributed to Eusebius of Emesa.

This second part was formerly called Gnostic, but there is nothing unorthodox about it other than the choice of the names of the two men to tell the story, viz. Leucius and Carinus. Leucius Charinus is the name given by church writers to the alleged author of the Apocryphal Acts of John, Paul, Peter, Andrew and Thomas. In reality, Leucius was only the Soi Disant author of the Acts of John. His name was transferred over time to the other acts, and also (sometimes disguised as Seleucus) to childhood gospels and tales of the Assumption of the Virgin. The original Leucius had nothing to do with any of these. We do not yet know when his name was appended to the descent into hell, nor do we know when the descent was first appended to Acts. I would guess not before the fifth century.



(Absent in some manuscripts and versions).

I Ananias (Aeneas Copt., Emaus Lat.), the protector, of Praetorian rank, learned in the laws, knew from the divine Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ, and drew near to him in faith, and was counted worthy of holy baptism: and I sought the monuments that were made at that time in the time of our Master Jesus Christ, which the Jews deposited at Pontius Pilate, and found the monuments in Hebrew (letters), and by the good pleasure of God I translated them into Greek (letters). the instruction of all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: in the reign of our Lord Flavius ​​Theodosius, in the seventeenth year, and of Flavius ​​Valentinianus, the sixth, in the ninth charge [corrupt: Lat. has the eighteenth year of Theodosius, when Valentinian was proclaimed Augustus, i. e. 425 AD].

All you reading this and translating (or copying) this into other books, remember and pray for me that God be merciful to me and to my sins committed against him.

Peace to those who read and hear these things and to their servants. Amen.

In the fifteenth (al. nineteenth) year of the reigns of Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of the Romans, and of Herod, king of Galilee, in the nineteenth year of his reign, on the eighth of the calendars of April, that is March 25th, in the consulship of Rufus and Rubellio , in the fourth year of the two hundred and second Olympiad, Joseph, who is Caiaphas, is the high priest of the Jews:

These are the things recorded after the cross and passion of the Lord Nicodemus, and handed over to the high priest and the rest of the Jews: and the same Nicodemus set them forth in Hebrew (letters).


1 For the chief priests and scribes that were assembled in council, namely Annas and Caiaphas and Somne (Senes) and Dothaim (Dothael, Dathaes, Datam) and Gamaliel, Judas, Levi and Nephtalim, Alexander and Jairus and the rest of the Jews, and came to Pilate, who accuses Jesus of many deeds, saying: We know this man, that he is the son of the carpenter Joseph, begotten of Mary, and he says that he is the son of God and a king; moreover, it defiles the Sabbaths and would destroy the law of our fathers.

Pilate says: And what is he doing to destroy the law?

The Jews say: We have a law that we shall not heal anyone on the Sabbath; but this man from his evil deeds healed the lame and the bent, the withered and the blind and the paralyzed, the dumb and the demoniac on the Sabbath day!

Pilate said to them, By what evil deeds?

They say to him: He is a magician, and by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he casts out devils, and they are all subject to him.

Pilate said to them: This shall not cast out devils by an unclean spirit, but by the god Asclepius.

2 The Jews say to Pilate: We ask your Majesty that he appear before your judgment seat and be heard. And Pilate called them to him and said, Tell me, how can I, as governor, interrogate a king? They say to him: We do not say that he is a king, but he says it himself.

And Pilate called the messenger (cursor) and said to him: Let Jesus be brought hither, but with gentleness. And the messenger went out, and when he saw Jesus, he worshiped him, and taking the cloth that was on his hand, spread it on the ground, and said to him, Lord, go hither and come in, for the governor is calling you. And when the Jews saw what the messenger had done, they called on Pilate and said, Why did you not call him to come in by a herald, but by a messenger? for the messenger, when he saw him, worshiped him and spread his kerchief on the ground and made him walk on it like a king!

3 Pilate called the messenger and said to him, "Why did you do this and spread your shawl on the ground and let Jesus walk on it?" The messenger said to him: Sir Governor, when you sent me to Alexander in Jerusalem, I saw Jesus sitting on a donkey, and the children of the Hebrews were holding branches in their hands and crying out, and others spread their clothes under him and said: save! Well, you who stand on high. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

4 The Jews cried out and said to the messenger, The children of the Hebrews cried out in Hebrew, How did you get it in Greek? The messenger said to them: I asked one of the Jews and said: What are they calling out in Hebrew? and he laid it out for me.

Pilate said to them: And how did they call out in Hebrew? The Jews say to him: Hosannamembrome barouchamma adonai. Pilate says to them: And the Hosanna and the others, how is it interpreted? The Jews say to him: Blessed be you, who art on high, who comes in the name of the Lord. Pilate said to them: If you yourselves bear witness to the words spoken by the children, what did the messenger sin? and they kept their peace.

The governor says to the messenger: Go and bring him in as you wish. And the messenger went out and did as before, and said to Jesus, Lord, come in! The governor is calling you.

5 When Jesus came in and the flags held up the standards, the standards bowed down and worshiped Jesus. And when the Jews saw the flag-wagons bowing down and worshiping Jesus, they cried out exceedingly against the flags. But Pilate said to the Jews, "Do not marvel that the statues bow down and worship Jesus. The Jews say to Pilate: We saw how the flags made them bow and do obeisance to him. And the governor called to the ensigns and said to them, Why did you do this? They say to Pilate: We are Greeks and ministers of the temple, and how can we show homage to him? for while we were holding the statues, they bowed down and worshiped him.

6 Then Pilate said to the rulers of the synagogue and to the elders of the people, Pick out good and strong men for yourselves, and have them hold the standards, and let us see whether they bow. And the elders of the Jews took twelve strong and able men, and made them hold six standards, and they were set before the governor's judgment seat; and Pilates said to the messenger, Take him out of the judgment hall (praetorium) and bring him back in as you will. And Jesus went out of the judgment hall, he and the messenger. And Pilate called to him those who had previously held the statue, and said to them, I swore by the safety of Caesar that I would cut off your heads if the standards did not bow when Jesus came in.

And the governor commanded Jesus to come in the second time. And the messenger did as before, and besought Jesus greatly that he might walk in his kerchief; and he went on and entered. And when he entered, the standards lowered again and worshiped Jesus.


1 When Pilate saw this, he was afraid and wanted to rise from the judgment seat. And while he was still thinking of rising up, his wife sent to him, saying: Have you nothing to do with this righteous man, for I have suffered much at night because of him. And Pilate called all the Jews to him and said to them, "You know that my wife fears God and prefers the customs of the Jews with you? They say to him: Yes, we know. Pilate said to them: Behold, my wife sent to me, saying, Have you nothing to do with this righteous man; for I have suffered much at night because of him. But the Jews answered and said to Pilate, Have we not told you that he is a magician? behold, he sent a dream vision to your wife.

2 And Pilate called Jesus to him and said to him, What do these testify against you? don't you speak But Jesus said: If they had not had power, they would not have spoken; for every man has power over his own mouth to speak good or evil; they will take care of it.

3 The elders of the Jews answered and said to Jesus, What shall we see? First, that you were born of fornication; second, that your birth in Bethlehem was the cause of the murder of children; third, that your father Joseph and your mother Mary fled to Egypt because they did not trust the people.

4 Then some of those who stood by, devout men of the Jews, said, We do not say that he came from fornication; but we know that Joseph was betrothed to Mary and was not born of fornication. Pilate said to those Jews who said that he came from fornication: This speech of yours is not true, for there were marriages, as these also say, who are of your people. Annas and Caiaphas say to Pilate: All of us cry out that he was born of fornication, and we are not believed; but these are proselytes and disciples of his. And Pilate called Annas and Caiaphas and said to them, What are proselytes? They say to him: They were born of Greeks and now they have become Jews. Then those who said he was not born of fornication, themselves Lazarus, Asterius, Antony, Jacob, Amnes, Zenas, Samuel, Isaac, Phinees, Crispus, Agrippa and Judas said: We were not born proselytes (are not Greeks, Kopt. ), but we are children of Jews and speak the truth; for verily we were present at the marriage of Joseph and Mary.

5 And Pilate called to him those twelve men who said that he was not born of fornication, and said to them, I adjure you by the safety of Caesar, is it true what you said, that he was not born of fornication ? They say to Pilate: We have a law which we do not swear because it is sin. But swear on the safety of the Emperor that it is not as we said, and we shall be liable to death. Pilate says to Annas and Caiaphas: Do you not answer these things? Annas and Caiaphas say to Pilate: These twelve men are believed who say that he was not born of fornication, but the whole multitude of us cry out that he was born of fornication and is a magician, saying that he is the son of God is and a king, and we are not believed.

6 And Pilate commanded the whole crowd to go out, and saved the twelve men, who said that he was not born of fornication, and he commanded Jesus to be separated. And Pilate said to them: For what reason do they want to kill him? They say to Pilate: They are jealous because he heals on the Sabbath day. Pilate says: Do they want to kill him for a good work? You say to him: Yes.


1 And Pilate was indignant and went out of the courtroom and said to them, I call on the sun as a witness that I find no fault in this man. The Jews answered and said to the governor: If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you. And Pilate said: Take him and judge him according to your law. The Jews said to Pilate: It is not lawful for us to kill anyone. Pilate said: Has God forbidden you to kill and permitted me?

2 And Pilate went back into the judgment hall and called out Jesus and said to him, Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered and said to Pilate, Are you saying this about yourself, or have others told you about me? Pilate answered Jesus: Am I also a Jew? Your people and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world; for if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have fought, that I should not be handed over to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here. Pilates said to him: Are you then a king? Jesus answered him: You say that I am a king; For I was born and came that all who are of the truth may hear my voice. Pilates speaks to him: What is truth? Jesus said to him: The truth is from heaven. Pilate says: Isn't there truth on earth? Jesus speaks to Pilate: You see how those who speak the truth are judged by those in authority on earth.


1 And Pilate left Jesus in the courtroom and went out to the Jews and said to them, I find no fault in him. The Jews say to him: This man said: I can destroy this temple and rebuild it in three days. Pilate says: Which temple? The Jews say: That which Solomon built in forty-six years, but which this man says he will destroy and build in three days. Pilate said to them: I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man. watch. The Jews say: His blood be on us and on our children.

2 And Pilate called the elders, the priests, and the Levites, and said to them secretly, Do not do it! For there is nothing worthy of death that you have accused him of, for your charge concerns healing and desecration of the Sabbath. The elders and the priests and Levites say: If anyone blasphemes against Caesar, is he worthy of death or not? Pilate says: He is worthy of death. The Jews say to Pilate: If anyone is worthy of death if he blasphemes against Caesar, that man has blasphemed against God.

3 Then the governor ordered all the Jews to come out of the judgment hall, and he called Jesus and said to him, What shall I do with you? Jesus said to Pilate: Do what is given to you. Pilate says: How was it given? Jesus says: Moses and the prophets foretold my death and resurrection. Now the Jews secretly asked and heard it, and they said to Pilate, What need do you need to hear further of this blasphemy? Pilate saithunto to the Jews: If this word is blasphemy, take him because of his blasphemy and bring him into your synagogue and judge him according to your law. The Jews say to Pilate: It is in our law that if a man sins against a man, he is worthy to receive forty welts, save one; but whoever blasphemes against God should be stoned to stone.

4 Pilate said to them, Take him and take vengeance on him as you wish. The Jews say to Pilate: We want him to be crucified. Pilate says: He does not deserve to be crucified.

5 When the governor looked around at the crowd of Jews who were standing by, he saw many Jews weeping and said, Not all the crowd want him to be killed. The elder of the Jews said: All our people should come here for this purpose, so that he might be put to death. Pilate says to the Jews: Why should he die? The Jews said: Because he called himself God's Son and King.


1 But a certain man, Nicodemus, a Jew, came and stood before the governor and said: I beg you, good (pious) lord, ask me to say a few words. Pilate speaks: Speak on. Nicodemussaith: I said to the elders and priests and Levites and to all the multitude of Jews in the synagogue, Why are you quarreling with this man? This man is doing many and marvelous signs, which no man has done and will not do: leave him alone and plan no evil against him: if the signs he does are of God they will stand, but if they are of people are, she will come today. For verily Moses, when sent from God to Egypt, did many signs which God had commanded him to do before Pharaoh king of Egypt; and there were certain men servants of Pharaoh, Jannes and Jambres, and they also did not a few signs, of which Moses did, and the Egyptians considered them gods, even Jannes and Jambres, and while the signs they did not were from God, they perished, and also those who believed in them. And now let this man go, for he is not worthy of death.

2 The Jews say to Nicodemus, You became his disciple and speak on his behalf. Nicodemus said to them, Has the governor also become his disciple, to speak for him? Did not Caesar appoint him to this dignity? And the Jews raged and gnashed their teeth against Nicodemus. Pilate said to them: Why do you gnash your teeth at him when you have heard the truth? The Jews say to Nicodemus: May you receive his truth and his share. Nicodemus says: Amen, amen, may I receive it as you said.


1 One of the Jews came forward and asked the governor to say a word. The governor says: If you have something to say, keep talking. And the Jew said: Thirty-eight years I lay in pain on a bed, and at the coming of Jesus many demoniacs and demoniacs were healed of various diseases, and some (faithful) young men took pity on me and carried me with my bed and brought me to death him; and when Jesus saw me, he had compassion and said a word to me: Take up your bed and walk. And I took my bed and left. The Jews say to Pilate: Ask him on what day he was healed?The healed says: On the Sabbath. The Jews say: Didn't we tell you that he heals on the Sabbath and casts out devils?

2 And another Jew stood up and said: I was born blind; I heard words but saw no one's face; and as Jesus passed by, I cried out with a loud voice, Have mercy on me, O son of David. And he took pity on me and put his hands on my eyes, and I immediately saw. And another Jew came forward and said: I was bent, and he straightened me with a word. And another said, I was a leper, and he healed me with a word.


And a certain woman named Bernice (Beronice Copt., Veronica Lat.) called from afar and said: I had a bruise and touched the hem of his robe, and the flow of my blood stopped, which I had for twelve years. The Jews say: We have a law that a woman shall not come to bear witness.


And some others, even a crowd of men and women, cried out and said: This man is a prophet, and the devils are subject to him. Pilate spoke to them, saying: The devils are his subjects. Why weren't your teachers also subject to him? They say to Pilate: We do not know. Others also said: He raised the dead Lazarus from his grave four days later. And the governor was afraid, and said to the whole multitude of Jews, Why is innocent blood shed?


1 And he called to himself Nicodemus and the twelve men, who said that he was not born of fornication, and said to them, What shall I do, for there is an uproar among the people? They say to him: We don't know, should they take care of it. Again Pilate called the whole crowd of Jews to him and said: You know that you have a custom that at the feast of unleavened bread I should release a prisoner for you. Now I have in prison a condemned prisoner, a murderer named Barabbas, and also this Jesus who stands before you, in whom I find no fault: whom do you want me to set free? But they cried: Barabbas. Pilate says: What then shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ? The Jews say: He shall be crucified. But some of the Jews answered: You are no friend of Caesar if you let this man go; for he called himself the Son of God and King: so you will have him as king and not Caesar.

2 And Pilate was angry and said to the Jews, Your people are always rebellious and rebel against your benefactors. The Jews say: Against what benefactors? Pilate says: As I have heard, your God brought you out of Egypt from harsh bondage and carried you safely through the sea as if on dry land, and fed you with manna in the wilderness and gave you quails and water for you drink from a rock and gave you a law. And with all these things you angered your god and sought a molten calf and angered your god and he wanted to kill you. And Moses prayed for you, and you were not killed. And now you accuse me of hating the king (emperor).

3 And he got up from the judgment seat and was about to go out. And the Jews cried out and said: We know our king, even Caesar, and not Jesus. For indeed the wise men brought him gifts from the east as to a king, and when Herod heard from the wise men that a king was being born, he sought to kill him, and when his father Joseph heard this, he took him and his mother and her fled to Egypt. And when Herod heard it, he destroyed the children of the Hebrews who were born in Bethlehem.

4 And when Pilate heard these words, he was afraid. And Pilate silenced the crowd, because they were still crying, and said unto them, Is it then that Herod sought? The Jews say: Yes, he is. And Pilate took water and washed his hands before the sun, and said, I value the blood of this righteous man. Again the Jews cried out: His blood be on us and on our children.

5 Then Pilate commanded the veil to be drawn from before the judgment seat on which he was sitting, and said to Jesus, Your people have convicted (accused) you as king; therefore I decreed that you should first be scourged according to the law, the pious emperor, and then hanged up on the cross in the garden where you were taken; and let Dysmas and Gestas, the two criminals, be crucified with you.


1 And Jesus went out of the judgment hall, and the two criminals with him. And when they came to the place, they stripped off his clothes and girded him with a linen cloth and put a crown of thorns on his head; likewise they also hanged the two evildoers. But Jesus said: Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing. And the soldiers divided his garments among them.

And the people stood and looked at him, and the chief priests and the rulers with them mocked him, saying, He has saved others, let him save himself; if he is God's son, [let him come down from the cross]. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming and offering him vinegar with gall; and they said: If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.

And Pilate, after the judgment, commanded his indictment for a title to be written in Greek and Latin and Hebrew letters, according to the utterance of the Jews, that he was the king of the Jews.

2 And one of the hanged criminals [named Gestas] spoke to him, saying: If you are the Christ, save yourself and us. But Dysmas, who answered, rebuked him, saying: 'Being in the same condemnation, do you not fear God at all? and indeed we rightly so, for we receive due reward for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said to Jesus: Remember me, Lord, in your kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Truly, truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.


1 And it was about the sixth hour, and darkness lay over the land until the ninth hour, for the sun grew dark, and the veil of the temple was rent in the middle. And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said: Father, baddach ephkid rouel, which is translated: Into your hands I commend my spirit. And having said that, he gave up the ghost. And when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God and said, This man was righteous. And all the multitudes that had come to see the sight, when they saw what had happened, beat their breasts and returned.

2 But the centurion told the governor what had happened, and when the governor and his wife heard this, they were very angry and neither ate nor drank that day. And Pilate sent the Jews, and said unto them, Have ye? do you see what happened? But they said: It was an eclipse of the usual kind.

3 And his acquaintances and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood afar off and saw this. But a certain man named Joseph, who was a counselor in the city of Arimathea, who was also himself awaiting the kingdom of God, this man went to Pilate and begged for the body of Jesus. And he took it off and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in a hewn grave where no man had ever lain.


1 When the Jews heard that Joseph had asked for the body of Jesus, they searched for him and for the twelve men who said that Jesus was not born of fornication, and for Nicodemus and many others who had appeared before Pilate and his had proclaimed good works. But they all hid themselves, and Nicodemus was seen only by them, for he was a ruler of the Jews. And Nicodemus said to them, How did you get into the synagogue? The Jews say to him: How did you get into the synagogue? for you are in alliance with him, and his portion will be yours in the life to come. Nicodemus says: Amen, amen. In the same way Joseph also came forward and said to them, Why are you angry with me because I asked for the body of Jesus? Behold, I laid it in my new tomb, after wrapping it in clean linen, and rolled a stone over the cave door. And you did not treat the righteous well, for you did not repent when you crucified him, but also pierced him with a spear.

But the Jews seized Joseph and commanded him to be taken to safety until the first day of the week, and they said to him, Know that the times let us do nothing against you, because the Sabbath is coming; but you knew that you will not have burial, but we will give your flesh to the birds of the air. Joseph saith unto them, This is the word of Goliath, the boaster, who reviled the living God and holy David. For God said through the prophet: Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, says the Lord. And now, behold, one who was uncircumcised but circumcised in heart took water and washed his hands before the sun, and said, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. And you answered Pilate and said, His blood be with us and with our children. And now I fear that the wrath of the Lord will come upon you and your children, as you said. But when the Jews heard these words, they became bitter in soul, and seized Joseph and took him and locked him in a house where there was no window, and guards stood at the door, and they sealed the door of the place where Joseph locked was high.

2 And on the Sabbath day the rulers of the synagogue, the priests, and the Levites ordered that all men should appear in the synagogue on the first day of the week. And the whole crowd arose early, and took counsel in the synagogue by what death they should put him to death. And when the council was appointed, they commanded it to be brought in with great shame. And when they opened the door, they didn't find him. And all the people were amazed and amazed, for they found the seals closed, and Caiaphas had the key. And they no longer dared lay hands on those who had spoken for Jesus before Pilate.


1 And while they were still sitting in the synagogue marveling at Joseph, some of the guard whom Pilate had asked the Jews to guard Jesus' tomb came, lest his disciples come and steal him. And they spoke and told the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites what had happened: how there was a great earthquake, and we saw an angel coming down from heaven, and he rolled away the stone from the entrance of the cave, and sat down on it. And it shone like snow and like lightning, and we were very afraid and lay there like dead people. And we heard the voice of the angel speaking to the women who were waiting at the tomb, saying, Fear not, for I know that you are seeking Jesus who was crucified. He is not here: he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay, and go quickly and tell his disciples that he rose from the dead and is in Galilee.

2 The Jews say: With which women did he talk? They from the guard say: We don't know who they were. The Jews say: What time was it? They say from the guard: At midnight. The Jews say: And why did you not take the women? They of the Watch say: We have been frightened to death, and we have hoped not to see the light of day; then how could we take them? The Jews say: As the Lord lives, we do not believe you. Those of the guard say to the Jews: You saw so many signs in that man and you did not believe, how can you believe us? verily you swear with justice "as the Lord liveth," for he truly lives. Again they say of the guard: We heard that you silenced him that asked for the body of Jesus, and that you climbed up the door; and when you opened it, you did not find him. So give yourselves to Joseph and we will give you Jesus. The Jews say: Joseph left for his own city. Those of the guard say to the Jews: Jesus is also risen, as we heard from the angel, and he is in Galilee.

3 And when the Jews heard these words, they were greatly afraid, and said, See to it that this report is not heard, and that all men bow to Jesus. And the Jews took counsel, and deposited much money, and gave it to the soldiers, saying, Say: While we were sleeping, his disciples came at night and stole him. And when that comes to the governor's hearing, we'll convince him and secure you. And they took the money and did as they were commanded. [And this speech of hers was published abroad among all people. Latin]


1 A certain priest named Phinees, and Addas, a teacher, and Aggaeus (Ogias Copt., Egias lat.), a Levite, came to Jerusalem from Galilee and told the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites, saying, We have Jesus and his seen disciples were sitting on the mountain called Mamilch (Mambre or Malech lat., Marech Copt.), and he said to his disciples: Go into all the world and preach to all creatures (to all creation): Whoever believes and himself baptized, he will be saved; but whoever disbelieves will be condemned. [And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out devils, they will speak with new tongues, they will take serpents, and if they drink anything deadly it will not harm them; they will lay hands on them sick and they will recover.] And while Jesus was still speaking to his disciples, we saw him taken up into heaven.

2 The elders and the priests and the Levites say: Honor the God of Israel and confess to him: Did you really hear and see what you said to us? Those who told them say: As the Lord God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lives, we have heard these things, and we have seen how he was taken up into heaven. The elders and the priests and the Levites say to them: Have you come for this purpose to tell us, or have you come to pay your vow to God? And they say: To pay our vows before God. The elders and the chief priests and the Levites say to them, If you have come to fulfill your vows before God, what is the use of this gossip that you spoke before all the people? Phinees the priest and Addas the teacher and Aggaeus the Levite say to the rulers of the synagogue and to the priests and Levites: If these words which you have spoken and seen are sins, behold we are before you: do to us what is in your heart eyes seems good. And they took the book of the law, and sworn them not to speak these words to man again, and they gave them food and drink, and brought them out of the city; and they gave them money and three men to take with them, and they set them on the way to Galilee, and they went on in peace.

3 When these men had gone off to Galilee, the chief priests and the rulers of the synagogue and the elders in the synagogue assembled and shut the gate and mourned with great lamentation, saying, What is this sign that has come in? Israel? But Amlasand Caiaphas said: Why are you troubled? why are you crying? Don't you know that his disciples gave plenty of gold to those who kept the tomb and taught them to say that an angel came down and rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb? But the priests and the elders said: Be it that his disciples stole his body; but how did his soul enter his body, and how does he dwell in Galilee? But they could not answer these things, and in the end they hardly said: We are not lawful to believe the uncircumcised. [lat. (and Copt. and Arm.): Should we believe the soldiers that an angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb? but in truth his disciples gave . . . Dig. Do you not know that it is not lawful for the Jews to believe a word of the uncircumcised, knowing that those who have received much good from us have spoken as we taught them.]


And Nicodemus stood up and stood before the council and said, You say it well. Do you not know, O people of the Lord, the men who came down from Galilee, that they fear God and are men of substance, hate covetousness (a lie, lat.), men of peace? And they told you with an oath, saying: We saw Jesus on Mount Mamilch with his disciples, and that he taught them everything that you heard from them, and, they say, we took him up into heaven seen. And no one asked her how he was received. For as the Book of Holy Scriptures taught us, Elijah was also taken up into heaven, and Eliseus cried out with a loud voice, and Elias threw this hairy cloak over Eliseus, and Eliseus threw the cloak over the Jordan and crossed over and went to Jericho . And the sons of the prophets met him and said, Eliseus, where is Elijah your master? and he said he was taken up into heaven. And they said to Eliseus, Didn't a spirit take him away and throw him onto one of the mountains? but let us take our servants with us and look for him. And they persuaded Eliseus, and he went with them, and they searched for him three days and did not find him, and they knew that he was caught up. And now listen to me and let us send to all the coasts (al. mountains) of Israel and see whether the Christ was not taken up by a spirit and thrown onto one of the mountains. And this word pleased them all: and they sent to all coasts (mountains, Latin) and looked for Jesus and did not find him. But they found Joseph in Arimathea, and no one dared lay hands on him.

2 And they told the elders and the priests and the Levites, saying, We went about all the coasts of Israel and did not find Jesus; But we found Joseph in Arimathea. And when they heard of Joseph, they rejoiced and gave glory to the God of Israel. And the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites took counsel together how to meet Joseph, and they took a notebook of paper and wrote these words to Joseph:

Peace be with you. We know that we have sinned against God and against you, and we have prayed to the God of Israel that you would allow yourself to come to your fathers and to your children (lat. But you have prayed to the God of Israel, and he has you redeemed from our hands. So now you bail, etc.) for we are all troubled, because when we opened the door we did not find you: and we know that we have devised evil counsel against you, but the Lord hath you helped. And the Lord himself has destroyed (scattered) our counsel against you, Father Joseph, honorable among all people.

3 And they chose from all Israel seven men who were friends of Joseph, whom Joseph himself considered his friends, and the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites said to them, Behold, when he receives our letter and reads it, then know that he will come with you, but if he does not read it, know that he is angry with us and greet him in peace and return to us. And they blessed the men and let them go.

And the men came to Joseph, and did him homage, and said unto him, Peace be upon thee. And he said: Peace be with you and with all the people of Israel. And they gave him the book of the letter, and Joseph took it and read it and embraced (or kissed) the letter and blessed God and said, Blessed be the Lord God, who hath redeemed Israel from the shedding of innocent blood; and blessed be the Lord who sent his angel and kept me under his wings.

4 And they rose up early and prayed, and Joseph saddled his donkey and went with them, and they came to the holy city, which is Jerusalem. And all the people came to meet Joseph and cried out: Peace be upon your entry. And he said to all the people, Peace be upon you, and all the people kissed him. And the people prayed with Joseph, and marveled at the sight of him.

And Nicodemus received him into his house and made a great feast and called Annas and Caiaphas and the elders and the priests and the Levites to his house. And they made merry eating and drinking with Joseph. And when they had sung a hymn (or praised God), every man went to his house. But Joseph dwelt in the house of Nicodemus.

5 And in the morning, that was the preparation, the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites got up early and came to the house of Nicodemus, and Nicodemus met them and said, Peace be to you. And they said: Peace be upon you and Joseph and all your house and all the house of Joseph. And he brought her to his house. And all the council was convened, and Joseph sat between Annas and Caiaphas, and no one dared speak a word to him. And Joseph said: Why did you call me? And they beckoned to Nicodemus to speak to Joseph. And Nicodemus opened his mouth and said to Joseph: Father, you know that the venerable physicians and the priests and the Levites seek to learn something from you. And Joseph said: Ask! And Annas and Caiaphas took the book of the law, and swore to Joseph, saying, Give glory to the God of Israel, and confess him, and hide not a word from him; that's why you don't hide a word from us. And Joseph: I will not hide a word from you.] And they said to him: We were very angry because you asked for the body of Jesus and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in a tomb. And for this reason we protected you in a house without windows, and we put keys and seals on the doors, and guards guarded the place where you were locked. And on the first day of the week we opened it and did not find you, and we were greatly troubled, and astonishment fell on all the Lord's people until yesterday. So now tell us what happened to you.

6 And Joseph said, On the day of Preparation about the tenth hour you shut me up, and I stayed there all the Sabbath. And at midnight, as I stood and prayed, the house where Jasper lifted me up was taken from the four corners, and I saw as if it were a flash in my eyes, and in terror I fell to the ground. And they took me by the hand and removed me from the place where I fell; and wet water flowed over me from my head to my feet, and a smell of ointment filled my nostrils. And he wiped my face and kissed me and said to me: Fear not, Joseph! Open your eyes and see who it is that is talking to you. And I looked up and saw Jesus, and I trembled and thought it was a spirit, and I spoke the commandments and he spoke them to me. And [how] ye are not ignorant that when a spirit meets a man and hears the commandments, it flees at once. And when I realized that he was saying them with me, I said to him: Rabbi Elias? And he said to me: I am not Elijah. And I said to him, Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus, whose body you asked Pilate for, and clothed me in clean linen, and covered my face with a handkerchief, and laid me in your new cave, and rolled a great stone on the door of the cave. And I said to the one who spoke to me: Show me the place where I laid you. And he brought me and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen cloth was in it and the handkerchief that was on his face. And I knew it was Jesus. And he took me by the hand and put me in the middle of my house with the doors shut, and laid me on my bed and said to me, Peace be upon you. And he kissed me and said to me, Until the end of forty days do not leave your house; for behold, I am going to my brethren in Galilee.


1 And when the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites heard these words of Joseph, they became as dead, and fell to the ground, and fasted until the ninth hour. And Nicodemus with Joseph comforted Annas and Caiaphas and the priests and the Levites, saying, Get up, and get up and eat bread and strengthen your soul, for tomorrow is the Lord's sabbath. And they arose and prayed to God, and ate and drank, and went each one to his house.

2 And on the Sabbath the (all our) teachers and the priests and Levites sat and questioned one another, saying, What is this wrath that has come upon us? for we know his father and his mother. Levi, the teacher, says: I know that his parents feared God and did not hold back their vows and paid tithing three times a year. And when Jesus was born, his parents brought him to this place and offered sacrifices and burnt offerings to God. And [when] the great teacher Symeon took him in his arms and said: “Now let thy servant go, Lord, in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples, a light that shines on the Gentiles and the peoples, the glory of your people Israel. And Symeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, I bring you good news of this child. And Mary said: Good, sir? And Symeon said to her: Good. Behold, he is appointed for the fall and resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against; and a sword will also pierce through your own heart, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

3 They say to Levi the teacher, How do you know? Levi said to them, Do you not know that I learned the law from him? The Council says to him: We want to see your father. And they sent after his father and asked him, and he said to them, Why did you not believe my son? the blessed and righteous Symeon, he taught him the law. The council says: Rabbi Levi, is the word that you spoke true? And he said: It's true.

Then the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites said to one another, Come, let us send to Galilee to the three men who came and told us of his teaching and his reception, and let them tell us how they saw him have high. And this word pleased them all, and they sent the three men who had previously gone with them to Galilee, and said to them: Speak to Rabbi Addas and Rabbi Phinees and Rabbi Aggaeus: Peace be to you and to all who are with you Questions have arisen in the Council, we have sent to you to call you to this holy place of Jerusalem.

4 And the men went into Galilee, and found them sitting and pondering the law, and greeted them in peace. And the men of Galilee said to those who came to them, Peace be upon all Israel. And they said: Peace be with you. Again they said to them: Why have you come? And the messengers said: The Council is calling you to the holy city of Jerusalem. And when the men heard that the council had commanded them, they prayed to God, and sat down with the men to eat, and ate and drank, and arose, and came in peace to Jerusalem.

5 And in the morning the council was called into the synagogue, and they examined it and said, Did you really see Jesus sitting on Mount Mamilch, teaching his eleven disciples, and did you see him received? And the men answered them and said, As we saw him taken up, so we told you also.

6 Annas says: Set them apart and let us see if their word is true. And they separated them from one another and first called Addas and said to him, How did you see that Jesus was received? Addas says: While he was still sitting on Mount Mamilch and teaching his students, we saw a cloud overshadowing him and his students: and the cloud carried him up to heaven, and his students were lying (or praying, lying) on ​​theirs faces on earth. And they called Phinees the priest, and questioned him also, and said, How didst thou see that Jesus was received? And he spoke in like manner. And again they asked Aggaeus, and he spoke the same way. And the council said: It is in the law of Moses: Out of the mouth of two or three every word shall be determined.

Abuthem (Bouthem gr., Abudem lat., Abuden, Abuthen Arm., om. kopt.) the teacher says: In the law it is written: Enoch walked with God and is not because God took him. Jaeirusthe teacher said: We too have heard of the death of Saint Moses and have not seen him; for it is written in the law of the Lord: And Moses died by the mouth of the Lord, and his grave was known unto this day. And Rabbi Levi said: Why did Rabbi Symeon, when he saw Jesus, say: Behold, this child is destined for the fall and resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against? And Rabbi Isaac said: It is written in the law: Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, to go before thee, to guard thee in every good way, for my name is named on it.

7 Annas and Caiaphas said, You said correctly what is written in the law of Moses, that no one saw the death of Enoch, and no one mentioned the death of Moses. But Jesus spoke before Pilate, and we know that we saw him receiving beatings and spit on his face, and that the soldiers put a crown of thorns on his head, and that he was scourged and condemned by Pilate, and that he was crucified on the spot became a skull and two thieves with him, and that they gave him vinegar with gall to drink, and that Longinus the soldier pierced his side with a spear, and that Joseph our honorable father begged his body, and that how he says he rose again and that (literally as) the three teachers say: We saw him taken up into heaven, and that Rabbi Levi spoke and testified to what was spoken by Rabbi Symeon, and that he said: Behold this Child is for the fall and resurrection of many in Israel and a sign spoken against it.

And all the teachers said to all the people of the Lord: If this is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes, then surely you will know, O house of Jacob, that it is written: Cursed be everyone who hangs in a tree. And another Scripture teaches: The gods that did not make heaven and earth will perish.

And the priests and the Levites said to one another: If his memorial lasts until the Sommos (Coptic Soum) called Jobel (i.e., the Jubilee), know that he will triumph forever and raise up a new people for himself.

Then the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests, and the Levites exhorted all Israel, saying, Cursed is the man who worships what the hand of man has made, and cursed is the man who worships created things besides the Creator. And all the people said: Amen, amen.

And all the people sang a song of praise to the Lord, saying, Blessed be the Lord, who has given the people of Israel rest after all that he has spoken. Not a single word has spoiled all the good words he spoke to his servant Moses. The Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; he will not leave us. And he shall not prevent us from turning our hearts to him, walking in all his ways, and keeping his statutes and his judgments which he commanded our fathers. And the Lord will be king over all the earth in that day. And there will be a Lord and his name, even the Lord our King: he will save us.

There is none like you, O Lord. Great are you, Lord, and great is your name.

Heal us, O Lord, by Your power, and we shall be healed; save us, Lord, and we shall be saved; for we are your portion and your inheritance.

And the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake, for the Lord has begun to make us his people.

And when they had all sung this hymn, they left every man to his house and glorified God. [For his is the glory, world without end. Amen.]



This scripture, or the gist of it, the story of the descent into hell, was not originally part of Acts. Apart from its setting, it is probably an older document. When it was first attached to Acts is uncertain. The point of this preliminary remark is to say that we have the text in three forms [although only the Latin A text is given. For a full listing of all three texts, see M.R. James Apocryphal New Testament].

.[Part I, Ch. xvi, ends with words of the rulers of the synagogue, &c. All nations will serve him, and kings will come from afar to worship and glorify him. part II, chap. I, runs on fromthis.

Their (XVII)

1 And Joseph got up and said to Annas and Caiaphas, You are truly amazed, because you have heard that after death Jesus was seen alive, and that he ascended into heaven. Even more amazing, however, is that he did not rise from the dead alone, but raised many other dead from their graves, and they have been seen by many in Jerusalem. And now listen to me; for we all know Blessed Simeon, the High Priest, who received the Child Jesus into his hands in the temple. And this Simeon had two sons, blood brothers, and we were all at their falling asleep and at their burial. So go and look at their graves; for they are open, because they have risen, and behold, they are in the city of Arimathea, dwelling together in prayer. And in fact people hear them scream, but they don't speak to anyone, they keep silent like dead people. But come, let's go to them and bring them to us with all honor and kindness, and if we summon them, maybe they'll tell us something about the secret of their resurrection.

2 When they heard this, they all rejoiced. And Annas and Caiaphas, Nicodemus, and Joseph, and Gamaliel went, and did not find them in their tomb, but they went into the city of Arimathea, and found them there kneeling on their knees, devoted to prayer. And they kissed her and, with all reverence and fear of God, brought her to the synagogue in Jerusalem. And they shut the doors and took the law of the Lord and put it in their hands and swore by the god Adonai and the God of Israel, who had spoken to our fathers through the prophets, saying, Believe that it is Jesus who gives you raised the dead? Tell us how you rose from the dead.

3 And when Carinus and Leucius heard this incantation, they trembled in body and groaned, because their hearts were sorrowful. And they looked up together to heaven, and made the seal of the cross with their fingers on their tongues, and immediately they both spoke, saying, Give us each a piece of paper, and let us write down what we have seen and heard. And they gave it to them, and each of them sat down and wrote and said:


1 O Lord Jesus Christ, life and resurrection of the dead (al. resurrection of the dead and life of the living), allow us to speak of the mysteries of your majesty, which you accomplished after your death on the cross, inasmuch as we became of your name summoned. For you have commanded us, your servants, not to betray to anyone the secrets of your divine majesty, which you have created in hell.

Now, as we were set down together with all our fathers, in the darkness of darkness, suddenly there came a golden heat of the sun, and a purple and royal light that shone upon us. And immediately the Father of the whole human race, together with all the patriarchs and prophets, rejoiced and said: This light is the beginning (author) of the eternal light, which has promised to send us its equally eternal light. And Esaias cried, saying, This is the light of the Father, the Son of God, as I prophesied when I lived on the earth: the land of Zebulun, and the land of Nephthalim beyond the Jordan, the Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who live in have walked in darkness have seen a great light, and light has shone on those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death. And now it has come and illuminated us who sit in death.

2 And when we were all rejoicing at the light that shone upon us, our father Simeon came unto us, and he saith unto us with joy: Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; For I took him into my hands in the temple when he was a child, and moved by the Holy Spirit I confessed and said to him: Now my eyes have seen your salvation which you are preparing in the sight of all men have a light to him, shine on the Gentiles, and be the glory of your people Israel. And when they heard these things, the whole multitude of the saints rejoiced even more.

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3 And after this came one like a desert dweller, and everyone asked him, Who art thou? And he answered them and said: I am John, the voice and the prophet of the Most High, who came in anticipation of his coming to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation, and the remission of their sins. And when I saw him coming to me, moved by the Holy Spirit, I said, Behold, behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. And I baptized him in the Jordan River, and saw the Holy Spirit descending on him in the form of a dove, and heard a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And now I have come face to face with him and come down to tell you that he is near to visit us, even at daybreak, the Son of God, who comes to us from on high, which we are in darkness and shadow of death sit.


1 And when father Adam, the first created, heard that Jesus had been baptized in Jordan, he called to Seth his son, and said, Tell thy sons, the patriarchs, and the prophets, that thou hast heard of Michael the archangel , when I sent you to the gates of paradise that you could ask God to send you his angel to give you the oil from the tree of mercy to anoint my body when I was sick. Then Seth approached the holy patriarchs and prophets and said: As I, Seth, prayed at the gates of Paradise, behold, Michael the angel of the Lord appeared to me, saying: I am sent unto thee from the Lord, it is I the placed over the human body. And I say to you: Seth, do not torment yourself with tears, praying and asking for the oil from the tree of mercy, that you may anoint your father Adam for the pains of his body; for you will not be able to receive it except in the last days and times, except when five thousand five hundred (al. 5.952) years have ended: then the most dear Son of God will come to earth to raise up the body of Adam and the bodies of the dead, and he will come and be baptized in Jordan. And when he comes out of the waters of the Jordan, then he will anoint all who believe in him with the oil of mercy, and this oil of mercy shall be for all generations of those who are born of water and of the Holy Spirit forever Life. Then the most beloved son of God, namely Christ Jesus, will descend to earth and bring our father Adam to paradise to the tree of mercy.

And hearing all these things from Seth, all the patriarchs and prophets rejoiced with great joy.


1 And while all the saints were rejoicing, behold, Satan, the prince and prince of death, said to hell: Prepare yourself to receive Jesus, who boasts that he is the Son of God, while being a man who fears death and says: My soul is sad until death. And he was my great enemy, and did me great harm, and many whom I made blind, lame, dumb, leper, and possessed, he healed with a word; and some that I brought to you dead, he took you from them.

2 Hell answered and said to Satan the prince: Who is so mighty, if he be a man that fears death? for all the mighty of the earth are subdued by my power, even those whom you brought me are subdued by your power. So if you are powerful, what kind of man is this Jesus who, though fearing death, resists your power? If he is so mighty in his manhood, verily I say unto thee, he is almighty in his divinity, and no man can resist his might. And when he says that he fears death, he wants to ensnare you, and woe shall be you forever. But Satan, the prince of Tartarus, said: Why do you doubt and fear to accept this Jesus who is your opponent and mine? For I tempted him, and stirred up my ancient people of the Jews with envy and wrath against him. I sharpened a spear to pierce him, I mixed gall and vinegar to give him drink, and prepared a cross to crucify him and nails to pierce him, and his death is near, that I can bring him to you be subject to you and me.

3 Hell answered and said, You told me that it is he who took the dead from me. For there are many who while on earth have taken dead from me, not of their own strength, but by prayer to God, and their Almighty God took them from me. Who is this Jesus who by his own word without prayer drew dead from me? Perhaps it is he who, by the word of his command, brought back to life four days dead and stinking and rotten Lazarus that I kept dead here. Satan, the prince of death, answered and said: It is the same Jesus. When hell heard this, he said to him: I swear by your strength and mine not to bring him to me. For then, when I heard the command of his word, I trembled and was overcome with fear, and all my ministries with me were troubled. We could not keep Lazarus either, but he sprang like an eagle that shook itself, with all agility and speed, and went away from us, and also the earth, which supported the dead body of Lazarus, immediately gave him up alive. So now I know that this man who could do these things is a God, strong in command and mighty in mankind, and that he is the savior of mankind. And when you bring him to me, he will set free all who are locked up here in the harsh prison and bound in the chains of their sins that cannot be broken, and will bring them into the life of his Godhead forever.


1 And as Satan the prince and Hell were speaking this together, suddenly there was a voice as of thunder, and a spiritual cry: Remove, O princes, your gates, and arise, O everlasting gates, and the King of glory shall come in. When hell heard him say to Satan the prince: Leave me and leave my dwelling: If thou art a mighty man of war, fight the king of glory. But what do you have to do with him? And hell drove Satan out of his dwelling. Then hell said to his wicked servants: Shut the hard brass gates and put the bars of iron on them and resist bravely, lest we who are held captive be taken captive.

2 But when all the multitude of the saints heard it, they said to hell with a rebuking voice: Open your gates, that the king of glory may come in, say unto you, let them thank the Lord even his mercies and his wonders upon the sons of men; Who broke down the gates of iron and shattered the bars of iron? he took them out of the way of their iniquity. And afterwards Esaias said in a similar way: Did I not prophesy to you when I was on the earth: The dead shall rise, and those in the graves shall rise, and those on the earth shall rejoice at the dew who is coming of the Lord is their healing? And again I said: O death, where is your sting? O hell where is your victory?

3 When they heard this from Esaias, all the saints said to hell, Open your gates! Now you will be overwhelmed and weak and powerless. And there came a great voice of thunder, saying: Remove, O princes, your gates, and open the gates of hell, and the King of glory shall come in. And when hell saw them cry out twice like this, when he said as if he knew not, Who is the king of glory? And David answered hell, and said: The words of this cry I know, for by his spirit I prophesied the same; and now I tell you what I said before: The Lord mighty and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, he is the king of glory. And: The Lord looked down from heaven to hear the groaning of those in chains and to free the children of the slain. And now, O you most disgusting and stinking hell, open your gates for the King of Glory to enter. And as David thus spoke to hell, the Lord of majesty appeared in human form, and enlightened the eternal darkness, and tore the bonds that could not be loosed: and the help of his eternal power visited us, who were in the deep darkness of our transgressions, and in the shadow of the death of our sins.

6 (XXII)

1 When Hell and Death and their wicked servants saw this, they and their cruel servants were seized with fear when they saw the brightness of so great a light in their own kingdom and suddenly beheld Christ in their dwelling place, and they cried and spoke : We are overwhelmed by you. Who are you, sent from the Lord because of our confusion? Who art thou, without any harm of corruption, and with the signs (?) of thy spotless majesty, condemning our power in anger? Who art thou, so great and so small, both humble and exalted, both soldier and commander, a marvelous warrior in the guise of a servant, and a king of glory dead and alive, whom the cross upon it hath slain? You who lay dead in the grave came down to life, and at your death all creation trembled and all the stars were shaken, and you have become free among the dead and will put our legions to flight. Who art thou that frees the captives bound by original sin and restores them to their former freedom? Who are you that sheds your divine and bright light on those who are blinded by the darkness of their sins? In the same way, all the legions of devils were seized with equal fear, and all together in the terror of their confusion cried out, saying, Whence is this? thou, Jesus, a man so mighty and resplendent in majesty, so excellent, spotless, and clean from sin? For this world of earth, which until now has always been subject to us and paid tribute to our gain, has never sent a dead man like you to us, nor has ever sent such a gift to hell. Who are you, then, who boldly invades our borders and not only does not fear our torments, but also tries to free all people from our chains? Perhaps you are the Jesus of whom Satan, our prince, said that by dying on the cross you should have dominion over the whole world.

2 Then the king of glory in his majesty trampled on death and seized Satan the prince and delivered him up to the power of hell and drew Adam to himself for his own glory.

7 (23)

Then hell received Satan the prince with bitter reproach, and said to him: O prince of perdition and chief of destruction, Beelzebub, the scorn of angels and the spit of the righteous, why will you do this? You wanted to crucify the king of glory and promised us at his death great spoils of his death: like a fool you did not know what you were doing. For behold, this Jesus, by the splendor of his majesty, casts out all the darkness of death, and has broken down the firm depths of prisons, and let out the captives, and set free those in bondage. And all who sighed in our torments rejoice over us, and by their prayers our dominions are defeated and our kingdoms conquered, and now no nation fears us. And besides, the dead who never used to be proud triumph over us, and the captives who could never be happy threaten us. O Prince Satan, father of all wicked and ungodly and apostates, why would you want to do this? They who have despaired of life and salvation from the beginning to this day - now none of their usual roar is heard, nor is there a groan from them in our ears, nor is there a sign of tears on the faces of any of them. O prince Satan, holder of the keys of hell, your riches, which you had gained through the tree of transgression and the loss of paradise, you lost through the tree of the cross, and all your joy perished. When you hanged Christ Jesus, the King of glory, you fought against yourself and against me. From now on you shall know what eternal torments and endless pains you must endure in my care forever. O Prince Satan, author of death and head of all pride, you should have first looked for evil in this Jesus: why without reason have you dared to unjustly crucify him, in whom you are not to blame, and the innocent and innocent in to bring our kingdom to the righteous and to lose the guilty and the ungodly and the unrighteous of the whole world? And when hell had thus spoken to Satan the prince, the king of glory said to hell: Satan the prince shall be in thy power forever in the place of Adam and his children, even those who are my righteous.


1 And the Lord stretched out his hand and said: Come to me, all my saints, who bear my image and likeness. You who were condemned by the tree and the devil and death, behold the devil and death are condemned by the tree. And immediately all the saints were gathered under the hand of the Lord. And the Lord took Adam's right hand and said to him, Peace be upon you with all your children, who are my righteous. But Adam, prostrating himself at the knees of the Lord, besought him with tears and supplications, and said in a loud voice: I will praise you, O Lord, for you have raised me up and not caused my enemies to triumph over me: oh Lord my God I cried out to you and you healed me; Lord, you brought my soul out of hell, you delivered me from those who are going down into the pit. Sing all his saints to the Lord and give thanks for the reminder of his holiness. For in his indignation is wrath, and in his pleasure is life. Likewise, all the saints of God knelt and threw themselves at the Lord's feet and said with one voice: You have come, Redeemer of the world, what you foretold by the law and by your prophets you have accomplished in deeds. You redeemed the living through your cross, and through the death of the cross you descended to save us from hell and death through your majesty. O Lord, as you put the name of your glory in heaven and set up your cross on earth as a sign of salvation, so set up, Lord, the sign of the victory of your cross in hell, lest death have any more dominion.

2 And the Lord stretched out his hand and made the sign of the cross on Adam and on all his saints, and he took Adam's right hand and came up out of hell, and all the saints followed him. Then Saint David cried out loud and said: Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonders. His right hand brought salvation to him and his holy arm. The Lord has made known his saving health, before the face of all nations he has revealed his righteousness. And all the multitude of the saints answered and said, All his saints have such honor. Amen Hallelujah.

3 And after this the prophet Habacuc cried out and said: You came out to save your people, to deliver your chosen ones. And all the saints answered and said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. God is Lord and has shown us light. Amen Hallelujah. In the same way the prophet Micaas also cried out and said: What god is like you, O Lord, who takes away iniquity and removes sins? and now you hold back your anger to testify that you are merciful of your own free will, and you turn away and have mercy on us, you forgive all our sins and have cast all our sins into the depths of the sea as you did swore to our fathers in the olden days. And all the saints answered and said: This is our God for ever and ever; he will be our leader forever. Amen Hallelujah. And so all the prophets spoke and mentioned holy words out of their praises, and all the saints followed the Lord and cried out amen, hallelujah.


But the Lord who held Adam's hand delivered him to Archangel Michael, and all the saints followed Michael the Archangel, and he brought them all to the glory and beauty (grace) of Paradise. And there met with them two men, elders of days, and when they were asked by the saints, Who are ye that have not yet died with us in hell, and have not yet been transferred in body to paradise? Then one of them answered and said: I am Enoch, who was translated here by the word of the Lord, and what is with me is Elijah the Thesbith, who was taken up into a chariot of fire, and to this day we have death not tasted , but we will be taken up to the coming of the Antichrist to fight against him with signs and wonders of God and to be killed by him in Jerusalem and to be taken up again alive on the clouds after three and a half days.


And while Enoch and Elijah were thus conversing with the saints, behold, there came another man of a vile habit, bearing on his shoulders the sign of the cross; When they saw him, all the saints said to him, Who are you? for your appearance is like a robber; and why do you wear a sign on your shoulders? And he answered them and said: You have said rightly, for I was a robber and did all sorts of evil things on earth. And the Jews crucified me with Jesus and I saw the miracles in creation that happened through the cross of Jesus when he was crucified and I believed that he was the creator of all creatures and the almighty king and I asked him and said, Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom. And immediately he accepted my prayer and said to me: Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise, and he gave me the sign of the cross and said: Wear this and go to paradise, and when the angel who watches Don't let yourself enter paradise, show him the sign of the cross; and you shall say to him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is now crucified, hath sent me. And when I had done that, I spoke all these things to the angel who keeps paradise; and when he heard this from me, he immediately opened the door, and brought me in, and sat me at the right hand of Paradise, and said, Behold, delay a little, and Adam, the father of all mankind, shall come in with all his children holy and righteous, after the triumph and glory of the ascension of Christ, the crucified Lord. Hearing all these words of the robber, all the holy patriarchs and prophets said with one voice: Blessed be the Lord Almighty, the Father of eternal goods, the Father of mercies, who gave such grace to your sinners and brought them back to the beauty of paradise and to thy good pastures: for this is the holiest life of the spirit. Amen, amen.


These are the divine and holy mysteries which we saw and heard, even I, Carinus and Leucius: but we were not permitted to narrate the rest of the mysteries of God further, as the archangel Michael had strictly commanded us, saying: You shall go with your brothers in Jerusalem and tarry in prayer and cry out and glorify the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who raised you with him from the dead; and you shall speak to no one, but sit as mute until the hour comes the Lord himself reveals to you the mysteries of his divine head. But for us Michael the archangel commanded that we should go across the Jordan to a rich and fruitful place where there are many who have risen with us to testify of the resurrection of Christ the Lord. Only three days were we, who have risen from the dead, permitted to celebrate the Lord's Passover in Jerusalem with our living relatives (parents), to give a testimony of the resurrection of Christ the Lord, and we were baptized in the holy river of the Jordan and received white robes, each of us. And after the three days, when we had celebrated the Lord's Passover, they were all caught up by the clouds that had risen with us, and were carried across the Jordan, and were no longer seen by man. But we were told to stay in the city of Arimathaea and keep praying.

These are all things that the Lord has commanded us to declare to you: Praise and thanks be to him and repent that he may have mercy on you. Peace be upon you from the same Lord Jesus Christ who is the Savior of us all. Amen.

And when they had finished writing everything in the various volumes of paper, they got up; and Carinus gave what he had written into the hands of Annas and Caiaphas and Gamaliel; likewise Leukius gave what he had written into the hands of Nicodemus and Joseph. And suddenly they were changed and became exceedingly white and were seen no more. But their writings were found to be equal (literally equal), neither more nor less by a letter.

And when all the synagogues of the Jews heard all these wonderful words of Carinus and Leucius, they said to one another: Truly all these things were worked by the Lord, and blessed be the Lord forever, Amen. And they all went out in great distress, beating their breasts for fear and trembling, and went away each one to his own house.

And all these things that were spoken by the Jews in their synagogue, Joseph and Nicodemus immediately announced to the governor. And Pilate himself wrote down everything that was done and said by the Jews about Jesus, and put all the words in the public books of his courtroom (praetorium).

12 (28)

This chapter is not included in most copies.

After this Pilate went into the temple of the Jews and gathered together all the chief priests and teachers (grammaticos) and scribes and teachers of the law and went with them into the sanctuary of the temple and commanded all the doors to be shut, saying to them: We have heard that you have a certain large Bible in this temple; so I ask you to present it to us. And when this great Bible, adorned with gold and precious jewels, was brought by four servants, Pilate said unto them all: I adjure you by the God of your fathers, who commanded you to build this temple in the place of his sanctuary, that you the truth does not hide me. You know all things that are written in this Bible; but tell me now if you have found in the Scriptures that this Jesus whom you crucified is the Son of God who was to come for the salvation of mankind, and in what year of times he must come. Tell me whether you crucified him in ignorance or knowingly.

And Annas and Caiaphas, being thus conjured, commanded all others that wished them to come out of the temple; and they themselves shut all the doors of the temple and sanctuary, and said to Pilate: Thou hast adjured us, O excellent judge, to reveal to thee truth and reason (or a true account) by the building of this temple. After that we had Jesus crucified, not knowing that he was the Son of God, but assuming that he happened to be doing his wonderful works, we held a great assembly (synagogue) in that temple; and as we conferred upon the signs of the mighty deeds which Jesus had done, we found many witnesses of our own nation, saying that they had seen Jesus alive after his suffering, and that he had descended into heaven on high. In addition, we saw two witnesses whom Jesus raised from the dead, who told us many wonderful things that Jesus did among the dead, and which we have in writing in our hands. Now it is our habit that every year before our meeting we open this holy Bible and ask for the testimony of God. And we found in the first book of the seventies how the angel Michael spoke to the third son of Adam, the first man, about the five thousand five hundred years in which the most beloved son of God, namely Christ, was to come, and beyond that we thought that it was perhaps the God of Israel who said to Moses: Make for yourself an ark of the covenant two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide and a cubit and a half high. For by these five and a half cubits we have understood the fashion of the ark of the old covenant, and known that in five thousand and a half thousand years Jesus Christ was to come in the ark of his body, and we have established that he is the God of Israel, even the Son of God. For after his passion we, the chief priests, marveling at the signs that took place according to his account, opened the Bible and searched through all the generations up to the generation of Joseph and Mary, the mother of Christ, and brought them to us be the seed of David: and we found that from the day that God made heaven and earth and the first man, from that time to the Deluge are 2,212 years, and from the Deluge to the building of the tower 531 years: and from the building of the tower to Abraham 606 years, and from Abraham to the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt 470 years, and from the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt to the building of the temple 511 years, and from the building of the temple to the destruction of the same temple 464 years: hitherto we found in the Bible of Esdras: and after the burning of the temple to the coming of Christ and his birth we found that it was 636 years, totaling five thousand and five hundred years It is so, as w ir found it written in the Bible that Michael the Archangel, previously declaring to Seth, the third son of Adam, that after five thousand and a half thousand years, Christ the Son of God, (? should come. So far we have not told anyone, lest there be schism in our synagogues; and now, O excellent Judge, you have adjured us by this holy Bible of God's testimonies, and we declare it to you; and we swore to you by your life and health that you should not proclaim these words to anyone in Jerusalem.

13 (29)

And Pilate, hearing these words from Annas and Caiaphas, placed them all under the deeds of the Lord and Savior in the public books of his courtroom, and wrote a letter to Claudius king of the city of Rome, saying:

[The following epistle or account of Pilate is inserted in Greek into the late Acts of Peter and Paul (40) and the Pseudo-Marcellus Passion of Peter and Paul (19). So we have it in Greek and Latin, and the Greek is used here as the basis of the version.]

Pontius Pilate and Claudius grüßend.

A thing happened the other day which I myself have brought to light (or taken to court): for the Jews, out of envy, have punished themselves and their descendants with dreadful convictions of their own fault; for while their fathers had promised (or announced to them) that their God would send them from heaven his Holy One, who should justly be called their king, and promised that he would send him to earth by a virgin ; he then (or that God of the Hebrews) came when I was governor of Judea, and they saw him illuminating the blind, cleansing the solitary, healing the lame, casting out devils from men, raising the dead, rebuking the winds, walked on the waves of the sea with dry shoes and performed many other miracles, and all the Jewish people called him the Son of God. So the chief priests, being jealous of him, took him and handed him over to me, and brought him false accusation after false accusation that he was a magician, breaking their law.

But I believed that it was so, and after scourging him, I surrendered him to her will. And they crucified him, and when he was buried they put guards over him. But while my soldiers were watching him, he got up again on the third day: But the wickedness of the Jews was so kindled that they gave the soldiers money and said: Say that his disciples stole his body. But they, although they took the money, could not remain silent about what happened, for they too testified that they saw him rise and received money from the Jews. And these things I reportedfor this reason, so that no one else lies to you (lat. so that no one else lies) and you see fit to believe the false stories of the Jews.

Scanned and edited by
Joshua Williams
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995

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