James Hastings.

Dictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) online

. (page 160 of 234)
Online LibraryJames HastingsDictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) → online text (page 160 of 234)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

provisionally to this Egyptian scripture (cf. J. A.
Robinson in Expositor, 5th ser., vi. [1897] 417 f.).

The use made of it by men like Julius Cassianus,
a leader of the Docetic movement who was tinged
with Encratitic tendencies, and Thepdotus, the
Egyptian Valentinian, together with its popular-
ity among Christian circles like the Naassenes and
the Sabellians, t may have contributed to the dis-

* In the context of a passage like Mt 7 22f - ? Practically the
same Logion occurs among the scholia of the HG (cf. above,
p. 492). Does this mean that the Clement quotations go back
to NG, or that the scholia borrowed from 2 Clement, or that
the Logion lay in both NG and EG? Cf. Schmidtke, p. 297 f.

t According to Hippolytus (Philos. v. 7), it was one of the
writings exploited by the Gnostic Naassenes ; according to
Epiphanius (l.xi i . 2), the Sabellians used it (TOV KaXovpivav Aiyw
TI'OU cvayyeAtov) in support of their tenets. Both notices
corroborate the Egyptian provenance of the Gospel. The
Sabellians used it along with the OT and the NT.



favour into which it afterwards fell. Originally
its position relative to the canonical Gospels may
have resembled that of the Gospel according to
the Hebrews. Like the latter and the Gospel of
Peter, it circulated for a while without incurring
any suspicions or hostility on the part of the

Unlike the Gospel of the Hebrews, it seems
neither to have been a translation nor to have
been translated. Kar' Alyvtrriovs does not mean,
' in Coptic ' ; the most probable explanation is
that it denotes a Gospel meant for and used by
the native Egyptian converts, just as ~K.a8"E/3paiovs
meant a Gospel originally designed for the Jewish
Christians of Palestine. It is possible that the
Gospel of the Hebrews reached the Jewish Chris-
tians of Alexandria (Egypt), and that the Gospel
of the Egyptians was so named in order to dis-
tinguish it from its contemporary ; but this is no
more than conjecture, although Atyfomoj is known
to have meant 'provincial' as opposed to 'Alex-
andrian.' Zahn accounts for the title and circula-
tion of the Gospel by supposing that already, as
in later days, the provincial churches of Egypt
did not invariably follow the Alexandrian Church,
and that, while the latter adhered more closely
to the canonical Gospels, the country churches
favoured the native product.* This meets the
requirements of the situation during the later
part of the 2nd cent, as fairly as any other
hypothesis, and may be accepted tentatively as
satisfactory. But there is no reason to suppose
that the Egyptian Gospel only followed in the
wake of the four canonical Gospels. Unfortun-
ately, our knowledge of the origins of Christianity
in Egypt is extremely scanty until the middle
of the 2nd century. There is, further, the lack of
adequate information about the exact contents of
the Gospel of the Egyptians. But if the latter
could be used by the author of a non-Egyptian
document like 2 Clement by the middle of the
2nd cent., the Egyptian Gospel may have been
current e. A.D. 125, if not earlier.

SPECIAL LITERATURE. M. Schneckenburgfer, Ueber das
Evangelium der Aegypter, Bern, 1834 (edition of the Gospel
of the Hebrews, in the interests of an Egyptian Ebionitic sect) ;
Hilgrenfeld, Ketzergesch. des Ifrchristenthums, Leipzig, 1884, p.
546 f. ; D. Volter, Petrusevangelium oder Aegypterevangeliumi
Tubingen, 1893 (cf. ZNTW, 1905, pp. 368-372) ; O. Pfleiderer,
Prim. Christianity, iii., London, 1910, pp. 226-228. It is pos-
sible (cf. Baumstark in ZNTW, 1913, pp. 232-247) that traces
of the use of the Gospel of the Egyptians are to be found in the
Ethiopic ' Testament of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ,'
recently edited by L. Guerrier and S. Gre'baut in Patrologia
Orientalis, ix. 3 [1913] ; and an attempt has been made (by F.
P. Badham and F. C. Conybeare, HJ xi. [1912-13] 805 f.) to
show that, like the ' Ascensio Isaise,' it was read by the Cathars
of Albi.

(d) The Gospel of Peter. The Gospel of Peter
was used, either for private reading or in
public worship, by the Church at Rhossus on the
coast of Syria, not far from Antioch, in the last
quarter or the 2nd cent. Its use appears to
have occasioned some doubt and dispute, however.
Serapion, the bishop of Antioch (A.D. 190-203),
who seems to have been either a casual or a
tolerant person, at first declined to take any steps
in the matter ; he sanctioned the use of the Gospel,
without troubling to examine it carefully. Sub-
sequently, he borrowed a copy from some Docetic
Christians, and discovered that 'although most
of it belonged to the right teaching of the Saviour,
some things were additions.' By the time Eusebius
(HE vi. 12) wrote, it was definitely branded as
illegitimate.t It is doubtful whether Eusebius
knew it at first-hand, and the later allusions to it

* The author is unknown, and no name was ever connected
with it which is one mark of early origin, at any rate of an
origin apart from any special sent or tendency.

t The harsh censure of Eusebius (HE iii. 8) is repeated by
Jerome (de Fir. iiluatr. 1).

are probably borrowed from him. At the same
time, it has to be remembered that the Gospel of
Peter was not obliterated by the episcopal censure
of Serapion. Its circulation was never wide, but
it was tenacious. The Syriac Didascalia (cf.
TU, new ser., x. 2 [1904], p. 324 f.) in the 3rd cent,
and Syriac Jewish Christians as late as the 5th
witness to its existence and popularity (cf. Theod.
Hcer. fabul. ii. 2) * in Syriac ; and the discovery of
the Akhmlm fragment attests its circulation in
Egypt. Still later traces are detected by Usener
(ZNTW, 1902, p. 353 f.), Stocks (ZKG, 1913, p. 3),
and Leipoldt (Geschichte des neutest. Kanons, i.
177 f.).

About A.D. 246 Origen, in his Commentary on
Matthew (x. 17) observes that 'The citizens of
Nazareth (Mt 13 58 ) supposed Jesus was the son of
Joseph and Mary ; as for the brothers of Jesus,
some say they were sons of Joseph by a former
wife who had lived with him before Mary, on the
ground of a tradition in the Gospel entitled icarA
Tltrpov or the book of James.' This tradition, we
now know, existed in the primitive source of the
Protevangelium Jacobi (cf. p. 484). But it does
not follow that it did not also exist in the Gospel
of Peter. If so, that Gospel belongs to our second
class ; and one consideration in favour of this is
the extreme unlikelihood of Peter's name being
specially attached to a Gospel which did not cover
the ministry of Jesus. Till the winter of 1886-
1887 this solitary reference was all that was
known of the Gospel ; but the discovery of an
8th cent, manuscript of fragments of Peter's
Gospel, Peter's Apocalypse, and Enoch in Greek, at
Akhmim in Upper Egypt, revealed more of the
characteristics of this Gospel. Unluckily, the frag-
ment begins and ends abruptly. It opens with
the end of the trial ; Pilate has washed his hands,
but none of the other judges (including Herod)
does so. Herod takes the leading part in what
follows,! the aim of the author being to exculpate
the Romans and emphasize the responsibility and
guilt of the Jews. In the story of the Crucifixion
one of the malefactors reproaches not his fellow-
criminal but the Jewish by-standers, who retaliate
by leaving his legs unbroken in order to prolong
his agony. It is at this point that the Docetic and
semi-Gnostic tendencies of the writer begin to
show themselves. On the Cross the Lord 'was
silent, as having no pain ' ; his last cry is, ' My
Power, my Power, hast thou forsaken me ? ' When
His dead body is lowered to the ground, there
is an earthquake. The Jewish mob and their
authorities then J repent, crying, ' Alas for our
sins ! the judgment, the end of Jerusalem, is
nigh ! ' At this point the author brings Peter on
the scene. ' I and my companions grieved, and,
struck to the heart, we hid ourselves, for we were
being sought for by them [i.e. the Jews] as male-
factors and as intending to set fire to the temple.'
Meantime Pilate has the tomb guarded, at the
request of the Jews. The author then ventures
to describe the 'There was aloud

* But Theodoret's evidence is not above suspicion. How
could 'Nazarene' Jewish Christians make so anti-Jewish a
book their favourite Gospel t Theodoret's reference, like several
other references of the same kind, may be to a different volume
from our ' Peter.'

t But it is difficult to understand why the writer did not
draw material for his anti-Jewish representation from the
vain appeals of Pilate to the Jews, or from their deliberate pre-
ference of Barabbas to Jesus. Perhaps these were noted in
sections which have not been preserved.

t This is inconsequent ; but here as elsewhere the fragment
does not seem to have preserved the true order of the text.
Or, possibly, it has omitted connecting material.

This Gospel, like the Protevangelium Jacobi and thelOospel
of the Twelve, is definitely pseudonymous.

II On the connexion between what follows and the Jewish
doctrine of the heavenly Adam, see Stocks' essay In NKZ, 1902,
p. 302 f., ib. 1903, p. 628 f. The Cross probably symbolizes the
soul of Jesus (see. further, p. 600).



voice in heaven, and they [i.e. the sentries] saw
heaven opened and two men descending thence,
with a great light, and approaching the tomb.'
The boulder at the opening moves of its own accord,
the two figures enter, and the astonished soldiers
(including the centurion and the elders) ' see three
men coming out of the tomb, two supporting the
third, and a Cross following them ; the heads of
the two reached as far as heaven, but the head of
the One whom they escorted was higher than the
heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens
saying, " Hast thou preached to them that sleep ? "
And from the Cross the answer came, "Yes."'
The next vision is that of a man descending from
heaven and entering the sepulchre. The party of
soldiers and Jews then retreat, and agree to say
nothing about what they have seen. The following
paragraph describes how Mary Magdalene took
her friends on the morning of Sunday to wait at
the tomb. They find a comely youth inside [ = the
man who had entered ?] ; he tells them that the
Lord has risen to heaven [there is no Ascension],
and they fly in terror. The fragment then breaks
off abruptly : ' Now it was the last day of Un-
leavened Bread, and many went away home, since
the feast was over; but we, the twelve disciples
of the Lord, wept and grieved. Each left for
home, grieved at what had occurred ; but I,
Simon Peter, and Andrew my brother, took our
nets and went to the sea, and with us were Levi
the son of Alphseus, whom the Lord . . .'

According to ' Peter,' there are no Resurrection
appearances to the women or to the disciples in
Jerusalem. The fragment breaks off on the edge
of what seems to be an account of some appearance
at the Sea of Galilee to Peter, Andrew, Levi (and
some others ?). This would tally with the appear-
ance preserved in the appendix to 'John,' only, in
' Peter ' it would be an appearance of the Ascended
Christ, for the word of the young man (angel) to
the woman at the tomb is, ' he has risen and gone
away to where he was sent from ' (dirtcrtdXij, i.e.
from heaven, as in Lk 4**, where Mark s ^\0ov, i.e.
from Capernaum, is changed into direordXijj' , i. e. from
heaven). A further idiosyncrasy is the apparent
length of interval between the Resurrection and the
flight of the disciples from Jerusalem to Galilee.
Did the writer really mean that a week elapsed ?
Or is his description due to chronological in-
accuracy ?

Whether the terminus ad quern for the com-
position of the Gospel can be carried back earlier
than the last quarter of the 2nd cent, depends
upon the view talien of its relation to Justin Martyr.
It had been already conjectured by Credner and
others that the Gospel of Peter might be one of the
apostolic memoirs used by Justin, and this con-
jecture seems corroborated by the Akhmlm frag-
ment, which apparently supplies the basis for the
references in Apol. i. 35 (the seating of Jesus on
the PTJ(JM), i. 40 ( ' The Spirit of prophecy foretold . . .
the conspiracy formed against Christ by Herod, the
king of the Jews, and the Jews themselves, and
Pilate . . . with his soldiers'), and possibly i. 50,
as well as in Dial. 103 (where Herod is termed ' a
king'), Dial. 97 (\axp-t> /SdXXoirej the phrase in
' Peter '), and Dial. 108. Upon the whole, this
dependence of Justin upon the Gospel of Peter
seems preferable (so,e.g., Harnack, von Soden.Lods)
to the alternative hypothesis of von Schubert and
J Stan ton (Gospels as Hist. Documents, i. [1903] 93 f.,
103 f.) that the coincidences between the two are
j due to the use of a common source, viz. the Acts of
j Pilate, an official report of the trial of Jesus pur-
porting to have been drawn up by the procurator
and perhaps underlying the references in the later
Acta Pilati and in Tertullian.

This fixes the date of the Gospel's composition
VOL. i. 32

approximately within the first quarter of the second
century. The terminus a quo depends upon the
view taken of its dependence on the canonical
Gospels. Those who find in it traces of all four
as if the writer knew them and employed them
indifferently, quoting perhaps from memory, to
suit his own dogmatic ends naturally place the
Gospel c. A.D. 125 as a very early attempt to employ
the canonical traditions in the interests of a Gnostic
propaganda. The dependence on Mark and even
Matthew is, we think, to be granted. The coinci-
dences between ' Peter ' and Luke and John (cf.
Lods, op. cit. 18 f.) are not quite so clear.* There
is room still for the hypothesis that ' Peter ' repre-
sents a popular, early type of the inferior narratives
which Luke desired to supersede. At several points
' Peter' marks the same line of development which
recurs in Luke and John, and as a composition from
Syrian Antioch, with which the traditions of Luke
and John are independently connected, it may even
be conjectured to have arisen within the 1st cen-
tury. To a modern reader, a comparison of its
text with those of Luke and John seems at first
sight to put its dependence on them beyond doubt.
But doubts recur as soon as we recollect that the
specific traditions which for us exist primarily in
Luke and John were already in existence, at least
orally, and that touches which are extant in litera-
ture in these canonical Gospels for the first time
must have been current decades earlier. Take,
for example, a piece of evidence like that of the
' garden ' of Joseph. ' Peter ' mentions this. The
Fourth Gospel also does. Therefore, it is assumed,
'Peter' used the Fourth Gospel. Why? It is
surely illogical for those who believe that this
formed part of the authentic tradition to assume
that the only access to it was through the text of
a Gospel at the very end of the 1st century. And
even apart from this, such a tradition may have
been easily known orally decades before it was
committed to writing.! The evidence generally
alleged for the dependence of ' Peter ' upon Luke
and John must be sifted in the light of this con-
sideration, and also with a desire to avoid the
mistake of supposing that inferior traditions are
invariably later, chronologically, than the written
forms of what is more authentic. ' Peter,' like the
Gospel of the Hebrews, is in danger of being read
in the light of an uncritical assumption that the 1st
cent. A.D. saw nothing but the circulation of good
traditions about the life of Jesus, that the canonical
Gospels swept up all of these into their pages, and
that the uncanonical Gospels represent invariably
the later, fantastic efforts of a generation which
had to make up by the exercise of its imagination
for the lack of sound materials.

The traces of Gnostic speculation confirm the
hypothesis of a date early in the 2nd cent, if
not within the 1st. They are too incipient and
nai've to be described as related to the system of
Valentinus ; neither the personification of the
Cross nor the allusion to Christ's Divine Power is
much more than the popular setting of ideas which
form the basis for the doctrines attacked in the
First Epistle of John and in Ignatius. ' Peter ' is
not the attempt of a Gnostic theorist to work over
the canonical texts in the interests of Docetism or

As soon as the Akhmlm fragment was published,

* ' Peter,' e.g., introduces Herod among the Judges of Jesus.
So far he agrees with the tradition followed by Luke, but then
he calls Herod ' the king,' whereas Luke corrects this (Q 7 ) Marcan
term ((i 14 ) at an earlier stage, and never uses it in the Passion

t Even apart from the possibility of common written sources,
the factor of oral tradition must be estimated if we are not here,
as in the Synoptic problem, to be misled by the juxtaposition of
printed texts with hypotheses which are ultra-literary and



it was conjectured by some critics that the Akhmim
fragment of the Apocalypse of Peter might also be
a part, or an elaboration of part, of the Gospel.
The Apocalypse contains a vision of two righteous
saints in heaven granted to the twelve on ' the
mountain,' with a special revelation, granted to
Peter alone, of hell. A similar problem emerges
(cf. p. 504) in connexion with the so-called
' Gospel of Bartholomew.' The dividing line
between Apocalypses and Gospels of our third class
is naturally wavering, and if on other grounds it
could be established that the Gospel of Peter was
originally a Gospel of the Death and Resurrection,
there would be less improbability about the con-
jecture that the Petrine Apocalypse and the
Petrine Gospel were either the same work, to begin
with, or organically related.

Repeated attempts have been made to connect
this Gospel with material extant in other quarters.
Volter (cf. p. 496) actually identifies it with the
Gospel of the Egyptians ; Harnack suggests that
the Pericope Adulterae originally belonged to it ;
and H. Stocks (ZKG, 1913, pp. 1-57) argues that
lost fragments of it are embedded in Asc. Is. xL
2-22, iii. 13 b -iv. 18 (the latter passage describes,
inter alia, how the Beloved appeared on the third
day sitting on the shoulders of Gabriel and Michael,
who had opened the tomb).

The remarkable phrase about Jesus feeling no
pain (wj nySlv irbvov tx uv ) on the Cross ought perhaps
to be taken in the light of the description of tne
heroic Blandina amid her tortures (/?5 ahrOijffiv
UTI TUV ffv^a.iv6vT<av fyovo-a dia TTJV e\iri5a KT\., Eus.
HE v. 1. 56).

SPECIAL LITERATURB. The Akhmim fragment, first published,
six years after its discovery, by U. Bouriant in Mimoirespubliet
par les membres de la mission archtologique francaise au Caire
ix. 1 (Paris, 1892), 137-147, with a photographic reproduction
(ib. ix. 3, 1893, p. 217 f.), led to a series of critical editions by O.
von Gebhardt (Das Evangelium und die Apokalypse des Petrut,
Leipzig, 1893); A. Lods* (L'Eoangile et V apocalypse de Pierre
. . . avec un appendice sur les rectifications a apporter au texte
gree du lime d'Henoch, Paris, 1893) ; H. von Schubert t (Die
Composition des pseudo-petri nischen Evangelienfragments, Ber-
lin, 1893) ; Zahn (Das Enangelium des Petrus, Erlangen and
Leipzig, 1893) ; Harnack (T17 ix. 2, Leipzig, 1893, pp. 8 f., 23 f.) ;
J. Kunze (Das neuaufgefundene Bruchstiick des sogen. Petrut-
evangelium, do., 1893) ; P. Lejay (in REG, 1893, pp. 69-84, 267-
270) ; van Manen (Het evangelie van Petrut. Tekst en Vertaling,
Leiden, 1893) ; and Semeria (in RB, 1894, pp. 522-660). English
editions by J. A. Robinson and M. R. James (The Gospel
according to Peter and the Revelation of Peter^, London, 1892) ;
H. B. Swete (The Apocryphal Gospel of St. Peter. The Greek
text of the newly discovered fragment*, London, 1893 ; also,
EiroyyeAiov KO.TO. Herpov. The Akhmim fragment of the Apoc-
ryphal Gospel of S. Peter edited with an introduction, notes,
and indices, London, 1893); the Author of 'Supernatural
Religion ' (The Gospel according to Peter, London, 1894) ; and A.
Rutherfurd (Ante-Nicene Chr. Lib. ix., Edinb., 1897, pp. 3-31,
with J. A. Robinson's tr.). Critical studies by A. Sabatier
(L'Evangile de Pierre et les evang. canoniques, Paris, 1893);
A. Hilgrenfeld (ZWT, 1893, p. 439 f.); von Soden (ZTK, 1893,
pp. 52-92); V. H. Stanton (JThSt il [1900-01] Iff.); Volter
(ZSTW, 1905, p. 368f.) ; K. Lake (The Resurrection of Jesus
Christ, London, 1907, pp. 148f., 177 f.); and C. H. Turner
(JThSt riv. [1912-13] 161 ff.).

(e) The Gospel of Basilides. In Alexandria
Basilides and his school maintained their apostolic
succession along two lines. They claimed as their
authority for doctrine Glaucias, the interpreter of
Peter (Clem. Strom, vii. 17. 4), and they circulated
an edition of the Gospel or Gospels which had been
prepared in their own interests. This is the so-
called ' Gospel of Basilides,' though the title (Kara
Ba<ri\ldT)i>) was of course due to his opponents.

There seems no reason to doubt the accuracy of
Origen's reference to a Gospel of Basilides, which
that distinguished Egyptian Gnostic must have
composed before the middle of the 2nd cent.

* Besides an earlier study, Evangelii secundum Petrum et
Petri Apocalypseos qua gupersunt . . . cum latina versione et
dissertations eritiea, Paris, 1892.

t A smaller pamphlet by this writer (Dot Petnuevangelium.
Synoptische Tabelle nebst Uebersetzung und kritischem Apparat,
Berlin, 1893) was translated by J. Macpherson (Tht Gospel of
St. Peter, Edinburgh, 1893).

(possibly under Hadrian, or even Trajan), but the
only means of determining approximately its
character is furnished by the quotations made by
Clement of Alexandria (Strom, iv. 12) from the
twenty-third, and by the Ada Archelai (Ixvii., ed.
C. H. Beeson) from the thirteenth, of the twenty-
four books of Excgetica which Basilides himself
composed as a commentary upon it. These quota-
tions make it improbable that the Gospel was
merely a collection of sayings of Jesus, like the so-
called Q or second source of Matthew and Luke.
The glimpses we can gain of it * rather point either

(a) to a compilation or harmony based on the
canonical Gospels (Zahn, Kriiger, Bardenhewer), or

(b) to a more independent Gospel of the Synoptic
type. The similarities between the extant frag-
ments (e.g. that from the 13th book relates to the
Parable of Dives and Lazarus) and Luke's Gospel
have led some critics (e.g. Lipsius, Windisch, and
Waitz) to conjecture that Basilides simply prepared
an edition of Luke for his own purposes. In this
case, his Gospel would be, like that of Marcion, an
altered form of our canonical Third Gospel. Origen
more than once refers in his Homilies on Luke to
the numerous heretics who had recourse to this
Gospel, quoting it like the devil for anti-divine
purposes of their own. As Basilides is grouped
with Marcion in Origen's references, and as the
extant fragments can almost without exception t
be described as distinctively Lucan, it is not un-
likely that his etfa-yyAtoj' was an edition of Luke.

SPECIAL LITERATURE. Hilg-enfeld's Einleitung in dot Neue
Testament, p. 46 f. ; Zahn's Geschichte des Kanons, i. 7C3-774 :
'Basilides und die kirchliche Bibel'; and H. Windisch in
ZHTW, 1906, pp. 236-246 : ' Das Evangelium des Basilides.'

(f) The Gospel of Marcion. Marcion's ' Gospel '
was certainly an edition of Luke, prepared for the
use of those who shared his antipathy to Judaism.
This dogmatic purpose explains most of the omis-
sions e.g. of the first two chapters, of ll 29 " 82 , and
of 20 37 ' 88 . It is a further question whether his text
does not occasionally reproduce a more original
form than that of the canonical Luke. But in any
case his ' Gospel,' though to a slight degree harmon-
istic (i.e. introducing material from other Gospels),
is not in the strict sense of the term an inde-
pendent uncanonical production. Its title was
'the Gospel of the Lord.' The best critical recon-
struction is in Zahn's Gesch. des Kanons, i. 674 f., ii.
409 f., together with Sanday's Gospels in the Second
Century ( 1876, ch. viii. ). Hahn's earlier reconstruc-
tion (1823) was translated into English by J. Ham-
lyn Hill (Marcion's Gospel, 1891).

(g) The Gospel of Apelles. Apelles, Marcion's
disciple, is said by Epiphanius (xliv. 2) to have
quoted the Logion, ylveo-6e Sdiupoi rpairefTrat, as
occurring iv r<J5 ftayye\l<p. If so, he must have

Online LibraryJames HastingsDictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) → online text (page 160 of 234)