THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS, OR ACTS OF PILATE
[Extracted from his Apocryphal Gospels, pp. 227-388.]
This may be designated a supplementary gospel. Those which, precede are mainly preliminary to the Evangelical narratives, of which the last scenes are here the starting point. The book professes to record the trial, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ; the miraculous and wonderful incidents which attended those events, and the conduct pursued by the friends and enemies of the Saviour. Inasmuch as the Gospels are at the basis, and the writer was a person generally well informed, the truthful element in this composition is more marked than in any of the preceding. Whether the writer had any authentic documents of an official character to assist him is more than can be affirmed; it seems more likely that he used current traditions and with the help of the Gospels, reduced them as far as possible to an appearance of truth. We know that as early as the time of Justin Martyr there were [p.228] extant Acts of Pilate, which that father regarded as genuine, and which may have been so for anything we can tell. But the Greek text here translated is avowedly not earlier than the time of Valentinian, as appears in the Prologue.1 The phraseology is barbarous. It is unknown in what language it was primarily written. The author may have been a converted Jew who wrote in Greek.
The book has been often printed both in Latin and in Greek, and Tischendorf gives three recensions of it. The one which immediately follows is often connected with a supplement of later date, which I have called Part II.
It is perhaps the most famous of the New Testament Apocrypha, and its merits, such as they are, have attracted to it much attention. Although it largely uses the genuine Gospels, it omits important details which they exhibit, and in many other ways it departs widely from them. The marvellous incidents in it are partly pure fictions, and apparently imitations from the Apocalypse and other portions of Scripture. Tischendorf would ascribe its origin to the second century.
THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS, OR ACTS OP PILATE (I.)
Acts of our Lord Jesus Christ wrought in the time of Pontius Pilate,
I, Ananias, a provincial warden, being a disciple of the law, from the divine
Scriptures recognised our Lord Jesus Christ, and came to him by faith, and was
also accounted worthy of holy baptism. Now when searching the records which were
made in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the Jews laid up under Pontius
Pilate, I found that these records were written in Hebrew, and by the good
pleasure of God I translated them into Greek for the information of all who call
on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the government of our lord Flavins
the 17th year, and in the 6th consulate of Flavins Valentinianus, in the 9th
[p.230] All therefore who read and copy into other
books remember me and pray for me, that God may be propitious to me, and be
gracious to my sins which I have committed against him.3
Peace to those who read and those who hear, and to their servants. Amen.
In the 15th year of the government of Tiberius Caesar, king of the Romans; and of Herod, king of Galilee, the 19th year of his reign, on the 8th before the calends of April, which is the 25th of March; in the consulship of Rufus and Rubellio; in the 4th year of the 202nd Olympiad, when Joseph Caiaphas was high priest of the Jews.4
Whatsoever, after the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour God, Nicodemus recorded and wrote in Hebrew, and left to posterity, is after this fashion.5
For the chief priests and scribes having taken counsel, Annas, and Caiaphas, and
Semes, and Dathaes, and Gamaliel, Judas, Levi, and Nephthalim, Alexander and
Jaeirus, and the rest of the Jews, came to Pilate, accusing Jesus of many
deeds, saying. We know this man that he is the son of Joseph the carpenter, born
of Mary, and he saith that he is the Son of God and a king: moreover he
profaneth the Sabbaths, and wisheth to abolish the law of our fathers. Pilate
saith. And what is it that he doeth and wisheth to abolish? The Jews say. We
have a law that no one shall heal on the Sabbath; but he by evil arts hath
healed on the Sabbath the lame, and mutilated, and withered, and blind, and
paralytic, deaf and demoniacs. Pilate saith to them, By what evil arts? They say
to him. He is a magician, and by Beelzebub, prince of the demons, he casteth out
demons; and they are all subject to him. Pilate saith to them. It is not
possible to cast out demons by an unclean spirit, but by the God Esculapius.
The Jews say unto Pilate, We request thy majesty that he may be set before thy judgment seat and be heard. And Pilate calling them saith, Tell me, how can I who am a governor try a king? They say to [p.232] him, We do not say that he is a king, but he saith he is one. And Pilate having called the officer7 saith to him, Let Jesus be brought with gentleness. And the officer went out and having recognised him worshipped him, and taking a scarf8 in his hand spread it on the ground, and said to him. Lord, walk here, and come in, for the governor calleth thee. And the Jews seeing what the officer9 did cried out against Pilate, saying. Why didst thou not order him by a crier to come in, rather than by an officer? For when the officer saw him he worshipped him, and spread his scarf on the ground and made him walk on it like a king.
And Pilate called the officer and said to him. Why hast thou done this, and spread thy scarf on the ground and made Jesus walk upon it? The officer saith to him. My lord governor. When thou sentest me to Jerusalem to Alexander,10 I saw Him sitting on an ass, and the children of the Hebrews held boughs in their hands and cried out, and others spread out their garments, saying, Save now, thou who art in the highest : blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.11
The Jews cried out, and said to the officer, The [p.233] children of the Hebrews cried out in Hebrew; whence hast thou the Greek? The officer saith to them, I asked one of the Jews and said, What is it that they cry out in Hebrew? And he explained to me. Pilate saith to them, How did they cry out in Hebrew? The Jews said to him, Hosanna membrome, barouchamma Adonai.12 Pilate saith to them, And how is Hosanna and the rest interpreted? The Jews say unto him. Save now, thou that art in the highest: Blessed is he that Cometh in the name of the Lord. Pilate saith to them. If ye bear witness that these words were spoken by the children, how hath the officer done wrong?13 And they were silent. The governor saith to the officer, Go and bring him in what manner thou wilt. And the officer went out and did the same as before, and said to Jesus, Lord, enter, the governor calleth thee.
And when Jesus entered, and the standard-bearers holding the standards, the tops of the standards bowed down and worshipped Jesus. And when the Jews saw the manner of the standards, how they bowed down and worshipped Jesus, they cried out exceedingly against the standard-bearers. And Pilate said to the Jews, Do ye not marvel how the banners bowed down and worshipped Jesus? The Jews said to Pilate, We saw how the standard-bearers bowed [p.234] down and worshipped him. And the governor called the standard-bearers and said to them, Why did ye do so? They said to Pilate, We are Greeks and wait upon the gods, how could we worship him? but as we were holding the banners they bowed down of themselves and worshipped him.
Pilate said to the chiefs of the synagogues and the elders of the people. Choose ye strong and powerful men, and let them hold the standards, and let us see if they bow down of themselves. And the elders of the Jews took twelve strong and powerful men, and made six together hold the standards, and they stood before the judgment-seat of the governor. And Pilate saith to the officer, Take him out of the praetorium, and bring him in again in what manner thou wilt. And Jesus and the officer went out of the praetorium. And Pilate called those who before held the banners, and saith to them, I have sworn by the salvation of Caesar that if the standards do not bow down when Jesus entereth I will cut off your heads. And the governor gave order the second time that Jesus should come in. And the officer did the same as before, and earnestly entreated Jesus to tread upon his scarf. And he trod on it, and came in. And as he entered the standards bowed down again and worshipped Jesus.
And when Pilate saw it lie was afraid and sought to rise up from the judgment
seat. And while it was yet in his mind to rise, his wife sent to him, saying,
Have nothing to do with this just man, for I have suffered very much because of
him in the night.14 And Pilate, having called the Jews, said to them, Ye know
that my wife is religious, and inclined to practise Judaism with you. They said
unto him. Yea, we know it. Pilate saith to them, Behold, my wife hath sent to
me, saying. Have nothing to do with this just man, for I have suffered very much
because of him in the night. But the Jews answered and said to Pilate, Did we
not tell thee that he is a magician? Behold he hath sent a dream to thy wife.
And Pilate called Jesus and said to him. What do these testify against thee? Dost thou say nothing? And Jesus said. Except they had power they would have said nothing. For every one of them hath power over his own mouth to speak both good and evil. They will see.
And the elders of the Jews answered and said to Jesus, What shall we see? first, that thou wast born [p.236] of fornication; secondly, that thy birth in Bethlehem became the slaughter of babes; thirdly, that thy father Joseph and thy mother Mary fled into Egypt because they had no confidence with the people.
Some of the pious among the Jews who stood by said, We do not say that he was born of fornication, but we know that Joseph was espoused to Mary, and he was not born of fornication. Pilate said to the Jews who said he was born of fornication. This saying of yours is not true; because the betrothal had taken place, as also your fellow countrymen say. Annas and Caiaphas say to Pilate, All the multitude of us cry out and do not believe that he was born of fornication:15 these are proselytes and his disciples. And Pilate called Annas and Caiaphas and said to them. What are proselytes? They said to him. They were born the children of Greeks, and have now become Jews. Those who said he was not born of fornication, Lazarus, Asterius, Antonius, James, Amnes, Zera, Samuel, Isaac, Phinehas, Crispus, Agrippa, and Judas,16 said. We have not become proselytes, but are children of Jews, and speak truth. And at the espousals of Joseph and Mary we were present.
And Pilate called these twelve men who said he was not born of fornication, and said to them, I ad- [p.237] jure you, by the salvation of Caesar, is that true which ye say, that he was not born of fornication? They say to Pilate, We have a law not to swear, because it is sin; but they will swear that it is not as we said, and we are liable to death. Pilate saith to Annas and Caiaphas, Answer ye nothing to these things? Annas and Caiaphas say to Pilate, These twelve believe that he was not born of fornication; all the multitude of us proclaim that he was born of fornication, and is a magician, and calleth himself the Son of God and a king, and we believe him not.
And Pilate commanded all the multitude to go out, except the twelve men who said that he was not born of fornication, and commanded Jesus to be taken out. And Pilate saith to them, On what account wish they to slay him? They say unto him. They are jealous because he healeth on the sabbath. Pilate saith, For a good work do they wish to slay him? They say unto him, Yea.
And Pilate was filled with anger, and went out of the praetorium and saith to
them, I call the sun to witness that I find no fault in this man. The Jews
answered and said to the governor. If this man was not an evil doer, we should
not have delivered him to thee. And Pilate said, Take ye him and judge
[p.238] him according to your law. The Jews said to Pilate, It is not lawful for us to
put any one to death. Pilate said, Did God command you not to kill, but
me to kill?
And Pilate went in again to the praetorium, and called Jesus aside, and said to him, Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered Pilate, Dost thou speak this of thyself, or have others said it to thee of me? Pilate answered Jesus, Am I also a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee to me. What hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: for if my kingdom was of this world, my servants would have fought for me that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate said to him. Art thou then a king? Jesus answered him. Thou sayest; for I am a king: for this was I born, and I am come that every one who is of the truth should hear my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? Jesus saith to him. Truth is from heaven. Pilate saith. Is truth not upon earth? Jesus saith to Pilate, Thou seest how they who say the truth are judged by those who have power upon earth.
And leaving Jesus within the praetorium, Pilate went out to the Jews, and saith
unto them, I find no [p.239] fault in him. The Jews say unto him, This man said, I can destroy this temple,
and build it in three days. Pilate saith, What temple? The Jews say, That which
Solomon17 built in forty and six years, but he speaketh of destroying and
building it in three days- Pilate saith to them, I am guiltless of the blood of
this just man: ye will see. The Jews say, His blood be upon us, and upon our
And Pilate having called the elders and priests and Levites, said to them privately. Do not thus, for ye have accused him of nothing worthy of death; for your accusation is for healing, and the profanation of the sabbath. The elders and priests and Levites say, If any one speaks evil against Caesar, is he worthy of death or no? Pilate saith. He is worthy of death. The Jews say to Pilate, If any one speaketh evil against Caesar, he is worthy of death; but this man hath spoken blasphemy against God.
And the governor commanded the Jews to go out from the praetorium, and calling Jesus, he saith to him, What shall I do to thee? Jesus saith to Pilate, As it hath been given thee. Pilate saith. How has it been given? Jesus saith, Moses and the Prophets spake beforehand of my death and resurrection. And the Jews who observed and heard said to Pilate, What more wouldst thou hear than this blasphemy? Pilate saith to the Jews, If this saying is blasphemous, [p.240] take ye him for blasphemy, and lead him away to your synagogue, and judge him according to your law. The Jews say to Pilate, Our law maintains that if a man sin against a man, he is worthy to receive forty stripes save one; but he that blasphemeth against God, is to be stoned with stones.18
Pilate saith to them, Take ye him and be avenged upon him in what manner ye will. The Jews say to Pilate, We wish that he should be crucified. Pilate saith, He doth not deserve to be crucified.
And as the governor looked round at the multitudes of Jews who stood about, he saw many of the Jews weeping, and he said. All the multitude doth not wish him to die. The elders of the Jews said. For this cause all the multitude of us have come, that he may die. Pilate saith to the Jews, Wherefore should he die? The Jews say. Because he said that he was the Son of God and a King.
And a certain man named Nicodemus, a Jew,19 stood before the governor and said, I
entreat thee, worshipful one, bid me say a few words. And Pilate said, Speak.
Nicodemus saith, I said to the elders and the [p.241] priests and Levites and all the multitude of the Jews in the synagogue, What
seek ye with this man? This man doth many signs and wonders, such as no other
did or will do. Release him, and wish no evil against him. If the miracles which
he doth are of God, they will stand; but if of men, they will come to nought.20
For Moses also, when sent from God into Egypt wrought many signs which God
commanded him to do before Pharaoh, King of Egypt. And there were men there, Jannes and Jambres, physicians of Pharaoh, and they also did not a few signs
such as Moses did, and the Egyptians esteemed them as gods, that is Jannes and
Jambres.21 And since the signs which they did were not of God, they perished,
both they and those who believed in them. Now, therefore, release this man, for
he is not deserving of death.
The Jews said to Nicodemus, Thou art his disciple, and makest a defence for him. Nicodemus saith to them, Is the governor also his disciple, and is he making a defence for him? Hath not Caesar appointed him to this dignity? And the Jews were very angry, and gnashed their teeth against Nicodemus. Pilate saith to them, Why do ye gnash your teeth against him, when ye hear the truth? The Jews say to Nicodemus, Mayest thou receive his truth [p.242] and his portion! Nicodemus saith, Amen, amen; may I receive as ye have said!
And one of the Jews starting up, asked the governor that he might say a word.
The governor saith. If thou wilt speak, speak. And the Jew said, I lay
thirty-eight years on my bed in pain and affliction. And when Jesus came, many
demoniacs and persons suffering various diseases were healed by him, and some
young men had pity on me, and carried me with my bed, and took me to him; and
when Jesus saw me, he had compassion, and said the word to me, Take up thy bed
and walk: and I took up my bed and walked. The Jews said to Pilate, Ask him what
day it was when he was healed. He that was healed said. On the sabbath.22 The
Jews said. Did we not tell thee so, that on the sabbath he healeth and casteth
And another Jew starting up, said, I was born blind; I heard a voice, but saw no person; and as Jesus passed by, I cried with a loud voice, Have pity on me. Son of David; and he had pity on me, and placed his hands upon my eyes, and immediately I saw. And another Jew leaping up, said, I was a cripple, and he made me straight with a word.23 And [p.243] another said, I was a leper, and he healed me with a word.24
And a certain woman cried out from a distance and said, I had an issue of blood, and I touched the hem of his garment, and my issue of blood, which had been for twelve years, was stayed.25 The Jews said, We have a law not to admit a woman to witness.26
And others, a multitude both of men and of women, cried and said. This man is a prophet, and demons are subject unto him. Pilate said to those who said that demons were subject to him. Why were your teachers not also subject to him? They say unto Pilate, We know not. And others said. That he raised up Lazarus from the sepulchre when he had been dead four days.27 And the governor, becoming afraid, said to all the multitude of the Jews, Why will ye shed innocent blood?
And calling Nicodemus and the twelve men who said that he was not born of
fornication, he said to them, What shall I do? for there is a sedition among the
people. They said to him, We know not; they will see. Pilate called again all
the multitude of the Jews, and said, Ye know that it is a custom with you at the
feast of unleavened bread, to deliver up to you a prisoner; I have a condemned
prisoner in the gaol, a murderer called Barabbas, and this Jesus who stands
before you, in regard to whom I find no fault in him. Which will ye that I
deliver to you? And they cry out, Barabbas. Pilate saith, what then shall we do
with Jesus, who is called Christ? The Jews say, Let him be crucified. Others
said. Thou art not Caesar's friend, if thou discharge him; for he said that he
was the Son of God and a king: thou wishest him to be king therefore, and not
And Pilate was angry, and said to the Jews, Your nation is always seditious, and ye speak against your benefactors. The Jews say. What benefactors? He saith to them. Your God led you out of Egypt from hard bondage, and delivered you through the sea as through dry land, and fed you in the wilderness with manna, and gave you quails, and gave you water to [p.245] drink from a rock, and gave you a law; and amid all these things, ye provoked your God to anger, and sought after a molten calf: and angered your God, and he sought to slay you, and Moses made supplication for you, and ye died not.28 And now ye exclaim against me, that I hate the king.
And he rose from the judgment seat and sought to go out. And the Jews cried out, saying. We know that Caesar is king and not Jesus. For the Magi also offered gifts to him as to a king. And when Herod heard from the Magi that a king was born, he sought to put him to death. But when his father Joseph knew it he took him and his mother, and they fled into Egypt. And when Herod heard it, he destroyed the Hebrew children that were born in Bethlehem.
And when Pilate heard these words he was afraid. And Pilate caused the multitudes to keep silence, for they cried out; and he said, So this is he whom Herod sought? The Jews said, Yea, this is he. And Pilate took water, and washed his hands before the sun, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just man: see ye to it. The Jews cried out again, His blood be upon us, and upon our children. Then Pilate commanded the curtain of the judgment seat where he sat to be drawn, and said to [p.246] Jesus, Thine own nation Lath convicted thee as a king; therefore I have declared that thou shalt first be scourged after the custom of the pious kings, and then be fastened upon the cross in the garden where thou wast taken: and let Dysmas and Gestas the two malefactors be crucified with thee.
And Jesus went out of the praetorium, and the two malefactors with him; and when
they came to the place they stripped him of his garments, and put about him a
linen cloth, and they put a crown of thorns on him about his head. And they
crucified him: and at the same time they hanged the two malefactors with him.
And Jesus said. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And the
soldiers parted his garments. And the people stood beholding him. And the chief
priests and the rulers with them derided him, saying. He saved others, let him
save himself: if he is the Son of God, let him come down from the cross. And the
soldiers mocked him, coming and offering him vinegar and gall, and said, Thou
art the King of the Jews; save thyself.
And after the sentence, Pilate commanded that for a title his accusation should be written up, in Greek, Roman, and Hebrew letters, as the Jews said, He is King of the Jews. [p.247] And one of the malefactors that were hanged, spake to him, saying, If thou art the Christ, save thyself and us. And Dysmas answered and rebuked him, saying, Dost thou not fear God, because thou art in the same condemnation? and we, indeed, justly; for we receive our deserts for what we have done; but he hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me in thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee. That to day thou art with me in Paradise.
And it was about the sixth hour, and darkness was upon the earth until the ninth
hour, for the sun was darkened; and the veil of the temple was rent in the
midst. And calling with a loud voice, Jesus said, Father, Baddakh eplikid rouel,29
which is interpreted, Into thy hands I commend my spirit. And having said this
he gave up the ghost. And when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified
God, saying, This man was just. And all the multitudes who were present at that
sight, seeing what had happened, returned, smiting their breasts.
And the Centurion reported to the governor what was done. And when the governor heard, and his wife, they were very sorrowful, and neither ate nor [p.248] drank that day. And Pilate sent for the Jews and said to them, Have ye seen what has happened? And they said, An eclipse of the sun has happened in the usual manner.
And his acquaintance stood afar off, and the women who came with him out of Galilee beholding these things. And a certain man, Joseph by name, a councillor, who was of the city of Arimathea, and himself also expected the Kingdom of God, the same came to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. And he took it down and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in a sepulchre hewn in stone, wherein no one was yet lying.
And when the Jews heard that Joseph had asked the body of Jesus, they sought for him, and for the twelve who said that Jesus was not born of fornication, and Nicodemus, and many others besides, who had risen up before Pilate, and made known his good works. And whereas they were all hidden, Nicodemus alone was seen by them, because he was a ruler of the Jews. And Nicodemus said to them. How came ye into the synagogue? The Jews say unto him. How camest thou into the synagogue? for thou art a witness for him; and be his lot with thee in the world to come. Nicodemus saith, Amen, amen.
And in like manner also Joseph came forth, and said to them, Why were ye
offended at me, because I asked for the body of Jesus? behold I have placed him
in my new sepulchre, have wrapped him in clean linen, and have rolled a stone to
the door of the sepulchre. And ye have not done right against that just one,
because ye repented not of crucifying him, but even pierced him with a spear.
And the Jews took hold of Joseph, and commanded him to be kept safely until the
first day of the week, and said to him, Know that the time doth not permit us to
do anything against thee, because the Sabbath is dawning: and know that thou
shalt not be counted worthy of burial, but we will give thy flesh to the birds
of heaven. Joseph saith to them. This is the saying of the boasting Goliath, who
reproached the living God and the holy David.31 For God said by the prophet,
Vengeance is mine, and I will repay saith the Lord.30 And now he that is
uncircumcised in the flesh, but circumcised in his heart, hath taken water and
washed his hands before the sun, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just
man; see ye too it. And ye answering Pilate said. His blood be upon us and upon
our children; and now I fear lest the anger of the Lord should come upon you and
your children, as ye said. And when the Jews heard these words they were vexed
in soul, and taking hold of Joseph they [p.250] arrested him and shut him in a house where there was no window, and guards were
stationed at the door, and they sealed the door where Joseph was shut up.
And on the Sabbath the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites made a decree, that all should be present in the synagogue on the first day of the week. And rising early in the morning, all the multitude took counsel in the synagogue by what death they should kill him. And when the council was seated, they commanded him to be brought with much dishonour. And when they opened the door they found him not. And all the people was astonished; and they were amazed because they found the seals sealed, and because Caiaphas had the key. And they no more dared to lay hands on them who spake for Jesus before Pilate.
And while they were still sitting in the synagogue, and wondering about Joseph,
certain of the guard came, whom the Jews had asked of Pilate to keep the tomb of
Jesus, that his disciples might not come and steal him. And they reported and
told to 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
[p.251] heaven, and he rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, and sat
upon it; and he shone like snow and like lightning; and we, being greatly
afraid, lay as if we were dead. And we heard the voice of the angel talking with
the women who waited by the tomb,—Fear ye not; for I know that ye seek Jesus who
was crucified. He is not here: he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place were
the Lord lay; and go forth quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from
the dead, and is in Galilee.
The Jews said, With what women did he talk? The men of the guard said. We know not who they were. The Jews said, At what hour was it? The men of the guard said, At midnight. The Jews said, And why did ye not lay hold upon them? The men of the guard said, We were like dead men for fear, not expecting to see the light of day, and how could we lay hold upon them? The Jews said. As the Lord liveth, we do not believe you. The men of the guard said to the Jews, Ye have seen so great signs in that man, and have not believed, and how can ye believe in us? For ye have well sworn, that the Lord liveth, for also he liveth. They of the guard said again. We have heard that ye shut up him that asked for the body of Jesus, and sealed the door, and when ye opened it ye found him not; therefore produce him that ye kept, and we will give up Jesus. The Jews said, Joseph went away to his own city. They of the [p.252] guard said to the Jews, And Jesus arose as we heard from the angel, and is in Galilee.
And the Jews hearing these words were greatly-afraid, saying, Lest this report should be heard, and all men should incline to Jesus. And the Jews, calling a council, put down much money and gave to the soldiers, saying. Say, While we slept his disciples came by night and stole him. And if this should be heard by the governor, we will persuade him and keep you from trouble. And they took it and said as they were taught.
And Phinehas a priest, and Adas a teacher, and Aggaeus a Levite, coming from
Galilee to Jerusalem, declared to the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests
and the Levites, We saw Jesus with his disciples, sitting on the mount which is
called Mamilk,32 and he said to his disciples. Go into all the world and preach
to every creature; he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, and he that
believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that
believe: in my name they shall cast out [p.253] demons, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if
they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; upon the sick they shall lay
hands and they shall be well.33 While Jesus was yet speaking to his disciples, we
saw him taken up into heaven.
The elders and priests and Levites said. Give glory to the God of Israel; and make acknowledgment to him if ye have heard and seen these things which ye relate. Those who reported them said, As the Lord God of our Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob liveth, we heard these things, and saw him taken up into heaven. The elders and priests and Levites said unto them. Have ye come to proclaim this to us, or have ye come to pay a vow to God? And they said, To pay a vow to God. The elders and chief priests and Levites said to them. If ye have come to pay a vow to God, why these trifles with which ye have trifled before all the people?
And Phineas the priest, and Adas the teacher, and Aggaeus the Levite, said to the rulers of the synagogue and priests and Levites, If these things which we have told and seen are sin, behold we are before you; do to us according to what is good in your eyes. And taking the law they made them swear that they would tell no one these words any more. And they gave them to eat and drink, and sent them out of the [p.254] city, after bestowing money upon them, and three men with them, and they removed them back to Galilee.
And when those men were gone into Galilee, the chief priests and rulers of the synagogue, and elders, assembled in the synagogue, shutting the gate, and they lamented with a great lamentation, saying, Hath this sign come to pass in Israel? And Annas and Caiaphas said, Why are ye troubled? Why do ye weep? Know ye not that his disciples gave much gold to the guards of the tomb, and taught them to say that an angel came down and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And the priests and elders said. Be it that his disciples stole the body; but how did the soul enter the body, and how abideth he in Galilee? And they, being scarcely able to give an answer to these things, said. It is not lawful for us to believe the uncircumcised.
And Nicodemus arose and stood before the council, saying. Ye speak aright. Ye
know people of the Lord, that the men who came down from Galilee fear God, are
men of substance, hating covetousness, men of peace. And they spake with an
oath, saying, We saw Jesus at Mount Mamilk,34 with his disciples, and he
[p.255] taught what we heard from him, and we saw him taken up into heaven. And no one
asked them in what manner he was taken up. For as the Book of the Holy
Scriptures hath taught us, Elijah also was taken up into heaven; and Elisha
called with a loud voice, and Elijah cast his sheepskin upon Elisha; and Elisha
cast his sheepskin upon the Jordan, and passed over, and came to Jericho. And
the children of the prophets met him, and said, Elisha, where is thy master
Elijah? and he said. He was taken up into heaven. And they said to Elisha, Hath
a spirit seized him and cast him upon one of the mountains? Let us take our
young men with us and seek him. And they persuaded Elisha, and he went with
them. And they sought him three days, and found him not, and knew that he was
taken up.35 And now hear me, and let us send through all the border of Israel,
and see whether the Christ hath been taken up by a spirit, and cast upon one of
the mountains. And this saying pleased them all. And they sent through all the
border of Israel, and sought for Jesus, and found him not. But they found Joseph
at Arimathea: and no one dared lay hold upon him.
And they brought word to the elders and the priests and the Levites, saying, We went through all the border of Israel, and found not Jesus: but we found Joseph at Arimathea. And when they heard [p.256] 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 in what manner they might meet with Joseph, and took a sheet of paper, and wrote to Joseph, thus:—
"Peace be unto thee. We know that we have sinned against God, and against thee, and we have prayed to the God of Israel that thou wouldest deign to come to thy fathers, and to thy children, because we are all troubled; for when we opened the door, we found thee not. And we know that we devised an evil counsel against thee, but the Lord undertook for thee, and the Lord himself scattered our counsel which was against thee, honoured father Joseph."
And they chose out of all Israel, seven men, friends to Joseph, with whom Joseph
also was acquainted. And the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests and the
Levites, said to them. See ye; if he receiveth and readeth our epistle, ye know
that he will come to us along with you: but if he doth not read it, ye know that
he is offended with us, and ye shall salute him in peace, and return to us. And
they blessed the men and sent them away. And the men came to Joseph, and bowed
down to him, and said to him. Peace be unto thee. And he said. Peace be to you,
and to all the people of Israel. And they gave him the roll of the epistle. And
Joseph received, and read, and folded the epistle, and blessed God, and said,
Blessed [p.257] be the Lord God, who hath delivered Israel from shedding innocent blood; and
blessed be the Lord, who sent his angel, and protected me under his wings. And
he set a table before them, and they ate, and drank, and slept there.
And they rose early and prayed. And Joseph saddled his ass, and went with the men, and they came to the holy city, Jerusalem. And all the people met Joseph, and cried, Peace be unto thee at thy coming in. And he said to all the people. Peace be unto you. And he kissed them. And the people prayed with Joseph, and were astonished at the sight of him. And Nicodemus received him into his house, and made a great supper, and invited Annas, and Caiaphas, and the elders, and the priests, and the Levites, to his house. And they rejoiced, both eating and drinking with Joseph. And when they had sung hymns, every one went to his own home. But Joseph abode at the house of Nicodemus.
And on the morrow, which was the preparation, the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests and the Levites, came early to the house of Nicodemus, and Nicodemus met them, and said. Peace be unto you. And they said. Peace be unto thee, and unto Joseph, and to all thy house, and to all the house of Joseph. And he took them into his house. And all the assembly sat, and Joseph sat between Annas and Caiaphas. And no one dared to speak to him a [p.258] word. And Joseph said, Wherefore have ye called for me? And they signified to Nicodemus to tell Joseph.And Nicodemus opened his mouth, and said to Joseph, Father, thou knowest that the honourable teachers, and priests and Levites seek to learn something from thee. And Joseph said, Ask. And Annas and Caiaphas took the law, and made Joseph swear, saying. Give glory to the God of Israel, and give confession to him. Because when Achan36 was sworn by the prophet Joshua,37 he did not forswear himself, but told him all, and hid nothing from him. Thou, therefore, hide not anything from us. And Joseph said, I will not hide from you one word. And they said to him. We were exceedingly grieved that thou didst ask for the body of Jesus, and didst wrap it in clean linen, and didst lay him in a sepulchre. And for this cause we secured thee in a house wherein there was no window, and we put locks and seals upon the doors, and guards watched where thou wast confined. And when we opened it on the first day of the week, we found thee not, and were greatly troubled. And astonishment fell upon all the people of the Lord until yesterday. And now tell us what befel thee.
And Joseph said. On the preparation, about the tenth hour, ye put me in prison, and I remained so all the sabbath. And about midnight, as I stood and prayed, the house wherein ye shut me was sus- [p.259] pended38 by the four corners, and I saw, as it were, a flash of light in my eyes. And being afraid, I fell to the ground. And some one took me by the hand, and removed me from the place where I had fallen, and a quantity of water was poured out (upon me) from my head to my feet; and a smell of myrrh came to my nostrils. And he wiped my face, and kissed me, and said to me, Fear not Joseph; open thy eyes, and see who it is that talketh with thee. And looking up, I saw Jesus. And being afraid, I thought it was an apparition, and said the commandments.39 And he said them with me. And as ye know, if an apparition meeteth a man, and heareth the commandments, it taketh to flight. And seeing that he said them with me, I said to him, Rabbi Elias. And he said to me, I am not Elias. And I said to him, Who art thou. Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus, whose body thou didst beg from Pilate; and thou didst wrap me in clean linen, and didst put a napkin upon my face, and didst lay me in thy new tomb, and didst roll a great stone to the door of the sepulchre. And I said to him that talked with me. Show me the place where I laid thee. And he took me, and showed me the place where I laid him: and the [p.260] linen cloth lay therein, and the napkin which was upon his face; and I knew that it was Jesus. And he took me by the hand, and set me, the doors being shut, inside my house, and he led me to my couch, and said to me. Peace be to thee. And he kissed me, and said to me, Go not out of thine house for forty days; for behold, I go into Galilee, unto my brethren.
And when the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests and the Levites heard
these words from Joseph, they became as dead men, and fell to the ground, and
fasted until the ninth hour. And Nicodemus and Joseph comforted Annas and
Caiaphas, the priests and the Levites, saying. Arise and stand upon your feet,
and taste bread, and strengthen your souls, for to-morrow is the sabbath of the
Lord. And they arose and prayed to God, and ate and drank, and went every man to
And on the sabbath, our teachers, and the priests and Levites, sat and questioned with one another, and said. What is this wrath which has come upon us? for we know his father and his mother. Levi a teacher, saith, I know his parents fear God, and neglect not prayer, and give tithes thrice a year. And when Jesus was born, his parents brought him to this place, and offered sacrifices and whole burnt [p.261] offerings to God. And the great teacher Simeon took him into his arms, and said, Now Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart, according to thy word, in peace; because mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, I tell thee good tidings concerning this child. And Mary said. Good, my lord. And Simeon said to her, Good: behold he is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against; and a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.40
They say unto Levi the teacher. How knowest thou these things? Levi saith to them, Know ye not that from him I learned the law? The assembly say to him, We would see thy father. And they sent for his father. And when they asked him, he said to them. Why did ye not believe my son? The blessed and righteous Simeon himself taught him the law. The assembly saith to Rabbi Levi, Is the word true which thou hast spoken? And he said, It is true. And the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests, and the Levites, said among themselves. Come, let us send into Galilee, to the three men who came and told us about his teaching, and his ascension, and let them [p.262] tell us how they saw him taken up. And this saying pleased them all. And they sent the three men who had already gone into Galilee with them, and said to them, Say to Rabbi Adas, and Rabbi Phinehas, and Rabbi Aggaeus, Peace be to you, and all that are with you. Because there is much enquiry in the Sanhedrim, we have sent to you, to call you to this holy place, Jerusalem.
And the men went into Galilee, and found them sitting, and meditating upon the law, and they greeted them in peace. And the men who were in Galilee, said to them that had come to them, Peace be upon all Israel. And they said. Peace to you. And again they said to them, Wherefore are ye come? And they who were sent said. The Sanhedrim in the holy city Jerusalem call you. And when the men heard that they were asked by the Sanhedrim, they prayed to God, and sat down with the men, and ate, and drank, and arose and went in peace to Jerusalem.
And on the morrow the Sanhedrim sat in the synagogue, and asked them, saying, Did ye truly see Jesus sitting on the mount Mamilk, as he taught his eleven disciples, and did ye see him taken up? And the men answered them, and said, As we saw him taken up, so also we said.
Annas saith, Take them apart, and let us see if their report agreeth. And they took them apart. [p.263] And they called Adas first, and said to him, How sawest thou Jesus taken up? Adas saith, While he was sitting on the mount Mamilk, and teaching his disciples, we saw a cloud overshadowing him, and his disciples; and the cloud bore him up into heaven, and his disciples lay on their faces upon the ground. And they called Phinehas the priest, and asked him also, saying, How sawest thou Jesus taken up? And he said the same. And again they asked Aggaeus, and he said the same. And the Sanhedrim said, The law of Moses, declareth. By the mouth of two or three, every word shall be established. Buthem, a teacher, said. It is written in the law, And Enoch walked with God, and was not, because God took him.41 Jairus, a teacher, said. And we have heard of the death of holy Moses, and we saw it not. For it is written in the law of the Lord, And Moses died, by the word of the Lord, and no man knoweth his sepulchre, unto this day.42 And Rabbi Levi said, What did Rabbi Simeon say, when he saw Jesus? Behold he is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against.43 And Rabbi Isaac said, It is written in the law, Behold, I send my angel before thy face, who shall go before thee, to preserve thee in every good way because my name is called upon it.44
Then Annas and Caiaphas said, Ye have rightly told what is written in the law of
Moses, that no man saw the death of Enoch, and no man mentioned the death of
Moses. But Jesus gave account to Pilate, and we saw him receiving blows, and
spittings in his face; and the soldiers put a crown of thorns upon him, and he
was scourged, and received sentence from Pilate, and was crucified on Calvary,
and two robbers with him, and they gave him to drink vinegar and gall; and
Longinus, the soldier, pierced his side with a spear, and Joseph our honourable
father, begged his body; and as he saith, he arose; and as the three teachers
say. We saw him taken up to heaven; and Rabbi Levi hath spoken, attesting what
was uttered by Rabbi Simeon, and that he said, Behold he is set for the fall and
rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign to be spoken against.45 And all
the teachers said to all the people of the Lord, If this is from the Lord, and
it is marvellous in your eyes,46 ye shall know assuredly, house of Jacob, that it
is written. Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.47 And another Scripture teacheth. The gods which made not heaven and earth, shall perish.48 If his
memorial is unto the year,49 which is called Jobel,
[p.265] know ye that he will prevail for ever, and
hath raised up for himself a new people. Then the rulers of the synagogue, and
the priests, and the Levites, made declaration to all Israel, saying. Cursed is
that man, who shall worship the work of man's hands, and cursed is the man, who
shall worship the creatures, more than the Creator. And all the people said.
And all the people sang hymns to the Lord, and said. Blessed be the Lord, who hath given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he spake. Not one word hath failed of all his good words, which he spake to Moses his servant. May the Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not suffer us to perish. And may he not suffer us to fall away from inclining our hearts towards him, from walking in all his ways, from keeping his commandments, and his ordinances, which he commanded to our fathers. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth in that day. And there shall be one Lord, and his name one. The Lord is our king: He shall save us. There is none like unto thee, Lord; great art thou, Lord, and great is thy name. In [p.266] thy power heal us, Lord, and we shall be healed. Save us, Lord, and we shall be saved. For we are thy portion, and thine heritage. And the Lord shall not cast off his people, for his great name's sake, for the Lord hath begun to make us his people.51
And having sung hymns, they went every man to his house, glorifying God, for his is the glory, for ever and ever.52 Amen.
THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS, OR ACTS OF PILATE (II.)
Narrative of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his holy Resurrection.
COMPILED BY A JEW CALLED AENEAS; TRANSLATED FROM THE HEBREW TONGUE INTO THE ROMAN BY NICODEMUS, A ROMAN53 TOPARCH.
After the kingdom of the Hebrews was abolished, four hundred years had passed away, and the Hebrews were tributaries under the government of the Romans, the king of the Romans appointing for them a king; Tiberius Caesar at length wielded the Roman sceptre, and in the eighteenth year of his reign he appointed as king in Judea, Herod, the son of that Herod who slew the infants in Bethlehem, and he had Pilate for governor in Jerusalem; Annas [p.268] and Caiphas also holding the high-priesthood of Jerusalem; Nicodemus, a Roman toparch, called unto him a Jew, named Aeneas, and asked him to write what was done in Jerusalem, concerning Christ, in the times of Annas and Caiaphas; which also the Jew did, and delivered it unto Nicodemus, who straightway translated it from the Hebrew copy into Roman language, now the matter of the history is this:—
Our Lord Jesus Christ wrought many, and great, and extraordinary miracles in
Judea, and was therefore viewed with jealousy by the Hebrews, when Pilate was
governor at Jerusalem, and Annas and Caiaphas were chief priests. So Judas,
Levi, Nephthalim, Alexander, Syrus, and many other of the Jews came to the chief
priests, speaking against Christ. And the chief priests sent them to tell these
things to Pilate. And they went away, and said to him, A man who hath a father
called Joseph, and a mother Mary, goeth about in this city, and calleth himself
a king, and the Son of God, and although a Jew, overthroweth the Scriptures, and
breaketh the sabbaths. Pilate therefore enquired of them, in what manner he
broke the sabbaths. And they answered, saying, He healeth the sick on the
sabbath. Pilate saith, If he maketh the sick whole, he doeth no evil. They say
to him, If he wrought his cures aright, the evil would be small; but he
performeth them by using magic, and having demons with him. Pilate saith, To
heal the sick is not a diabolical work, but a gift from God.
The Hebrews said. We pray thy majesty to summon him, that thou mayest examine thoroughly what we say. Pilate therefore, throwing off his robe, gave it to one of his servants, saying. Go and show this to Jesus, and say to him, Pilate the governor calleth thee to come to him. So the servant departed, and finding Jesus, he called to him, spreading upon the ground the robe of Pilate, and inviting him to walk upon it. The Hebrews seeing this, and being greatly offended, came to Pilate, murmuring against him how that he had counted Jesus worthy of so great honour.
And he enquired of the servant that was sent, why be had done so. And the servant answered, When thou sentest me to Alexander the Jew, I met with Jesus, as he entered the gate of the city, sitting upon an ass; and I saw the Hebrews that they strewed their garments in the way, and the ass walked upon the garments; and others cut down branches; and they came out to meet him, and cried, Hosanna in the highest! Thus, therefore, it became me also to do. On bearing these words, the Jews said to him, [p.270] Thou who art a Roman, how knewest thou what was said by the Hebrews? The servant answered, I asked one of the Hebrews, and he told it to me. Pilate said, What meaneth Hosanna? The Jews said. Save us, Lord. Pilate answered, Seeing ye confess that your children spake thus, how do ye now accuse, and say against Jesus that which ye say? And the Jews were silent, and could answer nothing.
Now when Jesus came to Pilate, the soldiers of Pilate worshipped him. And there stood also others before Pilate, holding the standards. And when Jesus came, the standards also bowed down and worshipped him. As Pilate therefore wondered at what had happened, the Jews said to him, Lord, the standards did not worship Jesus, but the soldiers who hold them carelessly.
Pilate saith to the ruler of the synagogue. Choose out twelve strong men, and give them the standards to hold them firmly. And when this was done, Pilate commanded the servant to take Jesus out, and bring him in again. And as he came in, the standards again bowed down, and worshipped him. Therefore, Pilate wondered greatly. And the Jews said. He is a magician, and therefore he doeth these things.
PILATE saith to Jesus, Heareth thou what these
[p.271] testify against thee, and answerest not? Jesus answered and said, Every man hath
power to speak what he will, whether good or evil; therefore these, having the
power, say what they will.
The Jews said to him. What have we to say concerning thee? first, that thou wast born of sin; secondly, that on account of thee, when thou wast born, they slew the infants; thirdly, that thy father and thy mother fled into Egypt, wherefore they had no boldness before the people.
To these things, the Jews who were there present, and were pious men, answered and said. We say that his birth was not of sin, for we know that Joseph received his mother Mary, according to the rule of espousals, to keep her. Pilate said. Therefore ye lie who say that his birth was of sin. They say again to Pilate, All the people testify that he is a magician. The pious Jews answered, and said, We were present at the espousal of his mother, and we are Jews, and we know his whole conduct; but that he is a magician, this we do not know. Now the Jews who said this, were these: Lazarus, Astharius, Antonius, James, Zarah, Samuel, Isaac, Phinehas, Crispus, Dagrippus, Amesa, and Judas.
Therefore, Pilate saith to them, I will that ye swear by the life of Caesar, whether the birth of this man was without sin. They answered. Our law ordaineth that we should swear nothing, because an oath [p.272] is a great sin. Yet by the life of Caesar, we swear that his birth was without sin; and if we lie, command that we all be beheaded. And when they said these things, the Jews who accused him, answered Pilate, and said, And dost thou believe these twelve Jews alone, more than the whole multitude, and us, who know well that he is a magician, and a blasphemer, and calleth himself the Son of God?
Then Pilate commanded all to go out of the praetorium, except only the twelve spoken of, and when this was done, Pilate saith to them private. As for this man, it appeareth that, for envy and madness, the Jews wish to slay him. For they accuse him of one thing, that he breaketh the sabbath. But he then doeth a good work, because he healeth the sick. This is no cause for condemning the man to death. And the twelve said to him, Yea, lord, thus it is.
Therefore, Pilate went out in anger and wrath, and he said to Annas and Caiaphas,
and the multitude who brought Jesus, I hold the sun to witness that I find no
fault in this man. The multitude answered, If he were not a sorcerer, and a
magician, and a blasphemer, we should not have brought him to thy majesty.
Pilate said, Try him yourselves; and since ye have a law, as your law saith, so
do. The [p.273]
Jews said, Our law doth not permit us to put any man to death. Pilate saith, If
ye are unwilling to put him to death, how much more am I!
Then Pilate returned into the palace, and said to Jesus, Tell me, art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered, Dost thou say this, or did the other Jews say this to thee, that thou shouldst ask me? Pilate said, And am I a Hebrew? I am not a Hebrew; thine own people, and the chief priests, delivered thee into my hands; tell me then, if thou art king of the Jews. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not in this world; for if my kingdom was in this world, my soldiers would not be unconcerned, that I am arrested; therefore, my kingdom is not in this world. Pilate saith, Art thou then a king? Jesus said, Thou sayest: for this was I born, namely, to bear witness to the truth, and if any one is a man of truth, he believeth my word, and doeth it. Pilate saith, What is truth? Jesus answered. Truth is from heaven. Pilate saith, Is not truth on earth? Christ saith, I am the truth; and how is truth judged on earth, by those who have earthly power!
Therefore, Pilate leaving Jesus alone, went out, and said to the Jews, I find no
fault in this man. The Jews answered, May we tell thy majesty what he
[p.274] himself said? He said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it
in three days. Pilate saith, And what sort of temple did he say he could
destroy? The Hebrews said, The temple of Solomon, which Solomon was forty-six
Pilate saith privately to the chief priests and scribes and Pharisees, I entreat you, do nothing evil to this man; for if ye do evil to him, ye will deal unjustly. For it is not just that such a man should die, who hath done great good to many men. They said to Pilate, If he who hath dishonoured Caesar is worthy of death, my lord, how much rather is this man who dishonoureth God?
Then Pilate gave order, and they all went out. Then saith he to Jesus, What wilt thou that I should do to thee? Jesus saith to Pilate, Do unto me as it is ordained. Pilate saith, How is it ordained? Jesus answered, Moses and the prophets wrote that I should be crucified and should rise again. The Hebrews who heard him, said to Pilate, Why seek ye to hear from him greater insult against God? Pilate saith. This is no word of insult against God, since it is written in the books of the prophets.54 The Jews said. Our Scripture saith. If a man offend against a man, as if he revile him, he is worthy to [p.275] receive forty strokes with a stick; but if he revile God, to be stoned.55
Then came a messenger from Procla the wife of Pilate unto him, and the message said, Take heed that thou suffer not any evil to happen to the good man Jesus; for this night I have seen terrible dreams on account of him. And Pilate gave an answer to the Hebrews, saying, If ye regard as an insult to God, the words which ye say Jesus said, take him, and judge ye according to your law. The Jews said to Pilate, We will that thou shouldst crucify him. Pilate saith, This is not good.
And Pilate, turning towards the people, saw many weeping, and he said, It seemeth to me that it is not the will of all the people that this man should die. The priests and scribes said, For this cause have we brought all the people, that thou mightest receive full assurance that they all wish for his death. Pilate saith, What evil hath he done? The Hebrews said, He saith that he is a king and the Son of God.
Then a pious Jew, named Nicodemus, standing in the midst, said to Pilate, I pray
thy majesty to suffer me to say some few words unto thee. Speak, said Pilate.
Nicodemus said, I said to the priests and Levites [p.276] and scribes, and the people when I was in the synagogue, What matter have ye
against this man? This man doeth many miracles, such as man never did, nor will
do. Therefore, let him go, and if what he doeth is from God, it will stand; but
if it is of men, it will be destroyed.56 As it came to pass, also, when God sent
Moses into Egypt, and Pharaoh king of Egypt said to him, that he should do a
miracle, and he did it. Then Pharaoh also had two magicians, Jannes and Jambres,
and they too did miracles, using magic art, but not such as Moses did. And the
Egyptians esteemed these two magicians as gods; but, because they were not of
God, what they did came to nought. This Jesus, therefore, hath raised Lazarus,
and he is alive. For this cause I pray thee, my lord, not to suffer this man to
be put to death.
The Hebrews were angry against Nicodemus, and said to him. Receive the truth of Jesus and have thy part with him. Nicodemus saith, Amen, Amen, be it unto me as ye say.
When Nicodemus had said these things, another Hebrew arose, and saith to Pilate,
I pray thee my lord Pilate, hear me also. Pilate answered, Say what thou wilt.
The Hebrew saith, I lay sick upon [p.277] my bed thirty-eight years, and seeing me he was grieved, and said to me, Arise,
take up thy bed and depart to thine house; and as he said to me the word I arose
and walked. The Hebrews said, Ask him on what day of the week this was done. He
saith, On the sabbath.57 The Jews said, And therefore we say truly that he keepeth not the sabbath.
Again, another standing in the midst said, I was born blind, and as Jesus went along the way I called to him, saying, Have mercy on me. Lord, Son of David; and he took clay and anointed mine eyes, and immediately I saw.58 Another said, I was a cripple, and seeing him I cried. Have mercy on me Lord, and he took me by the hand, and immediately I arose.59 Another said, I was a leper, and he healed me by a word alone.60
There was found there also, a woman named Veronica.61 And she said, I was twelve years with an [p.278] issue of blood, and I only took hold of the edge of his garment, and was immediately healed.62 The Jews said, The law doth not admit the testimony of a woman.
Other men cried, This man is a prophet, and the demons fear him. Pilate saith, And how is it that the demons did not thus fear your parents also? They say, We know not. Others again said, By a word only he raised up Lazarus, who had been four days in his sepulchre. Pilate, therefore, hearing of the resurrection of Lazarus was afraid, and saith to the people, Wherefore will ye shed the blood of a just man?
Then he called Nicodemus and the twelve pious Jews, and said to them, What say
ye that I should do, for the people are in a commotion? They say, We know not:
do what thou wilt. But whatever the people do, they do unrighteously, in order
to destroy him. Pilate went out again, and saith to the [p.279] people, Ye know that at the feast of unleavened bread it is customary for me to
liberate for your sake one of the criminals confined in prison. Now I have a
malefactor in gaol, a robber, called Barabbas, and I have Jesus, who hath never
done evil. Which therefore of the two will ye that I should release to you? The
people answered, Release unto us Barabbas. Pilate saith, What then shall I do
with Jesus? They say, Let him be crucified. Again, others of them cried out, If
thou dost release Jesus, thou art not the friend of Caesar, because he calleth
himself the Son of God and a king; and if thou settest him at liberty, he
becometh a king, and will take Caesar's kingdom.
Therefore, Pilate was angry, and said, Your race was always slanderous and unbelieving, and ye have been always the adversaries of your benefactors. The Hebrews said. And who were our benefactors? Pilate saith, God, who delivered you from the hands of Pharaoh, and led you over the Red Sea, as on dry ground, and fed you with quails, gave you water to drink from the dry rock, and gave you a law, which ye broke by denying God, and if Moses had not stood to plead with God ye would have perished with a bitter death. Therefore, ye have forgotten all these things. And so, also, now ye say that I love not Caesar at all, but have hatred towards him, and wish to plot against his government.
And having said these things Pilate arose from his seat with anger, wishing to
escape from them. Therefore the Jews cried out saying, We wish Caesar to govern
us, not Jesus, because Jesus received gifts from the magi.63 And Herod also heard
this, that he would be a king, and wished to put him to death, and on this
account, sent and slew all the infants in Bethlehem. And for this cause also,
Joseph his father, and his mother, through fear of him fled into Egypt.
Pilate therefore, having heard this, commanded all the people to keep silence, and said. So then this is the Jesus whom Herod sought to slay? They say unto him. Yea. Pilate, therefore, having learned that he was of the jurisdiction of Herod, as though descended from the race of the Jews, sent Jesus to him. And when Herod saw him, he rejoiced greatly, for of a long time he had desired to see him, having heard of the miracles which he did. Therefore, he arrayed him with white garments; then he began to question him. But Jesus gave him no answer. And Herod, who wished to see a miracle of some kind wrought by Jesus, and not seeing one, but that he gave him no answer to what was said, sent him back at once to [p.281] Pilate.64 Seeing this, Pilate commanded his servants to bring water. Therefore, washing his hands with the water, he said to the people, I am innocent of the blood of this good man. Ye will see that he is unjustly put to death, for neither have I found fault in him, nor yet Herod; for which cause he sent him back to me again. The Jews said, His blood be upon us and upon our children.65
Then Pilate sat on his seat to pronounce sentence. He gave order therefore, and Jesus came before him. And they brought a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. Then he pronounced sentence, and said to him. Thy nation saith and witnesseth of thee, that thou desirest to be a king. Therefore I ordain that they first smite thee with a rod forty stripes, as the laws of the kings ordain: and that they mock thee; and lastly, that they crucify thee.
When, therefore, sentence was declared by Pilate to this
effect, the Jews began
to smite Jesus, some with sticks, some with their hands, and some with their
feet; and some also spat in his face. Then, straightway, having prepared the
cross and given it to him, they made haste to set out. And going thus,
[p.282] and bearing the cross, he came unto the gate of the city of Jerusalem. When,
therefore, because of the many blows and the weight of the cross, he could not
walk, the Jews through the desire which they had to crucify him as soon as
possible, took the cross from him and gave it to one who met them, named Simon,
who also had two sons, Alexander and Rufus: and he was of the city of Cyrene.
Therefore they gave the cross to him, not as pitying Jesus and lightening his
burden, but desiring, as hath been said, to put him to death more speedily.
And John, one of his disciples, followed him there.
Then he fled, and went to the mother of God,66 and said to her. Where wast thou, that thou didst not come and see what was done? She answered. What is it that was done? John said. Know that the Jews have taken my master by force and now lead him away to crucify him. When his mother heard this she cried with a loud voice, saying, My son, my son, what evil hast thou done, that they lead thee away to crucify thee? She arose, as one benighted, and went weeping along the road. The women also followed her, Martha, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other virgins. And John also was with her. When therefore they overtook the multitude, the mother of [p.283] God said to John, Where is my son? John saith, Seest thou him who beareth the crown of thorns, and hath his hands bound? When the mother of God heard this, and saw him, she fainted, and fell backward to the earth, and lay a considerable time. And the women who followed her stood around her and wept. And when she revived and arose, she cried with a loud voice, saying. My lord, my son, whither is the beauty of thy form departed? How shall I bear to see thee suffering such things? And saying this, she tore her face with her nails and smote her breast. Whither have passed, said she, the good deeds which thou didst in Judea? What evil hast thou done to the Jews. Thus then the Jews who saw her weeping and crying out came and drove her out of the way. But she was not persuaded to flee, but continued saying. Slay me first, lawless Jews.
Then they retired to the place called Cranium, which was paved with stones, and there the Jews set up the cross. Then they stripped Jesus, and the soldiers took his garments and divided them among themselves, and they put upon him a scarlet cloth; and raised him up and fastened him on the cross at the sixth hour of the day. After this they also lifted up two robbers, one on his right hand and one on his left.
Then the mother of God, standing and beholding, [p.284] cried with a loud voice, saying, My son, my son. And Jesus turning to her and seeing John near her, and weeping with the rest of the women, said, Behold, thy son. Then saith he also to John, Behold, thy mother. And she wept exceedingly, saying, Therefore do I weep for thee, my son, because thou art suffering unjustly; for the lawless Jews have delivered thee to a bitter death. Without thee, my son, what will become of me? How shall I live without thee? What life shall I lead? Where are thy disciples who boasted they would die with thee? Where are those who were healed by thee? How is it that no one was found to help thee? And looking at the cross she said. Bow down cross, that I may embrace my son, and kiss my son, whom at this breast strangely I nourished as one who knew not man. Bow down O cross, I wish to embrace my son. Bow down cross, that as a mother I may converse with my son. When the Jews heard these things they came and drove away both her and the women and John to a distance.67
Then Jesus cried with a loud voice. Father, reckon not this sin unto them; for they know not what they do. Then saith he, I thirst. And straightway one of the soldiers ran and took a sponge and filled it with gall and vinegar mingled, and putting it upon [p.285] a reed, he gave it to Jesus to drink. And when he had tasted it he would not drink. And the Jews who stood and saw, ridiculed him and said, If thou saidst truly that thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross, and immediately, that we may believe in thee. Others said in ridicule. He saved others, he helped others, and he healed the sick, the paralytic, lepers, demoniacs, blind, lame, all but dead, and he cannot help himself.
So also the robber who was crucified at his left side said to him. If thou art the Son of God, come down and save both thyself and us. His name was Gistas. But he that was crucified at his right side, Dysmas by name, reproached the other robber, saying, Wretched and miserable one, dost thou not fear God? We suffer what we deserve for what we have done; but he hath done no evil at all. And turning to Jesus, he saith to him. Lord, when thou shalt reign, forget me not. And he said unto him, To day, I tell thee truth, that I have thee with me in paradise.
Then Jesus, having cried with a loud voice. Father, into thine hands will I
commit my spirit, expired. And immediately the rocks were to be seen rent, for
there was an earthquake in all the land, and because the earthquake was violent
and great, even [p.286] the rocks were rent: and the tombs of the dead were opened; and the veil of the
temple was rent; and there was darkness from the sixth hour until the ninth. And
when all these things came to pass the Jews were afraid, and said, Truly this
man was righteous: and Longinus, the centurion, stood and said, Truly, this was
the Son of God.68 Others who came and saw him, smote upon their breasts for fear,
and returned back again.
Now the centurion, observing all these marvels went away to Pilate and related them. And when he heard he wondered and was amazed, and through his fear and sorrow he would neither eat nor drink that day. And he gave notice, and there came to him all the council, after the darkness was passed away, and he said to the people. Ye saw how the sun was darkened, ye saw how the veil was rent. Truly, I did well in that I was not at all eager to put this good man to death. But the evil doers said to Pilate, Such a darkness is an eclipse of the sun, as it hath happened also at other times. Then say they to him, We hold the feast of unleavened bread to-morrow, and we intreat thee, since they who have been crucified still breathe, that their bones may be broken, [p.287] and that they may be taken down. Pilate said, This shall be done. Therefore he sent soldiers, and they found the two robbers still breathing, and they brake their legs; but finding Jesus dead, they did not touch him, save that a soldier speared him in the right side, and immediately there came out blood and water.
Now towards evening, when the preparation was come, Joseph, a high-born and wealthy man, a pious Jew, finding Nicodemus, whose speech had already betrayed him, saith to him, I know that thou lovedst Jesus when he was living, and didst gladly hear his words, and I saw thee contending with the Jews for him. Therefore, if it seemeth good to thee, let us go to Pilate and beg the body of Jesus for burial, for it is a great sin that he should lie unburied. I am afraid, saith Nicodemus, lest if Pilate be angry, I should suffer some mischief. But if thou shouldst go alone and ask, and shouldst receive the dead one, then I too will accompany thee, and will perform all that is necessary for the funeral. When Nicodemus had said this, Joseph lifted up his eyes to heaven, and prayed that he might not fail in his request, and went to Pilate, and having saluted him, sat down. Then he saith to him, I pray thee, my lord, if I ask anything which seemeth to thy majesty unreasonable, not to be angry with me. And he said. And what is it that thou askest? Joseph saith, Jesus, the good man whom through envy the Jews have carried away [p.288] to crucifixion, I beseech thee to give me him for burial. Pilate saith, And what hath happened, that when he hath been witnessed against by his own nation for magic arts, and hath been suspected of seizing the kingdom of Caesar, and hath therefore been given up to death by us, we should give order for him to be honoured again when he is dead? And Joseph, being very sorrowful and weeping, fell at the feet of Pilate, saying. My lord, let no jealousy of the dead possess thee. For, in death, every fault must perish with a man. But I know thy majesty, how anxious thou wast not to crucify Jesus, and what thou saidst to the Jews for him, at one time persuading, and at another time angry, and afterwards how thou didst wash thy hands, and didst declare thou hadst no part at all with those who wished him to be put to death. On all which accounts I entreat thee that my request may not be rejected. Pilate, therefore, seeing Joseph thus urgent and entreating, and weeping, raised him and, saying, Go, I grant thee such a one that is dead; take him and do what thou wilt.
And then Joseph, having given thanks to Pilate, and kissed his hands aad his robes, went out rejoicing in heart, because he had obtained what was desired, but having his eyes yet filled with tears: thus, while sorrowing, he had joy. He went away to Nicodemus, therefore, and told him all that had happened. Then, when they had bought a hundred pounds of myrrh [p.289] and aloes, and a new sepulchre,69 with the mother of God, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, with John and the other women, they wrapped him in a white linen cloth, according to the custom, and laid him in the tomb.
And the mother of God said, weeping. How shall I not bewail thee, my son? how shall I not tear my face with my nails? This, my son, is that which the old man Simeon foretold to me, when I took thee into the temple, a babe of forty days old. This is the sword which now pierceth through my soul. My sweetest son, who shall stay my tears? None at all, but only thou, if, as thou saidst, thou shalt rise again on the third day.
Mary Magdalene said, weeping. Hearken peoples tribes, and tongues, and learn to what a death the lawless Jews have delivered him that had wrought for them countless benefits. Hearken and wonder. Who will cause these things to be heard throughout all the world? I will go alone to Caesar in Rome; I will make known to him what evil Pilate hath done by yielding to the lawless Jews. Thus also Joseph lamented, saying, Alas for me! sweetest Jesus, dear and most unfortunate of men, if one must call thee a [p.290] man, who has done such marvels as man never did. How shall I perform thy obsequies? how shall I bury thee? Now ought they too to be present whom thou didst feed with a few loaves: for thus I should not have seemed to be wanting in honour.
Then Joseph with Nicodemus went home: likewise also the mother of God, with the women, John also accompanying them.70
When the Jews learned that these things had been done by Joseph and Nicodemus
they were greatly moved against them; and the chief priests, Annas and Caiaphas,
admonished Joseph, and said to him, Wherefore hast thou performed these
obsequies for Jesus? Joseph saith, I know that Jesus was a just and true and
good man in all respects, and I know also, that ye through envy devised his
murder; and for this cause I performed his funeral. Then the chief priests were
angry and seized Joseph and cast him in prison, and said unto him. If we did not
keep the feast of unleavened bread to-morrow, we would have put thee to death
to-morrow, as we did him; but for the present, being kept in confinement,
[p.291] early on the Lord's day71 thou shalt be delivered to death. Thus they said, and
sealed with a seal the prison, which was fastened with all manner of bolts and
Thus, then, when the preparation was finished, early on the Sabbath the Jews went to Pilate, and said to him, Lord, that deceiver said that after three days he would rise again. Lest therefore his disciples should steal him by night and deceive the people by such a falsehood, command that his sepulchre should be guarded. Pilate therefore, on this, gave them five hundred soldiers,72 who also were set about the sepulchre to guard it, and they put seals upon the stone of the sepulchre.
Therefore, when the day began to break on the Lord's day, the chief priests and the Jews held a council, and sent to bring Joseph out of prison in order to put him to death; but on opening it they found him not. And they wondered at this, how when the doors were shut and the locks secure, and the seals remaining, Joseph was not to be seen.
Hereupon, one of the soldiers who guarded the tomb, came and said in the
synagogue, Know that Jesus is risen! The Jews said, How? And he said, First
there was an earthquake; then an angel of the Lord bearing lightning came from
heaven and rolled away the stone from the sepulchre, and sat upon it. And
through fear of him all we soldiers became as dead men, and could neither flee
nor speak. And we heard the angel saying to the women who came there to see the
sepulchre. Fear not; for I know that ye seek Jesus. He is not here, but is
risen, as he foretold you. Stoop down and see the sepulchre where his body lay.
But go and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead: and let them go
into Galilee, for there shall they find him. Therefore, I tell you this
The Jews said to the soldiers. Who were the women who came to the sepulchre, and why did ye not lay hold of them? The soldiers said, Because of fear, and the sight alone of the angel, we could neither speak nor move. The Jews said. As the God of Israel liveth, we believe nothing that ye say. The soldiers said, Jesus performed so great miracles and ye believed not, and will ye now believe us? Ye say truly that God liveth, and in very truth He liveth [p.293] whom ye crucified. We have heard moreover that ye had Joseph shut in the prison, and that ye afterwards opened the doors and found him not. Do ye then give up Joseph, and then we will also give you Jesus. The Jews said, Joseph who escaped from prison ye will find at Arimathea, his own place. And the soldiers said, Go ye also into Galilee, and ye will find Jesus, as the angel said to the women.
Hereupon the Jews were afraid, and said to the soldiers, See that ye tell this matter to no one, or all will believe in Jesus. On which account, also, they gave them much money. And the soldiers said. We are afraid lest Pilate should hear that we have received money, and should put us to death. But the Jews said, Take it, and we pledge ourselves to give to Pilate an answer for you; only, say that ye slept, and that in your sleep the disciples of Jesus came and stole him out of the sepulchre. Therefore the soldiers took the money, and said as they were told. And until this day the same false report is spoken among the Jews.
And after a few days, three men came from Galilee to Jerusalem. One of them was
a priest, Phinehas by name, another was a Levite, by name Aggaeus,
and the other was a soldier73 by name Adas. These came to the chief priests, and
said to them, and to the people, Jesus, whom ye crucified, we have seen in
Galilee, with his eleven disciples, at the mount of Olives, teaching them, and
saying, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel; and whoso believeth and
is baptised, shall be saved, but whoso believeth not, shall be condemned. And
having said this, he ascended to heaven.74
And we saw, both we and many others of the. five hundred who were there.75
And when the chief priests and Jews heard these things they said to the three men. Give glory to the God of Israel, and repent of the falsehoods ye tell. They answered, As the God of our fathers liveth, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we lie not, but tell you the truth. Then spake the chief priest, and they brought the Old Testament of the Hebrews from the temple, and he made them swear, and giving them also money, he sent them to another place that they might not proclaim the resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem.
When, therefore, such sayings had been heard by all the people, the multitude assembled in the temple, and there was a great tumult. For many said, Jesus is risen from the dead, as we hear, and why did ye crucify him? But Annas and Caiaphas said. Believe [p.295] not, Jews, what the soldiers say; nor believe that they saw an angel descending from heaven. For we gave money to the soldiers not to tell such things to any one; and so also, the disciples of Jesus gave them money, to say that Jesus is risen from the dead.
Nicodemus said, children of the people of Jerusalem, the prophet Elijah ascended
to the height of heaven with a fiery chariot, and it is not incredible if Jesus
also is risen; for the prophet Elijah was a pre-figuration of Jesus, in order
that ye should not disbelieve when ye heard that Jesus was risen. I therefore
say and advise that we ought to send soldiers into Galilee, where the men
testify that they saw him with his disciples, in order that they may go about
and find him, and so that we may seek from him forgiveness for the evil which ye
did to him. This saying pleased them, and they chose out soldiers, and sent them
into Galilee; and Jesus they found not; but they found Joseph at Arimathea.
When, therefore, the soldiers returned, and the chief priests learned that Joseph was found, they assembled the people, and said, What shall we do to Joseph, that he may come to us? So when they had taken counsel, they wrote him a letter to this effect: [p.296] Father Joseph: Peace to thee, and to all thine house, and to thy friends. We know that we have offended against God, and against thee, his servant. Therefore we entreat thee to come hither to us thy children; for we have wondered much how thou didst escape from prison, and we truly say that we took evil counsel against thee. But God, who saw that we took unjust counsel against thee, delivered thee out of our hands. Nevertheless, come to us; for thou art the honour of our people.
The Jews sent this letter to Arimathea with seven soldiers, friends of Joseph, who went and found him, and addressed him respectfully, as they were bidden, and gave him the letter. And when he had received and read this, he glorified God, and bade the soldiers welcome, and when the table was set, he ate and drank with them all day and night.
And on the morrow he went with them to Jerusalem. And the people came out to meet him, and bade him welcome. And Nicodemus received him into his house. And on the day following, both Annas and Caiaphas, the chief priests, invited him to the temple, and said to him. Give glory to the God of Israel, and tell us the truth. For we know that thou didst bury Jesus, and for this we apprehended thee, and shut thee in prison. Afterwards, when we sought to bring thee out in order that thou mightest be put to death, we found thee not, and we marvelled, and were greatly afraid; [p.297] nevertheless, we prayed to God that we might find and ask thee. Therefore, tell us the truth.
Joseph said to them. On the evening of the preparation, when ye secured me in prison, I betook myself to prayer all the night, and all the day of the sabbath. And at midnight I saw the prison house, that four angels lifted it up, holding it by the four corners. And Jesus entered like lightning, and through fear of him I fell to the ground. Therefore, taking me by the hand, he raised me, saying. Fear not, Joseph. Then he embraced and kissed me, and said, Turn and see who I am. Therefore, I turned and looked and said, Lord, I know not who thou art. He saith, I am Jesus, whom thou didst bury the day before yesterday. I said to him, Show me the sepulchre, and then I will believe. Therefore he took me by the hand, and led me away to the sepulchre, which was open. And when I saw the linen clothes and the napkin, and knew, I said, Blessed is he that Cometh in the name of the Lord, and worshipped him. Then he took me by the hand, the angels also following, and led me to Arimathea, to my house, and saith unto me. Abide here for forty days. For I go unto my disciples, that I may instruct them to preach my resurrection.
When Joseph had said these things, the chief
priests cried unto the people, We know that Jesus had both father and mother;
how shall we believe that he is the Christ? One of the Levites answered and
said, I know the family of Jesus, honest men, greatly addicted to the service of
God, and receiving tithes of the people of the Jews.76 And I also know Simeon,
the old man, that he took him when he was a babe, and said to him, Now lettest
thou thy servant depart, Lord.
The Jews said, Let us find the three men who saw him at the mount of Olives, that we may ask them and learn the truth more accurately. And they found and brought them before all, and made them swear to tell the truth. And they said, As the God of Israel liveth, we saw Jesus at the mount of Olives, alive, and ascending into heaven.
Then Annas and Caiaphas separated the three from one another, and asked them privately and singly. They agreed therefore in their speech, and the three spoke the same thing. The chief priests answered and said. Our scripture saith that every word shall be established with two or three witnesses.77 Joseph therefore hath confessed that he performed his funeral rites, and buried him, along with Nicodemus, and how it is the truth that he hath risen.
THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS.
THE SECOND PART: OR, THE DESCENT OF CHRIST TO THE UNDERWORLD.
CHAPTER I. (XVII.)78
Joseph saith, And why marvel ye that Jesus hath risen? This is not wonderful;
but it is wonderful that he arose not alone, but that he also raised many other
dead, who appeared unto many in Jerusalem. And if ye know not the others, Simeon
at least, who took Jesus (in his arms), and his two sons, whom he raised again,
them at least ye know. For we buried them a short time ago, but now their tombs
are seen open and empty, and they are living, and abiding in Arimathea.
Therefore they sent men and found their sepulchres open and empty. Joseph saith.
Let us go to Arimathea, and let us find them.
Then the chief priests, Annas and Caiaphas, arose, [p.300] and Joseph, and Nicodemus, and Gamaliel, and others with them, and went to Arimathea, and found those whom Joseph said. Therefore they offered prayer, and saluted one another. Then they came with them to Jerusalem, and brought them into the synagogue, and shut the doors, and placed in the midst the Old Testament of the Jews, and the chief priests said unto them, We wish you to swear by the God of Israel and Adonai, and thus that ye may tell the truth, how ye arose, and who raised you from the dead.
When the men who had risen heard this, they made upon their faces the sign of the cross,79 and said to the chief priests. Give us paper and ink and a pen. They brought them therefore; and they sat down and wrote thus—
CHAPTER II. (XVIII.)
Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life of the world, give us grace
that we may rehearse thy resurrection, and thy wonderful works which thou didst
in Hades. We, therefore, were in Hades with all those who fell asleep from the
beginning. Now at the hour of midnight, upon those dark places, there arose as
it were the light of the sun, and [p.301] shone, and we were all
lighted up and saw one another. And immediately our father Abraham was united
with the patriarchs and the prophets, and they were together filled with joy,
and said to one another, This light is from a great illumination. The prophet
Isaiah, who was there, said, This light is from the Father, and the Son, and the
Holy Spirit, concerning whom I prophesied while I was yet alive, saying, The
land of Zebulun, and the land of Nephthalim, the people which sitteth in
darkness hath seen a great light.80
Then came into the midst another, an ascetic from the desert, and the patriarchs said to him. Who art thou? And he said, I am John, the last of the prophets, who made straight the ways of the Son of God, and preached to the people repentance for remission of sins. And the Son of God came unto me; and when I saw him from afar I said to the people, Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.81 And with my hand I baptised him in the river Jordan, and I saw, also, as it were, a dove, the Holy Spirit coming upon him; and I heard also the voice of God and the Father saying thus, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And for this cause he sent me also to you, that I might preach how the only begotten Son of God Cometh hither, that whoever believeth in him [p.302] shall be saved, but whoso shall not believe in him shall be condemned.82 Therefore, I say, to all of you: whereas ye see him, that ye should all worship him, because, now only have ye time of repentance for your worship of idols in the vain world above, and for the sins ye have committed: but at another time this cannot be.
CHAPTER III, (XIX.)
Therefore, while John was thus teaching those who were in
Hades, and the first made and first father Adam heard it, he saith to his son
Seth, My son, I wish thee to tell the forefathers of the race of men, and to the
prophets, whither I sent thee when I was about to die. And Seth said. Prophets
and patriarchs, hearken. When my father Adam, the first made, was about to die,
he sent me to offer prayer to God very near the gate of Paradise, that he would
guide me by an angel to the tree of mercy, and let me take oil and anoint my
father, and that he might recover from his sickness. Which also I did. And after
my prayer the angel of the Lord came and said to me, Seth, what dost thou ask?
dost thou ask the oil which restoreth the sick, or the tree which poureth forth
such oil, because of the sickness of thy father? This is not now to be found.
Go, therefore, and tell [p.303] thy father that,
after 5500 years are accomplished from the creation of the world, then shall
descend upon earth, the only begotten Son of God, being made man, and He shall
anoint him with such oil, and he shall rise again, and with water and with the
Holy Spirit He shall wash both him and his descendants, and then shall he be
healed of all sickness: but now this cannot be.83
When the patriarchs and the prophets heard this they rejoiced greatly.
CHAPTER IV. (XX.)
Now while they were all in so great joy, Satan, the inheritor
of darkness, came and said to Hades, All-devouring and insatiate one, hear my
words. From the race of the Jews, there is one called Jesus, naming himself the
Son of God, but being a man, the Jews through our joint exertions have crucified
him. And now that he is dead, be ready that we may bind him safely here. For I
know that he is a man, and I also heard him saying My soul is very sorrowful,
unto death.84 He wrought me many evils also in the world above while he conversed
with mortals. For [p.304] where he found my servants he persecuted
them, and the men whom I made halt, blind, lame, lepers, and the like, he healed
by his word alone. And when I had made many ready for burial, even them, by a
word alone, he made alive again.
Hades saith, And is he so mighty as to be able to do such things by a word alone? or canst thou resist him who is such? It seemeth to me no one will be able to resist him who is such. But if thou sayest thou heardest him fearing death, he said this mocking and laughing at thee, wishing to seize thee with a mighty hand; and woe, woe, unto thee for evermore.
Satan saith. All-devouring and insatiate Hades, wast thou so afraid when thou heardest of our common foe? I feared him not, but I wrought upon the Jews, and they crucified him, and gave him gall and vinegar to drink. Be ready, therefore, to hold him firmly when he cometh.
Hades answered. Inheritor of darkness, son of perdition, Devil, thou hast but now told me that many whom thou preparedst for burial he by a word alone did make alive: and if he delivered others from burial, how and by what power shall he be held by us? Now a short time ago I swallowed a certain dead man, Lazarus by name, and a little after, one of the living, by a word alone, forcibly drew him out of my bowels. Now I think it was he [p.305] of whom thou speakest. Therefore, if we receive him here, I fear we may run a risk even in regard to the rest; for lo ! I see that all whom I have ever swallowed are in commotion, and my belly85 is in pain. And Lazarus, who was snatched beforehand from me, seemeth to me no good sign; because he flew away from me, not like a dead man, but like an eagle; so quickly did the earth cast him forth. Wherefore, I conjure thee, both for thy benefit and for mine, not to bring him hither; for I think that he is coming here, in order to raise up all the dead. And this I say to thee. By the darkness which we keep, if thou dost bring him hither, none of the dead will be left to me.
CHAPTER V. (XXI.)
While Satan and Hades were talking thus with each other,
there came a great voice like thunder, saying. Lift up your gates, ye rulers,
and be ye lifted up, eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall come in.86 And
when Hades heard, he said to Satan, Go forth, if thou art able, and resist him.
Therefore Satan went forth. Then saith Hades to his demons, Secure well and
firmly the brazen gates, and the iron bars, and hold down my bolts, and stand
upright and [p.306] watch everything: for if he should enter
here, woe will seize us.
On hearing these things, the forefathers all began to reproach him, saying, All-devouring and insatiate, open, that the King of Glory may come in. David the prophet saith, Knowest thou not, blind one, that when I was living in the world, I predicted this voice, Lift up your gates, ye rulers? Isaiah said, Through the Holy Spirit, when I foresaw this, I wrote. The dead shall arise, and they that are in the tombs shall be raised, and those who are in the earth shall be glad. And, Where is thy sting, Death? where is thy victory, Hades?87
The voice, therefore, came again, saying. Lift up the gates. Hades, hearing the voice a second time, answered, as forsooth not knowing, and said, "Who is this King of Glory ? The angels of the Lord said. The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. And immediately, at this word, the brazen gates were broken, and the iron bars were crushed, and all the dead that were bound were loosed from their bonds, and we88 with them. And the King of Glory entered as a man, and all the dark places of Hades were lighted up.
CHAPTER VI. (XXII.)
Hades straightway cried, We are conquered; woe unto us. But
who art thou that hast so great authority and power? And what art thou, who
comest hither without sin—seeming small, and able to do great things, humble and
high, servant and Lord, soldier and king, who hast authority over the dead and
the living? Thou wast nailed to the cross, and wast laid in the tomb, and now
thou art free, and hast dissolved all our power. Art thou, then, the Jesus, of
whom the chief ruler Satan said to us. That through the cross and death thou art
about to inherit all the world?
Then the King of Glory seized the chief ruler Satan by the head, and delivered him to the angels, and said. Bind with irons his hands and feet and neck and mouth. Then he delivered him to Hades, and said. Take him and keep him safely until my second coming.
CHAPTER VII. (XXIII.)
And Hades took Satan, and said to him, Beelzebub, inheritor of fire and punishment, enemy of the saints, by what necessity hast thou contrived that [p.308] the King of Glory should be crucified, that he might come hither and spoil us? Turn and see that none of the dead is left in me; but all that thou didst gain by the tree of knowledge, thou hast lost it all by the tree of the cross; and all thy joy is changed into grief; and thou, that didst wish to put to death the King of Glory, hast put thyself to death. For since I have received thee to keep thee safely, thou wilt learn by experience what evils I shall do to thee, chief devil, the beginning of death, the root of sin, the end of all evil! what evil didst thou find in Jesus, to procure his destruction? How didst thou dare to do so great evil? How didst thou study to bring down to this darkness such a man, through whom thou art deprived of all that ever died?
CHAPTER VIII. (XXIV.)
While Hades thus discoursed with Satan, the King of Glory
opened his right hand, and took hold of the first father Adam, and raised him.
Then he turned and said to the rest. Come with me all ye who have died through
the tree which he touched. For behold, I raise you all up again through the tree
of the cross. Moreover, he sent them all out; and the first father Adam
appeared, filled with satisfaction, and said, I give thanks unto thy majesty,
Lord, [p.309] because thou hast brought me from the
lowest Hades.89 So also all
the prophets and the saints said, We give thee thanks, Christ, Saviour of the
world, because thou hast brought back our life from destruction.90
And when they had said these things, the Saviour blessed Adam on the forehead with the sign of the cross; and he did this also to the patriarchs and the prophets, and martyrs and forefathers, and took them and sprang up out of Hades. And as he went, the holy fathers followed him, chanting, and saying. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,91 Alleluia: to him be glory from all the saints.
CHAPTER IX. (XXV.)
Then He went to Paradise, holding the forefather Adam by the hand, and delivered him, and all the righteous, to the archangel Michael. When, therefore, they entered the gate of Paradise, two aged men met them, to whom the holy fathers said. Who are ye, who have not seen death, and have not descended into Hades, but inhabit Paradise in body and soul? One of them answering, said, I am Enoch, who pleased God, and was translated hither by him; and this is Elijah the Tishbite; and we are to live until the end of the world: and then we are to be sent by God to resist Antichrist, and [p.310] to be slain by him, and after three days to rise again, and to be caught up in clouds to meet the Lord.92
CHAPTER X. (XXVI.)
While they were saying these things, there came another lowly man, and bearing a cross upon his shoulders; and the holy fathers said to him, Who art thou, having the appearance of a robber, and what is the cross which the u bearest upon thy shoulders? He answered, As ye say, I was a robber and a thief in the world, and therefore the Jews seized me and delivered me to the death of the cross, with our Lord Jesus Christ. As he was hanging upon the cross I believed in him, seeing the miracles which were done; and I called upon him, and said. Lord, when thou shalt reign, forget not me. And straightway he said to me, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, to day thou shalt be with me in Paradise. Therefore, bearing my cross I came to Paradise, and finding the archangel Michael, I said to him. Our Lord Jesus, who was crucified, hath sent me hither; lead me, therefore, into the gate of Eden. And the flaming sword, seeing the sign of the cross, opened unto me, and I came in. Then saith the archangel to me. Wait a little, for Adam, the forefather of the race of men, [p.311] is coming with the righteous, that they also may enter in. And now seeing you, I am come to meet you. On hearing these things, the saints all cried with a loud voice, Great is our Lord, and great is his power.93
CHAPTER XI. (XXVII.)
All these things we two brothers saw and heard ; and we were
sent by Michael the archangel, and were appointed to preach the resurrection of
the Lord, but first to go to Jordan and be baptised; whither also we went, and
were baptised along with other dead who had risen; and afterwards we came to
Jerusalem, and celebrated the Passover of the resurrection.94
But now, not being able to remain, here, we are going away. And may the love of
God and the Father, and the grace of our Lord Jesus' Christ, and the communion
of the Holy Spirit be with you all.95
When they had written these things, and closed the books, they gave half to the chief priests, and half to Joseph and Nicodemus. And immediately they vanished: unto the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LATIN GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS,
Part I, or, Acts of Pilate.
I, ĆNEAS, was at first a
protector of the Hebrews, and a follower of the law; then the Saviour's grace
and his great gift apprehended me, and I knew Christ Jesus in Holy Scripture, I
came to him, and embraced his faith, that I might become worthy of his holy
baptism. First of all I sought for the records, written in those times,
concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, which the Jews published in the age of Pontius
Pilate, and we found them in Hebrew writings, drawn up in the age of our Lord
Jesus Christ; but I translated them into Gentile speech during the reign of the
eminent Theodosius, in his seventeenth consulship, and Valentinian, the fifth
time consul, in the ninth indiction.96 All ye who read this book, and copy into
other documents, be mindful of me, and pray for me,
Ćneas, the least of the servants of the Lord, that he may be merciful to
[p.313] me, and forgive my sins which I have
committed against him. Peace be to all who read these things, and to all their
house for ever. Amen.
Now it came to pass in the nineteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, emperor of the Romans, and of Herod, the son of Herod king of Galilee, the nineteenth year of his dominion, on the eighth of the kalends of April, which is the twenty-fifth day of the month of March, in the consulate of Rufinus and Rubellio, in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, under the chief priests of the Jews, Joseph and Caiaphas: the great things done by the chief priests and the other Jews, which Nicodemus recorded after the cross and passion of the Lord, and which Nicodemus himself committed to Hebrew writing.
Annas and Caiaphas, Summas and Datam, Gamaliel, Judas, Levi,
Nephthalim, Alexander and Jairus, and the rest of the Jews came to Pilate,
accusing the Lord Jesus Christ of many things, and saying, We know that he was
born the son of Joseph the carpenter by Mary, and he saith he is the Son of God
and a king: not only this, but he also breaketh the Sabbath, and wisheth to
abolish the law of our fathers. Pilate saith, What are the things which he doth,
and would thereby abolish the law? The Jews [p.314]
say, We have a law that no one should heal on the sabbath; but he on the sabbath,
by evil arts, healeth the lame and the humpbacked, the blind, the paralytic, the
leprous, and demoniacs. Pilate saith to them, By what evil arts? They say to
him, He is an evil doer, and casteth out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the
demons, and they all are subject to him. Pilate saith to them, It is not for an
unclean spirit to cast out demons, but for the god Scolapius.97 The Jews said, We
pray thy majesty to set him to be examined before thy judgment seat. Pilate
called the Jews to him, and said unto them, Tell me how can I, who am a
procurator, examine a king? They say unto him. We do not say that he is a king,
but he saith that he is. Therefore, Pilate called a messenger, and said to him.
Let Jesus be brought with gentleness. And the messenger went out and adored him,
when he recognised him, and spread upon the ground the vestment which he carried
in his hand, saying, Lord, walk upon this and enter, for the procurator calleth
for thee. But the Jews, seeing what the messenger did, cried out against Pilate
saying, Why didst thou not cause him to enter by the summons of a herald, and
not by a messenger? For when the messenger saw him he adored him, and the
vestment which he held in his hand he spread before him on [p.315] the ground, and said to him, Lord, the
procurator calleth for thee.
Now Pilate, summoning the messenger, said to him, Why hast thou done this, and honoured Jesus who is called Christ? The messenger said to him, When thou sentest me to Jerusalem to Alexander, I saw him sitting on an ass, and the children of the Hebrews broke off branches from the trees and strewed them in the way; and some held branches in their hands; and some strewed their garments in the way, crying and saying, Save, then, thou who art in the highest; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The Jews cried out and said against the messenger, The children of the Hebrews cried out in Hebrew; how is it for thee, a Gentile, to know this? The messenger said to them, I asked one of the Jews and said. What is that which they cry out in Hebrew? and he explained it to me. Pilate said to them, How did they cry out in Hebrew? The Jews said, Hosanna in the highest. Pilate saith to them, How is Hosanna in the highest interpreted? They say unto him, Save us, thou who art in the highest. Pilate saith to them, If ye confirm the words and sayings with which the children cried out, what sin hath the messenger committed? And they were silent. The procurator, therefore, said to the messenger, Go out and bring him in as thou wilt. And the [p.316] messenger went out and did as before, and said to Jesus, Lord, come in, for the procurator calleth for thee.
Now when Jesus entered, and the standard-bearers were bearing the standards, the tops of the standards bowed down of themselves and worshipped Jesus. But the Jews, seeing how the standards bowed themselves and worshipped Jesus, cried out still more against those who bore the standards. So Pilate said to the Jews, Marvel ye not how the standards bowed themselves and worshipped Jesus? The Jews said to Pilate, We saw how the men who bear the standards bowed and worshipped Jesus. And the procurator called the standard-bearers, and said unto them. Why have ye done thus? They said unto Pilate, We are Gentiles, and servants of the temples; how should we worship him? for as we were holding the ensigns they bowed themselves of their own accord, and worshipped him.
Pilate said unto the rulers of the synagogue, and the elders of the people, Choose ye strong and powerful men, and let them hold the standards, and let us see if they bow of themselves. So the elders of the Jews took twelve most strong and powerful men, and made them hold the standards by six and six, and they stood before the judgment seat of the procurator. Pilate saith to the messenger, Take out Jesus from the praetorium, and bring him in again in any way [p.317] thou wilt. And Jesus and the messenger went outside the proctorium. And Pilate called those who held the standards before, and said to them, By the safety of Caesar, if the standards do not bow themselves when Jesus entereth, I will cut off your heads. And the procurator commanded Jesus to enter the second time. And the messenger did the same as before, and greatly entreated Jesus to go up, and walk upon his vestment. And He walked upon it and came in. But as Jesus entered, immediately the standards bowed themselves and worshipped Jesus.
Now when Pilate saw it, fear took hold of him, and he
forthwith wished to rise up from the judgment seat. And while he thought thus,
to rise up and depart, his wife sent unto him, saying. Have nothing to do with
that just man; for I have this night suffered many things because of him. And
Pilate called the Jews, and said to them. Ye know that my wife is a worshipper
of God, and rather accordeth with you in Judaism. The Jews say unto him, It is
so, and we know it. Pilate saith to them. Behold, my wife hath sent to me
saying. Have nothing to do with that just man; for I have this night suffered
many things because of him. The Jews answered and said unto Pilate, Have we not
told thee that he [p.318] is a magician ? behold,
he hath sent a phantom of dreams to thy wife.
Pilate called Jesus and said to him, What is it that these testify against thee? and sayest thou nothing to them? And Jesus answered, If they had not power they would not speak. Every one hath power over his own mouth, to speak good and bad: they will see.
So the elders of the Jews answered and said to Jesus, What shall we see? First, that thou art born of fornication; secondly, that at thy nativity at Bethlehem there was made a slaughter of infants; thirdly, that thy father Joseph, and thy mother Mary fled into Egypt, because they had no confidence in the people.
Certain of the Jews who stood by, being well disposed, said, We say not that he was born of fornication, but we know that Mary was espoused to Joseph, and he was not born of fornication. Pilate said to the Jews who said he was born of fornication, This your speech is not true, because the espousals were celebrated, as these men of your nation say. Annas and Caiaphas say unto Pilate, We say with all the multitude that he was born of fornication and is a malefactor; but these are proselytes and his disciples. And Pilate calling to Annas and Caiaphas saith to them, What are proselytes? They say unto him, They were born children of the Gentiles, and are [p.319] now become Jews. Those who bore witness that Jesus was not born of fornication, Lazarus and Asterius, Antonius and Jacob, Annes and Azaras, Samuel and Isaac, Phinebas and Crispus, Agrippa and Judas, answered, We are not proselytes, but were born children of the Jews, and speak the truth; for we were present at the espousals of Mary.
So Pilate called unto him these twelve men who proved that Jesus was not born of fornication, and he said unto them, I adjure you by the safety of Caesar, tell me if it is true that Jesus was not born of fornication. They say unto Pilate, We have a law not to swear, because it is sin; but let them swear by the safety of Caesar that it is not as we say, and we are deserving of death. Then said Pilate to Annas and Caiaphas, Answer ye nothing to those things which these men testify? Annas and Caiaphas say unto Pilate, These twelve are believed that he was not born of fornication: all we people cry that he was born of fornication, and is a malefactor, and saith that he is the son of God and a king; and we are not believed.
And Pilate commanded all the multitude to go out, except the twelve men who said that he was not born of fornication, and he commanded Jesus to be set apart from them. And Pilate said to them. Wherefore wish the Jews to slay Jesus ? They say unto him. They are jealous because he healeth on the sabbath. [p.320] Pilate said, For a good work do they wish to slay him? They say unto him, Yea, lord.
Pilate being filled with fury went out of the praetorium and
said to them, I take the sun to witness that I find not one fault in this man.
The Jews answered and said to the governor. If he had not been a malefactor we
should never have delivered him unto thee. Pilate saith to them, Take ye him and
judge him according to your law. The Jews answered, It is not lawful for us to
put any one to death. Pilate saith to them, God hath said to you that ye should
not put any one to death; hath he then said to me that I should kill?
Having entered the praetorium again, Pilate called Jesus unto himself privately and said to him. Art thou king of the Jews? Jesus answered Pilate, Dost thou speak this of thyself? or have others said it to thee concerning me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered and said. My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom had been of this world, my servants would by all means have contended that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from hence, Pilate said to him, Art thou [p.321] therefore a king? Jesus saith to him, Thou sayest; for I am a king. For on this account was I born, and for this I came, that I should bear witness for the truth, and every one who is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? Jesus saith, Truth is from heaven. Pilate saith, Is truth not on earth? Jesus saith to Pilate, Observe how they who say the truth are judged by those who have power on earth.
Pilate therefore, leaving Jesus within the praetorium, went
out to the Jews and said to them, I find not one fault in him. The Jews say to
him, He said, I can destroy this temple, and raise it up again in three days.
Pilate said to them, What temple? The Jews say to him, That which Solomon built
in forty-six years; and he speaketh of destroying and building it in three days.
Pilate saith to them, I am innocent of the blood of this man: Ye shall see to
it. The Jews say to him, His blood be on us and on our children.
But Pilate called the elders and priests and Levites and said to them privately, Do not so: for though ye accuse him I have found him in no wise worthy of death, not even for healing and the violation of the Sabbath. The priests and Levites and elders say, [p.322] Tell us, if one hath blasphemed Caesar, is he worthy of death or no? Pilate saith to them, He is worthy to die. The Jews answered him, How much more is he worthy to die who hath blasphemed God?
Now the governor commanded the Jews to go out of the praetorium, and calling Jesus he said to him? What shall I do to thee? Jesus saith to Pilate, As it is allowed. Pilate saith, How is it allowed? Jesus saith, Moses and the prophets preached beforehand of my death and resurrection. Now when the Jews heard this they said to Pilate, Why further desirest thou to hear the blasphemy? And Pilate said, If this saying is blasphemous, take ye him, and lead him to your synagogue, and judge him according to your law. The Jews say to Pilate, Our law containeth this. If a man sinneth against man, he is worthy to receive forty stripes save one; but he that blasphemeth against God is to be stoned.
Pilate saith to them, Therefore judge him according to your law. The Jews say to Pilate, We wish him to be crucified. Pilate saith to them, He deserveth not to be crucified.
Now the governor looking at the people of the Jews standing round, saw very many of the Jews weeping, and he said. All the multitude doth not wish him to die. The elders say to Pilate, The whole multitude of us have come for this that he may die. Pilate saith to the Jews, What hath he done that he [p.323] should die? They say to him, Because he said that he is the Son of God and a King.
But a certain man named Nicodemus, who was a Jew, stood
before the governor and said, I beseech thee mercifully to bid me say a few
words. Pilate saith to him, Say on. Nicodemus saith, I have said to the elders
and priests and Levites and all the multitude of the Jews in the synagogue. What
have ye to do with this man? This man doth many miracles and signs which no man
hath done or can do. Dismiss him and do nothing evil against him. If the signs
which he doeth are of God, they will stand, but if of men they will be brought
to nought. For Moses also, when sent of God into Egypt, did many signs, which
God commanded him to do before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And the evil-doers Jamnes
and Mambres were there healing, and they also did the signs which Moses did, but
not all of them, and the Egyptians esteemed them as gods, both Jamnes and
Mambres. And because the signs which they did were not of God, both they
themselves perished, and those who believed them. And now dismiss this man, for
he is not worthy of death.
The Jews say to Nicodemus, Thou art become his disciple, and makest a plea for him. Nicodemus [p.324] saith unto them, Is the governor also become his disciple, and doth he make a plea for him? Hath not Caesar appointed him to this dignity? Now the Jews were raging and gnashing their teeth against Nicodemus. Pilate saith to them, Why do ye gnash your teeth against him when ye hear the truth? The Jews say to Nicodemus, Receive his truth and a portion with him. Nicodemus saith, Amen, amen, amen, may I receive as ye have said.
Now a certain other of the Jews, starting up, asked the
governor that he might say a word. The governor saith, What thou wilt say, say.
He said, I lay eight-and-thirty years infirm in my bed in the greatest pain. And
when Jesus came, many demoniacs and persons seized with divers infirmities were
healed by him. And certain young men pitied me and carried me in my bed and
placed me before him. And when Jesus saw, he had pity on me and said this word
to me, Take up thy bed and walk. And immediately I was made whole, and took up
my bed and walked. The Jews say unto Pilate, Ask him what day it was when he was
healed. He said, The Sabbath. The Jews said, Have we not thus declared, that on
the Sabbath he healeth and casteth out demons? [p.325]
And a certain other Jew, starting up, said, I was born blind, I beard a
voice and saw nobody. And as Jesus passed by, I cried with a loud voice, Son of
David, have mercy on me. And be bad mercy on me, and put his bands upon my eyes,
and immediately I saw.
And another Jew, starting up, said, I was bowed down and he made me upright with a word.
And another said, I was leprous, and he healed me with a word.
Also a woman, named Veronica, called out from a distance to the governor, I had an issue of blood twelve years, and I touched the hem of his garment, and immediately the issue of my blood stayed. The Jews say, We have a law that a woman shall not come to bear witness.
And certain others, a multitude of men and women, cried out, saying. This man is a prophet, and the demons are subject unto him. Pilate saith to those who said, The demons are subject unto him, And why are your teachers not subject unto him? They say to Pilate, We do not know. And others [p.326] said to Pilate that he raised up Lazarus from the tomb after he had been dead four days. When the governor heard this, he trembled, and said to all the multitude of Jews, Why do ye wish to shed innocent blood?
And Pilate called Nicodemus and the twelve men who said he
was not born of fornication, and said to them, What shall I do? for there is a
sedition among the people. They say unto him, We know not: let them see to it.
Pilate again called all the multitude of the Jews and said, Ye know that it is a
custom with you on the day of unleavened bread that I should release unto you
one that is bound. I have a notable criminal in prison, a murderer called
Barabbas, and Jesus who is called Christ, in whom I find no cause of death.
Which will ye that I release unto you? And they all cried, saying, Release
Barabbas unto us. Pilate saith unto them, What then shall I do with Jesus who is
called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified. The Jews said again, Thou art
not the friend of Caesar if thou dost release him, for he said he was the Son of
God and a king; except thou wishest him to be king, and not Caesar.
Then Pilate, filled with anger, said to them, Your [p.327] race hath always been seditious, and ye have been opposed to them that have been for you. The Jews answered, Who are for us? Pilate saith to them, Your God who snatched you from the hard servitude of the Egyptians, and led you out of Egypt through the sea, as by dry land, and fed you in the desert with manna and quails, and brought forth water from the rock for you and gave you drink, and gave a law unto you: and amid all these things ye provoked your God, and sought for you a molten calf as your God. And ye did anger your God, and he meant to slay you; and Moses prayed for you that ye might not die. And now ye say that I hate the king.
And rising from the tribunal he sought to go out. But the Jews cried and said to him, We know that Caesar and not Jesus is king. For the magi also offered him gifts as a king, and when Herod heard from the magi that a king was born, he wished to slay him. But this becoming known, Joseph, his father, took him and his mother, and they fled into Egypt; and on hearing it, Herod slew all the infants of the Jews born in Bethlehem.
Pilate was afraid when he heard these words: and when silence was made among the people, who were shouting, Pilate said, Is this he whom Herod sought after? They say to him, It is he. And Pilate took water and washed his hands before the people, say- [p.328] ing, I am innocent of the blood of this just man; ye will see. The Jews shouted again, saying, His blood be upon us and upon our children.
Then Pilate commanded the curtain to be drawn, and said to Jesus, Thine own nation complain of thee as a king: therefore I have decreed that thou shalt first be scourged according to the statutes of the emperors, and then be crucified upon a cross.
And when Jesus had been scourged he delivered him to the Jews to be crucified, and two robbers with him, one named Dismas and another named Gestas. And when they came to the place, they stripped him of his garments, and girded him with a linen cloth, and put a crown of thorns upon his head. Likewise also they hung up the two robbers with him, Dismas on the right, and Gestas on the left. And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And the soldiers parted his garments amongst them. And the people stood waiting. And the chief priests and their judges derided him, saying among themselves. He saved others, now let him save himself; if he is the Son of God, let him come down from the cross. And the soldiers mocked him, falling down before him, and offering him vinegar with gall, and saying. If thou art king of the Jews, deliver thyself.
Now after the sentence Pilate commanded a title to be written
in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin letters according to what the Jews had said:—This is
the King of the Jews.
Now one of the robbers that were banging, Gestas by name, said to him, If thou art Christ, deliver thyself and us. But Dismas, answering, rebuked him saying. Dost thou not even fear God, who art in this condemnation? for we, indeed, justly and worthily receive the things we have done; but he hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me in thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Verily I say unto thee, that to-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.
Now it was about the sixth hour, and darkness came upon all
the earth and the sun was obscured, and the veil of the temple was rent in the
midst; and he cried with a loud voice and said, Father, into thy hands I commend
my spirit. And, having said this, he expired. And the centurion, seeing what was
done, glorified God, saying. This man was just. And all the people, who were
present at that sight, seeing what was done, smote their breasts and returned.
Then the centurion reported to the governor what was done. And the governor and his wife, on hear- [p.330] ing it, were greatly grieved, and neither ate nor drank that day. And Pilate, calling the Jews, said to them, Have ye seen what was done? And they said to the governor. There has been an eclipse of the sun, as is usual.
Now his acquaintance and the women who had followed him out of Galilee, stood afar off beholding these things. And behold, a certain man, Joseph by name, a counsellor, of Arimathea a city of the Jews, a good and just man, who did not consent to their counsels nor deeds, and who himself expected the kingdom of God, went away to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And taking him down from the cross, he wrapped him in a clean linen cloth, and placed him in his own new tomb wherein no one had been laid.
Now the Jews having heard that Joseph had begged the body of
Jesus, sought for him and the twelve men who had said that he was not born of
fornication, and for Nicodemus, and for many others who had stood before Pilate
and made known his good works. But they were all hidden, and Nicodemus alone
appeared to them, because he was a chief man of the Jews, and he said to them.
How did ye come into the synagogue? The Jews say unto
[p.331] him, And how didst thou come into the synagogue, for thou dost
consent with him? His portion be with thee in the world to come! Nicodemus said,
Amen, Amen, Amen! Likewise also Joseph, coming forth, saith to them. Why are ye
aggrieved against me because I begged the body of Jesus? Behold, I have placed
him in my own new tomb, wrapping him in a clean linen cloth; and I have rolled a
stone to the door of the cave. And ye have not acted well towards the Just One,
because ye have not laid it to heart that ye crucified him and pierced him with
a spear. The Jews therefore, seizing Joseph commanded him to be guarded because
of the sabbath day, and they said unto him, Know that the time doth not demand
anything to be done with thee because the sabbath beginneth to dawn. But know
that thou art not worthy of burial, but we will give thy flesh to the fowls of
heaven and the beasts of earth.
Joseph saith unto them, That is the speech of haughty Goliath, who reproached the living God (speaking) against holy David. But God hath said, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. And Pilate, being convinced in heart, took water and washed his hands before the sun, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just man: ye will see. And ye answered Pilate and said, His blood be upon us and upon our children. And now I fear lest the wrath of God should come upon you and upon your [p.332] children as ye have said. But when the Jews heard this they were embittered in their heart, and took Joseph and shut him in a house where there was no window, and put keepers at the doors, and sealed up the door where Joseph was shut in.
Now on the Sabbath in the morning they took counsel with the priests and Levites that all should be assembled after the sabbath day. And, rising at daylight, all the multitude took counsel in the synagogue, by what death they should kill him. And while the congregation was sitting, they commanded him to be brought with much insult; and on opening the door they found him not. Therefore all the people were afraid, and they wondered with exceeding astonishment, because they found the seals sealed, and because Caiaphas had the keys. And they dared no more to lay a hand on those who had spoken for Jesus before Pilate.
Now while they sat in the synagogue and disputed about
Joseph, some of the keepers came whom they had asked from Pilate to guard the
sepulchre of Jesus, lest his disciples should come and steal him away. And they
made known and told the rulers n of the synagogue, and the priests and the
Levites, what was done; how there had been a great earth-
[p.333] quake, and, We saw how the angel of the Lord descended from
heaven, and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and sat upon
it; and his appearance was as lightning, and his raiment like snow: and for fear
we became as dead men. And we heard the voice of the angel talking to the women
who had come to the sepulchre, and saying, Fear not : for I know that ye seek
Jesus who was crucified: he is not here, he is risen, as he said: come and see
the place where the Lord was laid. And go forth quickly, and tell his disciples
that he is risen from the dead, and will go before you into Galilee, as he told
The Jews say, With what women did he talk? The soldiers answer, We know not what women they were. The Jews say, At what hour was it? The keepers answer, At midnight. The Jews say, And why did ye not take them? The keepers answer, We became as dead men through fear of the angel, not hoping now to see the light of day and how could we take them? The Jews say, As the Lord God liveth, we do not believe you. And the keepers said to the Jews, Ye have seen so great signs in that man and have not believed, and how can ye believe us that the Lord liveth? Ye have well sworn; because the Lord Jesus Christ doth live. The keepers say again to the Jews, We have heard that ye shut up in prison and sealed it with your [p.334] rings, Joseph, who begged the body of Jesus, and when ye opened it ye found him not. Therefore give us Joseph, and we will give you Jesus Christ. The Jews said, Joseph is gone to Arimathea, his own city. The keepers say to the Jews, And Jesus, as we have heard from the angel, is in Galilee.
Now when they heard these sayings the Jews feared greatly, and said, Lest this saying should be heard, and all men should believe in Jesus. And the Jews took counsel together, and took money enough and gave it to the soldiers, saying. Say ye, While we slept his disciples came and stole him. And if this should be heard by the governor, we will assure him and make you safe. And the soldiers, receiving it, said as they were admonished by the Jews, and their saying was sent abroad among all men.
Now a certain priest named Phinehas, and Addas a teacher, and
Egeas a Levite, came down from Galilee unto Jerusalem, and reported unto the
rulers of the synagogue, and priests, and Levites, how they had seen Jesus
sitting, and his disciples with him, on the mount of Olivet, which is called
Mambre or Malech,98 and he was saying to his disciples, Go into all
[p.335] the world and preach the Gospel of the
Kingdom of God to every creature. He that shall believe and be baptised, shall
be saved; but he that shall not believe, shall be condemned. Now these signs
shall follow them that shall believe: in my name they shall cast out demons,
they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they
drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the
sick, and they shall recover. While Jesus spake these things to his disciples we
saw him taken up into heaven.
The priests, and Levites, and elders said unto them, Give glory to the God of Israel, and give acknowledgement to him, if ye have seen and heard these things which ye tell. They who had declared this said. As the Lord God of our fathers liveth, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, we saw and heard. The Jews say unto them, Have ye come for this cause, to tell us, or have ye come to offer prayer to God? They said, We are come to offer prayer to God. The elders, and chief priests, and Levites say unto them. And if ye are come to offer prayer to God, why have ye talked of this madness before all the people? Phinehas the priest, and Addas the teacher, and Egeas the Levite, say unto the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests, and the Levites, If the things which we have spoken, which we have seen and heard, are sin, [p.336] bell old, we are in your presence: do unto us according to that which is good in your eyes. And taking the law they made them swear to tell no one those things any more. And they gave them to eat and drink, and sent them out of the city, giving them money, and three men with them to conduct them as far as Galilee.
Then when those men went up into Galilee, the Jews counselled together, and the rulers of the synagogue shut themselves up, and fell into a great fury, saying. Why hath this sign happened in Israel? But Annas and Caiaphas said, Why are your souls sad? Ought we to believe the soldiers that the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? Nay, but that his disciples gave much gold to those who kept the sepulchre, and took away Jesus, and taught them to say thus. Say that the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre. Know ye not that it is unlawful for Jews to believe strangers in anything, knowing that the same who received money enough from us have said as we taught them.
Then Nicodemus arose and stood in the midst of the council, and said, Ye have said rightly. Are [p.337] not they who came down from Galilee men who fear God, men of peace, and hating a lie? And they said with an oath. We saw Jesus sitting on mount Mambre with his disciples, and he taught them in our hearing: and they saw him taken up into heaven. Now no one has asked them how he was taken up into heaven. And in like manner the scripture of the holy book teacheth us that holy Elijah also was taken up into heaven: and Elisha cried with a loud voice, and Elijah cast his mantle of sheepskin upon Elisha; and Elisha again cast the mantle upon the Jordan, and passed over and came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets met him, and said to Elisha, Where is thy lord Elijah? and he said, He is taken up into heaven. And they said to Elisha, Hath a spirit seized him and cast him on one of the mountains? But let us rather take our young men with us and seek for him. And they prevailed on Elisha, and he went with them; and they sought for him three days and three nights, and found him not, because he was taken up. And now, men, hear me, and let us send into all Israel, and see lest Jesus hath been taken up some whither and cast on one of the mountains. And that saying pleased them all: and they sent among all the mountains of Israel to seek for Jesus, and found him not; but they found Joseph of Arimathea, and no one dared lay hold upon him.
And they reported unto the elders, and priests, and Levites,
saying, We have gone about all the mountains of Israel, and have not found
Jesus; but we have found Joseph in Arimathea. Now when they heard about Joseph
they rejoiced, and gave glory to the God of Israel. And the rulers of the
synagogue and priests and Levites took counsel in what way they should send to
Joseph; and they took paper and wrote to Joseph:—
Peace be to thee and to all that is thine. We know that we have sinned against God and against thee: and thou hast supplicated the God of Israel, and he hath delivered thee out of our hands. And now deign to come to thy fathers and thy sons, for we are greatly distressed. We, who opened the door and found thee not, have all sought for thee. We know that we have taken evil counsel against thee, but the Lord hath supplanted our counsel against thee. Father Joseph, thou art worthy to be honoured by all the people.
And they chose out of all Israel seven men who were friends of Joseph, whom Joseph also knew as friends; and the rulers of the synagogue and priests and Levites said to them. See ye: if he receiveth the letter and readeth it, for certain he will come to us with you; but if he doth not read it, know that he is ill-disposed towards us, and when ye have saluted him in peace return to us. And they blessed [p.339] them and sent them away. And they came to Arimathea to Joseph, and worshipped him with their face to the ground, and said. Peace be to thee, and to all thine. And Joseph said, Peace be to you, and to all the people of Israel. And they gave him the letter; and Joseph took it and read it, and he embraced the letter, and blessed God, and said, Blessed be the Lord God who hath delivered Israel, that it might not shed innocent blood: and blessed be God who hath sent his angel and sheltered me under his wings. And he kissed them, and set a table for them, and they ate and drank, and slept there.
And when they arose in the morning, Joseph saddled his ass and went with them, and they entered the holy city of Jerusalem. And all the people met him, crying out, and saying, Peace be on thy coming in, father Joseph. In answer to them, he said, The Lord's peace be on all the people. And they all kissed him; and they prayed with Joseph, and were afraid when they saw him. And Nicodemus received him into his house, and made a great feast, and invited Annas and Caiaphas and the elders and chief priests and Levites to his house; and making merry and eating and drinking with Joseph they blessed God, and went away every one to his own home. But Joseph abode in the house of Nicodemus.
Now on the next day, which was the preparation, [p.340] the priests and rulers of the synagogue and Levites arose early and came to the house of Nicodemus. And Nicodemus met them, and said to them, Peace be to you. And they said to him, Peace to thee and to Joseph, and to thy house, and the house of Joseph. And Nicodemus led them into his house. And a council sat; and Joseph sat between Annas and Caiaphas, and no one dared speak a word. And Joseph said to them, Why have ye invited me? But they signified with their eyes to Nicodemus that he should speak with Joseph. And Nicodemus opened his mouth and said, Father Joseph, thou knowest that our venerable teachers, priests, and Levites, seek to hear a word from thee; and Joseph said, Ask on. And Annas and Caiaphas took the law and caused Joseph to swear, saying. Give glory to the God of Israel, and give to him acknowledgement, so as not to hide from us any word. And they said to him. We have been greatly grieved because thou didst beg the body of Jesus, and didst wrap it in a clean linen cloth, and didst lay him in the sepulchre. Therefore we shut thee up in a house where there was no window, and we put a lock and a seal on the door, and on the first day of the week we opened the doors and found thee not. Therefore were we greatly grieved, and astonishment came over all the people of God; and therefore art thou invited, and now tell us what was done.
Then said Joseph, On the day of preparation, about the tenth hour, ye shut me in, and I remained there the whole of the sabbath. And when midnight came, while I stood and prayed, the house wherein ye shut me was suspended by the four corners, and there was a flashing of light in mine eyes, and I fell trembling upon the ground. Then one lifted me up from the place where I had fallen, and poured abundance of water upon me from my head to my feet, and put about my nostrils the fragrance of wonderful ointment, and rubbed my face with the water, as if washing me, and kissed me, and said to me, Joseph, fear not, but open thine eyes, and see who it is that speaketh to thee. And looking, I saw Jesus, and being afraid, I thought it was an apparition. And with prayer and other utterances I spake to him, and he talked with me. And I said to him. Art thou Rabbi Elijah? 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 thou didst beg from Pilate, and didst wrap in a clean linen cloth, and didst put a napkin upon my face, and didst lay me in thine own new sepulchre, and didst roll a stone to the mouth of the sepulchre. Then I said to him that spake to me. Show me. Lord, where I laid thee. And he led me and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen cloth [p.342] which I had put upon him, and the napkin which I had wrapped about his face; and I knew that it was Jesus. And he took hold of me with his hand, and put me in the midst of my house, the doors being shut, and he put me in my bed, and said to me, Peace be to thee! And he kissed me and said to me. For forty days go not from thine house; for behold, I go into Galilee to my brethren.
Now when the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests, and
Levites, heard these words from Joseph, they became as dead men, and fell upon
the ground, and fasted until the ninth hour. And Joseph and Nicodemus besought
them, saying, Arise, and stand upon your feet, and taste bread, and refresh your
souls, for to-morrow is the sabbath of the Lord. And they arose and besought the
Lord, and ate and drank, and went away, every man to his own house.
Now on the sabbath the teachers and doctors sat questioning together and saying. What is this wrath which is come upon us? for we know his father and mother. Levi the teacher said, I know his parents feared God, and never departed from prayer, and gave tithes three times in the year. And when Jesus was born his parents presented him in this place, and offered sacrifices and burnt offerings to God. For [p.343] also the old man Simeon, the teacher, took him in his arms, and said, Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel. And he blessed Mary, his mother, and said, I declare unto thee concerning this child. And Mary said. Good, my lord. And Simeon answered, Good. And he said again, Behold, he is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against thee and a sword shall pierce through thine own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.99
And the Jews said to Levi, and how knowest thou these things? Levi saith, Know ye not that I learned the law from him? They of the council say unto him. We would see thy father. And they sought out his father, and obtained information, for he said, Why have ye not believed my son? Simeon the blessed and just taught him the law. The council said to Rabbi Levi, The saying which thou hast spoken is true. And the chief priests, and rulers of the synagogue, and the Levites, said among themselves. Come, let us send into Galilee to the three men who came hither, and told us of his teaching and assumption, and let them tell us how they [p.344] saw him taken up into heaven. And that saying pleased them all. Then they sent three men into Galilee, and said, Go and say to Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Phinehas, and Rabbi Egeas, Peace be to you and yours! Many inquiries have been made in the council concerning Jesus, therefore we are directed to invite you to the holy place, to Jerusalem.
The men departed into Galilee and found them sitting and meditating upon the law. And they greeted them in peace. And they said. Why are ye come? The messengers answered. The council calleth you to the holy city of Jerusalem. And when they heard that they were required by the council, they prayed to God, and sat down with the men and ate and drank with them. And rising in the morning they departed for Jerusalem in peace.
And on the morrow the council sat, and asked them saying. Did ye clearly see Jesus sitting on Mount Mambre, teaching his disciples, and taken up into heaven?
First Addas the teacher said, Truly I saw him sitting on Mount Mambre teaching his disciples; and a shining cloud overshadowed him and his disciples, and he ascended into heaven; and his disciples were praying with their faces to the ground. And then calling Phinehas the priest, they asked him also, saying, How didst thou see Jesus taken up? And he said the same as the other. And, again, on their calling [p.345] and asking the third Rabbi, Egeas, he said the same as the first and second. And they who were in the council said, It is contained in the law of Moses that by the mouth of two or three every word is established. The teacher Abudem, one of the doctors, saith, It is written in the law, that Enoch walked with God, and he was translated, because God took him. Jairus, a teacher, said. And we have heard of the death of holy Moses, and have not seen it; for it is written in the law of the Lord, And Moses died according to the mouth of the Lord, and no man knoweth his sepulchre unto the present day. Rabbi Levi said. What is that which Rabbi Simeon said. Behold he is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against? Rabbi Isaac said. It is written in the law. Behold I send my Angel, who shall go before thy face to keep thee in every good way; for I have brought in his new name.100
Then Annas and Caiaphas said. Ye have rightly said, that these things are written in the law of Moses, that no one saw the death of Enoch, and no one hath named the burial-place of holy Moses. But Jesus gave answer to Pilate, and we saw him scourged, and his face spit upon, and the soldiers put a crown of thorns upon him, and he received sentence from Pilate, and he was lately crucified, and they [p.346] gave him gall and vinegar to drink, and two robbers were crucified with him, and Longinus, a soldier, pierced his side with a spear; and our dear father Joseph asked for his body; and he rose again; and as the three teachers say, they saw him taken up into heaven. And Rabbi Levi hath testified what was spoken by the old man Simeon, that he was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted.
Then Didas, the teacher, said to all the congregation, If all things which these men have testified concerning Jesus have come to pass, they are from God, and let it not be marvellous in our eyes. The chiefs of the synagogue, and the priests, and Levites said among themselves. It is contained in our law. His name shall be blessed for ever ; His place continueth before the sun, and his seat before the moon; and all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed in him; and all nations shall serve him, and kings shall come from afar adoring and magnifying him.101
THE LATIN GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS,
Part IL, or, descent of Christ to the Underworld.
CHAPTER I. (XVII.)
And Joseph arose and said to Annas and Caiaplias, Truly and
well do ye wonder that ye have heard how Jesus hath been seen to ascend into
heaven alive from the dead. But it is more to be wondered at that he rose not
alone from the dead, but that he raised alive from their tombs many other dead
men, and they have been seen by many in Jerusalem. And now hear me, for we all
know the blessed Simeon, the great priest, who in the temple took the infant
Jesus in his hands. And the same Simeon had two sons, both of one mother, and we
were all present at their death and burial. Go, therefore, and see their tombs,
for they are open, because they have arisen: and, behold, they are in the city
of Arimathea living together in prayer. And indeed they are heard crying out,
but speaking [p.348] with no one, but are
speechless as dead men.102 But come, let us go to them, and let us bring them to
us with all honour and gentleness. And if we adjure them, perhaps they will
speak to us of the mystery of their resurrection.
When they heard this they all rejoiced. And Annas and Caiaphas, Nicodemus and Joseph and Gamaliel went and found them not in their sepulchre; but on going into the city of Arimathea there they found them on bended knees and occupied in prayer. And kissing them, with all veneration, and in the fear of God, they brought them to Jerusalem to the synagogue. And when the doors were shut, they took the law of the Lord and put it in their hands, adjuring them by the God Adonai and the God of Israel, who spake by the law and the prophets to our fathers, saying. If ye believe that it is Jesus who raised you from the dead, tell us how ye rose from the dead.
When Karinus and Leucius heard this adjuration, they trembled in body and groaned, being troubled in heart. And looking together to heaven they made the sign of the cross on their tongues with their fingers, and immediately they spake together, saying. Give us separate sheets of paper, and let us write what we have seen and heard. And they [p.349] gave them unto them. And sitting down they both wrote, saying:
CHAPTER II. (XVIII.)
Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection and life of the dead, permit us to speak mysteries by the death of thy cross, because we are adjured by thee. For thou hast commanded thy servants to relate to no one the secrets of thy Divine Majesty, which thou hast accomplished in the underworld, now when we had been laid with all our fathers in the pit, in the gloom of darkness, there suddenly appeared the golden glow of the sun and a purple royal light shining upon us. And immediately the father of all the human race, with all the patriarchs and prophets, exulted, saying, This light is the author of eternal light, which hath promised to send us the co-eternal light. And Isaiah cried out, and said, This is the light of the Father, the Son of God, as I foretold when I was living upon earth: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles, the people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and they who are in the region of the shadow of death, light was shining among them.103 And now it is come and hath illumined us who sit in death.
And while we all exulted in the light which shone upon us,
our father Simeon came to us, and he said to us, joyfully, Glorify the Lord
Jesus Christ, the Son of God; for when he was born an infant I took him in my
hands in the temple, and, moved by the Holy Spirit, I said, confessing him, For
now mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared in the sight of
all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people
Israel.104 On hearing this, the whole multitude of the saints rejoiced the more.
And after this there came one like a dweller in the wilderness, and was asked by all, Who art thou? To whom, in reply, he said, I am John, the voice and prophet of the Highest, preceding the presence of his coming, to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people for remission of their sins. And when I saw him coming to me, I was impelled by the Holy Spirit, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, behold, it is He who taketh away the sins of the world. And I baptised Him in the river Jordan, and I saw the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the form of a dove, and I heard a voice from heaven, saying. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And now I have come before His face, and descended to announce to you that the dayspring itself, the Son of God coming from on high, is about [p.351] to visit us as we sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
CHAPTER III. (XIX.)
And when father Adam, the first-formed, heard this, that
Jesus was baptised in the Jordan, he cried to his son Seth, Tell unto thy sons,
the patriarchs and prophets, all that thou didst hear from Michael the
Archangel, when I sent thee to the gates of Paradise to pray God to send thee
his angel to give thee the oil of the tree of mercy, to anoint my body when I
was sick. Then Seth drew nigh to the holy patriarchs and prophets, and said.
When I Seth was praying to the Lord at the gates of Paradise, behold, Michael,
the angel of the Lord, appeared unto me, saying, I am sent to thee by the Lord;
I am appointed over the human body. I say unto thee, Seth, do not labour with
tears by prayer and supplication for the oil of the tree of mercy to anoint thy
father Adam for the pain of his body, for thou canst in no wise receive of it,
save in the last days and times, nor until 5500 years have been accomplished :
then shall come upon earth the most beloved Son of God to raise the body of Adam
and the bodies of the dead, and at His coming He shall be baptised in the
Jordan. But when He shall have gone forth from the water of Jordan, then with
the oil of His mercy [p.352] shall He anoint all
who believe in Him, and that oil of mercy shall be for the generation of those
who are to be born of water and the Holy Spirit unto life eternal. Then coming
down into the earth, the most loving Son of God, Jesus Christ, shall lead our
father Adam into Paradise to the tree of mercy.105
When they heard all these things from Seth, all the patriarchs and prophets rejoiced with great joy.
CHAPTER IV. (XX.)
And when all the saints were rejoicing, behold Satan, the
prince and leader of death, said to Hades,106 Prepare thyself to receive Jesus,
who boasteth that He is the Son of God, and is a man who feareth death, and
saith, My soul is sorrowful unto death. And He hath opposed me in very many
things and done me mischief, and many whom I made blind, lame, deaf, leprous,
and demoniacs, He hath healed with a word; and those whom I brought dead unto
thee he hath taken from thee.
Hades answered and said to Satan, the prince, Who is he that is so powerful, while he is a man that feareth death? For all the powerful of the earth are held subject to my power, and as subject [p.353] thou hast by thy power brought them down. If thou then art powerful, what is that man Jesus, who feareth death and yet resisteth thy power? If he is so powerful in his humanity, I tell thee truly, he is omnipotent in his divinity, and no one can withstand his power, and while he saith that he feareth death, he is intending to seize thee, and it will be woe unto thee through eternal ages.
But Satan the prince of Tartarus said, Why hast thou hesitated and feared to receive that Jesus, my enemy and thine? For I have tempted him, and my ancient Jewish people I have stirred up with jealousy and anger against him; I have sharpened a lance to wound him, I have mingled gall and vinegar to be given him to drink, and I have prepared the wood for his crucifixion, and nails to fasten him, and his death is at hand, that I may lead him to thee subject to thee and to me.
Hades answered and said, Thou hast told me that it is he who took the dead from me. For there are many who are detained by me here, who while they lived on earth took the dead from me, not by their own power, but by divine prayers; and their omnipotent God took them from me. Who is that Jesus, who by his word drew from me the dead, without prayers? Perhaps it is he who made alive by the word of his power Lazarus, that had been four days in corruption and decay, whom I held dead.
Satan the prince of death answered and said, It is that same Jesus. Now when Hades heard this, he said to him, I conjure thee by my powers and thine, not to bring him to me. For when I heard the command of his word, I was greatly terrified with dread and trembled, and all my agents were thrown into confusion with me. Neither could we hold Lazarus, but shaking himself off, like an eagle with all agility and speed, he leaped up and left us, and the very earth which held the dead body of Lazarus straightway gave him back alive. So now I know that the man who could do this is God, mighty in dominion, powerful in his humanity, and Saviour of the human race; and if thou shalt bring him to me, he will release and conduct to the life of his divinity for ever, all who are here shut up in the severity of prison, and bound in the firm bonds of their sins.
CHAPTER V. (XXI.)
And while Satan the prince, and Hades were talking thus
together, there was suddenly a sound as of thunder and a crying of spirits: Lift
up your gates, ye princes, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King
of Glory shall come in.107 When, Hades heard this, he said to Satan the prince,
[p.355] Depart from me and go forth out of my
abode; if thou art a powerful warrior, fight against the King of Glory. But what
hast thou to do with him? And Hades cast forth Satan out of his abode. And Hades
said to his impious agents, Shut the cruel brazen gates, and place iron bars
against them, and strongly resist, lest we be led captive who hold captivity.
Now when all the multitude of saints heard this, they said with a voice of rebuke to Hades, Open thy gates that the King of Glory may come in. And David cried, saying, When I was alive on earth, did I not foretell to you. Let the mercies of the Lord be confessed unto him, and his wonderful works to the children of men, because He hath broken the brazen gates and crushed the iron bars:108 He hath taken them from the way of their iniquity.
And after this, Isaiah likewise said. When I was alive on earth, did I not foretell to you. The dead shall arise, and they shall arise who are in the tombs, and they shall exult who are in the earth, for the dew which is from the Lord is health to them. And again, I said, death, where is thy sting? Hades, where is thy victory?
Now all the saints who heard these things from Isaiah said to Hades, Open thy gates; conquered now, thou wilt be feeble and powerless. And there was [p.356] a great voice like thunder, saying, ye princes, lift up your gates, and be ye lifted up ye gates of Hades, and the King of Glory shall come in. Hades, seeing that they cried this twice, said, as if he knew not, Who is the King of Glory? David answered and said to Hades, I understand the words of this cry, for I prophesied the same by his Spirit; and now, what I said above I say to thee. The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, He is the King of Glory.109 And the Lord himself hath looked down from heaven upon earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and to loose the children of the slain.110 And now most vile and most polluted Hades, Open thy gates that the King of Glory may come in. When David said this to Hades, the Lord of Majesty came in the form of man, and illumined the eternal darkness, and broke the indissoluble chains, and the help of unconquered excellence visited us who sat in the deep darkness of offences, and in the death-shadow of sins.
CHAPTER VI. (XXII.)
On seeing these things. Hades, and Death, and their wicked
agents, with their cruel ministers, trembled at the brightness of so great a
light, perceived in their own realms, while they suddenly beheld Christ in
[p.357] their abode, and they cried out, saying, We
are conquered by thee. Who art thou that orderest our confusion before the Lord?
Who art thou that without the ruin of corruption, by unfailing evidence of
majesty, in thy fury condemnest our power? Who art thou, so great and small,
humble and high, soldier and commander, admirable warrior in the form of a
servant, and king of glory, dead and alive, whom when slain the cross upheld?
Thou who didst lie dead in the sepulchre, hast come down alive unto us; and at
thy death every creature trembled, and all the stars were shaken; and now thou
art become free among the dead, and dost disturb our legions. Who art thou that
dost loose the captives that are held bound in original sin, and recallest them
to their primeval liberty? Who art thou that sheddest divine and splendid and
lustrous light upon them that are blinded by the darkness of sin?
Likewise also all the legions of demons, terrified with similar fear, because of their fearful overthrow, with one voice cried out, and said. Whence art thou, Jesus, so mighty a man, and splendid in majesty, so illustrious without spot, and pure from fault? For that earthly world, which hath ever been subject unto us till now, which paid tribute to our use, never sent us such a dead man, and never assigned such gifts to the underworld. Who then art thou that hast entered our borders so fear- [p.358] lessly, and not only dost not fear our punishments, but dost aim to remove all from our bonds? Perhaps thou art that Jesus, of whom Satan, our prince, said, that by thy death on the cross thou wouldst receive power over the whole world.
Then the King of Glory, in his majesty, spurning Death, and seizing Satan the prince, delivered him to the power of Hades, and drew Adam into his glory.
CHAPTER VII. (XXIII.)
Then Hades, receiving Satan the prince, with strong rebuke
said to him, O prince of perdition, and leader of destruction, Beelzebub, the
mockery of angels, and the contempt of the just! Why hast thou determined to do
this? Hast thou resolved to crucify the King of Glory, in whose removal by death
thou didst promise us so great spoils? Like a fool thou knewest not what thou
didst. For behold, that Jesus, by the splendour of his divinity, scattereth all
the darkness of death, and hath broken up the lowest strongholds of our prisons,
and cast out the captives, and loosed them that were bound. And all who used to
groan under our torments, mock at us, and by their prayers our domains are
overcome, and our realms are conquered, and no race of men now feareth us.
Moreover, the dead who were never haughty towards us, nor could ever be joyful
as [p.359] captives, boldly threaten us, prince
Satan, father of all the impious, wicked, and apostate, why hast thou determined
to do thus? They who from the beginning until now despaired of safety and life,
their wonted howling is now no longer heard, neither doth any of them utter a
groan, nor is a trace of tears found upon the face of any one of them. O prince
Satan, possessor of the keys of the underworld, those thy riches which thou
hadst gained by the tree of prevarication and the loss of paradise, thou hast
now lost by the tree of the cross, and all thy joy is perished. When thou didst
hang up that Christ Jesus the King of Glory, thou didst act against thyself and
against me. Henceforth thou wilt know what eternal torments and infinite
punishments thou shalt suffer in my everlasting prison. prince Satan, the cause
of death and source of all pride, thou oughtest first to have sought out the
guilt of that Jesus. Why, when thou knewest no fault in him, didst thou dare to
crucify him unjustly, without cause, and bring the innocent and just to our
region, and lose the guilty, wicked, and unrighteous of all the world?
And while Hades was saying these things to Satan the prince, then the King of Glory said to Hades. Satan the prince shall be under thy power, for endless ages, in the place of Adam and his sons, my righteous ones.
CHAPTER VIII. (XXIV.)
And the Lord stretched out his hand and said, Come unto me,
all my saints who have my image and likeness. Ye who have been condemned by the
tree, and the devil, and death, now see the devil and death condemned by the
tree. Immediately all the saints were assembled together under the hand of the
Lord. And the Lord took hold of the right hand of Adam and said to him. Peace be
unto thee with all thy children, my just ones. And Adam, falling down at the
knees of the Lord, with tearful entreaty besought him with a loud voice and
said, I will exalt thee, Lord, because thou hast received me, and hast not
suffered mine enemies to rejoice over me. Lord God, I have cried unto thee, and
thou, O Lord, hast healed me; thou hast brought out my soul from the underworld,
thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit. Praise ye the Lord, all
his saints, and confess to the remembrance of his holiness; because wrath is in
his indignation, and life in his good pleasure. In like manner also all the
saints of God, falling on their knees before the feet of the Lord, with one
voice said, Thou hast come, Redeemer of the world: As thou hast predicted by the
law and thy prophets, thou hast fulfilled in deed. Thou hast redeemed
[p.361] the living by thy cross, and by the death
of the cross thou hast come down to us, to deliver us by thy majesty from the
underworld and death. Lord, as thou hast set the title of thy glory in heaven,
and hast raised up thy cross on earth as the title of redemption, so Lord, set
on Hades the sign of the victory of thy cross, that death may reign no more.
And the Lord stretched out his hand and made the sign of the cross over Adam and over all his saints, and taking hold of the right hand of Adam He went up from the underworld, and all the saints followed him. Then holy David cried aloud, saying, Sing unto the Lord a new song; for He hath done marvellous things. His right hand and his holy arm hath brought him salvation. The Lord hath made known his salvation; He hath revealed his justice in the sight of the nations.111 And all the multitude of the saints answered and said, This is glory unto all his saints. Amen. Alleluia.112
And after this Habakkuk, the prophet, cried and said. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, to deliver thy chosen. And all the saints answered and said. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; God is the Lord, and he hath showed light unto us. Amen. Alleluia.110
In like manner after this the prophet Micah cried and said, Who is God like thee, Lord, taking away iniquities and passing over sins? And now thou restrainest thy wrath for a testimony, for thou takest pleasure in mercy; and thou turnest away, and hast compassion on us, and forgivest all our iniquities, and hast sunk all our sins in the multitude of death, as thou swarest unto our fathers in ancient days.111 And all the saints answered and said, This is our God for ever and ever, and He shall rule us for evermore.112 Amen. Alleluia. So also all the prophets, rehearsing sacred utterances from their praises, and all the saints, crying, Amen, Alleluia, followed the Lord.
CHAPTER IX. (XXV.)
Now the Lord held Adam by the hand, and gave him over to Michael the Archangel. And all the saints followed Michael the Archangel, and he introduced them all to the glorious grace of Paradise. And there met them two men, very ancient of days. And the saints asked them. Who are ye that have not yet been dead with us in the underworld, and [p.363] have been stationed in Paradise in the body? One of them answered and said unto them, I am Enoch, who was translated hither by the word of the Lord; and he that is with me is Elijah the Tishbite, who was taken up in a fiery chariot. Here and hitherto we have not tasted death, but are reserved to the coming of Antichrist, and we shall fight with him by divine signs and prodigies; and when we have been slain by him in Jerusalem, after three days and a-half, we are again to be taken up alive, in the clouds.113
CHAPTER X. (XXVI.)
And while these things were talked of with the saints, Enoch
and Elijah, behold, there came up another, a very wretched man, bearing on his
shoulders the sign of the cross. When they saw him all the saints said unto him,
Who art thou? for thy appearance is that of a robber. And what is the sign which
thou bearest on thy shoulders? He answered and said to them. Ye have said truly,
for I was a robber, and did all evil upon earth; and the Jews crucified me along
with Jesus, and I saw the miracles which were done to the creatures by the cross
of Jesus that was crucified, and I believed Him to be the creator of all
creatures, and the omnipotent [p.364] king; and I entreated Him, saying, Lord,
remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And He straightway received my
prayer, and said unto me, Verily I say unto thee. This day thou shalt be with me
in Paradise.114 And He gave me this sign of the cross, saying. Go to Paradise,
bearing this; and if the angel guardian of Paradise suffer thee not to enter,
show him the sign of the cross, and say to him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
who now is crucified, hath sent me. When I had done this I said all these things
to the angel guardian of Paradise, who, when he heard these things from me,
straightway opened the gate and took me in, and placed me on the right side of
Paradise, saying, Behold, wait a little, and Adam, the father of all the human
race, shall come in with all his sons that are holy and just, after the triumph
and glory of the ascension of the crucified Lord Christ.
When they heard all these words of the robber, all the holy patriarchs and prophets with one voice said. Blessed art thou, the Lord Almighty, the Father of eternal good, and Father of mercies, who hast given such grace to thy sinful ones,115 and hast restored them to the grace of Paradise, and to thy fat pastures, for this is most certain spiritual life. Amen, Amen.
CHAPTER XI. (XXVII.)
These are the divine and sacred mysteries which we saw and
heard—I Karinus, and Leucius. We are not permitted further to record the other
mysteries of God, inasmuch as Michael the Archangel protested, and said unto us.
When ye go with your brethren into Jerusalem, ye shall cry aloud in your
prayers, and glorify the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who raised you
from the dead with himself. And ye shall speak with no man, and shall abide as
if dumb, until the hour cometh when the Lord shall himself permit you to relate
the mysteries of his divinity. And Michael the Archangel commanded us to walk
over Jordan into a fat and fruitful place, where there are many who arose with
us in witness of the resurrection of Christ the Lord. For we, who arose from the
dead, were only permitted to be three days in Jerusalem to celebrate the
passover of the Lord with our kindred who were living, in witness of the
resurrection of Christ the Lord; and we were baptised in the holy river Jordan,
and each received white robes. And after three days, when the passover of the
Lord had been celebrated, all who arose with us were carried away in clouds, and
were taken beyond Jordan, and were seen no more by any. But it was said unto us
[p.366] that we should continue in prayer in the
city of Arimathea.
These are the great things which the Lord commanded us to relate to you. Give praise and confession to him, and repent, that he may have mercy on you. Peace be unto you from Jesus Christ himself, the Lord and the Saviour of us all. Amen.
And after they had finished writing all on separate sheets of paper, they arose. What Karinus wrote he gave into the hands of Annas and Caiaphas and Gamaliel; and in like manner what Leucius wrote, he gave into the hands of Nicodemus and Joseph. And being suddenly transfigured they appeared all in white, and were seen no more. And their writings were found to be alike, neither more nor less by a single letter.
When all the synagogue of the Jews heard all these wonderful sayings of Karinus and Leucius, they said to one another. Truly all these things were done by the Lord, and blessed be the Lord for ever and ever. Amen. And they all went out with great seriousness, smiting their breasts with fear and trembling, and departed every one to his own home.
Immediately Joseph and Nicodemus reported to the governor all those things which were spoken by the Jews in their synagogue. And Pilate himself wrote all that was said and done by the Jews con- [p.367] cerning Jesus and put all the words in the public documents of his judgment hall.
CHAPTER XII. (XXVIII.)
After these things Pilate went into the temple of the Jews
and assembled all the chief priests, and grammarians, and scribes, and teachers
of the law; and he went with them into the sanctuary of the temple, and
commanded that all the doors should be shut, and said to them, We have heard
that ye have in this temple a certain great volume; therefore I pray you that it
may brought before us. And when the same volume was brought by four ministers,
adorned with gold and precious jewels, Pilate said to them all, I adjure you by
the God of your fathers, who commanded you to build this temple in the place of
his sanctuary, not to withhold the truth from me. Ye know all that is written in
this volume; but now say whether ye have found in the Scriptures that Jesus,
whom ye crucified, that he was the Son of God, who should come for the salvation
of the human race, and in how many years of time he ought to have come. Manifest
unto me whether ye crucified him ignorantly or knowingly.
When they were thus adjured, Annas and Caiaphas commanded that all the others who were with them should go out of the sanctuary, and they closed [p.368] all the doors of the temple and the sanctuary, and said to Pilate, We have been adjured by thee, good judge, by the building of this temple, to make truth and reason plain unto thee. After we had crucified Jesus, not knowing him to be the Son of God, thinking he wrought these miracles by some incantation, we held a large assembly in this temple, and when we consulted together concerning the miraculous signs which Jesus had wrought, we found many witnesses of our own nation, who said that they had seen Jesus alive after the suffering of death, and that he entered the height of heaven. And we have seen two witnesses whom Jesus raised from the dead, who made known unto us many miracles which Jesus did among the dead, which we have in our hands in writing. And our custom is, every year to open this holy volume before our assembly and seek the witness of God. And we have found, in the first book of the Seventy, where Michael, the archangel, talked with the third son of the first man Adam, about the 5500 years,116 after which should come from heaven, Christ, the most beloved Son of God : and, moreover, we have supposed that perhaps he was the God of Israel who said to Moses, Make thee the ark of the covenant, two cubits and a half in length, one cubit and a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height. By these five cubits and a half we under- [p.369] stood and knew the frame of the ark of the old covenant, that in five thousand five hundred years Jesus Christ should come in the ark of the body, and we find that he is the God of Israel, the Son of God. For after his passion we, the chief priests, wondering at the signs which came to pass because of him, opened this volume, seeking out all the generations unto the generation of Joseph, and reckoning that Mary, the mother of Christ, was of the seed of David: and we found that from the time in which God made heaven and earth and the first man, there were 2212 years to the Flood; and from the Flood to the building of the tower 531 years; and from the building of the tower to Abraham 606 years; and from Abraham to the coming of the children of Israel out of Egypt 470 years; from the departure of the children of Israel out of 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; thus far we found in the volume of Ezra: and reckoning from the burning of the temple to the coming of Christ and his nativity we find there are 636 years. These together are 5500 years,117 as we find written in the volume that Michael, the archangel, foretold to Seth, the third son of Adam, that Christ, the Son of God, would come in 5500 years. Hitherto we [p.370] have told no one, that there might be no dissension in our synagogues; and now, thou, good judge, hast adjured us by this holy volume of the testimonies of God, and we make it plain to thee. And we adjure thee, by thy life and salvation, not to make known these words to any in Jerusalem.
CHAPTER XIII. (XXIX.)
When Pilate heard these words of Annas and Caiaphas he
inserted them all in the Acts of the Lord the Saviour, in the public documents
of his judgment hall, and wrote a letter to Claudius, the king of the city of
Home, saying, Pontius Pilate to Claudius, his king, greeting.
It hath lately happened, as I have myself proved, that the Jews, through envy, punished themselves and their posterity by a cruel condemnation. For when their fathers had a promise that their God would send his Holy One from heaven who should be deservedly called their king, and promised that he would send him to earth by means of a virgin; when, therefore, while I was governor. He had come into Judea, and they had seen that he gave sight to the blind, that he cleansed lepers, that he healed the paralysed, that he expelled demons from men, raised the dead, commanded the winds, walked with dry feet upon the waves of the sea, and wrought many [p.371] other miraculous signs; and when all the people of the Jews said he was the Son of God, the chief priests were moved with envy against him, and took him and delivered him to me, and perversely lying unto me said that he was a magician and did contrary to their law.
Now I believed it was so, and when he had been scourged, I surrendered him to their will. And they crucified him, and set a watch over him after he was buried. But while my soldiers were guarding him he rose again on the third day. To such a degree did the iniquity of the Jews rage that they gave money to my soldiers, saying, Say that his disciples stole his body. But when they had taken the money they could not keep silence as to what had been done, for they testified that they had seen that he had risen, and that they had received money from the Jews.
I have put these things down, that no one may falsely speak otherwise, and lest thou shouldst think the falsehoods of the Jews are to be believed.
THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS, PART II.
OR, THE DESCENT OF CHRIST TO THE UNDERWORLD.
(From the Latin Text. B.)
CHAPTER I. (XVII.)
Then Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Phinebas, and Rabbi Egeas, three men who had come from Galilee testifying that they had seen Jesus taken up into heaven, arose in the midst of the multitude of the chiefs of the Jews, and said before the priests and Levites who were called to the Lord's council. As we came out of Galilee unto Jordan there met us a very great multitude of men, Abbats118 who had been long dead. Among whom we saw Karinus and Leucius together present along with them. And as they came unto us and kissed us, for they had been our dear friends, we asked them. Tell us, friends and brethren, What is this soul and flesh? And who are these with whom ye are walking? And how do ye continue in the body who have been long time dead?
They answered and said, We arose with Christ from the
underworld, and He raised us from the dead. And hereby ye may know that the
gates of death and darkness are destroyed, and the souls of the saints are taken
thence and have ascended into heaven with Christ the Lord. For it hath been
commanded us by the Lord himself that for a certain time we should walk about
the banks of the Jordan and the mountains; yet not appearing unto all, nor
speaking with all, but only those whom it hath pleased him. And now we could
neither have appeared nor spoken unto you unless it had been permitted us by the
Now when all the multitude that was present in the council heard this, being filled with fear and trembling, they wondered if those things had been really done which the Galileans declared. Then Caiaphas and Annas said to the council. All that these have declared, both before and after, must now be cleared up. If it is found true that Karinus and Leucius continue alive in the body, and if we can behold them with our eyes, then all is true which they have declared; and they who find them will certify us concerning everything. But if not, ye may know that all is false.
Then the council forthwith arose, and it seemed good to them to choose fit men who feared God and who knew when they died, and where they were [p.374] buried, and who should enquire diligently and see whether it was as they had heard. There proceeded thither therefore fifteen men, who were all along present at their deaths, and had stood at their feet when they were buried, and had seen their sepulchres. And they came and found their sepulchres open, and very many more, and found no trace of their bones or dust. And they returned in all haste and told what they had seen.
Then their whole assembly was troubled with great sorrow, and they said to one another, What shall we do? Annas and Caiaphas said. Let us send to where we have heard they are, and let us send to them some of our more honourable men, to beg and entreat them: perhaps they will deign to come to us. Then they sent unto them Nicodemus and Joseph, and the three men, Rabbis of Galilee, who had seen them, to beg them to deign to come to them. These, going forth, walked about all the region of the Jordan and the mountains, and not finding them, turned back.
And behold there suddenly appeared descending from mount Amalek,119 a very great multitude, about twelve thousand men, who had risen with the Lord. Although they recognised very many that were there, they could not say anything to them because of fear and the angelic vision, and stood afar off gazing at them, and hearing them, as they marched along, [p.375] singing and saying, The Lord hath risen from the dead, as He had said: Let us all rejoice and be glad, for He reigneth for ever. Then they that had been sent were astonished, and through fear fell to the ground, and they received an answer from them, that they should seek for Karinus and Leucius at their own houses.
And they arose and came to their homes, and found them occupied in prayer. And when they went in unto them they fell with their faces to the ground, saluting them; and standing up they said. Friends of God, the whole multitude of the Jews hath sent us to you, hearing that ye have risen from the dead, asking and beseeching you to come to them, that we may all know the wonders of God which have been wrought about us in our times. And straightway arising, at a sign from God, they came with them and entered their synagogue. Then the multitude of the Jews, with their priests, placed in their hands the books of the law, and adjured them, by the God Heloi and the God Adonai, and by the law and the prophets, saying, Tell us how ye arose from the dead, and what are these wonders which have been wrought in our times, such as we have never heard to have been done at any time; because through fear all our bones are astonished and dried up, and the earth trembleth under our feet; for all our hearts have conspired to shed the just and holy blood.
Then Karinus and Leucius made signs to them with their hands,
that they should give them a sheet of paper and ink. Now they did this because
the Holy Spirit suffered them not to speak with them. And giving them each a
sheet they put them apart from one another, into separate cells. And when they
had made the sign of the cross of Christ with their fingers, they began to write
on separate papers; and when they finished, as if with one mouth they cried out.
Amen, from their separate cells. And they rose up, and Karinus gave his paper to
Annas, and Leucius to Caiaphas, and when they had saluted one another, they went
out, and returned to their sepulchres.
Then Annas and Caiaphas opened the sheet of paper, and each of them began to read in secret. But all the people took it amiss, and all cried out thus, Read these writings openly unto us; and after they have been read we will preserve them, lest, perchance, this truth of God should be turned into falsehood through their blindness by the unclean and deceitful. Then Annas and Caiaphas, being filled with trembling, delivered the sheet of paper to Rabbi Addas and Rabbi Phinehas, and Rabbi Egias, who had come from Galilee, and announced that Jesus was taken up into heaven. And all the multitude of the Jews entrusted to them to read the writing. And they read the paper, which contained these things:—
CHAPTER II. (XVIII.)
I AM Karinus. Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
suffer me to speak thy marvels which thou hast wrought in the underworld. When,
therefore, we were confined in darkness, and the shadow of death, in the
underworld, suddenly there shone upon us a great light, and Hades and the gates
of death trembled. And the voice of the Son of the Father most High was heard,
as the sound of loud thunder, and crying out mightily, it thus exclaimed, O ye
princes, throw back your gates, lift up the eternal gates; the King of Glory,
Christ the Lord, approacheth to enter.
Then came Satan, the leader of death, fleeing in terror, saying to his servants and the shades below, my servants and all ye shades below, run together, shut your gates, put against them iron bars, and fight bravely and resist, lest we who hold should be held captive in chains. Then all his impious agents were troubled, and began to shut the gates of death, with all diligence, little by little to fasten the locks and iron bars, to grasp all their ornaments120 with firmly closed hands, and to utter the howlings of a dreadful and most horrible voice.
CHAPTER III. (XIX.)
Then said Satan unto Hades, Prepare thyself to receive him
that I shall bring down to thee. Thereupon Hades thus addressed Satan, That
sound came only from the cry of the Son of the Father most High, for earth and
all the places of hell beneath it so trembled. Wherefore, I think that I and all
my bonds now lie exposed. But I conjure thee, Satan, chief of all evil, by thy
powers and mine, bring him not to me, lest, while we would take him captive, we
should be taken captive by him. For if, at the sound of his voice alone, all my
power is thus destroyed, what thinkest thou he will do when his presence
To whom Satan, the leader of death, thus answered, Why dost thou cry out? fear not, my ancient friend most vile; for I have stirred up the people of the Jews against him, I have bidden him to be buffeted, and I have accomplished against him his betrayal by his disciple; and he is a man who much feareth death, and through fear hath said. My soul is sorrowful even unto death; and I have brought him to this, that he now hangeth lifted up on the cross.
Then said Hades to him. If it is he who by the mere word of his command caused Lazarus to fly like an eagle out of my bosom when he had been [p.379] dead already four days, he is not a man in humanity, but is God in Majesty. I beseech, thee not to bring him to me. To whom Satan said, Prepare thyself, notwithstanding; fear not: since he now hangeth upon the cross, I cannot do otherwise. Then Hades thus exclaimed to Satan, If, therefore, thou canst not do otherwise, behold thy ruin approacheth. I, indeed, shall remain cast down and without honour; but thou wilt be under my dominion tormented.
CHAPTER IV. (XX.)
Now the saints of God heard the contention between Satan and
Hades; but although they were as yet without recollection of one another,
nevertheless, they had knowledge. But our holy father Adam thus thoroughly
answered Satan, Leader of death, why dost thou fear and tremble? Behold the Lord
cometh, who will now destroy all thy devices, and thou shalt be taken by him and
bound for ever.
Then all the saints, hearing the voice of our father Adam, with what constancy he thoroughly answered Satan, were confirmed in their joy; and all of them running to father Adam, were crowded together about him. Then our father Adam, regarding narrowly all that multitude, wondered if they had all been descended from him in the world. And em- [p.380] bracing those who stood with him all around, shedding most bitter tears, he called to his son Seth, saying, O son Seth, tell the holy patriarchs and prophets what the guardian of Paradise said to thee, when I sent thee to bring to me of the oil of mercy to anoint my body when I was weak.
Then he answered, When thou sentest me to the gates of Paradise, I prayed and besought the Lord, with tears, and called to the guardian of Paradise that he would give me thereof. Then came forth Michael the archangel and said to me, Seth, Wherefore dost thou lament? Know beforehand that thy father Adam shall not receive of this oil of mercy now, but after many generations of the world. For the most kind Son of God will come into the world from heaven, and will be baptised by John in the river Jordan; and then shall thy father Adam, with all who believe in him, receive of this oil121 of mercy; and the kingdom of those that believe in Him shall abide for ever.
CHAPTER V. (XXI.)
Then all the saints when they heard this rejoiced again with
joy. One of those who stood around, Isaiah by name, crying aloud exclaimed,
Father [p.381] Adam, and all who stand around, hear my
words. When I was on earth, and the Holy Spirit taught me, I sang of this light
in prophecy, that the people which sat in darkness hath seen a great light, and
to those who dwell in the region of the shadow of death, light is sprung up. At
his voice, father Adam and all of them turned and asked him. Who art thou, for
what thou sayest is true? And he answered and said, My name is Isaiah.
Then appeared another near him, like a dweller in the wilderness. And they asked him and said, Who art thou, who wearest such things on thy body? And he answered confidently, I am John the Baptist, the voice and prophet of the most High. I went before the face of the same Lord, to turn desert and rough places into plain paths. With my finger I pointed out and made known the Lamb of the Lord, and the Son of God, to the men of Jerusalem. I baptised him in the river Jordan. I heard the voice of the Father sounding out of heaven above him, and declaring. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. I received from him the reply that he should go down to the underworld.
Then father Adam, hearing this, cried with a loud voice, exclaiming, Alleluia, which is interpreted, The Lord cometh, assuredly.122
CHAPTER VI. (XXII.)
Then another who stood by, distinguished as though by some
royal ensign, David by name, cried out thus, and said, When I was on earth I
made a revelation, concerning the mercy of God and his
visitation, to the people, prophesying joys to come, saying, Through all ages,
let the mercies of the Lord be confessed, and his wonderful works to the
children of men, for he hath broken the gates of brass, and burst asunder the
iron bars. Then the holy patriarchs and prophets began to call to mind in turn,
and every one to say something from his prophecies. Then holy Jeremiah,
examining his prophecies, said to the patriarchs and prophets, When I was on
earth I prophesied of the Son of God, that he appeared on earth and conversed
Then all the saints, rejoicing in the light of the Lord, and in the sight of father Adam, and in the answer of all the patriarchs and prophets, cried, saying. Alleluia, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; so that at their cry Satan trembled and sought a way of escape. And he could not, for Hades and his officers held him bound in the underworld and securely guarded on all sides; and said to [p.383] him, Why dost thou tremble? We by no means suffer thee to go hence. But receive this, as thou deservest, from him that thou daily wast fighting against: but whether or not, know, that bound by him thou wilt be in custody under me.
CHAPTER VII. (XXIII.)
And a second time the voice of the Son of the Father most
High came as a voice of great thunder, saying, O ye princes, lift up your gates,
and be ye lifted up ye eternal doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Then
Satan and Hades cried and said, Who is that King of Glory? And the voice of the
Lord answered them. The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
After this voice there came a man whose aspect was as that of a robber, bearing a cross on his shoulder, crying outside, saying. Open for me that I may come in. And Satan opening the door for him a little way, brought him inside into the abode, and closed the door again after him. And all the saints saw that he was very bright, and said to him forthwith, Thy aspect is that of a robber. Tell us, what is that thou bearest on thy back? He answered humbly, and said. In truth I was altogether a robber, and the Jews hung me on a cross along with my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father most high. [p.384] I am come as first sent, but He Himself cometh after me immediately.
Then holy David, burning with anger against Satan, cried aloud, thou most polluted one, open thy gates that the King of Glory may come in. In like manner also all the saints of God arose against Satan and wished to take him and rend him in pieces. And again the cry was uttered within, princes, lift up your gates, and be ye lifted up, ye eternal doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Hades and Satan asked again at that distinct utterance, saying. Who is this King of Glory? And it was said unto them by that marvellous voice, The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.
CHAPTER VIII. (XXIV.)
And behold Hades suddenly trembled, and the gates and locks of death were demolished, and the iron bars were broken, and they fell to the ground, and all things were laid open. And Satan remained in the midst, and stood confused and dejected, fastened with a fetter on his feet. And lo, the Lord Jesus Christ, coming in the glory of celestial light, gentle, great, and humble, and bearing a chain in his hands, bound Satan by the neck, and again tying his hands behind him, threw him on his back into Tartarus, and set his holy foot upon his throat, say- [p.385] ing, Through all ages thou hast wrought many evils, thou hast not rested in any wise; I deliver thee this day unto everlasting fire. And having quickly called Hades, he commanded him, saying, Take this most base and wicked one, and hold him in thy custody until the day when I shall command thee. And when he had received him he sank down with him beneath the feet of the Lord, into the depth of the Abyss.123
CHAPTER IX. (XXV.)
Then the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, who is kind and most gentle, saluted Adam graciously, and said unto him. Peace be unto thee, Adam, together with thy children through immeasurable ages of ages. Amen. Then father Adam fell down at the feet of the Lord, and arose again and tossed his hands, and wept violently, saying, Behold the hands which formed me. And he testified unto all; and said to the Lord, Thou art come, King of Glory, delivering men and gathering them to thine eternal kingdom. Then also our mother Eve in like manner fell down at the feet of the Lord, and arose again and kissed his hands, and weeping violently said. Behold the hands which fashioned me. And she testified unto all.
Then all the saints worshipped him and cried, saying, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; God the Lord hath given us light. Amen, through all ages. Alleluia, for evermore; praise, honour, might, and glory, because thou hast come from on high to visit us. And singing Alleluia all together, and rejoicing together in glory, they ran together under the hands of the Lord. Then the Saviour, making inquiry concerning all of them, smote Hades; and immediately he cast down some into Tartarus, and took others with him to the world above.
CHAPTER X. (XXVI.)
Then all the saints of God besought the Lord to leave in the
underworld the symbol of victory (that of the holy cross), that his most wicked
ministers might not prevail to detain any under accusation whom the Lord had
absolved. And so it came to pass, and the Lord set his cross in the midst of
Hades, and it is the symbol of victory, and will remain so for ever.
Then we all went out thence with the Lord, and left Satan and Hades in Tartarus. And command was given to us and to many others, that we should rise with the body, to bear witness in the world unto the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the things which were done in the under world. [p.387] These, dearest brethren, are the things which we have seen, and, being adjured, testify unto you. He also attesting who died for us and rose again: for as it is written, so hath it come to pass in all things.
CHAPTER XI. (XXVII.)
Now when the paper was finished and read, all who heard fell
upon their faces, weeping bitterly, and violently smiting their breasts, crying
and saying with one accord. Woe unto us: Wherefore hath this befallen us unhappy
ones? Pilate fled, Annas and Caiaphas fled, the priests and Levites fled, and
also the people of the Jews, lamenting and saying. Woe unto us unhappy ones: we
have shed holy blood upon earth.
Therefore for three days and three nights they tasted neither bread nor water, neither did any of them return into the synagogue. But on the third day, when the council assembled again, the other paper (that of Leucius) was read; and it was found to be neither more nor less by a single letter than what the writing of Karinus contained. Then the assembly was troubled, and they all lamented forty days and forty nights, looking for destruction from God, and the vengeance of God. But the kind and most high merciful One did not at once destroy them, liberally vouchsafing to them space for re- [p.388] pentance. But they were not found worthy to be converted unto the Lord.
These are the testimonies of Karinus and Leucius, dearest brethren, concerning Christ the Son of God, and his holy deeds in the underworld: to Him let us all give praise and glory through immeasurable ages of ages. Amen.
LETTER OF PILATE TO TIBERIUS.124
At that time in this territory there was a certain man whom his disciples called God, and who performed various miracles, whom many men have seen, and who ascended alive into heaven, and his disciples now do great things in his name, and testify that he is God, and a teacher of the way of salvation in truth.
1 The Prologue varies in the copies; some want it altogether, and some have it at the end of the book.
2 The dates given in the consular tables do not agree in all editions, but I do not find any in which the seventeenth of Theodosius and the sixth of Valentinian come together. The seventeenth consulate of Theodosius is by some placed in a.d. 441, and the fifth of Valentinian in 442; while the eighteenth of Theodosius falls in 446, and the sixth of Valentinian in 447. The ninth indiction, according; to Dufresnoy, falls in 441. We may therefore correct the text by reading the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius, and the fifth of Valentinian, which would be A.D. 441-2. The Coptic has the fifth of Valentinian, and the Latin the eighteenth of Theodosius.
3 Ancient scribes were very much in the habit of putting in requests for the prayers of their readers.
4 The fifteenth of Tiberius is the date of our Lord's baptism (Luke iii, 1), but some ancient writers also give it as the date of the crucifixion, which is an error. For the nineteenth of Herod we must substitute the thirty-second, [Lewin's Fasti, p. 173]. Rufus and Rubellio may have been the consuls in the fifteenth of Tiberius, but were not when our Lord suffered. The fourth year of Olympiad 202 answers to the nineteenth of Tiberius. The phrase Joseph Caiaphas is justified in the note at p. 172. The placing of our Lord's arrest on March 25, is in harmony with several early authorities, but Clement of Alexandria mentions some who referred it to three or four months later in the year. The paragraph which contains these indications of time is found in many copies, but not in all.
5 The ascription of this book to Nicodemus and a Hebrew original is evidence that it was not supposed to be the Acts of Pilate referred to by Justin Martyr and Tertullian.
6 The copies and versions differ exceedingly about these names.
7 The word is here the Latin cursor, a messenger.
8 The copies differ about the words I render scarf, but it seems to have been a loose wrapper.
9 A praco rather than a cursor.
10 I do not know what Alexander is meant.
11 Matt., xxi, 8, 9.
12 Hoshia na bamromim: baricch habba (b'shem) Adonai. Ps. cxviii. 26.
13 The preceding story does not savour much of a Hebrew original!
14 Matt, xxvii. 19. This message is hinted at in the letter of Pilate to Herod, which will be found lower down.
15 The context seems to require either, 'And we do believe', or 'Do we not believe?'
16 The copies vary in this list of names.
17 This is of course a blundering paraphrase of John ii. 20.
18 Deut. XXV. 3; 2 Cor. xi. 24; Lev. xxiv. 10-16.
19 It is hardly to be imagined that Nicodemus would have introduced himself in this way, had he been the author of the book. John iii. 1, vi. 50; xix. 39.
20 Cf. Acts V. 35.
21 2 Tim. iii. 8. The names of Jannes and Jambres are introduced into the Targum of Palestine at Exod. vii. 11.
22 John V. 5-9.
23 John ix. 1-12; Mark viii. 22-26.
24 Matt. viii. 1-4; Mark i. 40-45,
25 Matt. ix. 20-26; Luke viii. 43-48.
26 The Jews did not allow a woman as a witness. Otho's Lex. Rab. s.v. Testimonium.
27 John xi. 1-16.
28 Pilate's knowledge of the Old Testament has much increased since he asked about 'Hosanna' etc., earlier in the book!
29 More correctly Beyadka aphkid ruchi. Luke xxiii. 46; Ps. xxxi. 6.
30 1 Sam. x\ii. 4-43.
31 Deut. xxxii. 35; Rom. xii. 19.
32 The explanation of Mamilk is to be sought for from Jewish writers. The word seems to be a corruption of Malek or Melek, a king. The name Mount Melek was applied by the Rabbins to the hill country of Judah; but our author has not only identified the Mount of Olives with Mount Melek, but located it in Galilee.
33 Mark xvi. 15.
34 See note to chapter xiv.
35 2 Kings ii. 1-18.
36 Gr. Achar.
37 Gr. Jesus; Josh. vii. 19-20.
38 Comp. Acts X. 11; This idea reached its fullest development in the legend of the Virgin's house removed by angels from Nazareth to Lorettii: a fiction of which we first read in the fifteenth century.
39 Some formula was probably enjoined to be repeated on such occasions, as a kind of charm. Thilo thinks it was the Decalogue.
40 Luke ii. 25-35.
41 Gen. V. 24; Heb. xi. 5.
42 Deut. xxxiv. 5, 6.
43 Luke ii. 34.
44 Ex. xxiii. 20, 21; Mai. iii, 1.
45 Luke ii. 34.
46 Ps. cxviii. 23.
47 Deut. xxi. 23; Gal. iii. 13.
48 Jer. x. 11.
49 The Greek text is [Greek]. Tischendorf confesses he does not understand. It is a barbarous representation of the phrase "until the year of jubilee," which frequently occurs in Lev. xxv. By [Greek] the writer meant [Greek] (skanah), a year. Jobel is merely the Hebrew word for jubilee in Greek letters. The copies vary considerably about the reading, but I ascribe this to the inability of the scribes to solve the difficulty, and do not hesitate to prefer the reading of Tischendorf.
50 Deut. xxvii. 15 Rom. i. 25.
51 1 Chr. xxiii. 25; Josh. xxi. 45; 1 Kings viii. 56, 57, 58; Ex. xii. 23; Zech. xiv. 9; Is. xxxiii. 22; Ps. lxxxvi. 8; Jer. xvii. 14; Deut. xxxii. 9 ; Ps. xciv. 14; 1 Sam. xii. 22.
52 2 Peter iii. 18.
53 It will be observed that here Nicodemus is a Roman, and only the translator of a book written by Aeneas. Part of the preface seems to indicate that it was the work of a contemporary, but part of it suggests more truly that it was done in after times. The Greek text, from which this second version of Nicodemus is made, seems to be less ancient than the first, and to have been revised and polished by its editor. I suppose the name of Aeneas not to be older than the account of the Journey to the Underworld, which has been added to the original composition, and follows the present recension of Nicodemus as Part II.
54 Pilate's appeal to the Scriptures implies, either that he was acquainted with them, or, that he believed Christ's affirmation. The Jews do not refute, but evade the point.
55 Deut. xxv. 3; Lev. xxiv. 16.
56 Acts V. 33. These words were Gamaliel's, about the apostles.
57 John V. 5-9.
58 John ix. 6.
59 Matt. ix. 1-7; cf. Acts iii. 7.
60 Luke xvii. 13.
61 The Greek is Beronice, but the Latin Veronica seems to be the original. The name has reference to a supposed likeness of Christ, and was often applied to the likeness itself. 'The likeness of the Lord, which is called Veronica—Veronica is the true picture of the Lord,' says Gervase of Tilbury. The word is said not to be a corruption of Berenice, but of Vera Icon, 'a true likeness.' According to one story, Veronica is the name of a woman who received from Jesus his portrait, upon a handkerchief or napkin. They still pretend to exhibit this at Rome and elsewhere, for like many relics, it has 'increased and multiplied.' According to another legend, the woman mentioned in our text made an image or representation of Jesus at Paneas. See the Story of Veronica, pp, 218, 223. Also, the Death of Pilate; and the Saviour's Revenge, near the end of this volume.
62 Matt. ix. 20-22.
63 An ingenious distortion, or application of Matt. ii. 11, where, however, the Greek has Swpa, and not [Greek],—an important difference. What follows about Christ's being sent to Herod is mainly an addition to the older form of the book.
64 Luke xxiii. 6-11.
65 Matt, xxvii. 25.
66 Gk. [Greek]. The use of this expression is a strong indication of the late date of this part of the composition. The whole paragraph is wanting in some copies, and is an interpolation.
67 The preceding paragraph is another interpolation. It is much longer in some copies.
68 The name Longinus, given to the centurion, is an addition to the earlier text, which has been altered throughout, both by additions and by omissions. This chapter especially has received all sorts of developments.
69 They bought a new sepulchre, says this writer, in direct contradiction to the Gospels, which tells us that the sepulchre was already Joseph's own. Matt, xxvii. 57-60. Most of the particulars in this account of the burial are fictitious, and were added not earlier than the second part about the Descent into the Underworld.
70 The mention of John in this story of the burial seems to have a motive, but I cannot say what it is: probably, John was pre-eminent among the saints, honoured where this adaptation of Nicodemus was produced. Peter on the contrary, is studiously kept out of sight, if we except the allusion at page 284, lines 10, 11.
71 That the Jews should speak of the Lord's day before it was instituted is an amusing anachronism, but worthy of notice, as a fresh evidence of the utter disregard of truth and consistency with which these apocrypha have been made up.
72 Pilate, most likely, did not appoint a guard of more than four or five soldiers—hundreds are easily written. The paragraph is one of the interpolations.
73 In the earlier version of the book Adas is called a teacher.
74 Mark xvi. 16.
75 1 Cor. xv. 6.
76 This receiving of tithes by the family of Jesus is a fiction with no possible foundation.
77 Deut. xvii. 6; Matt, xviii. 16.
78 Two sets of numbers are prefixed to the chapters of this second part, because it is written merely as a continuation of the former in the copies which contain it.
79 This notion of the sons of Simeon crossing themselves, refers to a practice at least as old as the time of Tertullian (De Corona Milit. 2).
80 Is. ix. 1, 2.
81 Matt. iii. 3, 11; Mark i. 4; John i. 36.
82 Mark xvi, 16.
83 This legend of Seth seems to have been borrowed from a Jewish source, and adapted to Christian uses. The reader will find something more about it in the preliminary essay.
84 Mark iv. 34.
85 Jonah ii. 2.
86 Ps. xxiy. 7.
87 Is. xxvi. 19; Hos. xiii. 14.
88 That is, the two sons of Simeon, who are supposed to write the story.
89 Ps. lxxxi. 13. » »
90 Ps. ciii. 4.
91 Ps. cxviii. 26
92 1 Thess. iv. 17; Rev. xi. 3-12; 1 John ii. 18; iv. 4.
93 Ps. cxlvii. 5.
94 The brothers do not say who baptised them at the Jordan. Their keeping the Passover of the resurrection at Jerusalem raises a difficulty which I do not care to discuss.
95 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
96 See note, p. 229.
97 Literally 'the god of Scolapius,' but 'in deo Scolapii' are to be understood as if in apposition. Thus, for 'Urbs Roma,' 'the city Rome,' we say 'the city of Rome.' Scolapius is of course Ćsculapius.
98 Some copies call this Amalech. The placing of the Mount of Olives in Galilee is a topographical blunder, and confounding it with Mamre is another.
99 Luke ii, 28-32, 34, 35. From Lat. Vulgate.
100 Mat. iii. 1: Is. lxii. 2.
101 Ps. lxxii. 11, 17.
102 The writer seems to mean that they neither heard what was said to them, nor said anything to men.
103 Is. ix. 2.
104 Luke ii. 30-32.
105 That is, literally so; the underworld being located like purgatory, within this globe.
106 The Latin has ad inferum; when inferus is personified I render it Hades; but when plural 'inferi' I translate it Underworld.
107 Ps. xxiv. 7.
108 Ps. cvii. 16.
109 Ps. xiiv. 7, 8.
110 Ps. lxxix. 11.
111 Ps. xcviii. 1. 2
112 Rev. xix. 4.
113 Ps. cxviii. 26, 27. In the quotation from Habakkuk the Vulgate has Egressus es in salutem populi tut, in salutem cum Christo itio, 3,13.
114 "Thou went forth the salvation of thy people: salvation with thy Christ," Douay Version. "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, to save thine anointed," Septuagint.
115 Mic. vii. 18-20, Ps. xlviii. 14.
116 Rev. xi. 9, 12.
117 Luke xxiii. 42, 43.
118 The Latin peccatoribus looks like an error for pecoribus, "sheep," which is in harmony with the rest of the sentence.
119 See Chapter iii. (six.)
120 The sum of the foregoing numbers is 6430, and not 5500 as stated in the text. Other copies give even a lower sum.
121 i.e. fathers.
122 Elsewhere called Olivet. See page 252, note.
123 Ornaments—another and more probable reading is armamenta, weapons.
124 Tischendorf has de hoc deo, 'of this God;' an evident misprint for de hoc oleo.
125 The writer clearly did not understand Hebrew.
126 Rev. xx. 1-3.
127 This letter is from the semi-fabulous "History of Christ," in Persian, written by Jerome Xavier, a Jesuit. It was published with a Latin version by L. de Dieu, at Leyden, in 1639. I translate from de Dieu's Latin, p. 533. Its source is unknown, but it is probably a fiction of Xavier's.