Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Apocryphal Text Which Will Solve the Origins of the Gospel

The reference comes from the Epistula Apostolorum, a second century text which was expanded many times before reaching its current form - preserved in various languages.  Few have recognized that the author makes a chronological reference to a lost 'gospel harmony' that has different order than our canonical texts.  I've broken it down in such a way to help reinforce the idea that it was written by a community in Asia Minor claiming to be associated with the evangelist John.  Notice the chronology:

we do write according as we have seen and heard and touched him, [1 John 1:1-4] after that he was risen from the dead: and how that he revealed unto us things mighty and wonderful and true. This know we: that our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ is God the Son of God, who was sent of God the Lord of the whole world, the maker and creator of it, who is named by all names, and high above all powers, Lord of lords, King of kings, Ruler of rulers, the heavenly one, that sitteth above the cherubim and seraphim at the right hand of the throne of the Father: who by his word made the heavens, and formed the earth and that which is in it, and set bounds to the sea that it should not pass: the deeps also and fountains, that they should spring forth and flow over the earth: the day and the night, the sun and the moon, did he establish, and the stars in the heaven: that did separate the light from the darkness: that called forth hell, and in the twinkling of an eye ordained the rain of the winter, the snow (cloud), the hail, and the ice, and the days in their several seasons: that maketh the earth to quake and again establisheth it: that created man in his own image, after his likeness, and by the fathers of old and the prophets is it declared (or, and spake in parables with the fathers of old and the prophets in verity), of whom the apostles preached, and whom the disciples did touch. [1 John 1:1 - 4]

In God, the Lord, the Son of God, do we believe, that he is the word become flesh [John 1:14]

that of Mary the holy virgin he took a body, begotten of the Holy Ghost, not of the will (lust) of the flesh, but by the will of God [John 1:13]

that he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in Bethlehem [Luke 2:7]

and made manifest, and grew up and came to ripe age, when also we beheld it. [Luke 2:52]

This did our Lord Jesus Christ, who was sent by Joseph and Mary his mother to be taught. [And] when he that taught him said unto him: Say Alpha: then answered he and said: Tell thou me first what is Beta (probably: Tell thou me first what is Beta. [the Marcosian narrative quoted by Irenaeus]. This thing which then came to pass is to true and of verity. 

Thereafter was there a marriage in Cana of Galilee [John 2:1] 

and they bade him with his mother and his brethren [Mark 3:21 !!!] 

and he changed water into wine. [John 2:9] 

He raised the dead, [Mark 5:21; Luke 7:22?] 

he caused the lame to walk [Mark 2:24] 

him whose hand was withered he caused to stretch it out [Mark 3:1] 

and the woman which had suffered an issue of blood twelve years touched the hem of his garment and was healed in the same hour. And when we marvelled at the miracle which was done, he said: Who touched me? Then said we: Lord, the press of men hath touched thee. But he answered and said unto us: I perceive that a virtue is gone out of me. Straightway that woman came before him, and answered and said unto him: Lord, I touched thee. And he answered and said unto her: Go, thy faith hath made thee whole. [Mark 5:25]

Thereafter he made the deaf to hear [Mark 7:32] 

and the blind to see [Mark 8:22; Mark 10:46?] 

out of them that were possessed he cast out the unclean spirits, [Matthew 8:16] 

and cleansed the lepers. [Mark 1:40] 

The spirit which dwelt in a man, whereof the name was Legion, cried out against Jesus, saying: Before the time of our destruction is come, thou art come to drive us out. But the Lord Jesus rebuked him, saying: Go out of this man and do him no hurt. And he entered into the swine and drowned them in the water and they were choked. [Mark 5:1]

Thereafter he did walk upon the sea, [Mark 6:48]

and the winds blew, and he cried out against them (rebuked them), and the waves of the sea were made calm. 
[Mark 4:39]

And when we his disciples had no money, we asked him: What shall we do because of the tax-gatherer? And he answered and told us: Let one of you cast an hook into the deep, and take out a fish, and he shall find therein a penny: that give unto the tax-gatherer for me and you. [Matt 17:27] 

And thereafter when we had no bread, but only five loaves and two fishes, he commanded the people to sit them down, and the number of them was five thousand, besides children and women. We did set pieces of bread before them, and they ate and were filled, and there remained over, and we filled twelve baskets full of the fragments, asking one another and saying: What mean these five loaves? They are the symbol of our faith in the Lord of the Christians (in the great christendom), even in the Father, the Lord Almighty, and in Jesus Christ our redeemer, in the Holy Ghost the comforter, in the holy church, and in the remission of sins. [Matthew 14:21; 16:9] 

There are many interesting thing about this chronology sequence.  The most interesting being that the material specifically contradicts Mark's order which potentially connects it with Papias's lost gospel.  Notice also the way individual narratives are combined - the marriage at Cana and the question to Jesus in the presence of his mother and brothers, the walking on water and the rebuking of the wind.

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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