Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Proclus, the disciple of John the Evangelist"

As I mentioned in my last post, I am reading Alin Suciu's PhD thesis 'with great interest' (these are the kind of things that academic professionals like to say). I stumbled across this statement in one of the citations:

In a sermon on the Archangel Michael attributed to Timothy II, patriarch of Alexandria († 477) (CPG 2529; clavis coptica 0404),3 the pretended author finds a writing of the apostle John transcribed by his disciple, who is called Proclus in the only Sahidic witness presently known: Now it came to pass that I, the least of all men, Timothy your father, went up to Jerusalem to worship the Cross of our Savior, and [His] life-giving tomb, and the holy places wherein our Savior walked about. Afterwards I went into the house of the mother of Proclus, the disciple of John the Evangelist, and I dwelt therein, and I found a parchment book (Coptic words) which Proclus, the disciple of John, had written; and the people who were in the house had taken it and were using it as a phylactery

I see that the material was first translated by Budge back in 1915. But what strikes me is the idea that Proclus - I am assuming the famous Proclus the Montanist mentioned in Eusebius several times - is mentioned as a 'disciple of John the Evangelist.' Perhaps it will be argued that this just some 'other Proclus.' But I have always suspected that the Montanists were Johannine (owing to their presumed association with Polycarp). This has only reinforced that notion that much more.

How could a much later tradition have claimed to have identified a text written by an otherwise obscure Montanist, and further one which so identified him as a disciple of John?  I think there is something to this.  Oral traditions are a tricky thing. They appear flimsy and worthless at first glance. Sometimes they most certain turn out to be garbage. But every once and a while we look back and find - my God, there really is something to this ...

UPDATE - I found an online edition of Brill Publishing Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ, A Coptic Apocryphon (2013) - one of the texts mentioned in his thesis - here.  Don't we live in an incredible age?  Seriously, anyone living today should stop romanticizing about some other age.  This is the best. 

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.