The Apocalypse of Peter 1 -
The Apocalypse of Peter
J. K. Elliott
The existence of this apocalypse was known in antiquity. The Muratorian Fragment and the Stichometry of Nicephorus include it among their ‘disputed’ texts. The catalogue of Biblical writings in Codex Claromontanus (Paris gr. 107) includes the Shepherd of Hermas, the Acts of Paul, and the Apocalypse of Peter among its canonical writings, but Eusebius, HE 6. 14. 1 and especially 3. 3. 2 and 3. 25. 4 (Schwartz, GCS 9.2, pp. 548–60, 188, 252), classes it as ‘spurious' (cf. also Origen, on John 13. 7 (Preuschen, pp. 231–2)). Sozomen in the fifth century, HE 7. 19 (ed. J. Bidez and G. C. Hansen, GCS 50 (Berlin, 1960), p. 331), refers to its being used in public worship on Good Friday. (It is not listed in the Gelasian Decree.) Thus it is clear that the book was popular and widespread in use in the early centuries of Christianity and hovered on the edges of canonical scripture. The Akhmim manuscript (see below) testifies to the popularity of the text up to the eighth or ninth century, when that manuscript was copied.
Citations from the ancient apocalypse have been identified in Clement of Alexandria, Methodius, Macarius, and possibly in Theophilus of Antioch (and these are set out below): Macarius and Clement name the source. A fourth century Latin homily cited below (A 7) also gives the source of a quotation as the Apocalypse of Peter. The citations have been verified by the discovery and publication of the text. A portion of the Apocalypse of Peter in Greek (comprising about one half of the original length) was discovered at the end of the nineteenth century in Akhmim in a manuscript that also contains a fragment of the Gospel of Peter (q.v.) and 1 Enoch. Further portions in Greek are to be found in the Bodleian and Rainer texts (originally from one manuscript); these are likely to be closer to the original Greek than the Akhmim text is. The complete work is to be found in an Ethiopic text of Pseudo‐Clementine literature published in 1907–10 by S. Grébaut from which M. R. James identified the Apocalypse of Peter. The length agrees with the 300 lines in the Stichometry of Nicephorus. The existence of one further Ethiopic text (apparently the ancestor of the text published by Grébaut) has been reported by Cowley.
The interrelationship of the Greek and Ethiopic versions of the apocalypse has exercised scholars working on those texts even though few have given the Ethiopic text the thorough study it deserves. The Akhmim portion agrees with Ethiopic chs. 7–10, 15–16a. The general opinion seems to be that the Ethiopic, despite its shortcomings and in some places its obscurities, nevertheless represents the original apocalypse better than the Akhmim fragment. The Sibylline Oracles seem to have been dependent on the text represented by the Ethiopic; the patristic citations also are closer to the Ethiopic than the Greek tradition. James concluded that the Akhmim fragment was an adaptation made by the author of the Gospel of Peter to make it fit his Gospel. The juxtaposition of the Gospel and Apocalypse in the Akhmim manuscript is suggestive of this, and the editorial additions to the Akhmim apocalypse are in agreement with the language and style of the Gospel of Peter. The Apocalypse seems to be older than the Gospel and may well have been one of the sources used by the author of the Gospel: he had used the synoptic Gospels in composing the Gospel of Peter, so to have incorporated an existing apocalypse into that Gospel is not unlikely, especially as we may find precedents for such adaptations (especially of apocalyptic discourses) in the composition of the canonical Gospels themselves. Many of the extant apocryphal writings seem to have been built up by combining and incorporating many previously separate stories, poems, or sayings. In fact it is a characteristic of much Christian literature (canonical and apocryphal) that texts increase in length (although of course for liturgical purposes extracts were removed from larger works, and in the case of the apocryphal Acts stories of martyrdom circulated separately for the commemoration of the saint's day).
Differences between the Akhmim and Ethiopic texts may be seen in the translation below. These are set out in parallel columns for the portions in common. I follow the sequence of the Ethiopic, where the revelation of Paradise follows the revelation of Hell. Another major difference between the two texts is the punishments at the end—these are set in the future in the Ethiopic, whereas they are set within a revelation to Peter in the Akhmim text.
M. R. James claimed that the influence of the Apocalypse of Peter was very great, and many subsequent descriptions of Heaven and Hell throughout Christian literature down to the time of Dante were said to be due directly to the influence of this apocryphon. Although some scholars have been sceptical about the high claims made by James in regard to the influence of this Apocalypse, preferring to attribute some of the later descriptions of Heaven and Hell to traditional material to be found in Jewish and Graeco‐Roman literature, nevertheless it is not improbable that the Apocalypse of Paul (q.v.) and the descriptions of Hell in the Acts of Thomas (chs. 55–7 , q.v.) were dependent on the Apocalypse of Peter. The second book of Sibylline Oracles paraphrases part of this apocalypse. 2 Details of similarities between the Apocalypse and these three allegedly dependent texts may be seen in Robinson and James (bibliography below, under General, 63–5, 65–7, 56–63 respectively). In any case, the Apocalypse of Peter is our earliest extant Christian document that describes Heaven and Hell. A thorough investigation of the origin of much of this imagery is still awaited; the earlier and influential study by Dieterich which claimed an Orphic origin for such ideas is now not so readily accepted. The influence of a whole range of oriental mythology and of Jewish writings such as Enoch is as probable as Greek. The whole problem of Jewish apocalyptic and its sources remains obscure. Among other apparent influences on the author of this Apocalypse are 2 Peter, especially for the accounts of the transfiguration, and 4 Ezra (especially 8, 44, 47 (and perhaps 5, 33)) on Ethiopic ch. 3. The influence of Matthew (and to a lesser extent other New Testament writings) on the Apocalypse of Peter is shown by E. Massaux in his Influence de l’Évangile de saint Matthieu sur la littérature chrétienne avant saint Irenée (Louvain and Gembloux, 1950; 2Leuven, 1986) (= BETL 75).
The date of the original composition of the Apocalypse is early. If it was used by Clement of Alexandria and by the author of the Sibylline Oracles then it must have been in existence before AD 150. If it made use of 4 Ezra then a terminus a quo seems to be fixed about AD 100. Bauckham has tried to identify the anti‐Christ figure in the Apocalypse with Bar Kokhba and is therefore prepared to date the composition more precisely (AD 132–5) at the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt. In any case, a date in the first half of the second century is generally agreed upon.
The provenance of the composition is not known. If indeed the Apocalypse refers to the Bar Kokhba revolt, then a Palestinian origin seems likeliest, but, as such a suggestion is not universally accepted, the question of the provenance of this Apocalypse must remain open.
The main interest in this text is in the early pictures of Heaven and Hell. The eclipse of the Apocalypse of Peter in antiquity may have been due to the greater popularity of its views disseminated in the West in the context of the Apocalypse of Paul. (In the East apocalypses of the virgin probably satisfied this curiosity.) M. R. James suggested that the Apocalypse of Peter originally contained the controversial idea of the ultimate salvation of all sinners, which is to be found in the derivative Sibylline Oracles but which was subsequently removed from the Apocalypse of Peter itself and which may have resulted in the suppression of the Apocalypse of Peter in its entirety.
U. Bouriant, ‘Fragments du texte grec du livre d’Énoch et de quelques écrits attribués à Saint Pierre’ (Paris, 1892), 142–7 (= Mémoires publiés par les membres de la mission archéologique française au Caire 9.1) (editio princeps).
A. Lods, L’Évangile et l'Apocalypse de Pierre (Paris, 1893) (= Mémoires . . . 9.3, 224–8) (facsimile edition).
O. von Gebhardt, Das Evangelium und die Apokalypse des Petrus (Leipzig, 1893) (facsimile edition with German trans.).
A. Lods, Evangelii secundum Petrum et Petri Apocalypseos quae supersunt . . . (Paris, 1892), 29–35, 52–9 (French edn. L’Évangile et l'Apocalypse de Pierre . . . (Paris, 1893), 25–31, 85–109 (including French trans.)).
Klostermann, Apocrypha, i. 8–12.
Preuschen, 84–8, 188–92 (with German trans.).
K. Prümm, ‘De genuino apocalypsis Petri textu . . . ’, Biblica 10 (1929), 62–80.
M. R. James, ‘The Rainer Fragment of the Apocalypse of Peter’, JTS 32 (1931), 270–9.
(For Bodleian Fragment see ‘General’ below, under James, JTS 1911.)
S. Grébaut, ‘Littérature éthiopienne pseudo‐Clémentine’, Revue de l'Orient chrétien 12 (1907), 139–51; 15 (1910), 198–214, 307–23, 425–39 (with French trans.).
H. Duensing, ‘Ein Stücke der urchristlichen Petrusapokalypse enthaltender Traktat der äthiopischen pseudoclementinischen Literatur’, ZNW 14 (1913), 65–78 (with German trans.).
D. D. Buchholz, Your Eyes Will Be Opened: A Study of the Greek (Ethiopic) Apocalypse of Peter (Atlanta, 1988) (= SBL Dissertation Series 97). [This includes an edition of the Ethiopic text based (for the first time) on both the known manuscripts, as well as English trans. and commentary.]
Arabic (This Text Differs from the Greek and Ethiopic Apocalypse)
J. R. Harris, ‘The Odes of Solomon and the Apocalypse of Peter’, ExpT 42 (1930), 21–3.
A. Mingana, ‘Apocalypse of Peter’, BJRL 14 (1930), 182–297, 423–562; 15 (1931), 179–279; repr. Woodbrooke Studies 3 (Cambridge, 1931), 93–450. 3 Review by M. R. James, JTS 33 (1932), 311–13.
Cf. Coptic (An Otherwise Unknown Apocalypse)
O. von Lemm, ‘Bruchstück einer Petrusapokalypse’, P. Nagel (ed.), Koptische Miscellen (repr. Leipzig, 1972), 107–12 (= Studia Byzantina 10, 11.)
de Santos Otero, Altslav. Apok. i. 212–13.
A. Rutherfurd, in A. Menzies (ed.), Ante‐Nicene Christian Library: Additional Volume 9 (Edinburgh, 1897), 41–8 (Akhmim Fragment).
B. Pick, Paralipomena: Remains of Gospels and Sayings of Christ (Chicago, 1908), 118–23 (Akhmim Fragment).
James, 505–24 (including part of Second Book of Sibylline Oracles).
Hennecke3, ii. 663–83.
Hennecke5, ii. 620–38.
Amiot, 287–94 (selections).
Hennecke1, 211–17 (H. Weinel); cf. Handbuch, 285–90.
Hennecke3, ii. 468–83 (C. Maurer and H. Duensing).
Hennecke5, ii. 562–78 (C. Detlef G. Müller).
Bauer (main bibliography, under Reference and General), 102–5.
Erbetta, iii. 209–33.
Moraldi, ii. 1803–54, (includes part of Second Book of Sibylline Oracles).
Zahn, ‘Die Apokalypse des Petrus’, in Kanon, ii. 810–20. [Cf. i. 307–10.]
A. Robinson and M. R. James, The Gospel according to Peter and the Revelation of Peter (London, 21892), 39–82, 89–93 (with Greek text; trans. in 20 verses, 48–51).
A. von Harnack, Bruchstücke des Evangeliums und der Apokalypse des Petrus (Leipzig, 21893), esp. 16–22, 80–7 (= TU 9.2).
—Die Petrusapokalypse in der abendländischen Kirche (Leipzig, 1895), 71–3 (= TU 13.1).
A. Marmorstein, ‘Jüdische Parallelen zur Petrusapokalypse’, ZNW 10 (1909), 297–300.
F. Spitta, ‘Die Petrusapokalypse und der zweite Petrusbrief’, ZNW 12 (1911), 237–42.
M. R. James, ‘A New Text of the Apocalypse of Peter’, JTS 12 (1911), 36–54, 362–83 (367–9 = Bodleian Fragment), 573–83.
—‘Additional Notes on the Apocalypse of Peter’, JTS ibid. 157.
A. Dieterich, Nekyia: Beiträge zur Erklärung der neuentdeckten Petrusapokalypse (Leipzig, 21913).
M. R. James, ‘The Recovery of the Apocalypse of Peter’, Church Quarterly Review (1915), 1–36, 248. [Very little innovative writing seems to have been published on the Apocalypse of Peter for many years after this.]
G. Quispel and R. M. Grant, ‘Note on the Petrine Apocrypha’, VC 6 (1952), 31–2.
E. Peterson, ‘Das Martyrium des Hl‐Petrus nach der Petrus‐Apokalypse’, in id., Frühkirche, Jüdentum und Gnosis (Rome, Freiburg, Vienna, 1959), 88–91; and ‘Die Taufe im Acherusischen See’, ibid. 310–32.
R. W. Cowley, ‘The Identification of the Ethiopian Octateuch of Clement and its Relationship to the other Christian Literature’, Ostkirchliche Studien 27 (1978), 37–45.
D. D. Fiensey, ‘Lex Talionis in the Apocalypse of Peter’, HTR 76 (1983), 255–8.
M. Himmelfarb, Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature (Philadelphia, 1983).
R. W. Cowley, ‘The Ethiopic Work which is Believed to Contain the Material of the Ancient Greek Apocalypse of Peter’, JTS 36 (1985), 151–3.
R. J. Bauckham, ‘The Two Fig Tree Parables in the Apocalypse of Peter’, JBL 104 (1985), 269–87.
—‘The Apocalypse of Peter: An Account of Research’, ANRW 2.25.6, 4712–49.
—‘Early Jewish Visions of Hell’, JTS 41 (1990), 355–85.
J. V. Hills, ‘Parables, Pretenders and Prophecies: Translation and Interpretation in the Apocalypse of Peter 2’, RB 98 (1991), 560–73.
A. Patristic and Other Citations
Clement of Alexandria, Eclogae 1 A series of detached sentences excerpted from some longer work, generally supposed to be his Hypotyposes or Outlines. 41. 1–2 (Stählin, GCS 17.2, p. 149):
1 The Scripture says that the children who have been exposed by their parents are delivered to a care‐taking angel by whom they are educated, and made to grow up; and they shall be, it says, as the faithful of a hundred years old are here in this life. 2 See Ethiopic 8 below. (41. 2) Wherefore Peter in the Apocalypse says: And a flash of fire leaping from those children and smiting the eyes of the women. 3 See Ethiopic 8 below.Ibid. 48. 1 (Stählin, GCS 17.2, p. 150):
2 The providence of God does not alight only on those in the flesh. For example, Peter in the Apocalypse says that the children born out of due time receive the better part (i.e. would have been saved if they had lived)—these are delivered to a care‐taking angel, that they may partake of knowledge and obtain the better abode, as if they had suffered what they would have suffered had they been in the body. But the others (i.e. those who would not have been saved, had they lived) shall obtain salvation only as beings who have been injured and had mercy shown to them and shall continue without torment, receiving that as a reward. But the milk of the mothers, flowing from their breasts and congealing, says Peter in the Apocalypse, shall engender small beasts devouring the flesh and these running upon them devour them; teaching that the torments come to pass because of the sins. 4 See Ethiopic 8 below.Methodius of Olympus, Symposium 2. 6 (ed. G. Bonwetsch, GCS 27 (Leipzig, 1917), p. 23):
3 Whence also we have received in inspired writings that children born untimely—even if they be the offspring of adultery—are delivered to caretaking angels. For if they had come into being contrary to the will and ordinance of that blessed nature of God, how could they have been delivered to angels to be nourished in all repose and tranquillity? And how could they have confidently summoned their parents before the judgement‐seat of Christ to accuse them saying, ‘You, O Lord, did not begrudge us this light that is common to all, but these exposed us to death, despising your commandment.’ 5 See Ethiopic 8 below.Macarius Magnes, Apocritica 4. 6. 7 (ed. G. Blondel (Paris, 1876), pp. 164–5): 6 This work consists of extracts from a heathen opponent's attack on Christianity (Porphyry and Hierocles are named as possible authors of it) and Macarius' own answers. In these passages the heathen writer is quoted.
4 And by way of superfluity let this also be cited which is said in the Apocalypse of Peter. He introduces the heaven, to be judged along with the earth, thus: The earth, he says, shall present all men to God to be judged on the day of judgement, itself also being judged along with the heaven that encompasses it. 7 See Ethiopic 4 below.Ibid. :
5 And this again he says, which is a statement full of impiety: And every power of heaven shall burn, and the heaven shall be rolled up like a book, and all the stars shall fall like leaves from the vine, and as the leaves from the fig‐tree. 8 See Ethiopic 5 below.Theophilus of Antioch, ad Autolycum 2. 19 (ed. R. M. Grant (Oxford, 1970), pp. 57–8):
6 God chose for Adam as paradise a place in the eastern region marked out by light illuminated by shining air, with plants of wondrous beauty. 9 See Ethiopic 16 below. Latin Homily on the Ten Virgins preserved in an Épinal manuscript and considered to be fourth century: 10 Cf. M. R. James, ‘A New Text of the Apocalypse of Peter, 2’, JTS 12 (1911), 362–83, esp. 383.
7 The closed door is the river of fire by which the ungodly will be kept out of the kingdom of God, as it is written in Daniel and by Peter in his Apocalypse. 11 See Ethiopic 12 below.
B. The Ethiopic and Akhmim Texts
1. The Second Coming of Christ and Resurrection of the Dead which Christ revealed through Peter to those who died for their sins, because they did not keep the commandment of God, their creator.
And he (Peter) pondered thereon, that he might perceive the mystery of the Son of God, the merciful and lover of mercy.
And when the Lord was seated upon the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him.
And we besought and entreated him severally and implored him, saying to him, ‘Declare to us what are the signs of your coming and of the end of the world, 12 Matt. 24: 3 . that we may perceive and mark the time of your coming and instruct those who come after us, to whom we preach the word of your gospel, and whom we install in your church, that they, when they hear it, may take heed to themselves and mark the time of your coming.’
And our Lord answered us saying, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you 13 Matt. 24: 4 . and that you be not doubters and serve other gods. Many shall come in my name saying, “I am the Christ.” 14 Matt. 24: 5 . Believe them not, neither draw near to them. 15 Matt. 24: 26; Luke 17: 23 . For the coming of the Son of God shall not be plain; but as the lightning that shines from the east to the west, 16 Matt. 24: 27; Luke 17: 20 . so will I come upon the clouds of heaven with a great host in my majesty; 17 Matt. 24: 30 and parallels. with my cross going before my face will I come in my majesty; shining seven times brighter than the sun will I come in my majesty with all my saints, my angels. 18 Matt. 16: 27 . And my Father shall set a crown upon my head, that I may judge the quick and the dead and recompense every man according to his works. 19 Matt. 16: 27 .
2. ‘And you learn a parable from the fig‐tree: as soon as its shoots have come forth and the twigs grown, the end of the world shall come.’ 20 Matt. 24: 32 f.
And I, Peter, answered and said to him, ‘Interpret the fig‐tree to me: how can we understand it? For throughout all its days the fig‐tree sends forth shoots and every year it brings forth its fruit for its master? What then does the parable of the fig‐tree mean? We do not know.’
And the Master answered and said to me, ‘Do you not understand that the fig‐tree is the house of Israel? It is like a man who planted a fig‐tree in his garden and it brought forth no fruit. And he sought the fruit many years, and when he did not find it he said to the keeper of his garden, “Uproot this fig‐tree so that it does not make our ground unfruitful.” And the gardener said to his master, “Let us rid it of weeds and dig the ground round about it and water it. If then it does not bear fruit, we will straightway uproot it from the garden and plant another in place of it.” Have you not understood that the fig‐tree is the house of Israel? Verily I say to you, when its twigs have sprouted forth in the last days, then shall false Christs come and awake expectation, saying, “I am the Christ who has now come into the world.” 21 Matt. 24: 24 . And when they perceive the wickedness of their deeds they shall turn away and deny him whom our fathers praised, the first Christ whom they crucified and therein sinned a great sin. But this deceiver is not the Christ. And when they reject him, he shall slay them with the sword, and there shall be many martyrs. Then shall the twigs of the fig‐tree, that is, the house of Israel, shoot forth: many shall become martyrs at his hand. Enoch and Elijah shall be sent to teach them that this is the deceiver who must come into the world and do signs and wonders in order to deceive. And therefore those who die by his hand shall be martyrs, and shall be reckoned among the good and righteous martyrs who have pleased God in their life.’
3. And he showed me in his right hand the souls of all men. And on the palm of his right hand the image of that which shall be accomplished at the last day; and how the righteous and the sinners shall be separated, and how those who are upright in heart will fare, and how the evil‐doers shall be rooted out to all eternity. We beheld how the sinners wept in great affliction and sorrow, until all who saw it with their eyes wept, whether righteous or angels, and he himself also.
And I asked him and said to him, ‘Lord, allow me to speak your word concerning the sinners, “It were better for them if they had not been created.” ’ 22 Matt. 26: 24 and parallels. And the Saviour answered and said to me, ‘Peter, why do you say that not to have been created were better for them? 23 Rev. 20: 13 . You resist God. You would not have more compassion than he for his image: for he has created them and brought them forth out of not‐being. Now because you have seen the lamentation which shall come upon the sinners in the last days, therefore your heart is troubled; but I will show you their works, whereby they have sinned against the Most High.
4. ‘Behold now what shall come upon them in the last days, when the day of God and the day of the decision of the judgement of God comes. From the east to the west shall all the children of men be gathered together before my Father who lives for ever. And he shall command hell to open its bars of adamant and give up all that is therein.
‘And the wild beasts and the fowls shall he command to restore all the flesh that they have devoured, because he wills that men should appear; for nothing perishes before God and nothing is impossible with him, because all things are his.
‘For all things come to pass on the day of decision, on the day of judgement, at the word of God: and as all things were done when he created the world and commanded all that is therein and it was done, even so shall it be in the last days; for all things are possible with God. And therefore he said in the scripture, 24 Ezek. 37: 4 ff . “Son of man, prophesy upon the several bones and say to the bones: bone unto bone in joints, sinew, nerves, flesh, and skin and hair thereon.”
‘And soul and spirit shall the great Uriel give them at the commandment of God; for God has set him over the resurrection of the dead at the day of judgement.
‘Behold and consider the corns of wheat that are sown in the earth. As something dry and without soul do men sow them in the earth: and they live again and bear fruit, and the earth restores them as a pledge entrusted to it.
‘And this which dies, that is sown as seed in the earth, and shall become alive and be restored to life, is man.
‘How much more shall God raise up on the day of decision those who believe in him and are chosen of him, for whose sake he made the world? And all things shall the earth restore on the day of decision, for it also shall be judged with them, and the heaven with it. 25 Cf. Macarius, A4 above.
5. ‘And this shall come at the day of judgement upon those who have fallen away from faith in God and have committed sin. Cataracts of fire shall be let loose; and darkness and obscurity shall come up and clothe and veil the whole world; and the waters shall be changed and turned into coals of fire, and all that is in them shall burn, and the sea shall become fire. Under the heaven there shall be a sharp fire that cannot be quenched, and it flows to fulfil the judgement of wrath. And the stars shall be melted by flames of fire, 26 Cf. Macarius, A4 above. as if they had not been created, and the firmaments of the heaven shall pass away for lack of water and shall be as though they had not been. And the lightnings of heaven shall be no more, and by their enchantment they shall affright the world. The spirits of the dead bodies shall be like them and shall become fire at the commandment of God.
‘And as soon as the whole creation dissolves, the men who are in the east shall flee to the west, 〈and those who are in the west〉 to the east; those in the south shall flee to the north, and those who are in the north to the south. And in all places shall the wrath of a fearful fire overtake them; and an unquenchable flame driving them shall bring them to the judgement of wrath, to the stream of unquenchable fire which flows, flaming with fire, and when the waves thereof part themselves one from another, burning, there shall be a great gnashing of teeth among the children of men.
6. ‘Then shall they all behold me coming upon an eternal cloud of brightness; and the angels of God who are with me shall sit upon the throne of my glory at the right hand of my heavenly Father; and he shall set a crown upon my head. And when the nations behold it, they shall weep, 27 Matt. 26: 64, 16: 27 and parallels. every nation for itself.
‘Then shall he command them to enter into the river of fire while the works of every one of them shall stand before them. 〈Rewards shall be given〉 to every man according to his deeds. 28 Matt. 16: 27; Ps. 62: 12 . As for the elect who have done good, they shall come to me and not see death by the devouring fire. But the unrighteous, the sinners, and the hypocrites shall stand in the depths of darkness that shall not pass away, and their chastisement is the fire, and angels bring forward their sins and prepare for them a place wherein they shall be punished for ever, every one according to his transgression.
‘Uriel the angel of God shall bring forth the souls of those sinners who perished in the flood, and of all who dwelt in all idols, in every molten image, in every object of love, and in pictures, and of those who dwelt on all hills and in stones and by the wayside, whom men called gods: they shall be burned with them in everlasting fire; and after all of them with their dwelling‐places are destroyed, they shall be punished eternally.
|21. And I saw also another place opposite that one, very squalid; and it was a place of punishment, and those who were punished and the angels that punished them had dark raiment in accordance with the air of the place.|
|7. ‘Then shall men and women come to the place prepared for them. By their tongues wherewith they have blasphemed the way of||22. And some there were hanging by their tongues; and these were the ones who blasphemed the way of righteousness, and under them was|
|righteousness shall they be hanged up. There is spread under them unquenchable fire so that they do not escape it.||laid fire flaming and tormenting them.|
|‘Behold another place: there is a pit, great and full. In it are those who have denied righteousness: and angels of punishment chastise them and there they kindle upon them the fire of their torment.||23. And there was a great lake full of flaming mire, wherein were certain men who had turned away from righteousness; and angels, tormentors, were set over them.|
|‘And again behold two women: they hang them up by their neck and by their hair; they shall cast them into the pit. These are those who plaited their hair, not to make themselves beautiful but to turn them to fornication, that they might ensnare the souls of men to perdition. And the men who lay with them in fornication shall be hung by their loins in that place of fire; and they shall say one to another, “We did not know that we should come to everlasting punishment.”||24. And there were also others, women, hanged by their hair over that mire which boiled up; and these were the ones who adorned themselves for adultery.|
|And the men who were joined with them in the defilement of adultery were hanging by their feet, and had their heads hidden in the mire and said, ‘We did not believe that we should come to this place.’|
|‘And the murderers and those who have made common cause with them shall they cast into the fire, in a place full of venomous beasts, and they shall be tormented without rest, feeling their pains; and their worms shall be as many in number as a dark cloud. And the angel Ezrael shall bring forth the souls of those who have been slain, and they shall behold the torment of those who slew them and say one to another, “Righteousness and justice is the judgement of God. 29 For we heard, but we believed not, that we should come into this place of eternal judgement.”||25. And I saw the murderers and those who were accomplices cast into a gorge full of evil, creeping things, and smitten by those beasts, writhing about in that torment. And upon them were set worms like clouds of darkness. And the souls of those who were murdered stood and looked upon the torment of those murderers and said, ‘O God, righteous is your judgement.’ 30|
|8. ‘And near this flame there is a pit, great and very deep, and into it flows from above all manner of torment, foulness, and excrement. And women are swallowed up therein up to their necks and tormented with great pain. These are they who have caused their children to be born untimely and have corrupted the work of God who created them. Opposite them shall be another place where their children sit alive and cry to God. And flashes of lightning go forth from those children and pierce the eyes of those who for fornication's sake have caused their destruction. 31||26. And near that place I saw another gorge wherein the discharge and excrement of those who were in torment ran down, and became like a lake there. And women sat there up to their necks in that filth, and over against them many children born out of due time sat crying; and from them went forth rays of fire and smote the women in the eyes; and these were those who conceived out of wedlock and caused abortion.|
|‘Other men and women shall stand above them, naked; and their children stand opposite them in a place of delight, and sigh and cry to God because of their parents saying, “These are they who despised and cursed and transgressed your commandments and delivered us to death: they have cursed the angel that formed us and have hanged us up and begrudged us the light which you have given to all creatures.” And the milk of their mothers flowing from their breasts shall congeal and from it shall come beasts devouring flesh, which shall come forth and turn and torment them for ever with their husbands because they forsook the commandments of God and slew their children. As for their children, they shall be delivered to the angel Temlakos. 32 And those who slew them shall be tormented eternally, for God wills it so.|
|9. ‘Ezrael the angel of wrath shall bring men and women, with half of their bodies burning, and cast them into a place of darkness, the hell of men; and a spirit of wrath shall chastise them with all manner of torment, and a worm that never sleeps shall devour their entrails; and these are the persecutors and betrayers of my righteous ones.||27. And other men and women were being burned up to their middle and were cast down in a dark place and were scourged by evil spirits, having their entrails devoured by worms that never rested. And these were the ones who had persecuted the righteous and delivered them up.|
|‘And beside those who are there, shall be other men and women, gnawing their tongues; and they shall torment them with red‐hot irons and burn their eyes. These are they who slander and doubt my righteousness.||28. And near to them were women and men gnawing their lips and in torment having heated iron in their eyes. And these were the ones who did blaspheme and speak evil of the way of righteousness.|
|‘Other men and women whose works were done in deceitfulness shall have their lips cut off; and fire enters into their mouth and their entrails. These are they who caused the martyrs to die by their lying.||29. And over against these were yet others, men and women, gnawing their tongues and having flaming fire in their mouths. And these were the false witnesses.|
|‘And beside them, in a place near at hand, upon the stone shall be a pillar of fire, and the pillar is sharper than swords. And there shall be men and women clad in rags and filthy garments, and they shall be cast thereon to suffer the judgement of an unceasing torment; these are the ones who trusted in their riches and despised the widows and the women with fatherless children . . . before God.||30. And in another place were gravel‐stones sharper than swords or any spit, heated with fire, and men and women clad in filthy rags rolled upon them in torment. And these were they who were rich and trusted in their riches, and had no pity upon orphans and widows but neglected the commandments of God.|
|10. ‘And into another place nearby, full of filth, they cast men and women up to the knees. These are they who lent money and took usury.||31. And in another great lake full of fouls pus and blood and boiling mire stood men and women up to their knees. And these were the ones who lent money and demanded usury upon usury.|
|‘And other men and women cast themselves down from a high place||32. And other men and women being cast down from a great|
|and return again and run, and devils drive them. These are the worshippers of idols, and they drive them up to the top of the height and they cast themselves down. And this they do continually and are tormented for ever. These are they who have cut their flesh as apostles of a man: and the women with them . . . and these are the men who defiled themselves together as women.||precipice fell to the bottom and again were driven by those who were set over them to go up upon the rock and thence were cast down again to the bottom and thus they had no rest from this torment. And these were the ones who defiled their bodies, behaving as women: and the women who were with them were those who lay with one another as a man with a woman.|
|‘And beside them . . . and beneath them shall the angel Ezrael prepare a place of much fire: and all the idols of gold and silver, all idols, the work of men's hands, and the semblances of images of cats and lions, of creeping things and wild beasts, and the men and women that have prepared the images thereof, shall be in chains of fire and shall be chastised because of their error before the idols, and this is their judgement for ever.||33. And beside that rock was a place full of fire, and there stood men which with their own hands had made images for themselves instead of God, [And beside them other men and women] 33 having rods of fire and smiting one another and never resting from this manner of torment . . .|
|‘And beside them shall be other men and women, burning in the fire of the judgement, and their torment is everlasting. These are they who have forsaken the commandment of God and followed the (persuasions?) of devils.||34. And yet others near to them, men and women, were burned and turned in the fire and were roasted. And these were those who forsook the way of God. 34|
11. ‘And there shall be another place, very high . . . The men and women whose feet slip shall go rolling down into a place where is fear. And again while the fire that is prepared flows, they mount up and fall down again and continue to roll down. Thus shall they be tormented for ever. These are they who honoured not their father and mother and of their own accord withheld themselves from them. Therefore shall they be chastised eternally.
‘Furthermore the angel Ezrael shall bring children and maidens, to show them those who are tormented. They shall be chastised with pains, with hanging up(?) and with a multitude of wounds which flesh‐devouring birds shall inflict upon them. These are they who trust in their sins and do not obey their parents and do not follow the instruction of their fathers and do not honour those more aged than they.
‘Beside them shall be girls clad in darkness for a garment, and they shall be seriously punished and their flesh shall be torn in pieces. These are they who did not preserve their virginity until they were given in marriage and with these torments shall they be punished and shall feel them.
‘And again, other men and women, gnawing their tongues without ceasing, and being tormented with everlasting fire. These are the servants who were not obedient to their masters; and this then is their judgement for ever.
12. ‘And near by this place of torment shall be men and women who are dumb and blind and whose raiment is white. They shall crowd one upon another, and fall upon coals of unquenchable fire. These are they who give alms and say, “We are righteous before God”, whereas they have not sought after righteousness.
‘Ezrael the angel of God shall bring them forth out of this fire and establish a judgement of decision (?). This then is their judgement. A river of fire shall flow, and all those judged shall be drawn down into the middle of the river. 35 Homily on the Ten Virgins, A7 above. And Uriel shall set them there.
‘And there are wheels of fire, and men and women hung thereon by the force of the whirling. And those in the pit shall burn; now these are the sorcerers and sorceresses. Those wheels shall be in all decision by fire without number. 36 Text obscure.
13. ‘Thereafter shall the angels bring my elect and righteous who are perfect in all uprightness and bear them in their hands and clothe them with the raiment of the life that is above. They shall see their desire on those who hated them, 37 Ps. 54: 7, 59: 10 . when he punishes them and the torment of every one shall be for ever according to his works.
‘And all those in torment shall say with one voice, “Have mercy upon us, for now we know the judgement of God, which he declared to us beforetime and we did not believe.” And the angel Tatirokos 38 The keeper of hell (Tartaros), a word corresponding in formation to Temeloukhos (see above). shall come and chastise them with even greater torment, and say to them, “Now do you repent, when it is no longer the time for repentance, and nothing of life remains.” And they shall say, “Righteous is the judgement of God, for we have heard and perceived that his judgement is good, 39 Rev. 16: 7, 19: 2 . for we are recompensed according to our deeds.”
14. ‘Then will I give to my elect and righteous the baptism and the salvation for which they have besought me, in the field of Akrosja (Acherusia) which is called Aneslasleja (Elysium). They shall adorn with flowers the portion of the righteous, and I shall go . . . I shall rejoice with them. I will cause the peoples to enter into my everlasting kingdom, and show them eternal good things to which I have made them set their hope, I and my Father in heaven.
‘I have spoken this to you, Peter, and declared it to you. Go forth therefore and go to the city of the west and enter into the vineyard which I shall tell you of, in order that by the sufferings of the Son who is without sin the deeds of corruption may be sanctified. As for you, you are chosen according to the promise which I have given you. Spread my gospel throughout all the world in peace. Verily men shall rejoice; my words shall be the source of hope and of life, and suddenly shall the world be ravished.’ 40 An adapted version of James's translation of the Rainer fragment (in JTS 32 (1931), 270–9) is as follows: ‘Then will I give to my called and my chosen whomsoever they shall ask me for, out of torment, and will give them a fair baptism to salvation from the Acherusian lake which men so call in the Elysian field even a portion of righteousness with my holy ones. And I will depart, I and my chosen, rejoicing, with the patriarchs, to my eternal kingdom, and I will fulfil for them the promises which I promised them, I and my Father in heaven. Lo, I have manifested to you, Peter, and have expounded all this. And go into a city that rules over the west, and drink the cup which I promised you, at the hands of the son of him who is in Hades, that his destruction may have a beginning; and you may be acceptable of the promise . . . (Cf. Sibylline Oracles 2. 330–9.)
|1. Many of them shall be false prophets, and shall teach ways and diverse doctrines of perdition. 2. And they shall become sons of perdition. 3. And then God shall come to my faithful ones who hunger and thirst and are afflicted and prove their souls in this life, and shall judge the sons of iniquity.’|
|15. And my Lord Jesus Christ, our King, said to me, ‘Let us go to the holy mountain.’ And his disciples went with him, praying.||4. And the Lord continued and said, ‘Let us go to the mountain and pray.’ 5. And going with him, we the twelve disciples besought him that he would show us one of our righteous brethren who had departed|
|out of the world, that we might see of what form they are, and take courage and encourage the men who hear us.|
|And behold there were two men there, and we could not look upon their faces, for a light came from them, shining more than the sun, and their raiment also was shining and cannot be described and nothing is sufficient to be compared to them in this world. And the sweetness of them . . . that no mouth is able to utter the beauty of their appearance, for their aspect was astonishing and wonderful. And the other, great, I say, shines in his aspect above crystal. Like the flower of roses is the appearance of the colour of his aspect and of his body . . . his head. And upon his shoulders . . . and on their foreheads was a crown of nard woven from fair flowers. As the rainbow in the water, so was their hair. And such was the comeliness of their countenance, adorned with all manner of ornament.||6. And as we prayed, suddenly there appeared two men standing before the Lord upon whom we were not able to look. 7. For there issued from their countenance a ray as of the sun and their raiment was shining such as the eye of a man never saw the like; for no mouth is able to declare nor heart to conceive the glory wherewith they were clad and the beauty of their countenance.|
|8. When we saw them we were astonished, for their bodies were whiter than any snow and redder than any rose. 9. And the redness of them was mingled with the whiteness and I am simply not able to declare their beauty. 10. For their hair was curling and flourishing and fell comely about their countenance and their shoulders like a garland woven of nard and various flowers or like a rainbow in the air: such was their comeliness.|
|16. And when we suddenly saw them, we marvelled. And I drew near to God, Jesus Christ, and said to him, ‘O my Lord, who are these?’ And he said to me, ‘They are Moses and Elijah.’ And I said to him, ‘Where then are Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and the rest of the righteous fathers?’ And he showed us a great garden, open, full of fair trees and blessed fruits and of the odour of perfumes. 41 The fragrance was pleasant and reached us. And of||11. Seeing the beauty of them we were astonished at them, for they appeared suddenly.|
|12. And I drew near to the Lord and said, ‘Who are these?’ 13. He said to me, ‘These are your righteous brethren whose appearance you wished to see.’|
|14. And I said to him, ‘And where are all the righteous? What is the world of those who possess this glory?’ 15. And the Lord showed me a very great region outside this world|
|that tree . . . I saw many fruits. And my Lord and God Jesus Christ said to me, ‘Have you seen the companies of the fathers?’||exceedingly bright with light, and the air of that place illuminated with the rays of the sun, and the earth itself flowering with blossoms that do not fade, and full of spices and plants, fair‐flowering and incorruptible, and bearing blessed fruit.|
|16. And so great was the blossom that the odour thereof was borne from there to where we were.|
|17. And the inhabitants in that place were clad with the raiment of shining angels, and their raiment was like their land.|
|18. And angels ran round about them there. 19. And the glory of those who dwelt there was equal, and with one voice they praised the Lord God, rejoicing in that place.|
|20. The Lord said to us, ‘This is the place of your leaders, the righteous men.’|
‘As is their rest, such also is the honour and the glory of those who are persecuted for my righteousness' sake.’ 42 Matt. 5: 10 . And I rejoiced and believed and understood that which is written in the book of my Lord Jesus Christ. And I said to him, ‘O my Lord, do you wish that I make here three tabernacles, one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah?’. 43 Matt. 17: 4 and parallels. And he said to me in wrath, ‘Satan makes war against you, and has veiled your understanding; and the good things of this world prevail against you. Your eyes therefore must be opened and your ears unstopped that you may see a tabernacle, not made with men's hands, which my heavenly Father has made for me and for the elect.’ And we beheld it and were full of gladness.
17. And behold, suddenly there came a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: 44 Matt. 17: 5 and parallels. 〈he has kept〉 my commandments.’ And then came a great and exceedingly white cloud over our heads and bore away our Lord and Moses and Elijah. And I trembled and was afraid; and we looked up, and the heaven opened and we beheld men in the flesh and they came and greeted our Lord and Moses and Elijah and went to another heaven. And the word of the scripture was fulfilled: ‘This is the generation that seeks him and seeks the face of the God of Jacob’. 45 Ps. 24: 6 . And great fear and commotion took place in heaven, and the angels pressed one upon another that the word of the scripture might be fulfilled which says, ‘Open the gates, you princes.’ 46 Ps. 24: 7–9 .
Thereafter was the heaven shut, that had been open.
And we prayed and went down from the mountain, glorifying God, who has written the names of the righteous in heaven in the book of life.
There is a great deal more of the Ethiopic text. James gives a résumé of its contents (ANT 520 f.). This may be adapted as follows:
Peter opened his mouth and said to me, ‘Hearken, my son Clement; God created all things for his glory’, and this proposition is dwelt upon. The glory of those who duly praise God is described in terms borrowed from the Apocalypse: ‘The Son at his coming will raise the dead . . . and will make my righteous ones shine seven times more than the sun, and will make their crowns shine like crystal and like the rainbow in the time of rain, (crowns) which are perfumed with nard and cannot be contemplated, (adorned) with rubies, with the colour of emeralds shining brightly, with topazes, gems, and yellow pearls that shine like the stars of heaven, and like the rays of the sun, sparkling, which cannot be gazed upon.’ Again, of the angels: ‘Their faces shine more than the sun; their crowns are as the rainbow in the time of rain. (They are perfumed) with nard. Their eyes shine like the morning star. The beauty of their appearance cannot be expressed . . . Their raiment is not woven, but white as that of the fuller, just as I saw on the mountain where Moses and Elijah were. Our Lord showed at the transfiguration the apparel of the last days, of the day of resurrection, to Peter, James and John the sons of Zebedee, and a bright cloud overshadowed us, and we heard the voice of the Father saying to us, ‘This is my Son whom I love and in whom I am well pleased: hear him.’ And being afraid we forgot all the things of this life and of the flesh and knew not what we said because of the greatness of the wonder of that day and of the mountain whereon he showed us the second coming in the kingdom that does not pass away.
Next: ‘The Father has committed all judgement to the Son.’ The destiny of sinners—their eternal doom—is more than Peter can endure; he appeals to Christ to have pity on them.
And my Lord answered me and said to me, ‘Have you understood that which I said to you before? It is permitted to you to know that concerning which you ask, but you must not tell that which you hear to the sinners lest they transgress the more and sin.’ Peter weeps many hours and is at last consoled by an answer which, though exceedingly diffuse and vague, does seem to promise ultimate pardon for all: ‘My Father will give to them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passes not away . . . It is because of those who have believed in me that I come. It is also because of those who have believed in me, that, at their word, I shall have pity on men.’
Ultimately Peter orders Clement to hide this revelation in a box so that foolish men may not see it.
2 Details of similarities between the Apocalypse and these three allegedly dependent texts may be seen in Robinson and James (bibliography below, under General, 63–5, 65–7, 56–63 respectively).
3 Review by M. R. James, JTS 33 (1932), 311–13.
1 A series of detached sentences excerpted from some longer work, generally supposed to be his Hypotyposes or Outlines.
2 See Ethiopic 8 below.
3 See Ethiopic 8 below.
4 See Ethiopic 8 below.
5 See Ethiopic 8 below.
6 This work consists of extracts from a heathen opponent's attack on Christianity (Porphyry and Hierocles are named as possible authors of it) and Macarius' own answers. In these passages the heathen writer is quoted.
7 See Ethiopic 4 below.
8 See Ethiopic 5 below.
9 See Ethiopic 16 below.
10 Cf. M. R. James, ‘A New Text of the Apocalypse of Peter, 2’, JTS 12 (1911), 362–83, esp. 383.
11 See Ethiopic 12 below.
25 Cf. Macarius, A4 above.
26 Cf. Macarius, A4 above.
35 Homily on the Ten Virgins, A7 above.
36 Text obscure.
38 The keeper of hell (Tartaros), a word corresponding in formation to Temeloukhos (see above).
40 An adapted version of James's translation of the Rainer fragment (in JTS 32 (1931), 270–9) is as follows: ‘Then will I give to my called and my chosen whomsoever they shall ask me for, out of torment, and will give them a fair baptism to salvation from the Acherusian lake which men so call in the Elysian field even a portion of righteousness with my holy ones. And I will depart, I and my chosen, rejoicing, with the patriarchs, to my eternal kingdom, and I will fulfil for them the promises which I promised them, I and my Father in heaven. Lo, I have manifested to you, Peter, and have expounded all this. And go into a city that rules over the west, and drink the cup which I promised you, at the hands of the son of him who is in Hades, that his destruction may have a beginning; and you may be acceptable of the promise . . . (Cf. Sibylline Oracles 2. 330–9.)