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The Apocryphal New Testament Easy to use collection of English translations of the New Testament Apocrypha.

General Studies of The Acts of Paul

The Acts of Paul has spawned a great deal of secondary literature. The bibliographies in Vouaux and in Charlesworth will furnish many more titles than can be included here. The following is only a selection of the more interesting, the seminal, and the most significant contributions.

  • C. Schlau, Die Acten des Paulus und der Thecla und die altere Thecla‐Legende (Leipzig, 1877).

  • Lipsius, ii. 1, 424–67.

  • Zahn, Kanon, i. 783–90; ii. 865–910.

  • A. Rey, Étude sur les Acta Pauli et Theclae et la légende de Thecla (Paris, 1890).

  • W. M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire before A.D. 170 (London, New York, Toronto, 51897), ch. 16.

  • A. Harnack, Drei wenig beachtete Cyprianische Schriften und die ‘Acta Pauli’ (Leipzig, 1899) (= TU 4.3b).

  • A. Baumstark, Die Petrus‐ und Paulusacten in der litterarischen Ueberlieferung der syrischen Kirche (Leipzig, 1902).

  • C. Clemen, ‘Miszellen zu den Paulusakten’, ZNW 5 (1904), 228–47.

  • P. Corssen, ‘Die Urgestalt des Paulusakten’, ZNW 4 (1903), 22–47; id., ‘Der Schluss der Paulusakten’, ZNW 6 (1905), 317–38.

  • C. Holzhey, Die Thekla‐Akten: Ihre Verbreitung und Beurtheilung in der Kirche (Munich, 1905) (= Veröffentlichungen aus dem kirchen‐historischen Seminar 2.7).

  • Findlay, 238–72.

  • C. Schmidt, ‘Acta Pauli’, Forschungen und Fortschritte 28 (1936), 352–4.

  • A. Kurfess, ‘Zu dem Hamburger Papyrus der Πράξɛις Παύλου’, ZNW 38 (1939), 164–70.

  • E. Peterson, ‘Die Acta Xanthippae et Polyxenae und die Paulusakten’, Anal. Boll. 65 (1947), 57–60.

  • —‘Einige Bemerkungen zum Hamburger Papyrus‐fragment der Acta Pauli’, Vig. Chr. 3 (1949), 142–62 (rev. in id., Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis (Rome, Freiburg, Vienna, 1959), 182–208.

  • P. Devos, ‘Actes de Thomas et Actes de Paul’, Anal. Boll. 69 (1951), 119–30 (against Peterson's argument that the Acts of Paul is dependent on the Acts of Thomas).

  • W. Schneemelcher, ‘Die Acta Pauli: Neue Funde und neue Aufgaben’, ThLZ 89 (1964), cols. 241–54 (repr. in W. Bienert and K. Schäferdiek (eds.), Gesammelte Aufsätze zum Neuen Testament und zur Patristik (Thessalonica, 1974), 182–203 (= Analekta Vlatadon 22).

  • —‘Der getaufte Löwe in den Acta Pauli’, in A. Striber and A. Hermann (eds.), Mullus (Festschrift Theodor Klauser) (Münster, 1964), 316–26. (= Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum, Ergänzungsband 1) (repr. Analekta Vlatadon 22, 223–39).

  • —‘Die Apostelgeschichte des Lukas und die Acta Pauli’, in W. Eltester (ed.), Apophoreta (Festschrift Ernst Haenchen) (Berlin, 1964), 236–50 (= Beiheft ZNW 30) (repr. Analekta Vlatadon 22, 204–22).

  • Bauer, 71–5.

  • J. Rohde, ‘Pastoralbriefe und Acta Pauli’, in F. L. Cross (ed.), Studia Evangelica 5 (Berlin, 1968), part 2, 303–10 (= TU 103).

  • Vielhauer, 699–705.

  • Plümacher, cols. 24–30.

  • E. M. Howe, ‘Interpretations of Paul in the Acts of Paul and Thecla’, in D. A. Hagner and M. J. Harris (eds.), Pauline Studies (Festschrift for F. F. Bruce) (Exeter and Grand Rapids, 1980), 33–49.

  • W. Rordorf, ‘Die Neronische Christenverfolgung im Spiegel der apokryphen Paulusakten’, NTS 28 (1982), 364–75.

  • —‘Tradition and Composition in the Acts of Thecla: The State of the Question’, in D. R. MacDonald (ed.), The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (Decatur, Ga., 1986), 43–52 (= Semeia 38; French trans. in TZ 41 (1985), 272–83).

  • D. R. MacDonald, The Legend and the Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon (Philadelphia, 1983).

  • Aldo Moda, ‘Per una Biographia Paolina: La Lettura di Clemente, il Canone Muratoriana, la Letteratura Apocrifa’, in Testimonium Christi: Scritti in Onore di Jacques Dupont (Brescia, 1985), 289–315.

  • S. L. Davies, ‘Women, Tertullian, and the Acts of Paul’, in MacDonald (above, under Rordorf), 139–43, with response by T. W. Mackay, 145–9 (= Semeia 38).

  • D. R. MacDonald and A. D. Scrimgeour, ‘Pseudo‐Chrysostom's Panegyric to Thecla: The Heroine of the Acts of Paul in Homily and Art’, ibid. 151–9.

  • W. Rordorf, ‘In welchem Verhältnis stehen die apokryphen Paulusakten zur kanonischen Apostelgeschichte und zu den Pastoralbriefen?’, in T. Baarda, A. Hilhorst, G. P. Luttikhuizen, and A. S. van der Woude (eds.), Text and Testimony (Kampen, 1988), 225–41.

  • —‘Nochmals Paulusakten und Pastoralbriefen’, in G. F. Hawthorne and O. Betz (eds.), Tradition and Interpretation in the New Testament (Festchrift for E. E. Ellis) (Grand Rapids and Tübingen, 1987), 319–27.

  • —‘Was wissen wir über Plan und Absicht der Paulusakten?’ in D. Papandreou, W. A. Bienert, and K. Schäferdiek (eds.), Oecumenica et Patristica (Festschrift for W. Schneemelcher) (Geneva, 1989), 71–82.

  • J. Bremmer (ed.), The Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla (Kampen, 1996).

1. From Damascus to Jerusalem

The fragments tell that after his conversion outside Damascus Paul receives the command to go to Damascus and then Jerusalem. He enters Damascus ‘with great joy’ and finds the community fasting.

On his journey to Jericho the baptism of the lion occurs (according to Paul's later account in Ephesus).

2. Antioch

The fragments suggest that Paul has been summoned to raise the son of Panchares. 1 James argued (ANT 271 f.) that the name in the manuscript (Anchares) was due to the Coptic translator mistaking the initial letter for the Coptic definite article and thus omitting it. His wife rebukes Panchares for not mourning their dead son. Paul arrives and raises the boy. This irritates the townspeople. The following section is legible:

‘  . . . and I also believe, my brethren, that there is no other God save Jesus Christ, the son of the Blessed, to whom is glory for ever. Amen.’ But when they saw that he would not turn to them they pursued Paul, laid hold of him and brought him back into the city, ill‐using (?) him, and they cast stones at him and thrust him out of their city and out of their country. But Panchares would not requite evil with evil.


1 James argued (ANT 271 f.) that the name in the manuscript (Anchares) was due to the Coptic translator mistaking the initial letter for the Coptic definite article and thus omitting it.

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