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A Very Perplexing Question

As many of you know I am on sabbatical this year at the National Humanities.   This gives me a year off from teaching duties in order to focus on my research for my next book.   I am not working on a trade book for a general audience, but a scholarly monograph meant for academics in the field of Early Christian studies.   I’ve talked about the book before on the blog, but want to say a few more things about it now that I’ve been doing research on it.

I have no idea what it will be called, but I know what I want it to be about.  It is related to my trade book (which itself is virtually finished – I still need to put the final touches on it before sending it in to my editor), whose tentative title (the trade book) is “Heaven, Hell, and the Invention of the Afterlife” (again, who knows what it will finally be called; that has to be worked out between the publisher, my agent, and me).   The trade book, as you know, is about where the ideas of heaven and hell came from – the sense that when you die your soul goes to an eternal reward or eternal punishment.  It’s a view not found in the Old Testament and it’s not what Jesus taught.  So where’d it come from then?

The scholarly monograph is taking one aspect of that popular book and hitting it with scholarly rigor.  It focuses on the early Christian texts that describe personal tours of the afterlife, where a living person is taken and shown the realms of the blessed and the damned, the torments of sinners in particular being given in quite gory and lurid detail.

We have such accounts starting in the early Christian century, with a book that nearly made it into the New Testament canon, called the Apocalypse of Peter.   In this account Peter, Jesus’ closest disciple, is shown by Jesus himself what fates await the saints and sinners.   I will give  a closer description of the book in the next post.   For now I’ll say that it had numerous predecessors outside the Christian tradition, in both pagan circles (from Homer’s Odyssey, to Plato’s myths, to Virgil’s Aeneid, to Lucian of Samosata, and others) and Jewish circles (in a range of non-canonical texts such as 1 Enoch and the Testament of Abraham).   And it had some Christian successors, as in the Acts of Thomas and the Apocalypse of Paul, which later was to become a major text throughout the Middle Ages and an important influence on Dante himself.

And so my book – at least as I’m conceiving it now – will deal with these various texts.  And I want to have a very short thread here on the blog on the latest thing that has absorbed my interest in the last couple of weeks.   To explain what the small little issue is (it’s a big issue, but it deals with one specific detail) will take a few posts by way of background.

Before getting to that, though, I want to say just how amazing it is to have a year to do nothing but research.  You can’t describe how enlightening and invigorating and intellectually stimulating it is.  There is nothing like it.  I spend my days reading texts and puzzling over them and thinking about them and realizing problems they pose and trying to figure out the problems; and also reading scholarship on them, which itself is a task since a good deal of the scholarship is not in English but in German, French, and Italian.   This kind of work is not at all like writing a lecture for a general audience or for an undergraduate class!

And in doing this kind of detailed work, problems and questions pop up that demand answers and don’t have easy ones.  For the past two weeks I’ve been wrestling with an intractable question that has been puzzling and puzzling me.   It has to do in very broad terms with an issue I’ve confronted my entire academic life, namely, why did some books get into the New Testament and others not.

I’ve face this question since my first semester in my PhD program in 1981.  I actually wrestled with it *before* that, but that was when I went at it head on.  That semester, my first PhD seminar was on the canon of the New Testament with my beloved professor and mentor Bruce Metzger.  We spent the entire semester translating the ancient Christian canon lists from Greek and Latin (these are the lists of books thought by one author or another to be part of the Christian scriptures – different lists by different author in different contexts who said different things about the books); and we read widely in what scholars had to say about the formation of the canon:  when did the 27-book canon come to be assembled, who chose which books would be included, what were there criteria, why didn’t everyone agree, which books were the outliers, why were they left out, what parts of the church has (slightly) different canons, and for how long, etc. etc. etc.?

I’ve thought about these issues on and off ever since.  It was really the ultimate question driving one of my first trade books Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, and its companion anthology of ancient texts Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It Into the New Testament.  And I’ve continued thinking about it.  But two weeks ago a question occurred to me that I’ve never ever asked myself, and that so far as I have been able to see (so far) no one else has asked either.   I’ve thought and thought and thought about it.  And I was just about ready to decide that it was indissoluble.  Or at least that to solve it would take such masses of work that it would sidetrack my larger book project and become a *different* book project.

Then I woke up this morning and the answer popped into my head.  I’m not sure if it’s the right answer, but I’m thinking it might be.   The question, as I’ll explain in subsequent posts, has to do with why the Apocalypse of Peter did not make it into the New Testament, but the book of 2 Peter did.

 

 


Introducing the Apocalypse of Peter
Thanksgiving and the Blog

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Comments

  1. mkahn1977  November 11, 2018

    What’s it like for your students when you’re gone that long?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      Last I heard they were going to throw a party…. But seriously, it’s not a huge issue with the graduate students because I continue to work with them while on leave; the undergraduate courses are all covered by other terrific scholar-teachers. Education is the top priority of course, and we make sure we have it covered.

    • AstaKask  November 27, 2018

      They cry out to the Heavens: “Ehrman, Ehrman, why have you forsaken us?”

  2. GregAnderson  November 11, 2018

    Tease. 🙂

    Re: the origins of stories about descents into hell or an underworld: Have you looked into the “Mystery” cults and the eastern cults in Roman society? There’s not much extant classical writing, but there is art (The Villa of the Mysteries, for example, also temples of Isis and Mithras).

    Also, Buddhism. I know the possible influence of Buddhism upon Middle Eastern culture is highly debated. But Buddhism is at least 400 years older than Christianity, and it was certainly encountered by the Greeks during the reign of Alexander, so a certain amount of influence seems likely. Buddhism contains many depictions of various hells, and also of moving on from hell, into a new and better existence, something that could easily morph into a theory of redemption.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      Yes, the mystery cults have long been at the center of the discussion of afterlife journeys, especially since the end of the 19th century German Scholar Albrecht Dieterich published his study Nekyia, arguing that lost Orphic-Pythagorean traditions (of Orpheus’s descent to the underworld) underlay the Apocalypse of Peter and its predecessors. Buddhist traditions not so much, since there is little evidence they affected the Greco-Roman and hten Xn traditions.

      • GregAnderson  November 15, 2018

        Clement of Alexandria gave a shout out to the “Boutta”

  3. drumbeg  November 11, 2018

    It is a cliff hanger. Can’t wait for season two!

  4. Robert
    Robert  November 11, 2018

    “Then I woke up this morning and the answer popped into my head. I’m not sure if it’s the right answer, but I’m thinking it might be. The question, as I’ll explain in subsequent posts, has to do with why the Apocalypse of Peter did not make it into the New Testament, but the book of 2 Peter did.”

    Is there any one ‘right answer’ to such a question? Isn’t it rather a series and variety of so many historical contingencies or accidents of history. There was no single church authority that decided on the canon of the New Testament to have a single reason for including one book and excluding another. But, on the other hand, after a few centuries of diversity, there apparently arose a remarkable amount of agreement about these 27 books so maybe I’m overemphasizing the chaotic nature of the issue?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      I’m not imagining that there was a single decision made at a point of time by an individual (or council); it’s precisely within the complexity of the canonical process that I’m situating the question. And yes, by the fourth century the quesiton in orthodox circles was all about the margins, not the core of the 27.

  5. brenmcg  November 11, 2018

    Do you think what decided it for those making theyre own canon that they believed each book had apostolic authorship?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      That’s part of the problem. Both of them claim to be written by Peter.

  6. brenmcg  November 11, 2018

    Do you think what became chapters in the books were at least partially based on how they appeared in the original scrolls? Or is it just impossible to say?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      Do you mean our modern chapter divisions? Those are all based on editor’s decisions in the modern world.

      • brenmcg  November 15, 2018

        Yes but I thought they were based on early divisions gong back to at least 4th C?
        Can we go back further than that?

        • Bart
          Bart  November 16, 2018

          There were divisions called Kepahalaia that function comparably to modern chapter divisions; but the modern divisions are not based on them.

  7. NulliusInVerba
    NulliusInVerba  November 11, 2018

    Oh, now you’ve done it… you’ve ignited our curiosity. I hope many of your gleanings about this topic will make it to the blog.

  8. rivercrowman  November 11, 2018

    Bart, an exhaustive book you might consider in your upcoming historical research is “Egyptian Origin of the Book of Revelation” by John Pippy (2009). The book may explain why the narrative and style of Revelation is so out of context with the rest of the New Testament.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      You may have noticed it’s self-published? That doesn’t disqualify it, but it should make you ask what his expertise and qualifications are. (I really don’t know: I’ve never heard of him before and can’t find anything about him; that makes me think he’s someone who is simply intersted in the topic.)

      3
      2
  9. doug  November 11, 2018

    I wonder how many arguments they had that went:

    “God wants this book in the canon.”

    “No, God *doesn’t* want that book in the canon.”

  10. godspell  November 11, 2018

    The simplest answer to the question of heaven and hell is carrot and stick. We’ll tell you how to get the carrot, and if you don’t listen you get the stick. And for this to work–ie, to convince people to join your church, contribute, and be more or less obedient (often less, but there’s always a fix for that, see ‘indulgences’), you have to tell a convincing story about what heaven and hell are like, and show people who goes where, and why.

    As we’ve seen, Greco-Roman pagans often did believe in some version of heaven and hell–the idea came from them, but Christians heavily altered it–in both cases, it’s a form of social control. Incentive to be a good citizen, disincentive to be a bad one.

    Jesus didn’t care about any of that. Social order? Politics? Being a good citizen? What’s that got to do with being saved?

    It’s not an afterlife, but an improved version of this life, which you get entirely through your behavior. And it only happens once. You don’t need to make any proclamation of faith, go to this or that church, because God and the Son of Man know what is in your heart. You don’t need to proclaim your goodness–good people never do that. Just know your every good deed will be seen, and noted–and so will your every bad one.

    Jesus goes to some pains to tell us that outward religiosity is often a mask for bad behavior, and the wrong frame of mind–a way of feeling superior to others, of obtaining power and wealth and status in this life. Such people are all the more doomed when the Kingdom comes, for having conflated faith with material self-interest.

    And since Jesus considers Judaism to be the only true religion, he is especially critical of his fellow Jews–an attitude magnified in the gospels, and badly misunderstood. Having been chosen for special revelations, the onus is all the heavier upon them.

    But what he’s saying is that religion–ANY religion–isn’t the way to God. It’s a discipline that can assist you in becoming the kind of person who will merit the Kingdom. Some get there without it, others fall short with it. Don’t just mouth the teachings, listen to them, internalize them. If you have ears, hear!

    • godspell  November 12, 2018

      To be clear, I’m not saying that the idea of the afterlife came from a conscious plan to fool simple people into doing what those in power wanted. To some extent, that’s what it became, but it was more about imposing some kind of order on reality itself. Things should make sense. Good should be rewarded, evil should be punished–does this happen in real life? Sometimes. Laws are not always fair, and when fair, not always enforced. People have a hard time accepting the inherent unfairness of life.

      The Sumerians believed everybody went to the same place after death, and everyone was equally miserable there. The earliest civilization we know about, but not one of the more enduring.

      The Egyptians believed you could prepare in advance to continue whatever life you had in this world–thus encouraging people to work hard and save their money, so they can have a proper burial with their possessions–the Pharaohs set an example, and demonstrate their superiority through their rather epic tombstones.

      Many believe their ancestors are still alive, all around them, looking on as they live, sharing in their lives–and someday they shall join them, a society of the dead, looking out for the living. Family. (I like this one.) Of course, there are also evil spirits. If the story is too perfect, nobody will buy it.

      Reincarnation (not limited to Hindus and Buddhists) tells you that you have a chance at a do-over–you can rise from life to life, or fall–and in time, you may transcend this world, attain blissful oblivion, free from the shackles of mortality. (Making nonexistence something to be desired, not feared.)

      For whatever reason, the people of the west began to think in terms of reward or punishment in an otherworldly realm, based on whether or not you lived a decent life according to the values of your society.

      Jesus took it a step further, and said you needed more than that–and it wouldn’t be some heavenly realm in the clouds. It would be right here, right now, while you were alive. It would be soon. And it would be only for those who loved others as themselves, and acted upon that love.

      But when that didn’t happen on schedule, and as more and more Greco-Roman pagans joined up, the idea began to change.

  11. talmoore
    talmoore  November 11, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman, I’m curious to hear what your answer is to this “indissoluble” problem.

    As for me, as a social scientist, I tend to look at everything through the lens of power. So I first off will ask myself cui bono? Who gains and/or keeps power? When I look at the NT canon as it has come down to us, as distinct from those works that did not make it into the canon, I see one significant factor: Apostolic power. This is significant, in particular, for fringe documents. Revelations (i.e. the Apocalypse of John) did, eventually, make it into canon, but only after much debate and push back. That is, it was only begrudgingly accepted into the canon, despite the fact that it only tangentially supports Apostolic power.

    Meanwhile, those books which made it into the canon without issue, from the gospels to the epistles, without exception, accept and promote Apostolic power. We can see this criterion, especially, in the debate to have 1 Clement included in the canon, because it is about Apostolic power! You’ll also notice that many extra-canonical works that have come down to us in multiple witnesses, such as the Epistles of Ignatius, also deal with Apostolic power. Also, books that were originally part of an incipient canon, such as the Shepherd of Hermas, and that do not directly deal with Apostolic power, eventually fell from the canon.

    To put the matter in the simplest terms, those books that eventually made it into the canon conveniently supported the Apostolic power structure of the proto-orthodox Church of the 4th century. If you’re a bishop of a 4th century metropolis, who benefits from the power that comes from said position within the organization, you’re going to be inclined to find favor with “scripture” that justifies your powerful position. I know this is a rather cynical view of what’s supposed to be “divinely inspired” works, but if life has taught be anything it’s that we should never underestimate the human thirst for power.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      The problem is that lots of books that didn’t make it in also promote Apostolic power. That’s part of the problem….

    • tompicard
      tompicard  November 12, 2018

      Elaine Pagels makes a somewhat similar argument in “The Gnostic Gospels”
      at least as why the books “gnostic” themes were excluded

      that those texts which promoted relationship to God via the bishop were preferred over those texts which implied christians could develop their individual relationship to God without a mediator.

      Dr Ehrman
      do you think there is in validity to her theory?

      • Bart
        Bart  November 13, 2018

        It’s not a universal rule, but it’s one of the key elements. Her book was very insightful on that.

  12. sfordstark  November 12, 2018

    I am a retired physician and have the time to take courses at the local university… and it is wonderful. For one course, I am writing an essay which includes some of the very graphic descriptions of Buddhist hells. I have no idea whether these texts could have influenced Christian texts – but here is some material from my draft:
    “Hells in Buddhism are places of temporary, not eternal, torment so they are like a purgatory or a temporary hell. Narakas (hells) are described in the Abhidharma-kosa (Treasure House of Higher Knowledge), the root text that describes the “Eight Cold Narakas” and the “Eight Hot Narakas”. Narakas are thought of as a series of cavernous layers which are inside the earth. An example of a hot naraka is Avici or the “incessant” naraka. This is the lowest level of the “hell” realm, with the most suffering, into which the dead who have committed grave misdeeds may be reborn. Beings are roasted in an immense blazing oven with terrible suffering. It is described as being a cubic oven 300,000 kilometers to a side, and buried deep underneath the divine (nonvisible) earth. Life in this naraka is 3.39738624×1018 years long. … The time duration in the narakas vary from 1012 to 1021 years. Still, they are only temporary. In the Devaduta Sutta, the 130th discourse of Majjhima Nikaya gives more vivid detail. “Then the hell-wardens say to him, ‘Well, good man, what do you want?’ He replies, ‘I’m thirsty, venerable sirs.’ So the hell-wardens pry open his mouth with red-hot iron tongs — burning, blazing, & glowing — and pour into it molten copper, burning, blazing, & glowing. It burns his lips, it burns his mouth, it burns his stomach and comes out the lower side, carrying along his bowels & intestines. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil karma is not exhausted” (Devaduta Sutta MN 130). After the temporary hell, a new existence will follow based on the effects of the remaining karma.”
    Maybe this is helpful, since these ideas probably predated the Christian ideas of hell.

    About the Perplexing Question – I am interested in finding out why some material did not make it into the Christian canon. Think how different “Christianity” would be if the canon contained mainly Ebonite material! I think I would be more comfortable with that type of Christianity.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 12, 2018

      Interesting. I have not read up on Buddhist hells, because there is little to suggest they had any impact on my areas of (scholarly) interest. But what are people being punished for?

      • GregAnderson  November 12, 2018

        I could ask that question about Christians (though I believe I know the “answer” ;-))

        But in Buddhism, it really depends upon the lineage. Often it’s not about punishment per se (though hell certainly sounds punishing), but more of a statement of, “Well, this is how you lived, last time around, try to make a better life for yourself in your next go.” There’s no sense of original sin. The goal is to ultimately transcend the endless cycle of birth-death-rebirth.

        One caveat: though Buddhism is more ancient than Christianity, its scriptures are not. So there are a lot of post 1st C. accretions to Buddhist doctrines.

    • talmoore
      talmoore  November 12, 2018

      This is one area in which I have strong disagreements with Dr. Ehrman. Although I wouldn’t say that Buddhism or Hinduism or other Ganges religions and philosophies had a direct effect on Judeo-Christian soteriology, from what I’ve studied there is almost certainly some kind of indirect connection between them.

      The connection appears to start during the Persian period, when the western Mediterranean was physically connected to north India via the Achaemenid Empire. Inchoate ideas of samsara and karma — that would eventually become highly developed in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism — diffused (as social scientists would say) throughout the empire, being absorbed into various cultures outside of north India.

      For instance, this north Indian soteriology either developed along side or directly influenced the similar Indo-Iranian ideas of avestan Zoroastrianism. The Jews of the Persian Empire then brought some of these ideas with them back to Palestine, where it informed the Judaic ideas of the eschatological Resurrection and Judgment — that is, where the north Indian concept involved the transmigration of souls, the Zoroastrian-Judaic concept developed into a one-time reincarnation and karmic judgment.

      Meanwhile, the transmigration of souls concept found its way into pre-Socratic Greek philosophies, such as the Pythagoreans and the various Ionic philosophies that influenced Plato. What all these philosophies appear to share, from the Ganges to the Euphrates to the Aegean, therefore, are a handful of common ideas, with culture-specific variations and modalities. Namely:

      — The concept of a divine moral balance that is and will be maintained: Divine Justice, Karma, etc.
      — The concept of reincarnation to bring about said balance: Samsara, the Mass Resurrection of the Dead, Pythagorean Transmigration of Souls, etc.
      — The concept of punishment and reward: Nirvana/Moksha, lesser and higher reincarnation, Paradise vs Gehenna, exaltation vs damnation, etc.

      These are shared by all of the cultures. The differences between the disparate religions and philosophies, however, are so massive that they obscure these foundational ideas. Scholars tend to look past these core concepts in search of those differences, failing to see that there are ideas that tie all of them together. And those common ideas, I believe, developed during the Axial Age, beginning in the 6th century BCE along the Ganges river.

  13. Silver  November 12, 2018

    It must be fantastic to suddenly see the light regarding something which has been puzzling you for a long time. You can now explore that and develop it further. However, is there a piece of groundbreaking NT research or a thesis done by someone else which you wish you had come up with?

  14. Thespologian  November 12, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman,
    I imagine someone asked what books could shape Christians into a more controllable group – already conveniently categorized and ready to be marketed to. You speak of miracles of the Christian god as an attributable factor to growth. I would expect there were atheist oligarchs who laughed all the way to the bank – while dissimulating their allegiance to the Christian god. During your “proto-orthodoxy,” didn’t you have theocracies where leaders “leveraged” their erudition against a vulnerable public? For nearly two millennia, the majority of Christians were mostly working-class, some less, some a little more, but all taught that it’s noble to serve. The notion of serving breeds a lasting susceptibility in the real world. Naturally, if Christianity died out early on, we’d be less interested in inspecting these books, so it’s the perpetuation of Christianity that lends higher relevance to the NT. I feel you have a two-part glue at work: Tradition and a version of Faith I regard as vanity:

    Tradition takes a bit of a jump start then runs on loyalty, even nostalgia. For those in my Catholic city who knew the bible chapter and verse, hardly any cared to study its history. If any of these people were born to a Muslim family, they would maintain that respective faith and tradition without question. Moreover, if Trump made his own edits to the NT, people would recite them in church five hundred years from now because humans have a foolish way of sanctifying anything more than a couple hundred years old.

    Faith: a very clever concept, where if it’s challenged, the challenger is considered evil and never given due consideration. I also contend that many people’s faith is nothing more than vanity — people who profess their devotion to God but maintain an inner dialogue believing they are closer to god than others.
    Given what texts were available, did the twenty-seven books best serve as a marketing tool, utilizing expected Tradition/Faith to enact a kind of self-imposed slavery?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 13, 2018

      I’m not sure that crowd control was the determining factor — at least it’s not one of the ones attested. And the qeustion would still remain, why *these* 27 and not others that would achieve those same ends?

  15. RonaldTaska  November 12, 2018

    Well, I have been struggling with a related question: How can people be so convinced that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God if it is not clear how and by whom the books were selected and when this was done? To me, the whole process seems meandering and hard to track down. I am glad to hear that a scholar of your caliber also struggles with this issue. Why didn’t God just say here is the Bible? To add to the question: Why did they select so many Old Testament books that describe a God who spends a lot of time killing humans or ordering them to be killed and why did they select Gospels which contradict each other in so many places?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 13, 2018

      I can see you’d be a real gadfly in the local Sunday School class…

  16. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  November 12, 2018

    I don’t know what question is being puzzled over, but I am wondering if the different types of punishments had anything to do with making it into the canon. The Apocalypse of Peter seems to be focused on torture while 2 Peter runs on the original theme of annhialation(?). If 2 Peter quotes Jude (which quoted Enoch 1) and perhaps Paul, then maybe the ideology for the afterlife remained consistent to what was original.

  17. Bewilderbeast  November 13, 2018

    LOVED this post! 1. The importance of sabbaticals. So true and people who never get time to focus and think miss so much (the majority of us – but that doesn’t reduce the importance of allowing thinkers to think); people who criticise academics and the academic way are dangerous; I believe its important that academics make it known WHY its important that academia is not run like a factory; 2. Heaven and Hell – the more we know about this the more we can ‘puncture’ or weaken the people who abuse their followers; 3. Why these books and not those? Fascinating topic, can’t wait; 4. “the answer popped into my head” – out with it! – – Thanks

  18. nichael  November 14, 2018

    Just out of curiosity:

    Will the new trade book deal at all with the so-called “Harrowing of Hell”. (I.e. The legendary story of the three days that Jesus spent between his crucifixion and his resurrection descending into Hell in order to “rescue” the souls of the righteous who died before they had an opportunity to be saved)?

    I realize the legend is no longer that big a deal, but it certainly played a large role in medieval theology, art, etc.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 16, 2018

      I’m touching on it because I’ll be dealing with the Gospel of Nicodemus. But I decided not to devote an entire section to it.

  19. Steefen  November 16, 2018

    The Apocalypse of Peter does not appear to be overtly heretical, and is noticeably tamer in many respects from the Book of Revelation, which was ultimately accepted, though not without difficulty.

    It might have been associated with the Gospel of Peter—the Akhmim discovery found these texts together—and this text was overtly heterodox.

    Its apostolic origin could not be adequately attested and that apocalypses were generally looked upon with suspicion by church leaders, although certainly not by Christian readers and hearers generally.

    Source: New World Encyclopedia

    The punishments in the vision each closely correspond to the past sinful actions in a version of the Jewish notion of an eye for an eye, that the punishment may fit the crime. [There’s a reason: Jesus did not advocate that.]

    Some of the punishments in hell according to the vision include:

    Blasphemers are hanged by the tongue.

    Women who “adorn” themselves for adultery are hung by the hair over a bubbling mire. Their men are hung by their feet, with their heads in the mire, next to them.

    Murderers and those who give consent to murder are set in a pit of creeping things that torment them.

    Men who take on the role of women in a sexual way, and lesbians, are “driven” up a great cliff by punishing angels, and are “cast off” to the bottom. Then they are forced up it, over and over again, ceaselessly, to their doom. [Well, that wouldn’t go over well with people who respect Ancient Greece and more than two Caesars had homosexual relations.]

    Women who have abortions are set in a lake formed from the blood and gore from all the other punishments, up to their necks. They are also tormented by the spirits of their unborn children, who shoot a “flash of fire” into their eyes. (Those unborn children are “delivered to a care-taking” angel by whom they are educated, and “made to grow up.”)

    Those who lend money and demand “usury upon usury” stand up to their knees in a lake of foul matter and blood.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Steefen
    We are holier than the Apocalypse of Peter and the Bible when our Constitution came up with no cruel and unusual punishment. Gratuitous punishment, torture, sets a bad example for people on Earth. That’s why it didn’t belong in the Bible.

    And you wonder why such an unholy book was not included in the Holy Bible?

  20. Tgardnergreen@gmail.com  November 28, 2018

    If it was anything like the publishers and editors I have known then somebody probably paid too have it included.

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