A Very Strange Saying: From the Gospel of Peter?

As I pointed out yesterday, the “Gospel of Peter” that we have today, discovered in 1886, is unfortunately, only a portion – the only surviving portion – of what was once a complete Gospel. But was it a complete Gospel? Or was it only a passion Gospel (like the later Gospel of Nicodemus) that gave an account only of the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus? That has long been debated.

I discussed one intriguing view of the matter ...

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The Exasperatingly Fragmentary Gospel of Peter: Readers’ Mailbag December 4, 2017

My Readers’ Mailbag is stuffed, and I need to clear out a few questions to make room for others that come in.  So I may be answering more than normal over the next couple of weeks.  Here is one that I find intriguing:



If you could choose any currently-fragmentary or otherwise lacunose document from antiquity and magically receive a reconstructed version to read, what would it be?



Wow.   There are lots to choose from.   I would probably come up with different answers ...

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Why I Shifted My Research Plans

In my last post I started explaining how I came to work on issues of memory.   My plan had been something else, to write a detailed commentary on the Gospel of Peter and other early Greek Gospel fragments.   I had  been committed to do this for years, with a book contract with Fortress Press for their commentary series that is called Hermeneia.

Just by way of background:  when I was just out of graduate school, I vowed to myself ...

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Is the Discovered Gospel the Gospel of Peter?

With this post I conclude my discussion to the Gospel of Peter – although, of course, I’m always happy to engage with any questions you have about it (or anything else).   What we have seen so far is that the Gospel was known in antiquity, even though it came to be judged heretical.  Our principal source of information about it is in a discussion of the church historian Eusebius, who mentions a Gospel of Peter known to a Syrian bishop ...

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The Discovery of the Gospel of Peter

This is the second of my three posts on the Gospel of Peter.   In yesterday’s post I talked about what we knew about the Gospel before its (partial) discovery in 1886, from what Eusebius, the fourth century church historian, told us, in his story about Serapion of Antioch.   In this post I discuss the modern discovery.  Again, this is taken from my book The Other Gospels, co-authored and edited with my colleague Zlatko Plese.


 What we now call the ...

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Why Not the Gospel of Peter?

In my discussion of why the four Gospels were given their names, I hypothesized that it was because an edition of the four was produced in Rome in the mid second-century, and that this edition named the Gospels as “according to Matthew” “according to Mark” “according to Luke” and “according to John.”   The trickiest name to account for is Mark’s.   Here I suggested that the editor of this Gospel edition wanted the readers to understand that this Gospel presented the ...

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The Gospel of Peter in a Papyrus Fragment?

Yesterday I gave a lecture at the Biblical Archeology Society FEST here in Baltimore. Even though I’m (obviously) not an archaeologist, a lot of my work is connected with archaeology, especially the discovery of ancient manuscripts. In 1886 archaeologists digging in Akhmim Egypt were working through a cemetery and uncovered a tomb, from about the 8th century, they thought, that had, along with a skeleton, a 66 page parchment book. The book was written in Greek, and had four texts ...

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My SBL Conference

There are two happy events affecting my life today. The first is that I just now have received an author’s copy of my new book, co-edited with my colleague, Zlatko Plese, The Other Gospels: Accounts of Jesus from Outside the New Testament (Oxford University Press). As I’ve earlier indicated, this book is an English-only edition of our Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations, which included the original Greek, Latin, and Coptic along with the English translations. For this new ...

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Forgery and the Gospel of Peter

So in my talk on forgery last night, I introduced the question of whether there could be forgeries inside the New Testament by talking about forgeries that definitely exist *outside* the New Testament; and to do that I began by speaking of three books that Peter, the disciple of Jesus, allegedly wrote.   My definition of forgery is a fairly technical one.  When I speak about forgery I’m not talking about books whose contents have been made up or fabricated, ...

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