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Gospel Of Peter

Gospel of Peter


This fragmentary passion gospel is apparently incomplete. The part that survives begins with the trial of Jesus; includes the crucifixion, burial, a resurrection account, and breaks off. The gospel is narrated from the perspective of one of Jesus' disciples. It emphasizes the Jews' responsibility for Jesus' death and reports Herod's participation in ordering the crucifixion. Although it appears to be a Christian text, there are elements that have been viewed as supporting docetism.

Unique features:

Pilate must secure Herod's permission for Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus' body On the cross was silent as if he experienced no pain Jesus' dying words: "My power, O power, you have forsaken me!" Petronius appointed to guard the tomb of Jesus Petronius and Jewish elders witness the resurrection Jesus emerged from the tomb with two heavenly men and a talking cross A heavenly voice announced: "You preached to them that sleep." The soldiers say nothing of the resurrection to avoid stoning by the Jews.



Utilizes many scenes and stories otherwise known from the canonical Gospels May reflect traditions as ancient as the New Testament Gospels

Canonical Status: Part of the New Testament Apocrypha


Written under the pseudonym of the Apostle Peter Actual author unknown (perhaps a gnostic Christian)


Mid-2nd century According to Eusebius (4th century), the gospel was known in Syria (by 175), where it was used to support the docetic heresy Bishop Serapion of Antioch (c. 190) at first tolerated the book, but later banned it as docetic Origen claimed it reported that Jesus' siblings were actually children of Joseph by a prior marriage

Original Language:

May reflect a Semitic original All modern translations are based on an incomplete 8th century Greek manuscript - the Akhmim text, discovered in upper Egypt in 1886-87 Two other smaller Greek fragments survive

Notes prepared by David Arnold (Senior Religion Major)

for the Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University

Copyright 2000 by the Wesley Center for Applied Theology

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