Book of the Resurrection of Christ by Bartholomew the Apostle

BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE, BOOK OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST BY. A Coptic text published by E. A. Wallis Budge from a MS in the British Museum. In addition, there are fragments in Paris and Berlin, which present two different recensions. From a comparison, Schneemelcher concludes that the latter are more original, the London MS showing further development. “Often indeed the London text seems to be a paraphrase of an older original” (NTAp. I. 507).

The London MS presents a fairly coherent account, although there are many gaps. The episodes are loosely strung together, and not always consistent (e.g., the story of doubting Thomas is narrated after Thomas himself has raised his son Siophanes from the dead in the name of Jesus). The first five pages are missing, but a fragment relating the death of one Ananias prob. belongs here, since there is a reference to the incident at the beginning of the extant text, which continues with the burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea, the coming of Death and his sons to the tomb and Death’s complaint to the corpse, the havoc wrought by Jesus in hell, and the cursing of Judas. The resurrection story of the women at the tomb introduces Philogenes the gardener, who had given his own tomb for the burial; it also confuses Mary Magdalene with the mother of Jesus. Then comes the ascent of Jesus into heaven, followed by the eight hymns which accompany the reception of Adam and the righteous into glory. After a further revelation on the Mount of Olives, the apostles ascend to heaven, where each in turn is blessed. Then follow the episodes of Siophanes and Thomas.

The title of the work is inferred from the statement near the end, “This is the Book of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, our Lord, in joy and gladness.” Noteworthy also is the injunction given by Bartholomew to Thaddaeus (fol. 9a); “Do not let this book come into the hand of any man who is an unbeliever or a heretic.” The work may date from the 5th or 6th cent. (See also Bartholomew, Gospel of Bartholomew).

Bibliography

Text and tr. in Budge, Coptic Apocrypha in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, 1913; ANT 181ff. (summary), NTAp. I. 503ff.