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Gospel of Nicodemus

NICODEMUS, GOSPEL OF. A passion gospel consisting of two parts: the Acts of Pilate, and the Descent of Christ to the Lower World. The name, Gospel of Nicodemus, was given to it not earlier than the 13th cent., but the document was not written earlier than the middle of the 4th cent. Some MSS have appended some late fabrications, such as Pilate’s letter to the Emperor Tiberius; Pilate’s official report; and some other material supposedly by Pilate. The first part depends heavily upon the four canonical gospels and the supposed report Pilate made of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The second part confirms the early Christian belief that Jesus “went and preached to the spirits in prison” (1 Pet 3:19). A reading of the document emphasizes how vastly superior are the accounts of the canonical gospels.


M. R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament (1924), 94-165; E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. I (1963), 444-484.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


See also

  • Apocryphal New Testament