Gospel of Nicodemus
1 I Ananias, the Protector, of praetorian rank, learned in the law, did from the divine scriptures recognize our Lord Jesus Christ and came near to him by faith and was accounted worthy of holy baptism: and I sought out the memorials that were made at that season in the time of our master Jesus Christ, which the Jews deposited with Pontius Pilate, and found the memorials in Hebrew (letters), and by the good pleasure of God I translated them into Greek (letters) for the informing of all them that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: in the reign of our Lord Flavius Theodosius, in the seventeenth year, and of Flavius Valentinianus the sixth, in the ninth indiction [the eighteenth year of Theodosius, when Valentinian was proclaimed Augustus].
2 All you therefore that read this and translate (or copy) it into other books, remember me and pray for me that God will be gracious unto me and be merciful unto my sins which I have sinned against him.
3 Peace be to them that read and that hear these things and to their servants. Amen.
4 In the fifteenth (nineteenth) year of the governance of Tiberius Caesar, emperor of the Romans, and of Herod, king of Galilee, in the nineteenth year of his rule, on the eighth of the Calends of April, which is the twenty-fifth of March, in the consulate of Rufus and Rubellio, in the fourth year of the two hundred and second Olympiad, Joseph who is Caiaphas being high priest of the Jews:
5 These be the things which after the cross and passion of the Lord Nicodemus recorded and delivered unto the high priest and the rest of the Jews: and the same Nicodemus set them forth in Hebrew (letters).
1 For the chief priests and scribes assembled in council, even Annas and Caiaphas and Somne (Senes) and Dothaim (Dothael, Dathaes, Datam) and Gamaliel, Judas, Levi and Nepthalim, Alexander and Jairus and the rest of the Jews, and came unto Pilate accusing Jesus for many deeds, saying: We know this man, that he is the son of Joseph the carpenter, begotten of Mary, and he says that he is the Son of God and a king; more-over he does pollute the sabbaths and he would destroy the law of our fathers.
Pilate says: And what things are they that he does, and would destroy the law?
The Jews say: We have a law that we should not heal any man on the sabbath: but this man of his evil deeds has healed the lame and the bent, the withered and the blind and the paralytic, the dumb and them that were possessed, on the sabbath day!
Pilate says unto them: By what evil deeds?
They say unto him: He is a sorcerer, and by Beelzebub the prince of the devils he casts out devils, and they are all subject unto him.
Pilate says unto them: This is not to cast out devils by an unclean spirit, but by the god Asclepius.
2 The Jews say unto Pilate: We beseech your majesty that he appear before your judgment-seat and be heard. And Pilate called them unto him and said: Tell me, how can I that am a governor examine a king? They say unto him: We say not that he is a king, but he says it of himself.
And Pilate called the messenger (cursor) and said unto him: Let Jesus be brought here, but with gentleness. And the messenger went forth, and when he perceived Jesus he worshipped him and took the kerchief that was on his hand and spread it upon the earth and says unto him: Lord, walk hereon and enter in, for the governor calls you. And when the Jews saw what the messenger had done, they cried out against Pilate saying: Wherefore did you not summon him by an herald to enter in, but by a messenger? For the messenger when he saw him worshipped him and spread out his kerchief upon the ground and has made him walk upon it like a king!
3 Then Pilate called for the messenger and said unto him: Wherefore have you done this, and have spread your kerchief upon the ground and made Jesus to walk upon it? The messenger says unto him: Lord governor, when you sent me to Jerusalem unto Alexander, I saw Jesus sitting upon an donkey, and the children of the Hebrews held branches in their hands and cried out, and others spread their garments beneath him, saying: Save now, you that are in the highest: blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.
4 The Jews cried out and said unto the messenger: The children of the Hebrews cried out in Hebrew: how then have you it in the Greek? The messenger says to them: I did ask one of the Jews and said: What is it that they cry out in Hebrew? And he interpreted it unto me.
Pilate says unto them: And how cried they in Hebrew? The Jews say unto him: Hosanna membrome barouchamma adonai. Pilate says unto them: And the Hosanna and the rest, how is it interpreted? The Jews say unto him: Save now, you that are in the highest: blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. Pilate says unto them: If you yourselves bear witness of the words which were said of the children, wherein has the messenger sinned? And they held their peace.
The governor says unto the messenger: Go forth and bring him in after what manner you will. And the messenger went forth and did after the former manner and said unto Jesus: Lord, enter in: the governor calls you.
5 Now when Jesus entered in, and the ensigns were holding the standards, the images (busts) of the standards bowed and did reverence to Jesus. And when the Jews saw the carriage of the standards, how they bowed themselves and did reverence unto Jesus, they cried out above measure against the ensigns. But Pilate said unto the Jews: Marvel you not that the images bowed themselves and did reverence unto Jesus. The Jews say unto Pilate: We saw how the ensigns made them to bow and did reverence to him. And the governor called for the ensigns and says unto them: Wherefore did you so? They say unto Pilate: We are Greeks and servers of temples, and how could we do him reverence? For indeed, while we held the images they bowed of themselves and did reverence unto him.
6 Then says Pilate unto the rulers of the synagogue and the elders of the people: Choose you out able and strong men and let them hold the standards, and let us see if they bow of themselves. And the elders of the Jews took twelve men strong and able and made them to hold the standards by sixes, and they were set before the judgment-seat of the governor; and Pilate said to the messenger: Take him out of the judgment hall (praetorium) and bring him in again after what manner you will. And Jesus went out of the judgment hall, he and the messenger. And Pilate called unto him them that before held the image and said unto them: I have sworn by the safety of Caesar that if the standards bow not when Jesus enters in, I will cut off your heads.
And the governor commanded Jesus to enter in the second time. And the messenger did after the former manner and besought Jesus much that he would walk upon his kerchief; and he walked upon it and entered in. And when he had entered, the standards bowed themselves again and did reverence unto Jesus.
1 Now when Pilate saw it he was afraid, and sought to rise up from the judgment-seat. And while he yet thought to rise up, his wife sent unto him, saying: Have you nothing to do with this just man, for I have suffered many things because of him by night. And Pilate called unto him all the Jews, and said unto them: You know that my wife fears God and favors rather the customs of the Jews, with you? They say unto him: Yes, we know it. Pilate says unto them: Lo, my wife has sent unto me, saying: Have you nothing to do with this just man: for I have suffered many things because of him by night. But the Jews answered and said unto Pilate: Said we not unto you that he is a sorcerer? Behold, he has sent a vision of a dream unto your wife.
2 And Pilate called Jesus unto him and said to him: What is it that these witness against you? Speak you nothing? But Jesus said: If they had not had power they would have spoken nothing; for every man has power over his own mouth, to speak good or evil: they shall see to it.
3 The elders of the Jews answered and said unto Jesus: What shall we see? Firstly, that you were born of fornication; secondly, that your birth in Bethlehem was the cause of the slaying of children; thirdly, that your father Joseph and your mother Mary fled into Egypt because they had no confidence before the people.
4 Then said certain of them that stood by, devout men of the Jews: We say not that he came of fornication; but we know that Joseph was betrothed unto Mary, and he was not born of fornication. Pilate says unto those Jews which said that he came of fornication: This your saying is not true for there were espousals, as these also say which are of your nation. Annas and Caiaphas say unto Pilate: The whole multitude of us cry out that he was born of fornication, and we are not believed: but these are proselytes and disciples of his. And Pilate called Annas and Caiaphas unto him and said to them: What be proselytes? They say unto him: They were born children of Greeks, and now are they become Jews. Then said they which said l that he was not born of fornication, even Lazarus, Asterius, Antonius, Jacob, Amnes, Zenas, Samuel, Isaac, Phinees, Crispus, Agrippa and Judas: We were not born proselytes (are not Greeks, Copt.), but we are children of Jews and we speak the truth; for truly we were present at the espousals of Joseph and Mary.
5 And Pilate called unto him those twelve men which said that he was not born of fornication, and says unto them: I adjure you by the safety of Caesar, are these things true which you have said, that he was not born of fornication? They say unto Pilate: We have a law that we swear not, because it is sin: But let them swear by the safety of Caesar that it is not as we have said, and we will be guilty of death. Pilate says to Annas and Caiaphas: Answer you nothing to these things? Annas and Caiaphas say unto Pilate: These twelve men are believed which say that he was not born of fornication, but the whole multitude of us cry out that he was born of fornication, and is a sorcerer, and says that he is the Son of God and a king, and we are not believed.
6 And Pilate commanded the whole multitude to go out, saving the twelve men which said that he was not born of fornication and he commanded Jesus to be set apart: and Pilate says unto them: For what cause do they desire to put him to death? They say unto Pilate: They have jealousy, because he heals on the sabbath day. Pilate says: For a good work do they desire to put him to death? They say unto him: Yes.
1 And Pilate was filled with indignation and went forth without the judgment hall and says unto them: I call the Sun to witness that I find no fault in this man. The Jews answered and said to the governor: If this man were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him unto you. And Pilate said: Take you him and judge him according to your law. The Jews said unto Pilate: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. Pilate said: Has God forbidden you to slay, and allowed me?
2 And Pilate went in again into the judgment hall and called Jesus apart and said unto him: Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus answered and said to Pilate: Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of me? Pilate answered Jesus: Am I also a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you unto me: what have you done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world; for if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have striven that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from away. Pilate said unto him: Are you a king, then? Jesus answered him: You say that I am a king; for this cause was I born and am come, that every one that is of the truth should hear my voice. Pilate says unto him: What is truth? Jesus says unto him: Truth is of heaven. Pilate says: Is there not truth upon earth? Jesus says unto Pilate: You see how that they which speak the truth are judged of them that have authority upon earth.
1 And Pilate left Jesus in the judgment hall and went forth to the Jews and said unto them: I find no fault in him. The Jews say unto him: This man said: I am able to destroy this temple and in three days to build it up. Pilate says: What temple? The Jews say: That which Solomon built in forty and six years but which this man says he will destroy and build it in three days. Pilate says unto them: I am guiltless of the blood of this just man: see you to it. The Jews say: His blood be upon us and on our children.
2 And Pilate called the elders and the priests and Levites unto him and said to them secretly: Do not so: for there is nothing worthy of death whereof you have accused him, for your accusation is concerning healing and profaning of the sabbath. The elders and the priests and Levites say: If a man blaspheme against Caesar, is he worthy of death or no? Pilate says: He is worthy of death. The Jews say unto Pilate: If a man be worthy of death if he blaspheme against Caesar, this man has blasphemed against God.
3 Then the governor commanded all the Jews to go out from the judgment hall, and he called Jesus to him and says unto him: What shall I do with you? Jesus says unto Pilate: Do as it has been given you. Pilate says: How has it been given? Jesus says: Moses and the prophets did foretell concerning my death and rising again. Now the Jews inquired by stealth and heard, and they say unto Pilate: What need you to hear further of this blasphemy? Pilate says unto the Jews: If this word be of blasphemy, take you him for his blasphemy, and bring him into your synagogue and judge him according to your law. The Jews say unto Pilate: It is contained in our law, that if a man sin against a man, he is worthy to receive forty stripes save one: but he that blasphemes against God, that he should be stoned with stoning.
4 Pilate says unto them: Take you him and avenge yourselves of him in what manner you will. The Jews say unto Pilate: We will that he be crucified. Pilate says: He deserves not to be crucified.
5 Now as the governor looked round about upon the multitude of the Jews which stood by, he beheld many of the Jews weeping, and said: Not all the multitude desire that he should be put to death. The elder of the Jews said: To this end have the whole multitude of us come Here, that he should be put to death. Pilate says to the Jews: Wherefore should he die? The Jews said: Because he called himself the Son of God, and a king.
1 But a certain man, Nicodemus, a Jew, came and stood before the governor and said: I beseech you, good (pious) lord, bid me speak a few words. Pilate says: Say on. Nicodemus says: I said unto the elders and the priests and Levites and unto all the multitude of the Jews in the synagogue: Wherefore contend you with this man? This man does many and wonderful signs, which no man has done, neither will do: let him alone and contrive not any evil against him: if the signs which he does are of God, they will stand, but if they be of men, they will come to nought. For truly Moses, when he was sent of God into Egypt did many signs, which God commanded him to do before Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and there were there certain men servants of Pharaoh, Jannes and Jambres, and they also did signs not a few, of them which Moses did, and the Egyptians held them as gods, even Jannes and Jambres: and whereas the signs which they did were not of God, they perished and those also that believed on them. And now let this man go, for he is not worthy of death.
2 The Jews say unto Nicodemus: You did become his disciple and you speak on his behalf. Nicodemus says unto them: Is the governor also become his disciple, that he speaks on his behalf? Did not Caesar appoint him unto this dignity? And the Jews were raging and gnashing their teeth against Nicodemus. Pilate says unto them: Wherefore gnash you your teeth against him, wherens you have heard the truth? The Jews say unto Nicodemus: May you receive his truth and his portion. Nicodemus says: Amen, Amen: may I receive it as you have said.
1 Now one of the Jews came forward and besought the governor that he might speak a word. The governor says: If you will say aught, speak on. And the Jew said: Thirty and eight years lay I on a bed in suffering of pains, and at the coming of Jesus many that were possessed and laid with divers diseases were healed by him, and certain (faithful) young men took pity on me and carried me with my bed and brought me unto him; and when Jesus saw me he had compassion, and was speaking a word unto me: Take up your bed and walk. And I took up my bed and walked. The Jews say unto Pilate: Ask of him what day it was whereon he was healed? He that was healed says: On the sabbath. The Jews say: Did we not inform you so, that upon the sabbath he heals and casts out devils?
2 And another Jew came forward and said: I was born blind: I heard words but I saw no man's face: and as Jesus passed by I cried with a loud voice: Have mercy on me, O son of David. And he took pity on me and put his hands upon mine eyes and I received sight immediately. And another Jew came forward and said: I was bowed and he made me straight with a word. And another said: I was a leper, and he healed me with a word.
1 And a certain woman named Bernice (Beronice Copt., Veronica Lat.) crying out from afar off said: I had an issue of blood and touched the hem of his garment, and the flowing of my blood was stayed which I had twelve years. The Jews say: We have a law that a woman shall not come to give testimony.
1 And certain others, even a multitude both of men and women cried out, saying: This man is a prophet and the devils are subject unto him. Pilate says to them which said: The devils are subject unto him: Wherefore were not your teachers also subject unto him? They say unto Pilate: We know not. Others also said: He raised up Lazarus which was dead out of his tomb after four days. And the governor was afraid and said unto all the multitude of the Jews: Wherefore will you shed innocent blood?
1 And he called unto him Nicodemus and those twelve men which said that he was not born of fornication, and said unto them: What shall I do, for there rises sedition among the people? They say unto him: We know not, let them see to it. Again Pilate called for all the multitude of the Jews and says: You know that you have a custom that at the feast of unleavened bread I should release unto you a prisoner. Now I have a prisoner under condemnation in the prison, a murderer, Barabbas by name, and this Jesus also which stands before you, in whom I find no fault: Whom will you that I release unto you? But they cried out: Barabbas. Pilate says: What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ? The Jews say: Let him be crucified. But certain of the Jews answered: You are not a friend of Caesar's if you let this man go; for he called himself the Son of God and a king: you will therefore have him for king, and not Caesar.
2 And Pilate was wroth and said unto the Jews: Your nation is always seditious and you rebel against your benefactors. The Jews say: Against what benefactors? Pilate says: According as I have heard, your God brought you out of Egypt out of hard bondage, and led you safe through the sea as by dry land, and in the wilderness he nourished you with manna and gave you quails, and gave you water to drink out of a rock, and gave unto you a law. And in all these things you provoked your God to anger, and sought out a molten calf, and angered your God and he sought to slay you: and Moses made supplication for you and you were not put to death. And now you do accuse me that I hate the king (emperor).
3 And he rose up from the judgment-seat and sought to go forth. And the Jews cried out, saying: We know our king, even Caesar and not Jesus. For indeed the wise men brought gifts from the east unto him as unto a king, and when Herod heard from the wise men that a king was born, he sought to slay him, and when his father Joseph knew that, he took him and his mother and they fled into Egypt. And when Herod heard it he destroyed the children of the Hebrews that were born in Bethlehem.
4 And when Pilate heard these words he was afraid. And Pilate silenced the multitude, because they cried still, and said unto them: So, then, this is he whom Herod sought? The Jews say: Yes, this is he. And Pilate took water and washed his hands before the sun, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man: see you to it. Again the Jews cried out: His blood be upon us and upon our children.
5 Then Pilate commanded the veil to be drawn before the judgment-seat whereon he sat, and says unto Jesus: Your nation has convicted you (accused you) as being a king: therefore have I decreed that you should first be scourged according to the law of the pious emperors, and thereafter hanged upon the cross in the garden wherein you were taken: and let Dysmas and Gestas the two malefactors be crucified with you.
1 And Jesus went forth of the judgment hall and the two malefactors with him. And when they were come to the place they stripped him of his garments and girt him with a linen cloth and put a crown of thorns about his head: likewise also they hanged up the two malefactors. But Jesus said: Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. And the soldiers divided his garments among them.
And the people stood looking upon him, and the chief priests and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others let him save himself: if he be the son of God [let him come down from the cross]. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming and offering him vinegar with gall; and they said: If you be the King of the Jews, save yourself.
And Pilate after the sentence commanded his accusation to be written for a title in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew according to the saying of the Jews: that he was the King of the Jews.
2 And one of the malefactors that were hanged [by name Gestas] was speaking unto him, saying: If you be the Christ, save yourself, and us. But Dysmas answering rebuked him, saying: Do you not at all fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus: Remember me, Lord, in your kingdom. And Jesus said unto him: Truly, truly, I say unto you, that today you shall be (are) with me in paradise.
1 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the land until the ninth hour, for the sun was darkened: and the veil of the temple was rent asunder in the midst. And Jesus called with a loud voice and said: Father, baddach ephkid rouel, which is interpreted: Into your hands I commend my spirit. And having thus said he gave up the spirit. And when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying: This man was righteous. And all the multitudes that had come to the sight, when they beheld what was done smote their breasts and returned.
2 But the centurion reported unto the governor the things that had come to pass: and when the governor and his wife heard, they were sore vexed, and neither ate nor drank that day. And Pilate sent for the Jews and said unto them: Did you see that which came to pass? But they said: There was an eclipse of the sun after the accustomed sort.
3 And his acquaintance had stood afar off, and the women which came with him from Galilee, beholding these things. But a certain man named Joseph, being a counsellor, of the city of Arimathaea, who also himself looked for the kingdom of God this man went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in a hewn sepulchre wherein was never man yet laid.
1 Now when the Jews heard that Joseph had begged the body of Jesus, they sought for him and for the twelve men which said that Jesus was not born of fornication, and for Nicodemus and many others which had come forth before Pilate and declared his good works. But all they hid themselves, and Nicodemus only was seen of them, for he was a ruler of the Jews. And Nicodemus said unto them: How came you into the synagogue? The Jews say unto him: How did you come into the synagogue? For you are confederate with him, and his portion shall be with you in the life to come. Nicodemus says: Amen, Amen. Likewise Joseph also came forth and said unto them: Why is it that you are vexed against me, for that I begged the body of Jesus? Behold I have laid it in my new tomb, having wrapped it in clean linen, and I rolled a stone over the door of the cave. And you have not dealt well with the just one, for you repented not when you had crucified him, but you also pierced him with a spear.
But the Jews took hold on Joseph and commanded him to be put in safeguard until the first day of the week: and they said unto him: Know you that the time allows us not to do anything against you, because the sabbath dawns: but knew that you shall not obtain burial, but we will give your flesh unto the fowls of the heaven. Joseph says unto them: This is the word of Goliath the boastful which reproached the living God and the holy David. For God said by the prophet: Vengeance is mine, and I will recompense, says the Lord. And now, lo, one that was uncircumcised, but circumcised in heart, took water and washed his hands before the sun, saying: I am Innocent of the blood of this just person: see you to it. And you answered Pilate and said: His blood be upon us and upon our children. And now I fear lest the wrath of the Lord come upon you and upon your children, as you have said. But when the Jews heard these words they waxed bitter in soul, and caught hold on Joseph and took him and shut him up in an house wherein was no window, and guards were set at the door: and they sealed the door of the place where Joseph was shut up.
2 And upon the sabbath day the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites made an ordinance that all men should appear in the synagogue on the first day of the week. And all the multitude rose up early and took council in the synagogue by what death they should kill him. And when the council was set they commanded him to be brought with great dishonor. And when they had opened the door they found him not. And all the people were beside themselves and amazed, because they found the seals closed, and Caiaphas had the key. And they durst not any more lay hands upon them that had spoken in the behalf of Jesus before Pilate.
1 And while they yet sat in the synagogue and marveled because of Joseph, there came certain of the guard which the Jews had asked of Pilate to keep the sepulchre of Jesus lest peradventure his disciples should come and steal him away. And they was speaking and declared unto the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites that which had come to pass: how that there was a great earthquake, and we saw an angel descend from heaven, and he rolled away the stone from the mouth of the cave, and sat upon it. And he did shine like snow and like lightning, and we were sore afraid and lay as dead men. And we heard the voice of the angel speaking with the women which waited at the sepulchre, saying: Fear you not: for I know that you seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here: he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay, and go quickly and say unto his disciples that he is risen from the dead, and is in Galilee.
2 The Jews say: With what women was speaking he? They of the guard say: We know not who they were. The Jews say: At what hour was it? They of the guard say: At midnight. The Jews say: And wherefore did you not take the women? They of the guard say: We were become as dead me through fear, and we looked not to see the light of the day; how then could we take them? The Jews say: As the Lord lives, we believe you not. They of the guard say unto the Jews: So many signs saw you in that man, and you believed not, how then should you believe us? Truly you swore rightly 'as the Lord lives', for he lives indeed. Again they of the guard say: We have heard that you shut up him that begged the body of Jesus, and that you scaled the door; and when you had opened it you found him not. Give you therefore Joseph and we will give you Jesus. The Jews say: Joseph is departed unto his own city. They of the guard say unto the Jews: Jesus also is risen, as we have heard of the angel, and he is in Galilee.
3 And when the Jews heard these words they were sore afraid, saying: Take heed lest this report be heard and all men incline unto Jesus. And the Jews took counsel and laid down much money and gave it to the soldiers, saying: Say you: While we slept his disciples came by night and stole him away. And if this come to the governor's hearing we will persuade him and secure you. And they took the money and did as they were instructed. [And this their saying was published abroad among all men. Lat.]
1 Now a certain priest named Phinees and Addas a teacher and Aggaeus (Ogias Copt., Egias lat.) a Levite came down from Galilee unto Jerusalem and told the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites, saying: We saw Jesus and his disciples sitting upon the mountain which is called Mamilch (Mambre or Malech lat., Mabrech Copt.), and he said unto his disciples: Go into all the world and preach unto every creature (the whole creation): he that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that disbelieve shall be condemned. [And these signs shall follow upon them that believe: in my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall recover.] And while Jesus yet was speaking unto his disciples we saw him taken up into heaven.
2 The elders and the priests and Levites say: Give glory to the God of Israel and make confession unto him: did you indeed (or that you did) hear and see those things which you have told us? They that told them say: As the Lord God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lives, we did hear these things and we saw him taken up into heaven. The elders and the priests and the Levites say unto them: Came you for this end, that you might tell us, or came you to pay your vows unto God? And they say: To pay our vows unto God. The elders and the chief priests and the Levites say unto them: If you came to pay your vows unto God, to what purpose is this idle tale which you have babbled before all the people? Phinees the priest and Addas the teacher and Aggaeus the Levite say unto the rulers of the synagogue and priests and Levites: If these words which you have spoken and seen be sin, lo, we are before you: do unto us as seems good in your eyes. And they took the book of the law and adjured them that they should no more tell any man these words: and they gave them to eat and to drink, and put them out of the city: moreover they gave them money, and three men to go with them, and they set them on their way as far as Galilee, and they departed in peace.
3 Now when these men were departed into Galilee, the chief priests and the rulers of the synagogue and the elders gathered together in the synagogue, and shut the gate, and lamented with a great lamentation, saying: What is this sign which is come to pass in Israel? But Amlas and Caiaphas said: Wherefore are you troubled? Why weep you? Know you not that his disciples gave much gold unto them that kept the sepulchre and taught them to say that an angel came down and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? But the priests and the elders said: Be it so, that his disciples did steal away his body; but how is his soul entered into his body, and how abides he in Galilee? But they could not answer these things, and hardly in the end said: It is not lawful for us to believe the uncircumcised. [Lat. (and Copt., and Arm.): Ought we to believe the soldiers, that an angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? But in truth his disciples gave... Sepulchre. Know you not that it is not lawful for Jews to believe any word of the uncircumcised, knowing that they who received much good from us have spoken according as we taught them.]
1 And Nicodemus rose up and stood before the council, saying: You say well. Know you not, O people of the Lord, the men that came down out of Galilee, that they fear God and are men of substance, hating covetousness (a lie, Lat.), men of peace? And they have told you with an oath, saying: We saw Jesus upon the mount Mamilch with his disciples and that he taught them all things that you heard of them, and, say they, we saw him taken up into heaven. And no man asked them in what manner he was taken up. For like as the book of the holy scriptures has taught us that Elias also was taken up into heaven, and Eliseus cried out with a loud voice, and Elias cast his hairy cloak upon Eliseus, and Eliseus cast the cloak upon Jordan and passed over and went unto Jericho. And the sons of the prophets met him and said: Eliseus, where is your lord Elias? And he said that he was taken up into heaven. And they said unto Eliseus: Has not a spirit caught him up and cast him upon one of the mountains? But let us take our servants with us and seek after him. And they persuaded Eliseus and he went with them, and they sought him three days and found him not: and they knew that he had been taken up. And now hearken unto me, and let us send into all the coasts (al. Mountains) of Israel and see whether the Christ were not taken up by a spirit and cast upon one of the mountains. And this saying pleased them all: and they sent into all the coasts (mountains, Lat.) and sought Jesus and found him not. But they found Joseph in Arimathaea, and no man durst lay hands upon him.
2 And they told the elders and the priests and the Levites, saying: We went about throughout all the coasts of Israel, and we found not Jesus; but Joseph we found in Arimathaea. And when they heard of Joseph they rejoiced and gave glory to the God of Israel. And the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites took counsel how they should meet with Joseph, and they took a volume of paper and wrote unto Joseph these words:
Peace be unto you. We know that we have sinned against God and against you, and we have prayed unto the God of Israel that you should vouchsafe to come unto your fathers and unto your children (Lat. But you did pray unto the God of Israel, and he delivered you out of our hands. Now therefore vouchsafe, for we are all troubled, because when we opened the door we found you not: and we know that we devised an evil counsel against you, but the Lord helped you. And the Lord himself made of none effect (scattered) our counsel against you, O father Joseph, you that are honorable among all the people.
3 And they chose out of all Israel seven men that were friends of Joseph, whom Joseph also himself accounted his friends, and the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites said unto them: See: if he receive our epistle and read it, know that he will come with you unto us: but if he read it not, know that he is vexed with us, and salute you him in peace and return unto us. And they blessed the men and let them go.
And the men came unto Joseph and did him reverence, and said unto him: Peace be unto you. And he said: Peace be unto you and unto all the people of Israel. And they gave him the book of the epistle, and Joseph received it and read it and embraced (or kissed) the epistle and blessed God and said: Blessed be the Lord God, which has redeemed Israel from shedding innocent blood; and blessed be the Lord, which sent his angel and sheltered me under his wings. (And he kissed them) and set a table before them, and they did eat and drink and lay there.
4 And they rose up early and prayed: and Joseph saddled his she-donkey and went with the men, and they came unto the holy city, even Jerusalem. And all the people came to meet Joseph and cried: Peace be to your entering-in. And he said unto all the people: Peace be unto you, and all the people kissed him. And the people prayed with Joseph, and they were astonished at the sight of him.
And Nicodemus received him into his house and made a great feast, and called Annas and Caiaphas and the elders and the priests and the Levites unto his house. And they made merry eating and drinking with Joseph. And when they had sung an hymn (or blessed God) every man went unto his house. But Joseph abode in the house of Nicodemus.
5 And on the morrow, which was the preparation, the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites rose up early and came to the house of Nicodemus, and Nicodemus met them and said: Peace be unto you. And they said: Peace be unto you and to Joseph and unto all your house and to all the house of Joseph. And he brought them into his house. And the whole council was set, and Joseph sat between Annas and Caiaphas and no man durst speak unto him a word. And Joseph said: Why is it that you have called me? And they beckoned unto Nicodemus that he should speak unto Joseph. And Nicodemus opened his mouth and said unto Joseph: Father, you know that the reverend doctors and the priests and the Levites seek to learn a matter of you. And Joseph said: Inquire you. And Annas and Caiaphas took the book of the law and adjured Joseph saying: Give glory to the God of Israel and make confession unto him: [for Achar, when he was adjured of the prophet Jesus(Joshua), foresware not himself but declared unto him all things and hid not a word from him: you therefore also hide not from us so much as a word. And Joseph: I will not hide one word from you.] And they said unto him: We were greatly vexed because you did beg the body of Jesus and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and did lay him in a tomb. And for this cause we put you in safeguard in an house wherein was no window, and we put keys and seals upon the doors, and guards did keep the place wherein you were shut up. And on the first day of the week we opened it and found you not, and we were sore troubled, and amazement fell upon all the people of the Lord until yesterday. Now, therefore, declare unto us what befell you.
6 And Joseph said: On the preparation day about the tenth hour you did shut me up, and I continued there the whole sabbath. And at midnight as I stood and prayed the house wherein you shut me up was taken up by the four corners, and I saw as it were a flashing of light in mine eyes, and being filled with fear I fell to the earth. And one took me by the hand and removed me from the place whereon I had fallen; and moisture of water was shed on me from my head unto my feet, and an odor of ointment came about my nostrils. And he wiped my face and kissed me and said unto me: Fear not, Joseph: open your eyes and see who it is that speaks with you. And I looked up and saw Jesus and I trembled, and supposed that it was a spirit: and I said the commandments: and he said them with me. And [as] you are not ignorant that a spirit, if it meet any man and hear the commandments, straightway flee. And when I perceived that he said them with me, I said unto him: Rabbi Elias? And he said unto me: I am not Elias. And I said unto him: Who are you, Lord? And he said unto me: I am Jesus, whose body you did beg of Pilate, and did clothe me in clean linen and cover my face with a napkin, and lay me in your new cave and roll a great stone upon the door of the cave. And I said to him that was speaking with me: Show me the place where I laid you. And he brought me and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen cloth lay therein, and the napkin that was upon his face. And I knew that it was Jesus. And he took me by the hand and set me in the midst of mine house, the doors being shut, and laid me upon my bed and said unto me: Peace be unto you. And he kissed me and said unto me: Until forty days be ended go not out of your house: for behold I go unto my brethren into Galilee.
1 And when the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites heard these words of Joseph the became as dead men and fell to the ground, and they fasted until the ninth hour. And Nicodemus with Joseph comforted Annas and Caiaphas and the priests and the Levites, saying: Rise up and stand on your feet and taste bread and strengthen your souls, for tomorrow is the sabbath of the Lord. And they rose up and prayed unto God and did eat and drink, and departed every man to his house.
2 And on the sabbath the (al. Our) teachers and the priests and Levites sat and questioned one another and said: What is this wrath that is come upon us? For we know his father and his mother. Levi the teacher says: I know that his parents feared God and kept not back their vows and paid tithes three times a year. And when Jesus was born, his parents brought him up unto this place and gave sacrifices and burnt-offerings to God. And [when] the great teacher Symeon took him into his arms and said: Now let you your servant, Lord, depart in peace for mine eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel. And Symeon blessed them and said unto Mary his mother: I give you good tidings concerning this child. And Mary said: Good, my lord? And Symeon said to her: Good. Behold, he is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against: and a sword shall pierce through your own heart also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
3 They say unto Levi the teacher: How know you these things? Levi says unto them: Know you not that from him I did learn the law? The council say unto him: We would see your father. And they sent after his father, and asked of him, and he said to them: Why believed you not my son? The blessed and righteous Symeon, he did teach him the law. The council says: Rabbi Levi, is the word true which you have spoken? And he said: It is true.
Then the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites said among themselves: Come, let us send into Galilee unto the three men which came and told us of his teaching and his taking-up, and let them tell us how they saw him taken up. And this word pleased them all, and they sent the three men which before had gone with them into Galilee and said to them: Say unto Rabbi Addas and Rabbi Phinees and Rabbi Aggaeus: peace be to you and to all that are with you. Inasmuch as great questioning has arisen in the council, we have sent unto you to call you unto this holy place of Jerusalem.
4 And the men went into Galilee and found them sitting and meditating upon the law, and saluted them in peace. And the men that were in Galilee said unto them that were come to them: Peace be upon all Israel. And they said: Peace be unto you. Again they said unto them: Wherefore are you come? And they that were sent said: The council calls you unto the holy city Jerusalem. And when the men heard that they were bidden by the council, they prayed to God and sat down to meat with the men and did eat and drink, and rose up and came in peace unto Jerusalem.
5 And on the morrow the council was set in the synagogue, and they examined them, saying: Did you in very deed see Jesus sitting upon the mount Mamilch, as he taught his eleven disciples, and saw you him taken up? And the men answered them and said: Even as we saw him taken up, even so did we tell it unto you.
6 Annas says: Set them apart from one another, and let us see if their word agrees. And they set them apart one from another, and they call Addas first and say unto him: How saw you Jesus taken up? Addas says: While he yet sat upon the Mount Mamilch and taught his disciples, we saw a cloud that overshadowed him and his disciples: and the cloud carried him up into heaven, and his disciples lay (al. Prayed, lying) on their faces upon the earth. And they called Phinees the priest, and questioned him also, saying: How saw you Jesus taken up? And he was speaking in like manner. And again they asked Aggaeus, and he also was speaking in like manner. And the council said: It is contained in the law of Moses: At the mouth of two or three shall every word be established.
Abuthem (Bouthem Gr., Abudem lat., Abuden, Abuthen Arm.,om. Copt.) the teacher says: It is written in the law: Enoch walked with God and is not, because God took him. Jaeirus the teacher said: Also we have heard of the death of the holy Moses and have not seen him; for it is written in the law of the Lord: And Moses died at the mouth of the Lord, and no man knew of his sepulchre unto this day. And Rabbi Levi said: Wherefore was it that Rabbi Symeon said when he saw Jesus: Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign spoken against? And Rabbi Isaac said: It is written in the law: Behold I send my messenger before your face, which shall go before you to keep you in every good way, for my name is named thereon.
7 Then said Annas and Caiaphas: You have well said those things which are written in the law of Moses, that no man saw the death of Enoch, and no man has named the death of Moses. But Jesus was speaking before Pilate, and we know that we saw him receive buffets and spittings upon his face, and that the soldiers put on him a crown of thorns and that he was scourged and received condemnation from Pilate, and that he was crucified at the place of a skull and two thieves with him, and that they gave him vinegar to drink with gall, and that Longinus the soldier pierced his side with a spear, and that Joseph our honorable father begged his body, and that, as he says, he rose again, and that (lit. As) the three teachers say: We saw him taken up into heaven, and that Rabbi Levi was speaking and testified to the things which were spoken by Rabbi Symeon, and that he said: Behold this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign spoken against.
And all the teachers said unto all the people of the Lord: If this has come to pass from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes, you shall surely know, O house of Jacob, that it is written: Cursed is every one that hangs upon a tree. And another scripture teaches: The gods which made not the heaven and the earth shall perish.
And the priests and the Levites said one to another: If his memorial endure until the Sommos (Copt. Soum) which is called Jobel (i. E. The Jubilee), know you that he will prevail forever and raise up for himself a new people.
Then the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites admonished all Israel, saying: Cursed is that man who shall worship that which man's hand has made, and cursed is the man who shall worship creatures beside the Creator. And all the people said: Amen, Amen.
And all the people sang an hymn unto the Lord and said: Blessed be the Lord who has given rest unto the people of Israel according to all that he was speaking. There has not one word fallen to the ground of all his good saying which he was speaking unto his servant Moses. The Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers: let him not forsake us. And let him not destroy us from turning our heart unto him, from walking in all his ways and keeping his statutes and his judgments which he commanded our fathers. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth in that day. And there shall be one Lord and his name one, even the Lord our King: he shall save us.
There is none like unto you, O Lord. Great are you, O Lord, and great is your name.
Heal us, O Lord, by your power, and we shall be healed: save us, Lord, and we shall be saved: for we are your portion and your inheritance.
And the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake, for the Lord has begun to make us to be his people.
And when they had all sung this hymn they departed every man to his house, glorifying God. [For his is the glory, world without end. Amen.]