Chapter

The Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum)

J. K. Elliott

in The Apocryphal New Testament

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780198261827
Published online April 2009 |
The Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum)

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The original title has not been transmitted, but Guerrier's title, ‘Le Testament de Notre Seigneur . . . ’, is unsatisfactory in so far as it may encourage identification of this document with the Testamentum Domini (the short early Christian treatise on matters of ecclesiastical order, which also contains a complete liturgy). Generally the work is known as the Epistula (or Epistola) Apostolorum. Although the document is included here under ‘Epistles’, following M. R. James's example, it cannot really be described accurately as a letter. After only a few pages the work changes from the form of a letter to that of an apocalypse. It begins with the eleven disciples confessing Christ and a description of Jesus’ miracles. There then follows an account of the resurrection. This leads on to a series of revelations of the risen Christ in reply to questionings from the disciples. Other such dialogues of the redeemer (to borrow the preferred description of this Gattung from Hennecke–Schneemelcher) are the Letter of James from Nag Hammadi (below, pp. 673–81), the two apocalypses of James, the Letter of Peter to Philip, and the Book of Thomas the Contender. To these we could perhaps add the Questions of Bartholomew (below, pp. 652–72).

Chapter.  4319 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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