The Questions of Bartholomew

J. K. Elliott

in The Apocryphal New Testament

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780198261827
Published online April 2009 |
The Questions of Bartholomew

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Although antiquity knew of a Gospel of Bartholomew through Jerome's prologue to his Commentary to Matthew and the Gelasian Decree (where ‘evangelia’ is used in the context, i.e. ‘gospels under the name of Bartholomew’) there is no evidence that what they knew is what has been commonly referred to recently (thanks largely to Wilmart and Tisserant) as the Gospel of Bartholomew. A better title for the texts that they and others have published is the Questions of Bartholomew, which is the title of the Slavonic versions and of one of the Latin versions (the Casanatensis). These ‘questions’ deal with various aspects of Christ's descent comparable to the Descensus in the Gospel of Nicodemus (q.v.), of the annunciation, of Satan's origin and power and also concern deadly sins. It is a suitable title, given the way in which the subject‐matter is accorded question and answer treatment; it also serves to avoid linking this work with other gospels. It may equally well be classified as a gospel or an apocalypse, although, despite tradition, the present collection links it with the apocalypses. The Questions were originally composed in Greek, possibly in Egypt, but the date of the work is not certain, being estimated between the second and sixth centuries. Latin and Slavonic versions exist, but the relationship between them all is not clear. James's translation is based predominantly on the Greek and Slavonic where they exist, but with some passages added from the Latin; it is repeated below with minor changes. James's presentation is commended by Kaestli (Revue Biblique 95 (1988), 20).

Chapter.  10400 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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