Dissolution of the Church

The Testament of Our Lord

Jesus speaks to His apostles and tells them a little concerning the glory of those who will believe on their words (1:1) and warns of future persecutors (1:4-5) and dissenters (1:8). Rewards for those who suffer persecutions are alluded to (1:8), Regulations relating to the dispensing of the secret knowledge is given (1:18), and anointing rites are described (2:8-9).

Bibliography

Translation – Cooper and Maclean, The Testament of Our Lord.

Translation – Ignatius Ephraem II Rahmani, Testamentum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi.

The Epistle of the Apostles

Jesus describes his ascent through the heavens (v. 13), commands the Apostles to preach the gospel (v. 19, 30), describes his descent into hell (v. 27), prophecies of the man Saul (v. 31), and speaks of the future state of apostasy and persecution (v. 34-7). This apostasy is to occur during the lifetime of those who believe on the Apostles words (v. 34). Coptic, Ethiopic, Latin, and Slavonic versions.

Bibliography

Translation – W. Schneemelcher, Apocryphal New Testament, 191-227

The Apocryphon of James

The events in this text occurred “after [Jesus] had departed from us,” “five hundred and fifty days since he had risen,” therefore it seems that it should not be categorized as a forty-day text. However, because it has found its place in various forty-day articles, and Gnostic myths concerning the length of the ministry vary, it is included here.

The Apocalypse of Paul

Paul ascends with and angel into the third heaven, where he is told not to reveal any of what he is to observe (Fol. 33a). Paul is shown the glory of the prophets as well as those who believe in the prophets (Fol. 33b). He is taken to the veil where he sees thrones, whereupon there are garments, “the preciousness of which was indescribable.” Also Paul sees crowns lying before the thrones, and a man dressed in white apparel (Fol. 36a).

The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter

Jesus walks Peter through a vision in which he is taught various truths which he is not to expose (73:5-22). Christ speaks of those who in the coming day will appoint themselves priesthood offices without the authority of God, and will, "for a time determined," lead many away from the truth (80:1-24).

The Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas purports to be a collection of 114 secret sayings of Jesus recorded by Didymos Judas Thomas. Of these sayings nearly half resemble sayings of Jesus from the canonical gospels, while the others seem to represent proto-Gnostic ideas. Although many have associated the author of the Gospel of Thomas with the disciple Thomas from the canonical gospels, the text itself gives us no clues as to who the author in reality may have been.

Pages