The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, April 14, 2017

So much for the Gospel of the Saviour

Alan Suciu has revisited the Berlin Papyrus 22220. It is an anti-Chalcedonian "apostolic memoir", probably laundered through a fake patristic citation... like the Secret Gospel of Mark was. Inasmuch as Paul Mirecki and Charles Hedrick claimed the 22220 as a gospel, they are debunked.

This blog and Mirecki (especially) go some ways back, although I much doubt either scholar reads here. In June 2002 I wrote mine own little project on the 22220, just for giggles, and posted it on my old AT&T site now expired. I accepted Mirecki and Hedrick that the 22220 was a gospel, but I was unsatisfied with their choice(s) of genres. On 6 June I decided instead that it resembled a "visionary gospel", a genre I pretty much had to define myself, just to account for this one; I posted and announced a mini-project to that effect two days later. The "visionary gospel" genre would include any collection of long visions and secret teachings from Christ. These were - I thought - usually in the form of post-resurrection appearances: a stirling example would be the Secret Book of James.

The 22220 happened to be backdated to Jesus' life. To that, I noted that the Gospel of Luke imposes a forty-day limit on Jesus' post-resurrection life on this Earth. This limit had constrained the The Epistle of Peter to Philip. I figured that, for a setting of Sooper Sekrits, the Last Supper would do just as well; and so did the 22220's author, whatever genre you want to assign it.

Whether you agree with me that the visionary-gospel genre is a thing, and whatever the 22220 is - I was always contemptuous of that strain of literature, and I don't much like the 22220 in particular. (Not the fault of Mirecki nor of Hedrick!) As a result I did just enough "work" on the text to associate it with the genre, and to be rid of it. Bart Ehrman later on included the work in his collection of apocrypha; at the time I wished he hadn't. Meanwhile here on this blog I defended Mirecki against some personal drama, and shouted down a would-be thief of the book in question. Having said that...

I am glad that Suciu has shown what sort of work the 22220 really is. It does look like Mirecki and Hedrick should have consulted more Coptologists at the time. Lessons learnt I suppose.


posted by Zimri on 17:56 | link | 0 comments

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