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The Two Apacalypses of Peter

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  • Tom Saunders
    There are two versions of the Apocalypse of Peter. One is in the Nag Hammadi, and is clearly Gnostic, while the other is Israelite Christian. The text
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 27, 2003
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      There are two versions of the Apocalypse of Peter. One is in the Nag Hammadi, and is clearly Gnostic, while the other is "Israelite" Christian. The text designates the true followers as 'Israelites.' It appears that the Gnostic version is in some refutation to the texts of the Israelite version, and the Shepherd of Hermas.

      The Israelite version starts out on the Mt. of Olives, where you would expect the Gnostic version to start, as the "Apocryphon of James" does. This may have later influenced the Infancy Gospel of Thomas to specify himself, the main character, as Thomas the Israelite. The Gnostic version obviously comes after the Israelite, and moves the meeting with Peter and Jesus to the Temple......"the agreement with the tenth pillar." There is plenty to imply a secular feud with these two groups, and both texts were written to specify a belief system, regarding each other's as wrong.

      Both the Gnostic and the Israelite versions of the 'ApPete' mention Hermas. Hermas and the Israelite Peter both mention Clement. The Gnostic version declares Hermas as a minion of the Darkness. A lot of the Gnostic text goes on to speak of the doomed. This of course in the Gnostic sense.

      At the center of the two works is the contents of saying 45, thorns-thistles, figs-grapes, and the good and evil storehouse. The Gnostic Peter uses the opposite order of thorns and thistles as Thomas who uses, "Th. 45a. Jesus said, "Grapes are not harvested from thorn trees, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they yield no fruit..... " This might imply that the text was copied from Luke who uses the like order, as seen in the Gnostic Ap. of Peter. However it could also be a juxtaposition if written from memory, it does not tell us if the reference is from the GThom.

      There is also a possibility that the Israelite version of the Ap of Peter, borrowed the idea of the figs, grapes, and vineyard from the Shepherd of Hermas. In Hermas the references are in Parable 5, "The man who owned a Vineyard etc.." The Israelite Ap. of Peter declares:
      "And ye, take ye the likeness thereof (learn a parable) from the fig-tree: so soon as the shoot thereof is come forth and the twigs grown, the end of the world shall come."

      This from Luke: 6-44. "For each tree is known by its own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes."

      The Israelites transform any attachment to the evil and good storehouse of the individual to the utility of the church. "Understandest thou not that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? Even as a man that planted a fig-tree in his garden, and it brought forth no fruit.....Then shall the twigs of the fig-tree, that is, the house of Israel, shoot forth: many shall become martyrs at his hand. Enoch and Elias shall be sent to teach them that this is the deceiver which must come into the world and do signs and wonders to deceive."

      The Gnostic Ap. of Peter is talking no doubt about the storehouse.

      "For evil cannot produce good fruit. For the place from which each of them is produces that which is like itself; for not every soul is of the truth, nor of immortality. For every soul of these ages has death assigned to it in our view, because it is always a slave, since it is created for its desires and their eternal destruction, in which they are and from which they are. They love the creatures of the matter which came forth with them."

      "For people do not gather figs from thorns or from thorn trees, if they are wise, nor grapes from thistles. For, on the one hand, that which is always becoming is in that from which it is, being from what is not good, which becomes destruction for it and death. But that which comes to be in the Eternal One is in the One of the life and the immortality of the life which they resemble."

      The Gnostic Peter is clear on the concepts apparent in GThom saying 45. Hermas and the Israelite Ap. of Peter deter the power of salvation to the 'Church,' Hermas uses Enoch. They, the 'un Gnostics' also have every reason to redact the parables from the kernel texts, and/or the GThom. This may be what we see especially in Luke. But if we can show the Thomas parables as first, then they are the concepts of parables in the form they were (most) originally intended.

      The Israelite community changes the fig-grape, thorn-thistle, sayings known in Thomas, Luke, and Matthew, and the concept of the storehouse from all these sources. Their motives are clear to erase the aspect of Gnosticism from the literary form and content common to Gthom 45. They simply do not get the concepts inherent in the Thomas parables.

      Hermas presents a vineyard and the chaos within it, but Thomas presents us with a much more precise kind of chaos that can be directly aligned with the 'Apanoia' who cannot reason, and therefor cannot save his vineyard or his family. The Apanoia is a sociotype known all through time. (I'm an Oakie I got em by the dozen.)

      Mandate 10 Hermas

      1[40]:5 "As good vineyards, when they are treated with neglect, are made barren by the thorns and weeds of various kinds, so men who after they have believed fall into these many occupations which were mentioned before, lose their understanding and comprehend nothing at all concerning righteousness; for if they hear concerning the deity and truth, their mind is absorbed in their occupations, and they perceive nothing at..."

      Hermas is describing what the Gnostic would deem the Agnoi, like the woman with the broken jar. The Apanoi is a specific type, that anyone who understood through Thomas would not neglect to specify. It is too rich in kenomic wisdom to ignore. Hermas mandates way too many things that the GThom simply rejects concerning Jewish law, and purity rites. The Israelite Ap of Peter is clearly aligned with those who had plenty of motives to want Thomas gone.

      Do any of you have an idea how to align specific groups I have characterized here as Israelites? Perhaps Ebionites and others? The Gnostic Ap of Peter mentions 'Archons and truth from the Pleroma,' so it is no doubt Ballisides and Valentinian lineage.

      Hermas also describes 'trees in Paradise" and other interesting concepts we see in Thomas. I think it shows these topics post Thomas, but it might go the other way....Could Thomas have added saying 19 as a refutation to Hermas? The references are....

      http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apopet.html Ap of Peter 2. (Gnostic)

      http://wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/apoc/apcpete.htm Ap of Peter 1. (Israelite)

      http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/shepherd.html (Hermas)
      Tom Saunders

      Platter, Ok


















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