The Didache known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise, dated by most modern scholars to the first century. The first line of this treatise is "The teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the twelve apostles"; the text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, Church organization. The opening chapters describe the wicked Way of Death; the Lord's Prayer is included in full. Baptism is by affusion if immersion is not practical. Fasting is ordered for Fridays. Two primitive Eucharistic prayers are given. Church organization was at an early stage of development. Itinerant apostles and prophets are important, serving as "chief priests" and celebrating the Eucharist. Meanwhile, local bishops and deacons have authority and seem to be taking the place of the itinerant ministry; the Didache is considered the first example of the genre of Church Orders.
The Didache reveals how Jewish Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their practice for Gentile Christians. The Didache is similar in several ways to the Gospel of Matthew because both texts originated in similar communities; the opening chapters, which appear in other early Christian texts, are derived from an earlier Jewish source. The Didache is considered part of the group of second-generation Christian writings known as the Apostolic Fathers; the work was considered by some Church Fathers to be a part of the New Testament, while being rejected by others as spurious or non-canonical, In the end, it was not accepted into the New Testament canon. However, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church "broader canon" includes the Didascalia, a work which draws on the Didache. Lost for centuries, a Greek manuscript of the Didache was rediscovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, in the Codex Hierosolymitanus. A Latin version of the first five chapters was discovered in 1900 by J. Schlecht.
Many English and American scholars once dated the text to the late 2nd century AD, a view still held today, but most scholars now assign the Didache to the first century. The document is a composite work, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls with its Manual of Discipline provided evidence of development over a considerable period of time, beginning as a Jewish catechetical work, developed into a church manual. Two uncial fragments containing Greek text of the Didache were found among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri and are now in the collection of the Sackler Library in Oxford. Apart from these fragments, the Greek text of the Didache has only survived in a single manuscript, the Codex Hierosolymitanus. Dating the document is thus made difficult both by the lack of hard evidence and its composite character; the Didache may have been compiled in its present form as late as 150, although a date closer to the end of the first century seems more probable to many. It is an anonymous work, a pastoral manual that Aaron Milavec states "reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures."
The Two Ways section is based on an earlier Jewish source. The community that produced the Didache could have been based in Syria, as it addressed the Gentiles but from a Judaic perspective, at some remove from Jerusalem, shows no evidence of Pauline influence. Alan Garrow claims that its earliest layer may have originated in the decree issued by the Apostolic council of AD 49-50, by the Jerusalem assembly under James the Just; the text was lost, but scholars knew of it through the writing of church fathers, some of whom had drawn on it. In 1873 in Istanbul, metropolitan Philotheos Bryennios found a Greek copy of the Didache, written in 1056, he published it in 1883. Hitchcock and Brown produced the first English translation in March 1884. Adolf von Harnack produced the first German translation in 1884, Paul Sabatier produced the first French translation and commentary in 1885; the Didache is mentioned by Eusebius as the Teachings of the Apostles along with the books recognized as non-canonical: "Let there be placed among the spurious works the Acts of Paul, the so-called Shepherd and the Apocalypse of Peter, besides these the Epistle of Barnabas, what are called the Teachings of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John, if this be thought proper.
It is rejected by Nicephorus, Pseudo-Anastasius, Pseudo-Athanasius in Synopsis and the 60 Books canon. It is accepted by the Apostolic Constitutions Canon 85, John of Damascus and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; the Adversus Aleatores by an imitator of Cyprian quotes it by name. Unacknowledged citations are common, if less certain; the section Two Ways shares the same language with the Epistle of Barnabas, chapters 18–20, sometimes word for word, sometimes added to, dislocated, or abridged, Barnabas iv, 9 either derives from Didache, 16, 2–3, or vice versa. There can be seen many similarities to the Epistles of both Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch; the Shepherd of Hermas seems to reflect it, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria seem to use the work, so in the West do Optatus and the "Gesta apud Zenophilum." The Didascalia Apostolorum are founded upon the Didache. The Apostolic Churc
Gospel of Marcion
The Gospel of Marcion, called by its adherents the Gospel of the Lord, was a text used by the mid-2nd-century Christian teacher Marcion of Sinope to the exclusion of the other gospels. So many Christian apologists wrote treatises against Marcion after his death that it has been possible to reconstruct the whole of Marcion's Gospel of the Lord from their quotations, its reconstructed fragments now appear among the New Testament apocrypha. There are two possible relationships between Marcion's gospel and the Gospel of Luke: either Marcion revised a existing Gospel of Luke to fit his own agenda, or his "Gospel of the Lord" predated, was a source for, the Gospel of Luke. Church Fathers wrote, the majority of modern scholars agree, that Marcion edited Luke to fit his own theology, Marcionism; the late 2nd-century writer Tertullian stated that Marcion, "expunged all the things that oppose his view... but retained those things that accord with his opinion". According to this view, Marcion eliminated the first two chapters of Luke concerning the nativity, began his gospel at Capernaum making modifications to the remainder suitable to Marcionism.
The differences in the texts below highlight the Marcionite view that Jesus did not follow the Prophets and that the earth is evil. Late 19th- and early 20th-century theologian Adolf von Harnack, in agreement with the traditional account of Marcion as revisionist, theorized that Marcion believed there could be only one true gospel, all others being fabrications by pro-Jewish elements, determined to sustain worship of Yahweh. In this understanding, Marcion saw the attribution of this gospel to Luke the Evangelist as a fabrication, so he began what he saw as a restoration of the original gospel as given to Paul. Von Harnack wrote that:For this task he did not appeal to a divine revelation, any special instruction, nor to a pneumatic assistance From this it follows that for his purifications of the text - and this is overlooked - he neither could claim nor did claim absolute certainty. While it remains a minority hypothesis, Biblical scholars as varied as Johann Salomo Semler, Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, Albrecht Ritschl, John Knox, Joseph B Tyson have posited that the Gospel of Luke was a redaction of the Gospel of Marcion, rather than the other way around.
In 2008, Matthias Klinghardt proposed a new solution to the synoptic problem involving the Gospel of Marcion, in which the Gospel of Marcion was based on the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Matthew was an expansion of the Gospel of Mark with reference to the Gospel of Marcion, the Gospel of Luke was an expansion of the Gospel of Marcion with reference to the Gospel of Matthew. List of Gospels The Marcionite Research Library: contains a full text in English with hyperlinks to the reconstruction sources. G. R. S. Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: pp. 241– 249 Introduction to Marcion History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two-Hundred by Charles B. Waite: It includes a chapter where he compares Marcion and Luke Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle by Joseph B. Tyson A case in favor of the view that the canonical Luke-Acts duo is a response to Marcion. Tyson recounts the history of scholarly studies on Marcion up to 2006
Gospel of the Hebrews
The Gospel of the Hebrews, or Gospel according to the Hebrews, was a syncretic Jewish–Christian gospel. The text of the gospel is lost with only fragments of it surviving as brief quotations by the early Church Fathers and in apocryphal writings; the fragments contain traditions of Jesus' pre-existence, incarnation and probable temptation, along with some of his sayings. Distinctive features include a Christology characterized by the belief that the Holy Spirit is Jesus' Divine Mother and a first resurrection appearance to James, the brother of Jesus, showing a high regard for James as the leader of the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem, it was composed in Greek in the first decades of the 2nd century, is believed to have been used by Greek-speaking Jewish Christians in Egypt during that century. It is the only Jewish–Christian gospel which the Church Fathers referred to by name, believing there was only one Hebrew Gospel in different versions. Passages from the gospel were quoted or summarized by three Alexandrian Fathers – Clement and Didymus the Blind.
The gospel was used as a supplement to the canonical gospels to provide source material for their commentaries based on scripture. Eusebius included it in his list of disputed writings known as the Antilegomena, noting that it was used by "Hebrews" within the Church; the original Aramaic/Hebrew gospel used by the Jewish sect of Ebionites did not contain the genealogical records now appended to the Greek gospels, which omission is explained by Epiphanius as being because "they insist that Jesus was man."Modern scholars classify the Gospel of the Hebrews as one of the three Jewish–Christian gospels, along with the Gospel of the Nazarenes and the Gospel of the Ebionites. Others suggest that these three titles may have been referring to the same book. All are known today only from fragments preserved in quotations by the early Church Fathers; the relationship between the Jewish–Christian gospels and a hypothetical original Hebrew Gospel remains a speculation. The Gospel of the Hebrews is the only Jewish–Christian gospel which the Church Fathers refer to by name.
The language of composition is thought to be Greek. The provenance has been associated with Egypt; the communities to which they belonged were traditional, conservative Christians who followed the teaching of the primitive Christian church in Jerusalem, integrating their understanding of Jesus with strict observance of Jewish customs and law, which they regarded as essential to salvation. Despite this, the gospel displays no connection with other Jewish–Christian literature, nor does it appear to be based on the Gospel of Matthew or the other canonical gospels of what is now orthodox Christianity. Instead, it seems to be taken from alternative oral forms of the same underlying traditions; some of the fragments suggest a syncretic gnostic influence, while others support close ties to traditional Jewish Wisdom literature. The Gospel of the Hebrews is preserved in fragments quoted or summarized by various early Church Fathers; the full extent of the original gospel is unknown. Based on the surviving fragments, the overall structure of the gospel appears to have been similar to the canonical ones.
It consisted of a narrative of the life of Jesus which included his baptism, transfiguration, last supper and resurrection. The gospel contained sayings of Jesus; the events in the life of Jesus have been interpreted in a way that reflects Jewish ideas present in a Hellenistic cultural environment. There is wide agreement about seven quotations cited by Philipp Vielhauer in the critical 3rd German edition of Wilhelm Schneemelcher's New Testament Apocrypha, translated by George Ogg; the translations below follow Vielhauer's order:1. When Christ wished to come upon the earth to men, the good Father summoned a mighty power in heaven, called Michael, entrusted Christ to the care thereof, and the power came into the world and was called Mary, Christ was in her womb seven months. Fragment 1 identifies Jesus as the son of the Holy Spirit, and it came to pass when the Lord was come up out of the water, the whole fount of the Holy Spirit descended upon him and rested on him and said to him: My Son, in all the prophets was I waiting for thee that thou shouldest come and I might rest in thee.
For thou art my rest. Fragment 2 uses the language of Jewish Wisdom literature, but applies it to the Holy Spirit: the Spirit has waited in vain through all the prophets for the Son; the "rest" that the Holy Spirit finds in the Son belongs to the Christian gnostic idea of the pre-existent Redeemer who becomes incarnate in Jesus.3. So did my mother, the Holy Spirit, take me by one of my hairs and carry me away on to the great mountain Tabor. Fragments 2 and 3, giving accounts of Jesus' baptism and temptation or transfiguration, spring from the widespread Greco-Roman myth of the descent of divine Wisdom.
Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp is a manuscript written in the form of a letter that relates the religious martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of John the Apostle in the 2nd century AD. It forms the earliest account of Christian martyrdom outside of the New Testament; the author of Martyrdom of Polycarp is unknown, but it has been attributed to members of the group of early Christian theologians known as the Church Fathers. The letter, sent from the church in Smyrna to another church in Asia Minor at Philomelium, is written from the point of view of an eye-witness, recounting the arrest of the elderly Polycarp, the Romans' attempt to execute him by fire, subsequent miraculous events; the letter takes influence from both Jewish martyrdom texts in the Gospels. Furthermore, the Martyrdom of Polycarp promotes an ideology of martyrdom, by delineating the proper conduct of a martyr. Modern critical editions of the Martyrdom of Polycarp are compiled from three different categories of manuscript: seven Greek manuscripts, the fourth century Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, a single Latin manuscript.
The Greek manuscripts are all from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries. Of the seven manuscripts, six provide a similar account of the martyrdom of Polycarp and are thus believed to represent a single family of texts; the seventh manuscript, known as the Moscow Codex and dating to the thirteenth century, contains a more elaborate final chapter. In addition to the Greek manuscripts there are the writings of Eusebius related in his Ecclesiastical History, written around AD 324–325. Eusebius summarizes the martyrdom and ends his account at 19.1, omitting the concluding sections that relate the transmission of the text, as well as the passion narrative parallels. The Latin version of the Martyrdom dating from the tenth century exists as an independent account of the martyrdom but does not offer any variance upon the text. There is an Old Church Slavonic translation that serves as an independent witness. Little corroborating evidence exists to assist in the dating of the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Alternatively, historians have attempted to assign a date to the actual death of Polycarp.
Three dates have been proposed for Polycarp's death: Estimated as 155 AD or 156 AD due to the known proconsuls of Asia, such as Quadratus and the chronological statements in MartPol 21. 167 AD due to Eusebius dating of MartPol to the seventh year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. 177 AD as argued by Grégoire and Orgels that the phrase “seventh year” in Eusebius's account is miswritten and means the “seventeenth year” of Marcus Aurelius. The'Martyrdom' of Polycarp, along with other documents of the Apostolic Fathers plays a central role in bridging the New Testament and emerging Christian writers in the latter half of the second century, such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. In his youth he is said to have known the apostles and in his years Irenaeus. Due to the linking historical weight that the martyrdom text carries its historicity is a point of debate in scholarship. A challenge to the dates could well call into question the authenticity of the document itself. Part of the skepticism regarding the MartPol text has centered on the number of parallels with the passion narratives of the Gospels, including Polycarp's prediction of his capture and death, the eirenarch named Herod, the arrest of Polycarp "with weapons as if he were a criminal", Polycarp being carried on a donkey back to Smyrna, miraculous occurrences such as the ‘voice from heaven’ urging Polycarp to ‘Be strong and be a man!’.
On the other hand, the fact of an overlay of interpretation does not in itself invalidate the historicity. Moreover, none of these elements is implausible; some have maintained that the most difficult aspect of the narrative to accept as authentic is its treatment of Roman legal proceedings. In fact, Polycarp's trial is represented as taking place before one of the leading magistrates of the Empire on a public holiday, in the middle of a sport stadium, with no use of the tribunal, no formal legal accusation, no official sentence. Though the trials of Christians, of all subjects for that matter, were subject to the governor's procedural method of cognitio extra ordinem, some feel that this still does not explain the lack of a formal legal accusation and sentence; this line of argumentation against historicity could be all the more serious in so far as Roman capital trial procedure would have been well known to the population of the time. Some have proposed that the Martyrdom of Polycarp is in fact a theological composition designed to support a particular understanding of martyrdom in relation to the Christian Gospel, among the elements cited being biblical parallelism, perceived apologia for lack of surviving relics, appearance of the expression'Catholic church', the behavior of Quintus, the inventio-styled epigrams, a clear preoccupation with the status of the martyrs.
Some have gone so far as to suggest a late date for the composition of the text in the first half of third century. The Martyrdom of Polycarp is recognized as taking on two literary forms, it is considered to be a letter as well as a martyr act. The construction of the text follows a letter format, it is a letter sent by the church in Smyrna to the church in Philomelium but was meant to be circulated t
Second Epistle of Clement
The Second Epistle of Clement referred to as 2 Clement, is an early Christian writing. It is considered canon by the Coptic Orthodox Church. 2 Clement was traditionally believed to have been an epistle to the Christian Church in Corinth written by Clement of Rome sometime in the late 1st century. However, 4th-century bishop Eusebius, in his historical work, says that there was one recognized epistle of Clement, he expresses doubt about the authenticity of a second epistle. Modern scholars believe that Second Clement is a sermon written around 95–140 CE by an anonymous author, one, neither the author of 1 Clement nor Clement of Rome. Nonetheless, scholars still refer to the work by its traditional name "Second Clement". 2 Clement appears to be a transcript of a homily or sermon, delivered orally at a Christian worship service. For example, in ch. 19 the speaker announces that he will read aloud from scripture – something one would only expect to find in a transcript of an oral sermon. Whereas an epistle would begin by introducing the sender and recipient, 2 Clement starts with by addressing "Brethren", proceeding directly to the sermon.
If it is a sermon, 2 Clement would be the earliest surviving Christian sermon. Like many early Christian texts, 2 Clement was written in Greek, the common language of the Hellenized Mediterranean area; the earliest external reference to 2 Clement is found in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History written in the early 4th century: But it must be observed that there is said to be a second epistle of Clement. But we do not know that this is recognized like the former, for we do not find that the ancients have made any use of it, and certain men have brought forward other wordy and lengthy writings under his name, containing dialogues of Peter and Apion. But no mention has been made of these by the ancients. Rather than trying to convert others to Christianity, 2 Clement appears to be directed at an audience of Christians who had converted from Paganism. 2 Clement seems to reference a history of idolatry: " we were maimed in our understanding - we were worshipping stones and pieces of wood, gold and silver and copper - all of them made by humans".
Despite their pagan background, the speaker and audience in 2 Clement appear to consider the Jewish texts to be scripture - the speaker quotes from the Book of Isaiah and interprets the text. The speaker regards the words of Jesus as scripture - for example, 2 Clement 2:4 mentions a saying of Jesus as "scripture":Και ετερα δε γραφη λεγει, οτι "ουκ ηλθον καλεσαι δικαιους, αλλα αμαρτωλους". Again another scripture saith, I sinners. In addition to the canonical literature, the author of 2 Clement appears to have had access to Christian writings or oral tradition aside from those found in the New Testament; some quotes attributed to Jesus are found only here, e.g. 4:5. Δια τουτο ταυτα υμων πρασσοντων, ειπεν ο κυριος· "Εαν ητε μετ' εμου συνηγμενοι εν τω κολπω μου και μη ποιητε τας εντολας μου, αποβαλω υμας και ερω υμιν· Υπαγετε απ΄εμου, ουκ οιδα υμας, ποθεν εστε, εργαται ανομιας". For this cause, if ye do these things, the Lord said, Though ye be gathered together with Me in My bosom, do not My commandments, I will cast you away and will say unto you, Depart from Me, I know you not whence ye are, ye workers of iniquity΄΄.
In 2 Clement 5:2-4, the author quotes a saying of Jesus, found in the New Testament, but the version quoted in 2 Clement is longer than the version found in the New Testament. Λεγει γαρ ο κυριος· "Εσεσθε ως αρνια εν μεσω λυκων". Αποκριθεις δε ο Πετρος αυτω λεγει· "Εαν ουν διασπαραξωσιν οι λυκοι τα αρωια. For the Lord saith, Ye shall be as lambs in the midst of wolves, but Peter answered and said unto Him, What if the wolves should tear the lambs? Jesus said unto Peter. In the 20th century, a manuscript fragment was discovered that suggests this saying is a quote from the Gospel of Peter, much of, lost. 2 Clement 12:2 says: επερωτηθεις γαρ αυτος ο κυριος υπο τινος, ποτε ηξει αυτου η βασιλεια, ειπεν Οταν εσται τα δυο εν, και το εξω ως το εσω, και το αρσεν μετα της θηλειας ουτε αρσεν ουτε θηλυ. For the Lord Himself, being asked by a certain person when his kingdom would come, When the two shall be one, the outside as the inside, the male with the female, neither male or female, he goes on to give interpretations of these metaphors.
The saying was ascribed to Cassianus and to the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians by Clement of Alexandria. A version of the saying is found in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, lost until the mid-20th century: Jesus saw children that were being suckled, he said to his disciples: These children being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom. They said to him, If we are children, shall we enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, make the inside like the outside
Acts of Philip
The Greek Acts of Philip is an unorthodox episodic apocryphal book of acts from the mid-to-late fourth century in fifteen separate acta, that gives an accounting of the miraculous acts performed by the Apostle Philip, with overtones of the heroic romance. Some of these episodes are identifiable as belonging to more related "cycles". Two episodes recounting events of Philip's commission have survived in both shorter and longer versions. There is no commission narrative in the surviving texts: Philip's authority rests on the prayers and benediction of Peter and John and is explicitly bolstered by a divine epiphany, in which the voice of Jesus urges "Hurry Philip! Behold, my angel is with you, do not neglect your task" and "Jesus is secretly walking with him".. The Acts of Philip is most represented by a text discovered in 1974 by François Bovon and Bertrand Bouvier in the library of Xenophontos monastery on Mount Athos in Greece; the manuscript dates from the fourteenth century but its language identifies it as a copy of a fourth-century original.
Many of the narratives in the manuscript were known from other sources, but some were hitherto unknown. The narrative recounts; the followers were Philip, and— a leading figure in the second half of the text— a woman named Mariamne, identified in the text as Philip's sister, who Bovon at first suggested may be identical to Mary Magdalene. However, following the Discovery Channel's popularized speculations in The Lost Tomb of Jesus, Bovon publicly distanced himself from its claims, withdrawing his published assertion that the Mariamne of the Talpiot tomb discussed in The Lost Tomb of Jesus is the same person, writing in an open letter to the Society of Biblical Literature: the Mariamne of the Acts of Philip is part of the apostolic team with Philip and Bartholomew. In the beginning, her faith is stronger than Philip's faith; this portrayal of Mariamne fits well with the portrayal of Mary of Magdala in the Manichean Psalms, the Gospel of Mary, Pistis Sophia. My interest on the level of literary traditions.
I have suggested this identification in 1984 in an article of New Testament Studies. The text discovered by Bovon described a community that practised vegetarianism and celibacy. Women in the community wore men's clothes and held positions of authority comparable to men, serving as priests and deacons; the community used a form of the eucharist where vegetables and water were consumed in place of bread and wine. Among lesser miraculous accomplishments of the group were the conversion of a talking leopard and a talking goat, as well as the slaying of a dragon. "Speaking animals as helpers of the apostles are familiar figures in the apostolic Acts". New translations of the full text as discovered by Bovon have been published in French, 1996, in English in 2012. Previous English translations, such as that in M. R. James, are based on the collections of fragments. Bovon, F. B. Bouvier, F. Amsler, Acta Philippi: Textus. Amsler, F. Acta Philippi: Commentarius. F. Amsler et A. Frey, Concordantia Actorum Philippi.
F. Bovon, B. Bouvier, F. Amsler, Actes de l'apôtre Philippe: Introduction, notes et traductions, Turnhout: Brepols 1996. ISBN 978-2-503-50422-3. François Bovon and Christopher R. Matthews, The Acts of Philip: a new translation, Baylor University Press, 2012. ISBN 9781602586550. De Santos Otero, "Acta Philippi," in W. Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha. Vol. II, 468–473. Bovon, F. B. Bouvier, F. Amsler, Actes de l'apôtre Philippe. Bovon, F. "Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip", in F. Stanley Jones, Which Mary? 2002, 75–89. Bovon, F. "Women Priestesses in the Apocryphal Acts of Philip," in S. Matthews, C. Briggs Kittredge and M. Johnson-DeBaufre, Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, 109–121. M. R. James, in The Apocryphal New Testament 1924. Text of the Acts of Philip, based on sources available before the Mount Athos discovery. Peter H. Desmond, "Fourth-Century Church Tales: Women priests and summer dresses", Harvard Magazine on-line edition Women Priests, Vegetarianism – An Early Christian Manuscript Holds Some Surprises – from the Harvard University Gazette.
Bovon's letter to the Society of Biblical Literature
Gospel of Philip
The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a text of New Testament apocrypha, dated to around the 3rd century but lost in modern times until an Egyptian man rediscovered it by accident, buried in a cave near Nag Hammadi, in 1945. The text is not related to the canonical gospels and is not accepted as canonical by the Christian church. Although it may seem similar to the Gospel of Thomas, scholars are divided as to whether it is a single discourse or a collection of Valentinian sayings. Sacraments, in particular the sacrament of marriage, are a major theme; as in the other gnostic texts, the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Philip defends the tradition that gives Mary Magdalene special insight into Jesus' teaching, but does not support "twenty-first-century inventions concerning Mary Magdalene as Jesus' wife and mother of his offspring."Nevertheless, novels such as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code have encouraged the popular theory that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
The Ancient Greek manuscript describes Jesus as Mary's "koinonos", or "companion", which may sometimes imply a sexual relationship, but is always used as "a metaphor for a deeper, spiritual partnership". The gospel's title appears at the end of the Coptic manuscript in a colophon; the text proper makes no claim to be from Philip, though the four New Testament gospels make no explicit claim of authorship. The Gospel of Philip was written between 150 AD and 350 AD, while Philip himself lived in the first century, making it unlikely to be his writing. Most scholars hold a 3rd-century date of composition. A single manuscript of the Gospel of Philip, in Coptic, was found in the Nag Hammadi library, a cache of documents, secreted in a jar and buried in the Egyptian desert at the end of the 4th century; the text was bound in the same codex. From the mix of aphorisms, brief polemics, narrative dialogue, biblical exegesis, dogmatic propositions, Wesley T. Isenberg, the editor and translator of the text, has attributed seventeen sayings to Jesus, nine of which Isenberg characterizes as citations and interpretations of those found in the canonical gospels The new sayings, "identified by the formula introducing them are brief and enigmatic and are best interpreted from a gnostic perspective," Isenberg has written in his Introduction to the text.
Much of the Gospel of Philip is concerned with Gnostic views of the origin and nature of mankind and the sacraments of baptism and marriage. The Gospel emphasizes the sacramental nature of the embrace between man and woman in the nuptial chamber, an archetype of spiritual unity, which entails the indissoluble nature of marriage Many of the sayings are identifiably Gnostic, appear quite mysterious and enigmatic: The Lord said, "Blessed is he, before he came into being. For he who is, has been and shall be." He who has knowledge of the truth is a free man, but the free man does not sin, for "He who sins is the slave of sin". Truth is knowledge the father. Echamoth is Echmoth, another. Echamoth is Wisdom but Echmoth is the Wisdom of death, the one who knows death, called "the little Wisdom"; those who say they will die first and rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing. Jesus came to crucify the world. Jesus took them all by stealth, for he did not appear as he was, but in the manner in which they would be able to see him.
He appeared to them all. He appeared to the great as great, he appeared to the small as small. He appeared to the angels as an angel, to men as a man, it is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that exist unless he becomes like them... You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see yourself - and what you see you shall become. Adam came into being from the Spirit and from the virgin earth. Christ therefore, was born from a virgin to rectify the Fall which occurred in the beginning. One saying in particular appears to identify the levels of initiation in gnosticism, although what the bridal chamber represented in gnostic thought is a matter of great debate: The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. One possibility is that the bridal chamber refers symbolically to the relationship of trust and singular devotion that should exist between God and mankind – just as the marriage relationship implies a devotion of husband and wife to each other, expected to exclude all other parties.
This symbolic meaning is found for example in the Parable of the Ten Virgins –, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, went forth to meet the bridegroom". Another interpretation of the Gospel of Philip finds Jesus as the central focus of the text; this view is supported by Marvin W. Meyer. Evidence for this belief can be found in the following selection of quotations from the gospel: Those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit