Apocalypse of Paul


Apocalypse of Paul

The Apocalypse of Paul is one of the texts of the New Testament apocrypha. There is an Ethiopic version of the Apocalypse which features the Virgin Mary in the place of Paul the Apostle, as the receiver of the vision, known as the "Apocalypse of the Virgin". The text is not to be confused with the gnostic "Apocalypse of Paul", which is unlikely to be related.

The text appears to be an elaborate expansion and rearrangement of the "Apocalypse of Peter", and is essentially a description of a vision of Heaven, and then of Hell - although it also contains a prologue describing all creation appealing to God against the sin of man, which is not present in Peter's "Apocalypse". At the end of the text, Paul/Mary manages to persuade God to give everyone in Hell a day off every Sunday.

The text extends Peter's "Apocalypse" by framing the reasons for the visits to heaven and hell as the witnessing of the death and judgement of one wicked man, and one who is righteous. The text is heavily moralistic, and adds, to the "Apocalypse of Peter", features such as:
*Pride is the root of all evil
*Heaven is the land of milk and honey
*Hell has rivers of fire and of ice (for the cold hearted)
*Some angels are evil, the dark angels of hell, including Temeluchus, the tartaruchi.

Plan of the book

* 1, 2. Discovery of the revelation.
* 3-6. Appeal of creation to God against man
* 7-10. The report of the angels to God about men.
* 11-18. Deaths and judgements of the righteous and the wicked.
* 19-30. First vision of Paradise, including lake Acherusa.
* 31-44. Hell. Paul obtains rest on Sunday for the lost.
* 45-51. Second vision of Paradise.

Versions

Greek copies of the texts are rare; those existing containing many omissions. Of the Eastern versions -Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic- the Syriac are considered to be the most reliable. There are also several abridged Latin texts, from which many current versions were translated from, into most European languages.

Whole episodes are repeated hinting of unskilled compilation.

James also sees its influence in the Dante's Inferno (ii. 28Several versions and commentaries on [http://dante.dartmouth.edu/search_view.php?query=&cmd=Search&commentary%5B%5D=0&language=any&cantica=1&canto=2&line=28 Inferno, Canto II, 28] of the Divine Comedy. Pietro Alighieri thinks it is an allusion to : But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:] to Hell.

References

External links

*M.R. James' translation and commentary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924.
** [http://www.comparative-religion.com/christianity/apocrypha/new-testament-apocrypha/4/5.php at Comparative-Religion.Com]
** [http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/noncanon/apoc/apcpaul.htm at the Wesley Center Online]


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