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448The Gospel of Nicodemus.

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Part II.—Christ’s Descent into Hell.

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Latin.  First Version.

Chapter 1 (17).

And Joseph rose up and said to Annas and Caiaphas:  Truly and well do you wonder, since you have heard that Jesus has been seen alive from the dead, ascending up into heaven.  But it is more to be wondered at that he is not the only one who has risen from the dead:  but he has raised up alive out of their tombs many others of the dead, and they have been seen by many in Jerusalem.  And hear me now, that we all know the blessed Simeon, the great priest, who took up with his hands Jesus, when an infant, in the temple.  And Simeon himself had two sons, full brothers; and we all were at their falling asleep, and at their burial.  Go, therefore, and see their tombs:  for they are open, because they have risen; and, behold, they are in the city of Arimathæa, living together in prayers.  And, indeed, they are heard crying out, but speaking with nobody, and they are silent as the dead.  But come, let us go to them; let us conduct them to us with all honour and respect.  And if we adjure them, perhaps they will speak to us of the mystery of their resurrection.

At hearing this they all rejoiced.  And Annas and Caiaphas, Nicodemus, and Joseph, and Gamaliel, went, and did not find them in their sepulchres; but, walking into the city of Arimathea, they found them there, on their bended knees, and spending their time in prayer.  And kissing them, they conducted them to Jerusalem, into the synagogue, with all veneration and fear of God.  And shutting the doors, and lifting up the law of the Lord, they put it in their hands, adjuring them by the God Adonai, and the God of Israel, who by the law and the prophets spoke to our fathers, saying:  Do you believe that it was Jesus who raised you from the dead?  Tell us how you have risen from the dead.

Karinus and Leucius, hearing this adjuration, trembled in their body, and groaned, being disturbed in heart.  And together they looked towards heaven, and with their fingers made the sign of the cross on their tongues, and immediately they spoke together, saying:  Give each of us sheets of paper, and let us write what we have seen and heard.  And they gave it to them.  And they sat down, and each of them wrote, saying:—

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