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468The Narrative of Joseph.

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Narrative of Joseph of Arimathæa, That Begged the Lord’s Body; In Which Also He Brings In the Cases of the Two Robbers.

Chapter 1.

I am Joseph of Arimathæa, who begged from Pilate the body of the Lord Jesus for burial, and who for this cause was kept close in prison by the murderous and God-fighting20322032    ms. C. has God-killing.  [C is the designation given by Tischendorf to the ms. from which Birch made his edition of the text.  It is in Paris; date a.d. 1315.  Themss. which Tischendorf himself collated are designated A (in the Ambrosian library at Milan, of about the twelfth century), B (Paris, fifteenth century), D (Harleian codex, of the same century).  Only a small part of the last ms. was used by Tischendorf; see his prolegomena, p. lxxxi.—R.] Jews, who also, keeping to the law, have by Moses himself become partakers in tribulation and having provoked their Lawgiver to anger, and not knowing that He was God, crucified Him and made Him manifest to those that knew God.  In those days in which they condemned the Son of God to be crucified, seven days before Christ suffered, two condemned robbers were sent from Jericho to the procurator Pilate; and their case was as follows:—

The first, his name Gestas, put travellers to death, murdering them with the sword, and others he exposed naked.  And he hung up women by the heels, head down, and cut off their breasts, and drank the blood of infants limbs, never having known God, not obeying the laws, being violent from the beginning, and doing such deeds.

And the case of the other was as follows:  He was called Demas, and was by birth a Galilæan, and kept an inn.  He made attacks upon the rich, but was good to the poor—a thief like Tobit, for he buried the bodies of the poor.20332033    Tobit i. 17, 18.  And he set his hand to robbing the multitude of the Jews, and stole the law20342034    Perhaps the true reading is ναόν, and not νόμον:  plundered the temple. itself in Jerusalem, and stripped naked the daughter of Caiaphas, who was priestess of the sanctuary, and took away from its place the mysterious deposit itself placed there by Solomon.  Such were his doings.

And Jesus also was taken on the third day before the passover, in the evening.  And to Caiaphas and the multitude of the Jews it was not a passover, but it was a great mourning to them, on account of the plundering of the sanctuary by the robber.  And they summoned Judas Iscariot, and spoke to him, for he was son of the brother20352035    ms. B has:  And they say that he was of the family of the sister, etc. of Caiaphas the priest.  He was not a disciple before the face of Jesus; but all the multitude of the Jews craftily supported him, that he might follow Jesus, not that he might be obedient to the miracles done by Him, nor that he might confess Him, but that he might betray Him to them, wishing to catch up some lying word of Him, giving him gifts for such brave, honest conduct to the amount of a half shekel of gold each day.  And he did this for two years with Jesus, as says one of His disciples called John.

And on the third day, before Jesus was laid hold of, Judas says to the Jews:  Come, let us hold a council; for perhaps it was not the robber that stole the law, but Jesus himself, and I accuse him.  And when these words had been spoken, Nicodemus, who kept the keys of the sanctuary, came in to us, and said to all:  Do not do such a deed.  For Nicodemus was true, more than all the multitude of the Jews.  And the daughter of Caiaphas, Sarah by name, cried out, and said:  He himself said before all against this holy place, I am able to destroy this temple, and in three days to raise it.  The Jews say to her:  Thou hast credit with all of us.  For they regarded her as a prophetess.  And assuredly, after the council had been held, Jesus was laid hold of.


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