March 14, 2012
One of the strongest affirmations of the divinity of Christ occurs in Greek Hamburg Papyrus (IX, 13): εἷς Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἄλλος οὐκ ὑπάρχει· This sentence resembles 1 Cor 8.6: ἀλλ’ ἡμῖν εἷς θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν, καὶ εἷς κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι’ αὐτοῦ. AP IX, 13 shares three common themes with 1 Cor 8.1-6: These are: (1) A polemic against idolatry: both argue that idols represent false gods: The Acts of Paul says they are empty; 1 Cor argues that they have no real existence. (2) Both raise the language of the Shema, in order to affirm what R. Bauckham calls Christological monotheism. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one Lord of the Shema and affirmed thus as the one eternal Creator. (3) Both texts affirm creation theology–that God created the heavens and the earth and humanity.
1 Cor 8.1-6 (RSV); Acts of Paul IX, 13, my translation (italics are restored from Coptic Bodmer XLI.
March 6, 2012
The Acts of Paul seems to base the story of Paul’s conversion upon Galatians 1.11-17. A verbal comparison of the English helps us to see clearly possible influence.
The translation of the AP from Coptic is mine. Biblical passages are from the RSV.
June 21, 2011
In the 1997 French edition of the Écrits apocryphes chrétiens (ed. Bovon and Geoltran), Rodolphe Kasser translated a phrase from the Coptic Bodmer XLI of Acts of Paul IX, 13 (p. 1155), “les hommes ont contracté ces pestes” (“the humans acquired these plagues”). It would be another seven years before Kasser would publish the editio princeps of Bodmer XLI, and he now translates this phrase (R. Kasser and P. Luisier, Le Muséon 117 ): “les (hommes) se les ont acquis” (“the (humans) acquired them for themselves”); ΑΥϪΠΑΥ ΝΕΥ (literally: “they acquired them for themselves”).
It would appear that Kasser’s “pestes” (plagues) represents “all the things that were mentioned above” through which the humans have died. What are these things? Gold, silver, precious stones, fornications, adulteries and drunkeness. Yet the neither the Coptic nor the Greek texts name these things “plagues”, as Kasser has interpreted. It would be inaccurate since the created world for the Acts of Paul is good and so even though the lust and acquisition of the first three, gold, silver and precious stones, leads to death, it is not caused by the created things themselves but by the sin of humanity against the Creator. The Acts of Paul is an anti-gnostic text, and it should not be translated in a manner which leads the reader to think that the text would denigrate created matter.