Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter

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The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter is a text found amongst the Nag Hammadi library, and part of the New Testament apocrypha. Like the vast majority of texts in the Nag Hammadi collection, it is heavily gnostic. It was probably written around 100-200 AD. Since the only known copy is written in Coptic, it is also known as the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter.

The text takes gnostic interpretations of the crucifixion to the extreme, picturing Jesus as laughing and warning against people who cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking they shall become pure. Like some of the rarer Gnostic writings, this one also doubts the established Crucifixion story which places Jesus on the cross. Instead, according to this text, there was a substitute:

"He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me."

One interesting passage, about Jesus upbraiding Peter for lack of focus in his meditation, "as he was about to reprove you three times in this night," is the final line of the first paragraph. This curious inverse parallel of the canonical denial of Jesus by Peter story in all four canonical Gospels raises the question of provenance for both this text and the canon

Christology[edit]

It is unclear whether this text advocates an adoptionist or docetist Christology, but based on its literary parallels with the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, it may well subscribe to the latter.

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