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of the ancient writers, whose accounts I shall produce, according to my usual method ; i. e. the time in which they lived. It is mentioned, , 1. By Serapion, in a treatise which he wrote concerning this
Gospel of Peter; of which we have the following account
preserved by Eusebius u. "Ετερός τε συντεταγμένος αυτό There is another treatise of his, λόγος περί του λεγομένου κατά which he wrote concerning the Πέτρον Ευαγγελίου, δν πεποίηται Gospel entitled, according to απελέγχων τα ψευδώς εν αυτώ εί
Peter, with design to confute ρημένα, διά τινας εν τη κατά
some false assertions in it, on “Ρωσσών παροικία, προφάσει της
account of some in the parish of είρημένης γραφής εις ετεροδόξους Rossus, who, through the occa
sion of the said scripture, fell into διδασκαλίας αποκείλαντας. 'Αφ'
some erroneous doctrines. It may ης εύλογον βραχείας παραθέσθαι
not be improper to produce some λέξεις, δι' ών ην είχε περί του βι- few passages of it, in which he βλίου γνώμην προτίθησιν, ούτω declares what his sentiments were γράφων. Ημείς γαρ, αδελφοί, of that book. He writes thus : και Πέτρος και τους άλλους απο
We, brethren, do receive Peter στόλους αποδεχόμεθα ως Χριστόν. " and the other apostles even as Τα δε ονόματι αυτών ψευδεπί- “ Christ; but the spurious pieces γραφα ως έμπειροι παραιτούμεθα, “ under their names, as well knowγινώσκοντες ότι τα τοιαύτα ου ing them, we reject, having good παρελάβομεν: Εγώ γαρ γενό- 66 evidence that we have received μενος παρ' υμίν, υπενόουν τους no such things. For when I was πάντας ορθή πίστει προσφέρεσθαι, among you, I supposed that all και μη διελθών το υπ' αυτών προ
were believers of the true docφερόμενον ονόματι Πέτρου Ευαγ
« trine; and so not reading over
“ the book which they brought γέλιον, είπον, ότι εί τούτό εστι
me, under the title of The Gosμόνον το δοκούν υμίν παρέχειν μι
pel of Peter, I said, If this be κροψυχίαν, αναγινωσκέσθω. Νύν
“ the only occasion of your conδε μαθών, ότι αιρέσει τινι ο νούς
“ tention, let the book be read. αυτών ένεφώλευεν, εκ των λεχθέν
“ But now perceiving, by what των μοι, σπουδάσω πάλιν γενέσθαι
“I am told, that they had some προς υμάς ώστε, αδελφοί, προσ- “ secret heresy in their minds, δοκάτέ με εν τάχει. Ημείς δε,
(viz. which they had a mind to άδελφοι, καταλαβόμενοι οποίας ήν
“support by this book,) I will αιρέσεως ο Μαρκιανός, και εαυ- speedily make another visit to
u Hist. Eccl. 1. 6, C, 12.
τω ήναντιούτο, μη νοών & ελάλει,
But we, brethren, know & μαθήσεσθε εξ ών υμίν εγράφη. “ what the heresy of Marcianus 'Έδυνήθημεν γαρ παρ' άλλων των “ is, who is not consistent with άσκησάντων αυτό τούτο το Ευαγ
• himself, not understanding γέλιον, τουτέστι παρά των διαδό
66 what he said, as you may perχων των καταρξαμένων αυτού, ους
“ ceive by what has been written Δοκητας καλούμεν (τα γαρ πλεί
“ to you. For we prevailed over
“ those others, who make use of ονα φρονήματα εκείνων εστι της διδασκαλίας) χρησάμενοι παρ' αυ
“ this Gospel, i. e. over those who των διελθείν, και ευρεϊν τα μεν
were his [viz. Marcianus's]
successors, whom we call Doπλείονα του ορθού λόγου του Σω
cetas, (for they have in their τηρος, τινα δε προσδιεσταλμένα,
“ scheme of doctrine a great va& και υπετάξαμεν υμίν. Και ταύτα
« riety of sentiments,) and havμεν τού Σεραπίωνος.
ing borrowed [the said Gospel] « of them to peruse, found out
many things rightly spoken of our Saviour, and others as bad,
which I have subjoined to this
“ Epistle." So far Serapion *.
2. By Tertullian y. Evangelium, quod edidit Marcus, The Gospel, which Mark pubPetri adfirmatur, cujus interpres lished, is affirmed by some to be Marcus.
the Gospel of Peter, whose inter
preter Mark was.
3. By Origen 2. . Τους δε αδελφούς Ιησού φασί τινες There are some who say the breείναι εκ παραδόσεως ορμώμενοι του
thren of Christ [here mentioned] επιγεγραμμένου κατά Πέτρον Εύ- were the children of Joseph, by a αγγελίου, και της βίβλου Ιακώβου,
former wife, who lived with him υιούς Ιωσήφ εκ προτέρας γυναικός before Mary; and they are inσυνωκηκυίας αυτώ προ της Μα
duced to this opinion by some ρίας.
passages in that which is entitled, The Gospel of Peter, or the Book of James.
. 4. By Eusebius a. Το τε μεν-κατ' αυτόν ωνομα- It is evident, that the book en
* I imagine there is some defect in disagree, but because it is scarce cathe Greek of Eusebius, in the latter pable of a just version, part of this paragraph, not only be- y Lib. 4. adv. Marcion. c. 5. cause the translators Ruffin, Christo- 2 Comment. in Matt. xiii. 55. pherson, and Valesius prodigiously
a Hist. Eccl. 1. 3. c. 3.
σμένον Ευαγγέλιον-ουδ' άλως titled, The Gospel of Peter, εν καθολικούς ισμεν παραδεδομένον, is not by any means to be esότι μήτε αρχαίων μήτε των καθ' ' teemed canonical, inasmuch as ημάς τις εκκλησιαστικός συγγρα
none of the ancients, nor
of φεύς ταϊς εξ αυτού συνεχρήσατο
our ecclesiastical writers, have
taken testimonies out of it. μαρτυρίαις. .
By the same b. He places it among the books forged by the heretics under the apostles' names, not received nor cited by any ecclesiastical writer, but to be rejected as impious and absurd. See the place at large above, Chap. XXI. No. XXXIII.
5. By Jerome, in the Life of Peterc. Libri autem ejus, e quibus unus But those [other] books [called Actorum ejus inscribitur, alius Peter's], among which one is his Evangelii inter apocryphas
inter apocryphas Acts, another his Gospelscripturas reputantur,
reckoned among the apocryphal
scriptures. 6. By the samed, in the Life of Serapion. Alium de Evangelio, quod sub He composed also another book, Petri nomine fertur, librum com- concerning the Gospel which is posuit, ad Rhosensem Ciliciæ ec- carried about under the name of clesiam, quæ in hæresin ex ejus Peter, inscribed to the church of lectione diverterat.
Rossus in Cilicia, who by the reading of that book had fallen
into heresy. 7. By Gelasius, in his Decree, according to some editions. Evangelia nomine Petri apostoli The Gospels under the name of apocrypha.
Peter the apostle are apocryphal. From these passages it is not difficult to come to a determination concerning this book; only it seems necessary first to observe, that though I have recited here the passage of Tertullian, in which the Gospel of Mark appears formerly to have been called the Gospel of Peter, yet it is by no means to be confounded with, or taken for the same with the
apocryphal book now under consideration. I was obliged here to mention the passage of Tertullian, because my design obliges me to produce every place where there is any such mention ; but it would be madness hence to infer, that these two books
c Catal. Vir. illustr. in Petro.
d Id. in Serap.
bid. l. 3. C. 25. VOL. I.
were the same, seeing all the writers, who mention this Gospel of Peter, have rejected it as spurious, but every one of them agree in the receiving of St. Mark's Gospel as canonical; which could never have happened, had they been the same book. But not to leave the reader, who is unacquainted with these things, in the dark, as to the reason of Mark's Gospel being called by the name of Peter, I observe, that this was occasioned by the universally prevailing opinion among the first Christians, that St. Mark, being the companion of Peter, wrote the Gospel now extant under his name, from the mouth of Peter, or from what he heard him preach at Rome. This is attested by Papias, Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Jerome, and many others, as I have elsewhere observed, and endeavoured to prove their tradition to be true in this matter, from some internal evidences in the Gospel. See my Vindication of St. Matthew's Gospel, against Mr. Whiston, Chap. VI. From all this it is plain, the Gospel of Peter, now under discussion, was another book than that of St. Mark. By whom it was forged, is not very certain : Dr. Grabe e, and after him Dr. Millf, suppose it to have been made by Leucius, whom they reckon to have been a heretic of the second century: but in this they seem mistaken, because, as I have above proved, Chap. XXI. Leucius did not live till the latter end of the third, or beginning of the fourth century; whereas this Gospel appears to have been extant in the second century, by the book which Serapion wrote concerning it, who was bishop of Antioch in the eleventh year of the emperor Commodus, i. e. in the year of Christ 190, as is plain from the Chronicon of Eusebius, and Jerome's Account of his Life, above cited. That therefore which seems to me most probable, concerning the original of this book, is, that it was a composure of those ancient heretics, in the second century, called the Doceta, from Soxxiv to appear, because they believed and taught that the sufferings of Jesus Christ were not real, but only in appearances. For of these heretics, Serapion says, he borrowed this book, (if I rightly understand Eusebius,) and in it he observed several erroneous notions concerning Christ, which no one can
Spicileg. Patr. tom. I. p. 58.
& Vid. Clem. Alex, Strom. lib. 3. p. 465. et lib. 7. p. 765.
CHAP. XXXI. Gospel of Peter the same as that of Basilides. 291
reasonably doubt were these of Christ's not real, but apparent sufferings, after reading the passage. Mr. Dodwell, though he interprets the Greek of Eusebius somewhat differently, nevertheless concludes the same from them, viz. that this Gospel was forged by the Docetæh; and if this be true, I would offer it here as a conjecture, that perhaps the Gospel of Basilides, of which I have above treated, Chap. XI. No. IX. was the very same either in the whole, or in a great measure at least, with this apocryphal Gospel under the name of Peter; and this I am the rather inclined to believe,
First, Because these Docete were a branch of the Gnosticks; and of these Basilides was the head and founder. Basilides a quo Gnostici, says Eusebius in his Chronicon ad Ann. Christi 136; i. e. “ from Basilides proceeded the Gnosticks.”
Secondly, Because the Docetæ arose much about the same time that Basilides and his opinions became known in the world. The Docetæ, as appears from their being mentioned by Serapion, must at least have been formed into a sect before the end of the second century, and very probably before the middle of it; for Serapion disputed against those of this sect, who were (as he calls them) the diádoxon, the successors of Marcianus, who was one of these Docetæ. Now Serapion living, as has been above proved, in the year 190, and there having been some successions of these heretics between Marcianus and Serapion, it necessarily follows, that these heretics must have arose at least before the year 150, i. e. before the middle of this century. Besides, it is commonly supposed from those words of Clemens Alexandrinusi, in which he calls Julius Cassianus εξάρχων της Δοκήσεως, that he was the first founder of these Docetæ; and if so, it will follow that they were somewhat earlier; for then Marcianus must also have been one of his successors. I conclude, therefore, that these Docetæ arose very early in the second century, and consequently about the undoubted time in which Basilides and his tenets became most famous.
Thirdly, Because Basilides and his disciples affirmed, that Christ was not really a man in flesh, but only appeared to be so; and accordingly was not really crucified, but, while he Dodwell. Dissert. in Iren. IV. §. 36. p. 364. i Strom. lib. 3. p. 465.