The Acts of Philip
From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
[Warning: This is a false gospel, posted only to illustrate the kind of deception that is now infiltrating churches as well as the world.]
1 When he was come out of Galilee, a widow was carrying out her only son to burial. Philip asked her about her grief: I have spent in vain much money on the gods, Ares, Apollo, Hermes, Artemis, Zeus, Athena, the Sun and Moon, and I think they are asleep as far as I am concerned. And I consulted a diviner to no purpose.
2 The apostle said: Thou hast suffered nothing strange, mother, for thus doth the devil deceive men. Assuage thy grief and I will raise thy son in the name of Jesus. ...
4 She said: I believe in Jesus whom thou preachest. He raised her son, who sat up and said: Whence is this light? and how comes it that an angel came and opened the prison of judgement where I was shut up? where I saw such torments as the tongue of man cannot describe. ...
II. When he went unto Greece of Athens (!)
6 When he entered into the city of Athens which is called Hellas, 300 philosophers gathered and said: Let us go and see what his wisdom is, for they say of the wise men of Asia that their wisdom is great. For they supposed Philip to be a philosopher....
7 They said: If you have anything new to tell us, let us hear it, for we need nothing else but only to hear some new thing.
8 Philip: Then you must cast away the old man. The Lord said: Ye cannot put new wine into old bottles. I am glad to hear that you desire something new, for my Lord's teaching is new.
9 The philosophers: Who is thy Lord? Philip: Jesus Christ.
10 They: This is a new name to us. Give us three days to look into it.
11 They consulted, and said: Perhaps it will be best to send for the high priest of the Jews to discuss it with him.
12 So they wrote: The philosophers of Greece to Ananias the great high priest of the Jews at Jerusalem -and stated the case.
13 On reading the letter Ananias rent his clothes and said: Is that deceiver in Athens also? And Mansemat, that is, Satan entered into him. (This is another form of Mastema, the name of Satan in Jubilees and elsewhere.) And he consulted with the lawyers and Pharisees, and they said: Arm thyself and take 500 men and go and at all costs destroy Philip. ...
19 Ananias to Philip: Thinkest thou to turn us from the traditions of our fathers, and the God of the manna in the wilderness, and Moses, to follow the Nazarene, Jesus? Philip: I will ask my God to manifest himself to thee and to these -perchance thou wilt believe: but if not, a wonder shall befall thee. And he prayed God to send his Son.
20 The heavens opened and Jesus appeared in glory, his face seven times brighter than the sun, and his raiment whiter than snow. All the idols of Athens fell, and the devils in them fled crying out. Philip said: Hearest thou not the devils, and believest thou not him that is here?...
21 Jesus went up into heaven, and there was a great earthquake, and the people fled to the apostle, crying for mercy. ....
22 A voice from heaven: Philip, once son of thunder but now of meekness whatsoever thou askest my Father he will do for thee. The people were afraid at the voice. In the name of Christ, Philip made Ananias see. He said: How great is the art magic of Jesus! this Philip in a moment (or for a little) hath blinded me and in a moment restored my sight! ....
Out of the Travels of Philip the Apostle: from the fifteenth Act to the end, wherein is the Martyrdom.
107 (Introductory.) In the days of Trajan, after the Martyrdom of Simon, son of Clopas, bishop of Jerusalem, successor to James, Philip the apostle was preaching through all the cities of Lydia and Asia.
108 And he came to the city Ophioryme (Snake street), which is called Hierapolis of Asia, and was received by Stachys, a believer. And with him were Bartholomew, one of the Seventy, and his sister Mariamne, and their disciples. And they assembled at Stachys' house.
109 And Mariamne sat and listened to Philip discoursing. 110-112 He spoke of the snares of the dragon, who has 'no shape' in creation, and is recognized and shunned by beasts and birds.
113 For the men of the place worshipped the snake and had images of it, and called Hierapolis Ophioryme. And many were converted.
114 And Nicanora the proconsul's wife believed, she was diseased, especially in her eyes, and had been healed. She now came in a silver litter.
115 And Mariamne said in Hebrew: Alikaman, ikasame, marmari, iachaman, mastranan, achaman, which means: O daughter of the father, my lady, who wast given as a pledge to the serpent, Christ is come to thee (and much more). ...
126 But Mariamne on being stripped became like an ark of glass full of light and fire and every one ran away. ...
35 Jesus appeared and rebuked Philip. 136 But he defended himself. 137 And the Lord said: Since you have been unforgiving and wrathful, you shall indeed die in glory and be taken by angels to paradise, but shall remain outside it forty days, in fear of the flaming sword, and then I will send Michael and he shall let you in. And Bartholomew shall go to Lycaonia and be crucified there, and Mariamne's body shall be laid up in the river Jordan. And I shall bring back those who have been swallowed up. 138 And he drew a cross in the air, reaching down into the abyss, and it was filled with light, and the cross was like a ladder. And Jesus called the people, and they all came up, save the proconsul and the Viper And seeing the apostles they mourned and repented. 139 And Philip, still hanging, spoke to them and told them of his offense 140 And some ran to take him down: but he refused and spoke to them . . . . " Be not grieved that I hang thus, for I bear the form (type) of the first man, who was brought upon earth head downwards, and again by the tree of the cross made alive from the death of his transgression. And now do I fulfil the precept. For the Lord said to me: Unless ye make that which is beneath to be above, and the left to be right (and the right left), ye shall not enter into my kingdom. Be like me in this: for all the world is turned the wrong way, and every soul that is in it."
141 Further he spoke to them of the incarnation, 142 and bade them loose Bartholomew, and told him and Mariamne of their destiny. Build a church in the place where I die, and let the leopard and kid be there, and let Nicanora look after them till they die, and then bury them at the church gate: and let your peace be in the house of Stachys: and he exhorted them to purity. "Therefore our brother Peter fled from every place where a woman was: and further, he had offense given by reason of his own daughter. And he prayed the Lord, and she had a palsy of the side that she might not be led astray." 143 Bury me not in linen like the Lord, but in papyrus, and pray for me forty days. Where my blood is dropping a vine will grow, and ye shall use the wine of it for the cup: and partake of it on the third day. 144 And he prayed the Lord to receive him, and protect him against all enemies. "Let not their dark air cover me, that I may pass the waters of fire and all the abyss. Clothe me in thy glorious robe and thy seal of light that ever shineth, until I have passed by all the rulers of the world and the evil dragon that opposeth us." 145 And he died. 146 And they buried him as he directed. And a heavenly voice said he had received the crown.
147 After three days the vine grew Up. And they made the offering daily for forty days, and built the church and made Stachys bishop. And all the city believed. 148 And at the end of forty days the Saviour appeared in the form of Philip and told Bartholomew and Mariamne that he had entered paradise, and bade them go their ways. And Bartholomew went to Lycaonia and Mariamne to Jordan, and Stachys and the brethren abode where they were.
The narrative of the Act preserved in Syriac is this.
Philip, at Jerusalem, had a vision of Jesus, who commanded him to go to the city of Carthage, ' which is in Azotus ', and drive out the ruler of Satan, and preach the kingdom. He said: I know not Latin or Greek, and the people there do not know Aramaic. Jesus said: Did I not create Adam and give him speech? Go, and I will be with thee.
He went to Samaria, thence to Caesarea, and to the harbour and found a ship waiting for a wind. Asked to take Philip to Carthage, the captain said: Do not annoy me, we have waited twenty days: fetch your baggage and perhaps we shall get a wind, for you look like a servant of God. Philip: I have none; tell the passengers to come on board . . . . Let us pray for a fair wind. Turning to the west he commanded the angel of peace who has charm of fair winds to send a wind to take him to Carthage in a single day.
On board was a Jew, Ananias, who blasphemed (sotto voce, it seems) and said: May Adonai recompense thee, and the Christ on whom thou callest, who is become dust and lies in Jerusalem, while thou livest and leadest ignorant men astray by his name.
A wind came and filled the sail. The Jew rose to help to hoist the sail, and an angel bound him by the great toes and hung him head down on the top of the sail. The ship flew onward and the Jew cried out. Philip said: You shall not come down till you confess. He confessed his secret blasphemy. Philip: Dost thou now believe? Ananias confessed belief in a speech in which he enumerated Christ's (God's) mighty acts from creation to the deliverance of Susanna. Philip asked that he might be pardoned, and the angel brought him down. And the 495 men on the ship feared.
They looked up and saw the pharos of Carthage, and said; Can this be true? O fools, said Ananias, did ye not see what befell me for unbelief? If he commands that city in Christ's name, it will take all its inhabitants and go and stop in Egypt. The ship came into harbour. Philip dismissed the passengers, and stayed on board to confirm the captain.
On the Sunday he went up to the city to drive out Satan, and as he entered the gates, signed himself with the cross. He saw a black man on a throne with two serpents about his loins, and eyes like coals of fire, and flame coming from his mouth, there was a smell of smoke, and black men in troops were on his right and left. When Philip crossed himself the ruler fell backward and all his troops. Philip said: Fall, and rise not . . . . The ruler said: Why curse me? I do not abide here, but my troops wander over the earth and come to me at the third hour of the day, but they do not touch a disciple of Jesus. Woe is me! whither can I go? In all the four quarters of the world his gospel is preached. I am completely overthrown.
The whole city heard him, but saw him not. Philip bade him go, and he took his throne and his troops and flew away bewailing till they came to Babel, and he settled there. The whole city was in fear and Philip bade them leave their idols and turn to God, They praised God, and Philip went back to the ship. On the Sabbath the Jews assembled in their synagogue and summoned Ananias, and asked if his adventures were true. He signed himself with the cross and said: It is true, and God forbid I should renounce Jesus the Christ. He then addressed them in a long and very abusive speech (modelled more or less on that of Stephen), enumerating all their wicked acts. Then arose Joshua, the son of Nun, and ye sought to kill him with deadly poison . . . . Isaiah the prophet, and ye sawed him with a saw of boxwood . . . Ezekiel, and ye dragged him by his feet until his brains were dashed out . . . . Habakkuk, and through your sins he went astray from his prophetic office.' His face was like an angel. A priest arose and kicked him, and he died, and they buried him in the synagogue.
Next day Philip in the ship prayed and asked that Ananias might be delivered from the Jews. God commanded the earth and it gave a passage like a water-pipe, and conveyed Ananias to the bottom of the sea, and a dolphin bore up the body. Philip saw it, and after reassuring the people, bade it take the body back till he should go and convict the murderers.
Next day Philip went to the governor and got him to assemble all the Jews, and sit in judgement. Philip, to the Jews: Where is Ananias? They: Are we his keeper? Philip: Well are you called children of Cain, for, &c. Tell me where he is, and I will ask pardon for you. Jews: We have said we do not know. Philip: Do not lie. Jews: If the spirit were in you, you would know that we do not lie. Philip: If he is found with you, what do you deserve? Jews: Death from God and Caesar. Philip: Swear to me. They swore they knew nothing.
He looked and saw a man leading a sick ox to sell. He said to it: I command thee, go to the synagogue and call Ananias to rise and come and put these men to shame. The ox dragged his owner along and ran and called Ananias. He rose and laid hold of the ox with his right hand, and they came to Philip and prostrated themselves. Philip said: Whence comest thou? Ananias said: From the synagogue of these Jews, who murdered me for confessing Jesus: do me justice. Philip: The Lord has commanded us not to render evil for evil. The ox said: Order me and I will kill these men with my horns. Philip: Hurt no man, but go and serve thy master, and the Lord will heal thee. They went home in peace.
The governor said: These Jews deserve death. Philip: I am not come to kill but to give life. The Jews' mouths were closed.
Ananias spoke to the Jews and Philip also: but they did not ask pardon, so they were cast out. Three thousand Gentiles and fifteen hundred Jews believed; the unbelievers left the city, and before sunset an angel slew forty of the Jewish priests for shedding innocent blood: and all who saw it confessed and worshipped.
It is not clear, in the present state of our texts, where this episode could be fitted in to the Greek Acts. The Third Act, which has a voyage to Azotus, seems a possible place. But a glance at the Greek Acts shows that in spite of the appearance of method imparted by a division into Acts, there is no coherence at all in them, until we get to the city of the snake.
The first Act cannot have begun so abruptly as it now does. The second is equally abrupt in its introduction. The third is linked to it by the mention of Parthia, but there is great inconsequence in it, for it presupposes that Philip has done nothing as yet. The fourth is linked to the third by the scene, Azotus. The fifth, sixth, and seventh, at Niatera, are wholly detached from what has gone before, and with the ninth we make a fresh start.
Scanned and Edited by
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995
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