Part II. – Christ’s Descent into Hell
Latin. First Version
Chap. 1 (17). – And Joseph rose up and said to Annas and Caiaphas: Truly and well do you wonder, since you have heard that Jesus has been seen alive from the dead, ascending up into heaven. But it is more to be wondered at that he is not the only one who has risen from the dead: but he has raised up alive out of their tombs many others of the dead, and they have been seen by many in Jerusalem. And hear me now, that we all know the blessed Simeon, the great priest, who took up with his hands Jesus, when an infant, in the temple. And Simeon himself had two sons, full brothers; and we all were at their filling asleep, and at their burial. Go, therefore, and see their tombs: for they are open, because they have risen; and, behold, they are in the city of Arimathæa, living together in prayers. And, indeed, they are heard crying out, but speaking with nobody, and they are silent as the dead. But come, let us go to them; let us conduct them to us with all honour and respect. And if we adjure them, perhaps they will speak to us of the mystery of their resurrection.
At hearing this they all rejoiced. And Annas and Caiaphas, Nicodemus, and Joseph, and Gamaliel, went, and did not find them in their sepulchres; but, walking into the city of Arimathea, they found them there, on their bended knees, and spending their time in prayer. And kissing them, they conducted them to Jerusalem, into the synagogue, with all veneration and fear of God. And shutting the doors, and lifting up the law of the Lord, they put it in their hands, adjuring them by the God Adonai, and the God of Israel, who by the law and the prophets spoke to our fathers, saying: Do you believe that it was Jesus who raised you from the dead? Tell us how you have risen from the dead.
Karinus and Leucius, hearing this adjuration, trembled in their body, and groaned, being disturbed in heart. And together they looked towards heaven, and with their fingers made the sign of the cross on their tongues, and immediately they spoke together, saying: Give each of us sheets of paper, and let us write what we have seen and heard. And they gave it to them. And they sat down, and each of them wrote, saying: –
Chap. 2 (18). – O Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life of the dead, permit us to speak mysteries through the death of Thy cross, because we have been adjured by Thee. For Thou didst order Thy servants to relate to no one the secrets of Thy divine majesty which Thou didst in Hades. And when we were, along with all our fathers, lying in the deep, in the blackness of darkness, suddenly there appeared a golden heat1 of the sun, and a purple royal light shining upon us. And immediately the father of all the human race, with all the patriarchs and prophets, exulted, saying: That light is the source of eternal light, which hath promised to transmit to us co-eternal light. And Esaias cried out, and said: This is the light of the Father, the Son of God, as I predicted when I was alive upon earth: The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim across Jordan, Galilee of the nations, the people who sat in darkness, have seen a great light; and light was shining among those who are in the region of the shadow of death. And now it has come and shone upon us sitting in death.
And when we were all exulting in the light which shone over us, there came up to us our father Simeon; and he said, exulting: Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; because I took Him up when born, an infant, in my hands in the temple; and instigated by the Holy Spirit, I said to Him, confessing: Now mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all peoples, a light for the revealing of the nations, and the glory of Thy people Israel. When they beard this, all the multitude of the saints exulted more.
And after this there comes up, as it were, a dweller in the desert; and he is asked by all: Who art thou? To whom he says in answer: I am John, the voice and prophet of the Most High, going before the face of His coming to prepare His ways, to give the knowledge of salvation to His people for the remission of their sins. And seeing Him coming to me, instigated by the Holy Spirit, I said: Behold the Lamb of God! behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world! And I baptized Him in the river of Jordan, and I saw the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the form of a dove; and I heard a voice from the heavens saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And now I have gone before His face, and have descended to announce to you that the rising Son of God is close at hand to visit us, coming from on high to us sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.
Chap. 3 (19). – And when the first created, father Adam, had heard this, that Jesus was baptized in Jordan, he cried out to his son Seth: Tell thy sons, the patriarchs and the prophets, all that thou heardest from Michael the archangel when I sent thee to the gates of paradise to implore God that he might send thee His angel to give thee oil from the tree of mercy, with which to anoint my body when I was sick. Then Seth, coming near to the holy patriarchs and prophets, said: When I, Seth, was praying to the Lord at the gates of paradise, behold Michael, the angel of the Lord, appeared to me, saying, I have been sent to thee by the Lord. I am set over the human race.2 And to thee, Seth, I say, do not labour with tears in prayers and supplications on account of the oil of the tree of mercy to anoint thy father Adam for the pain of his body, because in no wise shalt thou receive of it, except in the last days and times, except when five thousand and five hundred years have been fulfilled: then will come upon the earth the most beloved Son of God, to raise up again the body of Adam, and the bodies of the dead; and He, when He comes, will be baptized in Jordan. And when he shall have come out of the water of Jordan, then with the oil of His mercy shall He anoint all that believe on Him; and that oil of mercy shall be for the generation of those who shall be born out of water and the Holy Spirit into life eternal. Then, descending upon earth, Christ Jesus, the most beloved Son of God, will lead our father Adam into paradise to the tree of mercy.
And when they heard all these things from Seth, all the patriarchs and prophets exulted with great exultation.
Chap. 4 (20). – And when all the saints were exulting, lo, Satan, the prince and leader of death, said to Hades: Make thyself ready to receive Jesus, who boasts himself to be the Son of God, and is a man fearing death, and saying, My soul is sorrowful, even unto death. And he has withstood me much, doing me evil; and many whom I made blind, lame, deaf, leprous, and demoniac, he has healed with a word; and those whom I have brought to thee dead, he has dragged away from thee.
Hades, answering, said to Prince Satan: Who is he that is so powerful, when he is a man in fear of death? For all the powerful of the earth are kept in subjection by my power, whom thou hast brought into subjection by thy power. If then, thou art powerful, what is that man Jesus like, who, though fearing death, withstands thy power? If he is so powerful in humanity, verily I say unto thee, he is all-powerful in divinity, and his power can no one resist. And when he says that he fears death, he wishes to lay hold on thee, and woe will be to thee to the ages of eternity. And Satan, prince of Tartarus, answered and said: Why hast thou doubted, and feared to receive this Jesus, thy adversary and mine? For I have tempted him, and I have roused up my ancient people the Jews with hatred and anger against him; I have sharpened a lance to strike him; I have mixed gall and vinegar to give him to drink; and I have prepared wood to crucify him, and nails to pierce him, and his death is near at hand, that I may bring him to thee, subject to thee and me.
Tartarus answered and said: Thou hast told me that it is he himself who has dragged away the dead from me. Now there are many who are here kept by me, who, while they lived on earth, took the dead from me, not by their own powers, but by godly prayers, and their almighty God dragged them away from me. Who is that Jesus, who by his word has withdrawn the dead from me without prayers? Perhaps he is the same who, by, the word of his command, brought alive Lazarus, after he had been four days in stench and corruption, whom I kept dead. Satan prince of death answered and said: That Jesus is the same. And when Hades heard this he said to him: I adjure thee by thy powers and mine, do not bring him to me. For I at that time, when I heard the command of his word, trembled with terror and dismay, and all my officers at the same time were confounded along with me. Nor could we keep that Lazarus; but, shaking himself like an eagle, he sprang out, and went forth from us with all activity and speed, and the same ground which held the dead body of Lazarus immediately gave him forth alive. So now, I know that that man who could do these things is God, strong in authority, powerful in humanity, and He is the Saviour of the human race. But if thou bring Him to me, all who are here shut up in the cruelty of the prison, and bound by their sins in chains that cannot be loosened, He will let loose, and will bring to the life of His divinity for ever.
Chap. 5 (21). – And as Prince Satan and Hades were thus speaking to each other in turn, suddenly there was a voice as of thunders, and a shouting of spirits: Lift up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall come in. (Psa_24:7) Hades hearing this, said to Prince Satan: Retire from me, and go outside of my realms: if thou art a powerful warrior, fight against the King of glory. But what hast thou to do with Him? And Hades thrust Satan outside of his realms. And Hades said to his impious officers: Shut the cruel gates of brass, and put up the bars of iron, and resist bravely, that we, holding captivity, may not take Him captive.3
And all the multitude of the saints, hearing this, said to Hades, with the voice of reproach: Open thy gates, that the King of glory may come in. And David cried out, saying: Did I not, when I was alive upon earth, prophesy to you: Let them confess to the Lord His tender mercies and His wonderful works to the children of men: for He has shattered the brazen gates, and burst the iron bars; He has taken them up out of the way of their iniquity?4 And after this, in like manner, Esaias said: Did not I, when I was alive upon earth, prophesy to you: The dead shall rise up, and those who are in their tombs shall rise again, and those who are upon earth shall exult; because the dew, which is from the Lord, is their health?5 And again I said, Where, O Death, is thy sting? where, O Hades, is thy victory? (Hos_13:14; 1Co_15:55)
And when all the saints heard this from Esaias, they said to Hades: Open thy gates. Since thou art now conquered, thou wilt be weak and powerless. And there was a great voice, as of thunders, saying: Lift up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lifted up, ye infernal gates; and the King of glory shall come in. Hades, seeing that they had twice shouted out this, says, as if not knowing: Who is the king of glory? David says, in answer to Hades: I recognise those words of the shout, since I prophesied the same by His Spirit. And now, what I have said above I say to thee, The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle; He is the King of glory. (Psa_24:7,Psa_24:8) And the Lord Himself hath looked down from heaven upon earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, and to release the sons of the slain. (Psa_102:19,Psa_102:20) And now, most filthy and most foul Hades, open thy gates, that the King of glory may come in. While David was thus speaking, there came to Hades, in the form of a man, the Lord of majesty, and lighted up the eternal darkness, and burst asunder the indissoluble chains; and the aid of unconquered power visited us, sitting in the profound darkness of transgressions, and in the shadow of death of sins. (Comp. Isa_9:2; Luk_1:79)
Chap. 6 (22). – When this was seen by Hades and Death, and their impious officers, along with their cruel servants, they trembled at perceiving in their own dominions the clearness of so great a light, when they saw Christ suddenly in their abodes; and they cried out, saying: We have been overcome by thee. Who art thou, that to the Lord directest our confusion?6 Who art thou, that, undestroyed by corruption, the uncorrupted proof of thy majesty, with fury condemnest our power? Who art thou, so great and little, lowly and exalted, soldier and commander, wonderful warrior in the form of a slave, and the king of glory dead and alive, whom slain the cross has carried? Thou, who didst lie dead in the sepulchre, hast come down to us alive; and in thy death every creature trembled, and the stars in a body were moved; and now thou hast been made free among the dead, and disturbest our legions. Who art thou, that settest free those who art held captive, bound by original sin, and recallest them to their former liberty? Who art thou, who sheddest a divine, and splendid, and illuminating light upon those who have been blinded by the darkness of their sins?
In like manner, also, all the legions of the demons, terror-stricken with like fear from their fearful overthrow, cried out, saying: Whence art thou, O Jesus, a man so powerful and splendid in majesty, so excellent, without spot, and free from guilt? For that world of earth which has been subject to us always until now, which used to pay tribute for our uses, has never sent us such a dead man, has never destined such gifts for the powers below. Who therefore art thou, that hast so intrepidly entered our bounds, and who hast not only no fear of our punishments, but, moreover, attemptest to take all away from our chains? Perhaps thou art that Jesus of whom our prince Satan said, that by thy death of the cross thou wast destined to receive the dominion of the whole world.
Then the King of glory, trampling on death by His majesty, and seizing Prince Satan, delivered him to the power of Hades, and drew Adam to His brightness.
Chap. 7 (23). – Then Hades, receiving Prince Satan, said to him, with vehement revilings: O prince of perdition, and leader of extermination, Beelzebub, derision of angels, to be spit upon by the just, why didst thou wish to do this? Didst thou wish to crucify the King of glory, in whose death thou didst promise us so great spoils? Like a fool, thou didst not know what thou wast doing. For, behold, that Jesus by the splendour of His divinity is putting to flight all the darkness of death, and He has broken into the strong lowest depths of our dungeons, and has brought out the captives, and released those who were bound. And all who used to groan under our torments insult us, and by their prayers our dominions are taken by stem, and our realms conquered, and no race of men has now any respect for us. Moreover, also, we are grievously threatened by the dead, who have never been haughty to us, and who have not at any time been joyful as captives. O Prince Satan, father of all impious wretches and renegades, why didst thou wish to do this? Of those who from the beginning, even until now, have despaired of salvation and life, no bellowing after the usual fashion is now heard here; and no groaning of theirs resounds, nor in any of their faces is a trace of tears found. O Prince Satan, possessor of the keys of the lower regions, all thy riches which thou hadst acquired by the tree of transgression and the loss of paradise, thou hast now lost by the tree of the cross, and all thy joy has perished. When thou didst hang up that Christ Jesus the King of glory, thou wast acting against thyself and against me. Henceforth thou shall know what eternal torments and infinite punishments thou art to endure in my everlasting keeping. O Prince Satan, author of death, and source of all pride, thou oughtest first to have inquired into the bad cause of that Jesus. Him in whom thou perceivedst no fault, why, without reason, didst thou dare unjustly to crucify? and why hast thou brought to our regions one innocent and just, and lost the guilty, the impious, and the unjust of the whole world?
And when Hades had thus spoken to Prince Satan, then the King of glory said to Hades: Satan the prince will be in thy power for ever, in place of Adam and his sons, my just ones.
Chap. 8 (24). – And the Lord stretched out His hand, and said: Come to me, all my saints, who have my image and likeness. Do you, who have been condemned through the tree and the devil and death, now see the devil and death condemned through the tree. Immediately all the saints were brought together under the hand of the Lord. And the Lord, holding Adam by the right hand, said to him: Peace be to thee, with all thy children, my righteous ones! And Adam fell down at the knees of the Lord, and with tearful entreaty praying, said with a loud voice: I will extol Thee, O Lord; for Thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me. O Lord, Thou hast brought out my soul from the powers below; Thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, all His saints, and confess to the memory of His holiness; since there is anger in His indignation, and life in His goodwill. (Psa_30:1-6) In like manner also all the saints of God, falling on their knees at the feet of the Lord, said with one voice: Thou hast come, O Redeemer of the world: as Thou hast foretold by the law and Thy prophets, so hast Thou fulfilled by Thy deeds. Thou hast redeemed the living by Thy cross; and by the death of the cross Thou hast come down to us, to rescue us from the powers below, and from death, by Thy majesty. O Lord, as Thou hast set the title of Thy glory in heaven, and hast erected as the title of redemption Thy cross upon earth, so, O Lord, set in Hades the sign of the victory of Thy cross, that death may no more have dominion.
And the Lord, stretching forth His hand, made the sign of the cross upon Adam and upon all His saints; and holding Adam by the right hand, went up from the powers below: and all the saints followed Him. Then holy David cried out aloud, saying: Sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done wonderful things; His right hand and His holy arm have brought salvation to Himself. The Lord hath made known His salvation; His righteousness hath He revealed in the sight of the heathen. (Psa_98:1,Psa_98:2) And all the multitude of the saints answered, saying: This is glory to all His saints. Amen, alleluia.
And after this the prophet Habacuc cried out, saying: Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, to deliver Thine elect. (Hab_3:13) And all the saints answered, saying: Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord; God is the Lord, and He hath shone upon us. (Psa_118:26,Psa_118:27) Amen, alleluia. In like manner after this the prophet Michæas also cried out, saying: Who is a God like unto thee, O Lord, taking away iniquities and passing by sins? And now Thou dost withhold Thine anger for a testimony against us, because Thou delightest in mercy. And Thou turnest again, and hast compassion upon us, and pardonest all our iniquities; and all our sins hast Thou sunk in the multitude of death,7 as Thou hast sworn unto our fathers in the days of old. (Mic_7:18-20) And all the saints answered, saying: This is our God to eternity, and for ever and ever; and He will direct us for evermore. (Psa_48:14) Amen, alleluia. So also all the prophets, quoting the sacred writings concerning His praises,8 and all the saints crying, Amen, alleluia, followed the Lord.
Chap. 9 (25). – And the Lord, holding the hand of Adam, delivered him to Michael the archangel: and all the saints followed Michael the archangel, and he led them all into the glorious grace of paradise. And there met them two men, ancient of days. The saints asked them: Who are you, that have not yet been dead, along with us in the regions below, and have been placed in paradise in the body? One of them answered, and said: I am Enoch, who by the word of the Lord have been translated hither; and he who is with me is Elias the Thesbite, who was taken up by a fiery chariot. Here also even until now we have not tasted death, but have been reserved to the coming of Antichrist, by divine signs and wonders to do battle with him, and, being killed by him in Jerusalem, after three days and half a day to be taken up alive again in the clouds. (Rev_11:3-12; 1Th_4:17)
Chap. 10 (26). – And while the saints Enoch and Elias were thus speaking, behold, there came up another man, most wretched, carrying on his shoulders the sign of the cross. And seeing him, all the saints said to him: Who art thou? because thy appearance is that of a robber. And what is the sign which thou carriest on thy shoulders? In answer to them, he said: Truly have you said that I was a robber, doing all sorts of evil upon the earth. And the Jews crucified me along with Jesus; and I saw the miracles in created things which were done through the cross of Jesus crucified, and I believed Him to be the Creator of all created things, and the King omnipotent; and I entreated Him, saying, Be mindful of me, Lord, when Thou shall have come into Thy kingdom. Immediately He accepted my entreaty, and said to me, Amen; I say to thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luk_23:42,Luk_23:43) And He gave me this sign of the cross, saying, Walk into paradise carrying this; and if the guardian angel of paradise will not let thee go in, show him the sign of the cross, and thou shall say to him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has now been crucified, has sent me. Having done so, I said all this to the guardian angel of paradise. And when he heard this, he immediately opened, and led me in, and placed me at the right of paradise, saying, Lo, hold a little, and there will come in the father of the whole human race, Adam, with all his children, holy and just, after the triumph and glory of the ascension of Christ the crucified Lord. Hearing all these words of the robber, all the holy patriarchs and prophets with one voice said: Blessed art Thou, O Lord Almighty, Father of everlasting benefits, and Father of mercies, who hast given such grace to Thy sinners, and hast brought them back into the grace of paradise, and into Thy rich pastures; for this is spiritual life most sure. Amen, amen.
Chap. 11 (27). – These are the divine and sacred mysteries which we saw and heard, I Karinus, and Leucius. More we are not allowed to tell of the other mysteries of God, as Michael the archangel adjured us, and said: You shall go into Jerusalem with your brethren, and continue in prayers, and you shall cry out, and glorify the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has raised you up again from the dead with Himself. And with none of men shall you speak; and you shall sit as if dumb, until the hour shall come when the Lord Himself shall permit you to relate the mysteries of His divinity. And Michael the archangel ordered us to walk across Jordan into a place rich and fertile, where there are many who rose again along with us for an evidence of the resurrection of Christ the Lord; because only three days were allowed to us who have risen from the dead to celebrate in Jerusalem the passover of the Lord, with our living relations, for an evidence of the resurrection of Christ the Lord: and we have been baptized in the holy river of Jordan, receiving each of us white robes. And after three days, when we had celebrated the passover of the Lord, all who rose again along with us were snatched up into the clouds, and taken across the Jordan, and were no longer seen by any one. But we were told to remain in the city of Arimathæa in prayers.
These are the things which the Lord commanded us to relate to you. Give Him praise and confession, and be penitent, that He may have mercy upon you. Peace be to you from the same Lord Jesus Christ, and the Saviour of all of us! Amen.
And after they had finished all, writing on separate sheets of paper, they arose. And Karinus gave what he wrote into the hands of Annas and Caiaphas and Gamaliel; in like manner also Leucius gave what he wrote into the hands of Nicodemus and Joseph. And being suddenly transfigured, they became exceedingly white, and were seen no more. And their writings were found exactly the same, not one letter more or less.
All the synagogue of the Jews, hearing all these wonderful sayings of Karinus and Leucius, said to each other: Truly all these things have been done by the Lord, and blessed be the Lord for ever and ever. Amen. And they all went out with great anxiety, beating their breasts with fear and trembling; and they went away, each to his own house.
All these things which were said by the Jews in their synagogue Joseph and Nicodemus immediately reported to the proconsul. And Pilate himself wrote all which had been done and said concerning Jesus by the Jews, and he placed all the words in the public records of his prætorium.
Chap. 12 (28). – After this, Pilate going into the temple of the Jews, assembled all the chief priests, and learned men, and scribes, and teachers of the law, and went in with them into the sanctuary of the temple, and ordered that all the gates should be shut, and said to them: We have heard that you have a certain great collection of books in this temple: therefore I ask you that it be presented before us. And when four officers brought in that collection of books, adorned with gold and precious gems, Pilate said to all: I adjure you by the God of your fathers, who ordered you to build this temple in the place of his sanctuary, not to conceal the truth from me. You all know what is written in that collection of books; but now say whether you have found in the writings that Jesus, whom you have crucified, to be the Son of God that was to come for the salvation of the human race, and in how many revolutions of the seasons he ought to come. Declare to me whether you crucified him in ignorance of this, or knowing it.
Being thus adjured, Annas and Caiaphas ordered all the others who were with them to go out of the sanctuary; and themselves shut all the gates of the temple and the sanctuary, and said to Pilate: We have been adjured by thee, O good judge, by the building of this temple, to give thee the truth, and a clear account of this matter. After we had crucified Jesus, not knowing Him to be the Son of God, thinking that He did miracles by means of some charm, we made a great synagogue in this temple. And conferring with each other of the signs of the miracles which Jesus had done, we found many witnesses of our nation who said that they had seen Jesus alive after suffering death, and that He had penetrated into the height of heaven. And we have seen two witnesses, whom Jesus raised up again from the dead, who told us many wonderful things that Jesus did among the dead, which we have in our hands, written out. And our custom is, every year before our synagogue, to open that holy collection of books, and seek out the testimony of God. And we have found in the first book of the LXX., where the archangel Michael spoke to the third son of Adam, the first man, of five thousand and five hundred years, in which the Christ, the most beloved Son of God, was to come from the heavens; and upon this we have considered that perhaps He was the God of Israel who said to Moses, (Exo_25:10) Make to thee the ark of the covenant, two cubits and a half in length, one cubit and a half in breadth, one cubit and a half in height. In these five and a half cubits we have understood and recognised, from the structure of the ark of the old covenant, that in five and a half thousands of years, Jesus Christ was to come in the ark of the body; and we have found Him to be the God of Israel, the Son of God. Because after His passion, we, the chief priests, wondering at the signs which happened on account of Him, opened this collection of books, searching out all the generations, even to the generation of Joseph, and reckoning that Mary the mother of Christ was of the seed of David; and we have found that from the time that God made the heaven and the earth and the first man, to the deluge, are two thousand two hundred and twelve9 years; and from the deluge to the building of the tower, five hundred and thirty-one10 years; and from the building of the tower to Abraham, six hundred and six11 years; and from Abraham to the arrival of the children of Israel from Egypt, four hundred and seventy years; from the coming of the children of Israel out of Egypt to the building of the temple, five hundred and eleven years; and from the building of the temple to the destruction of the same temple, four hundred and sixty-four years. Thus far have we found in the book of Esdras. After searching, we find that from the burning of the temple to the advent of Christ, and His birth, there are six hundred and thirty-six12 years, which together were five thousand five hundred years, as we have found written in the book that Michael the archangel foretold to Seth the third son of Adam, that in five and a half thousands of years Christ the Son of God would come.13 Even until now we have told no one, that there might be no dissension in our synagogues. And now thou hast adjured us, O good judge, by this holy book of the testimonies of God, and we make it manifest to thee. And now we adjure thee, by thy life and safety, to make manifest these words to no one in Jerusalem.
Chap. 13 (29). – Pilate, hearing these words of Annas and Caiaphas, laid them all up in the acts of our Lord and Saviour, in the public records of his prætorium, and wrote a letter to Claudius, king of the city of Rome,14 saying: –
Pontius Pilate to Claudius his king, greeting. It has lately happened, as I myself have also proved, that the Jews, through envy, have punished themselves and their posterity by a cruel condemnation. In short, when their fathers had a promise that their God would send them from heaven his holy one, who should deservedly be called their king, and promised that he would send him by a virgin upon the earth: when, therefore, while I was procurator, he had come into Judæa, and when they saw him enlightening the blind, cleansing the lepers, curing the paralytics, making demons flee from men, even raising the dead, commanding the winds, walking dryshod upon the waves of the sea, and doing many other signs of miracles; and when all the people of the Jews said that he was the Son of God, the chief priests felt envy against him, and seized him, and delivered him to me; and, telling me one lie after another, they said that he was a sorcerer, and was acting contrary to their law.
And I believed that it was so, and delivered him to be scourged, according to their will. And they crucified him, and set guards over him when buried. And he rose again on the third day, while my soldiers were keeping guard. But so flagrant was the iniquity of the Jews, that they gave money to my soldiers, saying, Say that his disciples have stolen his body. But after receiving the money they could not keep secret what had been done; for they bore witness both that he had risen again, that they had seen him,15 and that they had received money from the Jews.
This accordingly I have done, lest anyone should give a different and a false account of it, and lest thou shouldst think that the lies of the Jews are to be believed.
1 Calor; another ms. has color, hue.
2 Lit., body.
3 Psa_68:18. Captivemus in the text is probably a misprint for captivemur, may not be taken captive.
4 Psa_107:15-17, according to the LXX. and the Vulgate.
5 Isa_26:19, according to the LXX.
6 Some mss. have: Who art thou, O man, that to God directest thy prayer to our confusion? The correct reading may be: Who art thou that bringest confusion upon our master?
7 So the text, multitudine mortis; but the mss. must have had altitudine maris, in the depth of the sea, with the LXX. and the Hebrew.
8 Or, bringing sacred words from their praises.
9 Should be 2262 – βσοβ in place of βσιβ.
10 This includes the second Cainan.
11 Should be 676.
12 Should be 586 – dlxxxvi. Instead of dcxxxvi.
13 Lit., has come.
14 [Compare the other Latin form of this letter, The Letter of Pontius Pilate; also the version of the Greek form of a similar letter, included in the Acts of Peter and Paul, at footnote 13 – R.]
15 Or, that they had seen that he rose from the dead.
Latin. Second Version.
Chap. 1 (17). – Then Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Finees, and Rabbi Egias, the three men who had come from Galilee, testifying that they had seen Jesus taken up into heaven, rose up in the midst of the multitude of the chiefs of the Jews, and said before the priests and the Levites, who had been called together to the council of the Lord: When we were coming from Galilee, we met at the Jordan a very great multitude of men, fathers1 who had been some time dead. And present among them we saw Karinus and Leucius. And they came up to us, and we kissed each other, because they were dear friends of ours; and we asked them, Tell us, friends and brothers, what is this breath of life and flesh? and who are those with whom you are going? and how do you, who have been some time dead, remain in the body?
And they said in answer: We have risen again along with Christ from the lower world, and He has raised us up again from the dead. And from this you may know that the gates of death and darkness have been destroyed, and the souls of the saints have been brought out thence, and have ascended into heaven along with Christ the Lord. And indeed to us it has been commanded by the Lord Himself, that for an appointed time we should walk over the banks of Jordan and the mountains; not, however, appearing to every one, nor speaking to every one, except to those to whom He has permitted us. And just now we could neither have spoken nor appeared to you, unless it had been allowed to us by the Holy Spirit.
And when they heard this, all the multitude who were present in the council were struck with fear and trembling, and wondered whether these things had really happened which these Galilæans testified. Then Caiaphas and Annas said to the council: What these have testified, first and last, must shortly be altogether made clear: If it shall be found to be true that Karinus and Leucius remain alive in the body, and if we shall be able to behold them with our own eyes, then what they testify is altogether true; and if we find them, they will inform us of everything; but if not, you may know that it is all lies.
Then the council having suddenly risen, it pleased them to choose men fit for the duty, fearing God, and who knew when they died, and where they were buried, to inquire diligently, and to see whether it was as they had heard. The men therefore proceeded to the same place, fifteen in number, who through all were present at their falling asleep, and had stood at their feet when they were buried, and had beheld their tombs. And they came and found their tombs open, and very many others besides, and found a sign neither of their bones nor of their dust. And they returned in all haste, and reported what they had seen.
Then all their synagogue was in great grief and perplexity, and they said to each other: What shall we do? Annas and Caiaphas said: Let us turn to where we have heard that they are, and let us send to them men of rank, asking and entreating them: perhaps they will deign to come to us. Then they sent to them Nicodemus and Joseph, and the three men, the Galilæan rabbis who had seen them, asking that they should deign to come to them. And they went, and walked round all the region of Jordan and of the mountains, and they were coming back without finding them.
And, behold, suddenly there appeared coming down from Mount Amalech a very great number, as it were, twelve thousand men, who had risen with the Lord. And though they recognised very many there, they were not able to say anything to them for fear and the angelic vision; and they stood at a distance gazing and hearing them, how they walked along singing praises, and saying: The Lord has risen again from the dead, as He had said; let us all exult and be glad, since He reigns for ever. Then those who had been sent were astonished, and fell to the ground for fear, and received the answer from them, that they should see Karinus and Leucius in their own houses.
And they rose up and went to their houses, and found them spending their time in prayer. And going in to them, they fell on their faces to the ground, saluting them; and being raised up, they said: O friends of God, all the multitude of the Jews have directed us to you, hearing that you have risen from the dead, asking and beseeching you to come to them, that we all may know the great things of God which have happened around us in our times. And they immediately, at a sign from God, rose up, and came with them, and entered their synagogue. Then the multitude of the Jews, with the priests, put the books of the law in their hands, and adjured them by the God Heloi, and the God Adonai, and by the law and the prophets, saying: Tell us how you have risen from the dead, and what are those wonderful things which have happened in our times, such as we have never heard to have happened at any other time; because already for fear all our bones have been benumbed, and have dried up, and the earth moves itself under our feet: for we have joined all our hearts to shed righteous and holy blood.
Then Karinus and Leucius signed to them with their hands to give them a sheet of paper and ink. And this they did, because the Holy Spirit did not allow them to speak to them. And they gave each of them paper, and put them apart, the one from the other in separate cells. And they, making with their fingers the sign of the cross of Christ, began to write on the separate sheets; and after they had finished, as if out of one mouth from the separate cells, they cried out, Amen. And rising up, Karinus gave his paper to Annas, and Leucius to Caiaphas; and saluting each other, they went out, and returned to their sepulchres.
Then Annas and Caiaphas, opening the sheet of paper, began each to read it in secret. But all the people took it ill, and so all cried out: Read these writings to us openly; and after they have been read through we shall keep them, lest perchance this truth of God be turned through wilful blindness, by unclean and deceitful men, into falsehood. At this Annas and Caiaphas fell a-trembling, and delivered the sheet of paper to Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Finees, and Rabbi Egias, who had come from Galilee, and announced that Jesus had been taken up into heaven. All the multitude of the Jews trusted to them to read this writing. And they read the paper containing these words: –
Chap. 2 (18). – I Karinus. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, permit me to speak of Thy wonders which Thou hast done in the lower world. When, therefore, we were kept in darkness and the shadow of death in the lower world, suddenly there shone upon us a great light, and Hades and the gates of death trembled. And then was heard the voice of the Son of the Father most high, as if the voice of a great thunder; and loudly proclaiming, He thus charged them: Lift up your gates, ye princes; lift up the everlasting gates; the King of glory, Christ the Lord, will come up to enter in.
Then Satan, the leader of death, came up, fleeing in terror, saying to his officers and the powers below: My officers, and all the powers below, run together, shut your gates, put up the iron bars, and fight bravely, and resist, lest they lay hold of us, and keep us captive in chains. Then all his impious officers were perplexed, and began to shut the gates of death with all diligence, and by little and little to fasten the locks and the iron bars, and to hold all their weapons2 grasped in their hands, and to utter howlings in a direful and most hideous voice.
Chap. 3 (19). – Then Satan said to Hades: Make thyself ready to receive him whom I shall bring down to thee. Thereupon Hades thus replied to Satan: That voice was from nothing else than the cry of the Son of the Father most high, because the earth and all the places of the world below so trembled trader it: wherefore I think that myself and all my dungeons are now lying open. But I adjure thee, Satan, head of all evils,3 by thy power and my own, bring him not to me, lest, while we wish to take him, we be taken captive by him. For if, at his voice only, all my power has been thus destroyed, what do you think he will do when he shall come in person?
To him Satan, the leader of death, thus replied: What art thou crying out about? Do not be afraid, my old most wicked friend, because I have stirred up the people of the Jews against him; I have told them to strike him with blows on the face, and I have brought upon him betrayal by one of his disciples; and he is a man in great fear of death, because from fear he said, My soul is sorrowful, even unto death; and I have brought him to this, that he has just been lifted up and hanged on the cross. Then Hades said to him: If he be the same who, by the mere word of his command, made Lazarus fly away like an eagle from my bosom, when he had already been dead four days, he is not a man in humanity, but God in majesty. I entreat thee not to bring him to me. And Satan says to him: Make thyself ready nevertheless; be not afraid; because he is already hanging on the cross, I can do nothing else. Then Hades thus replied to Satan: If, then, thou canst do nothing else, behold, thy destruction is at hand. I, in short, shall remain cast down and dishonoured; thou, however, wilt be tortured under my power.
Chap. 4 (20). – And the saints of God heard the wrangling of Satan and Hades. They, however, though as yet not at all recognising each other, were, notwithstanding, in the possession of their faculties. But our holy father Adam thus replied to Satan at once: O captain of death, why dost thou fear and tremble? Behold, the Lord is coming, who will now destroy all thy, inventions; and thou shalt be taken by Him, and bound throughout eternity.
Then all the saints, hearing the voice of our father Adam, how boldly he replied to Satan in all points, were strengthened in joy; and all running together to father Adam, were crowded in one place. Then our father Adam, gazing on all that multitude, wondered greatly whether all of them had been begotten from him into the world. And embracing those who were standing everywhere around him, and shedding most bitter tears, he addressed his son Seth, saying: Relate, my son Seth, to the holy patriarchs and prophets what the guardian of paradise said to thee, when I sent thee to bring to me of that oil of compassion, in order to anoint my body when I was ill.
Then he answered: I, when thou sentest me before the gates of paradise, prayed and entreated the Lord with tears, and called upon the guardian of paradise to give me of it therefrom. Then Michael the archangel came out, and said to me, Seth, why then dost thou weep? Know, being informed beforehand, that thy father Adam will not receive of this oil of compassion now, but after many generations of time. For the most beloved Son of God will come down from heaven into the world, and will be baptized by John in the river Jordan; and then shall thy father Adam receive of this oil4 of compassion, and all that believe in him. And of those who have believed in him, their kingdom will endure for ever.
Chap. 5 (21). – Then all the saints, hearing this again, exulted in joy. And one of those standing round, Isaias by name, cried out aloud, and thundered: Father Adam, and all standing round, hear my declaration. When I was on earth, and by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in prophecy I sang of this light: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light; to them dwelling in the region of the shadow of death light has arisen. At these words father Adam, and all of them, turned and asked him: Who art thou? because what thou sayest is true. And he subjoined, and said: My name is Isaias.
Then appeared another near him, as if a hermit. And they asked him, saying: Who art thou, who bearest such an appearance in thy body?5 And he firmly answered: I am John the Baptist, voice and prophet of the Most High. I went before the face of the same Lord, that I might make the waste and rough places into plain ways. I with my finger pointed out and made manifest the Lamb of the Lord, and Son of God, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I baptized Him in the river Jordan. I heard the voice of the Father from heaven thundering over Him, and proclaiming, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. I received from Him the answer that He would descend to the lower world Then father Adam, hearing this, cried with a loud voice, exclaiming: Alleluia! which is, interpreted, The Lord is certainly coming.
Chap. 6 (22). – After that, another standing there, pre-eminent as it were, with a certain mark of an emperor, David by name, thus cried out, and said: When I was upon earth, I made revelations to the people of the mercy of God and His visitation, prophesying future joys, saying through all ages, Let them make confession to the Lord of His tender mercy and His wonderful works to the sons of men, because He has shattered the gates of brass, and broken the bars of iron. Then the holy patriarchs and prophets began mutually to recognise each other, and each to quote his prophecies.
Then holy Jeremias, examining his prophecies, said to the patriarchs and prophets: When was upon earth, I prophesied of the Son of God, that He was seen upon earth, and dwelt with men.
Then all the saints, exulting in the light of the Lord, and in the sight of father Adam, and in the answering of all the patriarchs and prophets, cried out, saying: Alleluia! blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord; so that at their crying out Satan trembled, and sought a way of escape. And he could not, because Hades and his satellites kept him bound in the lower regions, and guarded at all points. And they said to him: Why dost thou tremble? We by no means allow thee to go forth hence. But receive this, as thou art worthy, from Him whom thou didst daily assail; but if not, know that thou, bound by Him, shall be in my keeping.
Chap. 7 (23). – And again there came the voice of the Son of the Father most high, as it were the voice of a great thunder, saying: Lift up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting gates, and the King of glory will come in. Then Satan and Hades cried out, saying: Who is the king of glory? And it was answered to them in the voice of the Lord: The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
After this voice there came a man, whose appearance was that of a robber, carrying a cross on his shoulder, crying from the outside of the door, and saying: Open to me, that I may come in. And Satan, opening to him a little, brought him inside into his dwelling,6 and again shut the door after him. And all the saints saw him most clearly, and said to him forthwith: Thy appearance is that of a robber. Tell us what it is that thou carriest on thy back. And he answered, and said with humility: Truly I was a robber altogether; and the Jews hung me up on a cross, along with my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father most high. I, in fine, have come heralding7 Him; He indeed is coming immediately behind me.
Then holy David, inflamed with anger against Satan, cried out aloud: Open thy gates, most vile wretch, that the King of glory may come in. In like manner also all the saints of God rose up against Satan, and would have seized him, and divided him among them. And again a cry was heard within: Lift up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall come in. Hades and Satan, at that clear voice, again asked, saying: Who is this king of glory? And it was said to them by that wonderful voice: The Lord of powers, He is the King of glory.
Chap. 8 (24). – And, behold, suddenly Hades trembled, and the gates of death and the bolts were shattered, and the iron bars were broken and fell to the ground, and everything was laid open. And Satan remained in the midst, and stood confounded and downcast, bound with fetters on his feet. And, behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, coming in the brightness of light from on high, compassionate, great, and lowly, carrying a chain in His hand, bound Satan by the neck; and again tying his hands behind him, dashed him on his back into Tartarus, and placed His holy foot on his throat, saying: Through all ages thou hast done many evils; thou hast not in any wise rested. To-day I deliver thee to everlasting fire. And Hades being suddenly summoned, He commanded him, and said: Take this most wicked and impious one, and have him in thy keeping even to that day in which I shall command thee. And he, as soon as he received him, was plunged under the feet of the Lord along with him into the depth of the abyss.
Chap. 9 (25). – Then the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, affectionate and most mild, saluting Adam kindly, said to him: Peace be to thee, Adam, with thy children, through immeasurable ages of ages! Amen. Then father Adam, falling forward at the feet of the Lord, and being raised erect, kissed His hands, and shed many tears, saying, testifying to all: Behold the hands which fashioned me! And he said to the Lord: Thou hast come, O King of glory, delivering men, and bringing them into Thy everlasting kingdom. Then also our mother Eve in like manner fell forward at the feet of our Lord, and was raised erect, and kissed His hands, and poured forth tears in abundance, and said, testifying to all: Behold the hands which made me!
Then all the saints, adoring Him, cried out, saying: Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord! The Lord God hath shone upon us – amen – through all ages. Alleluia for ever and ever! Praise, honour, power, glory! because Thou hast come from on high to visit us. Singing Alleluia continually, and rejoicing together concerning His glory, they ran together under the hands of the Lord. Then the Saviour, inquiring thoroughly about all, seized Hades,8 immediately threw some down into Tartarus, and led some with Him to the upper world.
Chap. 10 (26). – Then all the saints of God asked the Lord to leave as a sign of victory the sign of His holy cross in the lower world, that its most impious officers might not retain as an offender any one whom the Lord had absolved. And so it was done. And the Lord set His cross in the midst of Hades, which is the sign of victory, and which will remain even to eternity.
Then we all went forth thence along with the Lord, leaving Satan and Hades in Tartarus. And to us and many others it was commanded that we should rise in the body, giving in the world a testimony of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of those things which had been done in the lower world.
These are the things, dearest brethren, which we have seen, and which, adjured by you, we testify, He bearing witness who died for us, and rose again; because, as it was written, so has it been done in all points.
Chap. 11 (27). – And when the paper was finished and read through, all that heard it fell on their faces, weeping bitterly, and cruelly beating their breasts, crying out, and saying through all: Woe to us! Why has this happened to us wretched? Pilate flees; Annas and Caiaphas flee; the priests and Levites flee; moreover also the people of the Jews, weeping and saying, Woe to us wretched! we have shed sacred blood upon the earth.
For three days, therefore, and three nights, they did not taste bread and water at all; nor did any of them return to the synagogue. But on the third day again the council was assembled, and the other paper of Leucius was read through; and it was found neither more nor less, to a single letter, than that which the writing of Karinus contained. Then the synagogue was perplexed; and they all lamented forty days and forty nights, looking for destruction from God, and the vengeance of God. But He, pitier affectionate and most high, did not immediately destroy them, bountifully giving them a place of repentance. But they were not found worthy to be turned to the Lord.
These are the testimonies of Karinus and Leucius, dearest brethren, concerning Christ the Son of God, and His holy deeds in the lower world; to whom let us all give praise and glory through immeasurable age of ages. Amen.
2 Ornamenta; another ms. has armamenta.
3 Or, of all the wicked.
4 The text has deo, God, obviously a misprint from oleo, oil.
5 Or, who wearest such (things) on thy body.
7 Præconcitus, corrected to præconatus or ans.
8 Momordidit infernum, which is obviously corrupt. The translator may have read δέδηχε ᾅδην, bit Hades, for δέδειχε ᾅδην, brought Hades to light.