Apocalypse of Paul (Coptic)

Apocalypsis Pauli

Other titles: Revelation of Paul

Standard abbreviation: Apoc. Paul.

Clavis numbers: CANT 323

Category: Revelatory Dialogues

Related literature: This work is not related to the apocryphal Apocalypse of Paul known also as the Visio Pauli or the Visio Sancti Pauli.

Compiled by Michael Kaler, University of Toronto – Mississauga (michael.kaler@utoronto.ca).

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style)

Kaler, Michael. “Apocalypse of Paul (Coptic).” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. http://www.nasscal.com/e-clavis-christian-apocrypha/apocalypse-of-paul-coptic/.

Posted 19 January 2017.

1. SUMMARY

This short (ca. 200 lines) account of the apostle Paul’s ascension through the ten heavens is preserved in a sole Coptic version found in codex V of the Nag Hammadi collection. Its date, place, and language of composition are unknown, although it seems to respond to debates over Paul’s status and nature that were current in the latter half of the second century. As is standard with most Nag Hammadi works, the operating assumption for scholars has been that it was composed in Greek and only later translated into Coptic. Apoc. Paul was clearly inspired by Paul’s brief reference to his heavenly ascension in 2 Cor 12:2–4. It is a gnostic work, and several scholars (Twigg most vigorously) have argued that it is specifically the product of the Valentinian school of gnostic thought. Apoc. Paul begins with Paul walking on the “Mountain of Jericho,” on his way to meet with the apostles. He is greeted by a “small child” that reveals itself to be the Holy Spirit, and in the company of this being he rises to the third heaven, then ascends through the fourth through tenth heavens. In the fourth heaven, he sees a scene of judgement; in the fifth, a soul is pursued; in the sixth, he is challenged; in the seventh, he has an encounter with an “old man” who represents the Jewish/Christian God, the Demiurge. Paul declares his intent to eventually descend and redeem those who were “taken captive in the captivity of Babylon.” He shows the old man a “sign” that he has and continues upward. In the eighth heaven, he is greeted by his fellow apostles; in the ninth, he greets its occupants; in the tenth, he greets his “fellow spirits.”

Named historical figures and characters: the apostles, Holy Spirit, Paul.

Places: Babylon, Jericho,  Jerusalem.

2. RESOURCES

2.1 Web Sites

“The Nag Hammadi Library Codex Index.” The Gnostic Society Library (with links to online translations).

3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

Cairo, Coptic Museum, Inv. 10548 (Nag Hammadi Codex V) (4th cent.)

Böhlig, Alexander, and Pahor Labib. Koptisch-gnostische Apokalypsen aus Codex V von Nag Hammadi im Koptischen Museum zu Alt-Kairo. Halle: Martin-Luther-Universität, 1963. Editio princeps.

Parrot, Douglas. Nag Hammadi Codices V, 2-5 and VI with Papyrus Berolinensis 8502, 1 and 4. Nag Hammadi Studies 11. Brill: Leiden, 1979.

Rosenstiehl, Jean-Marc, and Michael Kaler. L’Apocalypse de Paul (NH V, 2). Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Textes” 31. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005.

3.2 Modern Translations

3.2.1 English

Kaler, Michael. Flora Tells a Story: The Apocalypse of Paul and Its Contexts. Études sur le christianisme et le judaïsme 19. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.

Murdock, William R. “The Apocalypse of Paul from Nag Hammadi Codex V: A Translation and Interpretation.” Ph.D. diss., Claremont Graduate School, 1968.

3.2.2 French

Rosenstiehl, Jean-Marc, and Michael Kaler. L’Apocalypse de Paul (NH V, 2). Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Textes” 31. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005.

3.2.3 German

Plisch, Uwe-Karsten. “Die Apokalypse des Paulus (NHC V,2).” Pages 399–405 in Nag Hammadi Deutsch, vol. 2, NHC V,2–XIII,1, BG 1 und 4. Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte: Neu Folge; Band 12. Edited by Hans-Martin Schenke, Hans-Gebhard Bethge, and Ursula Ulrike Kaiser. Koptische-Gnostische Schriften 3. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003.

3.2.4 Spanish

Etcheverría, R. Trevijano. “El Apocalipsis de Pablo (NHC V2: 17.19–24.9): Traducción y commentario.” Pages 217–236 in Quaere Paulum: Miscelánea homenaje a Monseñor Doctor Lorenzo Turrado. Edited by R. Blasquez. Salamanca: Universidad Pontificia, 1981

3.3 General Works

Fallon, Francis T. “Gnostic Apocalypses.” Semeia 14 (1979): 123–58.

Funk, Wolf-Peter. “The Coptic Gnostic Apocalypse of Paul.” Pages 695–700 in New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 2, Writings Relating to the Apostles, Apocalypses and Related Subjects. Edited by Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher. Translated by R. McL. Wilson. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992.

Janssens, Yvonne. “Apocalypses de Nag Hammadi.” Pages 69–75 in L’Apocalypse johannique et l’Apocalyptique dans le Nouveau Testament. Edited by J. Lambrecht. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum theologicarum Lovaniensium 53. Louvain: Leuven University Press, 1980.

Kaler, Michael. “Commentaire.” Pages 115–280 in Jean-Marc Rosenstiehl and Michael Kaler, L’Apocalypse de Paul (NH V, 2). Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Textes” 31. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005.

Kaler, Michael. Flora Tells a Story: The Apocalypse of Paul and Its Contexts. Études sur le christianisme et le judaïsme 19. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.

Kaler, Michael, Louis Painchaud, and Marie-Pierre Bussières. “The Coptic Apocalypse of Paul, Irenaeus’ Adversus Haereses 2.30.7, and the Second-Century Battle for Paul’s Legacy.” JECS 12.2 (2004): 173–93.

Klauck, Hans-Josef. “Die Himmelfahrt des Paulus (2 Kor 12:2–4) in der Koptischen Paulusapokalypse aus Nag Hammadi [NHC V/2].” SNTSU 10 (1985): 151–90.

MacRae, George W. “The Judgement Scene in the Coptic Apocalypse of Paul.” Pages 285–88 in Studies on the Testament of Abraham. Edited by G. W. Nickelsburg. Septuagint and Cognate Studies 6. Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1976.

Morard, Françoise. “Les Apocalypses du Codex V de Nag Hammadi.” Pages 341–357 in Les textes de Nag Hammadi et le problème de leur classification: Actes du Colloque tenu à Québec du 15 au 19 septembre 1993. Edited by Louis Painchaud and Anne Pasquier. Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Études” 3. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 1995.

Murdock, William R., and George W. MacRae. “NHC V,2: The Apocalypse of Paul.” Pages 47–63 in Nag Hammadi Codices V, 2-5 and VI, with Papyrus Berolinensis 8502, 1 and 4. Edited by Douglas M. Parrott. Nag Hammadi Studies 11. Leiden: Brill, 1979.

Pesthy, Monika. “Earthly Tribunal in the Fourth Heaven (NH V 2 20,5–21,22).” Pages 198–210 in The Visio Pauli and the Gnostic Apocalypse of Paul. Edited by Jan N. Bremmer and István Czachesz. Studies on Early Christian Apocrypha 9. Leuven: Peeters, 2007.

Rosenstiehl, Jean-Marc. “Crime et châtiment au quatrième ciel: NH V, 2 20,5-21,21: Contribution à l’étude de l’Apocalypse copte de Paul.” Pages 559–84 in Colloque international “L’Évangile selon Thomas et les textes de Nag Hammadi,” Québec, 29–31 mai 2003. Edited by Louis Painchaud and Paul-Hubert Poirier. Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Études” 8. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2007.

Rosenstiehl, Jean-Marc. “Djôlep: ‘révérer’—Djôlep: ‘modeler’ (NH V,2 : 19,6b-7): Contribution à l’étude de l’Apocalypse copte de Paul.” Pages 311–18 in Études coptes IX: Onzième journée d’études (Strasbourg, 12–14 juin 2003). Edited by Anne Boud’hors, Jean Gascou, and Denyse Vaillancourt. Cahiers de la Bibliothèque copte 14. Paris: De Boccard, 2006.

Rosenstiehl, Jean-Marc. “Introduction.” In Jean-Marc Rosenstiehl and Michael Kaler, L’Apocalypse de Paul (NH V, 2). Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Textes” 31. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005.

Rosenstiehl, Jean-Marc. “Le Montagne de Jéricho (NH V,2,19,11-13): Contribution à l’étude de L’Apocalypse copte de Paul.” Pages 885–92 in Coptica–Gnostica–Manichaica: Mélanges offerts à Wolf-Peter Funk. Edited by Louis Painchaud and Paul-Hubert Poirier. Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi: Section “Études” 7. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2006.

Scopello, Madeleine. “Contes apocalyptiques et apocalypses philosophiques dans le bibliothèque de Nag Hammadi.” Pages 321–50 in Apocalypses et voyages dans l’au-delà. Edited by C. Kappler. Paris: Cerf, 1987.

Scopello, Madeleine. “Practicing ‘Repentance’ on the Path to Gnosis in Exegesis on the Soul.” Pages 199–213 in Practicing Gnosis: Ritual, Magic, Theurgy, and Liturgy in Nag Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient Literature: Essays in Honor of Birger A. Pearson. Edited by April DeConick, Gregory Shaw, and John D. Turner. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 85. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

Scopello, Madeleine, and Marvin Meyer. “The Revelation of Paul: NHC V,2.” Pages 313–19 in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Edited by Marvin Meyer. New York: HarperOne, 2007.

Stevenson, Jane. “Ascent Through the Heavens from Egypt to Ireland.” Cambridge Celtic Medieval Studies 5 (1983): 21–35.

Twigg, Matthew. “The Mountain of Jericho in the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Paul: A Suggestion.” VC 69.4 (2015): 422–42.

Twigg, Matthew. “Becoming Paul, Becoming Christ: The Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Paul (NHC V,2) in Its Valentinian Context.” Ph.D. diss., Regent’s Park College, 2015.