Book of the Rooster

Standard abbreviation:

Other titles: Book of the Cock

Clavis numbers:

Category: Passion Narratives

Related literature:

Status: in progress by Pierluigi Piovanelli.

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style):


The Book of the Rooster, though believed to have been composed in Greek in or around Jerusalem in the fifth or sixth century, is now available only in Ethiopic. The main story features Jesus and the disciples at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. Simon’s wife prepares a rooster for their meal. But Jesus brings the rooster to life and gives it the ability to speak so that it will spy on Judas. The rooster follows Judas home and watches as Judas conspires with his wife to betray Jesus. Judas then works with Paul, arranging between them a signal so that Paul can arrest Jesus. The rooster then flies back to Jesus with his report. As a reward Jesus sends him to heaven for a thousand years. Paul is portrayed here also as the one who places the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.



3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

3.2 Modern Translations

EAC 2, p. 137-203.

3.3 General Works

R. W. Cowley, “The So-called “Ethiopic Book of the Cock”—Part of an Apocryphal passion Gospel, The Homily and Teaching of our Fathers the Holy Apostles,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1985), 16-22

P. Piovanelli, “Exploring the Ethiopic Book of the Cock, An Apocryphal Passion Gospel from late Antiquity,” HTR 96 (2003): 427-454.