Dance of the Savior

Chorea salvatoris

Standard abbreviation: Dance Sav.

Other titles: Hymn to the Cross

Clavis numbers: to be determined

Category: Pseudo-Apostolic Memoirs

Related literature: Discourse of the Savior, Berlin-Strasbourg Apocryphon, Acts of John

Compiled by: Paul Dilley, University of Iowa (

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style): Dilley, Paul. “Dance of the Savior.” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR.

Posted October 2016.


The Dance of the Savior takes place on the Mount of Olives before the crucifixion (perhaps as an expansion of Mark 14:26//Matt 26:30). Jesus gathers the apostles around him and sings a hymn in four parts. The cross again takes center-stage, with Jesus singing such lines as “I will give my light to you, O Cross” and “Receive me to you, O Cross,” to which the apostles respond with “Amen.” Dance Sav. appears to be an excerpt from the Gospel of the Savior (aka the Apocryphon Berolinense/Argentoratense). 

Named historical figures and characters: “Holy Members” (the Apostles), Jesus Christ.

Geographical locations: Mount of Olives.


online-bulletPaul Dilley, “Jesus as Lord of the Dance: From early Christianity to medieval Nubia,” Bible History Daily (posted 15 August 2016). Online:


3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

ma-bulletCoptic Qasr el-Wizz Codex (Aswan, Nubian Museum, Special Number 168; formerly Cairo, Coptic Museum inv. 6566; ca. 1000)

Hubai, Péter. Koptische Apokryphen aus Nubien. Der Qasr el-Wizz Kodex. TUGAL 163. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. Translation by Angelika Balog of A Megváltó a keresztr?l: Kopt apokrifek Núbiából (A Kasr El-Wizz kódex). Cahiers Patristiques, Textes Coptes. Budapest: Szent István Társulat, 2006. (editio princeps of the Qasr el-Wizz texts).

Tsakos, online-bulletAlexandros, Christian Bull, Lloyd Abercrombie, and Einar Thomassen. “Miscellanea Epigraphica Nubica IV: A New Edition of the Wizz Codex with an English Translation.” Collectanea Christiana Orientalia 10 (2013): 193–209.

3.2 Modern Translations

Dilley, Paul C. “The Discourse of the Savior and the Dance of the Savior.” Pages 184–96 in vol. 1 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016.

3.3 General Works

Dilley, Paul C. “Christus Saltans as Dionysos and David: The Dance of the Savior in its Late-Antique Cultural Context.” Apocrypha 24 (2013): 237–53.

Piovanelli, Pierluigi. “Thursday Night Fever: Dancing and Singing with Jesus in the Gospel of the Savior and the Dance of the Savior Around the Cross.” Early Christianity 3 (2012): 229–48.