Dialogue of the Paralytic with Christ

Dialogus Iesu cum paralytico

Standard abbreviation: Dial. Par.

Other titles: Dialogue of Jesus and the Paralytic

Clavis numbers: CANT 85

Category: Revelatory Dialogues

Related literature: Armenian Infancy Gospel

Compiled by: Bradley N. Rice, McGill University (bradley.rice@mail.mcgill.ca).

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style): Rice, Bradley N. “Dialogue of the Paralytic with Christ.” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. http://www.nasscal.com/e-clavis-christian-apocrypha/dialogue-of-the-paralytic-with-christ/.

Originally posted October 2015. Updated October 2016.


This is an elaboration of the story of Jesus and the paralytic from John 5:1–15, though here the encounter is situated some time after the resurrection. Christ descends to earth and sees the paralytic sitting in the street. His situation is severe: “poor and forlorn, weak and helpless, without friends or family, handicapped and deprived of all use of his members, for his eyes were blind and his arms feeble, his legs crippled and his body covered with sores.” He asks Jesus who he is, but Jesus is evasive about his identity. He says “I am a traveling man, a wayfarer.” At one point Jesus is said to have just come from India. The two begin to discuss Christ, who was famed as a healer. The paralytic knows of Christ, but had no one who could carry him to the healer to be cured. Jesus then asks why the man is afflicted: “If you have put so much trust in Christ, why will he not cure you? Could it be that you are faithless, and guilty of some unspeakable sins?” Then follows a series of exchanges recalling the protests of Job to his friends who sought some explanation for the evils he was suffering. Finally, Jesus stops toying with the poor man and says to him: “Stand up, take your mat, and walk.” The man rises fully healed and Jesus vanishes.

Named historical figures and characters: Abraham (patriarch), Adam (patriarch), Arius, Athanagines, Athanasius, Jacob (patriarch), Jesus Christ, John (the Baptist), Joseph (of Nazareth), Judas (apostle), Lazarus (of Bethany), Mary (Virgin), Nebuchadnezzar, Satan. Others: the Paralytic.

Geographical locations: Egypt, Gehenna, India, Jordan, Tartarus.



3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

3.1.1 Armenian

J25 : Jerusalem, Monastery of St. James, 1435
LOB Harl. 5459 : London, British Library, 1689
LOB Or. 4787 : London, British Library, 1701
LOB Or. 6555: London, British Library, 1488
M639 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 1409
M1533 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 1725–1730
M3854 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 1471
M4547 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 1709
M6686 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 1582
M6952 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 16th cent.
M9220 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 18th cent.
M10245 : Yerevan, Matenadaran, 1609
OXL Arm. c. 3 : Oxford, Bodleian Library, 16th cent.
OXL Arm. f. 17 : Oxford, Bodleian Library, 18th cent.
P65 : Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1684
ROL 33 : Rome, Pontificio Collegio Armeno, 14th cent.
W214 : Vienna, Mechitarist Library, 16th/17th cent.
W224 : Vienna, Mechitarist Library, 1428
W427 : Vienna, Mechitarist Library, 15th/16th cent.
W437 : Vienna, Mechitarist Library, 1603
W536 : Vienna, Mechitarist Library, 16th/17th cent.

Melik‘-Ōhanjanyan, Karapet. Ējer hay mijnadaryan gegharvestakan ardzakits‘. Yerevan: Haykakan SSR GA hratarakch‘ut‘yun, 1957 (edition of Matenadaran 9220, pp. 208–14).

3.1.2 Georgian

A-70 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 13th cent.
A-153 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 17th cent.
H-433 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 1842
H-881 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 1853
Q-608 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 1822
Q-750 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 19th/20th cent.
Q-961 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 19th cent.
S-12 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 1833–1836
S-300 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 1779
S-1345 : Tbilisi, National Center of Manuscripts, 1833

Qubaneišvili, Solomon. Żveli k‘art‘uli literaturis k‘restomat‘ia. Tbilisi: Stalinis saxelobis T‘bilisis saxelmcip‘o universitetis gamomc‘emloba, 1946 (edition of Tbilisi A-70, with some readings supplied from Tbilisi A-153, pp. 26–27).

3.2 Modern Translations

3.2.1 English

Rice, Bradley N. “Dialogue of the Paralytic with Christ.” Pages 140–57 in volume 1 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016 (translation of Qubaneišvili’s Georgian text as well as the Armenian text of OXL Arm. c. 3).

3.2.2 French

Outtier, Bernard. “Dialogue du paralytique avec le Christ.” Pages 605–15 in vol. 2 of Écrits apocryphes chrétiens. Edited by François Bovon, Pierre Geoltrain, and Jean-Daniel Kaestli. 2 vols. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade 442. Paris: Gallimard, 1997–2005 (translation of Melik‘-Ōhanjanyan’s Armenian text).

3.3 General Works

Kekeliże, Korneli. K‘art‘uli literaturis istoria. 2 vols. Tbilisi: Gamomc‘emloba mec‘niereba, 1923.

Outtier, Bernard. “Paralytique et ressuscité (CANT 85 et 62): Vie des apocryphes en arménien.” Apocrypha 8 (1997): 111–19.

Outtier, Bernard. “À propos des traductions de l’arabe en arménien et en géorgien.” ParOr 21 (1996): 57–63.

Tarchnišvili, Michael. Geschichte der kirchlichen georgischen Literatur, auf Grund des ersten Bandes der georgischen Literaturgeschichte von K. Kekelidze. StT 185. Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1955.