Dialogue of the Savior

Dialogus Saluatoris

Standard abbreviation: Dial. Sav.

Other titles: none

Clavis numbers: CANT 25

Category: Revelatory Dialogues

Related literature: Gospel of the Egyptians (Greek), Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Philip, Wisdom of Jesus Christ

Compiled by Anna Cwikla, University of Toronto (anna.cwikla@mail.utoronto.ca)

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style): Cwikla, Anna. “The Dialogue of the Savior.” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. http://www.nasscal.com/e-clavis-christian-apocrypha/dialogue-of-the-savior/.

Posted March 2016.

1. SUMMARY

The only extant copy of the Dialogue of the Savior is found in Nag Hammadi Codex III, tractate five (120,1–145,47). Like most of the texts in the Nag Hammadi Codices, Dial. Sav. is thought to be a Coptic translation of an earlier Greek version. As its title suggests, the text is primarily comprised of a discussion between “the Lord” and his disciples. Although the speaker is never called “Jesus” or “Christ,” there is little, if any, debate concerning whether or not this character should be identified with Jesus. There are three named disciples in the text who participate in a discussion with the Lord: Judas, Matthew, and Mary. Although there are no biographical or further identifying details associated with these disciples, most scholars identify Judas as Judas Thomas and Mary as Mary Magdalene. Because a character named “Mary” also appears in other noncanonical texts such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, and the Wisdom of Jesus Christ, a significant amount of scholarship on Dial. Sav. addresses the role of Mary in relation to these texts and the broader context of women in early Christianity. Given its genre, Dial. Sav. is discussed in the context of the development and transmission of the early sayings of Jesus. A few of the sayings in Dial. Sav. have strong parallels with the Synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew (e.g., Dial. Sav. 139,8–11). Dial. Sav. also bears resemblance to the Gospel of Thomas not only in its format, but also thematically. Some scholars such as April DeConick argue that both Gos. Thom. and Dial. Sav. share a similar concern regarding the need to reject the physical body. Although there are no certain quotations or mentions of Dial. Sav. in other early Christian writings, there is a strong correlation between Dial. Sav. 144,15–20 and a saying from the Gospel of the Egyptians (not related to the Nag Hammadi version) as quoted by Clement of Alexandria in Stromateis 3.9.63. The text quoted by both Clement and Dial. Sav. contains the phrase “destroy the works of womanhood.”

Named historical figures and characters: Judas (apostle), Mary (Magdalene?), Matthew (apostle).

Geographical locations: none.

2. RESOURCES

Kirby, Peter. “Dialogue of the Savior.” Early Christian Writings.

Wikipedia. “Dialogue of the Saviour.”

New World Encylopedia. “Dialogue of the Saviour.”

3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

Cairo, Coptic Museum, Inv. 4851 (Nag Hammadi Codex III) (4th cent.)

Emmel, Stephen, Helmut Koester, and Elaine Pagels, eds. Nag Hammadi Codex III, 5: The Dialogue of the Savior. Nag Hammadi Studies 26. Leiden: Brill, 1984.

3.2. Concordances and Synopses

Charron, Régine. Concordance des textes de Nag Hammadi: Le Codex III. Sainte-Foy, Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 1995.

Evans, Craig A., Robert L. Webb, and Richard A. Wiebe, eds. Nag Hammadi Texts and the Bible: A Synopsis and Index. New York: Brill, 1993.

3.3 Modern Translations

3.3.1 English

Attridge, Harold W. “Dialogue of the Savior.” Pages 230–238 in The Nag Hammadi Library in English. Edited by James M. Robinson. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.

_________. “Dialogue of the Savior.” Pages 40–48 in The Other Gospels: Non-Canonical Gospel Texts. Edited by Ron Cameron. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1982.

Emmel, Stephen. “Text and Translation.” Pages 40–95 in Nag Hammadi Codex III, 5: The Dialogue of the Savior. Leiden: Brill, 1984.

Hills, Julian V. “Dialogue of the Savior.” Pages 346–356 in The Complete Gospels: The Scholars Version. Edited by Robert J. Miller. Sonoma, CA: Polebridge Press, 1994.

Meyer, Marvin W. “Dialogue of the Savior.” Pages 301–311 in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Edited by Marvin W. Meyer. New York: HarperOne, 2007.

Thomassen, Einar. “The Dialogue of the Saviour.” Pages 304–312 in New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 1, Gospels and Related Writings. Edited by Wilhelm Schneemelcher. Translated by Robert McLachlan Wilson. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005.

3.3.2 French

Létourneau, Pierre. Le Dialogue du Sauveur (NH III, 5). Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi, Section “Textes” 29. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval/Louvain-Paris: Peeters, 2003.

3.3.3 German

Petersen, Silke, and Hans-Martin Bethge. “Der Dialog des Erlösers (NHC III,5).” Pages 288–298 in Nag Hammadi Deutsch, vol. 3. Edited by Ursula Ulrike Kaiser and Hans-Gebhard Bethge. New York: de Gruyter, 2001.

3.3.4 Polish

Myszor, Wincent. “Dialog Zbawcy: Wstęp i Tłumaczenie Utworu z Biblioteki z Nag Hammadi (Nag Hammadi Codex III, 5).” Śląskie Studia Historyczno-Teologiczne 36 (2003): 490–503.

3.3.5 Spanish

Piñero, Antonio. “Diálogo del Salvador (NHC III 5).” Pages 163–187 in Textos gnósticos, biblioteca de Nag Hammadi, Vol 2., Evangelios, hechos, cartas. Edited by Antonio Piñero et al. Colección Paradigmas 23. Madrid: Trotta, 1999.

3.4 General Works

Bethge, Hans-Martin, and Silke Petersen. “Der Dialog des Erlösers (NHC III, 5).” Pages 381–397 in Nag Hammadi Deutsch. Edited by Hans-Martin Schenke, Hans-Gebhard Bethge, and Ursula Ulrike Kaiser. New York: de Gruyter, 2001.

Blatz, Beate. “The Dialogue of the Saviour.” Pages 300–303 in New Testament Apocrypha. New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 1, Gospels and Related Writings. Edited by Wilhelm Schneemelcher. Translated by Robert McLachlan Wilson. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005.

Charron, R. “Le dieu ‘semeur’ dans le Dialogue du Sauveur (NHC III,5).” Pages 127–137 in For the Children, Perfect Instruction: Studies in Honor of Hans-Martin Schenke on the Occasion of the Berliner Arbeitskreis für Koptisch-Gnostische Schriften’s Thirtieth Year. Edited by Hans-Gebhard Bethge, Stephen Emmel, Karen L. King, and Imke Schletterer. Boston: Brill, 2002.

Cwikla, Anna. “‘Pray in the Place Where There Is No Woman’: Mary in the Dialogue of the Saviour.” MA thesis, University of Alberta, 2013.

DeConick, April D. “The ‘Dialogue of the Savior’ and the Mystical Sayings of Jesus.” VC 50 (1996): 178–199.

Dilley, Paul Chandler. “Talking about the Soul and Its Ascent in the Dialogue of the Savior.” Pages 709–721 in Coptic Studies on the Threshold of a New Millennium. Edited by Mat Immerzeel and Jacques van der Vliet. OLA 133. Louvain: Peeters, 2004.

Emmel, Stephen. “A Fragment of Nag Hammadi Codex Iii in the Beinecke Library: Yale Inv. 1784.” BASP 17 (1980): 53–60.

Hills, Julian V. “The Three ‘Matthean’ Aphorisms in the ‘Dialogue of the Savior’ 53.” HTR 84 (1991): 43–58.

Létourneau, Pierre. Le Dialogue du Sauveur (NH III, 5). Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi, Section “Textes” 29. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval/Louvain-Paris: Peeters, 2003.

_________. “The Dialogue of the Savior as a Witness to the Late Valentinian Tradition.” VC 65 (2011): 74–98.

_________. “Traditions johanniques dans le Dialogue du Sauveur (NH III, 5).” Le Muséon 110 (1997): 33–61.

Klauck, Hans-Josef. “Der Dialog des Erlösers.” Pages 238–246 in Apokryphe Evangelien: Eine Einführung. Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2002.

_________. “The Dialogue of the Saviour.” Pages 185–191 in Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction. Translated by Brian McNeil. London/NewYork: T & T Clark, 2003.

Koester, Helmut. “Gnostic Writings as Witnesses for the Development of the Sayings Tradition.” Pages 238–261 in The Rediscovery of Gnosticism. Edited by Bentley Layton. Leiden: Brill, 1980.

_________. “Report on the Dialogue of the Savior.” Pages 66–74 in Nag Hammadi and Gnosis: Papers Read at the First International Congress of Coptology (Cairo, December 1976). Edited by Robert McLachlan Wilson. Nag Hammadi Studies 14. Leiden: Brill, 1978.

_________. “The Dialogue of the Savior (III, 5).” Pages 244–246 in The Nag Hammadi Library in English. Edited by James M. Robinson. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990.

Koester, Helmut, and Elaine H. Pagels. “Introduction.” Pages 1–17 in Nag Hammadi Codex III, 5: The Dialogue of the Savior. Edited by Stephen Emmel. Leiden: Brill, 1984.

Krause, Martin. “Der Dialog des Soter in Codex III von Nag Hammadi.” Pages 13–34 in Gnosis and Gnosticism: Papers Read at the Seventh International Conference on Patristic Studies (Oxford, September 8th–13th 1975). Edited by Martin Krause. Nag Hammadi Studies 8. Leiden: Brill, 1977.

Petersen, Silke. “Zitate im Dialog des Erlösers (NHC III,5).” Pages 512–522 in vol. 2 of Ägypten und Nubien in spätantiker und christlicher Zeit: Akten des 6. Internationalen Koptologenkongresses, Münster, 20–26 Juli 1996. Edited by Stephen Emmel, Martin Krause, Siegfried Richter, and Sofia Schaten. 2 vols. Sprachen und Kulturen des Christlichen Orients 6. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1999.

Röwekamp, G. “Dialogue of the Savior.” Page 169 in Dictionary of Early Christian Literature. Edited by Siegmar Döpp and Wilhelm Geerlings. Translated by Matthew O’Connell. New York: Crossroad, 2000.

Röwekamp, G. “Dialog des Erlösers.” Page 165 in Lexikon der antiken christlichen Literatur. Edited by Siegmar Döpp and Wilhelm Geerlings. Freiburg: Herder, 1998.