Hospitality of Dysmas (CANT 78.4)

Hospitium Dysmas

Other titles: De bono latrone, the Good Bandit.

Clavis number(s): CANT 78.4 (proposed); BHG 2119y.

Related literature: Arabic Infancy Gospel, Die Neu Eu, Ethiopic Miracles of Jesus, Gospel of Psuedo-Matthew, Homily of the Church on the Rock, Hospitality and Ointment of the Bandit, Hospitality and Perfume of the Bandit, Book about the Birth of the Savior, Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea, Narrationes de vita et conversatione beatae Mariae virginis et de pueritia et adolescentia salvatoris, Rebellion of Dimas, Vision of Theophilus, Vita beate virginis Marie et Salvatoris rhythmica.

Standard abbreviation: Hosp. Dysmas.

Compiled by: Mark Glen Bilby, Claremont School of Theology (mgb8n@virginia.edu).

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style)

Bilby, Mark Glen. “Hospitality of Dysmas.” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. http://www.nasscal.com/e-clavis-christian-apocrypha/hospitality-of-dysmas/.

Posted July 2016.

1. SUMMARY

This story describes the devotion and kind welcome that a bandit named Dysmas, the so-called “good thief ” of Luke 23:40–43, and his wife show Mary (frequently honored in the text as the Theotokos) during her sojourn in Egypt with Joseph and the infant Jesus. The story opens (v. 1) as a narrative aside from the passion account from Acts Pil. into which the story is inserted. The scene shifts backwards in time, “thirty-three years prior” to the Passion. The Holy Family makes its way to Egypt, where hunger prompts Mary to command a ripe date-palm to bow down and feed them (2). Soon after, they meet the “bandit . . . Dysmas” (3). At the sight of Mary he is stunned by her beauty—even more so when she takes Jesus to her breast. He then bows down before her, finds himself confessing her as the mother of God, and invites them to his home. When they arrive (4), Dysmas commands his wife to give them hospitality fit for a noblewoman such as Mary, then he leaves to hunt wild game. Next, the bandit’s wife prepares a bath for Jesus (5). After Mary bathes her child, the bandit’s wife bathes her own child—leprous and given to wailing from the time of its birth—in the leftover water. Instantly, the child is healed of its leprosy and becomes quiet. When the bandit returns (6), everyone sits down to eat. The unusual silence prompts the bandit to ask about his child. His wife explains the miracle and echoes her husband’s earlier confession of Mary’s nobility due to her mediation of the miraculous healing of their child. Upon hearing this (7), the bandit explains his question: he had thought his child was dead. The splendid miracle prompts him to laud Mary as a conduit of divine answers to prayers. He submits himself to become her devotee and protector during her stay in Egypt. He goes so far as to lead Mary on the dangerous roads back to Judea, ensures the safety of her path before saying farewell, and begs her to return someday to his home (8). His extraordinary hospitality and devotion to Mary finally meet with a reward (9). Through the favor of Mary and Jesus, he will become a witness (or martyr!) with Christ and share in his destiny.

2. RESOURCES

3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

3.1.1 Greek

B  Paris, BNF, gr. 808 (olim Regius 23422), fol. 270rb-271ra, 15th cent.

C  Venice, BNM, gr. app. II, 87 (coll. 1258; olim Nanianus CIX), fol. 244r-246v, 16th cent.

D  Oxford, Bodleian Library, Holkham gr. 24 (olim 90), fol. 270v-272r, 14th-15th cent.

I  Mt. Athos, Iveron 692 (Lambros 4812), fol. 113r-114v, 16th cent.

H1  Earliest retrievable text (collated edition of B, D and Tb)

H2  Hyperarchetype of B and D

L  Mt. Athos, Library of the Laura, H 31 (Eustratiades 686), fol. 78v-80v, 18th-19th cent.

P  Paris, BNF, suppl. gr. 1169, fol. 18r-19v, 1685

Tb  Vatican, BAV, Ottobonianus gr. 411, fol. 152v-153v, start of 15th cent.

X  Mt. Athos, Panteleemonos 742 (Lambros 6249), fol. 11v-13r, 19th cent.

Y  Mt. Athos, Panteleemonos 744 (Lambros 6251), fol. 89v-90v, 19th cent.

Most of the sigla above are those used by Gounelle in his reconstructions of the Gospel of Nicodemas in two of its medieval recensions (M2, 12th-14th century; and M3, 14 th-15th century). Hosp. Dysmas appears in two witnesses to the M2 recension, B and Tb, and most of the witnesses to the M3 recension, i.e., CDILPXY but not M or O.

Bilby, Mark Glen. “The Hospitality of Dysmas.” Pages 39–51 in vol. 1 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. This translation and notes are based on a collated critical edition of the three major witnesses (B, D and Tb) and thus represents the editio princeps. While the Greek text itself is not printed, an introduction to the critical edition, together with notes, are included along with the English translation.

Gounelle, Rémi. “Une légende apocryphe relatant la rencontre du bon larron et de la sainte famille en Égypte (BHG 2119y).” AnBoll 121 (2003): 241–72. In this article, Gounelle opted to publish two separate editions of Hosp. Dysmas alongside each other: a diplomatic version of the story in Tb, and a collated hyperarchetype of D and B, to which Bilby assigns the siglum H2.

Gounelle, Rémi. Les recensions byzantines de l’Évangile de Nicodeme. CCSA Instrumenta 3.Turnhout: Brepols, 2008. Pages 244–48 even has a diplomatic edition of the B text, while pages 247–51 odd has a diplomatic version of the D text.

Huidekoper, Frederic. Acts of Pilate from a Transcript of the Codex designated by Thilo as Paris D. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1887. This book only contains the B version of the story.

3.2. Modern Translations

3.2.1 English

Bilby, Mark Glen. “The Hospitality of Dysmas.” Pages 39–51 in vol. 1 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016.

3.2.2 French

Gounelle, Rémi. “Une légende apocryphe relatant la rencontre du bon larron et de la sainte famille en Égypte (BHG 2119y).” AnBoll 121 (2003): 241–72. This article contains a French translation of H2 (the hyperarchetype of B and D) on pages 263–69 odd, and notes on the translation on pages 268–70.

3.3 General Works

Bilby, Mark Glen. As the Bandit Will I Confess You: Luke 23, 39–43 in Early Christian Interpretation. Turnhout: Brepols; Strasbourg: University of Strasbourg, 2013. A critical overview of patristic interpretations of the so-called good bandit.

Bilby, Mark Glen. “The Hospitality of Dysmas.” Pages 39–51 in vol. 1 of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Edited by Tony Burke and Brent Landau. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016.

Dzon, Mary. “Out of Egypt, Into England: Tales of the Good Thief for Medieval English Audiences.” Pages 147–241 in Devotional Culture in Late Medieval England and Europe: Diverse Imaginations of Christ’s Life. Edited by Stephen Kelly and Ryan Perry. Medieval Church Studies 31. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014.

Geerard, Maurits. “Gute Schächer: Ein neues unediertes Apokryphon.” Pages 85–89 in La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Edited by Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis: In Abbatia S. Petri; Turnhout: Brepols, 1997.

Geerard, Maurits. “Le bon larron, un apocryphe inédit.” Pages 355–63 in vol. 2 of Philologia Sacra: Biblische und patristische studien für Hermann J. Frede und Walter Thiele zu ihrem siebzigsten Geburtstag. Edited by Roger Gryson. 2 vols. Vetus Latina: Aus der Geschichte der lateinischen Bibel 24. Freiburg: Herder, 1993.

Gounelle, Rémi. “Une légende apocryphe relatant la rencontre du bon larron et de la sainte famille en Égypte (BHG 2119y).” AnBoll 121 (2003): 241–72. Recounts many of the legends about the bandit and shows their respective affinities with the edited and translated text.

Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane. Le Voleur De Paradis : Le Bon Larron Dans L’art Et La Société (XIVe-XVIe Siècles). Paris: Alma, 2015.

Poucet, Jacques. “La Fuite de la Sainte-Famille en Égypte chez Jean d’Outremeuse: Un episode de l’Évangile vu par un chroniqueur liégeois du XIVe siècle.” Folia Electronica Classica (Louvain-la-Neuve) 28 (2014 July-December). Accessed July 6, 2016. http://bcs.fltr.ucl.ac.be/FE/28/Egypt_MM/Egyptien/Larrons.htm