Gospel of Peter

The following is a fragment of the Gospel according to Peter. This lost Gospel was discovered in 1886 buried in a monk’s grave in a cemetery at Akhmim, Egypt. Other fragments were also found with this, including a portion of what is called the Revelation of Peter and a fragment of the Book of Enoch. It is obvious from the fragmentary nature of the parchments that the following is a small portion of the entire Gospel of Peter, which was also cited by early church fathers in the Second Century.




1. [Preceding text of the Gospel missing] yet none of the Judeans – neither Herod nor any of his judges – washed their hands. And because they didn’t want to wash, Pilate stood up.
2. Then the ruler Herod ordered the Master be taken away. He said to them, “Do what I have ordered you to do to him.”
3. There also stood Joseph, who was an associate of Pilate – and the Master. And knowing they were going to crucify him, he approached Pilate, requesting the Master’s body for burial.
4. Pilate sent to Herod a request for the body.
5. Then Herod said, “Brother Pilate, alas, even if no one had requested the body, we would have buried it because of the approaching Sabbath. As it is written in the law, 'Do not allow the sun to set on a body that has died from execution.' Then he delivered the body to them before the feast day of the unleavened bread.
6. Then they took the Master and, circling him, they were pushing him around and saying, “Let’s shove the servant of God since we have control over his freedom.”
7. Then they covered him with a purple robe and sat him down upon the judgment bench, and said, “Judge righteously, leader of Israel.”
8. Then someone brought a wreath of thorns and put it on the head of the Master.
9. And others who stood by spat into his eyes and others smacked him in the face. Others pierced him and some whipped him, saying, “Let’s honor the servant of God with this honor.”
10. Then they took along two criminals and crucified the Master in the middle, between them. Yet he remained silent as though he felt no pain.
11. Then when they set the stake standing, they wrote upon it, “This is the leader of Israel.”
12. Then after they had taken his clothes from him, they divided them up and cast lots for them.
13. Then one of the criminals chastised them and said, “We are suffering this way because of the wicked things that we did, but he – the Savior of humanity – what crime has he done to you?”
14. Then they became angry at him and ordered the criminal’s legs not be broken so that he would die from being tortured.
15. Then the mid-day came and darkness came over all of Judea. They became troubled and anxious because the sun had gone down, because he was still alive and it is written that the sun not set upon a body that died from execution.
16. Then one of them said, “Give him to drink bitter herb with vinegar.” Then after mixing it, they forced him to drink it.
17. Thus they accomplished everything and their sins were completely brought upon their heads.
18. Many of the people walked around with torches because they considered it nighttime and didn’t want to trip and fall.
19. Then the Master called out loudly and said, “O Omniscient – my Omniscient, you have abandoned me.” Then after saying this, he was taken up.
20. Then at the same time, the curtain of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn apart.
21. Then they pulled out the nails from the hands of the Master’s body and set it on the ground. Then the entire ground began to shake and they became greatly afraid.
22. Then the sun began to shine and it was determined that it was the ninth hour.
23. Thus the Jews rejoiced and handed over his body to Joseph so that he would bury it – since he had witnessed the great things that he did.
24. Removing the body of the Master, he washed it and wrapped it in linen and took it to his own tomb within what is called the garden of Joseph.
25. Then the Jews and the elders and chief priests knew the evil they had done. They started to regret, saying, “Cursed be our sinfulness. The judgment and the end of Jerusalem will soon be upon us.”
26. At this time, I was grieving with my associates. We were hurting within our hearts and should have hidden ourselves. For we were being sought as criminals and accused of setting the Temple on fire.
27. We fasted and considered all this and we remained grieving and weeping day and night until the Sabbath.
28. Then the teachers of the law, the Pharisees and the elders met together when they heard that the people were complaining and regretting, saying, “Since these great signs happened when he died, this means he was devoted.”
29. The elders were fearful and approached Pilate and urged him, saying,
30. “Give us soldiers to guard the tomb for three days and keep his followers from getting in and stealing his body, and causing the people to claim that he appeared from the dead and make trouble for us.”
31. So Pilate gave them the Centurion Petronius along with soldiers to guard the tomb. And the elders and scribes accompanied them to the tomb.
32. Then after they rolled a large stone in front, along with the centurions and soldiers, everyone stood there at the tomb entrance.
33. They plastered seven seals upon it and pitched a tent there to keep watch.
34. Then early the next morning, as the Sabbath dawned, a crowd of people came from Jerusalem and neighboring areas to see the tomb that was sealed.
35. Yet during the night, as Sunday dawned, and as the soldiers were keeping watch in pairs, a loud voice descended from the heavens.
36. Then they saw the heavens open and two radiant men descended, and approached the tomb.
37. Then the stone that had been put in front of the entrance rolled away from it and partly opened the entrance. As the tomb was open, the two youthful men went inside.
38. After seeing this, the guards woke up the centurion and elders, as they were all there to keep watch.
39. Then as they were describing what they saw, they saw three men coming out of the tomb – two supporting the other, accompanied by a stake.
40. The heads of the two reached up to the heavens and the head of the one they held by the hand reached above the heavens.
41. Then they heard a voice from heaven say, “Did you preach to those who are sleeping?”
42. From the stake a reply was heard, saying, “Yes.”
43. Then they decided together to go and tell Pilate what had happened.
44. While they were still debating this, the heavens opened again and a man appeared, who descended and went into the tomb.
45. Then all those with the centurion that night, who saw these things happen, left the tomb they were guarding and hurried off to Pilate. There they described everything they saw, being very fearful, saying, “Truly this was the representative of God!”
46. Then Pilate replied, saying, “I am clean of the blood of the representative of God. This was decided by you.”
47. Then everyone requested from him and made him promise to instruct the centurion and the guards not to tell anyone what they saw.
48. They said, “Because it is better for us to be guilty before God for this great wickedness than to fall into the hands of the Judeans and be stoned to death.”
49. So Pilate instructed the centurion and the guards to say nothing.
50. Mary Magdalene, a female disciple of the Master, fearful of the Jews because they were inflamed with anger, had not performed what women often did at the tombs of those they loved who had died. However, early on the day of the Master,
51. she brought her friends and they went to the tomb where his body was laid.
52. They were fearful that the Jews might see, and they said, “Though we were unable to weep and grieve at the time he was crucified, let us now do this at the tomb.
53. “But who will move aside the stone that was put at the entrance for us so we can go in and do those things we ought to do?
54. “Because the stone is large and we are fearful that we might be seen, if we can’t go inside, we can put what we brought in his memory at the entrance. We can weep and grieve until we return to our dwellings.”
55. As they approached, they found the tomb open. Then looking inside, they saw a young man sitting in the middle of the tomb. He had a fair complexion and was dressed in a radiant robe. He said to them:
56. “From where have you come? Who do you seek? Certainly not him who was crucified. He has risen and departed. If you don’t believe it, look in and see the place where his body was laid. He is not there. For he has risen and has departed to where he was sent.
57. Then the women became fearful and ran off.
58. Now it was the last day of the unleavened bread and many had come from the city and were returning
59. to their own homes as the feast had ended. But we, the twelve disciples of the Master, were weeping and grieving. And each who grieved for what happened
60. left for his own dwelling. But I, Simon Peter, and Andrew my brother, took our nets and left to go to sea. And with us was Levi the son of Alphaeus, whom the Master [remaining text of the Gospel missing]

Continue on to the Secret Gospel of James