Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?
A Comparison of the Person, Teachings, and Works
of the Jesus in the Canonical and Noncanonical Gospels
By W.E. Nunnally
Many pastors wonder about their ability to respond to members of their church who have read either The DaVinci Code or have seen the movie. These claim that 80 gospels were left out of the New Testament.1 And how about the college freshman who has been exposed to the Jesus Seminar and now believes the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Peter are more ancient and more reliable than the four canonical Gospels?2 Or, a pastor is not sure what to say when a board member brings a popular magazine with an article entitled, “Jesus Christ, Plain and Simple: A Trinity of New, Scholarly Books Tries To Strip Away the Traditional Gospel Accounts of the Man From Nazareth”3 to a board meeting? As pastors, we must become equipped because this issue is not going away.4
Today, those in spiritual leadership no longer have the luxury of remaining uninformed and giving smug, dismissive answers. Every day our people are being bombarded with challenges to their faith that appear to be supported by facts and expert opinions. Hiding behind phrases, such as “You have to accept it by faith” or, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it,” will not retain today’s literate, educated, and tech-savvy generation, nor will it attract the next generation to Jesus.
It is necessary, then, to engage the issues of the marketplace at the point of attack: Does the evidence support the popular claims of The DaVinci Code and the scholarly conclusions of the Jesus Seminar, or not? Is Jesus divine or is He “a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. … A mere mortal.”5 Were “those Gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits” intentionally omitted from the New Testament in favor of those “embellished … gospels that made Him godlike?”6 Was Jesus merely a good man and an inspiring teacher,7 or did He perform miraculous works? Is it true that the authors of the biblical Gospels and the Early Church intentionally marginalized women and that the noncanonical writings promoted the equality of women?8
Popular authors, such as Dan Brown who wrote The DaVinci Code, base their claims on the premise that we now have noncanonical gospels that are more ancient and more historically reliable than the canonical Gospels.9 The Gnostic gospels, however, have been available for more than 65 years. Most were found among the dubious writings of a heretical offshoot of the Orthodox Church called Gnosticism. In addition, most scholars date these texts between the late second and fifth century. Unfortunately, none of this has restrained members of the radical Jesus Seminar from using these texts to reconstruct a very different Jesus from the one who emerges from the canonical Gospels. Nor has it prevented Brown from marketing his conclusions to a culture that yearns for a more palatable, less challenging version of the Master.
This article provides the data to answer these important questions so we can provide an evidence-based response rather than rhetoric, and offer conclusions based on fact rather than on uninformed personal opinions. As we develop our response to these modern challenges, we will consider passages from three categories of noncanonical literature: orthodox (biblical), hybrid (primarily biblical, but with some elements not compatible with biblical teaching), and heterodox (usually dominated by heretical Gnostic ideas). Consider these questions: Do these extra-biblical documents describe an exclusively human Jesus without divine attributes? Do they speak of Jesus as a mere mortal and not a miracle-worker? Finally, do they claim to reverse the trend of discrimination against women that the biblical Gospels began for producing a male-dominated church?10 This is not an exhaustive study; however, this representative section will help facilitate detailed comparison while avoiding the vagaries of over-generalization.
An Exclusively Human Jesus?
One common charge against the canonical Gospels is that they exaggerate the deity of Christ and downplay His human characteristics. Meanwhile, the gospels excluded from the New Testament canon tell the true story — Jesus was only human. Does the evidence support these assertions?
Some orthodox, extra-biblical texts claim that Jesus did not die a natural death as a man, “[Jesus said:] ‘Mariam, Mariam, know me: do not touch me … thy God did not die, rather he mastered death.’ ”11 The Acts of John, a text containing both orthodox and heterodox elements, preserves this statement by the apostle: “Sometimes when I meant to touch him I encountered a material, solid body; but at other times, again, when I felt him, his substance was immaterial and incorporeal, and as if it did not exist at all. … And I often wished, as I walked with him, to see his footprint in the earth, whether it appeared — for I saw him raising himself from the earth — and I never saw it.”12 It also records Jesus as saying, “Nor am I the (man) who is on the Cross”13 and “I have suffered none of those things which they will say of me. … You hear that I suffered, yet I suffered not ... and that I was pierced, yet I was not wounded; that I was hanged, yet I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me, yet it did not flow.”14
Other Gnostic documents equally insist that Jesus did not live or die as a man. For example, The First Apocalypse of James states, “The Lord said: ‘James, do not be concerned for me or for this people! I am he who was in me. At no time did I suffer in any way, nor was I distressed. And this people did not do any harm to me. Rather it was imposed upon a figure of the archons.’ ”15 The Gospel of Philip claims, “Jesus deceived everyone. For he did not show himself as he was; but he showed himself as [they would] be able to see him. … He [showed himself] [to the] angels as an angel and to men as a man.”16 The Gospel of Bartholomew reads, “Bartholomew said to him: ‘Lord when you went to be hanged on the cross, I followed you at a distance and saw how you were hanged on the cross and how the angels descended from heaven and worshiped you. And when darkness came, I looked and saw that you had vanished from the cross.’ ”17 One Gnostic text states, “[Jesus said:] ‘They thought that I was a mortal man.’ ”18
From these texts, we can make the following observation. Claims by popular authors and modern scholars that the apocryphal materials emphasize the humanity of Jesus have far exceeded the evidence. The opposite is true: Orthodox texts, hybrid texts, and Gnostic texts generally de-emphasize, to the point of exclusion, the earthly aspects of Jesus’ life and death.
The maligned canonical Gospels describe Jesus’ life and death in real, human terms. From the New Testament texts, we read that Jesus became tired, hungry, thirsty, frustrated, and angry, and that He ultimately suffered and died.
A Divine Jesus?
Today, liberal scholars proclaim that the canonical Gospels promote a divine Jesus that is theologically and politically convenient, but historically inaccurate. Proponents sometimes claim that the noncanonical literature is more historically reliable because it rejects the divinity of Jesus for an exclusively human Jesus. Do the noncanonical documents describe a Jesus who is not divine?
In orthodox documents from the post-New Testament period, the clarity of claims for the deity of Jesus increases exponentially. We find one example in the Epistula Apostolorum: “We know this: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [is] God.”19 Another orthodox text reads, “There is no other God save [Jesus] Christ.”20 In yet another text, Peter states, “And I approached God Jesus Christ and said to him. … And my Lord and God Jesus Christ said unto me.21
Theologically hybrid texts also emphasize the divine aspect of Jesus’ nature. One reads, “But John stretched out his hands … and said to the Lord, ‘Glory be to thee, my Jesus, the only God of truth.’ ”22 In another hybrid text, Peter asked, “Would it therefore be pleasing to you, our brother, to come in accordance with the commands of our God Jesus?”23 In the Acts of Peter, Paul proclaimed, “Jesus the living God will forgive you.”24 Similarly, Peter prayed, “Most excellent, the only holy one, it is thou that hast appeared to us, thou God Jesus Christ.”25
Even fully heterodox (Gnostic) texts openly declare Jesus’ deity. The Gospel of Truth declares, “But the name of the Father is the Son.”26 In another Gnostic text, the apostle Thomas prayed, “Jesus … God of God … who didst … walk upon the waves like a God … God from God Most High27 … I praise thee, Lord Jesus … For thou alone art the God of truth, and no other.28 … O God Jesus Christ, Son of the living God29 … and … O Christ … glory to thy Godhead.”30 The writer of The Acts of Thomas further described the object of his proclamation as “the Lord and God of all, Jesus Christ whom I preach”31 and is himself described three times as “the apostle of the new God.”32
The Gospel of Bartholomew notes that after Jesus “had suffered and risen again … his appearance was not as it was before, but revealed the fullness of his godhead.”33 Describing Jesus’ descent into hell, the text reads, “Hades answered [Beliar]: ‘It cannot be that God has come down. Woe is me! Where shall I flee before the face of the mighty great God?’ ”34 Elsewhere, the document states that “Bartholomew came to her [the virgin Mary] … and said: ‘You who are highly favored, tabernacle of the Most High.’ ”35
This evidence shows that the New Testament Gospels are not alone in proclaiming the deity of Christ. In fact, all categories of extra-biblical texts (orthodox, hybrid, and heterodox) go considerably further than the canonical Gospels in the language they use to describe the divinity of Jesus. In comparison, the language of the New Testament Gospels appears muted. Therefore, Brown and the Jesus Seminar are not only incorrect in claiming that the biblical Gospels offer false claims of a divine Jesus, whereas the extra-biblical documents tell the true story of a “mere[ly] mortal” Jesus. But they are also guilty of misrepresenting the message of the noncanonical texts. Instead of revealing a Jesus who is only human, they emphasize His deity even more than do the canonical Gospels.
A Jesus Who Did Not Work Miracles?
The tendency of higher critical scholarship has been to disregard ancient texts that testify to the miraculous works of Jesus. However, with the rise of the Jesus Seminar and the popularization of its conclusions byThe DaVinci Code, scholars are now employing a new element in the argument against the reliability of the canonical Gospels. Scholars now claim that extra-biblical materials provide a more accurate description of Jesus as a teacher of wisdom who never worked miracles or performed exorcisms. Again, the question is whether the ancient evidence supports these assertions.
Orthodox, extra-biblical texts exhibit a certain continuity with the canonical Gospels in regard to doctrine. When reporting the miraculous, however, the tendency is toward more sensational or exaggerated claims. Many have heard these stories. Consider this one from the childhood of Jesus: “When this boy Jesus was 5 years old … He made soft clay and fashioned from it 12 sparrows. But Jesus clapped his hands and cried to the sparrows: ‘Off with you!’ And the sparrows took flight and went away chirping.”36 The same text relates a similar story: “His father was a carpenter. … And he received an order from a rich man to make a bed for him. But when one beam was shorter than its corresponding one … the child Jesus said to his father Joseph: ‘Put down the two pieces of wood.’ … And Jesus stood at the other end and took hold of the shorter piece of wood, and stretching it made it equal with the other.”37
During the flight to Egypt, “they went to that sycamore tree, which today is called Matarea, and the Lord Jesus made to gush forth in Matarea a spring, in which the lady Mary washed his shirt. And from the sweat of the Lord Jesus, which she wrang out there, balsam appeared in that place.”38 On the same trip, “lions and leopards worshiped him and accompanied them in the desert … showing (them) the way and lowering their heads (in worship); they showed their servitude by wagging their tails.”39 Yet another text states that when He was brought before Pilate, “the images of the emperor on the standards bowed and did reverence to Jesus.”40
Hybrid texts exhibit the same tendency to exaggerate the miraculous. In reporting Jesus’ resurrection, the Gospel of Peter states, “There rang out a loud voice in heaven, and they [the guards] saw the heavens opened and two men come down from there in a great brightness and … That stone which had been laid against the entrance to the sepulchre started of itself to roll [away].”41 The same work continues, “And whilst they [the soldiers guarding the tomb] were relating what they had seen, they saw again three men come out from the sepulchre, and two of them sustaining the other, and a cross following them, and the heads of the two reaching to heaven, but that of him who was led of them by the hand overpassing the heavens.”42
Gnostic works appear to surpass all others in their exaggerated claims of the miraculous. One of the best examples of this is Jesus’ claim in Pistis Sophia that He himself was responsible for Elizabeth’s miraculous conception and Mary’s virginal conception, “[Jesus said:] ‘And when I set out for the world, I … had the form of Gabriel. … I looked down at the world. … I found Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist … and I sowed into her a power which I had taken from the little Jao, the Good … that he [John] might be able to proclaim before me.’ ” Jesus again continued in His speech and said: “I looked down … and found Mary, who is called ‘my mother’ … and when she had turned upwards toward me, I thrust into her the first power, which I had taken from Barbelo, that is, the body which I have borne on high. And in the place of the soul I thrust into her the power which I have taken from the great Sabaoth, the Good.”43
The Gospel of Bartholomew records Jesus as saying that during the Crucifixion, “when I commanded him [Michael] to go up, a flame issued from his hand, and after he had rent the veil of the temple, he divided it into two parts as testimony to the children of Israel for my passion.”44 At the Ascension, “the disciples were sitting together on the Mount of Olives … [and] that power of light descended upon Jesus and surrounded him entirely and he shone exceedingly, and the light was beyond measure … and … Jesus rose up or flew into the heights.”45
From these examples, we see that all categories of extra-biblical material (orthodox, hybrid, and heterodox) display no tendency to eliminate the miraculous element in Jesus’ ministry. In fact, just as they deal with the human and divine elements of Jesus’ ministry, these documents tend toward exaggeration. We cannot say that the noncanonical texts support the assertions of the Jesus Seminar and The DaVinci Code that the ministry of Jesus did not contain demonstrations of the miraculous. The textual evidence they use to buttress their argument argues against their position.
Misogyny in the Biblical Gospels?
A final claim Brown makes in The DaVinci Code is that the biblical Gospels attempted to suppress the part women played in the Early Church. Brown says when we reference the materials intentionally left out of the New Testament canon and suppressed by the Christianized Roman Empire, we can rectify this inequity.46 Again, we must ask: Do these radical assertions meet the burden of proof?
Because of the close doctrinal affinities the orthodox texts have with their biblical counterparts, few texts offer an example that supports this category. One such text is the orthodox Acts of Andrew,47 in which the apostle Andrew declared, “Adam died in Eve because of the harmony of their relationship.”48 This appears to reference the first couple’s sexual union. The insinuation is that Adam did not fall because of disobedience but because of his sexual relationship with a woman. For the same reason, hybrid texts exhibit few misogynous tendencies. An exception appears in a prayer of the apostle John, “When I regained my sight [you] didst disclose to me the repugnance even of looking closely at a woman.”49
Ironically, the thoroughly heterodox texts display the highest degree of misogyny. This is ironic because the Jesus Seminar most often invokes the Gnostic texts and the Gnostic texts are the only category cited in The DaVinci Code.50
One favorite extra-biblical text cited by the Jesus seminar is the Gospel of Thomas. It says, “Simon Peter said to them: ‘Let Mary go out from among us, because women are not worthy of the Life.’ Jesus said: ‘Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter the kingdom of heaven.’ ”51 In the minds of those in heretical movements, such as Christian Gnosticism, being born female was evidently an impediment to entrance into the kingdom of God.
The Gospel of Mary is similar, “Then arose Mary … and spoke to her brethren: ‘Let us rather praise his greatness, for he hath made us ready, and made us to be men.’ ”52 Evidently the Gospel of the Egyptians contained a similar teaching: “Cassianus [founder of Docetism] now says, ‘When Salome asked when what she had inquired about would be known, the Lord said, “When you have trampled on the garment of shame and when the two become one and the male with the female (is) neither male nor female.” ’ ”53 Another passage from the same work reads, “The Savior himself said, ‘I am come to undo the works of the female,’ by the female meaning lust, and by the works of birth and decay.”54
The Gospel of Philip (a work quoted in The DaVinci Code in an attempt to demonstrate that the historical Jesus intended women to govern the church, a fact the supposedly misogynous biblical Gospels suppressed) reads, “When Eve was [i]n A[d]am, there was no death. But when she separated [from] him, death came into being. Again, if [she] en[ter]s (into him) and he takes [her] to himself, death will no longer exist.”55 In other words, the Gospel of Philip teaches that women have no chance of salvation unless their femaleness is eradicated and they are submerged back into the male — a teaching much like that found in the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of the Egyptians.
The inferiority of women to men is also a theme these sources often express: “Along with the true prophet [Adam] there has been created as a companion a female being who is as far inferior to him as metousia is to ousia, as the moon is to the sun, as fire is to light.”56 And “While in this world[,] the union consists [of] man and wife — representing power and weakness.”57
In the following texts, women are man’s primary source of temptation, defilement, and deception: “Then the Savior … said: ‘Anyone who seeks the truth from her [a female] who is truly wise will make himself wings so as to fly when he has to flee the desire which burns the spirits of men … stinking pleasure … insatiable lust … the bitter bond of desire. … They are constantly being killed, as they are drawn to all beasts of uncleanness.’ ”58 “Woe to you who love the company of women and the adulterated intercourse with them … masters of your body … evil demons.”59 “Female prophecy desires to be considered male. On account of this, she steals the seed of the male, [and] envelops them with her own seed of the flesh. … She promises to give earthly riches. … [She] believes that she herself will be deified. … She destroys what she has. … She stains herself with blood at the time of her menses and thus pollutes those who touch her. … [She] brings about wars in which much blood is shed. … She prophesies errors … and thus deceives.”60 The purity of prayer can even be adulterated by the mere presence of women: “Judas said, ‘When we pray, how shall we pray?’ The Lord said, ‘Pray in the place where there is no woman.’ ”61
In comparison to biblical texts, the orthodox and hybrid documents have a somewhat lower view of women, sex, the physical world, and the human body. However, the tendency of heterodox documents toward misogyny is far greater that that of the biblical Gospels and orthodox and hybrid extra-biblical materials. The textual evidence, therefore, does not support the popular claim that the New Testament Gospels are a part of a movement to marginalize the role of women and that extra-biblical texts elevate the role of women.
In fact, the opposite is true. The Gospels consistently demonstrate Jesus’ willingness to approach and mainstream marginalized women (Matthew 9:20–22; 26:7–13; Mark 5:25–34; 14:3–9; Luke 7:37–50; 8:43–48; John 4:7–27; 12:3–8, etc.). Women are mentioned as role models of sacrifice and persistence (Mark 12:41–44; Luke 7:37–50; 15:8–10, et al.). The Gospels juxtapose their faithfulness to the fearfulness of Jesus’ male followers (Matthew 27:55,56; Mark 15:40,41; compare Matthew 26:56, et al.). They received revelation and functioned prophetically (Matthew 21:9; Luke 1:26–38,46–55; 2:36–38), and were equally engaged in prayer (Acts 1:14), witness, and public ministry (Acts 1:15; 2:4,17,18). They were not only the first to give testimony to the Resurrection and bring the good news to the men (Matthew 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–11; Luke 24:1–11; John 20:1–18), but they were also later seen giving instruction to men (Acts 18:26).62
This article has addressed the four most prominent assertions of the Jesus Seminar/DaVinci Code about the New Testament Gospels and their noncanonical counterparts. After surveying the relevant extra-biblical texts, one may legitimately conclude that they do not support the argument that the biblical Gospels obscure the humanity of Jesus. Nor do the extra-biblical texts clearly reveal it. One cannot claim that the biblical Gospels provide exaggerated claims of deity while the noncanonical documents deny the deity of Jesus. Furthermore, one cannot claim, based on textual evidence, that the New Testament Gospels inject exaggerated claims of Jesus’ miracles. Nor do the extra-biblical texts reveal a Jesus who is merely a teacher of wisdom. Finally, we must also reject their assertion that the biblical Gospels marginalize women while the noncanonical texts elevate the status of women based on the very evidence they use to support their claims. In fact, not only does the ancient evidence fail to support these four arguments, but it also diametrically opposes them.
Those who are seeking truth have nothing to fear from the evidence. It is not only important to engage current issues at the evidential level, but it is also possible. Also, one does not need to be an expert in apologetics to be able to read the relevant texts and provide evidentially based responses to detractors and to the faithful who have legitimate questions.
A final practical consideration is that many works that focus on exaggerated reports of the miraculous, apocalyptic visions, and revelations do not focus on the person and work of Jesus. In this respect, much of modern Christian writing, preaching, and teaching exhibits greater similarity to extra-biblical documents than to the biblical documents it is supposed to emulate. Also, many reports of the miraculous heard in Christian circles today more closely resemble the exaggerated reports of the miraculous that appear in extra-biblical (including heretical) documents rather than their less spectacular biblical counterparts. Consequently, these extra-biblical materials provide a helpful point of comparison that is valuable not only for comparison to our ancient biblical documents, but also for the evaluation of the content of modern messages as well.63
1. Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 231.
2. Robert W. Funk, New Gospel Parallels, vol. 1,2 (Sonoma, Calif.: Polebridge Press, 1990), 3,4,25.
3. Richard Ostling, “Jesus Christ, Plain and Simple: A Trinity of New, Scholarly Books Tries To Strip Away the Traditional Gospel Accounts of the Man From Nazareth,” Time, 10 January 1994, 38.
4. For example, Jesus Seminar assertions and DaVinci Code popularity were likely what inspired the sensationalistic documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, by Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron that was aired in prime time by the Discovery Channel in 2007. In this documentary, producers claimed to present incontrovertible evidence that Jesus was married and had at least one child by Mary Magdalene, the same claim made in The DaVinci Code. People may access J.H. Charlesworth’s devastating argument against the conclusions of the documentary at http://www.ptsem.edu/NEWS/talpiottombsymposium.php. Charlesworth gives a brief report on the results of the international Symposium on “Afterlife and Burial Practices in Second Temple Judaism” held in Jerusalem on January 13–16, 2008. This report based on scientific grounds rejects each piece of evidence and each conclusion presented in the documentary.
5. Brown, The DaVinci Code, 233,234,245. John Dominic Crosson, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994), 20,21,50. Also, Funk, The Five Gospels (New York: Macmillan, 1993), 32,33.
6. Brown, The DaVinci Code, 234,244.
7. Funk, The Gospel of Mark (Sonoma, Calif.: Polebridge, 1991), 30–34. John Dominic Crossan, “The Search for Jesus,” in The Search for Jesus: Modern Scholarship Looks at the Gospels, ed. Hershel Shanks (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archeology Review, 1994), 110,121–123,132. Also, Crosson, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, 17,82,85,95,190.
8. Brown, The DaVinci Code, 238,239. Crosson, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, 174.
9. Brown, The DaVinci Code, 234. Funk, New Gospel Parallels, 1,3,25. Funk, The Gospel of Mark, 11ff. Funk, The Five Gospels, 15,16,18,26.
10. For the purposes of this study, five main sources were used: Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1 (H-S 1) and 2 (H-S 2) (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963 and 1965). The revised edition of volume 1 (H-S 12) (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox), 1991. Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst, The Gospel of Judas (Kasser) (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2006). Also, April D. DeConick, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (London: Continuum, 2007).
11. Coptic Psalm-book II, 192; H-S 1:353,354.
12. Acts of John 93; H-S 2:227.
13. Ibid., 99; H-S 2:233.
14. Ibid., 101; H-S 2:234.
15. H-S 12:322.
16. Gospel of Philip 26a; H-S 12:191.
17. Gospel of Bartholomew 1:6,7; H-S 1:488.
18. Conversation of the Risen Jesus with the Apostles; H-S 12:349.
19. Epistula Apostolorum 3; H-S 1:192.
20. Acts of Paul 2; H-S 2:353.
21. Ethiopic Apocalypse of Peter 16; H-S 2:681,682.
22. Acts of John 43; H-S 2:237.
23. Letter of Peter to Philip; H-S 12:348.
24. Acts of Peter 47; H-S 2:281.
25. Ibid., 51; H-S 2:285.
26. Gospel of Truth 38:1–24; H-S 1:529,530.
27. Acts of Thomas 48; H-S 2:469.
28. Ibid., 25; H-S 2:455.
29. Ibid., 60; H-S 2:476.
30. Ibid., 80; H-S 2:485,486.
31. Ibid., 26; H-S 2:456.
32. Ibid., 42; H-S 2:466; 69 and 70; H-S 2:480.
33. Gospel of Bartholomew 1:3; H-S 1:488.
34. Ibid., 1:19; H-S 1:489.
35. Ibid., 2:4; H-S 1:492. The term tabernacle is used twice more for Mary in 2:8 [H-S 1:492] and 4:4 [H-S 1:495].
36. Infancy Story of Thomas 2:1–4; H-S 1:392,393.
37. Ibid., 13:1,2; H-S 1:396.
38. Arabic Infancy Gospel 24; H-S 1:409.
39. Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew 19:1; H-S 1:410.
40. Acts of Pilate 5; H-S 1:452.
41. Gospel of Peter 9:35–37; H-S 12:224.
42. Ibid., 10:39,40; H-S 12:225.
43. Pistis Sophia 7 through 8; H-S 1:402,403.
44. Gospel of Bartholomew 1:27; H-S 1:491.
45. Pistis Sophia; H-S 1:253,254; compare H-S 12:364.
46. Compare Brown, The DaVinci Code, 233,234,238,239,244.
47. H-S 2:992–395.
48. Acts of Andrew 7; H-S 2:411.
49. Acts of John 113; H-S 2:257.
50. Brown, The DaVinci Code, 245–247.
51. Gospel of Thomas 114; H-S 1:522.
52. H-S 1:342; H-S 12:393.
53. Gospel of Egyptians in Clement of Alexandria Stromateis 3.91ff.; H-S 1:168; H-S 12:211.
54. Ibid., 3.63; H-S 1:166,167.
55. Gospel of Philip 71; H-S 12:197, compare also Gospel of Philip 78; H-S 12:198.
56. Epistle of Peter to James 3:22; H-S 2:117.
57. Gospel of Philip 103; H-S 12:201.
58. Book of Thomas; H-S 12:242,243.
59. Ibid., H-S 12:246.
60. Epistle of Peter to James 3:23; H-S 2:117,118.
61. Dialogue of the Savior 90 through 91; H-S 12:310.
62. For a more complete treatment of the issue of women in ministry, compare W.E. Nunnally, “Women in Ministry,” http://www.centralfaithbuilders.com. Craig Keener, Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1992), 101–121.
63. For a longer version of this article and a study, including many more ancient texts, please see this article at: http//www.enrichmentjouranl.ag.org. Click on current issue and look for “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”