Resurrection of Jesus Christ (by Bartholomew)

Resurrection of Jesus Christ (by Bartholomew)

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (by Bartholomew) is not to be confused with the Questions of Bartholomew, although either text may be the missing Gospel of Bartholomew (or neither may be), a lost work from the New Testament apocrypha.

The text is known from three partial manuscripts, and additional fragments, all of which are in Coptic. The text contains visions by Bartholomew, and acts of Thomas, but is predominantly about The Passion, and the Eucharist. The text seems to have no semblance of gnostic interpretations, and instead appears to be a text aiming to fill in the supernatural details of the Passion, and to emphasise the value and meaning of church liturgy.

The text starts with a description of Jesus' own rather gory comprehension of his own fate, i.e. the crucifixion. It is followed by a tale in which someone attempts to stand in for Jesus (i.e. die in his place), but the priests are initially unable to kill him, even though they try stoning and putting him in an oven.

Subsequently, the text describes Jesus descending into hell, and, finding Judas there, preaching to him. Jesus rescues everyone from hell, except Judas, Cain, and Herod the Great. This is followed by a flashback described by a gardener to the night when angels, fiery chariots, and God, descended to earth, and resurrected Jesus.

Bartholomew is present at the scene, and is shown the highest level of heaven so that he can see the liturgy going on there to celebrate the resurrection. Bartholomew then has a flashback about a divine visitation at the Mount of Olives.

Meanwhile, Thomas is busy resurrecting "Siophanes" (possibly a transcription error and meant to read "Theophanes"), his son. On returning to life, Siophanes describes what the afterlife was like, while Thomas proceeds to baptise all of the amazed townsfolk, who number some 12,000.

Finally, in order to witness the ascension of Jesus, Thomas is brought to the others via a cloud. At this point Thomas is surprised to see Jesus resurrected (despite having just brought his own son back to life), and celebrates the eucharist with the other apostles. Then they disperse to evangelise.

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