Apocrypha Bibliography: M.-A. van den Oudenrijn – Gamaliel. Äthiopische Texte zur Pilatusliteratur

This book contains the Ethiopic version of two texts attributed to Cyriacus, bishop of Behnesa (Oxyrhynchus): the Lament of Mary (ላሐ፡ ማርያም) and the Martyrdom of Pilate (ስምዐ፡ ጲላጦስ).

The first text narrates the events surrounding the Resurrection of Christ, interwoven with large portions in which Virgin Mary is portrayed as stricken by grief, weeping over the death of her son. The Lament of Mary tends to absolve Pilate from the guilt of killing Jesus Christ, putting the whole responsibility on the Jews. Convinced by the miracles which occurred during Crucifixion and Resurrection, Pilate confesses Jesus’ divine nature and becomes his follower. The Martyrdom of Pilate constitutes the continuation of the Lament of Mary, narrating the circumstances which ultimately lead to the martyr’s death of Pilate and his family. Both stories were allegedly written by Gamaliel the Elder, and later retold by Cyriacus of Behnesa, who found them in secret books deposited in the library of Jerusalem.

The Arabic version of both texts can be read in Alphonse Mingana’s Woodbrooke Studies vol. 2. Recently, I edited a Coptic fragment of the Lament of Mary together with its Arabic and Ethiopic parallel versions. The article will appear by the end of this year in the journal Aethiopica. Some preliminary notes on this fragment can be found HERE.

M.-A. van den Oudenrijn, Gamaliel. Äthiopische Texte zur Pilatusliteratur (Spicilegium Friburgense, 4; Freiburg: Universitätsverlag, 1959).


About Alin Suciu

I am a researcher at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. I write mostly on Coptic literature, Patristics, and apocryphal texts.
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