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I have thus translated the Greek as it is in Simon's Critical History of the Commentators of the New Testament. The reader will observe the differences between this and the Latin preface; particularly, here is no mention of the gospel according to the Egyptians. But I suspect this to be the fault only of Simon's impression; for he puts that gospel there in his French translation together with the gospel according to the Twelve: however, I have thought myself obliged to follow his Greek. I hope Father De la Rue, of whose edition of Origen's works I have as yet seen only the first two volumes, will give us this more exactly; for where the mistake lies I cannot say. It is nevertheless observable, that St. Ambrose, who in his Exposition of St. Luke's gospel seems to have copied this preface of Origen, though without naming him, or giving any hint that he copied any author at all, omits z the gospel according to a the Egyptians, whilst he mentions those of the Twelve, and Basilides, Thomas, and Matthias.
If this passage be really Origen's, (as I think there can be no reason to doubt but that for the main it is so,) it shows us very much what was his opinion concerning the spurious apocryphal books of the New Testament, and particularly the gospel of the Twelve, or according to the Twelve; which is generally supposed to be the same which is also called the gospel according to the Hebrews. If the gospel according to the Egyptians was not mentioned by Origen in this place, he has no where taken any notice of it, that I remember, in his now remaining works. But allowing him to have mentioned it here, still this affords full proof of the obscurity of this gospel, and the vast neglect of it by catholic christians, that so little notice is taken of it by Origen, who lived so long at Alexandria in Egypt, and the rest of his days in Palestine, or near it.
2. Origen, in his Commentaries upon St. Matthew's gospel, discoursing on the history of the rich man that came to Christ, and having compared the several accounts given by the evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke, adds: . But let us consider this place otherwise. It is written in a certain
* Et aliud quidem fertur evangelium, quod duodecim scripsisse dicuntur. Ausus est etiam Basilides evangelium scribere, quod dicitur secundum Basilidem, &c. Ambros. Exp. Evang. secund. Luc. init. * Mr. Jones says that the gospel according to the Egyptians is mentioned
by St. Ambrose in the same manner as by Origen. New
and Full Method, &c. vol. i. p. 246. But it is plainly a slip of memory. See there, p. 193, 194.
b Vid. Grabe, Spicil. T. i. p. 31 ; and Jones, as before, p. 246. © Compare what is said of Clement of Alexandria, p. 251, 252. d Scriptum est in evangelio quodam, quod dicitur secundum Hebræos:
gospel, which is called “ according to the Hebrews," if indeed any one is pleased to receive it, not as of authority, but for illustration of the present question : “ A certain rich man, says that gospel, " said to him, Master, what good things shall I do, that I may live? He said unto him, Man, keep the law and the prophets. He answered him, That I have done. He said to him, Go, sell all that thou hast, and distribute among
But the rich man began to scratch his head, and it did not please him. And the Lord said to him, How sayest thou, I have kept the law and the prophets ? seeing it is written in the law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; and behold, many of thy brethren, sons of Abraham, are clothed with rags, ready to perish for hunger, whilst thy house is filled with all sorts of good things, and nothing goes out of it to them. And turning about he said to his disciple Simon, who was sitting by hiin, Simon, son of Joanna, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”' This passage is not in the Greek Commentaries
St. Matthew, but only in the Latin translation of them; and Huet therefore thinks it an addition of the translator, But perhaps some late Greek copier thought fit to omit it; it might be in the more ancient copy used by the translator.
In the Greek Commentaries upon St. John : . But if any one admits the gospel according to the Hebrews, where our Saviour himself says, “ Just now my mother, the Holy Ghost, took me by one of my hairs, and carried ine to the great mountain Thabor." ,
This passage we have also in
si tamen placet alicui recipere illud non ad auctoritatem, sed ad manifestationem propositæ questionis. Dixit, inquit, ad eum alter divitum, Magister, quid bonum faciens vivam ? Dixit ei, Homo, leges et prophetas fac. Respondit ad eum, Feci. Dixit ei, Vade, vende omnia quæ possides, et divide pauperibus, et veni, sequere me. Cæpit autem dives scalpere caput suum, et non placuit ei. Et dixit ad eum Dominus, Quomodo dicis, Legem feci et prophetas ? quoniam scriptum est in lege, Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum; et ecce multi fratres tui, filii Abrahæ, amicti sunt stercore, morientes præ fame; et domus tua plena est multis bonis, et non egreditur omnino aliquid ad eos. Et conversus dixit Simoni discipulo suo sedenti apud se, Simon, fili Joannæ, facilius est camelum intrare per foramen acûs quam divitem in regnum coelorum. Tract. viii, in Matth. T. i. p. 73. Bas.
e Ad hæc vetus ille interpres tract. viii. insignem locum profert ex evangelio secundum Hebræos. Atqui id de suo addidit, quippe quod in exemplaribus Græcis nusquam appareat. Ac proinde temporum illorum, quibus hoc supererat evangelium, æqualis fuit. Origenian. I. iii. sect. 3. n. 12. p. 252.
Εαν δε προσιεται τις το καθ' Εβραιες ευαγγελιoν, ενθα αυτος ο Σωτηρ φησιν" Αρτι ελαβε με η μητηρ με το Αγιον Πνευμα εν μια των τριχων με, Kai aTeveyKE ME ELS TO opos to Meya Oaßwo. Comm. in Joan. p. 58. Ď. E.
Origen’s Greek Homilies 6. upon Jeremiah, published by
These two are the only passages of this gospel found in
k gospel according to the Hebrews, says that Origen made frequent use of it. If that be true, he must refer to works of Origen now lost. But perhaps Jerom speaks in a careless hyperbolical manner: and, if all Origen's works were now extant, we might not see this gospel very often quoted in them. I apprehend that these remaining quotations are sufficient to show, not only that this gospel was not generally received by christians, but likewise that Origen himself had no great regard to it; if he had, this gospel would have appeared much oftener in his works. It may therefore be concluded that he did not take this gospel according to the Hebrews to be St. Matthew's gospel ; or, if he did, he must have supposed it to have been so altered and interpolated, as to be no longer of any authority, and of but Iittle use.
3. In the Greek Commentaries upon St. Matthew, says Origen, . Supposing him to be the son of Joseph, they say, “ Is not this the carpenter's son ?” Matt. xiii. 35; and despising all who seemed to be bis nearest kindred, they express themselves in this manner: 66 Is not his mother called Mary ? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude? and his sisters, are they not all with us ?” Matt. xiji. 55, 56. They thought him therefore to be the son of Joseph and Mary; and some, induced thereto by a tradition, in the gospel according to Peter, or the book of James, say, that these brethren of Jesus are sons of Joseph by a former wife, that bad cohabited with him before Mary.'
This is the only place in which this piece (or these pieces, if they are two) is quoted in Origen's remaining works; which alone may be reckoned a good argument, that it was not much esteemed by him. The manner likewise in which this gospel is quoted, seems to show that he did not reckon it to have been written by Peter, or James, or by
8 In Jerem. Hom. xv. T. i. p. 148. A. Huet. h Spicil. T. i. p. 27.
· Vol. i. p. 335. Evangelium quoque, quod appellatur secundum Hebræos,Origenes sæpe utitur. De Vir. Ill. cap. ii.
Tες δε αδελφες Ιησε φασι τινες ειναι, εκ παραδοσεως όρμωμενοι το επιγεγραμμενα κατα Πετρον ευαγγελια, η της βιβλο, Ιακωβε, υιος Ιωσηφ εκ προτερας γυναικος συνωμηκυιας αυτή προ της Μαριας. Comm. in Matth. T. i. p. 223. A. B. Huet.
any companion or disciple of either of them; but that he supposed it to be rather a work composed after their time, containing traditions relating to Christ, of things reported to have been said or done by him. It is not unlikely that here were some discourses ascribed to Peter, others to James, which occasioned different titles of this work.
4. In the preface to the books of Principles, which we have in Latin : · But m if any one should bring an objection out of that little book which is called the Doctrine of Peter, where our Saviour seems to say to his disciples, “ I am not an incorporeal dæmon,” I would answer, in the first place, that that book is not accounted an ecclesiastical book; and then make it appear that it is neither a writing of Peter, nor of any other person that was inspired by the Spirit of God.' This book then is entirely rejected by Origen.
In his Commentaries upon St. John, which we have in Greek, says Origen, · But it " would be tedious to transcribe now the words of Heracleon, taken out of the book entitled the Preaching of Peter, and to stay to inquire concerning the book itself, whether it be genuine, or spurious, or mixed.'
We are to observe here, thato it is supposed by divers learned men, that the Doctrine of Peter, and the Preaching of Peter, are one and the same book, under different titles. If this be so, as is very probable, then in the former place Origen absolutely rejects it; and in this expresses himself in a modest manner as a fair and candid antagonist, because it was not a proper place to prove at large the character of that book : and these quotations afford a good argument, that the Preaching of Peter was not esteemed a book of canonical scripture by Clement, Origen's master, though P he has made frequent use of it. 5. In the books of Principles, Origen 9 says, ' Wherefore
, m Si quis velit nobis proferre ex illo libello qui Petri Doctrina appellatur, ubi Salvator videtur ad discipulos dicere, Non sum dæmonium incorporeum ;' primo respondendum est ei, quoniam ille liber inter libros ecclesiasticos non habetur; et ostendendum est, quia neque Petri est scriptura, neque alterius cujusquam qui Spiritu Dei fuerit inspiratus. De Princip. in Præf. p. 49. B. T. i. Bened.
η Πολυ δε εςι νυν παρατιθεσθαι το Ηρακλεωνος τα ρητα, απο το επιγεγραμμενο Πετρε κηρυγματος παραλαμβανομενα, και ίσασθαι προς αυτο εξεταζοντας και περι το βιβλια, ποτερον ποτε γνησιον εσι, η νοθον, η μικτον. Com. in Joan. T. ii. p. 211. D. E. Huet.
• Cav. Hist. Lit. P. i. in Petro, p. 5. Grab. Spic. T. i. p. 56. Jer. Jones, New and Full Method, &c. vol. i. p. 449.
Ő See before, chap. xxii. p. 252–255.
q Unde et recte mihi dictus videtur sermo ille qui in Actibus Pauli scriptus est, quia hic est verbum, animal vivens. De. Princ. l. i. c. 2. T. i. p. 54. E. Bened.
that saying seems to me to be right, which is written in the Acts of Paul: “ That this is the word, a living animal."
These Acts of Paul are allowed by learned men' to be dife ferent from the Acts of Paul and Thecla. So particularly father De la Rue upon this place of Origen, who likewise makes no doubt but this notion is corruptly borrowed from Heb. iv. 12, which is also the opinion of's Dr. Grabe; if so, it would be a proof that the author of this book had a respect for the epistle to the Hebrews. Besides, we have here only a Latin version, which perhaps is not exact; if we had the Greek, the reference to that epistle might be plainer.
Again, in Origen's Greek Commentaries upon St. John: . But if any one please to admit what is written in the Acts of Paul, as spoken by our Saviour: “I am about to be crucified again.”'
Perionius conjectured, that for · Paul' in this place should be read. Peter;' andu Grabe professes himself to be of the same opinion: he therefore, in his collection of these things, has placed this fragment not among those of the Acts of Paul, but of Peter; but' Huet chooses to follow bis Greek copies, and writes · Paul.' It may be added, that w in the ancient Latin version of these Cominentaries upon John, we have • Paul. However, these Acts
, ' may have been sometimes called Paul's, and at other times Peter's, as containing some matters relating to both these apostles.
If the Acts cited here be the same with those in the foregoing passage, then, though Origen supposed that saying taken from them to be right, yet it appears from this second passage that the book was of no authority.
I have now put down, I think, all the particular quotations of apocryphal books of the New Testament, found in Origen’s remaining works. Beside the general notice taken of these things in the observations upon the introduction to St. Luke's gospel, the pieces of this kind cited by him are, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the gospel according to Peter, or book of James, the Doctrine or Preaching of Peter, and the Acts of Paul. 6. I shall add here a general citation of some book with
Vid. Grab. Spic. T. i. p. 128. Jer. Jones, vol. i. p. 392. s Ibid. p. 128.
τω δε φιλον παραδεξασθαι το εν ταις Παυλο Πραξεσιν αναγεγραμμενον, ώς υπο Σωτηρος ειρημενον" Ανωθεν μελλω savpsolui. In Joan. T. ii. p. 298. E. Huet.
u Ibid. p. 80. Sed tamen nihil muto, nam Actorum Pauli mentio fit apud nostrum Origenem, lib. i. Tepi apxwv, cap. 2. Huet. not. p. 118.
Quod si cui placet admittere quod in Actibus Pauli scriptum est, tanquam a Servatore dictum. T. ii. p. 373. Basil.