A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before.
Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus’ crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text — and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline.
The discovery of the text doesn’t mean these events happened, but rather that some people living at the time appear to have believed in them, said Roelof van den Broek, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who published the translation in the book “Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ“(Brill, 2013).
Copies of the text are found in two manuscripts, one in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City and the other at the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Most of the translation comes from the New York text, because the relevant text in the Pennsylvania manuscript is mostly illegible.
Pontius Pilate has dinner with Jesus
While apocryphal stories about Pilate are known from ancient times, van den Broek wrote in an email to LiveScience that he has never seen this one before, with Pilate offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus.
A researcher has deciphered a 1,200-year-old Coptic text that tells part of the Passion (the Easter story) with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before. Here, a cross decoration from the text, of which there are two copies, the best preserved in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. CREDIT: Image courtesy The Pierpont Morgan Library
“Without further ado, Pilate prepared a table and he ate with Jesus on the fifth day of the week. And Jesus blessed Pilate and his whole house,” reads part of the text in translation. Pilate later tells Jesus, “well then, behold, the night has come, rise and withdraw, and when the morning comes and they accuse me because of you, I shall give them the only son I have so that they can kill him in your place.”
In the text, Jesus comforts him, saying, “Oh Pilate, you have been deemed worthy of a great grace because you have shown a good disposition to me.” Jesus also showed Pilate that he can escape if he chose to. “Pilate, then, looked at Jesus and, behold, he became incorporeal: He did not see him for a long time …” the text read.
Pilate and his wife both have visions that night that show an eagle (representing Jesus) being killed.
In the Coptic and Ethiopian churches, Pilate is regarded as a saint, which explains the sympathetic portrayal in the text, van den Broek writes.
The reason for Judas using a kiss
In the canonical bible the apostle Judas betrays Jesus in exchange for money by using a kiss to identify him leading to Jesus’ arrest. This apocryphal tale explains that the reason Judas used a kiss, specifically, is because Jesus had the ability to change shape.
“Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man …” This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him. If Judas had given the arresters a description of Jesus he could have changed shape. By kissing Jesus Judas tells the people exactly who he is.
This understanding of Judas’ kiss goes way back. “This explanation of Judas’ kiss is first found in Origen [a theologian who lived A.D. 185-254],” van den Broek writes. In his work,Contra Celsum the ancient writerOrigen, stated that “to those who saw him [Jesus] he did not appear alike to all.”
St. Cyril impersonation
The text is written in the name of St. Cyril of Jerusalem who lived during the fourth century. In the story Cyril tells the Easter story as part of a homily (a type of sermon). A number of texts in ancient times claim to be homilies by St. Cyril and they were probably not given by the saint in real life, van den Broek explained in his book.
Here, part of the text from the manuscript holding the newly deciphered Passion story of Jesus. Found in Egypt in 1910 it was purchased, along with other manuscripts, by J.P. Morgan in 1911 and was later donated to the public. CREDIT: Image courtesy The Pierpont Morgan Library
Near the beginning of the text, Cyril, or the person writing in his name, claims that a book has been found in Jerusalem showing the writings of the apostles on the life and crucifixion of Jesus. “Listen to me, oh my honored children, and let me tell you something of what we found written in the house of Mary …” reads part of the text.
Again, it’s unlikely that such a book was found in real life. Van den Broek said that a claim like this would have been used by the writer “to enhance the credibility of the peculiar views and uncanonical facts he is about to present by ascribing them to an apostolic source,” adding that examples of this plot device can be found “frequently” in Coptic literature.
Arrest on Tuesday
Van den Broek says that he is surprised that the writer of the text moved the date of Jesus’ Last Supper, with the apostles, and arrest to Tuesday. In fact, in this text, Jesus’ actual Last Supper appears to be with Pontius Pilate. In between his arrest and supper with Pilate, he is brought before Caiaphas and Herod.
In the canonical texts, the last supper and arrest of Jesus happens on Thursday evening and present-day Christians mark this event with Maundy Thursday services. It “remains remarkable that Pseudo-Cyril relates the story of Jesus’ arrest on Tuesday evening as if the canonical story about his arrest on Thursday evening (which was commemorated each year in the services of Holy Week) did not exist!” writes van den Broek in the email.
A gift to a monastery … and then to New York
About 1,200 years ago the New York text was in the library of the Monastery of St. Michael in the Egyptian desert near present-day al-Hamuli in the western part of the Faiyum. The text says, in translation, that it was a gift from “archpriest Father Paul,” who, “has provided for this book by his own labors.”
The monastery appears to have ceased operations around the early 10th century, and the text was rediscovered in the spring of 1910. In December 1911, it was purchased, along with other texts, by American financier J.P. Morgan. His collections would later be given to the public and are part of the present-day Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. The manuscript is currently displayed as part of the museum’s exhibition “Treasures from the Vault” running through May 5.
Who believed it?
Van den Broek writes in the email that “in Egypt, the Bible had already become canonized in the fourth/fifth century, but apocryphal stories and books remained popular among the Egyptian Christians, especially among monks.”
Whereas the people of the monastery would have believed the newly translated text, “in particular the more simple monks,” he’s not convinced that the writer of the text believed everything he was writing down, van den Broek said.
“I find it difficult to believe that he really did, but some details, for instance the meal with Jesus, he may have believed to have really happened,” van den Broek writes. “The people of that time, even if they were well-educated, did not have a critical historical attitude. Miracles were quite possible, and why should an old story not be true?”
Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
NASA accidentally publishes images of alien movement on mars
For years, scientists have been debating the origin of Mars. Although we have already found evidence of possible liquid water and methane suggesting that at some time in the past, about four billion years ago, the red planet could have hosted some kind of extraterrestrial life, so far no one really knows about the conditions that prevailed back then. Was it a warm, humid planet, or cold and cold?(Alien movement on mars)
This has been a great mystery to scientists who have been researching certain models to determine the climate that prevailed on our neighboring planet. The exact answer to the question is still unknown, but despite all the studies there are many who doubt the versions offered by the different space agencies, especially NASA. As we have been saying for some time, conspiracy theorists have been denouncing for years how the American space agency deceives the population, through photomontages of an arid and lifeless planet, also offering absurd and unfounded explanations with the only objective that we continue to think we are alone in the universe, or perhaps to prepare us for the great revelation in the near future.
But whatever the reason, you have to be very careful with the lies, because they have short legs. As a sequence of images that has just been published by NASA, they show a mysterious alien figure moving on the red planet.
On June 7, 2018, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, revealed that there were founds of organic compounds and methane on Mars. Just a few days after this surprising news, an independent researcher in spatial anomalies claims to have discovered an irrefutable proof of life on the red planet.
To substantiate his claim, Tyler Glockner, a UFO expert who runs the YouTube channel ‘Secureteam10’, published a series of images taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover. When these snaps come together, they show a foreign body moving through the martian surface . Interestingly, when the image of the object is enlarged, it shows a shadow that rules out the possibility that it is a reflection of the lens or a problem in the camera (you can see the first original snapshot here and the second one here ).
And because it seems to be irrefutable evidence that NASA hides information, Glockner’s video has become a viral phenomenon in social networks, where conspiracy theorists claim that the object in the sequences of images is a be an alien living on Mars. There is even someone who has dared to speculate that NASA has never reached Mars, so the mysterious object could correspond to a living animal on the island of Devon.
Since NASA began the exploration on the red planet, the first voices emerged assuring that everything was a montage. Time later, the US space agency began testing on the island the largest uninhabited island on Earth, located in the Arctic Circle in the far north of Canada. Scientists use this place to simulate conditions similar to those of Mars, as well as being a testing ground for their rovers. It is for this reason that many people claim that the images they show us are actually sent from the island of Devon.
But others argued that the object detected on the red planet has a face, so it could be an extraterrestrial spirit roaming the Martian surface. Leaving aside the theories that this mysterious object could be in motion, it seems that these new evidences would show that the aliens could be living under the surface of the Martian surface. And the recent statement from NASA regarding the presence of organic methane and compounds is an indication that there really are some anomalies under the surface of Mars.
Do you think this object proves once and for all the existence of extraterrestrial life on Mars? Or could it be a simple reflection of the lens or a problem in the camera? It’s up to you.
FIFA’s Video-Assisted Referees Aren’t Perfect, But Neither Are Human Referees
Video-assisted referees are making their debut at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. And people have a lot of feelings.
In addition the usual ref and his team of assistants, each game will feature one video assistant referee, three assistants, and four replay operators sitting in a sweaty remote booth in Moscow, accessing some 33 camera feeds to help decide on close calls.
The video assistant referee team will be assisting the on-field referee make decisions such as:
- Did the ball cross the goal line?
- Was that really a penalty?
- Did that foul really deserve a red card?
- Was the wrong player accused of an incident?
It’s a particularly controversial topic for the billions of hot-blooded soccer fans around the world. After all, yelling at your TV screen for a bad call is just as much part of the World Cup experience as watching Cristiano Ronaldo score yet another goal for Portugal.
So any changes to that delicate ecosystem will inevitably be met with plenty of anger and frustration. In a passionate editorial, the New Scientist calls using the new tech a “losing battle” that will squash soccer’s cultural value.
And their cries aren’t entirely unjustified. In 2017, the technology failed altogether when it didn’t catch an offside before a game-deciding goal. “On this occasion the technology itself failed and the broadcast angles required were unavailable,” Greg O’Rourke, FIFA’s head of the Australian A-League, tells ABC Australia.
And then there’s the difficulty of relaying the info from the remote team to the refs on the field. That delay can make decisions drag on, taking time away from the game itself.
But human referees aren’t perfect, either. No human is omniscient or gifted with 360 degree vision. So how are refs supposed to make the correct call every time? Objective, evidence-based refereeing has a place in the sport, no matter how much it relies on fair play and good sportsmanship (which, yes, is not reality).
Yes, the technology isn’t seamlessly integrated into the game. But it’s a good thing to evolve the sport to a point where refs can at least make better calls. So bring on the robots, because I want the instant replay on the most recent contended call, and I refuse to settle for less.
The Giants Found in Romania and the CIA Cover-Up
Everyone has heard of the giant characters of legend, sometimes called cyclops or ogres. Giants were generally presented as creatures so big that the earth trembled when they walked.
It seems however that the giants are not just fairy tales, considering the fact that their remains have been found all over the world. The mystery of their civilization remains to this day and there is even a sort of secrecy in this regard, a convention to sweep any evidence of their existence under the rug.
In the 1940’s, archaeologists were overseeing a dig at Argedava in Romania, searching for priceless artifacts within the ruins of what was once the greatest citadel of the Dacian leader Burebista. The locals did most of the digging and they were glad to be making a little extra during those times of hardship.
Among them was Ionita Florea, now an old man well in his eighties. He was the one who dug up an enormous skull, two or three times the size of a regular one. When he notified the archaeologists, the workers were quickly dismissed and the researchers resumed the digging themselves. Their findings were loaded onto trucks and shipped away with the utmost secrecy. By the end of the excavation, they had collected around 80 skeletons, most of them complete. They had also recovered giant ceramic pots filled with grains.
To this day, nobody knows where the skeletons are.
This is not an isolated incident. In more recent years, villagers in Scaieni uncovered an ancient giants’ graveyard while planting an apple orchard. Once again, it was the skulls’ giant sizes that puzzled everyone. Alongside the complete skeletons, the villagers also found pottery fragments, jewelry and strange metal statues about 3 feet tall. A team of archaeologists came, dug everything up and vanished. No public statement was made and the locals refuse to discuss what happened after they announced their finding.
Were they strong-armed into silence? Is this event part of a greater conspiracy?
There are plenty legends about giants in the area. According to folklore, giants once inhabited the mountains and forests around Scaieni. In fact, huge thrones were found sculpted in the mountainside, in an area inaccessible to regular human beings. Legends tell that there are two gigantic underground vaults beneath the mountains, holding the giants’ ancient treasures. Could these vaults be real? If found, what stories would they tell?
In 2009, a local news channel started an investigation about the giants and their secret tunnels beneath the Bucegi mountains. Just as their report went on air, they received a live phone call from a man who refused to identify himself. The journalists were threatened to stop their ongoing investigation or else. As the mysterious man put it, they were “playing a dangerous game.”
“Stop talking about the Bucegi [mountains]. Information like that must not be made public and there are certain structures that deal with cases such as this. You do not wish to know us, you don’t want to interview us. That’s all I want to say.” He then hung up and the broadcast was interrupted. Was this an orchestrated hoax or a live case of a threatening secret cover-up? Only the journalists know and they refuse to discus the subject.
In an intriguing twist, the airspace above the Bucegi Plateau is a restricted no-fly zone. Many sources point to the CIA being involved.
Incidents like these happen all around the world. There is a distinct lack of physical evidence whenever people report findings of giant skeletons. Authorities arrive first, leaving behind hastily covered excavations, no artifacts and muted locals. One might think something really strange is going on.
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