Early Christian Texts Discussions
Presented by the Tanho Center
“The Letter of Peter to Philip”
The Letter of Peter to Philip
132.10 1 1 The letter of Peter which he sent to Philip.
Peter’s Letter to Philip
2 Peter, the ambassador of Jesus Christ, to Philip, our beloved brother and fellow ambassador, and the brothers and sisters who are with you all: greetings. 3 I want you to understand, our brother, that we received orders from our Lord and the Savior of the
132.20 whole world that we should come together to teach and proclaim about the salvation
133.10 which was promised to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. 4 But, you were divided from us and did not want us to come together and understand how we should organize ourselves that we might tell the good news. So, would it be acceptable to you, our brother, to come according to the commands of our God, Jesus?
The Followers Come Together and Pray
2 1 When Philip received and read it, he went to Peter and rejoiced with gladness. Then Peter gathered the others and went to the mountain called Olives where they had gathered with the blessed Christ when he was in the body. When the ambassadors came
133.20 together and lay upon their knees they prayed in this way, saying:
2 “Father, Father, Father of the light, who has immortality, hear us, just as you
134.10 have delighted in your Holy Child, Jesus Christ. For he became for us a Light-giver in the darkness. Please hear us.”
3 And they prayed again, saying:
“Son of life, son of deathlessness, who dwells in the light; the son, Christ of deathlessness, our rescuer, give us your power for they seek to kill us.”
Jesus Christ Comes to his Followers
3 1 Then a great light appeared so that the mountain gleamed from the sight of the one who appeared. And a voice called out to them, saying, “Listen to my words that I might speak to you. Why are you seeking me? I am Jesus Christ who is with you forever.”
134.20 2 Then the ambassadors answered and said to him, “Lord, we wish to understand the lack of the generations and their fullness; how we are restrained in this dwelling place, how we have come here, and in what way we shall leave? How do we have the
135.10 authority of freedom? Why do the powers fight against us?”
The Creation of the Generations
4 1 A voice came to them from the light, saying, “You yourselves are witness that I said all these things to you, but because of your distrust I shall speak again. The need of the generations—this is the lack. 2 The disobedience and ill consideration of the Mother appeared without the command of the greatness of the Father. She wanted to set up generations, and when she spoke, the Self-willed one came forth. But when she left a
135.20 part of herself behind, the Self-willed one grabbed it and he became deficient. This is the lack of the generations. 3 When the self-willed one took her part he planted it and placed powers and authorities over it, then contained it in the mortal generations. All
136.10 the powers of the world rejoiced because they had been generated. But they do not know the pre-existent Father since they are strangers to him. It is the Self-willed one to whom they gave power and they served and praised him. 4 The Self-willed one became arrogant because of the power’s praise. He was envious and wanted to make an image in place of an image and a form in place of a form. He appointed the powers within his authority to form mortal bodies and they came into being from a misrepresentation of the form which came forth.
Jesus’ Teaching on Fullness
5 1 “Concerning the fullness, I was the one sent down into the body because of
136.20 the seed which had fallen away. I came down in their mortal form, but they did not recognize me. They thought that I was a mortal man. 2 I spoke with the one who is mine, and he listened to me, just as you, too, have listened today. And I gave him
137.10 authority that he might enter into the inheritance of his fatherhood. I took the one who is mine and the generations were filled in his salvation. And since he was lack, he became fullness.
3 “Because you all are being restrained, you are mine. When you strip off from yourselves what is corrupt then you will become light-givers in the midst of mortal humans. This is because you are going to fight against the powers. They do not have your peace since they do not want you to be saved.”
Jesus’ Teaching on the Rulers
6 1 The ambassadors worshipped again saying, “Lord, tell us how we shall fight against the rulers since they are over us?” 2 Then a voice called out from the appearance
137.20 saying, “You all will fight against them in this way: the rulers fight against the inner part of humans, but you will fight against them in this way—come together and teach salvation in the world with a promise. 3 Strengthen yourselves with the power of my father and offer
138.10 your prayers. The father will help you as he helped you by sending me. Do not be afraid, I am with you forever—as I said to you before when I was in the body.”
4 Then lightning and thunder came from the heavens, and what appeared to them was carried off up to the heavens. The ambassadors gave thanks to the Lord with every blessing and returned to Jerusalem. 5 While they were going there, they spoke with each other on the road about the light which came. A conversation occurred concerning the lord. 6 They said, “If he, our lord, suffered, how much then will we suffer?” Peter responded and said, “He suffered for our sake and it is necessary that we must also suffer
138.20 because of our smallness.”
7 Then a voice came to them saying, “I have told you all many times that it is necessary for you to suffer. It is necessary that you be brought to synagogues and governors so that you will suffer. But the one who will not suffer will not save their life.”
The Ambassadors Return to Jerusalem to Heal and Teach
139.10 7 1 And the ambassadors rejoiced much and went up to Jerusalem. They went up to the temple and taught salvation in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and they healed the crowd.
2 Peter opened his mouth and said to his followers, “When our Lord, Jesus, was in the body he showed us everything, for he came down. My brothers and sisters listen to my voice.”
3 And Peter was filled with the holy spirit and said to them this, “Our Light-giver, Jesus, came down and was crucified. He wore a crown of thorns and put on a purple garment.
139.20 He was crucified on a cross, buried in a tomb, and rose from the dead. 4 My brothers and sisters, Jesus was a stranger to this suffering, but we are the ones who suffer because of the transgression of the mother. Because of this, he did everything like us. 5 For the Lord Jesus, the child of the Father’s immeasurable glory, is the author of our lives. My brothers and sisters, therefore, let us not listen to these lawless ones and walk in fear before them.”
140.10 6 Then Peter gathered the others together and said to them, “Our Lord, Jesus Christ, author of our peace, give us a spirit of understanding so that we may also do great deeds.” 7 Then Peter and the other ambassadors saw and were filled with holy spirit, and each one performed healings. They separated to proclaim about the Lord, Jesus. And they gathered, greeted each other, and said, “Amen.”
8 Then Jesus appeared and said to them, “Peace to you all and everyone who
140.20 trusts in my name. And when you depart, joy, grace and power to you all. And do not be afraid; know I am with you forever.”
9 And the ambassadors parted from each other to proclaim with four words. And they went in the power of Jesus, in peace.
 The text is broken here for 2-3 lines. See Mark 8:35 and parallels. (back to text)
Translation provided by Dr. Hal Taussig and Dr. Celene Lillie.
The Tanho Center is dedicated to the study and interpretation of the large range of early Christ movement texts discovered in the last 150 years. By incorporating recently discovered texts into contemporary practices, we hope to signify exactly what tanho means in Coptic: “to make or be alive.”
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