2015-02-04

A New Gospel Discovery (For Real, this time!)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

newgospelH/T Archeologia Biblica e Storia della Chiesa, blog of Antonio Lombatti, Scoperto un nuovo vangelo in Copto = A New Gospel in Coptic Discovered . . . 

Newfound ‘Gospel of the Lots of Mary’ Discovered in Ancient Text (article by Owen Jarus in Live Science)

The manuscript is 1500 years old. Reportedly discovered by Anne Marie Luijendijk, a professor of religion at Princeton University.  It’s opening lines:

“The Gospel of the lots of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, she to whom Gabriel the Archangel brought the good news. He who will go forward with his whole heart will obtain what he seeks. Only do not be of two minds.”

A key word there is “lots”. I’ll explain.

The book is very small. It can fit easily in the palm of one’s hand. It appears to have been used in ways not unlike the way some people read their daily horoscopes:

A person seeking an answer to a question could have sought out the owner of this book, asked a question, and gone through a process that would randomly select one of the 37 oracles to help find a solution to the person’s problem. The owner of the book could have acted as a diviner, helping to interpret the written oracles, [Luijendijk] said.

It would apparently be opened up at random (or by spiritual guidance?) for the right “lot” to be found to advise the reader or inquirer.

Sample oracles: 

“You know, o human, that you did your utmost again. You did not gain anything but loss, dispute, and war. But if you are patient a little, the matter will prosper through the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

“Go forward immediately. This is a thing from God. You know that, behold, for many days you are suffering greatly. But it is of no concern to you, because you have come to the haven of victory.”

“Stop being of two minds, o human, whether this thing will happen or not. Yes, it will happen! Be brave and do not be of two minds. Because it will remain with you a long time and you will receive joy and happiness.”

See the article for more fascinating information about the nature of the book, the significance of it being called a gospel, the history and current location of the manuscript, etc.

5 Comments

  • 2015-02-04 20:53:20 UTC - 20:53 | Permalink

    Do you suppose this divination style use of this gospel is related to the Pauline style of searching the scriptures looking for secret messianic messages? And if so, how related? Would this simply have been one magical thinking gimmick alongside all the other spiritual gifts and whatnots that Paul accepted as legit?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2015-02-05 09:55:15 UTC - 09:55 | Permalink

      No idea, sorry, but would not be surprised if some did. We do know that many Christians today pray and point (with eyes shut) to a place in the Bible to see God’s answer.

  • richard
    2015-02-05 14:18:16 UTC - 14:18 | Permalink

    “Stop being of two minds, o human, whether this thing will happen or not.”

    “father remove this cup from me, yet not what i want but what you want”
    the funny thing is that modern day European christians believe that jesus had a double mind .

    • Don
      2015-02-06 22:40:35 UTC - 22:40 | Permalink

      Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.

      – Epictetus

      • Donl
        2015-02-07 04:18:45 UTC - 04:18 | Permalink

        Epictetus’ chief concerns are with integrity, self-management, and personal freedom, which he advocates by demanding of his students a thorough examination of two central ideas, the capacity he terms ‘volition’ (prohairesis) and the correct use of impressions (chrēsis tōn phantasiōn).

        Chrestus? I can’t read Greek.

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