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NON-CANONICAL GOSPELS

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One of this Gospel’s principal concerns is to incriminate Jews for the death of Jesus. Here, for instance, after Jesus’ crucifixion, the Jewish people bewail their guilt and lament the certain fate of their beloved sacred city Jerusalem, which God will now destroy as retribution for their disobedience (v. 25). This anti-Judaic slant can perhaps be used to help date the Gospel in its final form, for such themes became common among Christian authors in the second century. The author was possibly writing at the beginning of the century, utilizing oral and written traditions that were themselves much older. It is not clear whether or not he had access to the accounts now found in the canonical Gospels.

1 . . . but none of the Jews washed his hands, nor did Herod or any of his judges. Since they did not wish to wash, Pilate stood up. 2 The kind Herod ordered the Lord to be taken away and said to them, “Do everything that I ordered you to do to him.” 3 Standing there was Joseph, a friend of both Pilate and the Lord; when he knew that they were about to crucify him, he came to Pilate and asked for the Lord’s body for burial. 4 Pilate sent word to Herod, asking for the body. 5 Herod said, “Brother Pilate, even if no one had asked for him we would have buried him, since the Sabbath is dawning. For it is written in the Law that the sun must not set on one who has been killed.”2 And he deliv­ ered him over to the people the day be­ fore their Feast of Unleavened Bread. 6 Those who took the Lord began pushing him about, running up to him and saying, “Let us drag around the Son of God, since we have authority over him.” 7 They clothed him in purple and sat him on a judge’s seat, saying, “Give a righteous judgment, O King of Israel!” 8 One of them brought a crown made of thorns and placed it on the Lord’s head. 9 Others standing there were spitting in his face; some slapped his cheeks; others were beating him with a reed; and some

began to flog him, saying, “This is how we should honor the Son of God!” 10 They brought forward two evildoers and crucified the Lord between them. But he was silent, as if he had no pain. 11 When they had set the cross upright, they wrote an inscription: “This is the King of Israel.” 12 Putting his clothes in front of him they divided them up and cast a lot for them. 13 But one of the evildoers reviled them, “We have suf­ fered like this for the evil things we did; but this one, the Savior of the people— what wrong has he done you?” 14 They became angry at him and ordered that his legs not be broken, so that he would die in torment. 15 It was noon and darkness came over all of Judea. They were disturbed and upset that the sun may have already set while he was still alive; for their Scripture says that the sun must not set on one who has been killed.3 16 One of them said, “Give him gall mixed with vinegar to drink.” And they made the mixture and gave it to him to drink. 17 Thus they brought all things to ful­ fillment and completed all their sins on their heads.

2

Deut. 21:22–23.

3

Deut. 21:22–23.

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