Gospel of Peter: Translated

Gospel of Peter 1This English translation bears the marks of a fragmented or redacted text. Please consult the former pages for description, authorship, and textual history. This passion narrative is one of a mere few from the first two centuries. The manuscript image is of the gospel; click to enlarge.


  1. No one of the Jews washed his hands, however, neither Herod nor any of his judges, and since they refused to wash, Pilate arose. Herod the king then ordered that the Lord be handed over saying to them, “Do everything that I commanded you to do.”
  1. Standing there was Joseph, the friend of Pilate and of the Lord, and since he knew that they were about to crucify him, he came to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus for burial. Pilate then sent word to Herod and requested his body. Herod then said, “Brother Pilate, even if no one had requested him, we would bury him, especially since the Sabbath is drawing near, for it is written in the Law that the sun should not set on one being put to death.”
  1. He then delivered him to the people before the first day of their feast of unleavened bread. After taking the Lord they pushed him as they ran and said, “We should drag away the Son of God, now that we have acquired authority over him.” They placed a purple robe on him and made him sit on the judgment seat saying, “Pronounce righteous judgment, king of Israel,” and one of them brought a crown of thorns and set it upon the Lord’s head. Others stood and spat in his eyes, slapped his cheeks, pierced him with a reed, and scourged him saying, “With such honor we should honor the Son of God.”
  1. They then brought two criminals and crucified the Lord between them, but he remained silent as if he felt no pain. When they set the cross upright, they inscribed upon it, “This is the king of Israel.” They then laid his garments before him, divided them among those present, and cast lots for them. However, one of those criminals scolded them saying, “We have suffered for the evil deeds that we did, but this man, who has become the savior of humanity, in which way has he injured you? They then became angered with him and ordered that his legs should not be broken, so that he might die in greater torment.”
  1. It was midday and darkness spread over all Judea, and they were distressed and anxious lest the sun had set, since he was still alive, because it is written for them that the sun should not set on one who was put to death. One of them then said, “Give to him so that he should drink gall with vinegar wine, and they mixed it and gave it to him to drink.” They fulfilled all things and accomplished their sins against their own heads. Many went about with lamps supposing that it was night, and some fell. The Lord then cried out aloud saying, “My power, my power, you have forsaken me.” When he said this he ascended. During the same hour the veil of the Jerusalem Temple was torn in twain.
  1. They then drew the nails from the Lord’s hands and laid him upon the earth, and the whole earth quaked; great fear fell on all of them. The sun then shone and it was discovered to be the ninth hour. The Jews then rejoiced and gave his body to Joseph to bury it, because he had seen all the good things that he did. He then took the Lord, washed and wrapped him in linen cloth, and brought him into his own sepulcher, that is called the Garden of Joseph.
  1. The Jews, elders, and priests knowing what great evil they had caused to their lives began to lament and to say, “Woe for our sins; the judgment and the end of Jerusalem has approached. However, I with my companions was grieved, and since our minds were injured we decided to hide, for we were sought as criminals and as ones with an intent to set the Temple on fire. In addition to all these things we were fasting, and we sat mourning and weeping night and day until the Sabbath.
  1. However, the scribes, Pharisees, and elders together assembled one another, for they had heard that all the people were complaining and beating their chests saying, “If by his death these numerous great signs have come to pass, we should look intently to determine to what degree he was righteous. The elders were then afraid and visited Pilate to entreat him saying, “Commission soldiers that we may guard his sepulcher for three days, in case his disciples come and steal him away and the people suppose that he is risen from the dead and do harm to us. Pilate then gave them Petronius the centurion with soldiers to guard the sepulcher, and the elders and scribes came with them to the sepulcher. When they had rolled a large stone, the centurion together with the soldiers and all who were there together placed it at the door of the sepulcher, and they affixed seven wax seals. They then pitched a tent there and kept guard. Early in the morning, as the Sabbath dawned, there came a multitude from Jerusalem and the region surrounding it to see that the sepulcher was sealed.
  1. During the night, when the Lord’s day dawned, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in every watch, there came a loud voice in heaven, and they saw the heavens opened and two men descend from there shining with a great light, and approached the sepulcher. The stone that was placed against the door rolled away of its own accord and went back to the side, the sepulcher was opened, and both of the young men entered.
  1. Therefore, when the soldiers saw it they woke up the centurion and the elders, for they likewise were there keeping guard. While they related the events that they witnessed, they again saw three men come out of the sepulcher, and two of them supporting the other, and a cross followed after them. The head of the two reached unto heaven, but the head of him whom they led rose beyond the heavens. They then heard a voice out of the heavens saying, “Have you preached to them who sleep?” A response was then heard from the cross saying, “Yes.”
  1. Those men therefore took counsel with one another whether to go away and report these things to Pilate. While they still considered it, again the heavens were opened and a man descended and entered into the sepulcher. When the centurion and those who were with him witnessed these things they went quickly by night to Pilate and left the sepulcher that they were guarding, described to him all that they saw, and were in great distress and saying, “Truly he was the Son of God.” Pilate answered and said, “I am clean from the blood of the Son of God, but you determined it.” All of them then arrived, besought, and exhorted him to command the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing of what they witnessed, for they said, “It is better for us to be guilty of the greatest sin before God and not to fall into the hands of the Jewish people and to be stoned.” Pilate therefore ordered the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing.
  1. Early on the Lord’s day, Mary Magdalene, a female disciple of the Lord who, since she was afraid because of the Jews, seeing that they were inflamed with wrath, had not performed at the sepulcher of the Lord those things that women were accustomed to do to those who die and are beloved among them. She took with her the women, her friends, and came to the sepulcher where he was laid. They then feared lest the Jews should see them and said, “Even though we were not able to weep and lament him on the day on which he was crucified, we should now do so at his sepulcher. However, who will roll away for us the stone that is also placed against the door of the sepulcher, so that we may enter, sit beside him, and perform that which is expected, for the stone was large and we fear lest anyone see us? If we cannot do so, we should place these things that we bring for a memorial of him at the door, then we will weep and lament until we return to our house.”
  1. They went and found the sepulcher open, and they approached, stooped down to look in there, and saw a young man sitting there in the midst of the sepulcher with a beautiful countenance and adorned in exceedingly bright raiment, who said unto them, “Why have you come? Whom do you seek? Is it him who was crucified? He is risen and is departed, but if you do not believe bend down and see the place where he lay, that he is not here, for he is risen and is departed from where he was sent. The women then were frightened and fled.
  1. It was the last day of unleavened bread, and many were departing from the city and returning to their own houses because the feast ended. However, we the twelve disciples of the Lord wept and grieved, and each one departed to his own house and was in sorrow for what had taken place. Nonetheless, I, Simon Peter, and Andrew my brother, took our nets and went to the sea, and there was with us Levi the son of Alphaeus, whom the Lord ….

Translation compared, rephrased, and edited by B. Walters.