Solving the Mystery of the Gospel of Peter’s Talking Cross

Mark Goodacre presented a paper at last year's SBL with the provocative argument that the "cross that spoke" in the Gospel of Peter is an element that derives from a scribal misunderstanding of the nomen sacrum ΣΤΑ (thus reading "cross" instead of "crucified one"). I missed the paper at SBL, but Mark has two posts describing his argument (start HERE) and these have sparked some fruitful discussion.

Reading the posts I was reminded of a few instances in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas manuscripts in which the same nomen sacrum has led to some corruptions in the text. The first is in the 11th-century Sabaiticus 259 (=Gs). In 6:2b we have the reading "…and that you may bear the name of salvation." Other Mss have instead "When you see my cross which my father mentioned to you…" The Gs reading seems to have arisen from a misreading of ΣΤΑ (cross) as "salvation." Another corruption appears in 6:2a where we have "Do not consider him to have the worth of a small man (ANOU)." The early versions have "small cross"; so perhaps our scribe (or an earlier one in the chain of transmission) misread ΣΤOU as ANOU.The only Ga Ms to have this chapter (Vienna, Cod. hist. gr. 91) is also corrupt (for microu staurou it reads mikroterou). The Gd Ms Cod. Ath. gr. 355 has the correct reading, but not as a nomen sacrum.

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One Response to Solving the Mystery of the Gospel of Peter’s Talking Cross

  1. I was looking for exactly this – another example of this pattern of corruption. The best I could come up with was Rev 16.5 in the manuscript tradition. This is much better. Thanks Tony!

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