An ancient heretical Christian manuscript describing secret teachings that Jesus gave to his brother, James, has been discovered, and scholars are very excited at having located these Greek writings. These documents, which form part of the Nag Hammadi library, were written 1,400 years ago, left inside of a jar and were originally found in Egypt in 1945. They comprise just a very small handful of Greek translations of Coptic Gnostic books.
Geoffrey Smith and Brent Landau, both scholars from the University of Texas at Austin, chanced upon the 2nd to 6th century Greek translation of the First Apocalypse of James and were extremely surprised, as up until this time, the only known copies of this were in Coptic, as Phys.org reported. Smith, in particular, was stunned that such a Greek manuscript even still existed today.
“To say that we were excited once we realized what we’d found is an understatement. We never suspected that Greek fragments of the First Apocalypse of James survived from antiquity. But there they were, right in front of us.”
In these secret teachings, Jesus discloses future events that will eventually occur with his brother, James, and also describes Heaven and the marvelous things to be found there. However, it is important to take note of the fact that when Jesus speaks about his brother, he is not referring to an actual sibling and even makes sure he explains in the manuscript that James is “not my brother materially,” according to ScienceAlert.
Geoffrey Smith explained that the secret Greek manuscript includes enlightening conversations that took place between Jesus and James and advice that was given to his brother so that after Jesus died, James could continue his teaching and spread his message far and wide.
“The text supplements the biblical account of Jesus’ life and ministry by allowing us access to conversations that purportedly took place between Jesus and his brother, James — secret teachings that allowed James to be a good teacher after Jesus’ death.”
One of the things that makes this document so unique, and also heretical, is that it was not included in the Christian canon and chosen to be part of the gospel as set forth by Athanasius, who was the bishop of Alexandria and the man responsible for helping to decide which gospels made the cut and were included in the New Testament.
This didn’t make it into the Bible.https://t.co/s0aph2AaDZ
— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) December 1, 2017
While written in Greek, this manuscript describing the teachings of Jesus to James also contains a sequence of dots and it is possible that it was designed for teachers to help their students through the process of learning to read and write, as Brent Landau has surmised.
“The scribe has divided most of the text into syllables by using mid-dots. Such divisions are very uncommon in ancient manuscripts, but they do show up frequently in manuscripts that were used in educational contexts.”
The new Greek document was officially announced at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting and scholars will continue to examine the secret teachings that Jesus gave to his brother James to see what other surprises it may yield.