The Act Of Peter


Now on the first (day) of the week, which is the Lord's day,

a crowd gathered and brought to Peter many who were sick, in order

that he might heal them. And an individual from the crowd made bold

to say to Peter, "Peter, behold, in our presence you have caused many

blind to see and you have caused the deaf to hear, and you have caused

the lame to walk. And you have helped the weak and have given them

strength. But your virgin daughter, who has grown up to be beautiful

and who has believed in the name of God, why have you not helped her?"

For behold, one side of her is completely paralyzed and she lies crip-

pled there in the corner. Those whom you have healed are seen (about

us); but your daughter you have neglected."

Then Peter smiled and said to him, "My son, it is apparent to God alone

why her body is not healthy. Know, then, that God was not weak or

unable to give his gift to my daughter. But so that your soul may be

persuaded and those who are here may have more faith..." Then he

looked at his daughter and said to her, "Arise from your place! Let

nobody help you except Jesus alone, and walk restored in the presence

of all these (people)! Come to me!" And she arose and went over to

him. The crowd rejoiced on account of what happened. Peter said to

them, "Behold, your hearts have been persuaded that God is not powerless

regarding anything we ask of him." Then they rejoiced even more and

praised God.

Peter said to his daughter, "Go to your place, sit down, and become an

invalid again. For this is beneficial for you and me." The girl went

back again, sat down in her place, and became again as she was before.

The whole crowd wept and begged Peter to make her healthy. Peter said

to them, "As the Lord lives, this is beneficial for her and me. For on

the day she was born to me I saw a vision, and the Lord said to me,

'Peter, there has been born to you today a great trial. For this

(daughter) will wound many souls if her body remains healthy.' But I

thought the vision was mocking me.

"When the girl became ten years old, many were tempted by her. And a

man rich in property, Ptolemy, after he had seen the girl bathing with

her mother, sent for her so that he might take her for his wife. Her

mother was not persuaded. He sent for her many times. He could not

cease [...]. (pp. 133-134 missing)

..."[The men-servants of] Ptolemy [returned] the girl, and put her down

before the house and departed. And when I and her mother realized it,

we went down and found the girl with one whole side of her body, from

her toes to her head, paralyzed and withered. We picked her up, praising

the Lord who had saved his servant from defilement, [and] pollution, and

[destruction]. This is the cause of [the fact] that the girl [remains]

thus to this day.

"Now then, it is fitting for you to know the (subsequent) deeds of

Ptolemy. he was smitten in his heart and grieved night and day on

accout of what happened to him. And because of (the) many tears he shed

he became blind. He intended to go and hang himself. And behold in the

ninth hour of that day, and when he was alone in his bedroom, [he] saw a

great light shining in the whole house, and heard a voice saying to him,

'Ptolemy, God did not give his vessels for corruption and pollution.

But it was necessary for you, since you believed in me, that you not

defile my virgin, whom you should have recognized as your sister, since

I have become one Spirit for you both. But arise and go quickly to

the house of Peter my apostle and you will see my glory. He will

explain the matter to you.'

"And Ptolemy did not hesitate. he commanded his men-servants to lead

him and to bring him to me. And when he had come to me he narrated

everything that had happened to him in the power of Jesus Christ our

Lord. Then he saw with the eyes of his flesh and the eyes of his soul.

And many hoped in Christ. He did good things for them and he gave them

the gift of God.

"Afterwards Ptolemy died. He departed from life and went to his Lord.

And [when he made] his will, he wrote in a piece of land in the name of

my daughter, since because of her he believed in God and was saved. I

myself took care of the administration entrusted to me most carefully.

I sold the land. And God alone knows, neither I, nor my daughter, kept

anything back from the price of the land. But I sent the entire sum

of money to the poor."Know, then, O servant of Christ Jesus, that God

[watches over those who] are his and he prepares what is good for each one.

But we think that God has forgotten us. Now then, brothers, let us be penitent

And watchful, and pray. And the goodness of God will look down upon us--

and we wait for it." And {all} other teachings Peter spoke in the

presence of them all. Praising the name of the Lord Christ, he gave

them all bread. When he had distributed it, he arose and went into

his house.

The Act Of Peter

Commentary by Brashler and Parrott:

The message of the ACT OF PETER is essentially encratite, or ascetic: through

the insight and act of a man of God, the virginity of a young Christian person is

preserved. The tractate thus advocates rigorous self-control of the sexual life.

Though a more extreme interpretation may have been possible for those

so inclined, the document itself does not necessarily condemn marriage

and sexual relations as such. A deeper understanding of the text could

have suggested that the tractate actually proclaims the victory of

knowledge, life, and the divine, over ignorance, death and the world.