A 1,200-year-old Egyptian manuscript tells the story of the crucifixion with incredible plot twists – including the revelation that Jesus could change shape.
The ancient illuminated text’s claim explains why Judas used a kiss to betray Jesus, since the Christian Messiah had the ability to transform his appearance.
It also claims Jesus in fact spent his last supper with the man who ordered his execution, Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, who is said to have offered to sacrifice his own son in Jesus’ place.
And it defies the official Easter timeline by putting the day of Jesus’ arrest on Tuesday evening, rather than the canonically agreed Thursday.
The translation from the original Coptic has been revealed for the first time in a new book by Roelof van den Broek, emeritus professor of the History of Christianity at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
In the commonly-accepted Bible story it is claimed that the apostle Judas agrees to betray Jesus in exchange for cash, then kissed him to reveal his identity.
The newly-deciphered text explains that, far from a sign of affection or guilt, the kiss was Judas’ way of forestalling any shapeshifting confusion.
‘The Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man…’ it reads.
For a man who could walk on water, raise the dead, feed 5,000 people with just a single loaf of bread and a fish, and turn water into wine, such abilities are perhaps unsurprising.
But shapeshifting is not the only superpower the ancient manuscript attributes to Jesus – it also says that he could even turn himself invisible.
It claims that on the night before his crucifixion, Jesus ate dinner with Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who decided his sentence – who, it is said, remarkably offered his son to be crucified in place of the Messiah.
Jesus declined the offer, explaining that if he could escape from his fate if he wanted to.
‘Pilate, then, looked at Jesus and, behold, he became incorporeal: He did not see him for a long time,’ the text says.
Later that night, according to the manuscript, Pilate and his wife dreamed of an eagle representing Jesus being killed.
The incredible text, which is thought to be some 1,200 years old, is written in the name of St Cyril of Jerusalem, although, Professor van den Broek says, it was probably written by someone else.
Back then it was looked after by monks at the Monastery of St Michael in the desert of north-west Egypt, south of Cairo.
The text was rediscovered in 1910 and, the following year, it was bought along with other manuscripts by the wealthy Wall Street financier JP Morgan.
Morgan’s collections were later given to the public and they are now kept in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. …
One day it will be admitted that the story of Jesus was one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of war propaganda. The Romans had the story written to shame the Jews because after the war, the Jews were still causing a lot of problems for them. So, in the story, the Jews learn that they betrayed their own peaceful king, the very Son of God! Pontius Pilate was a real. If you really get into history, you’ll see that it wasn’t just Jesus performing miracles.
The popular emperor Vespasian (the former Roman general who had befriended the Jewish historian Josephus during the First Jewish Revolt) was credited with having performed several miracles. According to stories recorded by the Greek historians Dio Cassius and Tacitus, Vespasian worked several healing miracles, while visiting the shrine of Sarapis in Egypt. Among these miracles, Vespasian is credited with healing a blind man and restoring another man’s crippled hand (Tacitus Histories 4.81).
It wasn’t just Jesus who returned from the dead, either. John the Baptist did it too. Or don’t you believe the bible? 😉
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
As it is still today, telling amazing stories was a risky game with a potentially huge pay off. If you could tell a great tale, move people emotionally and not get caught in a lie, you would have better food and more attention (an evolutionary advantage). After all, there were no movies, no television, no internet and in most places very few people could read.
I think of Jesus as the Superman of the ancient world. Everyone knows that Superman came from the planet Krypton, but did he support the Nazi’s policy of genetic purity? Was he a member of the JL-Axis, a Nazi-themed Justice League? Depends on who is telling the story.
Was Jesus a shape shifting alien who could turn invisible … or was someone telling an amazing story for personal gain and entertainment? Did the Son of God, King of the Jews betrayed by his people decide to die a horrible death on the cross to free his people from sin? If your story is really good, you win. People will believe it. They will fight to defend your story even against contradictory evidence, or a complete lack of evidence.