Acts of Paul

The Acts of Paul is one of the major works and earliest pseudepigraphal series from the New Testament apocrypha also known as Apocryphal Acts. An approximate date given to the Acts of Paul is 160 CE.[1] The Acts were first mentioned by Tertullian. Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to preach and baptize. The Acts were considered orthodox by Hippolytus but were eventually regarded as heretical when the Manichaeans started using the texts. The author of the Acts of Paul is unknown and wrote out of respect for Paul in Asia Minor. The author does not show any dependency on the canonical Acts but uses oral traditions of Paul's missionary work.

The text is primarily known from Greek manuscripts.[2] The discovery of a Coptic version of the text demonstrated that the text was composed of

All of these constituent parts were often considered worth treating as separate texts and frequently appeared independently, although scholars agree that they were originally part of the Acts of Paul. Besides the four main sections mentioned above, the remainder of the Acts exist only in fragments from the 3rd and 5th centuries:

The texts are a coherent whole and are generally thought to have been written by one author using oral traditions, rather than basing it on any of the other apocrypha or the orthodox canon. The main emphasis of the text is on Chastity and anti-Gnosticism. According to Tertullian, the author was a priest in Asia Minor. While the priest encouraged female ministry, he expressed doctrinal orthodoxy in regard to continence and Resurrection. Also, they mentioned the close relationship of sexual purity and salvation.

The Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul and the Third Epistle of the Corinthians both appear in some editions of the Armenian Bible.


Acts of Paul consists of the third letter to the Corinthians, an account of his martyrdom, and other narratives depicting his preaching and activity. There is a range of literature either about or purporting to be by Paul, including letters, narratives, prayers, and apocalypses. The pseudonymous Third Letter to the Corinthians claims to have been written from prison to correct the misinterpretations that his first and second letter had created. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he stated that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" and this statement is related to the debates that ensued between the Gnostic and proto-orthodox Christians thereafter. A Christian who was concerned to emphasize that people would be physically resurrected, rather than merely spiritually, forged 3 Corinthians to counter Gnostic teachings. The Acts of Paul also appear to be familiar with the traditional account about the martyrdom of Peter, in which, having been arrested and condemned to death, Peter asked to be crucified head-down because he wasn't worthy of having the same death as Jesus.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jones, Timothy Paul (2007), Misquoting Truth, InterVarsity Press, p. 167.
  2. ^ Pervo, R.I. (2014). The Acts of Paul: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Wipf & Stock Publishers. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-63087-146-8. Retrieved 28 June 2018.


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