Monday, July 10, 2006

DID JESUS FLY? In one of those oft-reprinted Superman and Jesus pieces (see also here) we read the following:
Some disagree, arguing that Skelton has leapt to a conclusion greater than Superman's fabled ability to vault skyscrapers. For example, Jesus walked on water, but he didn't fly - except in some Gnostic gospels and the Apocrypha.
I don't recall Jesus flying in any of the Gnostic or apocryphal gospels. The resurrection scene in The Gospel of Peter has two angels flying down from heaven and carrying the risen Jesus out of the tomb, then an angel descends again into the tomb, but this is not the same thing as the earthly Jesus flying under his own power like Superman.
IX. 34 And early in the morning as the Sabbath dawned, there came a multitude from Jerusalem and the region roundabout to see the sepulchre that had been sealed.

35 Now in the night whereon the Lord's day dawned, as the soldiers were keeping guard two by two in every watch, 36 there came a great sound in the heaven, and they saw the heavens opened and two men descend thence, shining with (lit. having) a great light, and drawing near unto the sepulchre. 37 And that stone which had been set on the door rolled away of itself and went back to the side, and the sepulchre was

X. 38 opened and both of the young men entered in. When therefore those soldiers saw that, they waked up the centurion and the elders (for they also were there keeping 39 watch); and while they were yet telling them the things which they had seen, they saw again three men come out of the sepulchre, and two of them sustaining the other (lit. the 40 one), and a cross following, after them. And of the two they saw that their heads reached unto heaven, but of him that 41 was led by them that it overpassed the heavens. And they 42 heard a voice out of the heavens saying: Hast thou (or Thou hast) preached unto them that sleep? And an answer was heard from the cross, saying: Yea.

XI. 43 Those men therefore took counsel one with another to go and report these things unto Pilate. And while they yet thought thereabout, again the heavens were opened and a 45 man descended and entered into the tomb. And they that were with the centurion (or the centurion and they that were with him) when they saw that, hasted to go by night unto Pilate and left the sepulchre whereon they were keeping watch, and told all that they had seen, and were in great agony, saying: Of a truth he was the son of God.
Also, according to the Acts of Peter the heretic Simon Magus flew in the air to demonstrate his superpowers, but the Apostle Peter prayed and nullified his flying ability:
XXXII. And already on the morrow a great multitude assembled at the Sacred Way to see him flying. And Peter came unto the place, having seen a vision (or, to see the sight), that he might convict him in this also; for when Simon entered into Rome, he amazed the multitudes by flying: but Peter that convicted him was then not yet living at Rome: which city he thus deceived by illusion, so that some were carried away by him (amazed at him).

So then this man standing on an high place beheld Peter and began to say: Peter, at this time when I am going up before all this people that behold me, I say unto thee: If thy God is able, whom the Jews put to death, and stoned you that were chosen of him, let him show that faith in him is faith in God, and let it appear at this time, if it be worthy of God. For I, ascending up, will show myself unto all this multitude, who I am. And behold when he was lifted up on high, and all beheld him raised up above all Rome and the temples thereof and the mountains, the faithful looked toward Peter. And Peter seeing the strangeness of the sight cried unto the Lord Jesus Christ: If thou suffer this man to accomplish that which he hath set about, now will all they that have believed on thee be offended, and the signs and wonders which thou hast given them through me will not be believed: hasten thy grace, O Lord, and let him fall from the height and be disabled; and let him not die but be brought to nought, and break his leg in three places. And he fell from the height and brake his leg in three places. Then every man cast stones at him and went away home, and thenceforth believed Peter.
Otherwise I can think of no episodes with Jesus flying. Have I missed anything?

UPDATE: Wieland Willker e-mails to note that Aphrahat and Ephrem Syrus refer to an episode in which Jesus flies. It may have come from Tatian's Diatessaron. Wieland points to this TC review by William L. Petersen of Tjitze Baarda, Essays on the Diatessaron, for more information.

UPDATE (11 July): Reader Brent Landau e-mails:
... I saw your post about Jesus flying, a subject which has interested me in the past. Apart from the Diatessaron reference, another intriguing passage is apparently from the Jewish-Christian Gospel of the Hebrews, as cited by Origen. Here Jesus is "carried" and doesn't fly independently:
And if any accept the Gospel of the Hebrews - here the Savior says: "Even so did my mother, the Holy Spirit, take me by one of my hairs and carry me away on to the great mountain Tabor."
(Origen, Commentary on John 2.12.87 [on John 1:3])

Here's a link to an online source:

No comments:

Post a Comment