Further notes on the “Cura Sanitatis Tiberii”

Yesterday I wrote some notes on this curious Latin apocryphal text.  There is a whole cycle of medieval texts about what happened to Pilate after the gospels, often attached to the Gospel of Nicodemus in Latin versions, of which the Cura Sanitatis Tiberii is one.

Today I discovered a few more bits of information, especially that Z. Izydorczyk’s The Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus: Texts, Intertexts and Contents in Western Europe (1997) is online here.  It contains some interesting information.

Given the absence of concern for textual integrity and definitive textual boundaries in manuscript culture, it is hardly surprising that the Gospel of Nicodemus provided both a source and a point of gravity for a host of minor, often derivative compositions. Known collectively as the cycle of Pilate, those texts are quite diverse in form and content, and include private and official letters, reports, narratives, and legal pronouncements. What links them all is the emphasis on the person of Pilate, textual and thematic links to the GN, and frequent co-occurrence with the GN in manuscripts (in fact, they are sometimes fully integrated with it). Most of them were originally written in crude Greek or Latin and later translated into various Eastern and Western languages.

The notion of the cycle of Pilate is rather loose and has never been unambiguously defined. There is no absolute agreement as to which texts should be included in it and which should not, but there is a general consensus that the cycle constitutes the immediate textual milieu for the AP. Since the Pilate cycle will occasionally enter the discussions of the apocryphon in this book, it may be worthwhile to mention its main texts here….

He then gives a useful list, with a short summary of the contents of each.  He indicates that his list is derived from Mauritius Geerard, Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti, Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphorum (Tumhout: Brepols, 1992), no. 64 onwards.

Cura sanitatis Tiberii: Tiberius is miraculously healed by an image of Christ, Peter confirms the truth of Pilate’s report on Jesus, and Nero exiles Pilate, who commits suicide. The work was composed in Latin, possibly in northern Italy, between the fifth and the eighth centuries.

A more detailed discussion appears on p.57-9, in which the date of the piece is given as between the 5-8th centuries; the latter being the date of the first extant manuscript, while the former is the date of the Latin translation of the Gospel of Nicodemus, to which the Cura is “textually indebted.”

The CANT indicates that the Cura is CANT 69 (BHL 4218-4220), that there are two recensions, and the edition is by Dobschutz, as we saw yesterday.  I learn from Izydorczyk that an Old Czech version of the Cura exists; and Old English, Middle English, and German versions.  A google search informs me of a volume of Old French and Middle French versions of Pilate texts, including the Cura.[1]

It is curious, tho, that no modern translation exists.  It seems clear that a volume which edits the entire cycle, with translations, would be very useful to have.  Would it be so hard to do?

Update (24 April 2022): Since this was written, an English translation by Tuomas Levänen has appeared and is online here.

  1. [1]A.E. Ford (ed.), La Vengeance de Nostre-Seigneur, 1993. ISBN: 978-0-88844-115-7. Info from Brepols here.

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