Acts of ps.Linus now online

The English translation that I commissioned of the 4th century fictional Acts of ps.Linus is now online in PDF form.  It can be found here:

I’m making the item public domain; do with it whatever you like, personal, educational or commercial.

I will create an HTML version in due course, but at the moment I have no time.  The PDF is just created from the Word .docx files that the translator sent me.

As ever, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Andrew Eastbourne for the quality effort that he made on this.

From my diary

Updated versions of the translation of the Passio Petri and Passio Pauli from the Acts of ps.Linus have arrived.  I will need to read these tonight, but they must be nearly complete, which is good news.

I have been making enquiries about the supposed existence of a third volume of Maarten Vermaseren’s CIMRM collection of inscriptions and reliefs about Mithras.  The theory is that he had composed a third volume, to contain the literary testimonies; but this was unpublished at his death.  However I am informed that this is not true; and worse, that Vermaseren gave orders before his death for all his scholarly papers to be destroyed.  I am enquiring a little further, but I suspect that CIMRM III will have to be filed with the pseudo-biblia.

I’m also interested in exploring a little whether the CIMRM can be got online.  They are, admittedly, outdated.  Plans for a supplement never came to anything.  There are scholars interested in creating some new resource, but unable to get funding.  So, as the CIMRM volumes are out of print, I wonder whether Brill would allow them to appear online?  It probably depends on finding someone friendly at Brill to ask.

 I’m still reading some of the material at the Wikipediocracy forum.   There is a book in prospect about the history of Wikipedia.  One item in this will be details of the WorldTraveller incident.   WorldTraveller was a longstanding and valued contributor, who was forced out of Wikipedia by an admin who contributed nothing, and broke all the “rules” to do down his foe.  The details are sordid, and show clearly that Wikipedia’s policies do not work, even in very blatant cases.  As Peter Damian remarks:

So, a researcher at a top UK institution, later to become a professional astronomer, is blocked by an admin who knows nothing about astronomy, and whose contributions to Wikipedia include ‘paranormal’ topics, video games and comic books. I defy anyone to find a better example of admin abuse against content contributors than that.

The later block in March 2007 caused WT to pack his bags and leave for good.

Interestingly, the UK parliament has received representations about Wikipedia.   The hearings of the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions from January 2012 are online in PDF form here.  On pages 483 to 493 is the testimony of Andreas Kolbe and Edward Buckner, itemising two problems, with specific examples:

  1. Wikipedia facilitates the publication of anonymous defamatory material, and has no practical mechanism for the victim to get it removed.
  2. Wikipedia publishes significant amounts of extreme porn, and some of those at the top of Wikimedia UK are involved in this.

The witnesses call for moves to make Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation more accountable.  Specifically they propose that the Charities Commission should oblige Wikipedia to fund a small but fully independent watchdog similar to the Press Complaints Committee, as a condition of its charitable status, to help enforce the controls which Wikipedia claims are in place but which the evidence shows is not. 

These modest proposals seem very sound to me.  The problems in Wikipedia administration run deep, but these two symptoms certainly need to be addressed. 

From my diary

News on the translation that I commissioned of the 4th century Acts of ps.Linus .  The second half arrived last night!  That’s the Passio Pauli portion.  I’ve reviewed it, and it seems very close to completion, bar a couple of sentences.  That’s good news, and it will be good to have that complete and paid for.

I was enquiring last week about ancient Latin translations of the homilies of John Chrysostom.  A kind correspondent sent me a copy of an article by Sever J. Voicu. [1]  This gives a very nice overview of the evidence, and is so good, in fact, that I have translated portions of it and might write a post to convey the highlights.

Last night I was discussing online with others like myself what might be done to restore some reliable information about Mithras to the web.  Some useful ideas emerged, and possibly a direction.

It was also suggested that I try using a CMS — Content Management System — such as Joomla.  I might experiment a bit with this.


  1. [1]Sever J. Voicu, Le prime traduzioni latine di Crisostomo, In: “Cristianesimo latino e cultura greca. XXI Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana”, 1993, p.397-445.

From my diary

I have been away on holiday for a while, so most of my projects have taken a back seat.

I’ve received the first draft of a translation of the 4th century Acts of ps.Linus, or rather of the “Peter” half.  This I hope to look at today.

I’ve also started to do more work on the PHP code for my Mithras pages.

It is summer time, although it doesn’t quite seem like it, and I notice everyone is blogging less.  We all need some kind of stimulation — anger, rage, envy, resentment, disagreement, the usual staple incentives for online posting — and this is rather lacking at the moment.  No-one has said anything I disagree with for ages!  Oh well.

The ps.Acts of Linus (Acta Petri et Pauli gnostica)

In the abbreviated Dictionary of Christian Biography edited by Wace and online at CCEL there is an article on Linus.  This refers to certain “acts of Linus” in the following terms:

Under the name of Linus are extant two tracts purporting to contain the account of the martyrdom of SS. Peter and of Paul. These were first printed in 1517 by Faber Stapulensis as an appendix to his Comm. on Saint Paul’s Epistles. … Linus does not profess to give a complete account of the acts of the two apostles. He begins by briefly referring to (as if already known to his readers) the contest of St. Peter and Simon Magus, his imprisonments and other sufferings and labours, and then proceeds at once to the closing scenes. The stories of the martyrdom of the two apostles are quite distinct, there being no mention of Paul in the first nor of Peter in the second. …

… The alleged cause of Agrippa’s animosity exhibits strongly the Encratite character common to Linus and the Leucian Acts. St. Peter, we are told, by his preaching of chastity had caused a number of matrons to leave the marriage bed of their husbands, who were thus infuriated against the apostle.

… St. Peter requests to be crucified head downwards, desiring out of humility not to suffer in the same way as his Master. A further reason is given,, that in this way his disciples will be better able to hear his words spoken on the cross, and a mystical explanation is given of the inverted position which bears a very Gnostic character. An alleged saying of our Lord is quoted which strongly resembles a passage from the Gospel according to the Egyptians, cited by Julius Cassianus (Clem. Al. Strom. iii. 13, p. 553 see also Clem. Rom. ii. 12), “Unless ye make the right as the left, the left as the right, the top as the bottom, and the front as the backward, ye shall not know the kingdom of God.” … The story of Peter’s crucifixion head downwards was in the Acts known to Origen, who refers to it in his Comm. on Gen. (Eus. H. E. iii. 1).

The second book, which treats of St. Paul, relates the success of his preaching at Rome. The emperor’s teacher, his hearer and close friend, when he cannot converse with him, corresponds with him by letter. …

Lipsius infers, from the coincidences of the tolerably numerous N.T. citations in Linus with the Vulg., that our present Latin Linus must be later than Jerome; …  We conjecture the compiler to have been a Manichean, but he is quite orthodox in his views as to the work of creation, the point on which Gnostic speculation was most apt to go astray.

Now these are certainly obscure items, and my attention was drawn to them only in a forum. 

The edition of Faber Stapulensis, “Epistole divi Pauli Apostoli”, 1517 is on Google Books here; the two letters of Linus are right at the back and start here.  A modern edition by Lipsius is here.  There is a lengthy introduction.

Pp.xiv-xv discuss the text as “Acta Petri et Acta Pauli gnostica” and begin:

The passions of Peter and Paul which bear the name of Linus, bishop of Rome, were first edited by Jacob Faber Stapulensis as an appendix to the commentaries on the letters of Paul, which appeared in 1512, reprinted 1515 or 1516.

On p.xvi he discusses reprints, apparently rather duff ones. Then:

The passion of Peter the apostle is said in many manuscripts to have been written in Greek by bishop Linus and handed down by the eastern churches. The same is said not only of the passion of Paul, but also of the Life of Peter which in the name of Abdiah [fertur] is inscribed in the manuscripts.

But he says that it certainly wasn’t written in Greek.

The discussion continues; on p.xix-xx is a list of (Latin) manuscripts of the “passion of Peter”; on p.xxiii-xxvi is a similar list of 78 mss for the “passion of Paul”, probably incomplete (he says). A stemma appears on p.xxxi. The text is on p.1-22, and p.23-44, respectively.

The text as printed seems to be 37 words on 5 lines, i.e. 7.4 words per line.

For the Acta Petri, the line count is:

11+22+21+22+25+28+28+19+19+19+16+18+27+15+15+17+27+23+14+12+15+21 = 434 lines

Which would be 3212 words.  It’s probably the same for the Acta Pauli gnostica.

I don’t know that either text has ever been translated.  Each could probably be done for about $200.  But is it worth it?  I suppose that, if they have encratite views, they must be ancient and so should be made available.