Do crosses walk and talk? a reconsideration of Gospel of Peter 10.39-42

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Abstract

There has been a recent upsurge in support for a conjectural emendation in the text of Gos. Pet. 10.39, 42. The proposed change suggests that instead of a moving and talking cross (σταερoν), the text should be emended to refer to the crucified one (σταερω θντα). The motivation for the change is that as it stands the text 'is almost unbelievably absurd'. This essay seeks to rebut that suggestion on three levels. First, the proposed emendation introduces more problems than it solves. Secondly, elsewhere in the extant portion of the Gospel of Peter there are other indications that the author heightens miraculous elements, especially in relation to inanimate objects becoming animate. Thirdly, while the notion of a walking and talking cross may offend modern sensibilities, it is a plausible idea in its ancient context, and other texts from the period also contain descriptions of moving and articulate crosses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Theological Studies
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013

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