Andreas files

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The Acts of the Apostles
a collection of
apocryphal stories of the Apostles

The Andreasakten ( Latin Acta Andreae ) are an apocryphal book of Acts about the deeds, miracles and martyrdom of the Apostle Andrew . This writing is mentioned for the first time by Eusebius of Caesarea , who, together with the Acts of John, rejects it as nonsensical and godless. Scripture influenced the Acts of Paul and Thomas . Two of the Manichaean Psalter from the 3rd century contain allusions to the Acts of St. Andrew. The Decretum Gelasianum counts writing among the Apocrypha .

Place and time of writing

The Manichean Book of Psalms forms the terminus ad quem , but the time of writing is earlier. Jean-Marc Prieur dates the work to the period between 150 and 200, but tends to the earlier date and justifies this with the peculiar heterodox Christology of the text, the lack of references to the historical and biblical Jesus and the lack of mention of ecclesiastical organization as well as liturgical and church rites. This points to a time when the Christology of the large church did not yet have a fixed outline.

Nothing definite can be said about the place of the constitution. The script could have been written in Greece, Asia Minor, Syria or Egypt; Prieur sees Alexandria as a possible environment in which this script could have originated.

Scope of delivery

The original Greek work has not survived in full, the surviving tradition mostly consists of translations and is divided into five strands:

  1. Liber de miraculis de Beati Andreae Apostoli of Gregory of Tours . This is a Latin arrangement that allows a reconstruction of the complete work, but Gregor shortened the speeches, changed the structure of the narrative in some places and adapted many things in order to make it acceptable from the Catholic side. The end of the martyrdom is greatly shortened, Gregor recommends a Latin Passio instead. Overall, it is the most important source.
  2. The Coptic Papyrus Utrecht 1. This manuscript is dated to the 4th century. It is a Sahidic translation of an excerpt from the work and corresponds to chapter 18 of the Liber de miraculis. Of the original 15 pages of the manuscript, pp. 9, 10 and 13–15 are left.
  3. The Armenian Martyrdom. It is a complete translation of the final part into Armenian, and part of the final speech from the prison is included. However, the translation has redesigned problematic passages to be “orthodox”. The translator may have added the eagle allegory in chap. 12–15.
  4. Excerpts that have survived in Greek revisions. These documents contain individual parts of the files in their wording.
  5. Five Greek reviews of the final part. These contain the original wording. The witnesses differ from one another in scope and do not contain the same elements.
  • Codex Sinaiticus Graecus 526 and Codex Jerusalemi S. Sabas 203
  • Codex Vaticanus Graecus 808
  • Codex Ann Arbor 36
  • Codex Paris BN gr. 770 and Codex Jerusalemi S. Sabas 30
  • Codex Paris BN gr. 1539

In addition to these five main strands, there is also a Coptic fragment that could be assigned to the Andreas files, but it is not certain where it is related.

The episodic narratives in which Andreas plays a role have only been partially preserved in two manuscript traditions; there are also quotations and fragments that are believed to come from lost sections. One is an early Coptic manuscript that is part of one of the narratives. It is kept at the Utrecht University Library. The other is embedded in a Greek martyrdom , which, supplemented by other manuscripts, has a length of 65 chapters.


Traditionally it was assumed that the text is based on the Acts of John and Peter and that it even has the same author, an alleged student of St. John by the name Leucius Charinus , who is related to the other Acts of the Apostles, in particular the Acts of John. For example, Leucius is considered by Augustine to be the author of all five acts of the Apostles. It is questionable, however, whether this person ever existed, and if so, then this Johanness pupil was certainly not the author of this publication. The real author of the text is nowhere named and is therefore unknown, as is the place of the constitution.

Content and intention to convey

Like these other apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, the Acts of Andrew describe the assumed journeys of the title character, the miracles he performed on them, and finally the course of his martyrdom. The structure of the work can be roughly reconstructed from the Liber de miraculis by Gregory and the other sources. After that, the work has several parts. The first part is a travel report from Pontus via Amasia , Sinope , Nicaea , Nicomedia , Byzantium , Thrace , Perinth , Philippi to Patras . The second part reports on his work in Patras: Andreas visits several cities in Achaia , including Corinth , Megara and possibly Lakedaimon ( Sparta ), before he returns to Patras. The end is martyrdom.

The work tells of the apostle's missionary journeys in the area of ​​Achaia, his sermons and the conversion of the wife of a Roman governor. It ends with the depiction of the crucifixion of Andrew in Patras, which has been handed down in various versions . As in the two books on which the Andreas Acts are based, the miracles described are extremely exaggerated, beyond the conventional miracle motifs (bringing the dead to life, healing the blind, etc.), Andreas only survived living with wild animals, calmed storms and defeated armies by making the cross. There are also many morally significant parts. Andreas saves a boy from his indecent mother, who then makes false accusations against them. God then sends an earthquake to save Andrew and the boy. Even at his crucifixion, Andrew preaches down from the cross for two days and two nights and harshly rejects any last-minute rescue.

Eusebius of Caesarea knew the work, which he rejected as a heretical and absurd production. Gregory of Tours was delighted when he found a copy and wrote a drastically shortened version around 593 in which he left out the part which he found too detailed and which he thought was the cause of the rejection of the text . His free version leaves out the detail that the apostle's ascetic sermons caused the proconsul's wife to leave her husband. That was socially and morally unacceptable to a Merovingian audience. In this way he brings the narrative in line with the Catholic orthodoxy of his time and adds new material.

The Andreas Acts were often classified as Gnostic before the finds in the Nag Hammadi library established the modern understanding of Gnosis. In his book Christianizing Homer: The Odyssey, Plato, and the Acts of Andrew , Dennis MacDonald takes the position that the Andreas Acts recount the story of Homer's Odyssey .



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jean-Marc Prieur, Wilhelm Schneemelcher : Andreasakten . In: W. Schneemelcher (Ed.): New Testament Apocrypha . 6th edition. II Apostolic and Related Matters, 1997, p. 93 .
  2. ^ A b Jean-Marc Prieur, Wilhelm Schneemelcher : Andreasakten . In: W. Schneemelcher (Ed.): New Testament Apocrypha . 6th edition. II Apostolic and Related Matters, 1997, p. 107-108 .
  3. ^ Jean-Marc Prieur, Wilhelm Schneemelcher : Andreasakten . In: W. Schneemelcher (Ed.): New Testament Apocrypha . 6th edition. II Apostolic and Related Matters, 1997, p. 96-99 .
  4. ^ Lieuwe Van Kampen: Acta Andreae and Gregory's 'De miraculis Andreae' . In: Vigiliae Christianae . No. 45 , 1991, pp. 18-26 .
  5. Papyrus Copt. Utrecht 1.
  6. ^ Jean-Marc Prieur (ed.): Acta Andreae . Brepols, Turnhout 1989.
  7. ^ Augustine of Hippo: Contra Felicem Manichaeum . tape 2.6 .
  8. Philipp Vielhauer : History of early Christian literature . de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 1985, ISBN 3-11-007763-9 , pp. 705 f .
  9. Eusebius of Caesarea : Church history . III, 25.7. In: Eusebius, Selected Writings Volume II . Translated from the Greek by Phil. Häuser (=  library of the church fathers . 2nd row, volume 1). Munich 1932 ( University of Freiburg i. Ue. , April 4, 2008 [accessed January 5, 2017]).
  10. ^ Gregory of Tours : Liber de Miraculis Beati Andreae. Van Kampen, 1991, pp. 18–26, here p. 18.
  11. Gilles Quispel : An Unknown Fragment of the Acts of Andrew. In: Vigiliae Christianae 10 (1956), pp. 129-148, here pp. 137, 141f.
  12. ^ Dennis MacDonald: Christianizing Homer: The Odyssey, Plato, and the Acts of Andrew . Oxford University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-19-535862-7 (English, 368 pages, limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed December 24, 2016]).