The Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul

This translation of the epistle of the Corinthians to Paul is by M.R. James, 1924. Seeing as it is out of copyright, I have felt free to update the language where the wording is awkward. I have been extremely careful not to change any meaning by doing so. Mostly I've changed things like "marvel not" into "do not marvel."

The letter from the Corinthians to Paul forms part of the Acts of Paul. This is a different work than the Acts of Paul and Thecla, which is available in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. VIII. I have not been able to find the Acts of Paul anywhere other than on the internet, and apparently the manuscripts are so damaged that there is little besides this letter and the 3rd epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.

I don't believe there is anyone that considers these epistles to be original to Paul or the Corinthians, though they are ancient, probably from the 2nd century. EarlyChristianWritings.com tells us that Tertullian gives an origin for it, but it's not in any writing of Tertullian that I can find. They do not give a reference.

They say that Tertullian attributes it to an elder from shortly before his time who wrote it in honor of the apostle Paul, but who was removed from his position for the forgery.

Again, they give no reference, and it's not in any writing of Tertullian that I have access to; however, it makes sense that some 2nd century Christian wrote this in order to have more direct refutation of the gnostics than is available in the accepted letters of Paul.

Origen does mention the Acts of Paul (De Principiis I:2:3), but his quote is not to be found in any part of the text that is preserved. The editors of The Ante-Nicene Fathers suggest to think he might be quoting Hebrews.

Nonetheless, the epistle from the Corinthians to Paul was in the Armenian Orthodox Church's canon for a while, and it is an interesting piece of ancient literature!

The words in brackets are not in all versions. The italicized words in brackets are M.R. James notes.

The Epistle of the Corithians to Paul

Stephanus and the elders that are with him—Daphnus and Eubulus and Theophilus and Zenon—to Paul [their brother eternal], greeting in the Lord.

Two men have come to Corinth, Simon and Cleobius, who are overthrowing the faith of many with evil [or corrupt] words, which we ask you to test [and examine], for we have never heard such words from you nor from the other apostles. But all that we have received from you or from them, those we hold fast.

Since, therefore, the Lord has had mercy on us, that while you are still in the flesh we may hear these things from you again, if it be possible, either come to us or write to us. For we believe, as it has been revealed unto Theonoe, that the Lord has delivered you out of the hand of the lawless one [or enemy].

Now the things which these men say and teach are these:

  • They say that we must not use the prophets;
  • that God is not Almighty;
  • that there shall be no resurrection of the flesh;
  • that man was not made by God;
  • that Christ did not come [down] in the flesh;
  • Nor was he born of Mary;
  • And that the world is not of God, but of the angels.

Therefore, brother, [we ask you,] give all diligence to come to us, so that the church of the Corinthians may remain without offense and the madness of these men may be made plain.

Fare well [always] in the Lord.

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