The Giant Jesus and the Walking-Talking Cross. Remarkably, the Gospels of the New Testament do not tell the story of Jesus emerging from the tomb on Easter morning. But the Gospel of Peter does. In this text, discovered near the end of the nineteenth century, Jesus comes out of the tomb as tall as a mountain, supported by two angels, nearly as tall themselves. And behind them, from the tomb, there emerges the cross, which has a conversation with God in heaven, assuring him that the message of salvation has now gone to those in the underworld. How a Gospel like this was ever lost is anyone’s guess.The quotation actually illustrates splendidly one of the reasons that I offered in my recent conference paper for suggesting that a conjectural emendation is required here. The paper was called "A Walking, Talking Cross or the Walking, Talking Crucified One? A conjectural emendation in the Gospel of Peter 10.39, 42" (Abstract). The paper was based on a blog post from last year and in due course, I will be expanding the paper for publication.
- Bart Ehrman, “What Didn’t Make It Into The Bible?”, The Huffington Post, 21 July 2011
What the quotation above illustrates nicely is the narrative oddity of the giant Jesus, who is stretched beyond the heavens, from where God addresses not the crucified one but the cross, which has apparently come out of the tomb and remained on earth, something that makes no narrative sense at all, even within the bizarre logic of the Gospel of Peter. Here's a brief section from my paper:
There are certain advantages that this reading brings. There are advantages both to the broader narrative context and the pericope itself. With respect to the broader narrative, now it is no longer the case that a cross emerges from a tomb that it never entered. With respect to the narrower context, it overcomes the incongruity that the three men all stretch as far as – or beyond – the heavens, but the voice from heaven then addresses the cross back on earth. In the revised reading, the voice in heaven directly addresses the crucified one, who is beyond the heavens. Moreover, on the usual reading, the witnesses should be able to see the cross speaking, so there is no need for the note that they “there was heard the answer, 'Yes'”, a line far more appropriate to the reading with the conjectural emendation. On this reading, they only hear the answer because it is the crucified one speaking, and his head is beyond the heavens. Further, the conjectural emendation removes the extraordinary situation whereby Jesus is upstaged, at his own resurrection, by his cross.