Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume VIII/Apocrypha of the New Testament/Christ's Descent into Hell: Latin. Second Version/Chapter 1
Latin. Second Version.
Chapter 1 (17).
Then Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Finees, and Rabbi Egias, the three men who had come from Galilee, testifying that they had seen Jesus taken up into heaven, rose up in the midst of the multitude of the chiefs of the Jews, and said before the priests and the Levites, who had been called together to the council of the Lord: When we were coming from Galilee, we met at the Jordan a very great multitude of men, fathers who had been some time dead. And present among them we saw Karinus and Leucius. And they came up to us, and we kissed each other, because they were dear friends of ours; and we asked them, Tell us, friends and brothers, what is this breath of life and flesh? and who are those with whom you are going? and how do you, who have been some time dead, remain in the body?
And they said in answer: We have risen again along with Christ from the lower world, and He has raised us up again from the dead. And from this you may know that the gates of death and darkness have been destroyed, and the souls of the saints have been brought out thence, and have ascended into heaven along with Christ the Lord. And indeed to us it has been commanded by the Lord Himself, that for an appointed time we should walk over the banks of Jordan and the mountains; not, however, appearing to every one, nor speaking to every one, except to those to whom He has permitted us. And just now we could neither have spoken nor appeared to you, unless it had been allowed to us by the Holy Spirit.
And when they heard this, all the multitude who were present in the council were struck with fear and trembling, and wondered whether these things had really happened which these Galilæans testified. Then Caiaphas and Annas said to the council: What these have testified, first and last, must shortly be altogether made clear: If it shall be found to be true that Karinus and Leucius remain alive in the body, and if we shall be able to behold them with our own eyes, then what they testify is altogether true; and if we find them, they will inform us of everything; but if not, you may know that it is all lies.
Then the council having suddenly risen, it pleased them to choose men fit for the duty, fearing God, and who knew when they died, and where they were buried, to inquire diligently, and to see whether it was as they had heard. The men therefore proceeded to the same place, fifteen in number, who through all were present at their falling asleep, and had stood at their feet when they were buried, and had beheld their tombs. And they came and found their tombs open, and very many others besides, and found a sign neither of their bones nor of their dust. And they returned in all haste, and reported what they had seen.
Then all their synagogue was in great grief and perplexity, and they said to each other: What shall we do? Annas and Caiaphas said: Let us turn to where we have heard that they are, and let us send to them men of rank, asking and entreating them: perhaps they will deign to come to us. Then they sent to them Nicodemus and Joseph, and the three men, the Galilæan rabbis who had seen them, asking that they should deign to come to them. And they went, and walked round all the region of Jordan and of the mountains, and they were coming back without finding them.
And, behold, suddenly there appeared coming down from Mount Amalech a very great number, as it were, twelve thousand men, who had risen with the Lord. And though they recognised very many there, they were not able to say anything to them for fear and the angelic vision; and they stood at a distance gazing and hearing them, how they walked along singing praises, and saying: The Lord has risen again from the dead, as He had said; let us all exult and be glad, since He reigns for ever. Then those who had been sent were astonished, and fell to the ground for fear, and received the answer from them, that they should see Karinus and Leucius in their own houses.
And they rose up and went to their houses, and found them spending their time in prayer. And going in to them, they fell on their faces to the ground, saluting them; and being raised up, they said: O friends of God, all the multitude of the Jews have directed us to you, hearing that you have risen from the dead, asking and beseeching you to come to them, that we all may know the great things of God which have happened around us in our times. And they immediately, at a sign from God, rose up, and came with them, and entered their synagogue. Then the multitude of the Jews, with the priests, put the books of the law in their hands, and adjured them by the God Heloi, and the God Adonai, and by the law and the prophets, saying: Tell us how you have risen from the dead, and what are those wonderful things which have happened in our times, such as we have never heard to have happened at any other time; because already for fear all our bones have been benumbed, and have dried up, and the earth moves itself under our feet: for we have joined all our hearts to shed righteous and holy blood.
Then Karinus and Leucius signed to them with their hands to give them a sheet of paper and ink. And this they did, because the Holy Spirit did not allow them to speak to them. And they gave each of them paper, and put them apart, the one from the other in separate cells. And they, making with their fingers the sign of the cross of Christ, began to write on the separate sheets; and after they had finished, as if out of one mouth from the separate cells, they cried out, Amen. And rising up, Karinus gave his paper to Annas, and Leucius to Caiaphas; and saluting each other, they went out, and returned to their sepulchres.
Then Annas and Caiaphas, opening the sheet of paper, began each to read it in secret. But all the people took it ill, and so all cried out: Read these writings to us openly; and after they have been read through we shall keep them, lest perchance this truth of God be turned through wilful blindness, by unclean and deceitful men, into falsehood. At this Annas and Caiaphas fell a-trembling, and delivered the sheet of paper to Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Finees, and Rabbi Egias, who had come from Galilee, and announced that Jesus had been taken up into heaven. All the multitude of the Jews trusted to them to read this writing. And they read the paper containing these words:—