Gospel of the Egyptians
Three short and somewhat mystic verses are all that are left of what is known as the Gospel of the Egyptians. They occur in Book III of the Stromateis of Clement of Alexandria, who devoted that book to a refutation of Encratism, that is, the rejection, as absolutely unlawful, of the use of marriage, of flesh meat and of wine. Already in the Pauline Epistles are met parties with the cry (Col 2:21) "Handle not, nor taste, nor touch," and (1Ti 4:3) "forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats." The verses in Clement read as follows: "When Salome asked how long will death prevail? The Lord said, As long as ye women bear children: for I have come to destroy the function of women. And Salome said to him. Did I not well then in not bearing children? And the Lord answered and said, Eat of every herb, but do not eat of that which is bitter. And when Salome asked when the things would be known about which she had inquired, the Lord said, When ye trample on the garment of shame, and when the two shall be one, and the male with the female neither male nor female." The words assuredly vary much from the usual character of those of our Lord. Modern writers vary as to their encratite tendency and as to how far the Gospel of the Egyptians was practical. With so little to go upon, it is not easy to form a conclusion. It may have contained other passages on account of which Origen deemed it heretical. It was used by the Naassenes and Sabellians. The date of the Gospel is between 130 and 150.