Monday, June 19, 2006

How short is an opusculum/suntagmation?

I wonder if anyone can help me with a Gospel of Judas related question? Epiphanius calls the "Gospel of Judas" which he knows of a "suntagmation" (in the Lat. tr., opusculum). Does anyone know of any other works called something similar? Would it imply that it's shorter than the canonical Gospels, or might it just be a diminutive of contempt?


  1. Robert Gordon calls his monograph on the targum of the Minor Prophets an opusculum. I'm sure that helps...

  2. It looks like Adolf von Harnack cites Athanasius calling a work of Asterius a suntagmation. Sorry I don’t have time at the moment to find the primary reference, but in Harnack it is Volume 4, Chapter 1, footnote 53 of his History of Dogma.

  3. You'd have to check how the word is used with a CDROM search, but I don't think opusculum has any diminutive significance in late Latin; any old treatise is called this.

    Tertullian refers to his own works thus in "Adversus Marcionem", and especially in book 5 chapter 1 verse 1:

    "Et ideo ex opusculi ordine ad hanc materiam devolutus ..." ( "As then I have now in the ordering
    of my treatise reached this part of the subject..."

    Note that the 'treatise' (opusculum) means books 1-4 of Adv. Marc., which are huge and the 5 books together comprise by volume around 20% of Tertullian's entire surviving work!

    He does the same at the end of "De Virginibus Velandis"("cuius hoc opusculum est").

    Later, the medieval catalogue of Cluny uses the term indifferently (see the text at So does the catalogue of Corbie.

    All the best,

    Roger Pearse

  4. He should have said opuscule since opusculum is the plural form. It means a minor or petty work. For future questions, try

    Hello all,

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    Most have totally missed the point that the Hebrew and Gnostic texts and others are making. All the Gnostic texts are philosophical and symbolic treatises, not literal narratives. When you try to interpret any of these ancient texts (including the Bible) as literal, you will always come to the wrong conclusions. Judas is thereby a symbolic and allegorical characterization, as are the other actors in the Gnostic texts. The need then is to determine what these symbolic personifications actually refer to.

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    It is beyond amazing that the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are the literal truth. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions. Recasting the symbolism of earlier Hebrew texts as literal events in the New Testament is one of the central deceptions associated with Christianity. This is part of the secret knowledge held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, Cathars, and others, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth. This fact is the key to unraveling many ages-old mysteries and exposing the truth about the Vatican's long-term deceptions.

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    Revelations from the Apocalypse


  5. It is only my aversion to censorship that causes me not to delete this ramble from the blog. However, a second message of similar quality would not be spared.