Jesus Christ Was A Shape-Shifter, According To This Ancient Egyptian Text
By | February 3, 2020
The story comes from Saint Cyril
You know Jesus, right? Son of God, born in Bethlehem, great with fish, and wine for blood? He was a good guy who could do a lot of cool stuff. According to this one super weird ancient Egyptian text, one of the cool things he could do was shape-shift. The text, which dates back about 1,200 years, details the well-known crucifixion story with a few twists. It was discovered in 1910 by villagers who were digging up a former monastery in the desert near Al Hamuli in Egypt, after which it was purchased by American financier J.P. Morgan and added to his collection in New York City. As a result, it wasn't until recently that the strange version of events was brought to light. This retelling, while probably not true or even all that sane, is definitely an interesting fold in the story of Christ.
Most of the stories in the Bible were written by guys who supposedly hung around Jesus while he was handing out fish and loaves. You know, guys with boring names like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The version of the crucifixion with a shape-shifting Jesus comes from the much flashier Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived during the fourth century. Aside from writing this fascinating story, Cyril catechized people preparing for baptism during Lent, although it's unclear exactly how he became a bishop or found the time to write his view of the life of shape-shifting, superpowered Jesus. The story is written in the Coptic language, which was spoken in Egypt until about the 19th century, and it details a dinner between Jesus and Pontius Pilate prior to the crucifixion.
Jesus transforms into an eagle in the story
In Saint Cyril's version of events, Pilate desperately wanted to keep Jesus from crucifixion, and also, incidentally, Christ could apparently change form. Pilate invites Jesus over for dinner on a Thursday, and upon arrival, Jesus blesses the Roman commander's home. Pilate says:
Well then, behold, the night has come, rise and withdraw, and when the morning comes and they accuse me because of you, I shall give them the only son I have so that they can kill him in your place.
After Pilate offers to switch Jesus with his son, the soon-to-be-condemned religious leader says thanks, but no thanks. He tells Pilate:
Oh Pilate, you have been deemed worthy of a great grace because you have shown a good disposition to me.
Then, Jesus turns "incorporeal," and Pilate loses sight of him before he reappears in a vision as an eagle that's being killed. It's not clear if this is meant to be taken literally or if his representation as an eagle is a symbol for freedom or divine power. We can't exactly call up Cyril and ask, and after all, he's describing a person's dream. How do you delve into that without making assumptions?