7 Stories So Ridiculous They Got Left Out Of The Bible
Every good Cracked reader obviously knows their Bible, but what about the entire genre of early Christian literature that never made it into the Good Book? We're talking about the Acts of the Apostles, which features Christ's 12 superpowered sidekicks having insane comic-book-style adventures across the ancient world. Tragically, all of them (except Luke's) were left on the cutting room floor when the official canon was compiled. And it's a damn shame, because some of them are pretty amazing. Like ...
Andrew And Matthias In ... The City Of The Man-Eaters!
The Acts Of Andrew And Matthias Among The Man-Eaters is possibly the best pulp title of the Biblical era. It all starts when the apostles draw lots to decide which countries they'll go preach in. Andrew gets central Greece, Thomas gets India, and Matthias gets Cannibal City, which must have been kind of a bummer.
And it isn't just a name. As soon as Matthias steps through the gate, the cannibals grab him and gouge out his eyes. They also give him a special drug that makes their captives act like cows, because you really have to up your twist game if you want to compete in the Biblical genre. Fortunately, Jesus immediately gives him his eyes back (though Matthias has to keep them closed so the cannibals, a naturally untrusting people, don't get suspicious). He then orders Andrew to come to Matthias' rescue, giving him a special boat so he can make the journey in a mere three days. Presumably still longer than Matthias would prefer, but he's hardly in a position to be choosy.
After Jesus and Andrew zoom up in their speedboat to save Matthias from cowboy cannibals, Andrew makes the sign of the cross and the guards all drop dead, allowing him to heal the minds of the cow-men. After teleporting everyone else to one of Peter's sermons, Andrew turns himself invisible and really starts to kick ass, rampaging around the city turning cannibal hands to stone and having the earth swallow them whole.
With his henchmen getting wrecked, it's clearly time for the supervillain to reveal himself. Yes, Satan materializes in the form of an old man and takes control of the cannibals, commanding them to drag Andrew through the streets until "his flesh stuck to the ground, and his blood flowed." Don't worry, Andrew finally wins by enclosing the city in a wall of fire and having a pagan statue spew acid from its mouth, which is "eating them up exceedingly." Unsurprisingly, they quickly promise to stop being cannibals and become Christians if Andrew simply agrees to leave within the week. Hell, the most we've ever gotten out of that deal is some motel money.
A Tub Of Enraged Flesh-Eating Seals vs. Feminist Lightning
The 2nd century Acts Of Paul And Thecla tells the story of -- you'll never believe this -- Paul and Thecla. She's a rich young woman who overhears the Apostle Paul preaching and immediately goes nuts for Christianity. That is not an exaggeration. When Thecla starts "wallowing" in the dirt Paul sits on, the people of her city decide things have gone a little far and try to get her the help she needs. Which back in the day meant burning her at the stake. Luckily, God sends a mighty thunderstorm to put out the flames, and Thecla joins Paul to preach the good word.
When they arrive in Antioch, Thecla cuts her hair short to disguise herself as a boy. It doesn't work great. As soon as they enter the city, a rich guy screams that she's the hottest women he's ever seen and starts trying to grope her on the street. Thecla beats him up and he runs to the governor, who sentences her to be torn apart by wild animals. This outrages the women of Antioch, who are completely on board with pervy old street-fondlers getting the shit kicked out of them.
Meanwhile, Paul pretends not to know her and skips town.
Thecla is thrown into the arena, but the vicious lioness that's supposed to tear her apart instead licks her hand, and then begins fighting off the male animals while the women in the crowd cheer. This doesn't work, and the lioness is killed just as surely as Thecla is about to be. Determined not to die unbaptized, Thecla jumps into a nearby vat of ferocious man-eating ... seals? Yes, we've double-checked, man-eating seals. The crowd screams, but God comes through with the assist yet again, shooting lightning at each seal and leaving Thecla encased in "a cloud of fire."
At this point, the governor gets so frustrated that he ties Thecla to some bulls and burns their balls in an effort to persuade them to tear her apart. But the fire only burns up the ropes, and the governor finally relents. The local women all convert to Christianity, and Thecla leaves to find Paul, who is "astonished" to see her alive. With his blessing, she becomes a famous preacher and lives to the ripe old age of 90. Interestingly, although this book was apparently very popular with early Christians, church fathers like Tertulian declared that the story couldn't possibly be true. Not because of the Christian lions, man-eating seals, or people living to be what were wizard years at that time, mind you -- it was because the story implied that women could perform baptisms.
Don't Slap Thomas, Or Feral Dogs Will Rip You Limb From Limb
The Acts Of Thomas starts when the comparatively lucky son of a bitch draws India as his turf but then refuses to go, giving him the distinction of being one of the few people to make Jesus lose his cool. Jesus intervenes by secretly selling Thomas as a slave to an Indian merchant, because when Jesus says you're going somewhere, you can go the easy way or the hard way.
Thomas' little adventure with slavery doesn't teach him much humility. When a cupbearer lightly cuffs him around the head for being a jerk at a party, Thomas calmly informs him that he'll see him eaten by dogs. A short time later, a dog wanders into the party, dragging the severed hand that struck Thomas. The rest of the cupbearer's body is later found with its limbs torn off and "members seized" by a pack of dogs, and also a lion for good measure.
Holy shit, Thomas. Andrew only did this stuff to cannibals.
After King Gundaphoros hears that Thomas is a great carpenter, he commissions him to build a palace. The king later finds out that Thomas has been using the funds for his preaching. Unsatisfied with Thomas' explanation that the king's real palace lies in the sweet hereafter, the king decides to flay him alive, but his dead brother suddenly comes back to life and tries to buy that sweet palace the king has waiting in Heaven. The overjoyed king reconciles with Thomas, which probably saved him a good dogging.
Thomas then fills time with some villain-of-the-week stuff. He battles a dragon, then a creepy rape demon, then he gives a sermon on the evils of promiscuity and a young convert immediately murders his girlfriend. Thomas kind of takes that in stride and resurrects her, and the story ends with her grisly description of the horrors of Hell, where damned souls hang by their hair and tongues over pits of fire. She also saw "infants heaped upon each other, and struggling and lying upon each other," with a helpful demon explaining that they're kids born out of wedlock. Of course the afterlife has docents.
Peter Literally Shoves A Camel Through The Eye Of A Needle
In Acts Of Peter And Andrew, Peter is chatting with some friends when Andrew surfs up on a glowing cloud (Andrew is basically Goku in all these texts) and tells Peter about his success with the cannibals. Jesus appears and tells them both they can have one hour to rest before they head off to another famous city of barbarians, because this was well before labor laws.
When they get to the city, they find that the locals have tried to ward them off by forcing a naked woman to stand in the gate, but Andrew says he can solve this little problem. Peter, not exactly Andrew's biggest fan since he threw a fit about helping a farmer on the journey, unenthusiastically mutters, "Do as you will." Within seconds, Andrew has the screaming woman suspended in midair by her hair while the apostles hustle by beneath her.
Peter and Andrew may be an odd couple, but they sure do have each other's back in a crisis, like when a rich man starts beating Andrew. Peter commands him to stop, and quotes Jesus' line about how it's "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the Kingdom of Heaven." In response, the rich guy starts stops beating Andrew and starts choking Peter with a scarf. He then agrees to convert, but only if Peter can show him a camel literally going through the eye of a needle. And for some reason, Peter takes him up on it. Three times. The fourth time, just to show off, he manages to cram a camel and its rider through the needle. Now that's how you convert a city, Andrew.
Will Philip Kill 5,000 Dudes To Save One Christian? You Bet Your Talking Lion He Will!
The Acts Of Xanthippe, Polyxena, And Rebecca was apparently written to capitalize on the runaway success of Paul And Thecla, so you can think of it as the Maze Runner to Paul And Thecla's Hunger Games. It starts with the story of Xanthippe, which somehow manages to be insanely boring despite a scene wherein Paul has to fend off a lightning-wielding troop of demons like Gandalf facing down the Balrog. Then the narrative abruptly switches to Xanthippe's previously unmentioned but hotter sister Polyxena. She wants to be baptized, but is kidnapped in the middle of the night by a wealthy evil magician, who hustles her onto a ship headed for Babylonia. A heavenly storm forces the ship to run aground in Greece, where Polyxena is rescued by the apostle Philip and his ragtag band of followers.
At this point, most kidnappers would probably have given up, but the evil magician quickly borrows 8,000 soldiers from a powerful relative who lives nearby, and they surround the house where Polyxena is recovering. Philip's 30 followers have a choice between praying meekly or charging out waving the cross and slaughtering 5,000 of the attackers in hand-to-hand combat throughout the city streets. They wisely choose the latter.
Unfortunately, Polyxena has already escaped and fled into the woods, where she bumps into Andrew, who is truly the Wolverine of the Apostle Universe. A boat arrives to take her to Paul, and the Christ-fearing sailors defeat an attack by ferocious islanders before rescuing her yet again after she panics and jumps off the ship. Surely the Philip incident should have taught her to stop trying to escape while the Terminator Christians are slaughterin' suckas, but damsels be distressin'.
John Is A Lovely Man (In A World Of Terrifying Sex Crimes)
In the Acts Of John, our boy is the nicest, humblest, sweetest guy around. What Andrew would solve with fireballs, John solves with friendship, and he responds to minor slights with chuckles rather than having people eaten by rats or whatever, like Thomas. Unfortunately, John still lives in the same world of unrelenting horror as the other apostles.
John has a premonition in which a youth having an affair with another man's wife butchers the couple before committing suicide. John arrives to find that the youth has already killed his father and is sprinting toward the couple's house waving a bloody knife. Andrew would already be summoning Leviathan, but John just calms things down, raises the father from the dead, and tells the youth he'll let him off with a warning if he promises not to attempt any more triple murder-suicides. John then preaches a little sermon on chastity which impresses the youth so much that he immediately castrates himself with a sickle, bursts into his lover's bedroom, and throws the severed genitals at her feet.
The text considers this a happy outcome for everyone, and John meanders off to continue spreading the good news.
Later, a follower of John's named Drusiana dies, and local perverts Fortunatus and Callimachus break into her tomb for, you know, pervert reasons. Suddenly a huge venomous snake appears and bites Fortunatus, then pins Callimachus down and sits on him until morning, when John shows up to bless the body. John orders the snake to get off Callimachus, who is so grateful that he immediately repents and converts. John also resurrects Fortunatus to give him a chance at repentance, but Fortunatus mulls it over and decides he'd prefer to be dead, all things considered.
Andrew Leaves A Trail Of Destruction Through Asia Minor
The Acts Of Andrew is generally believed to be the earliest apocryphal "Act," and its runaway success inspired a lot of unauthorized sequels. Prequels, actually, since (spoiler alert!) Andrew dies at the end. The story follows everyone's favorite super-apostle as he wrecks shit across the ancient world. Andrew responds to even minor setbacks by summoning earthquakes, and his main method of persuading people to convert is murdering them and then resurrecting them once they've seen the other side.
And his methods are surprisingly effective. A troop of soldiers try to arrest him, but drop dead immediately, while a snake that annoys him vomits blood until it dies. Andrew personally smites demons disguised as a pack of vicious dogs that have been running around murdering people, because dog murder is only cool if it's for Thomas. The wife and steward of the proconsul Lesbius make trouble for a Christian, so "as they bathed, an ugly demon came and killed them both." Andrew brings them back later, because that's how he do. By our count, he resurrects 48 people over the course of the fairly short text. At one point, a Roman governor tries to feed him to a leopard, and Andrew makes the leopard strangle the governor's son. Astute cat-noticers will observe that leopards don't have hands, so this was doubly impressive.
When the time comes for Andrew to be martyred, he has to coax the soldiers to tie him to the cross, since they are (understandably) hiding quite a long way away. Andrew hangs there, laughing and preaching, for three days -- as if crucifixion was just a cool way to chill. He even has to berate the terrified governor out of trying to cut him down. When a mob forces the governor to try again, Andrew shows them who's boss by asking God to kill him immediately. At least he died as he lived: terrifying everyone in a 30-mile radius.
It's still worth picking up a copy of some of these Apocryphal Acts to read, if for no other reason than to frighten certain relatives at Thanksgiving.
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