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The Narrative of Zosimus: Greek and Syriac Versions with Book of Mormon Comparative Notes

TitleThe Narrative of Zosimus: Greek and Syriac Versions with Book of Mormon Comparative Notes
Publication TypeUnpublished
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsWelch, John W., and Spencer Kraus
InstitutionScripture Central
CitySpringville, UT
KeywordsLanguage - Greek; Language - Syriac; Narrative of Zosimus

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Scripture Central, "The Narrative of Zosimus: Greek and Syriac Versions with Book of Mormon Comparative Notes" (2024).

For convenience in studying, this chart presents, in the lefthand column, an English translation of the Greek text of Narrative of Zosimus in the Ante-Nicaean Fathers, and in the righthand column draws similar words and concepts from passages in 1 Nephi. In the footnotes are found comparative wordings and additions or deletions in the Syriac version of this Narrative, found in James H. Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2:443-462.

Zosimus (Greek)

Various Texts in 1 Nephi

Ch. 1. About that time there was

1 Nephi 1:4. In that same year [the first year of the reign of Zedekiah] there came many prophets.

in the desert a certain man[1] named Zosimus, [who for forty years ate no bread, and drank no wine, and saw not the face of man.]

1 Nephi 2:4. And . . . he [Lehi] departed into the wilderness.

This man was entreating God that he

1 Nephi 1:5. Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

might see the way of life of the blessed,[2]

1 Nephi 11:3. And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.

and behold an angel of the Lord was sent  saying to him,[3] Zosimus,

1 Nephi 8:5. And he [an angel] came and stood before me.

man of God, behold I am sent by the Most High, the God of all,[4] to tell thee that thou shalt journey to the blessed, but shall not dwell with them.[5]

1 Nephi 11:6. The Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. . . . Because thou believest . . . thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.

[But exalt not thy heart, saying, For forty years I have not eaten bread, for the word of God is more than bread, and the spirit of God is more than wine. And as for thy saying, I have not seen the face of man, behold the face of the great king is nigh thee.]


Zosimus said, I know that the Lord can do whatsoever he will. The angel said to him,  Know this also, that thou art not worthy of one of their delights, but arise and set out.[6]

1 Nephi 11:1. And believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me . . . 1 Nephi 3:7. I, Nephi, said . . . I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Ch. 2. And I, Zosimus, issuing from my cave with God leading me, set out not knowing which way I went,[7]

1 Nephi 8:7. As I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.

and after I had travelled forty days

1 Nephi 8:8. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness . . .

my spirit grew faint and my body failed, and being exhausted

1 Nephi 1:7. He cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit.

I sat down, and continued praying in that place for three days.

1 Nephi 8:8. I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me.

[And, behold, there came a beast from the desert, whose name is the camel, and placing its knees on the ground, it received me upon its neck and went into the desert and set me down. There there was much howling of wild beasts, and gnashing of teeth, and deadly poison. And becoming afraid, I prayed to the Lord]


and there came in that place a great earthquake with noise, and a storm of wind blew and lifted me from the earth, and exalted me on its wing,[8]

1 Nephi 11:1. As I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.

and I was praying and journeying

1 Nephi 8:9. And . . . after I had prayed unto the Lord

till it set me upon a place

I beheld a large and spacious field.

beside a river, and the name of the river is Eumeles.[9] And behold when I desired to cross the river, someone cried as if from the water, saying, Zosimus, man of God, thou canst not pass through me, for no man can divide my waters: but look up from the waters to the heaven.

1 Nephi 8:13. And as I cast my eyes round, about . . . I beheld a river of water. 1 Nephi 8:32. And . . . many were drowned in the depths of the fountain.

And looking up I saw a wall of cloud stretching from the waters to the heaven, and the cloud said, Zosimus, man of God, through me no bird passes out of this world, not breath of wind, nor the sun itself,

1 Nephi 8:23. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceeding great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.

nor can the tempter in this world pass through me.[10]

1 Nephi 12:17. And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men.

Ch. 3. And I was astonished at these words and at the voice that spake these things to me.


And as I prayed, behold two trees[11] sprang up   out of the earth,

1 Nephi 8:10. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

fair and beautiful, laden with fragrant fruits.

1 Nephi 8:11. [The fruit thereof] was most sweet, above all that I had ever before tasted . . . [and] white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

And the tree on this side bent down and received me on its top, and was lifted up exceedingly above the middle of the river, and the other tree met me and received me in its branches and bending down set me on the ground; and both trees were lifted up and set me away from the river on the other side. [In that place I rested three days, and arising again.][12]

1 Nephi 8:19, 24. And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led [from the head of the fountain] to the tree by which I stood. . . . I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

I went forward, whither I knew not, and that place was filled with much fragrance, and there was no mountain on either hand, but the place was level and flowery, all crowned with garlands, and all the land was beautiful.

1 Nephi 8:9, 20. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field . . . as if it had been a world.

Ch. 4. And I saw there a naked man sitting, and said in myself, Surely this is not the tempter. And I remembered the voice of the cloud that it said to me, Not even the tempter in this world passes through me.[13] And thus taking courage I said to him, Hail, brother. And he answering said to me, The grace of my God be with thee.

1 Nephi 11:11. I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

Again I said to him, Tell me, man of God, who thou art? He answered and said to me, Who art thou rather? And I answered and told him all concerning myself, and that I had prayed to God and he had brought me into that place.[14]

1 Nephi 11:2–3. And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou? And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.

He answered and said to me, I also know that thou art  a man of God, for if not, thou couldst not have passed through the cloud and the river and the air. For the breadth of the river is about thirty thousand paces, and the cloud reaches to heaven, and the depth of the river to the abyss.[15]

1 Nephi 15:27–29. The water . . . was filthiness; . . . it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God. . . . It was a representation of that awful hell.

Ch. 5. And having ended this discourse the man spoke again, Hast thou come hither out of the vanity of the world?

1 Nephi 8:26. On the other side of the river of water . . . 1 Nephi 11:36. I saw . . . the pride of the world.

I said to him, Wherefore art thou naked? He said, How knowest thou that I am naked? Thou wearest skins of the cattle of the earth, that decay together with thy body, but look up to the height of heaven and behold of what nature my clothing is.


And looking up into heaven I saw his face as the face of an angel,

1 Nephi 11:14. And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me.

and his clothing as lightning, which passes from the east to the west,

1 Nephi 8:5. I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe. 1 Nephi 1:9. And he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.

and I was greatly afraid, thinking that it was the son of God,[16]

1 Nephi 11:7. [And] behold a man descending out of heaven, and him shall ye witness; and after ye have witnessed him ye shall bear record that it is the Son of God.

and trembled, falling upon the ground.

1 Nephi 1:6–7. And because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly. . . . And he cast himself upon his bed.

Ch. 6. And giving me his hand he raised me up, saying, Arise, I also am one of the blessed. Come with me, that I may lead thee to the elders.

1 Nephi 1:10. And he also saw twelve others following him [the Son of God], and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

And laying hold of my hand he walked about with me[17] and led me toward a certain crowd, and there were in that crowd elders like sons of God, and young men were standing beside the elders.[18]


And as I came near to them, they said, This man has come hither out of the vanity of the world; come, let us beseech the Lord and he will reveal to us this mystery. Surely the end is not at hand, that the man of vanity is come hither?

1 Nephi 11:36. [And] the pride of the world . . . fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. . . . Thus shall be the destruction of [the wicked].

Then they arose and besought the Lord with one accord, and behold two angels came down from heaven and said, Fear not the man, for God has sent him, that he may remain seven days and learn your ways of life,[19] and then he shall go forth and depart to his own place. The angels of God having said this ascended into heaven before our eyes.

1 Nephi 11:12. And I looked as if to look upon him, and I saw him not; for he had gone from before my presence.

Ch. 7. Then the elders of the blessed gave me over to one of the attendants, saying, Keep him for seven days. So the attendant receiving me led me to

1 Nephi 8:11. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof.

his cave,[20] and we sat under a tree partaking of food. For from the sixth hour even to the sixth, then we ate, and the water came out from the root of the tree sweeter than honey, and we  drank our fill, and again the water sank down into its place.[21]

1 Nephi 11:25. I beheld . . . the fountain of living waters, or . . . the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

And all the country of those there heard of me, that there had come thither a man out of the vanity of the world, and all the country was stirred up, and they came to see me because it seemed strange to them. Therefore they were asking me all things and I was answering them, and I became faint in spirit and in body, and besought the man of God that served me, and said, I beseech thee, brother, if any come to see me, tell them He is not here, so that I may rest a little.

1 Nephi 8:25. And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.

And the man of God cried out saying, Woe is me, that the story of Adam is summed up in me, for Satan deceived him through Eve, and this man by his flattery desires to make me a liar while he  is here. Take me away from hence, for I shall flee from the place.[22] For behold he wishes to  sow in me seeds of the world of vanity. And all  the multitude and the elders rose up against me, and said, Depart from us, man; we know not whence thou art come to us.

[2 Ne. 2:18. Wherefore, he (Satan) said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies . . .] [2 Ne. 2:19. And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out.]

But I lamented with great lamentation, and my senses left me, and I cried out to the elders, saying, Forgive me, my lords, and the elders  stilled them and made quietness. Then I related  to them all from the beginning till that time, and said, I besought the Lord to come to you, and he deemed me worthy.

1 Nephi 8:36–37. [And Lehi] exceedingly feared for Laman and Lemuel. . . . And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, . . . that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off.

And the elders said, And now what wilt thou we should do to thee? I said to them, I desire to learn of you your way of life.[23]

1 Nephi 11:2–3. And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou? And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.

Ch. 8. And they rejoiced with great joy,

1 Nephi 11:6. The Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying, Hosanna to the Lord.

And taking up tables of stone they wrote on them with their nails, thus, hear, ye sons of men, Hear ye us who are become blessed, that we also are of you;[24]

1 Nephi 1:11. And they came down . . . and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. 1 Nephi 19:1. I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people.

for when the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that the city of Jerusalem should be delivered into the hands of the destroyers,

1 Nephi 1:4. There came many prophets [including Jeremiah], prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed. [Cf. 7:14; 5:13.] 1 Nephi 1:13. . . . It should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

he rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and sprinkled dust upon his head, and took earth upon his bed, and told all people to turn from their wicked way.

1 Nephi 1:4. There came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent.

And our father Rechab, the son of Aminadab, heard him and said to us,[25] Ye sons and daughters of Rechab, hearken to your father, and put off your garments from your body, and drink no vessel of wine, and eat no bread from the fire, and drink not strong drink and honey until the Lord hear your entreaty.

1 Nephi 2:2–4. the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. . . . And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things.

And we said, All that he has commanded us we shall do and hearken.

1 Nephi 3:7. I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.

So we cast away our clothing from our bodies, and we ate no bread from the fire, and drank no vessel of wine nor honey nor strong drink, and we lamented with a great lamentation and besought the Lord, and he heard our prayer and turned away his anger from the city of Jerusalem, and there came to the city of Jerusalem mercy from the Lord, and he pitied its people, and turned away his  deadly anger.

1 Nephi 1:5–6, 14. [And he] prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people. . . . And he saw and heard much; and . . . he did exclaim . . . : Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

Ch. 9. And after these things the king of the city of Jerusalem[26] died, and there arose another king. And all the people gathered to him and informed him concerning us, and said, There are certain of thy people, who have changed their way from us.[27] Therefore the king summoned them, and asked them wherefore they had done this; and he sent for us and asked, Who are ye and of what worship and of what country? And we said to him, We are the sons of thy servant, and our father is Rechab the son of Jonadab,[28] and when Jeremiah the prophet preached in the days of thy father the king, he proclaimed death to the city of Jerusalem, saying, Yet three days and all the city shall be put to death. And the king thy father hearing this repented of his sins, and issued a command to all to turn aside from their wicked way. And our father thy servant hearing it charged us, saying, Drink no vessel of wine, and eat no bread from the fire, until the Lord shall hear your entreaty. And we hearkened to the commandment of our father, and made naked our bodies, we drank no wine and ate no bread, and we prayed to the Lord for the city of Jerusalem, and the Lord pitied his people and turned away his anger, and we saw it and our soul was rejoiced, and we said, It is good for us to be so.

1 Nephi 1:20. And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him, . . . and they also sought his life.

Ch. 10. And the king said to us, Ye have done well. Now therefore mingle with my people, and eat bread and drink wine, and glorify your Lord, and ye shall be serving God and the king. But we said, We will not disobey God.

1 Nephi 2:3. He was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.

Then the king was enraged and set us in prison, and we passed that night there.

1 Nephi 7:14. And Jeremiah have they cast into prison.

And behold a light shone in the building, and an angel uncovered the prison and laid hold of the crowns of our heads, and took us out of the prison, and set us beside the water of the river,

1 Nephi 2:6. When he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.

and said to us, Whithersoever the water goes, go  ye also.

1 Nephi 17:8. And . . . the Lord spake unto me, saying: . . . I may carry [thee] across these waters. . . .

And we travelled with the water and with the angel. When therefore he had brought us to this place, the river was dried up and the water was swallowed up by the abyss, and he made a wall round this country, and there came a wall of cloud, and shadowed above the water;

1 Nephi 18:8. We did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land. [Jacob 7:26. Our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem.] [2 Ne. 3:5. . . . A branch which was to be broken off.]

and he did not scatter us over all the earth, but gave to us this country.[29]

1 Nephi 10:13. Wherefore, he said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered upon all the face of the earth. [Cf. 1 Nephi 18:23; 3 Ne. 15:15.]

Ch. 11. Hear, ye sons of men, hear the way of life of the blessed. For God placed us in this land, for we are holy but not immortal.[30] For the earth produces most fragrant fruit, and out of the trunks of the trees comes water sweeter than honey, and these are our food and drink.

1 Nephi 18:24–25. We did put all our seeds into the earth. . . . They did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance. 8:11. The fruit thereof . . . was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. 1 Nephi 17:4–5. And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness. And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey.

We are also praying night and day, and this is all our occupation.[31]

[Alma 34:21. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, midday, and evening.]

Hear, ye sons of men; with us there is no vine, nor ploughed field, nor works of wood or iron, nor have we any house or building, nor fire nor sword, nor iron wrought or unwrought, nor silver nor gold, nor air too heavy or too keen.

1 Nephi 18:25. We did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.

Neither do any of us take to themselves wives, except for so long as to beget two children, and after they have produced two children they withdraw from each other and continue in chastity, not knowing that they were ever in the intercourse of marriage, but being in virginity as from the beginning. And the one child remains for marriage, and the other for virginity.

[Jacob 2:25–28. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. . . . For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.]

Ch. 12. And there is no count of time, neither weeks nor months nor years, for all our day is one day.

[Alma 40:8. All is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.]

In our caves lie the leaves of trees, and this is our couch under the trees.


But we are not naked of body, as ye wrongly imagine, for we have the garment of immortality and are not ashamed of each other.[32]

1 Nephi 12:11. And the angel said unto me: Look! And I looked, and beheld three generations pass away in righteousness; and their garments were white even like unto the Lamb of God. And the angel said unto me: These are made white in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith in him.

At the sixth hour[33] of every day we eat, for the fruit of the tree falls of itself at the sixth hour, and we eat and drink our fill, and again the water sinks into its place. We also know you who are there in the world, and who are in sins, and your works,

[Mormon 8:35–36. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. . . . And I know your doing. . . . Yea, even every one, have become polluted.]

for every day the angels of the Lord come and tell them to us, and the number of your years.

[Mormon 8:35. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me.]

But we pray for you to the Lord, because we also are of you and of your race, except that God has chosen us, and has set us in this place without sin.

1 Nephi 1:5. Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

And the angels of God dwell with us every day, and tell us all things concerning you,

1 Nephi 11:8, 13. The Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked . . . and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities.


[2 Ne. 1:4. For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed.]

and we rejoice with the angels over the works of the just, but over the works of sinners we mourn and lament, praying to the Lord that he may cease from his anger and spare your offences.[34]

[Enos 9, 11. I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, . . . wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them.]


Ch. 13. But when the time of the forty days comes, all the trees cease from their fruits, and the manna that he gave to our fathers rains down from heaven, and the manna is sweeter than honey. Thus we know that the season of the year is changed. But when the time of the holy passover comes, then again the trees put forth fragrant fruit, and thus we know that it is the beginning of the year. But the feast of the resurrection of the Lord is performed with much watching, for we continue watching for three days and three nights.[35]

Ch. 14. We know also the time of our end, for we have no torment nor disease nor pain in our bodies, nor exhaustion nor weakness, but peace and great patience and love.[36] For our soul is not troubled by the angels to go forth, for the angels rejoice when they receive our souls, and the souls also rejoice with the angels when they behold them; as a bride receives the bridegroom, so our soul receives the announcement of the holy angels, saying nothing more than only this, The Lord calls thee. Then the soul quits the body and goes to the angels, and the angels seeing the soul coming forth spotless rejoice, and spreading out their robes receive it. Then the angels call it blessed, saying, Blessed art then, O soul, because the will of the Lord is fulfilled in thee.

Ch. 15. The time of our life is this. If one quits the body in his youth, the days of his life here are three hundred and sixty years, and he that quits the body in old age, the days of his life here are six hundred and eighty-eight years.[37] And the day of our completion is made known to us by the angels, and when the angels of God come to take us, we go with them, and the elders, seeing the angels, gather together all the people and we depart together with the angels, singing psalms, until the angels arrive at the place of our abode. And because we have no tools, the angels of God themselves make the grave for our body, and thus he that is called by God goes down, and all salute him from small to great, sending him on his way and bidding him farewell. Then the soul quits the body and the angels receive it, but we see the shape of the soul as a shape of light, perfect in all the body apart from the distinction of male and female.

Ch. 16. Then the angels taking it up sing a song and hymn, making melody to God, and again other troops of angels come in haste to meet them, saluting the soul that is coming and entering into the firmaments. And when it has come to the place where it is to worship God, the son of God himself,[38] together with the angels, receives the soul of the blessed one and bears it to the undefiled father of the ages, and again, when the angels sing above, we being below listen to them, and again we sing and they listen in heaven above, and thus between us and the angels there arises a giving of praise in hymns. But when the soul of the blessed one, falling upon its face, worships the Lord, then we also falling down worship the Lord in that same hour, and when the Lord raises it up then we also arise; and when it goes to its appointed place, we also go into the church, fulfilling the eucharist of the Lord.

Having written these things, and all the life of the blessed, we gave them to our brother Zosimus, and escorted him as far as the place of trees beside the river Eumeles.

Ch. 17. And I, Zosimus, besought again the blessed ones to make entreaty for me to the Lord that the trees might receive me to take me across. And they all cried to the Lord and said, O God that hast shown us thy marvels and hast made thy servant Zosimus to come to us out of the world of vanity, set him again in his own place with peace, and command these trees to bow down and take up thy servant and set him on the further side.[39] And as they finished their prayer, the trees straightway bent down before them, and received me as on the second day before; and being set on the other side of the river I cried with a loud voice and said, Men of righteousness, who are brothers of the holy angels, grant me your prayer in peace, for behold I depart from you. And making prayer they all cried out, saying, Peace, peace be with you, brother. [40]

Ch. 18. Then I prayed to the Lord, and there came to me a storm of wind, and received me upon its wings, and carried me to the place where it found me sitting, and left me there in peace.[41] And raising its voice the wind said to me, Blessed art thou, Zosimus, that thou hast been numbered with the blessed.[42] And the beast from the desert, whose name is the camel, came and received me upon its neck and carried me eighty and five stations, and set me in the place where it found me praying, and left me in peace, crying and saying, Blessed art thou, Zosimus, that thou hast been numbered with the blessed.

[[Chs. 19-23 appear to be a later Christian addition to the Greek version, not found in the Syriac.]]

Ch. 19. But seeing me thus praised, Satan desired to tempt me and throw his dart at me from his station, but an angel of God came and said to me, Zosimus, behold Satan is coming to tempt thee, but the Lord will fight for thee, for the glory of thy faith must bind Satan. And an angel of God appeared, crying and saying, Welcome, blessed one of Christ. Come and I shall lead thee to the cave that is the dwelling-place of thy body, for thy cave shall be a testimony of the desert, a healing of the sick that come to it, a place of trial and touch-stone of demons. And laying hold of my hand he strengthened me, and led me for forty days to the cave where I had dwelt. And there was there a table of righteousness, and I spent the night with the angels of God. And I placed the tablets that were given me by the holy blessed ones on the step of the altar in my cave.

Ch. 20. And, behold, when the angels of God ascended, the Devil came, having a fierce shape, and possessed with anger and gall, and said to me, I knew that God would do with thee as with the blessed ones, and that they shall be free from sin and be above the angels, and therefore I brought in an evil design, and entered into the vessel of the serpent, an evil-doer added to evil-doer. And by this I made the first man Adam to transgress and taste of the tree of life, since God had commanded him not to eat of it, that he might remain equal in glory to God and the holy angels; and thou again hast gone and brought this commandment, but now that they may not be without sin, I shall show thee how I shall destroy thee and all those that receive this commandment, so that they may not be without sin, and the book that thou hast brought.

Ch. 21. Saying these things the Devil departed from me, and after eight days he brought with him one thousand three hundred and sixty demons, and dragged me from the cave as I prayed, and they beat me, tossing me about between them, for forty days. And after the forty days the devil lamented before me and said, Woe is me that through one man I have lost the world, for he has vanquished me by his prayer. And he began to run from me, but I laying hold of him stayed him and said, Thou shalt not run away and flee from me until thou swearest to me never again to tempt man. And lamenting with great and violent lamentation he swore to me by the firmament of heaven, So long as thy dwelling is here, and after thee, I will not come upon this place. Then I let him go, sending him and the demons with him into eternal fire. Then the angel came, who had companied with me at the table, and led me into my cave with great glory.

Ch. 22. After this I lived thirty-six years and communicated the way of life of the blessed to the fathers in the desert. But the Devil wept because of the tables of the life of the blessed, saying, If this get abroad in the world, I shall be mocked, and these will remain without sin and I alone in folly. And after the completion of the thirty-six years, the angels of God came to me as to the blessed.

And all the monks were gathered together and all who heard it, and this testament was read to all of them, and in such life he gave up his soul to God.

Ch. 23. And I, Cryseos, being one of those in the desert, spread it abroad and gave it to all that were willing to learn it and profit by it. Therefore, the angels of God helped to bury the body of Zosimus as a precious gift, and we saw the soul of the blessed one shining seven times brighter than the sun. And straightway upon that place there came up seven palm-trees and overshadowed the cave. There came up also a fountain of water in that place, holy water, and unto this day a healing and salvation to all the sick that come to it. Peace be to all that have heard the memorial of the holy Zosimus; the Lord is the advocate and helper of all to the endless ages of ages. Amen.


These texts have been combined and laid out by Spencer Kraus together with John W. Welch.

[1] Syr. a certain amazing and virtuous man

[2] Syr. he earnestly was entreating God by night and by day to show him where he had translated the Blessed Ones, the sons of Jonadab, who were taken away from worldly life in the days of Jeremiah the prophet, and where God had made them dwell.

[3] Syr. And when the LORD saw the (self-)humiliation of this blessed one, Zosimus, for the sake of these Blessed Ones, then God heard his prayer and granted his request. And on one of the days while he was praying, a voice came to him and an angel came toward him and said to him…

[4] Syr. from the height (of heaven)

[5] The phrase “but shall not dwell with them” is missing in the Syriac.

[6] The phrase “Zosimus said … delights” is missing in the Syriac.

[7] The phrase “set out… I went” is missing in the Syriac.

[8] The phrase “There there was much howling … exalted me on its wing” is missing in the Syriac.

[9] Syr. great ocean

[10] The phrase “and the cloud said … pass through me” is missing in the Syriac. Rather, it reads: “And I thought that perhaps the Blessed Ones were in the midst of it, (because) I heard a voice from the midst of the cloud which said, ‘Father Zosimus.’ Then (realizing my misconception) I praised and gave thanks to God, (to) him who makes mute natures to speak, to him who makes everything easy.”

[11] Syriac adds “larger than (any) I had ever seen.”

[12] Syraic adds, “And I rested in (that) place (for) three days, while the praise of God did not cease from my mouth.”

[13] The phrase “And I remembered … pass through me” is missing in the Syriac.

[14] The phrase “Again I said … into that place” is missing in the Syriac.

[15] The phrase “For the breadth … to the abyss” is missing in the Syriac.

[16] The phrase “and his clothing … son of God” is missing in the Syriac.

[17] Syriac adds “he asked me concerning the world and all that (is) in it.”

[18] Syriac describes this congregation in slightly different terms and adds “And after watching them I fell to the land and worshiped them.”

[19] Syriac adds the instruction to the Holy Ones. “Write out for him and inform him (about) all of God's providence respecting you, and that he visits with you.”

[20] Syr. tent

[21] The phrase “For from the sixth … into its place” is missing in the Syriac. Instead, the Syriac adds “And in his presence I took delight in the delight of his prayers. For that place is like the Paradise of God and these Blessed Ones are like Adam and Eve before they sinned. They fast from the ninth hour until the ninth; and then they eat what they need from the fruits of these trees; for water which is sweet and delightful as honey flows from the roots of the trees. And each one drinks what he needs. And immediately they stop eating; from the ninth hour (on) they live alone.”

[22] Syriac reads “Cast out this man from here so that he shall not implant (lies) in our place of captivity.”

[23] Syriac reads “I beg (you) from your blessedness to write for me the history of (how) your entrance here (was possible), so that your history may be a good introduction and a beautiful example for everyone who wishes to be guided by the fear of God.”

[24] Syriac reads “we are called the sons of Rechab, we are from you; and behold we departed from your world to this place in which we (are) today.”

[25] Syriac reads “Then our father Jonadab, the son of Rechab, heard how the prophet charged, ‘Do not eat bread, and do not drink wine until the LORD hears your petition.’

[26] Syr. King Josiah

[27] Syriac reads “they do not act like us; and they are naked and neither eat (bread) nor drink (wine).”

[28] Syriac reads “Jonadab, the son of Rechab.” This ordering of the names is consistent with Jeremiah 35, and so it seems the Greek is in error.

[29] Syriac recounts the escape from prison as follows: “And they led all of us out from prison, and placed us in the air that is above the land, and brought us to this place (in) which you (now) see (us), and allowed us to dwell in it. And our virtuous wives, who with us had surrendered themselves to God, now abide separately among us in this land, while remaining as we (do) in a fast and prayer and praise to God. And after the angels of God brought us and placed us in this place in the midst of the water of this great sea, God commanded and the waters rose up from the deep abyss and encircled this place. And by the command of God a cloud became a bulwark above the water and rose up as far as heaven.”

[30] Syriac reads “And we are without sins and evil and abominable thoughts. And we are mortals; however, we are purified and spotless, and our souls and bodies are cleansed from all defilement; and we depend upon the hope of our Lord, and our sight is fixed continuously (and) unceasingly on the light of the future life.”

[31] Syriac adds “There is not among us vineyards, grain, husbandry, wood, iron, houses, buildings, gold, or silver; and neither stormy weather nor rain is with us; neither snow nor ice. And the sun does not shine upon us, because the cloud, which encircles us like a bulwark, restrains it. And the land in which we are is filled with a glorious light so darkness and night do not enter it. And we possess a shining appearance and dwell in light.”

[32] Syriac reads “But we are naked not as you suppose, for we are covered with a covering of glory; and we do not show each other the private parts of our bodies. But we are covered with a stole of glory similar to that which clothed Adam and Eve before they sinned.”

[33] Syr. ninth hour

[34] Syriac adds “To us the holy angels of God announce both the incarnation of the Word of God, who is from the holy virgin, the mother of God, and all those things which he provides and perfects and endures for the sake of the salvation of mortals. And then we worship and acknowledge and glorify him for the sake of the glory of his incarnate life. Then we ask for your love, O people, that you will not be unfaithful when you chance to read this history. Do not surrender to the cruel and merciless ruler, but be shrouded by the secrets which were entrusted to you. And let this history be for you the salvation of your lives. Have regard to us in your hidden thoughts, be imitators of our way of life, pursue peace, cherish the love that is unchangeable, and love purity and holiness. And you will be made perfect in all good things and inherit the kingdom of God.”

[35] Syriac adds “And with a spiritual cheerfulness we rejoice while celebrating with the holy angels; likewise also we exult and sing praises during all of the noble and saving feasts of the providence of our Lord. And all the assembly which are above us and all the heavenly hosts rejoice with us in these feasts.”

[36] Syriac reads “And again we announce to you, O brothers, that among us there is no sickness, pain, fatigue to our bodies, mutilation, weariness, or temptations; not even Satan’s power can touch us, for there is not among us rage, jealousy, evil desire, or hateful thoughts. But we experience only quietness and gladness; and exhibit love and affection toward God and each other.”

[37] This sentence is missing in the Syriac, although it does mention that “And we live an extremely long time; and the extent of our life is not brief and short as with you.”

[38] The Syriac diverges from the Greek at this point, reading: “And thus it goes up and ascends until it enters before and worships the Lord. And when the highest order of cherubim and seraphim receive it, they rise to the gate of the holy Trinity. Then the Son of God receives that soul from their hands and brings it forward so that it may worship his father. And when the soul falls down upon its face to worship before God, then the revelation is revealed to us, and all of us fall upon the land and worship the Lord with the soul. And when God makes that soul rise from its worship, we also rise to our feet. And then God sends that soul to a stately mansion to await the day of resurrection for the rest of our community. Then we also go away from the body of that soul of our brother to our own assembly and complete the service through praises to the Holy Spirit. And so we have engraved upon these tablets and sent them to you through the hands of our brother Zosimus.

And again God, our Creator, has given us this privilege: we hear the voices of the spirits and the praises of the angels, the hosts, and the heavenly orders, who continually praise God. When they praise God, so also we in our land praise him.

And the angels receive and transmit our prayers and our praises by entering and worshiping in love before that divine and mystic throne, which knows secrets. And thus by the aid of the angels and the heavenly hosts our prayers pass on and find entrance before God. This is all of our manner of life. And we are truly called the Blessed Ones, because we experience the benevolence of God. And we write and send these tablets to you, O people who dwell in that world of vanity, through the hands of this our brother Zosimus, who entered among us for your sake through the mercies of God and remained with us for seven days. And accompanying him we traveled with him until we came to the shores of the great ocean.”

[39] This prayer of the Rechabites is not recorded in the Syriac.

[40] This farewell address of both Zosimus and the Rechabites is missing in the Syriac.

[41] This chapter marks the end of the Syriac text, closing with Zosimus praising God: “And suddenly that animal arrived and carried me; and it brought me to the cave while I praised and exalted God, who had answered me and heard my petition and fulfilled my desire. To him be praise, amen, from heavenly and earthly beings for all time, amen.”

[42] The phrase “Then I prayed … with the blessed” is missing in the Syriac.